ARC Review: Busted by Gina Ciocca

Title: Busted

Author: Gina Ciocca

Published: 02 January 2018 | Sourcebooks Fire

Date Read: 03 January 2018

Synopsis:

Marisa wasn’t planning to be a snoop for hire—until she accidentally caught her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. Now her reputation for sniffing out cheaters has spread all over school, and Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

But when ex-frenemy Kendall asks her to spy on her boyfriend, TJ, Marisa quickly discovers the girl TJ might be falling for is Marisa herself. And worse yet? The feelings are quickly becoming mutual. Now, she’s stuck spying on a “mystery girl” and the spoken-for guy who just might be the love of her life…

*ARC Kindly provided by Sourcebooks Fire for review*

I love YA, I love mystery and I love spy stories. Add up these three and that book will be up on my TBR. The beginning of Busted really excites me; I’m really looking forward to the sleuthing that will happen on the book and it didn’t fail me because a few chapters in and I already have a sample of said sleuthing. Up until the first chapter ends and the story begins to be a bit dragging.

Spying, scheming and tangled web of secrets and mystery – that’s what I was expecting when I dived into reading Busted but I guess I expected too much because I feel like I only get bits and pieces of it. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the story plotline, but I guess my expectation went a bit high. Nevertheless, I still liked the story.

“Outing a scumbag felt more badass than anything.”

The characters introduced here are a mix of people that are fun to read about. We have the very likeable, fun, driven and a very good friend Marissa. Seriously, where can I find a friend just like her who climbs over a framework just to catch the boyfriend of a friend who’s supposedly cheating? A friend who gives second chances to an old (bitch) friend? I really like Marissa. Her voice is fun and interesting to read. Charlie is the best partner/side-kick for Marissa. They are total opposites but really complements each other. Plus, I really love her side-story with Marissa’s brother. 😉

TJ is such a sweet character but somewhere in the middle of the story I doubted him. He made me skeptical about him with all the “shady” actions that he did.

The romance between TJ and Marissa started in a very unlikely situation and I didn’t really like it at first because I think I know how those kind of romances ends but but but their chemistry was so on point that at some point I find myself squealing for them to just kiss! They are both such sweet characters and their crafty sides and inner geekiness really makes them more compatible with one another.

And of course, I won’t forget to mention the returning friend, Kendall. Kendall who is really a bitch witch. I knew that from the first moment she was introduced that she will not bring anything but a challenge to the story and to the characters. But of course, a delightful book wouldn’t be complete without a very convincing villain and Kendall really is the best villain character for this story. I guess, she is the trigger in the story where all at snooping and tangled web of secrets and mystery really started.

As mentioned, I liked the story but didn’t entirely loved it. Busted has a pretty unique and promising premise but I somehow wish for more spying and scheming to happen. Nevertheless, everything tied up neatly; giving everyone a good ending.

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Challenge: 2018 Beat The Backlist

I’m kicking this post off by greeting all of you a happy and prosperous new year! 2017 has been a challenging year for me. This year (2018), I’m determined to bounce back. I’m determined to set goals and achieve them. 👍

So, here I am, once again joining the Beat The Backlist Challenge. Last year, this challenge helped me make a dent on my backlist titles that are still left unread that’s why this year, I’m joining again.

The Beat the Backlist Challenge is hosted by Austine from Novel Knight. This challenge is focused on knocking off titles that have been on your TBR for a while, or even ones that get pushed aside for new releases. While we LOVE new releases, we also want to show some of those older titles love too.

YOU set your own reading goal. YOU pick the books. YOU read at your own pace.

The challenge will run from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. You have an ENTIRE YEAR to complete your goal!

Books must be released prior to 2018 to count for this challenge. Although we love new releases too, this isn’t the challenge for them.

This challenge doesn’t have levels or a set number of books you need to read. The idea here isn’t to make this a competition, but to help you shrink your TBR with a bunch of other people doing the same thing.

But to make things a bit more fun, when you sign-up you will be assigned to a team. With every book you read, you and your team will earn points.

ONE WINNER from the team with the most points each month will be drawn to get a book of their choice worth up to $15 from the Book Depository/Wordery!

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now!!

(Links: Sign-up Page | BTB Point Submission Page)

Just like last year, I’m setting up a goal of 10 books to read for this challenge. These books have been sitting on my shelf for quite some time now and they really are calling into me.

  1. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
  2. Three DSay Summer by Sarvenaz Tash
  3. The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
  4. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
  5. Lucky Few by Kathryn Ormsbee
  6. Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
  7. Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
  8. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
  9. The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
  10. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

I’m really having high hopes that 2018 will be a better reading & blogging year not only for me but for every one of us.


Have you joined any reading challenges for this year? I’m wishing you goodluck on whichever challenge you are joining too. 💜

ARC REVIEW: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Title: Top Ten

Author: Katie Cotugno

Published: 03 October 2017 | Balzer + Bray

Date Read: 01 October 2017

Synopsis:

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?

*ARC Kindly provided by Balzer + Bray thru Edelweiss for Review*

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Katie Cotugno book and a contemporary book in general. Top Ten is about Ryan and Gabby – best friends – who are anticipating their high school graduation and after years of friendship, they can’t help but reminisce different moments of their friendship. They do it in a very systematic way which is by writing a Top Ten List.

Top Ten has a very interesting premise and as a reader who is very into best friend’s type of story, I’m immediately totally up into this story. However, the story was not I’m expecting it to be. It lacked something that I can’t put my finger into. It just didn’t deliver the story I was expecting from the blurb that we all had before reading.

While the writing is okay, the timeline of the story really confused me. This is not the first book that I’ve read that jumps from one time frame to the other, but on this book’s case, it confused me! There has been a lot of back and forth between the Gabby and Ryan’s perspective from different timelines.

From the beginning, we all know that Ryan and Gabby are best friends, but do you consider people who constantly fight with each other about nearly everything as best friends? What they have is really an unlikely relationship because they don’t just bicker and tease each other. They fight. A LOT. I came to the point where I wonder why these two are even “best friends”. Given, the chemistry was there from the very first chapter, but I was looking for the build-up and relationship transition, but nada, there’s none of that as well. Just like their friendship, their romance is confusing and angsty and there’s a lot of back and forth.

Gabby is a girl who suffers a major social anxiety. I do understand and tried to understand where she’s coming from, but for most the story, she felt flat for me. But one thing that did surprised me with her character is her bisexuality. I really appreciate how she explored her feelings and sexuality and finding out who she really is. Ryan, on the other hand, is one of their school’s hockey player and is a social butterfly. Though, I do felt major “kilig” on him at times, his character also felt flat to me.

I can consider our main characters okay but honestly, they are both flat as a dough. I had a hard time connecting with them and it feels like I ended up just knowing about them from the outside.

The potential for a cute and adorable contemporary story was there but the confusing timeline and flat characters didn’t really give the story much justice. Though, I really appreciate how Cotugno inserted topics of anxiety and sports-related injury to the story. Those aspects where well-handled and written but I wish it was explored more as the story barely scratched the surface of said topics.

Overall, it was an okay read.

Anticipated Releases: October 2017

Just like last year, September has been a much busier month compared to the earlier months that passed by this year. Majority of the time was spent on work (meh) and I also did get a chance to do a bit of travelling. (Yay)

Of course, I still get to find time to read daily. It’s just that I don’t have enough motivation and energy to do updates and blog stuffs (which I’m sorry about). But now, I can feel that work lean season is about to come and I’m really hoping and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to maintain my blog and reading updates.

Okay, enough of my blabbers, and lets go to the main subject of this post which is my Anticipated Releases books for October.

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno
Release Date: 03 October 2017

It was quite a while since I’ve read a novel written by Katie Cotugno, Top Ten seems to be calling me because I’ve always been a sucker for best friends type of stories. Ryan and Gabby are anticipating their High School graduation and after years of friendship, they can’t help but reminisce different moments of their friendship. They do it in a very systematic way which is by writing a Top Ten List. Click the link above to see the full Top Ten List our main characterst have written!


Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
Release Date: 03 October 2017

The premise of the story initially reminded me of Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells with all the magical realism happening on their gardens. But Wild Beauty seems to dig deeper than having a magical garden because the women who tended the grounds of La Pradera Gardens have a curse-like legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. Until a strange boy appears in the gardens – a boy who knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As one of the women helped the strange boy it also leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.


Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
Release Date: 03 October 2017

As early as now, I’m already psyching myself that I will cry with this book. But as much as I want to be prepared for Hoover’s new novel, I still feel a bit scared and anxious. The premise gave me a very gloomy and scary vibe. The Voss family is the lead and they are anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit who collects trophies.

The family is a total disarray and I’m sure that the whole story will be filled with twists and turns, tough subjects and trigger worthy issues.


Dare Mighty Things (Untitled Duology #1) by Heather Kaczynski
Release Date: 10 October 2017

I just realized that I miss reading Sci-Fi stories! From the title, you won’t know that this book will include Sci-Fi stuffs on it but it does. Cassie is determined to secure a spot on a classified mission to travel to space. But before that, she must first compete against some of the best and brightest people on their planet undergoing rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push them to the brink of their endurance. This will surely be a tense and mind-boggling reading experience.


Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1) by Julie C. Dao
Release Date: 10 October 2017

One of my highly-anticipated reads for this month!!! The Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is an East Asian Fantasy retelling of Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress.  Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. This is another one of the most hyped-up book that you can see around twitter. I also read nothing but good things about this book. My blogger friends and other bloggers that I’m following has given this book warm and high praises.


The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
Release Date: 10 October 2017

Three Girls come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate. They form an anonymous group of girls on their High School to resist the sexist there. Interesting, right? I’ve always been into girl power and headstrong characters, so the protagonists of this book will surely be my best friends. This is another book that talks about the issues of rape and sexuality our society faces nowadays.


Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Release Date: 10 October 2017

It’s been years since John Green released a book and everyone is surely excited for this new book!! Turtles All The Way Down features a lead character that is living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts and as a person who suffers the same thing, I’m so excited to meet her and see if I can relate to her. This will surely be another heart-wrenching and eye-opening story from one of my favorite authors!


Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Men by Carrie Ann DiRisio
Release Date: 17 October 2017

I’ve been following @broodingYAhero on twitter for some time now and all I can say is that he’s funny and full of sass. I’ve read on reviews that if you’ve been following his account you’ll get an idea on what this book will be about. So, I’m expecting a book that is fun and just full of sassy banter and comments!


Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Release Date: 17 October 2017

Dear Martin is one of the most hyped up books that I saw around twitter. The premise of the story is still very timely to the current events happening especially in the states to the POC’s. Running along the same voice as to the story of The Hate You Give, Dear Martin will surely be another eye opening read to us. I heard and read nothing but great things about this book and that alone is enough to make me excited to read this book.


Like Water by Rebecca Podos
Release Date: 17 October 2017

I haven’t read any of the books written by Rebecca Podos but I’ve heard and read good things about what she has written. Like Water captured my interest not because the character is working as a mermaid at a water park but because it seems to tackle interesting subjects – identity, millennial depression, family and first love. Though those subjects have already been used on countless of YA books written, I guess those just never gets old to me. I’m pretty much excited to meet Vanni and Leigh and see how they will get their so-called “messy life” in order.


You, what are your anticipated books for October? Feel free to share them with me on the comment page below. 💜

Anticipated Releases: September 2017

This is probably the hardest Anticipated Releases list that I’ve made. September is just full of awesome book releases and I had a really really hard time narrowing down my list into just 10 books. And since I’m a very OC person and wanted to maintain a template for my posts, I’m sticking into just 10 books; books that I’m super super super excited for for September.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
Release Date: 05 September 2017

Atypical of E. Lockhart and exactly what she did to me with her book We Were Liars – I’m pretty sure Genuine Fraud is going to play maze-like tricks on my mind. This new book from E. Lockhart has a pretty interesting and unique plot about a girl living different lives. She schemes, she lies, she runs. But why? And that’s what I’m excited to find out.


Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Release Date: 05 September 2017

This book sounds so magical and cold. Eeerily cold. I’m also getting a huge snow-white vibe with all the step-mother and daughter rivalry. As the blurb says, only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

 


If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: 05 September 2017

I’ve always been a JLA fan and I’m always excited to read her new works. JLA’s contemporary works always come up as okay for me though, I really miss reading Fantasy stories from her. If There’s No Tomorrow is again, one of those books that offers a very vague blurb. Leaving us all to think what happened and what will happen? I actually have no idea what will be the twist on this book as I’m staying away from spoilers, but I’m pretty much excited to read this soon.


They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Release Date: 05 September 2017

I haven’t read any books by Adam Silvera. Please don’t hate me please? I don’t really know why but I just haven’t had the chance to get a hand to one of his books. A see and read a lot of bookish friends gushing about him and his books that’s why I’ve finally decided to allot a time to read Silvera’s works.

 I’ve heard and read that his books usually makes people cry, should I prepare my box of Kleenex and comfort food while reading They Both Die at the End? and binge reading the rest of his works?


Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu
Release Date: 12 September 2017

Probably the majority of book lovers out there has this book on top of their Anticipated Release for September. Am I right? Well, it is by Marie Lu and she doesn’t fail me yet with any of her works. Yay! I’m just excited to enter the world of Warcross and meet Emika!!

 


Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Release Date: 19 September 2017

The blurb in Goodreads really offers nothing aside from Jane being raised by her adjunct professor and deep sea photographer aunt until the said aunt was lost in an expedition in Antarctica leaving Jane alone.  But that vague blurb actually makes the story more interesting and intriguing. I’m itching to know what’s in Tu Reviens and the mystery that lies in her aunt’s disappearance. This will surely be an exciting and suspenseful read.


Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Release Date: 19 September 2017

Ohhh, a story about a feminist revolution in a local high school. Who’s not going to be up for this? Because I surely am ecstatic to read and join the cause. With today’s issues about feminism, Moxie’s release is just very timely. I’ve read a snippet of this book and I’m hooked! I’m pretty sure reading this will be a riot! (not literally, of course)


Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Release Date: 26 September 2017

I’m certain this book is gonna bring me down to my knees and make me cry. I heard nothing but good things about Starfish and I’m really excited to read and see it for myself. I’m always into stories where the characters overcome their own personal fears and anxieties and I’m pretty sure it would be awesome reading about the lead characters Kiko’s adventure in finding herself and her identity.


The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo (Goodreads Author), Sara Kipin (Illustrator)
Release Date: 26 September 2017

I’m trying to contain myself but I just cannot!! I’m so freakin’ excited for this!!! I’m totally freakin’ out!! I’m excited to travel and read back to the Grisha Universe which is one of my favorite story setting ever! Plus, Leigh Bardugo is my Queen. I’ll probably buy, read and breathe everything that she writes.


There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: 26 September 2017

If I’m not mistaken, this is Perkin’s first venture in writing  a Horror book. I’ve read her contemporary works and loved them all and on this new book of hers I don’t know what to expect. Horror books are not really on the top of my list of readings but I’m willing to try this one. The blurb oozes a mysterious flair to it describing how one-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders.


You, what are your anticipated books for September? Feel free to share them with me on the comment page below. 💜

Bookish Tag: 25 Bookish Facts About Me

This post will be a bit selfish because it will be all about me and randoms bookish facts about me. I actually saw this post originally from booktube and saw several book bloggers doing it on their respective blogs and since I’m need for another exciting bookish tag post to do, I decided to do my own version of this.

So, to cut the chase, here are 25 randoms bookish facts about me. 😉

  1. I judge books by their covers. Who doesn’t? I know, we shouldn’t judge because there might be more than what the cover offers but I still do it. I mean, when I go inside a bookstore and randomly stumble upon a book with a cute cover and an okay summary chances are I might buy that book.

 

     2.  I’m a Twilight Fan. Up until this very moment and I’m not ashamed of it.

  1. I read fast when it’s a romance novel. It’s always like that. For some reason, I devour the pages faster when I read a romance book. I still can’t find an exact reason why this always happen but I’m putting an end to it with the reason that I’m just excited to get to the happy ever after. 💖

  1. I re-read books. Maybe that’s the reason why it’s taking me a really long time to tackle or even make a dent to my (never ending) TBR pile.

  1. I have a complete Nicholas Sparks book set. Thank you to my awesome friends who gifted me an assortment of Nicholas Sparks books during my 18th birthday (which was 6 years ago). Oh and my all time favorite? Dear John. The book and the movie never fails to make me cry buckets.

  1. The very first book series I remember reading was The Prey Series by John Sandford. Not really fitting for a 10-year old to read but when my uncle left the books from this series in our house, I find myself reading and enjoying the chase and the mystery of this thrilling and suspenseful series.

 

  1. I’m a crier. Whatever genre of book I read if there’s a sad moment e.g heartbreaks, death, separation – I’ll surely be crying about it.

  1. Don’t get me started talking about books because I might never stop. I just love talking anything and everything about books!!!

  1. I loooooove book swags. It may be a simple book mark, pins, patches, posters or random trinkets I’ll most definitely cherish it.

  1. I read in bed and I’m a night-time reader. I’m at my most comfortable reading when I’m lying on my bed. And because of my work schedule, I tend to read only at night or at times on my commute to/from work.

  1. I prefer Paperbacks over Hardbacks. Though Hardback books looks more aesthetically pleasing, I do have a hard time reading hardback books mainly because they are heavy. I know, I know, my reason is shallow, but I since I usually read while in bed, it’s a hard thing to do. I don’t want to risk falling asleep and getting a bruise or two from a falling hardback book.

  1. I’m a book-hauler. If my budget permits, I overly haul books.

  1. Second hand bookstores are my second home. I went over a phase when I go to second hand bookstores weekly and ended up going home with tons of books. And some of these books are still left unread up until now.

  1. I read two (2) books at once. I usually read an e-book which I can carry around and a paperback book which I read whenever I’m at home.

  1. I haven’t tried audio-books. I’m excited to venture trying audiobooks. I believe I still have an audible credit (which I’ve won from a giveaway) that I can. 😉

  1. I haven’t watched the Game of Thrones series nor read the series. Should I start this soon?

  1. I use my kindle mostly to read e-arcs. That has been my method ever since acquiring a kindle. I rarely buy e-books, so I mostly use it for e-arcs.

  1. Dog-earing? NOPE! I once lend a book to a classmate way back in college and when it was returned to me, my book is filled with dog-eared pages. I kid you not, I literally went hysterical on him.

  1. I was riding the train on the way to my practicum place when I noticed a girl reading a book with an intriguing cover and summary. I ended up looking for that book online and lo and behold it was titled The Maze Runner and that started my journey to the amazing world of The Maze.

  1. Out of all tropes, I hate love triangles the most. I hate complications and feeling of indecision. Can we possibly skip to the happy ending instead?

  1. I’m a mood reader. But most of the time I ended up reading romance or New Adult novels because work and adulting stresses me out.

  1. I used to line/highlight my favorite quotes or parts of the books I’m currently reading. But since I find it a bit messy (especially with my crooked lining and highlighting skills) I only use colored tabs to mark my favorite parts.

 

  1. I’m not a picky-reader when it comes to genre because I almost read them all. YA, Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Sci-fi, mystery, romance, I’m all up for it.

  1. I plan to get a tattoo soon and it will be a bookish one. I haven’t decided what to get yet, but I’ll surely share it to you guys once I’ve decided.

  1. I sniff books. Whoever doesn’t sniff books are the weird ones for me.


I’m tagging all of you friends to do this as well.

Do we share some random bookish habit or something? Please feel free to leave your comments below. And, if you ever made your own version, leave your links too. 💜

Challenge: 2017 ARC August (Mid-Challenge Update)

This month, I’m so excited to join on my most anticipated yearly book challenge which is ARC August.  

For the new ones, you might ask what is ARC August?  ARC August is all about YOUR personal goal in regards to finishing YOUR ARCs! The only real rule for ARC August is any books you count towards the challenge MUST be an ARC. It can be an e-ARC or physical ARC. It can have a 2018, 2017, 2016 release date or an overdue date of 2010! As long as it is an ARC we won’t judge you or take that accomplishment lightly.

You may click on this link to see my introductory post for this challenge and to as well view the books I’m hoping to finish reading by partaking on this challenge.

Yes, I have already done the whole introduction thingy so what’s the purpose of this post? Well, as the title suggests, this post is an update on the books that I’ve finished for the last 15 days as part of #ARC August. We’re already in the mid of August and I haven’t even finished half of the books I’ve pledged to read (*panic mode on*)!!! So far, I finished 3 books and actually working on the 4th and 5th this week.

But still, I’m keeping a positive attitude that hopefully I’ll be able to finish them all before this month ends.

So, to cut the long story short, here are the books I’ve read (so far) for ARC August..

Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein
Rating: 3 Stars

Summer Unscripted is a light, quick and easy summer book to read. The writing is witty and engaging. The whole summer weather vibe was captured by the author including the dramas, competition and even the hook-ups. The pacing was also quick and though the story was quite predictable it is still fun to read.

 


Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1) by Lexa Hillyer
Rating: 3 Stars

Spindle Fire has a very interesting blurb. I’ve always been a sucker for classic story retelling so this book immediately called on me. But unfortunately I didn’t work that well. The phasing of the plot was slow. It took me a long time to really connect with the main characters. The ending is a cliffy, so I might indulge my curiosity and still read the next book on this series.

 


Literally by Lucy Keating
Rating: 2 Stars

I finished reading this book last Sunday and I’m in awe how weird it was. The story did have a good phasing and the characters are just okay but the “fantasy” like thing and the presence of the author, Lucy Keating on the book itself honestly left me perplexed and still a bit weirded out. But overall, it was an okay read, the romance is cute so there’s that.

 


You, how’s your progress with your #ARCAugust stack? I’m interested to know, so leave your updates on the comment below. 💜