Guest Post: Wolf Rain and the Art of Reading an Anticipated Release

This guest post is from Aarya Marsden, who isn’t shy about her love of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series.

Aarya Marsden is a pseudonym for an Indian-American college student and long-time romance reader. Her favorite authors include Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Lucy Parker, Kresley Cole, Alisha Rai, Lisa Kleypas, Alyssa Cole, Tessa Dare, Meredith Duran, Mina V. Esguerra, Kate Clayborn, and many more.

You can follow @Aarya_Marsden on Twitter, where she gushes about romance novels and is a firm advocate for a happily-ever-after.

Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh is out this week on June 4. This is not a review for Wolf Rain, because I am not capable of writing an objective and well-reasoned review for a book that

a) I’ve been waiting for since 2012
b) is in my favorite series of all time
c) is the reason why I kissed my iPad when I received an ARC.

My fangirl status is fairly obvious if you remember my rant a couple months ago and realize that I own autographed copies of all of Nalini Singh’s PNR/UF books.

A huge shelf of Nalini Singh books
My shelf of autographed Nalini Singh books. Yes, I own two different sets of P/C books. Why? Because the international covers are pretty and I have no self-control.

You may not be a Psy/Changeling fan, but I think you know what I’m talking about. You love certain books and authors without reservation. You eagerly comb through newsletters to find clues about the next book. When there are no more new books to read, you shrug and then start to reread with book one. When release dates are announced for the next book, you schedule vacation days and tell your family not to disturb you on threat of dismemberment. When you see the author post pre-order links on social media, you rush to preorder the book, only to realize that you’ve already pre-ordered it months ago. Sometimes you even cancel the pre-order and reorder it again, as if that’ll make the book come out faster. Maybe you have very pleasant dreams where you’re reading an anticipated book, only to wake up and realize with dawning horror that you still have to wait for three months. And by the time the book is released, you’ve already read the chapter one excerpt fifteen times and therefore skip directly to chapter two.

If those examples sound oddly specific to you, I plead the fifth. Being a fangirl is a lesson in patience and torture. In my experience, the lesson is skewed toward the torture. But the Torture of Waiting, like all things, has to come to an end. It’s release day!

What’s your Plan of Action? Perhaps you need to identify where you fall on this scale.

LEVEL ONE

It’s just a book! You’ve waited this long, so how is a few more weeks going to hurt you? There’s no need to read it at midnight. And in any case, you like reading physical copies and plan to run by a bookstore soon.

LEVEL TWO

This book release is a once-in-a-year event. You can’t just waste it on your normal life! It has to be saved for something special, like a beach vacation or a weekend at the cabin. Waiting is torturous, but you know that you’ll be so much happier if you put the book aside for your upcoming vacation.

LEVEL THREE

You’re super busy at work/school and for some unfathomable reason, all NYC-pubbed books come out on a Tuesday. A Tuesday. Can you believe it? Like readers don’t have jobs or obligations during the week. Anyway, you’ll probably wait for the weekend and savor the book on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

LEVEL FOUR

Preparation is crucial. You’ve already taken the day off from work and are going to savor the book while lying down in the hammock in your backyard. When else are you going to use up sick/vacation days? The best part: no annoying spouses or school-age children bothering you in the daytime. You can enjoy your book in peace.

LEVEL FIVE

You sleep at 5:00 pm on the day before the release, setting a series of alarms starting at midnight. When you wake up, you rush over to your kindle app and click “sync.” By some cruel joke, Amazon does not automatically deliver pre-orders at midnight E.S.T. From years of experience, you know the truth: sometimes the book is delivered at 12:30 am, 1:00 am, 1:37 am, or— horror of horrors!—3:00 am. There is no rhyme or reason to it. You curse at Amazon and promise to delete your account.

You cancel the pre-order and one-click again as if that’ll trick the system. You pray to a deity that you don’t believe in for sure, but figure that there’s no harm in trying. You stare at your phone, contemplating if the pain of talking to customer service will yield any result (here’s a tip: it won’t). What happens next?

5a. You end up falling asleep at 2:00 am with the e-reader wrapped around your arms and wake up in a panic at 9:00 am because you need to get ready for the day ahead. This is especially sad because you then have to pretend to go through the motions of the day while feeling the weight of your phone’s kindle app in your pocket. By the time you come home, you skip dinner and start reading immediately.

5b. THANK THE LORD! It’s here. Your fingers are trembling, but you find the presence of mind to flip to the first page. And if the book is as good as you expect, you’ll happily sigh as you finish the book. Depending on your reading speed, you may or may not finish in time for the day ahead. If you do, you may force yourself to go to work/school and do a remarkable impression of a sleep-deprived zombie. If you have no fucks to give (and did not schedule a vacation day in advance), perhaps you a) call into work and pretend to develop a sudden but very contagious cough or b) email your professors and explain how sorry you are that you cannot attend lecture today because of a dehabiliating fever. This isn’t going to earn you Good Place points but I think we’re allowed to be unethical every once in a while. I can feel my descent into the Bad Place as we speak.

5c. Victory! The book is delivered after a minor delay. You lovingly stroke the screen of your e-reader, half-ecstatic and half-amazed that this isn’t a dream (oh god, what if it is? You’ve had dreams like this before). Your heartbeat speeds up, your breathing starts to shake, and there is an inexplicable emotion building up in your chest. Is it joy? Relief? Disbelief? A combination of all three? But you don’t open the book up right away. You just stare at the screen, because a new realization hits you: “If I read this now, what am I going to do until the next book?”

The Torture of Waiting isn’t just something that happens; it’s something that I cause as well. When I finish the anticipated book, I’m ecstatic (assuming it lived up to my expectations). But I end the Old Torture of Waiting for the book I just finished and begin a New Torture of Waiting for the next book. For a book that may not even be written or announced yet. The author or publisher didn’t do that; I did that.

Now, it’s unreasonable to avoid the anticipated book entirely. There is still the Old Torture of Waiting to think about! But I have become an expert at enduring the Old Torture of Waiting; I’ve survived it for a year, after all. Surely I have the endurance to wait a little longer and avoid the unknown territory of a New Torture of Waiting. The question is: do I have the self-control to wait and savor the rare in-between stage: the happiness of possessing an anticipated book without reading it because I don’t want it to end?

I can’t speak for you. Everyone reads anticipated books differently, as evidenced by my detailed list of possibilities. There is no right or wrong answer, just whatever works best for you and elicits the most amount of happiness. Personally, I’m a combination of 5b and 5c (although 5a happened to me once and I’ve sworn to never repeat it).

I am always a little scared to start because I know reading the book will be bittersweet. But I just can’t wait. I’ve never been able to hold off on reading an anticipated read because I find so much joy in snuggling under the blankets and reading in the dark. It reminds me of when I was a little kid and hiding my book under the covers because I wasn’t supposed to be reading after bedtime. It feels forbidden, like you’re the only person awake under the vast night sky and only the stars know your secret. It’s an echo back to the major book midnight premieres, like the midnight release for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007. I can’t replicate that level of excitement and the crowd for every book, but I can have an echo of the exhilaration during my solo midnight reads.

Wolf Rain
A | BN | K | AB

I didn’t read Wolf Rain at midnight, mostly because I was lucky enough to receive an ARC at 2:59 pm. I was in class at the time, and it was probably the most torturous lecture that I’ve ever attended (sorry, Professor Blume). I took notes and tried to pay attention, but my mind was already in the heart of the Sierra Nevadas with the SnowDancer pack. After class ended, I ran home and jumped onto my bed. I flicked to the beginning and started reading the book that I’ve been waiting for since 2012 (yes, there have been other Psy-Changeling books since then but 2012 was the release date of the last full-length SnowDancer-focused novel).

I laughed at Memory’s refusal to accept Alexei’s courting gestures, cheered when I saw familiar beloved characters, wept at Memory’s infinite courage, gasped at new revelations about the PsyNet, and swooned when Memory and Alexei earned their happily-ever-after. It was a book worth waiting for, and I have no regrets about not putting the book aside and waiting a little longer.


Am I alone in reading anticipated books at midnight? Do you savor a book for a long time or read it all in one shot? What series or authors fall under the category of anticipated books for you? What are your rituals and traditions surrounding anticipated books?

The post Guest Post: Wolf Rain and the Art of Reading an Anticipated Release appeared first on NeedaBook.

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