My 21 most anticipated books of 2021!

Hi everyone,

It is time for my favourite blog post of the year: my 21 most anticipated books of 2021! I love working myself up into a frenzy of excitement for books, and I love writing lists, which makes today’s post the most fun to write. I spent the last month putting all of my Goodreads 2021 shelf (over 200 books…) into Notion so I can play with lots of filters to make it easy to see what’s coming out. And it was very handy to help me figure out what books are my most anticiapted (cry there are so many good books coming in 2021).

Before I start, know that I had over 200 books on my 2021 shelf, and it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to just 21. There are so many more than the ones on this list that I can’t wait to read. I also want to give a shout out to a few books that aren’t on this list, because I already have a copy of them due to ARCs/through my work, and so technically don’t count as anticipated anymore (yes I needed every little excuse to manage to help me narrow this list down). So a shout out to Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales and Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft, which I have ARCs for, and also The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He – I’m lucky enough to work for the Commonwealth publisher of that book! Anyway, without further ado, here are my 21 most anticipated books of 2021!

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

The order of books on this list is completely random, EXCEPT FOR THIS ONE. I could not start this list with any other, because She Who Became the Sun is my *most* anticipated book of 2021 so of course it had to be at the top of this list. Every time I see someone tweet about this book, I get more and more excited: from the general kneeling in front of his Prince tweet, to the ancient sex toys, to the bloodied, crying men, to the “gender fuckery but with feelings” to the stark realisation that this is comp’ed to The Song of Achilles which is a tragedy. Anyway suffice to say, I am inordinately excited for this book and I want everyone else to be too. (Release date: July 20)

Mulan meets The Song of Achilles; an accomplished, poetic debut of war and destiny, sweeping across an epic alternate China.

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu uses takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

A lush, fresh literary voice merges with commercial appeal in this accomplished debut. Powerful and poetic, beautiful and brutal, She Who Became the Sun is a bold reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

It is no surprise that The Fever King is my favourite book, that series broke me in the best way possible and made Victoria Lee an autobuy author for me until the end of time itself. A Lesson in Vengeance is a book they describe as their “gothic lesbian murder book” and yes that does indeed sound amazing. It’s got dark academia, witchcraft and a dormitory haunted by the spirits of five girls who died at the boarding school. (Release date: August 3)

For fans of Wilder Girls and Ninth House comes a dark, twisty, atmospheric thriller about a boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past.

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu

I think this might be my favourite cover of 2021 so far – it’s just so simple, and yet feels so gentle and beautiful, and almost haunting in it’s fragility. MUCH KUDOS TO THE COVER DESIGNER (Kimberly Glyder). On Fragile Waves is coming from independent publisher Erewhon who only started publishing in 2020, but they’ve had some incredible books this year and their 2021 list looks just as brilliant so I encourage everyone to check them out! This is a magical realism novel about two children made of fire who are born in Afghanistan during a war and decide to leave for Australia. (Release day: February 2)

Firuzeh and her brother Nour are children of fire, born in an Afghanistan fractured by war. When their parents, their Atay and Abay, decide to leave, they spin fairy tales of their destination, the mythical land and opportunities of Australia.

As the family journeys from Pakistan to Indonesia to Nauru, heading toward a hope of home, they must rely on fragile and temporary shelters, strangers both mercenary and kind, and friends who vanish as quickly as they’re found.

When they arrive in Australia, what seemed like a stable shore gives way to treacherous currents. Neighbors, classmates, and the government seek their own ends, indifferent to the family’s fate. For Firuzeh, her fantasy worlds provide some relief, but as her family and home splinter, she must surface from these imaginings and find a new way.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

I am living for all these dark academia books being written by marginalised authors, this is MY JAM. I’ve been excited for this book for what feels like years, since I first saw these really cool character card artworks on Àbíké-Íyímídé’s website (I can’t seem to find them there anymore, but here’s one she posted on Twitter!) Part thriller, part dark academia, part exploration of institutional racism, Ace of Spades is about two teens whose dark secrets are being exposed by an anonymous texter called “Aces”. (Release date: June 10)

An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice. Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light. Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power. Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Detransition, Baby is one of the very few contemporary novels which made it onto this list – as a huge SFF reader, my most anticipated lists tend to be full of fantasy/scifi/horror. But that just means that the few contemporary books that make it onto this list must be truly spectacular, to have won over my fantasy heart! And Detransition, Baby definitely is. It’s about three people (trans and cis) who take a rather unconventional route to raising a child together. (Release date: January 12)

A whipsmart debut about three women–transgender and cisgender–whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires around gender, motherhood, and sex.

Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese–and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby–and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it–Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family–and raise the baby together?

This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel. 

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

One of my biggest reading regrets of 2020 is that I still have not read Tasha Suri’s The Books of Ambha duology. (We’ve still got most of a month left, so maybe I’ll make it?!) I don’t think anything I say will make this book sound more amazing than the tags Suri mentioned on Twitter so I’ll hand things over to them: ‘enemies to lovers (well, ‘reluctant allies to lovers’), it’s all about the yearning™, wet sari scene, secret identities, tragic pasts, ReVENGE, the imperialist patriarchy is bad actually, burn it all down, the enemy of my enemy is my girlfriend, long lost siblings’ and also ‘Indian epic fantasy, morally grey lesbians (in love), reluctant-allies-to-lovers, vicious family dynamics, and monstrous women’. Insert incoherent screech of excitement here. (Release date: June 10)

Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen

I first found out about this book thanks to a Syfy article and I think it’s one of the only times I’ve ever been unable to hold back an actual squeak at just what Mike Chen is giving us with this book. Not only are we getting a pansexual main character, they are also a SUPERVILLAIN who has to work with a SUPERHERO to figure out what the fuck happened to them because yes, they’ve lost all their memories. Yes I am crying at how incredible this sounds, what of it. (Release date: January 26)

An extraordinary and emotional adventure about unlikely friends and the power of choosing who you want to be.

Jamie woke up in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to his identity, but with the ability to read and erase other people’s memories—a power he uses to hold up banks to buy coffee, cat food and books.

Zoe is also searching for her past, and using her abilities of speed and strength…to deliver fast food. And she’ll occasionally put on a cool suit and beat up bad guys, if she feels like it.

When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship. With countless people at risk, Zoe and Jamie will have to recognize that sometimes being a hero starts with trusting someone else—and yourself.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

SPACE GAYS ALERT. This sounds like everything I’ve ever wanted in SFF: the fun, queer romance from Red, White & Royal Blue but in SPACE with the cool worldbuilding and tech that comes with that. In addition to all that epicness, Winter’s Orbit also includes a murder plot, being forced to marry your husband’s cousin when your husband is murdered, and then trying to prove that you did not in fact murder your husband, Prince of the Iskat Empire. (Release date: February 2)

Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J Klune

Do I still count as a Klune baby? Yes. But that only means I have his entire backlist to read until this book comes out in MY BIRTHDAY MONTH next year. I adored his 2020 releases (specifically The House on the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries, as I’m still making my way through the Green Creek series), and Under the Whispering Door sounds like it has Klune’s classic combination of pure joy and utter destructive heartbreak (Klune remains to this day the only author that has me literally laughing on one page, and then crying the next). (Release date: September 21)

Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy with TJ Klune’s signature “quirk and charm” (PW) about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Another of my favourite covers of 2021 I think, the colour palette is just so soft and gentle, I love it. After another white author decided to show their racism on Twitter this week, this time about classics, I want to push this book into even more people’s hands! The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents The Great Gatsby, with a queer Asian lead. I don’t actually think I’ve ever read The Great Gatsby but I do not care, all I want is this book. Pretty sure it’s going to be a thousand times better than the original anyway! So put aside the classics by racist white men, and pick up this one instead! (Release date: June 1)

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

Darling by K. Ancrum

K. Ancrum is another one of my autobuy authors, I absolutely love both The Wicker King and The Weight of the Stars. Her past books have had some really cool page designs as well, so I’m hoping we’ll see that trend continue! Darling is a retelling of Peter Pan as a thriller, and set in the modern world and from what I gather from Ancrum’s twitter account, will delve into Peter Pan as a villain/not the good guy he’s usually made out to be, THANK YOU YES PLEASE I NEED. It also has a bi Tinkerbelle!! (Release date: June 22)

A teen girl finds herself lost on a dangerous adventure in this YA thriller by the acclaimed author of The Wicker King and The Weight of the Stars—reimagining Peter Pan for today’s world.

On Wendy Darling’s first night in Chicago, a boy called Peter appears at her window. He’s dizzying, captivating, beautiful—so she agrees to join him for a night on the town.

Wendy thinks they’re heading to a party, but instead they’re soon running in the city’s underground. She makes friends—a punk girl named Tinkerbelle and the lost boys Peter watches over. And she makes enemies—the terrifying Detective Hook, and maybe Peter himself, as his sinister secrets start coming to light. Can Wendy find the courage to survive this night—and make sure everyone else does, too?

Acclaimed author K. Ancrum has re-envisioned Peter Pan with a central twist that will send all your previous memories of J. M. Barrie’s classic permanently off to Neverland.

The Witch King by H.E Edgmon

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about fae? But the one way to get me to is to make it an angry trans witchy fae book. The Witch King also has one of my favourite ever tropes, but a trope that I don’t think I’ve actually read any book with outside of fanfic: FATED SOULMATES!!!! I just fucking love that trope so much. Other tags (from the author’s Twitter) include: arranged marriage, fated soulmates, also platonic soulmates, friends to enemies to lovers, trans MC, everyone’s queer and dramatic, on god bro we’re gonna get you some therapy, this started as a revenge fantasy lol, hopeful ending? (Release date: June 1)

To save a fae kingdom, a trans witch must face his traumatic past and the royal fiancé he left behind. This debut YA fantasy will leave you spellbound.

Wyatt would give anything to forget where he came from—but a kingdom demands its king.

In Asalin, fae rule and witches like Wyatt Croft…don’t. Wyatt’s betrothal to his best friend, fae prince Emyr North, was supposed to change that. But when Wyatt lost control of his magic one devastating night, he fled to the human world.

Now a coldly distant Emyr has hunted him down. Despite transgender Wyatt’s newfound identity and troubling past, Emyr has no intention of dissolving their engagement. In fact, he claims they must marry now or risk losing the throne. Jaded, Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy, hoping to escape Asalin forever. But as he gets to know Emyr, Wyatt realizes the boy he once loved may still exist. And as the witches face worsening conditions, he must decide once and for all what’s more important—his people or his freedom.

The Unbroken by C.L Clark

Ahem. Arms. Wow. Do I want to have arms like those or do I want those arms wrapped around me? Both? Both sounds good. The Unbroken is a military fantasy with assasinations and espionage, about a princess and a soldier whose lives become entwined. And it also has SEXY KNEELING SOLDIER IN FRONT OF HER PRINCESS, we are seriously blessed with sexy kneeling in 2021. I don’t know what brought this on, but I am thankful for it. (Release date: March 23)

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr

The Prophets is another of the very few non fantasy/scifi/horror books on this list (which as I said earlier, means this must be really fucking good). The Prophets is set on a Southern plantation and follows two teen slaves who find safety in each other, and what happens after a fellow slave starts preaching the master’s gospel and their love becomes a sin. I think this book is going to end up on a lot of best of 2021 lists. (Release date: January 5)

A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.

Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man—a fellow slave—seeks to gain favor by preaching the master’s gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel’s love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation’s harmony.

With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr. fiercely summons the voices of slaver and the enslaved alike to tell the story of these two men; from Amos the preacher to the calculating slave-master himself to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders. As tensions build and the weight of centuries—of ancestors and future generations to come—culminate in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.

The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver

The last of the contemporary books on this list, and the only YA contemporary on the list, is none other than The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver. Deaver’s debut, I Wish You All the Best, is one of the best YA books I’ve ever read. It was so beautifully honest, spectacularly emotive, and such an important book for teens questioning their gender. So I am absolutely sure that The Ghosts We Keep is going to break me just as spectacularly, as it’s a book about grief. (And as the blurb even says, this book will rip you heart out before showing you how to heal from tragedy). Prepare for tears. (Release date: June 1)

Perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli, this book will rip your heart out before showing you how to heal from tragedy and celebrate life in the process.

When Liam Cooper’s older brother Ethan is killed in a hit-and-run, Liam has to not only learn to face the world without one of the people he loved the most, but also face the fading relationship with his two best friends.

Feeling more alone and isolated than ever, Liam finds themself sharing time with Marcus, Ethan’s best friend, and through Marcus, Liam finds the one person that seems to know exactly what they’re going through, for the better, and the worse.

This book is about grief. But it’s also about why we live. Why we have to keep moving on, and why we should.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

This book sounds like one of the most unique premises I’ve ever read: queer (poly!!!) Handmaid’s Tale x Pacific Rim retelling of the only female emperor in Chinese history. Combined with the inspiration from East Asian myth to create the giant magical mecha machines, everything about this book sounds ridiculously good! (Release date: Fall 2021)

Iron Widow is a YA Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale retelling of the rise of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history. The duology will follow an 18-year-old re-imagining of her as she avenges her sister’s murder by an intensely patriarchal military system that pairs boys and girls up to pilot giant magical mecha based on creatures from East Asian myth (Nine-Tailed Fox, Moon Rabbit, etc.), but in which boy pilots are treated like celebrities, while girl pilots must serve as their concubines.

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo

I was new to horror last year which means I have been blessed by getting into the genre at a time when queer horror specifically is absolutely killing it! Summer Sons is one of these: it’s a queer southern gothic Fast & the Furious but with a phantom with bleeding wrists who wants revenge. (Release date: September)

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six month later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him.

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

I am a huge fantasy fan, but I have to say, I think 2021 is the most excited I’ve ever been for a year of science fiction releases. There are a lot of really brilliant sounding books coming. Light From Uncommon Stars already has a greast review up on Goodreads from sci-fi legend Charlie Jane Anders, which I encourage everyone to read as it goes into a lot of depth about the care and detail this book has gone into around trans identity and transitioning (which makes me even more excited to read this!!) With a trans female musician MC, this book follows them, a violin legend and a spaceship captain as they find each other when trying to flee a war. (Release date: Fall 2021)

Cornell University MFA graduate, poet, professor, and performer Ryka Aoki’s LIGHT FROM UNCOMMON STARS, about three women trying to escape their pasts — a Hell-damned violin legend and teacher, a young transgender runaway and aspiring musician, and a spaceship captain fleeing a faraway war — who find each other, and unexpected magic, in California’s San Gabriel Valley, to Lindsey Hall at Tor, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Meredith Kaffel Simonoff at DeFiore and Company (world English).

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

Rivers Solomon’s novella The Deep is one of the only books I read twice this year, which should tell you how good it is. (And I actually think it’s even better on a second read, because there was so much more I noticed!) But this makes me very excited for her full-length book coming next year, Sorrowland. It’s a gothic, genre-bending novel about a pregnant woman escaping a cult whose body starts to undergo strange changes that make her capable of more damage than should be possible against those who hunt her. (Release date: May 4)

A triumphant, genre-bending breakout novel from one of the boldest new voices in contemporary fiction.

Vern―seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised―flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future―outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

Historical fantasy is really killing this list beteween She Who Became the Sun, The Jasmine Throne, The Chosen and the Beautiful, and THIS BABY, A Marvellous Light. A Marvellous Light is set in Edwardian England, with magic, a murder mystery and what sounds like some really fun political shenanigians! It also has some rather exciting fanfic style tags including: overthinking under-powered spiteful librarian/genial jock with surprising layers, UST (unresolved sexual tension), VRST (very resolved sexual tension), fantasy of very bad manners, hurt/comfort, Houses That Love You, bound by blood, bound by sexy magical restraints (lol), gratuitous library porn, homicidal hedge maze, sleeves rolled up forearms, Messing About In Boats (classically english homoerotic trope there). I am MOST EXCITED about sleeves rolled up forearms, I feel like not enough people appreciate a good forearm. (Release date: November)

Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.

Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.

The Taking of Jake Livingston Ryan Douglass

I am living for the growth of the YA horror genre, and leading the charge is a book I have been excited about for OVER A YEAR, The Taking of Jake Livingston. Previously titled Jake in the Box, this book follows Jake, one of the only Black kids at school, who gets haunted by the ghost of a school shooter. (Release date: July 13)

Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA social thriller where survival is not a guarantee.

Jake Livingston is one of the only black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed sixteen kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

I wish I could talk about so many more books, there are so many others I also want to read but I’m trying to actually stick to my list goal for once and not go over the ’21 books for 2021′ thing. It’s almost impossible. However, I will also be back with several more lists of 2021 books I’m excited for! I’ll definitely be doing one for YA and cpontemporary as I feel they suffered on this list because I love SFF so much. But what books are you excited for in 2021? Did any of them feature on my list? Let me know in the comments!

November wrap up

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a good November. I’m very happy to say that during November, I met my Goodreads goal of reading 100 books this year! I’m now aiming for my stretch goal of beating last year’s total of 110 which is definitely doable. I also read some new favourites, and, finally, the ending to my favourite fantasy series of all time, so I think it’s been a pretty sucessful reading month! Which makes a change from the last several months…

Books read

I read 12 books this month, of which 5 were novellas and 7 were books. On a numbers level only, this is actually the most books / month I’ve read all year. However, January is still winning on the page count level, as I read so many chonky books at the start of the year.

Only 41% of the 12 books I readwere ones I own. I know I have an excuse this month (all the novellas read were for my judging for the British Fantasy Awards) but I still want to focus on getting that % up and reading less from the library/NetGalley until I can work through my owned backlog a bit.

But I am very happy that I managed to read some books that have been on my TBR for far too long (The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling & All Boys Aren’t Blue), along with some 2020 releases I was hugely excited for (Cemetery Boys & Who I Was With Her). But most importantly, I finally made myself be brave and read the ending to my favourite series of all time: The Empire of Gold! I had a great time reading this book, and it remains my favourite series, but there were a lot of things I was quite unhappy with in this ending. My favourite book of the month was Saeed Jones’ memoir How We Fight For Lives, it was absolutely incredible.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Ragged Alice by Gareth L Powell

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

The Ascent to Godhood by Neon Yang

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The Butcher’s Table by Nathan Ballingrud

Terra Nullius by Claire G Coleman

The Empire of Gold by S.A Chakraborty

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson

Books hauled

I had a larger than anticipated book haul this month, a combination of my work giving us money to support an independent bookshop and me accidentally (lol) requesting a ton of books on NetGalley, so a few NetGalley books were hauled for the first time in several months. I also had a few of my most anticipated pre-orders come through in November which is very exciting!

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

Dairus the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram

The Burning God by R.F Kuang

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

The Gilda Stories by Jewelle L. Goméz

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Terra Nullius by Claire G Coleman

The Old Lie by Claire G Coleman

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

The Library of the Dead by T L Huchu

December TBR

I know I’ll end up mood reading for all of December, but I’ve tried to vaguely pick a TBR full of books I really wanted to read in 2020 but haven’t yet managed to. A mix of very heartbreaking books, very happy/fun books, and then one about cannibalism…

Cantoras by Carolinia de Robertis

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

After Elias by Eddy Boudel Tan

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

Community

I didn’t have as much time to be involved in the book community in November, which makes me very sad because I love reading everyone’s posts. I’m hoping to be around more in December now that one of my judging things is complete, so hopefully I’ll have more posts next month to share with you!

  • Hsinju from Hsinju’s Lit Log wrote an absolutely beautiful review of Cantoras by Carolinia de Robertis which has made me bump that book up my TBR in the hopes I’ll read it before the end of the year!
  • Nandini from Novels and Nebula’s interviewed the one and only R.F Kuang!! I’m still eagerly awaiting my preorder of The Burning God to arrive but the interview just made me all the more excited for it! It also has me very excited for Kuang’s next project!
  • Kait from Kait’s Cozy Reading Corner has a fun (and pretty!) series called Reading the Rainbow where she recommends queer books matched to colours of the rainbow!

I wish everyone the best of Decemeber’s, as we say goodbye to this pretty shitty year. What books are you hoping to read before the year ends? Let me know in the comments below!

#5OnMyTBR: Shorties

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook and you can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. It occurs every Monday when we post about 5 books on our TBR. Thank you E. for the awesome graphic for these posts as well!

Hi everyone,

This week we’re talking about short books and as a reader of mostly very large fantasy books, I did think I might struggle. BUT! Luckily, queer novellas have been having an absolute amazing run (thank you Tor.com) and thus I managed to actually find five shorties I want to read!

The Red Threads of Fortune by Neon Yang

I’m slowly working my way through Neon Yang’s Tensorate novella series. I’ve read the first one (The Black Tides of Heaven) and the last one (The Ascent to Godhood), but need to read number two and three. Number two is The Red Threads of Fortune and follows the twin of the main character from the first.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

This novella has languished on my Kindle for several months now but I promise I will get to it eventually. This has “the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama” and so obviously will be amazing. It sounds kind of similar to The Ascent to Godhood in the way it’s told, from the point of view of a handmaiden to the empress and since I loved that one, I’m equally excited to start this!

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

As well as having one of the most beautiful titles of all books released this year, The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water also has one of my favourite tropes: found family! It’s described as a found family wuxia about a bandit who joins up with a group of thieves to protect a sacred object, and explores spirituality and identity.

In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard

This is another novella that has been languishing on my kindle for months because I am the actual worst, and I’m so mad at me because this sounds so good! I just haven’t had time to read it yet. It’s a dark, sapphic, Beauty and the Beast retelling but the beast is a DRAGON!!!

Drowned Country by Emily Tesh

I read and loved Silver in the Wood earlier this year so of course I did my usual thing by immediately buying the sequel and then….just not reading it. The first one was such a beautiful and relaxing foresty fairytale, and I’m hopeful the second will be just as wonderful!

And that’s it for another #5OnMyTBR. I can’t believe it’s going to be December in one day. We’re down to the very last books we can read this year! I have so many still on my “want to read before the end of the year” list and there’s just so. little. time. See everyone next week!

#5OnyTBR: Nonfiction

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook and you can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. It occurs every Monday when we post about 5 books on our TBR. Thank you E. for the awesome graphic for these posts as well!

Hi everyone,

I can’t quite believe the end of the year is now just around the corner. I spent the weekend buying Christmas gifts and reading The Empire of Gold, which I will now have to spent the whole week recovering from (DARA!!!! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭). This week for #5OnMyTBR, we’re talking all about nonfiction! Until this year, I really hadn’t read many nonfiction books or memoirs, and one of my goals for the year was to read more in this genre. I’m very glad I did because I’ve really loved the nonfic books I’ve read, so hopefully I’ll read even more next year! But for now, here’s five on my TBR!

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson

This has one of the most gorgeous book covers of the year and is one of my must read books before the year ends. All Boys Aren’t Blue is an essay collection from LGBTQIA+ activist George M Johnson that covers topics from gender identity to toxic masculinity, consent to Black joy.

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Colour by Ruby Hamad

This nonfiction book just released last month and looks like it will be a challenging, confronting and fucking necessary read for white people, particularly white women, as Hamad tackles how white women’s tears are weaponised against people of colour to uphold white supremacy and the patriarchy.

Show Me Where It Hurts by Kylie Maslen

Another must read book, this time about disability, this essay collection from Maslen examines invisible disabilities in particular. Show Me Where it Hurts draws on topics such as online culture, art and pop music to reveal the reality of living with an invisbile illness in a world very much not build for disbality.

The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang 

This essay collections explores Wang’s personal journey towards her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and how it manifests in her life. She also confronts the issues and dangers of opinions about mental illness within the medical community, combining both research and her personal narrative in the collection.

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir by Wayétu Moore

Finally, the last book on my list this week is a memoir from Wayétu Moore about her life spent escaping the Liberian Civil War and then growing up in the US. When Moore was 5 years old, the civil war broke out in Liberia, and so her family had to flee the country. But when Moore reached the US, she had to adjust to life as an immigrant and Black woman in America as she continued to search for somewhere to call home.

Have you got any favourite nonfiction books? I think my favourite I’ve read this year is How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones. It was such a powerful book, one that created such a vivid and brutal reading experience – you can really tell Jones has a background as a poet because the way this book is written is just brilliant. I’m pretty sure it’ll end up on my favourite books of the year list!

#5OnMyTBR: Black covers

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook and you can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. It occurs every Monday when we post about 5 books on our TBR. Thank you E. for the awesome graphic for these posts as well!

Hi everyone,

We have another fun cover theme for #5OnMyTBR this week! These are definitely my favourite prompts because I love looking through and admiring all the book covers on my shelf. And then crying in shame at many unread books I have.

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

When Melbourne first got out of lockdown a few weeks ago, on my first visit back to a bookshop, I picked up this novel, Earthlings by Sayaka Murata. From what I gather from reviews, it’s very weird and dark and disturbing and the plot is utterly unexplainable so all I can say is it’s about a girl who might be a witch or an alien who vows to survive at all costs.

Goldilocks by Laura Lam

This has been such a fantastic year for queer science fiction and Goldilocks is just one of them! I am so mad at myself for not reading this yet. This is about an Earth in the midst of environmental collapse, so an all-female space crew plan to journey to find a different planet. But the mission is stolen from them at the last minute and so they steal in the ship in return.

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

This YA contemporary has been on my physical TBR for an embarassing amount of time and I can’t believe I still haven’t read it. It’s about a girl from Trinidad who is sent to the US after her mother catches her kissing the pastor’s daughter. But in the US, she grows close with the girl who helps her get to grips with an American high school. Also this cover is absolutely gorgeous, it’s one of my favourites!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

When this book first released, I wasn’t really reading much, and especially not in YA. But now that I’ve been back reading for a little while, I definitely need to finally pick this up! I found a very cool edition with this black cover in a bookshop here so I’ll hopefully get to it soon!

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

I recently read and adored my first Sarah Waters’ novel, Fingersmith, not least because it had one of the most shocking plot twists I’ve read all year. So I can’t wait to read some more of her work, starting with probably her most well known book, Tipping the Velvet. According to Wikipedia this has “pervasive lesbian themes” and really I don’t need to know any more about this book to know I want to read it.

And that’s it for another week! I hope everyone has a good week. This week I’m off to get a doctors checkover for my permanent residency so fingers crossed everything goes well!

#5OnMyTBR: Friendship

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook and you can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. It occurs every Monday when we post about 5 books on our TBR. Thank you E. for the awesome graphic for these posts as well!

Hi everyone,

After spending most of this year struggling to reach my goal of 10 books a month, I’m somehow on my 8th book already and it’s only DAY 9 of November. I don’t know what has happened to my brain but I would like it to continue please. I’ve also almost got all my judging entries read for the British Fantasy Awards and hoping to get stuck into my entries for the Aurealis awards this week! This week’s #5OnMyTBR theme is all about friendship, so I’ve got a mix of books about fun friendship groups/found family, as well some books looking at smaller, best friend relationships!

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J Hackwith

The Archive of the Forgotten is the sequel to one of my favourite fantasy novels, The Library of the Unwritten. It’s a series set in Hell’s library, and in the first book follows a librarian who is hunting down a character who escaped from one of the books. In this sequel, the team of Claire (former librarian and new Archivist), Hero (formerly escaped character), Brevity (muse and new librarian), and Rami (fallen angel) must work together to find out why the books have started leaking a strange ink. The first one was so much fun and had such a great group of charcacters and as my copy arrived last week, I’ll be picking this one up asap!

Architects of Memory by Karen Osbourne

I think science fiction books do friendship groups really well. My re-introduction to scifi in recent years was Becky Chambers and her books have excellent friendship groups/space crew which is probably partly accounting for why I think this, but when I also think of my more recent reads like Unconquerable Sun, the statement holds true too! So I’m hopeful that Architects of Memory will also have a great crew on board a ship with a terminally ill pilot looking for a cure, but instead finds the remains of a genocidal weapon.

Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam

Yep, it’s the title that appeared on mt #5OnMyTBR lists like three times in a row earlier in the year and which I STILL have not read. Someone please shame me into reading this. This is another scifi space crew book, with a whopping seven different POVs and follows a group of resistance fighters as they try to free the galaxy aka it’s queer Star Wars.

The Adversary by Ronnie Scott

The Adversary is a local queer Aussie literary fiction title and because I always struggle to explain what literary fiction books are about, I’m stealing the blurb for this one: “The Adversary is a sticky summer novel about young people exploring their sexuality and their sociability, where everything smells like sunscreen and tastes like beer, but affections and alliances have consequences. It asks what kinds of stories are possible – or desirable – for which kinds of friendships, and what happens when you follow those stories to their natural conclusions.” It was very amusing to me that as I wrote this post my flat does smell like sunscreen because it’s finally starting to get hot again here.

Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry

Let’s Call it a Doomsday is about two girls who meet in their therapist’s waiting room and become best friends. One spends her life in constant anxiety about how the world is going to end; the other knows exactly when it will. I’ve heard this has really excellent anxiety and faith representation, as well as a questioning bi girl. I’ve had a copy since earlier this year but given the state of the world and thus the state of my mental health, I’ve put off reading this book until I’m in a slightly less anxious frame of mind!

And that’s another week! As I mentioned last week, this will be my only post for the week since I’m busy with judging duties. But I’ll be back next week to talk about more books on my TBR in the hopes it will shame me into actually reading some.

November TBR: Clear Your Shit Readathon!

Hi everyone,

I’m going to be very loosely participating in the Clear Your Shit readathon over the next two months. This is a RPG style readathon where stories/quests will be announced on Twitter every week with prompts, with the aim of clearing books that are already on your TBR. I probably won’t be closely following specific prompts, but am instead just pushing myself these next two months to clear some of the many, many, many books on my physical TBR. So here’s some of the books I’m hoping to read in November!

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

The Empire of Gold by S.A Chakraborty

Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

I hope everyone has a good November! What books are you hoping to read? Let me know in the comments!

#5OnMyTBR: Death

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook and you can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. It occurs every Monday when we post about 5 books on our TBR. Thank you E. for the awesome graphic for these posts as well!

Hi everyone,

I can’t believe it’s November. What a year. I’m not going to be appearing on my blog much this month, as I’m busy judging for the British Fantasy Awards and Aurealis Awards! But I will be popping in for #5OnMyTBR every Monday. This week’s theme is ‘death’ and I thought I’d struggle with finding books to match. But turns out I actually have rather a lot of books on my physical TBR about death, apparently I like books about pain.

And just a content warning for this post, several of these books explore the aftermath of suicide and so this is mentioned throughout the sections on The Perfect World of Miwako Sumido and And the Stars Are Burning Brightly, if you would like to skip past those sections.

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Let’s start with a book that even has death in the title!! This book, obviously, is all about the death of Vivek Oji, whose mother finds his body on her front step. The book explores those affected by Vivek’s death, both before and after he dies. I loved Emezi’s YA book, Pet, so I can’t wait to read this one (and their other book on my TBR, Freshwater).

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan

In this book, the titular character Miwako Sumida, has hanged herself, after hiding away in a small mountain town in the months before she killed herself. The book follows two friends of Miwako as they try to discover why she was in hiding and pick up the pieces after she’s gone.

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

I really want to read this book asap because I think it will end up being one of my favourite books of the year. It’s about a closeted bi girl whose secret girlfriend dies unexpectedly in a car crash. The only one she can talk to about her grief is her dead girlfriend’s ex; and that’s also the person she should definitely not be getting feelings for.

After Elias by Eddy Boudel Tan

Another book I want to read asap because I think it’ll be a new favourite because I love PAIN. In After Elias, we follow Coen after his soon-to-be-husband’s plane crashes the day before their wedding. But the cryptic last words from Elias on the plane’s recording confuse Coen and Coen is soon forced to question everything he knew about Elias and their relationship.

And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

Finally, this UKYA book has been on my TBR since my preorder arrived earlier this year and seriously, much like every other book on this list, I need to read it asap. It follows 15-year-old Nathan after his brother commits suicide as he tries to retrace his brother’s steps to figure out why he did it, along with the help of Meg, one of his brother’s classmates.

So yeah, a heavy topic this week and pretty sure if I had to put money on what books on my TBR will make me cry, it’ll be these five. I really like reading books that are as hugely emotional as these books will likely be: I like being made to feel something, even if that something isn’t necessarily a happy emotion. Do you like to read books like this? Do you have any favourites that deal with death? Let me know in the comments!

October wrap up

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone had a fantastic spooky month! I had lots of fun participating in the Gothtober readathon, where I learned that OH BOY my brain is not in the mood to read classics right now. But I read some really fantastic books this month so the good won out over the bad!

I am going to be a little quieter on here next month, as I have some very exciting news!! I am a judge for both the British Fantasy Awards AND the Aurealis Awards (the SFF awards here in Australia!) So I have a ton of things to read for judging and need to focus my time on that. I’ll have a few reviews I’ve already written, and I’ll be here for #5OnMyTBR every week but that’s it. I’ll be back in December with lots of best of 2020 lists, and some most anticipated lists for 2021!

Books read

I had a pretty good October, managing 9 books and 2 novellas. And yes I counted Phoenix Extravagant last month and I’m also counting it this month, but that is because I read half of it in each month. My favourite book of the month is definitely Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett, but I also loved White is for Witching, The Ghost Bride and Fingersmith!

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Ghost Bride by Yangze Choo

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

The Survival of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma

Books hauled

Another batch of books from the library this month (first row)! Someone please stop me, I need to read the books I own (like the second row, which all arrived this month….)

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth

Luster by Raven Leilani

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J Hackwith

Vanishing Monuments by John Elizabeth Stintzi

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

My blog posts

Book reviews

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

The Midnight Bargain by C.L Polk

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

#5OnMyTBR

Magic

Historical

Enemies to lovers

Halloween freebie

Misc

September wrap-up

My favourite gothic fiction

The Rocky Horror Picture Show book tag

My favourite horror (and favourites of the future)

Community

It was another awesome month in the blogging sphere, I was particularly excited to see some very unique and fun content between bloggers and some very amazing authors this month!

  • We all know I love gothic books and I love gay books so The Alliterates post about gay gothic books made my day and there are so many favourites (and hopefully soon to be favourites!) on their list!
  • I had the absolute most fun reading Lili’s (@Utopia State of Mind) post with THE Chloe Gong pairing YA novels and classic Shanghai foods!
  • Okay yes I love gothic books so here’s another post all about them! Kristen (@Kristen Kraves Books) posted about some favourite gothic books as well as some on their TBR!
  • More incredibly fun and unique author posts with Kate (@Your Tita Kate) who did The Poppy War book tag with the author of The Poppy War!
  • I always love Laura’s (@The Book Corps) recommendation posts because their taste in books is SO GOOD, and this month they spoke about 2021 releases they’re exited for! Bring on a new year! (Please god just make it not be 2020 anymore).

In addition to all the books I need to read for judging in November, I’m also going to be loosely participating in the Clear Your Shit readathon! I probably won’t be following the prompts, but just generally pushing myself to try clear some of the books I have on my physical TBR.

My favourite horror (and favourites of the future)

Hi everyone,

A few weeks ago I made about a post about some of my favourite gothic novels, and also featured some of the gothic novels releasing in the future. I really liked doing it so I’m thinking I might make a regular feature of it? 5 favourites and 5 future? I need to think of a better name… But since it’s Halloween this week, I thought I’d do one on horror! So here are five of my favourite horror books, and five I’m excited to read in the next few years!

Five favourites

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

I read Into the Drowning Deep during spooky month last year. It was my first adult horror and I absolutely fell in love. This book was just so terrifying?! It’s about a company who send a bunch of scienctists to investigate the existence of mermaids after a ship and all its crew members are mysteriously (and gruesomely) killed. Of course when they find the mermaids, they aren’t like the fairytales: these mermaids will literally tear off your face and eat it. This is a very sciencey heavy book, but I loved that about it as it really added a layer of reality to it which I think really helps make books scarier.

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

The Luminous Dead is very much a psychological horror/thriller novel. It’s set inside a caving system, where a woman, Gyre, gets trapped. The entire novel takes place inside this caving system as Gyre tries to escape; the only other character is her handler, Em, who is looking after her suit and body from the outside. But Gyre keeps discovering more and more lies from Em, and then she finds bodies….and soon she doesn’t know whether what’s happening is real or not. It’s such a brilliant book, and the use of the unreliable narrator here is excellent, as see Gyre descend further and further into madness, the longer she is trapped alone, underground. It’s such a phenomenally creepy novel, and I finall picked up a hard copy of it last month so I can’t wait to reread it!

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Okay yes, I had Mexican Gothic on my gothic list as well, but it is also very much a horror novel and it is so thrillingly creepy that I had to mention it again this week in case anyone was still unaware that I adore it. It’s about a woman who goes to rescue her cousin from an old manor house in Mexico and gets trapped there herself in a very fucked up mushroom world.

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

Definitely on the lighter side of horror, The Scapegracers is a witchy sapphic delight with one of the best portrayals of female friendship I’ve ever read in YA. It follows Sideways, an outcast lesbian teen who is paid to perform some magic at a party thrown by three popular girls. But instead of being the usual bitchy girl trope, Sideways is welcomed into their group and they form their own coven as they try to fight off attacks from witch hunters.

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

The Year of the Witching was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it certainly lived up to everything I dreamed of it! It’s so dark and full of evil, set in a puritannical, cult like society called Bethel. A young woman, the daughter of a witch, finds herself being called to the dangerous woods, where the witches live. She tries to hold them off but as she discovers move about the church and the history of Bethel, she’s unsure she even wants to hold the witches back… It’s dark and bloody and gorey and so so witchy, I love it!!

Five future releases

In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce

A book about one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history? Yes please. Pub date: 19 January 2021

Synopsis: An audacious novel of feminine rage about one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history–and the men who drove her to it.

They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams–their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte. The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she’d given up, what was taken from her, how she’d suffered, surely they’d understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That’s all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin

If I had to choose only one single book that has been announced that I want to read immediately, it would be this one. The level of excitement I have for this knows no bounds. Pub date: 2022

Synopsis: Gretchen Felker-Martin’s MANHUNT, about trans women scavenging for estrogen in a post-apocalyptic world where a viral plague has transformed all cis men into feral monstrosities, fighting tooth and nail against a menace they’ll join if they miss a dose, and on the run from an authoritarian faction of cis women who see them as a dangerous liability, pitched as a trans woman’s response to Y: THE LAST MAN, plus another standalone horror novel, to Kelly Lonesome at Nightfire, in a very nice deal, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, for publication in March 2022, by Connor Goldsmith at Fuse Literary (world).

Jake in the Box by Ryan Douglass

This is a horror written by a queer Black man about a queer Black kid who is being haunted by the ghost of a school shooter! And it sounds so phenomenal. Pub date: 13 July 2021

Synopsis: It’s hard being the one of the few Black kids at St. Clair Prep, especially when you’re routinely harassed by the dead. This year, sixteen-year-old loner Jake Livingston plans to make real friends, which means paying less attention to dead world and more to reality.

But when a series of murders breaks out in Jake’s neighborhood, he discovers they may be linked to Sawyer Doon—a vengeful spirit who carried out a school shooting a year prior and then killed himself. Sawyer is back, determined to wreak havoc on new targets from beyond the grave.

Now, Jake’s home isn’t safe. School isn’t safe. The more he tries to ignore Sawyer, the more he feels the ghost boy’s impact on his psyche. And the closer he comes to understanding who Sawyer was, the more he realizes how similar he may be to the boy once bullied relentlessly for his sexuality, now hell-bent on taking power back from a world that took it from him.

To protect himself from possession, Jake will have to master his power over both dead world and reality and discover his own reason to live.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

So obviously since my favourite book of the year was Mexican Gothic, I am extremely excited for the release of Moreno-Garcia’s vampire horror duology by Tor next year! Pub date: 11 May 2021

Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

Dead Silence by S.A Barnes

I was mega excited for a horror spaceship book this year and it really did not live up to what I hoped so I am crossing all my fingers that this one gives me the terrifying spaceship horror of my dreams! Pub date: February 2022

Synopsis: At the edge of the solar system, no one can hear you scream.

The Aurora, a luxury space-liner destined for a cruise of the solar system, has been missing for twenty years. Among the hundreds of presumed dead were passengers from society’s finest – celebrities, tech giants, influencers. Every last one… vanished.

So when Claire’s crew picks up an emergency signal in deep space, the long-lost Aurora is the last ship they expect to find. The salvage claim could be their best chance at extraordinary wealth, but it might mean missing their transport back home, and nobody can stand another minute out in the darkest corner of the universe – nobody, except Claire.

Once onboard the ship, the crew realizes something is terribly wrong. Unspeakable horrors lurk in every shadow of the massive ship, and soon they each start experiencing violent hallucinations.

Claire must fight to keep her sanity and get her crew back to safety – before they all meet the same ghastly fate as the Aurora passengers.

Blessed we are by the new Tor Nightfire horror imprint that is bringing us diverse horror!! I can’t wait for all their books (Manhunt, Certain Dark Things and Dead Silence are all being released under this imprint). What horror books are you looking forward to reading soon? Let me know in the comments!