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!

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.

September wrap up

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a good September! This month it was my birthday, and as lockdown is still going strong in Melbourne, I basically sat inside and ate cupcakes for a week (which I’m not complaining about at all, because they were excellent). I still seem to be reading more slowly than earlier in the year, and I think it’s probably because the whole current situation and worries about the future are just getting harder and harder to ignore (and the fact I keep picking up my phone to doom scroll). I’m hoping this will improve a little in October if only because I’m participating in the very fun Gothtober readathon and have a very exciting TBR! Anyway without further ado, here’s my September wrap-up!

Books read

This month I read a total of 8 books (and another two for work purposes), so technically I did reach my goal of 10 books this month, though I am still reading slower than usual. Especially considering I haven’t quite finished Phoenix Extravagant…. But the even better news is that my pile of ARCs is now looking much more manageable. I didn’t finish all of them, but I’ve only got one outstanding for the year and it’s a November release so I have a little while to read it.

The Ikessar Falcon by K S Villoso (you can read my review here)

The Roommate by Rosie Danan (you can read my review here)

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliot (you can read my review here)

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe (review to come)

The Midnight Bargain by C.L Polk (review to come)

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow (review to come)

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee (okay I technically haven’t quite finished this one but I’m counting it, review to come for this one too)

Books purchased/borrowed/approved for

My library reopened for collection orders and it was my birthday in September, so I had a slightly larger than usual book haul this month!

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

The Song of Achilles of Madeline Miller

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Legendborn by Tracey Deonn

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

After Elias by Eddy Boudel Tan

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

These Violent Delights by Michah Nemerever

October TBR

I’m participating in the Gothtober readathon and I posted yesterday about all the spooky gothic fiction on my TBR, you can check out my post here!

My blog posts

Reviews

#5OnMyTBR

Misc

Community

Here are some of my favourite posts from the community this month!

  • Mols @ Mols by Moonlight had an INCREDIBLE blog month, I am in awe of these posts!! Check out 50 authors describing their WIP in one sentence, 101 dark fiction books that aren’t by men, an interview with K-Ming Chang, the author of a highly anticipated release, Bestiary, and some really awesome books on part one of her 2021 anticipated releases! Seriously, I am in awe at how wonderful every single one of these posts were.
  • E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook posted a huge list of LGBTQ+ Retellings. I adore retellings, so this list expanded my TBR so much.
  • Charlotte and Anna @ Reads Rainbow, wrote a discussion on the erasure of the word lesbian for YA literature, it is well worth a read!
  • Aentee @ Read at Midnight posted an absolutely fascinating post about tigers in Viet lore and how this lore connects to several upcoming novellas.
  • Hsinju @ Hsinju’s Lit Log created a list celebrating 2021 sapphic book releases from LGBTIQA+ publishers and self-published authors. It’s huge and amazing and I honestly don’t know how I’m supposed to read all these amazing books next year?!
  • Laura @ The Book Corps has a list of trans and nonbinary books you should suppot instead of You Know Who, featuring some of my favourite authors!

And now to SPOOKY MONTH! I’m so excited for my October TBR so I’m hoping that I’m going to have a more positive reading month than the last few months. I hope everyone else has as relaxing a month as possible in our current times. What are you hoping to read this month? Let me know in the comments!

Readathon: Gothtober TBR

Hi everyone,

It is SO CLOSE to being October, which is one of my favourite reading months of the year as I love focusing on spooky books. This year, I’m going to be participating in the fantastic Gothtober readathon, which is hosted by LadetteM, Olivia’s Catastrophe and Little Wolf. It’s a readathon to celebrate gothic fiction, although you don’t need to read just gothic books to participate (and I won’t be!) But all the themes and prompts are designed to work well with gothic fiction. So without further ado, here’s my TBR for this readathon!

Disability rep: a book with disability representation

I have been wanting to read Christina Henry’s books for so long, she writes horror retellings of fairytales which sounds very up my street. The Girl in Red is a horror retelling of Red Riding Hood, and it features a main character with a prosthetic leg!

BIPOC author: A book written by a Black, Indigenous, or Author of Colour

In news that made me happy this week, my library reopened its doors for collection orders which meant I could go collect a bunch of reservations I’ve been waiting on, all of which are perfect for Gothtober! White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi is one of these, it’s a modern, queer, gothic horror about a spooky, mysterious house where generations of women inhabit the walls.

LGBTQ+: A book with LGBTQ+ representation

Sarah Waters is the author of one of the biggest lesbian novels of all time, Tipping the Velvet. I haven’t actually read any of her novels, but she writes a lot of gothic, historical, mystery novels which seems perfect for spooky season! Fingersmith is the one I’ll be reading, it’s about a girl from a family of thieves who falls in love with the rich mark she’s trying to steal from.

Bones: A book with Bones either on the front cover or in the title

Okay I really struggled with this prompt, none of my books have bones in the title or on the cover so this connection is tenuous to say the least. My thinking was: bones are dead things; and also the flamingo’s legs are so thin they totally look like bones. Thus, Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett will be my read for this prompt.

Female protagonist: A narrative led by a heroine

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo is a spooky (because of the ghosts) historical romance based on Chinese/ Malaysian customs and is about a girl offered to be a ghost bride for a recently decesaed young man (as ghost brides are used to placate angry spirits). She is then drawn into the parallel world of the Chinese afterlife every night.

Oldest purchased: A book that has been on your owned TBR the longest

I have been meaning to read The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux for years, it’s one of those classics which has just sat on my shelf and I’ve never gotten time to read. But that changes now! It’s the gothic horror/romance novel which the musical is based on!

Foreign Country: A book that takes place in a country foreign to the one you currently reside in

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi is a retelling of one of the most well known gothic novels of all time! It’s, obviously, set in Baghdad, and follows a scavenger in US occupied Baghdad who collects human body parts to sew together a corpse, to get the government to recognise the parts as people and give them a proper burial. But as we all know, the corpse, Frankenstein, wakes up…

Modern retelling: A modern retelling of a Gothic Classic, or a newer release which is described as ‘gothic’

I am considering rereading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia for this prompt because it’s my favourite book of the year and I really want to reread it, but I have so many other books I need to read as well…. My other option for this prompt is The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. It’s a sapphic retelling about the brides of Dracula.

Red: A book with the colour red on the cover, or in the title

Award for most fucked up book on my TBR goes to this baby! Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica is a fucked up story about a virus that makes animal meat poisonous to humans, so eating human meat is legalised (yeah, I told you it was fucked up). We follow one of the “farmers” of human meat who is given a “special gift” (a woman) that he starts to get to know, even though he isn’t supposed to talk with the specimens. As I’ve said like three times already, this is some fucked up shit.

Grey Morality: A book with character or themes that are morally grey

Back to another classic gothic novel here, with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read this years and years ago as a teen and I am very much due a reread as an adult! Dorian Gray is of course the morally grey character, who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty!

Lies: A book where the title has liar, lies or lying it it, or the MC is a liar

Rebecca by Daphne du Marurier is another classic, like The Phantom of the Opera, which has been on my TBR for years and I’ve just never got around to it. But, I’m very excited for the Netflix film adaptation which is releasing near the end of October so I need to read this before then! The husband spends the whole book lying about his first wife, which is why I’m reading it for this prompt!

Undead character: A book which includes an undead character (this can be ghost, zombie, Frankenstein, vampire, wraith, banshee, mummy, skeleton etc)

Another classic gothic novel, Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of my favourite classics and I’m very excited to reread it this month! I first read this when I was in high school, I studied this book and Carmilla for my English dissertation which pretty much talked about queer vampire sex and it was great.

Dark academia: a book set at university/college with dark themes or vintage aesthetic

I have like four different dark academia books sitting on my shelf right now so who knows which one I’ll actually end up reading for this prompt. At the moment, I’m thinking it’ll be The Secret History by Donna Tartt since that’s been on my shelf the longest, and I keep hearing people talk about it. One of my most anticipated books of 2021 (A Lesson in Vengeance) is also described as a sapphic The Secret History meets The Craft so I want to know what I’m in for!

Vampire film/TV: watch your favourite vampire TV show or film

For my film, I’ll be watching my favourite adaptation of Dracula, the 1992 edition with Keanu Reees, Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman! I might also try out the recent BBC Dracula TV show, which was created by the same team behind Dr Who. I’ve heard some mixed feelings so I haven’t yet got around to it, but maybe October is the month!

Finally, because I am EXCEEDINGLY indecisive, I also have some extras here which all fit some of these prompts so I can mix and match depending on my mood.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

I’m so excited for this TBR! All of these books looks so amazing, so spooky, there’s so many gothic novels in there, classics and modern, and I can’t wait to celebrate this genre all month long! I suspect there’s going to be a lot of new favourites in my reads this month. Are you participating in this readathon? Let me know in the comments!

August wrap up

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a better August than I did! I feel like I’m in a bit of a reading slump, I’ve been really struggling to concentrate on reading books all through August, but in the last week it’s like my brain has just completely given up. I’m just so tired. So I only managed to get to 6 (and a half!) books this month, and to be honest, each of them was a bit of a slog, even the ones I really enjoyed since my brain just refused to cooperate with reading. Though I did read another three for work, that counts right? Hopefully I’ll have a better September… And it’s my birthday month! I would have loved to mood read to celebrate this month but I have so many ARCS to read and I have no idea if I’ll even get time to read a non-ARC. The pains of being a book blogger…

Books read

I read 6 (and a half) books this month! My favourite was probably The Year of the Witching. I’ve been in such a mood for spooky books recently and this one completely scratched that itch!

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart (review will come this month on pub day!)

The Four Profound Weaves by R.M Lemberg (review will come this month on pub day!)

Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen (you can read my review here!)

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson (you can read my review here!)

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (you can read my review here!)

Iron Heart by Nina Varela (review will come this month on pub day!)

And I’m halfway through The Ikessar Falcon right now!

Books bought/borrowed/approved for

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

The Ikessar Falcon by K. Villoso

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

September TBR

As I said above, I feel like I’m currently sinking into a pile of ARCs and I can’t let myself read anything else until I’m back on top of them. Which will also free me up for October where I’m participating in the Gothtober readathon, which is all about gothic fiction! Check it out here! I’m so fucking excited for this. I’m going to spend all month preparing my TBR.

But for now, here’s what I’ll be reading in September! I’ve got 7 ARCs I need to get through and then a couple extras if I actually manage that.

The Ikessar Falcon by K. Villoso

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliot

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

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

My blog posts

Reviews

#5OnMyTBR

Misc

And the last of this series, young adult science fiction, posts on Thursday!

Community

Here are some of my favourite posts from the community this month!

How did your August go? What was your favourite book of the month? Let me know in the comments!

July wrap up

Hi everyone,

How was your July? This month has had its ups and downs here! Melbourne is back in lockdown. Whilst it didn’t change much for me, as I’m already WFH and wasn’t ever leaving the house anyway, the anxiety at this never ending situation is beginning to get to me. But then I started making candles this month, and it’s been so much fun, and just so relaxing to play with different scents. So a decidedly mixed month.

Reading wise though, I’ve had the joint best month of the year so far (in number of books, pages wise I’m a bit lower!) I read 9 books and 2 novellas this month, including one of my favourite books of the year so far, The Space Between Worlds! I also have something fun and exciting to talk about that I’ll be doing on this blog and my Instagram throughout August so stay tuned!

Books read

This month, I was participating in the extremely fun Pop Culture readathon! This was a readathon based on 90s movies, and I chose the Thrill Ride bingo board! I managed a couple of bingos this month! I am very ashamed that I didn’t get to the prompt for The Mummy, which was the film that made me choose this board in the first place! I have started The Bone Shard Daughter for this prompt, but I wasn’t able to finish it today!

The Space Between Worlds by Michaiah Johnson – review coming very soon (on pub day)!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – you can read my review here!

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke – review coming on pub day!

The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska – you can read my review here!

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles – review coming next month on pub day!

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh – you can read my mini review here!

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang – you can read my mini review here!

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – you can read my mini review here!

The First Sister by Linden A Lewis – review coming very soon (on pub day)!

Slay by Brittney Morris – review to come

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling – review to come

Books bought/borrowed/gifted/approved for

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson (a side note to say this is the book I’m most excited for in this month’s new books, it’s one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it sounds SO SCARY!!!)

Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

The First Sister by Linden A Lewis

The Midnight Bargain by C.L Polk

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

August TBR

After a fairly strict set TBR in July for the Pop Culture readathon, I’m going to do the exact opposite in August and only mood read! I’m also trying to focus on books on my physical TBR, which are beginning to stack up, I need to stop distracting myself with more library books! Here’s a few of the books I’ve been wanting to read soon, but who knows, my mood might be totally different tomorrow, we’ll see at the end of the month if I do actually read them!

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis

Cherry Beach by Laura McPhee-Browne

The Empire of Gold by S.A Chakraborty

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

August SFF extravangza!

And with that, we’re onto my super exciting annoucement! If you’re a big reader of SFF, you may have seen the recent abuse allegations which revealed a horrific cycle of abuse in the community, with many of the abusers very powerful cishet men with large followings (and who probably provide the publishing industry with a hell of a lot of money).

Now, I’d already pretty much given up reading fantasy by cishet men (I just do not have time for the high level of sexual violence and utter lack of diversity in most of them). So I decided this month to create a series of posts all about the amazing, diverse books you could be reading and supporting instead of the same old fantasies by cishet (usually white) men with histories of abuse in the community. For the next 5 weeks, every Thursday, I will be posting a large list of diverse books you can support for 5 different segments of the SFF genre: adult fantasy, adult sci fi, horror (YA + adult combined), YA fantasy and YA sci-fi!

Alongside these posts, I’ll also be posting every day on my Instagram, featuring my favourite diverse books from each of the above segments – there will be one week’s worth of posts on each segment, matching the blog post for that week! I feel like I very much overcomplicated this explanation, but basically: if you would like to support marginalised authors doing their damn best to give us the most amazing diverse SFF, or would like some recommendations for great books in the genre, check out my blog and Instagram over the next 5 weeks, and you’ll hopefully come away with a ton of new books to read!

I hope everyone has a great August!

Mid Year Freakout book tag!

Hi everyone,

It’s time for one of my favourite posts of the year: the mid year freakout book tag! Where we talk about our reading so far, our favourites and our….not so favourites, as well as what we’re looking forward to for the rest of the year. Thank you so much to Laura @ The Book Corps for tagging me!

1. Best book you read so far in 2020

So obviously I couldn’t choose just one (duh) so I have two very different books that I couldn’t choose between because they are just too different.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This book released 6 days ago and I still haven’t got my delivery notification which is making me really sad. I just want to see how beautiful this cover is in person! Mexican Gothic is a fucked up gothic horror that just about killed me. It follows Noemí after she recieves a letter from her cousin saying her husband is trying to kill her. Noemí travels to the distant High Place, an old, musty mansion in the mountains to find out what’s going on. And trust me, there is some fucked up shit going on.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

I read this book last month and it absolutely blew me away. I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t realise it would be quite this incredible. The way Felix Ever After talks about questioning your identity, the way it validated everything I feel was just amazing. Felix Ever After is a YA contemporary following trans demiboy Felix when he decides to catfish his bully for revenge.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

I haven’t read many sequels so far this year, but the three I did read were all so so epic and amazing and continued some of my favourite adult fantasy series: Jade War by Fonda Lee, The Kingdom of Copper by S.A Chakraborty and The Dragon Republic by R.F Kuang. But if I had to choose my favourite of these, I think The Dragon Republic wins! That book absolutely blew me away and killed me in all the best ways. The Poppy War was so epic and then this was just as epic and possibly even a little more so?!?! Either way, I’m absolutely dying to read the last book in each of these trilogies.

3. New releases you haven’t read yet but want to

Ummmmmmmm SO MANY. I feel like I’m very behind on new releases because I keep getting distracted by books from the library so I think I might need to stop getting library books for the next few months so I can just focus on my physical TBR. Here are a few new releases I’m most excited to read!

4. Most anticipated releases for the second half of the year

I’ll have a post coming in a few weeks with my top 10 releases for the second half of the year (if I ever manage to actually narrow it down to 10 books). But if I had to pick just one….

Believe me, no one is more shocked than me that I didn’t pick an adult fantasy.

5. Biggest disappointment

I’ve had several books this year that have really disappointed me, but I chose these four as these were the ones I was most excited for and thus the disappointment was greatest. These are all queer YA fantasies that everyone seemed to rave about. This might be more down to me on the outs with YA fantasy rather than these books, but as epic and brilliant as I think the concepts behind each of these books were (they all sounded so amazing?!), I thought the writing was really bad in all of these.

6. Biggest surprise

The Library of the Unwritten is definitely my biggest surprise of the year. I hadn’t heard much about this book before I picked it up at the library, so I went in thinking I’d probably get a decent adult fantasy but nothing hugely special. And fuck me, I was so wrong. This book is incredible?! Not only did it have the first on page pansexual rep I’ve ever read (and the fact it was a fierce librarian from hell was so validating), it’s also one of the most fun filled fantasies I’ve ever read. It was so full of snark and sass and made for one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had all year.

7. Favourite new author

I’ve found several authors this year whose books absolutely blew me away and I’m going to be following everything they write: A.K Larkwood (of The Unspoken Name) and A.J Hackwith (of The Library of the Unwritten) are two who come straight to mind. But I think for this question I have to say the author whose first book I read at the end of December last year, and 6 months later I’ve now read several others and have many more lined up: T.J Klune! I read Wolfsong in December, and have followed it up with his Tor releases this year The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries, but I have many more of his backlist to make my way through!

8. Newest fictional crush

I mean it’s not exactly ‘new’, but since I read The Dragon Republic this year, I’m counting it! Rin from R.F Kuang’s The Poppy War series is just such an incredible, badass, morally grey mess and I love her.

9. Newest favourite character

Okay so I when I started writing this post, I wasn’t going to mention any books coming out in the later half of this year so I could focus on ones I actually read in the first half of the year, but then I reached this question and I’m sorry but I can’t help it so you’re getting a book releasing in August that I finished about 8 hours ago because THIS BOOK. My newest favourite character is Cara from The Space Between Worlds. God, I don’t even know how to put into words how amazing she is, and how she completely wrecked me. This scifi better fucking get the praise it deserves when it releases because it is so bloody good.

10. A book that made you cry

I mean, technically this is also a book that releases in the second half of the year, but at least I actually read this one in the first half. I don’t think Klune fans will be at all surprised to see one of his books for this question. Klune writes in a way that literally has me laughing on one page and then sobbing the next and The Extraordinaries was no different. It’s a book about a boy who wants to be a superhero and will do anything to make himself extraordinary.

11. A book that made you happy

And to prove exactly what I just said, here’s another Klune book in the section that made me happy! You could honestly just switch these two books back and forth, because they are both so happy and joyful but also made me sob. The House in the Cerulean Sea really exemplifies the found family trope and follows Linus, a caseworker for magical youth, who is sent to audit a faraway orphanage where very powerful magical children stay.

12. The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey is absolutely gorgeous. Not only does it have that intricately detailed cover, but I also snagged a special edition of this book with stunning endpapers and sprayed edges and it is just so beautiful.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

So, so, so many. The ones I’ve chosen to highlight here are ones I’m either:

a) particularly excited for but know it’s going to be highly painful and thus am scared to read (The Empire of Gold)

b) books that I’ve had on my TBR for aaaaages but have finally picked up a copy of (The Secret History and Empire of Sand)

c) books that have been on my physical TBR for over a year (my bad, I’m so sorry The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling & The Candle in the Flame, but this is your year!)

And that’s my year so far! I’m hope you’re having a good reading year. Anyone who wants to do this tag, consider yourself tagged!

30 Days of Pride: Wrap up

Hi everyone,

We’re finally here. Day 30. Let’s be honest, this June has been pretty fucked. And it feels like it’s lasted 6 years. Looking back over the past month, I really haven’t had the best reading month at all. My sleep has been a disaster and so I’ve stuggled with concentrating whilst reading and reached nowhere near my goal of 15 books. I hope your months have been more sucessful!

What I did manage to do (however unconsciously), is read 8 books that all have matching coloured covers?! How the fuck I managed this beautiful array of yellow, oranges and pinks completely by accident and without noticing before now, I’ll never know. But as a result, you get some happy Autumnal book covers to look at today!

Books read

This month, I managed to read 8 books in total. My favourite book of the month was definitely Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender which absolutely blew me away and I already want to reread!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

Blog posts

I still can’t quite believe I actually managed to post every day. I’m so exhausted and I’m going to have soooo much free time in July. If you missed any, here’s a full run down of what happened on my blog this month!

Reviews

Recommendation lists

Genres
Identities
Tropes

Misc

Community

I wanted to finish by shouting out some incredible creators and the great work they’ve created during Pride month this year. Prepare to add EVEN MORE books your TBR!

Finally, as we move into the second half of the year, I hope you all are continuing to support Black authors in the coming months as you have done this month, that you continue to educate yourself on racism, and that you are looking into ways you can support Black people in your local community.

Whilst you’re here, please do also take a few minutes out of your day to sign petitions and donate some money if you are able. It takes two seconds to sign a petition, there’s no excuse. And so you don’t even have to Google right now to find out where to go:

  • The Black Lives Matter carrd is your go to resource for information on petitions to sign and places to donate. It’s updated regularly with new information.
  • The Australian BLM database has petitions for local issues
  • There’s a fantastic database if you’re interested in learning more about prison abolition and the need for this
  • If you want to be an ally, you can start by putting in the effort! This resource has a full out SCHEDULE you can follow over a month to educate yourself on racism and how to be an ally. There’s different schedules depending on how much time you can spend a day on this, and it starts at just 10 minutes a day so again, there’s really no excuse!

And to my fellow Aussies, if you’re looking for places to donate to locally, here are some people and charities you can support:

April wrap-up and May TBR

Hi everyone,

Happy May! Are you all well?! I’ve written so many work emails starting with ‘I hope you’re well’ this month, I really need to think of other ways of asking if people are safe and doing okay. It really feels like 6 years since the books I read at the start of April. And yet somehow it feels like April has flown by?! All concept of time is clearly just melting away. I also started my new job at the start of April! And similarly, it feels like I’ve been there for years, I can’t quite believe the start of April was only a few weeks ago. TIME, WHAT ARE YOU ANYMORE.

April reading wrap-up

In April, I was participating in the OWLs readathon, hoping to make the grades to become a Curse Breaker! And I’m glad to say I was pretty damn successful. I managed all the OWLs to be a Curse Breaker, and finished all but one of the other exams, which was 11 books in total. This was the most I’ve read so far this year, but I swear I’m never going to reach my record which is 15 from June last year. Here is what I read this month:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – full review here

Cleanness by Garth Greenwall

Finna by Nino Cipri

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Red Hood by E.K Arnold

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore – full review here

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood – full review to come

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey – full review here

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood – full review to come

May TBR

It’s ARC time! I recently got approved for a whole bunch of ARCs, I assume this happened when all the publishers had to move to online digital proofs only thanks to the virus. And maybe they were feeling generous because there are some titles on this list I NEVER thought I’d be approved for as I don’t have the largest following. But now my percentage looks terrible so I am on a mission to read all (or most) of my ARCs this month. So far, I’m already two down so going well! I’m not sure if I’ll manage the whole list of these, but I definitely want to get a good chunk of them read.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

Eden by Tim Lebbon

The Extraordinaries by T.J Klune

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

Fragile Remedy by Maria Ingrande Mora

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B Lemberg

And if I manage to get those done, I have a few hard copy books I’m dying to get into.

The City We Became by N.K Jemisin

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

Cherry Beach by Laura McPhee-Browne

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

That’s it for another month. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought of them in the comments! My May TBR is much less strict than last month, so there might be quite a bit more change in my next wrap-up post than there was here! I hope everyone is staying safe and I wish you all the best May.

February Wrap Up

Hi everyone,

February has been an incredibly busy month, but I think things might finally be beginning to settle down… I hope so anyway!

This month I started kickboxing – and oh my god, I love it so much?! There’s really something to be said for getting to smash your leg against a bag on a regular basis. So powerful! I also got a new job. And in trade publishing. I’ll be moving to a small, independent Aussie publisher and I can’t wait to start at the end of March.

Books I read

#FFFeb wrap up

This month, I participated in #FFFeb, a sapphic readathon run by @darashirazi on Twitter. To conclude the month, Charlotte created some wrap-up questions for us to answer about what we read this month.

MILLIE QUINT: How many did you read?

I read 8 books and DNF’ed one!

DOMINO SWIFT: How successful were you in only reading f/f?

So successful – every book I read was f/f.

AYLA: Did you set yourself a tbr and did you complete it?

I did set a TBR and what a surprise, I did not complete it at all. Of the 8 official books I set on my TBR (to go along with the challenges set up Charlotte), I only read 4 of them…. I have no excuses.

LIKOTSI: How many challenges did you complete?

So even though I only read 4 of my original planned TBR, I did still manage to complete 6 of the 9 challenges! They were:

  • Book set outside North America (All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle)
  • Book with a lesbian mc and love interest (Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi)
  • Book with a pan mc (The Library of the Unwritten by A.J Hackwith)
  • Book without a romance (A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine)
  • Book by an author you’ve never tried before (The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave)
  • Read an ownvoices book (Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor)

AUDRE: Which was your favourite read and why?

My favourite book of the month was The Library of the Unwritten. I wrote a full review of this one (you can read it here!) but to summarise, I loved this book because it felt like a breath of fresh air to the fantasy genre. It felt so much more lighthearted and fun than any fantasy I’ve read recently, and I loved it. It’s also the first fantasy (in fact, I think it might be first book ever) that I’ve read with on page, the word is actually there, pansexual rep.

XIULAN: Which was your favourite ship and why?

My favourite ship was Maren and Ursa from The Mercies. First of all, this book is incredible. Second of all, oh my god these two are just so amazing. They are so sweet, there is such a beautiful friendship we see grow, there is so much love. I adored seeing the strength of these two female characters rise to fight against the witchhunters.

MUNA: Did you read any new authors? Who was your favourite?

Every single author I read this month was a new author! Of my 8 reads, three of them I rated 5 stars:

  • A. J Hackwith – The Library of the Unwritten
  • Erin Gough – Amelia Westlake
  • Kiran Millwood Hargrave – The Mercies

ROSA SANTOS: A book you were recommended and loved.

I feel I’ve seen so many people rave about Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi, but it was Fadwa at Word Wonders review that really made me want to read this. And I’m so glad I did, I absolutely loved it! It was such a fun and sweet rivals to lovers romance – also queer cheerleaders?! Yes please.

LEI: A book that was on your tbr for a while.

Amelia Westlake had been on my TBR since it published here in Australia. There was so much news and love for it and at the time, I just never got around to reading it. And I honestly do not know why and hate myself for waiting so long, because it is so funny and such a joy to read.

EVELYN HUGO: A book which you didn’t like as much as you expected to.

There’s two that fit this question. One book, I had to DNF quite early in. This was one I fully expected to adore, as all I’d heard was it was a super detailed, political fantasy which is very much my cup of tea. The book was The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Unfortunately, I just felt really weird reading it. The queer trauma porn, the colonisation, I just really didn’t like the way these topics were being discussed so put the book down.

Another one which I finished was just very… meh. I don’t think it was bad, I just had expected to love it a lot more than I did. That one is Tarnished Are the Stars. I loved the discussions of ace rep – so phenomenal to see! But everything else I just found pretty average.

GOLDIE VANCE: Are there any books you wish you’d read but didn’t have time?

So many. A couple I really wish I’d got to are Steel Crow Saga by Paul Kruegar and A Blade so Black (which I started but then completely ran out of time to finish before I had to return it to the library).

BARU CORMORANT: A book which wrecked you.

The book that most wrecked me is definitely The Mercies. It is such a touching and emotional retelling of a terrible period of history, with a very bittersweet ending. It’s beautifully told and I hope this book gets all the praise it deserves.

March TBR

I have a rather out of control library pile right now, and I also have several ARCs I really need to read so those are going to be my focus this month! Even though I was terrible at sticking to my TBR in February, I’m hoping putting this into writing will keep me on track this month since I need to read these books.

And if I somehow manage to make it through this pile, I have a couple of new releases I was incredibly excited for which have finally arrived – but I’m not allowed to start until I finish all of the above….Yeah. Sure. Totally going to achieve that.

So my goals for March are 100% achievable (ahahahahahaha she laughed maniacally). What are your reading goals for March? Are you also excited to read any of these books?