It’s February which means it is time for annual readathon F/F February! This month long readathon is run by Imi (@imireviewsbooks on Twitter) and Ellie (@faerieontheshelf) over at Beyond a Bookshelf, and it’s a readathon all about celebrating f/f books! There’s both a reading challenge bingo board and an Instagram challenge, and I’ll be doing both of these. There’s 9 reading prompts, but I’ve also chosen some extra books to switch in and out as I’m feeling very mood-ready this month. So without further ado, here’s my very rough TBR for February!
I’m also wanting to fit in a reread of N.K Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy….sooooo there is not a chance I can fit all this in.
And that’s my (extremely optimistic) TBR for the month! There is no way I can read this many books, I think I’m going to struggle just to get the nine prompts completed as I’ve still got a lot of judging reading to do for the Aurealis Awards. But I’m giving myself lots of options! Have you read any of these? Which one do you think I should read first? Let me know in the comments!
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…
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.
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!
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…
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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…
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!
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.
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!
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 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!!!)
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 Extraordinarieswas 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)
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!
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!
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!
Word Wonders posted a wonderful video about her most anticipated queer releases of 2020! She also posted on her blog with a big list of books with pansexual rep which I’m so happy to see because I only knew of one book that had pan rep when I was creating my posts this month, which is shockingly bad. More pan rep pleeeease!
Reads Rainbow created prompts from Gilbert Baker’s Pride flag and gave us lots of book recommendations for them!
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.
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: