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?

My 2020 Goals

Hi everyone,

I am finally beginning to get back to normal after my trip so it’s time to start writing some blog posts! I desperately need a distraction from the dread that fills me when I think about going back to work on Monday.

Today I’m going to chat about my 2020 reading, blogging and writing goals! 2020 will be my first full year as a blogger, as I only started in May last year, and I’m so excited to continue my blog, expand into bookstagram and actually (I really really mean it this time) finish writing my book… To help with all this, I’m putting down my explicit goals for the year to help keep me in line!

Blogging goals

Bookstagram

I have officially started a Bookstagram! I won’t lie, I feel like such a beginner at Bookstagram. I’m still trying to figure out what themes are and how to use hashtags best. But I would absolutely love a follow, you can find me on there at anxiousnachos. I promise I’ll improve!

Reviewing

I want to review at least 60% of the books I read – and ALL of the 2020 releases I read. My 2020 TBR looks amazing, there is so much diversity this year and I really want to celebrate these authors!

Bullet journal

Okay so last year I bought a bullet journal and did practically nothing with it except organise new books publishing that I wanted to keep track of. This year I want to really get more into using my bullet journal more to assist with both my blog/reading and day to day life. I really don’t know where to start though. If you have any tips or tricks, I’d love to hear them!

Reading goals

My targets

In 2019, I managed to read 109 books, which I think might be my most ever. So, this year I’m aiming for 100 to continue to challenge myself and read as many books as possible. I’m going to be using Kal’s (Reader Voracious) wonderful spreadsheet to keep track of all my reads.

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge (YARC 2020)

Another super exciting goal for the year is participating in the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge! This readathon is a year-long readathon hosted by Lily (Sprinkles of Dreams), CW (The Quiet Pond), Shealea (Shut Up Shealea) and Vicky (Vicky Who Reads)! You can follow them here:

The goal of this readathon is to read as many books by Asian authors as possible. Each month, the hosts will give some reading prompts for a more challenging readathon, or you can just try and read whatever you want! I’m aiming for at least 30 which would give me the Malayan Tapir award! Though the Asian Elephant badge is so adorable I really want to try for that one… If you’d like to join, check out the readathon Twitter page (@YearOfTheAsian) to get all the details! Or, you can check out any of the blogs above to see all the sign up info (e.g. Sprinkles of Dreams sign up post).

January TBR

For my January TBR, I want to get all the books I really wanted to read in December, actually read. Most of these are large fantasy tomes, several are sequels and I really need to finish them before the third books come out this year! Ideally, I’ll then have all of them out of the way by the time my January pre-orders finally make it to Australia. I also visited the library on the very first day they re-opened to collect some reservations so I have 5 library books I want to read! It will be a pretty difficult task I think, purely because of how large and heavy some of these books are but fingers crossed!

Jade City – Fonda Lee

Jade War – Fonda Lee

The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang

The Kingdom of Copper – S.A Chakraborty

The Good Luck Girls – Charlotte Nicole Davis (library)

The Dangerous Art of Blending In – Angelo Surmelis (library)

The Library of the Unwritten – A.J Hackwith (library)

We Are Lost and Found – Helene Dunbar (library)

Salvation Day – Kali Wallace (library)

Writing goals

Last year, I tried to write a book. But mental health kicked my butt, my lack of outlining made life very hard and therefore I didn’t get hugely far. But this year, I am feeling reinvigorated. At the recommendation of Gabhi, I’ve got a copy of Save the Cat to help me outline, and hopefully this will make writing a lot easier. My main writing goals of the year are therefore:

  • To finish my angry bi pirate WIP (adult fantasy)
  • To start research for a queer sciencey vampire book (adult sci-fi)
  • To start research for my queer historical Scottish romance (adult historical – though this may end up a little fantasy as well)
  • To join a writing group! This will actually help me meet THREE of my New Year Resolutions: to be more social, to tackle my social anxiety, to write a book.

That’s it for my 2020 goals! Last year really sucked. But I’m hoping 2020 can be a little better for me, and I will actually make some headway towards my author dreams!

What are your goals for 2020? Let me know in the comments!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

November wrap up and blog return!

Hi everyone!

I’m back! November was…..a real terrible month?!

 🦁Draco is sick and we don’t know why
🦁Mental health = not great at all
 🦁Nowhere near my NaNo goal
 🦁Pretty much felt ill the entire month
 🦁Dental emergency x 2

However, December is a new month, and I’m excited to spend some time on blogging again! This month, as well as some reviews from books I’ve read recently, I really want to focus on my extreme excitement for all of the 2020 releases we’ve got coming so I hope everyone is ready to add a TON of books to your TBR!

Today though, I’m looking back at November. My brain and body had a fairly terrible time, and whilst I’m happy with how many books I read, I was rather underwhelmed with quite a lot of them…

Books I read

This month I read 10 books! A lot of these books I expected to love a lot more, but there were a few fantastic reads in the mix!

Opposite of Always – Justin A Reynolds

I adored this exceedingly joyful book! A full review will be coming, but this book filled me with as much happiness as the cover does (the yellow makes me so happy!)

The Abyss Surrounds Us – Emily Skrutskie

This was one I wanted to love more. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, particularly the last quarter. But when I heard “queer sapphic enemies to lover pirates” I did expect to be blown away more than I was. I struggled a little with the characterisation of the main character which I think made it difficult to get fully into this book.

An Orchestra of Minorities – Chigozie Obioma

So a group at my work do a Man Booker reading group, and this year I picked An Orchestra of Minorities to read! There were parts I really enjoyed; and parts I hated. Ended up being an average read, I much preferred Obioma’s first work, The Fisherman.

We Set the Dark on Fire – Tehlor Kay Mejia

Another one I thought I would love more! Again, I really liked it, and will definitely pick up the sequel. But I just felt a little underwhelmed. I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to.

The Virtue of Sin – Shannon Schuren

Phhheeew this book is heavy. It’s about a cult in the middle of the desert, empowering female voices, and faith.

The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson

Oh my gosh, I loved The Storm Crow so much! In a month where I felt so slumpy and disengaged with my reads, this book really picked me up! I have a full review of this one coming!

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

This one started out great, I was really loving the setting and style of the book. The reveals and twists were fantastic. HOWEVER. I got so bloody annoyed at the Scottish characterisation – apparently the only way a Scottish person can be Scottish is if they loudly complain to Nazis that they’re Scottish when someone calls them English. 🙄🙄🙄Do…do people know Scots have other character traits??

The Hollow Girl – Hillary Monahan

This was a short, creepy read, but again…..I just didn’t get into it?! I wanted more world-building and depth.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Yes, I realise it’s really bad I reached almost the end of the decade and still had not read The Night Circus. But I managed! Just! And I ADORED it. This book was everything, the prose is stunning, the world is magical, the story was so full of beauty and emotion, I can’t wait to start The Starless Sea!

Sanctuary – V.V James

This book filled me with rage. And in a month where my mental health was so bad, I really wouldn’t have recommended this one to my past self! It filled me with so much stress and anger. At another time, that would have been AMAZING that a book can make me feel so impacted, but it really wasn’t the best time.

Books I bought/borrowed/magic-ed into existence on my shelf

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco

The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf

Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

I Hope You Get This Message – Farah Naz Rishi

Slay – Brittney Morris

Steel Crow Saga – Paul Krueger

The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern

Rules for Vanishing – Kate Alice Marshall

Books I plan to read in December

Now for this month! I don’t have a completely solid reading plan yet, but there are definitely a few books I need to get finished before the end of the year.

All my library books definitely read so I can return them asap – they’re due in….two weeks I think?? So definitely possible but I need to get my act together and actually start them first…

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco

The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf

Other books I plan to read this month are mostly ones I’ve been trying to read for months and I want to finish before the decade is over!

The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

Reverie – Ryan La Sala

The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang

The Kingdom of Copper – S. A Chakraborty

***

That’s it from me today! I would love to hear what books you’re planning to finish off before we leave behind the 2010’s for good!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

August + NEWTS readathon wrap up

Hello all!

I feel like I haven’t done a wrap-up in so long, but I’ve actually only missed July – unfortunately mental health took an awful dip at the end of July and I didn’t feel up to writing a massive wrap up post, but back now for my August wrap up which includes the NEWTS readathon I participated in! Whilst I didn’t quite manage to qualify for my Librarian career, after a very rough start to the month with my health, my reading and blogging did pick up again and I’ve had some awesome posts and news this month!

August highs and lows

  • I had my first author interview with the wonderful Gabhi Martins about the new anthology she edited Keep Faith. Keep Faith is a very personal and touching look at how faith and queerness intersect and I’m so happy I got the chance to talk to Gabhi about it – her enthusiasm and excitement is absolutely incredible.
  • I also ran my first giveaway – although I can’t say I feel it went particularly well. I wonder if perhaps the way to enter wasn’t clear enough or was too difficult to enter? The giveaway was for Keep Faith which I was so excited for, and it’s such a great project that I do feel I really let Gabhi and the team of wonderful authors down. The good news is the giveaway is still running until Wednesday – so if you’d like to enter, please comment on this post! I would also be interested in hearing any tips you might have on how to run successful giveaways!
  • In the last week of August, I also got the wonderful news that I will be participating in my first blog tour! This is so exciting, it’s for The Never Tilting World, and the tour is run by Caffeine Book Tours. I can’t wait to read this book – watch out for this tour in October!
  • I failed my Librarian studies in the NEWTs readathon. I’m so upset with myself. Unfortunately with such a rough start to the month, I lost a fair bit of time I needed to get through all my reads.
  • I went to YAFanFest, an event run by Australian independent publisher Allen and Unwin. This was my first bookish event here in Australia and it was so fun – authors Garth Nix, Amie Kaufman, Wai Chim, Ellie Marney and Astrid Scholte were all there to talk about their writing processes. I also picked up quite a few great books there which I can’t wait to read!

The NEWTS

WHAT A SHAME. I put so much effort into creating my TBR and then didn’t manage to qualify as a Librarian!

I did manage to get an O in the two exams I studied for which were Ancient Runes and History of Magic, but then I got too caught up in some library books and didn’t manage to read anything for the last exam I needed, Defence Against the Dark Arts. But I had good fun, and I guess that’s what matters in the end…..right…..?!

Book haul

The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang

A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

Wilder Girls – Rory Power

Spin the Dawn – Elizabeth Lim

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas (YAFanFest haul)

The Suprising Power of a Good Dumpling – Wai Chim (YAFanFest haul)

Sabriel – Garth Nix (YAFanFest haul)

When the Ground is Hard – Malla Nuun (YAFanFest haul)

Impostors – Scott Westerfeld (YAFanFest giftbag freebie)

Keep Faith – edited by Gabhi Martins (eARC)

The Astonishing Colour of After – Emily XR Pan (Library)

Internment – Samira Ahmed (Library)

When Michael Met Mina – Randa Abdel-Fattah (Library)

A Very Large Expanse of Sea – Tahereh Mafi (Library)

Books I read

The Afterward – E.K Johnston (full review here!)

We Contain Multitudes – Sarah Henstra (full review here!)

How to be Remy Cameron – Julian Winters

The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg (full review here!)

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He (full review here!)

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Keep Faith – Gabhi Martins

The Astonishing Colour of After – Emily XR Pan

And that’s it for the month of August! In September, I have to look forward to: MY BIRTHDAY! Yes I turn the grand old age of 26 (hoooooo boy it’s rough going into ‘late twenties’) but I’ll likely get quite a few books from various friends and family which is exciting! I also am going on a trip to Noosa to celebrate, and it will be SO AMAZING to have a few days off work to lie on a beach. I can’t wait to relax – and it also means 4 days of non-stop reading which will be so fun.

I hope you all had a great August – and that you were more sucessful than me if you participated in the NEWTs readathon!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

June wrap-up

Wow. Well that was a packed Pride month! Somehow I actually managed to read my 15 book TBR, YAY!! I also signed up to a library this month and visited today, their selection was pretty great so I have lots of books to start of July. I also thought I’d change this post a bit this month and add a new section showcasing some of the books I’m really excited for being released in the next month.

Books I read

The books I read this month are almost exactly what I planned to read in my Pride TBR post, with one small change, in that I read Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand instead of one on my planned list. Such a fun month of books. Reviews for most of these will be coming soon!

Book haul

Missing, Presumed Dead – Emma Berquist (won in a Twitter competition! I never win anything so this made my day and it is such a good read! Full review to come soon.)

Deposing Nathan – Zack Smedley (this book was PHENOMENAL, and you could read my full review of it here).

The Wicker King – K.Ancrum

They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera

Birthday – Meredith Russo

Keep This to Yourself – Tom Ryan

Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

You Asked for Perfect – Laura Silverman

The Grace Year – Kim Ligget (Netgalley)

The Phantom Forest – Liz Kerin (Netgalley)

Sawkill Girls – Claire Legrand (Library)

An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir (Library)

Girl Mans Up – M-E Girard (Library)

Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde (Library)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post – (Library)

The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven (Library)

The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden (Library)

July releases

So I thought I’d start a new section at the end of these monthly wrap-ups, for books I am super excited about that are publishing the following month because I want to share my excitement with more people about all the incredible books publishing this year.

Salvation Day – Kali Wallace (July 9)

This sounds like an incredible high-paced, super intense, science-fiction thriller, about a virus and spaceships and government conspiracies. Also that cover is so cool, I am the biggest fan of typographical covers. I can’t wait to read this one!

The Best Lies – Sarah Lyu (July 2)

Another thriller/mystery, this time YA – Remy’s best friend just shot her boyfriend, and now can’t stop thinking about why it happened. A book about obsessive friendship, this book sounds creepy and dark and twisting, and totally awesome.

Wilder Girls – Rory Power (July 9)

This is one of my most anticipated books of the year – which is odd, because I’ve never really read huge amounts of horror. The Raxter School for Girls was put under quarrantine due to a deadly virus, but now it’s infecting them. When Hetty’s friend vanishes, Hetty decides to venture into the woods which the virus has made strange and dangerous, to try find her.

Spin the Dawn – Elizabeth Lim (July 9)

This is another of my most anticipated books of the year – Project Runway meets Mulan?!?! YES YES AND ALL THE YES. I really have no words that can make this book sound more appealing to me.

The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson (July 9)

So many crow books are publishing this year! I think this books sounds really cool – magical crows, trying to hatch/raise a magical crow in secret (I love books where people try to raise animals in secret), I am here for this!!

That’s it for my monthly wrap-up, let me know how your June reading went, and what you’re looking forward to read in July!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco