My most anticipated books still to come in 2020

Hi everyone,

This was both so fun and so difficult to write because today I’m talking all about my most anticipated books still to come in 2020. And I have so many. Initially I was going to keep to just 10 books as I did in my favourite books of the year so far list, but I just couldn’t do it. And you’ll see why when I tell you about these books because they all sound equally awesome!

I’m going to be looking at my 15 most anticipated books releasing in the second half of 2020, so July – December. To help me out with narrowing it down, I decided to not include any books which I have received an ARC for since technically I’m no longer anticipating them. This really helped me narrow the list down, but I do want to shout out the books that would’ve made this list had I not got an ARC:

As you can see, that is quite a few books and thus if I had included them in my list below, I would have failed even more badly to narrow this down. So without further ado, here are my 15 most anticipated books releasing in the rest of 2020!

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

Release date: July 21

This is a horror novel everyone has been screaming about how scary it is and thus I am so incredibly excited to read this even if it terrifies me. The Year of the Witching is a feminist horror fantasy novel about a woman living in a Handmaid’s Tale esque, cult-like society and what happens when she discovers her mother consorted with witches.

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Release date: August 4

I’ve only read Emezi’s young adult novel, Pet, so far, but I loved it so much and I’m hoping to get to their adult novel Freshwater very soon as well. Their third book, The Death of Vivek Oji, promises to be every bit as lyrical and powerful as Pet. It follows the life of Vivek Oji and their relationships with friends and family before their death.

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram

Release date: August 25

It’s so close!!!!! 40 days if we’re being exact but who’s counting… Darius the Great Deserves Better is the sequel to one of my favourite books, Darius the Great is Not Okay. Darius is back in the US, now has a boyfriend and an internship at his favourite teashop, but something still seems to be missing.

Transcendant Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Release date: September 1

Another of the few literary fiction novels that made it onto this list, Transcendent Kingdom follows a Ghanian family in Alabama, specifically Gifty, a young neuroscience student who is researching addiction and depression as she attempts to find answers for her brother’s overdose and suicidal mother. But as she explores the hard sciences, Gifty also reaches back to her childhood faith for answers.

Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez

Release date: September 15

Not only does this have one of my favourite covers on this list, it also has one of the most exciting pitches! Crosshairs is set in a near future dystopian world where anyone “other” is rounded up into camps. So a group of queer allies, lead by a queer Black performer, team up against the regime.

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

Release date: September 15

Any contemporary that makes it onto this list is surely going to be incredible, because it takes a lot for this fantasy lover to be this excited over contemporary books. Who I Was With Her follows closeted bi girl, Corinne, after her girlfriend dies and she has to learn to deal with her grief without anyone knowing, except the one person she really shouldn’t be leaning on for support: her dead girlfriend’s ex.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Release date: September 15

Having just read Ninth House, I am here for more secret societies at university, and in Legendborn this is combined with a society descended from King Arthur! But also it’s like super super queer too. Legendborn follows Bree as she attends a residential camp for bright high school students at the local university. But on her first night on campus, she witnesses a demon attack and ends up embrolied with a secret society who claim to be descendants of King Arthur working to prevent a magical war.

These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever

Release date: September 15

The Secret History but make it queer?! I haven’t even read The Secret History and I know this is the vibe I need in my life. These Violent Delights follow Paul and Julian who meet at university in the 70s and whose obsession with each other leads to a shocking act of violence.

The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis

Release date: September 22

Bisexual vampires is all I need to say for this one, right? Set in a Prague where monsters exist, this book follows a vampire hunter and his relationship with a widowed noblewoman (and secret vampire).

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J Hackwith

Release date: October 6

If you read my post all about my favourite reads of 2020 so far, you would have seen the first of this series there, The Library of the Unwritten which has to be one of the most fun fantasies I’ve ever read. The Archive of the Forgotten continues the story of Claire, Brevity and Hero as books begin to leak a strange ink that could alter the afterlife forever.

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

Release date: October 13

Chaos lesbian alert! Beyond the Ruby Veil is a dark YA fantasy about Emanuela, a girl who accidentally kills the only person who can create water in her town and now has to find a way to make water herself before the entire town dies of thirst.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth

Release date: October 20

This is the adult debut from the author who wrote The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which I admit I haven’t actually read, but Plain Bad Heroines just sounds so amazing this book made it onto my most anticipated list! This is described as a horror comedy set at a girls boarding school in New England which closed after a series of terrible murders. But now the doors are reopening as a Hollywood cast prepares to create a film about what happened. But soon it isn’t clear where Hollywood ends and the curse of the boarding schools begins…Insert ominous drum roll.

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

Release date: November 3

Moving into literary fiction realms again, The Thirty Names of Night follows three generations of Syrian Americans and a mysterious bird that ties them all together. This is ownvoices trans and Syrian-American rep, and explores the history of queer and trans communities in the Syrian community and promises to be an entrancing read.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Release date: November 17

If you haven’t seen Chloe Gong’s hilarious videos marketing this book, first of all where have you been?! And second of all, go check out her Twitter because she is hilarious. These Violent Delights is a Romeo & Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, yes we’re really getting a book that sounds THAT AWESOME in 2020.

The Burning God by R.F Kuang

Release date: November 26

The finale to R.F Kuang’s Poppy War series is almost here and it promises to be as destroying as the first two in this series! I’m not going to say too much about this one to avoid any spoilers for those still reading The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic, but suffice to say, I am ecstatically excited to find out what happens to Rin, Nezha and Kitay.

And that’s my 15 most anticipated releases for the rest of 2020! What’s your most anticipated release still to come? Let me know in the comments below.

30 Days of Pride: Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Title: Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Publication date: 18 February 2020

Genre: Adult | Literary fiction

Page extent: 336 pages

Rating:

Goodreads blurb: Named one of the most anticipated books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar, BuzzFeed, and more.

A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice.

Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he is working uneasily toward a biochem degree. An introverted young man from Alabama, black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends—some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But over the course of a late-summer weekend, a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with an ostensibly straight, white classmate, conspire to fracture his defenses while exposing long-hidden currents of hostility and desire within their community.

Real Life is a novel of profound and lacerating power, a story that asks if it’s ever really possible to overcome our private wounds, and at what cost.

I find it horrendously difficult to review literary fiction because you want to live up to the intense delight and specificity of the prose and I can just never manage to do so. It can also be so difficult to talk about a book in which very little happens, that is so reflective and contemplative as Real Life. But I’ll try! I really enjoyed Real Life. Outside of my more frequent genres of reading, it is such an expressive and contemplative journey of a queer Black man questioning his existence.

Real Life follows Wallace, a gay, Black, Southern man from Alabama, who’s at graduate school at a very white Midwestern university studying biochemistry. After an unexpected encounter with a friend he thought was straight, Wallace is forced to confront his life, his misery, his past trauma, and his very existence in a world he feels so on the edge of.

Real Life isn’t a book with a huge ton of action or drama. Instead, we follow Wallace from the inside. It’s a highly contemplative novel, and one that evokes pain not dissimilar to being brutally punched in the chest several times. Many times throughout reading, I paused and sat there with that feeling of a hole in my chest, taught with anger and the unfairness at how Wallace is treated, and the way he is living life so devoid of happiness. We see the way a hugely traumatizing event as a child has impacted on every relationship in his life, how his parents reactions have forced him into a man who struggles to centre himself and his feelings and hurt in the world, thinking them so worthless to others. He works so hard to please others, at the expense of his own feelings. It was particularly difficult and confronting to read the passages where Wallace considers the racism and microaggressions he is faced with for being Black, both at his University and in his friendship group. To see the stark effect of these constant attacks on Wallace. To see him so without hope, without happiness, so empty. To see himself ostracised even within a group of friends, because of the silence of those supposed to care about him.

Taylor’s prose is an easy, flowing read for literary fiction (which I so often find overwrought and pretentious). But this wasn’t. It felt very tenderly crafted, each word chosen so carefully to pull the reader into Wallace’s emotional state, almost hurting to the point of numbness at times, as Wallace was. It is beautifully and evocatively written. We spend most of the novel in Wallace’s head, as this story is highly reflective as Wallace considers his place in his friendship group and in this new relationship. As a lot of literary fiction tends to be, there is no hugely satisfactory AHA moment, when the villains get what they deserve. Much like life, this story isn’t happy. As much as I longed for there to be a moment for Wallace’s friends to be taken down a peg, for them to suffer for how they’ve made Wallace suffer, part of the most painful and powerful moments of this book is in the realisation at the end that sometimes you don’t get that moment. And that this story could so easily be not a story, but someone’s life. That moment is painful, in the recognition that this is life for a lot of people, but powerful because in knowing and recognising that, we can fight within ourselves and in those around us to change.

Real Life definitely deserves the praise and acclaim it has been receiving. Very inwardly focused and reflective, it’s a very evocative book, one that will have you crying alonngisde Wallace as be contemplates his life.

30 Days of Pride: Gay Books

Hi everyone,

Happy Saturday! Following on from yesterday’s lesbian bonanza, today I’m here with some of my favourite books with gay characters. I don’t think I read nearly as much m/m as I do sapphic books, but there’s still several brilliant books to add to your TBR here! I hope you enjoy!

Reverie by Ryan La Sala

If you’re looking for a joyful, gay book with magic rainbows and a drag queen sorceress, then this is the book for you!! This is pure, gay chaos in book form. Reveries are these dream worlds pulled into reality by the subconscious of a person, where they then act out as the “hero” of the reverie. Kane has recently woken from an accident with no recollection of what happened. When the police are interrogating him, a mysterious individual called Posey also interogates him. Posey promises to keep the police away from Kane if he finds out how his accident happened. As Kane investigates, he falls into his first reverie and a world of magic and drag queen sorceresses as he tries to find out what’s going on. Reverie is full of action and imagination, and with rainbow magic is pretty much the queerest book ever. Check out my full review here.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

This is one of the books I’m most excited to read this month! It has received heaps of praise in the last year, and with Vuong’s experience as a poet, it will likely prove to be a beautiful read. On Earth We’re Briefly Goregous is a letter from Little Dog to his mother who cannot read, about his life growing up in the US as Vietnamese-American. The book discusses war, intergenerational trauma, race, masculinity and how to survive when you’re caught between different worlds.

Keep This To Yourself by Tom Ryan

I’m not a huge reader of thrillers, especially not YA thrillers, but this one definitely wants to make me change that and read more. Keep This To Yourself is absolutely full of twists and turns, and that ending. The book is set a year after a series of murders in a small, coastal town (which is pretty much my favourite setting for thrillers and mysteries!) Mac is trying to put the four murders behind him, which is difficult when his best friend Connor was the last victim. When Mac finds a cryptic note from Connor he realises that the killer might not have been the drifter everyone assumed it was, but someone much closer to home.

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

Back to the literary fiction with the highly provocative and unique Cleanness. Garth Greenwell won heaps of acclaim with his first novel, What Belongs To Us. This novel follows the same character, although you do not need to have read What Belongs To Us to understand Cleanness. And moreso, I found Cleanness even better than his novel. Cleanness is structured in 9 short stories, with a very interesting thematic mirroring across the book. It’s a book discussing relationships, sex and the power in these for a gay man living in Bulgaria.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo is a very unique YA novel told in verse by poet Dean Atta. It is a coming-of-age story where a boy, Michael, struggles to come to terms with his identity as a mixed-race, gay teen. When he gets to university, he begins to discover himself as a drag artist. A phenomenal and outstanding story told through poetry about accepting yourself and your uniqueness.

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

I ordered this book with my library, got a notification saying it was waiting for me, AND THEN THE LIBRARIES CLOSED. I was devastated. But then, a Pride miracle, the libraries reopened on June 1 so I was able to pick this up to read this month. Real Life is about Wallace, a gay black man from Alabama who is working for his degree at a predominantly white Midwestern university, who has to face up to the violence and intimacy in his friendship group. All I can say is I have heard nothing but exceptional things about this book and I can’t wait to read it.

Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen

Sex positive and funny, Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) does what not many other YA books have done: talk about sex openly and honestly. This book follows Jack, a teen who starts an online sex advice column. But after he starts it, mysterious love letters he’d been receiving turn creepy and stalker-like, demanding that Jack stop flaunting his unashamedly queer lifestyle. This book sounds very much like a book version of Sex Ed (the Netflix show, which I adore), and I’ve had this sitting on my Kindle for SO LONG, I really need to read it asap.

Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green

A wonderfully fun and sweet summer YA romance! Alex is painfully shy (what a mood) and has been abandoned by his two best friends for the Summer. He lands a part-time job at Wonderland, an amusement arcade on the beach, and the group of employees there begin to bring Alex out of his shell. He even starts to fall for his co-worker, Ben. Who has a girlfriend. Oh dear. This isn’t a gay coming of age story – Alex is already openly out and gay, happy with who he is. Instead, it’s both a fun, happy romance and a story about friendship as Alex, Ben and the rest of the Wonderland crew have to work together to save the arcade from being shut down by debtors.

Wranglestone by Darren Charlton

Zombies + queerness = pretty damn epic. Wranglestone is set in a town at the centre of a lake, a lake which keeps the dead from the town. But when Winter sets in, the dead can cross the ice. Peter puts everyone in the town in danger when he lets a stranger came onto the island and so he is made to help out Cooper, a rancher who herds the dead away from the shores. Peter and Cooper make a discovery that reveals the dark, secret past to the town. And obviously, they also fall in love.

The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels

And lets end on a book that will break your heart and have you sobbing! Along with Real Life, this book is on so many most anticipated queer books of the year lists, which means it’s going to be pretty fucking great. At 18, Brian moved to New York City, like many young, gay men. But 6 years, his lover and friends are dead, and the city is in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. So Brian returns home to Appalachia, a place he never wanted to go back to. This is a book about home and family, and how fear and shame can change what that means. Highly anticipated, highly emotional, and hugely important to revisit and familiarise ourselves with the history of those who came before us.

I think today’s list is possibly one of the most contrasting so far: you have either highly emotional literary fiction, or really fun YA, apparently I have no inbetween. Let me know what your favourite book with gay rep is in the comments below!

Book review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Publication date: 5 November 2019

Genre: Fantasy | Adult | Literary fiction | Fabulism

Page extent: 498 pages

Rating:

Goodreads blurb: Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

It’s hard to review a book that makes you completely speechless, one that immerses you so completely it is difficult to emerge from. Whenever I put this book down, I found myself wandering in a daze as I struggled to get back to reality. I found myself grumpy and snappish when I had to stop reading to do daily chores, because this book felt so perfectly escapist that it was a joy to journey into in the current climate. Behold and watch me try to write a review that is even one percent as beautiful as this book was!

“Having a physical reaction to a lack of book is not unusual.”

It is, at its heart, a love letter for readers and storytelling, mythology and fantasy. The Starless Sea is a journey for the reader who longs to escape, for those of us who wish to disappear into the books we read every day rather than face the reality around us. And it brought that escape so thoroughly and wonderfully, I felt close to tears when I finished, as well as sheer wonder and astonishment, as I longed to return to the world.

The Starless Sea is a maze of several different stories, crossed paths, and twisting journeys. We follow Zachary Ezra Rawlins after he reads a library boo, and finds himself appearing in the pages, an event from when he was a young boy, but definitely him. But the book has missing pages, and so he can’t read the rest of his story and so begins a quest he doesn’t yet know the end of. As he tries to track down the origins of the book, he crosses paths with Dorian, a storyteller Zachary is immediately drawn to, and Mirabel, a door maker. And if you believe enough, if you long enough for something, then those doors might just lead somewhere. (Yes, to a magical library BOOM).

“It is a sanctuary for storytellers and storykeepers and storylovers. They eat and sleep and dream surrounded by chronicles and histories and myths.”

Interspersed with Zachary’s journey are several different stories from other travellers to the library. Whilst each story appears unconnected the first time we meet it, each subsequent appearance reveals more of these crossed paths and more hints at where Zachary’s story must lead. One of my biggest thrills in reading is that moment of realisation, when all the hints and foreshadowing and different stories all come together in a lightbulb moment as you realise what’s actually going on. And The Starless Sea is a book filled with that moment again and again and again – because this magical library is just that: magical. It sits outside of time, and so time passes oddly and inconsistently, bringing all these characters paths together and apart, with Zachary, Dorian and Mirabel at the centre.

“It is easier to be in love in a room with closed doors. To have the whole world in one room. One person. The universe condensed and intensified and burning, bright and alive and electric.”

The Starless Sea is about love. Zachary and Dorian’s connection, desire and yes, love, is reflected in the stories interspersing their journey, as they travel a path others have journeyed before. Their love is that seen in Romeo and Juliet, they are the star-crossed lovers, they are the couple Time and Fate have longed to bring together, and this love burns through the story. It feels so substantial, as if they’ve lived this story so many times before, their love given power and life through the stories around them. I feel like it needs no stating, but this story is no realistic contemporary. It isn’t a story about a love that makes sense or a love that grows in a sensible, timely manner. This is a story about the magic and joy and escapism in storytelling, thus their love reflects this: it is the passion and urgency, desire and all consumingness that comes with Juliet’s poison and Romeo’s dagger. Much like the library represents that mystery and magic, escape and lifeline that readers long for, Dorian and Zachary’s love represents the desire and connection we long for and see time and time again in the stories we read. Like I said at the start of my review, The Starless Sea is a love letter to storytelling and the longing stories bring out in us: the longing for escape, the longing for love, and the longing for that special feeling that fills us when we are overwhelmed by a good book.

Like Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, the writing and prose is of course beautiful and mesmerising. It’s like getting lost in all of your favourite books at once. The world she has created is the one we all long to go to, the place where we belong and wish we could stay forever.

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“Not all stories speak to all listeners, but all listeners can find a story that does, somewhere, sometime. In one form or another.”

The Starless Sea is not a book for everyone. I’m sure the slow, winding journey through several different stories is not for everyone, it doesn’t have a familiar structure and I can completely see why it may be confusing or meandering to a different reader. If you’ve never known the desire to disappear inside a book, this isn’t for you. But to those of us who read to escape, who live and breathe the books they read, who long to disappear inside the stories, then this story is a love letter to you, and everything you imagine when you read.

In other words: I fucking loved this.

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OWLs readathon wrap-up

Happy weekend everyone!

Last month, I participated in my first ever readathon, and what a way to start! This was the OWLs readathon, run by @MagicalReadthn. This readathon is based on the Harry Potter series, and the exams you sit at Hogwarts. It happens twice a year, OWLs in April and NEWTs in August.

For each subject ‘exam’, there is a reading prompt; you read a book following the prompt, you pass the exam. In addition, there was an amazing list of careers designed with qualifications you are required to get for each career in the Harry Potter world. As I was visiting family in Scotland for most of April and didn’t have a huge amount of time for reading, I decided to go for a career which didn’t have a huge list of subjects to study for and that was….Librarian!

For the Librarian career, I needed to sit Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Defence Against the Dark Arts, History of Magic and Transfigurations. I managed to complete a prompt for all of these, plus a bonus exam, Potions (because I am a Slytherin at heart).

My reads:

Ancient Runes prompt: A retelling

For this I read the amazing A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. This is a fantastic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The two main characters are so well written. Prince Rhen was put under a curse so that he turns into a terrible monster each season. Harper, a girl with
cerebral palsy, finds herself kidnapped from her world (our world) and taken to Rhen’s realm, so he can try to make her fall in love him. Rhen is written absolutely brilliantly, he suffers so much pain at seeing the damage he has wrought on his empire when he turns into the beast. Then there’s Harper who is such a strong, female character, who won’t tolerate Rhen’s attempts to make her fall in love – instead she wants to take on the witch who put the curse on him. This is such a great read, a shout out needs to go to Gray as well, Rhen’s bodyguard. I’d love another book telling his story. Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Arithmancy prompt: a work written by two or more authors

For this prompt, I chose Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, after a number of recommendations on Twitter. This is a very interesting read, I’ve never read anything like it before. It’s a sci-fi YA novel written entirely from instant messages, email transcripts, video recordings, military transcipts and more. It did take me a while to get into the style, but once the story started ramping up, it was a really good read. There were so many twists and turns and I was guessing right until the end. I loved the growth of the relationship between the two main characters as well. I do recommend not reading this one on an e-reader though, as it seemed to mess up a lot of the formatting. Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Defence Against the Dark Arts prompt: Reducto – title starts with ‘R’

For DADA, I went with The Raven Tower, one of the few hard copy books I took over to Scotland for my visit. I forced myself through car sickness to continue reading this which I think says a lot about how great it was. The Raven Tower is a fantasy novel about gods and birds and rocks and honestly, it is so damn good. It’s told in the second person which is SO effective. It follows two different timelines, one with the narrator telling us about how the world began, and the other following a character called Eolo as they try to work out who killed the previous ruler. Another fantastic read! Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

History of Magic prompt: published 10 or more years ago

For HoM, my mum recommended a short novella she’d read recently, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. This was very different to my usual reads, but was a really haunting and creepy tale about two sisters. I didn’t quite connect with this book because I just couldn’t find anything redeemable about any of the characters, I found them all rather awful people. But the setting and atmosphere of the book is deliciously weird and wonderful. Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Transfigurations prompt: sprayed edges or red cover

Whilst I was in Scotland, I spotted Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher on a shelf because the cover was GLOWING. It’s a shiny gold, checkered pattern with black sprayed edges and it just looked amazing. The premise for this sounded so up my street, girls stop being born and humanity pretty much breaks down. Until, one day, 50 years since the last girl was born, another is born. She is called Eve. We follow Eve as she begins to be ‘matched’ with a series of boys to begin procreating. I thought this would be a really great, Handmaids Tale-esque book, but instead I was really disappointed. The characters had no depth for me and I just couldn’t really root for any of them. The pacing of the book felt off, it’s very slow to start with no action until the later half of the book and the romance felt very lacking. I know there are lots of people who have really enjoyed this book though, so do give it a try! Final rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Potions prompt: sequel

For Potions, I did slightly bend the rules – they asked for a sequel, and I went with Before Mars by Emma Newman, which whilst set in the same universe as her other books, isn’t technically a ‘sequel’. This was my first foray into Emma’s work, and I am so glad I chose to jump into her world. Before Mars is absolutely amazing, it’s the third in her Planetfall series, a series of four novels set around space travel. Before Mars follows Anna as she travels to Mars, seemingly to paint on the planet for her wealthy employer. When she gets there however, she finds a note warning her about another member of the crew…in her own handwriting. This is a beautifully descriptive, psychological sci-fi novel. The book is very emotive, I really liked Anna as a character as she battles trying to work out if she’s crazy or if there is something wrong. The mental health representation was done so realistically and was written so well, and I know this is something Emma writes about quite a lot so I can’t wait to read the other novels in this series. Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

And that’s it for the OWLs readathon wrap-up. This readathon is back in August, where I will be studying for my Librarian NEWTs. Let me know if any of these books are on your TBR!

Paws out from Draco and I