Book review: The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

Title: The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

Publisher: Erewhon

Publication date: 15 September 2020

Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy

Page extent: 400 pages


Synopsis: An outcast teenage lesbian witch finds her coven hidden amongst the popular girls in her school, and performs some seriously badass magic in the process.

Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends.

Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent on stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?

Rich with the urgency of feral youth, The Scapegracers explores growing up and complex female friendship with all the rage of a teenage girl. It subverts the trope of competitive mean girls and instead portrays a mercilessly supportive clique of diverse and vivid characters. It is an atmospheric, voice-driven novel of the occult, and the first of a three-book series.

The Scapegracers is a the gayest, witchiest book in the world and I loved every second of it. Whilst it is more of a slowburn plotwise, the focus on the characters and this deep connection that is formed between the four witches in the new coven was so brilliant. It completely subverts the mean girl trope and I found it one of the most refreshing and exciting portrayals of female friendship that I’ve read in a long time.

The Scapegracers follows Sideways, a lesbian witch who is invited to perform her magic at a party organised by three popular girls who want their party to be the spookiest in memory at the school. But instead of just getting a killer cool bit of magic out of it, the new coven finds friendship and support like never before. The four of them team up to help Sideways with her new crush, as well as fight off the modern day witchhunters who want to take their magic from them.

The Scapegracers is a slow book, I won’t deny it. There isn’t a clear enemy or plot across the book as you would expect from a YA fantasy novel. Instead, this book is more of an exploration of friendship with a side of fantasy as the girls investigate and try out their new powers. And whilst I wasn’t expecting that, I loved this surprise! The Scapegracers has one of the best portrayals of female friendship I’ve ever seen. Clarke has taken the trope of mean, popular school girls, and thrown everything you think about them into the bin. Here, these girls are so supportive, so badass and the way they take Sideways into their group is so incredibly beautiful and heartwarming. It’s done so well that I found myself tearing up when Sideways is just in awe that these beautiful, loving people want to be her friend because she’s so fucked up from being so alone. I also loved that these girls were allowed to embrace their femininity if they wanted and it was amazing because they can still be badass witches too? So often, YA fantasy has to feature “girls who aren’t like other girls”, ones who need to throw away their femininity in order to be cool and kick butts with magic. But The Scapegracers is just the opposite of that in every way: here are these girls who love make up, who wear tight dresses, who flirt, but can still kick butts with magic. More of this in fantasy please!

I also want to praise the casual queerness in the book which was so great to see. We have a lesbain main character, bisexual and queer side characters, and Sideways has two dads! And that leads me to my second favourite part of this book: Sideways is so. fucking. gay. She is such a clueless lesbian, it is amazing. I loved her pure awed joy when interacting with Madeline, which lead to lines like this: “Hell, if Madeline offered to beat me up, I’d probably weep with joy and give her a hearty tip when she was done” and “She wanted my number in a potentially gay way. Oh God, I wanted to die.” I couldn’t help but laugh at her, she’s such a great character who is a complete mess when she has a crush and it was so great to see.

I enjoyed the bringing of witchhunters into the modern world. Although it was only a small section, I loved finding out about the history of these witchhunters, it was so fascinating how they came to be and how they track witches. The reason I didn’t give this a full of five stars is because it did slow quite a lot, particularly in the middle of the book, when the witchhunters seemed to disappear. I think they could have been a bit more prominent to add a sense of tension and urgency to the book as they were a great, creepy villain!

All in all, I really loved this book! I’ve been having a bad run with YA fantasy this year, but because this was so different to what I expected from YA fantasy, it resulted in something so much better than I hoped for! The Scapegracers is a really lovely look at female friendships and had such a kickass group of queer witches, so much casual queerness, and a clueless lesbain crushing so bad it made for the funniest lines. Highly recommend this one!

Blog tour and review: Iron Heart by Nina Varela

Hi everyone,

I’m here today with such an exciting post, it’s my stop on the blog tour for Iron Heart! Iron Heart is the sequel to the incredible sapphic science fantasy novel Crier’s War. Thank you so much to Shealea at Caffeine Book Tours, HarperTeen and Nina Varela for allowing me to scream excitedly about this book on this tour! You are in for such a treat with this sequel! Do check out the rest of the tour stops all week long, you can view the tour schedule here.

Title: Iron Heart

Author: Nina Varela

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication date: 08 September 2020

Genres: Young Adult | Fantasy | Science Fiction



An unstoppable love between two girls—one human, one Made—both set on destroying the Iron Heart.

For too long the cruel, beautiful Automae have lorded over the kingdom of Rabu, oppressing the humans who live there. But the human revolution is on the rise, and at its heart is Ayla. Once handmaiden, now fugitive, Ayla escaped the palace of Lady Crier, the girl Ayla had planned to kill . . . but instead fell in love with. Now Ayla has pledged her allegiance to Queen Junn, whom she believes can accomplish the ultimate goal of the human rebellion: destroy the Iron Heart. Without it, the Automae will be weakened to the point of extinction.

But playing at Ayla’s memory are the powerful feelings she developed for Crier. And unbeknownst to her, Crier has also fled the palace, taking up among travelling rebels, determined to find and protect Ayla.

As their paths collide, neither are prepared for the dark secret underlying the Iron Heart.

In this stunning sequel to acclaimed author Nina Varela’s Crier’s War, the love that launched a revolution must now pave the way for a whole new era…and the ultimate change of heart.

You can purchase your own copy of Iron Heart at Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, IndieBound, or your own favourite local bookshop!


Bio: Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays, short fiction, poetry, and novels. In May 2017, she graduated magna cum laude from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with a BFA in Writing for Screen & Television. Crier’s War was her debut, and this is the sequel. She is originally from Durham, North Carolina, where she grew up on a hippie commune in the middle of the woods. She now lives in Los Angeles.

You can keep uptodate with Nina Varela at the following links: website, Goodreads, Instagram and Twitter

Please note that this review will contain spoilers for the first book in the series, Crier’s War. All quotes are from an advanced reader’s copy so may be changed in the final copy.

Ummmm so where on earth do I start with this book?! It’s probably one of my favourite sequels ever! I love it even more than Crier’s War, it went in a direction I never really expected and oh my god, it’s so, so gay. I am in love.

Iron Heart picks up where Crier’s War left off: Ayla and Benji are on their way to Varn to ally with the Mad Queen; Crier is betrothed to Scyre Kinok and waiting to be married. Meanwhile, Scyre Kinok’s alternative to Heartstone continues to wreck havoc on his followers and Crier and Ayla must find find a way to stop him.

All I have to say is wow. I wasn’t sure what we were going to expect in this sequel, but it certainly wasn’t what we got. But I loved it! I’m going to attempt to talk about this in some semblance of an order so here are some headings to assist.

Things got dark

This is probably the main element giving me the ‘I did not expect this’ vibe. But Iron Heart got so dark, it almost had a horror vibe at times which is of course why I’m so absolutely in love with this!! Let’s start with the shades, these creepy, terrifying creatures: goodness they are horrific! I absolutely adore the kind of ‘creature that is quite clearly dead but yet still fights on and on and will never, ever stop’. There is just something so spinechillingly creepy about it. Varela’s descriptions were so fantastic. They are definitely creepy and gross, and there is a MAJOR content warning for body horror. But I found the way the shades were described with their broken limbs, black veins and caved in heads, just so disgustingly fantastic!

The plotline surrounding the Iron Heart and how Heartstone was made also got rreeeal dark and I absolutely loved it. It was so unexpected, I was shook. There’s a moment in a room where Crier just freezes as she realises the truth and then you freeze when you realise what she’s realised, it was just amazing. Where Crier’s War was perhaps a little lighter, based within the safety of the palace, now that Ayla and Crier have left the confines of the palace, they are faced with a world darker than even I, someone who reads a lot of dark books, had anticipated.

Things got real gay

Crier oh Crier my sweet, sweet Crier. The love she has for Ayla is seriously unmatched. This Automa is literally fighting to the death and all she can think about is Ayla. It is so funny but also so sweet and tender. Meanwhile there’s Ayla who’s refusing to think about Crier at all even though she’ll see random day to day objects like a hairbrush or a bathtub and immediately think about Crier. The way these two are so constantly in the other’s thoughts was just adorable and so so beautiful. And their reunion scene is one of my favourites in the book. The horror and shock and disbelief is hilarious to read and also it’s just really really gay. There are so many moments of soft queer yearning and longing and glancing looks and holding hands and constantly checking back to make sure the other is okay, I love them to pieces. This book just gives us sapphic joy and I love it.

Other characters

I loved that we got to spend a bit more time with characters we didn’t get to see as much of in the first book, particularly Queen Junn of Varn, the Mad Queen, the Bone Eater. We saw her briefly in Crier’s War but she plays a much more important role in this book. I love seeing female monarchs kicking butts and ruling shit and Junn, as a queen who had to take the throne whilst still a teenager, is that to a tee. She’s had to build this air of ferocity and madness in an attempt to get people to fear her because it’s the only way they’d listen to a young woman. I also appreciated getting to see more of Storme and hear his backstory finally about how the heck he survived the village raid and made it to Queen Junn’s court. There’s also some really sweet anecdotes about the relationship between Junn and Storme, and despite it being such a small part of the book, the hidden story of how they met is really touching and beautiful. I’m still not a Benji fan however. Benji, can you seriously stop harassing Ayla for being in love with Crier, WHO WOULDN’T LOVE HER.


We also get a deeper look into alchemy in this book! I really loved the extra worldbuilding details added thanks to our time spent in Queen Junn’s court. I really love small worldbuilding details in fantasy, so there were some really interesting alchemy creations that I appreciated, like the little birds that flew about to stop intruders. We also got a better look at alchemy in the search for Yora’s heart, that mysterious substance from the first book which we learned powered the very first Automa. I would still have liked to see more of this, but that’s because I’m a big fan of very intricate and detailed adult fantasies and so love exploring new and exciting sciences or magics or religions – I always want more of it!

So all in all, I really loved Iron Heart! I enjoyed Crier’s War but loved this sequel even more. The darkness was unexpected but that’s part of what made me love this book as it provided such a deadly, tense atmosphere for the book. And finally, of course Crier and Ayla’s relationship continued to be both the sweetest and gayest relationship in YA and I will love them forever.

Book review: These Witches Don’t Burn by Isobel Sterling

Title: These Witches Don’t Burn by Isobel Sterling

Publisher: Razorbill

Publication date: 28 May 2019

Genre: Young adult | Fantasy |Witches

Page extent: 336 pages


Goodreads blurb: Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

This book has been on my TBR for so long, and I don’t know why I hadn’t picked it up yet but just add that to the list of reasons why I hate myself because this so good?! It’s so cute and funny, full of very fun (and very queer) relationships, all mixed up in a delicious barrel of blood magic and elemental magic which are the TWO BEST KINDS OF MAGIC. Anyway I’m mad at myself for not reading this sooner because I enjoyed this so much!

These Witches Don’t Burn follows elemental witch Hannah in the aftermath of a very bad breakup. But when Hannah starts seeing signs that a blood witch has come to town, she must team up with her ex to hunt them down because no one else believes her. Enter new hot cutie Morgan, just who Hannah needs to complicate her life more!

I’m going to start by getting my one major peeve about this book out of the way quickly: why oh why oh why oh why do so many YA books insist on plot that hinges off parents and other responsible adults making an environment so toxic and terrifying for a child that they would rather BE KILLED BY A BLOOD WITCH than talk to you about the situation?

Okay short mini rant over, onto the good stuff! I didn’t expect this to be as funny as it was (I have no idea why, maybe because I don’t really associate fantasy with humour?) But Hannah has such a great voice, she’s funny and sarcastic (my favourite form of humour) and thus I loved her. She gets so angry at her ex, I thought their relationship was perfect, it really exemplified the kind of messy awkward breakups that happen in high school. Victoria, as set up as the brooding evil ex, is obviously therefore my favourite. I mean Morgan is fine, she was a nice enough character if a little bland and lacking something defining I could talk about right now. But Victoria was just so fucking confident and powerful and kind of a little mean, but also very obviously still had feelings for Hannah which makes her vulnerable (and thus more dangerous). Which just made her such a perfect character for me!

The whole environment of this book was just very cute and very fun. The pacing was excellent, there’s lots of action, there’s lots of fires and magic and witchy coven meetings. I particularly liked the odd little bits of magic we got to see that really helped build this world up: for example, the binding rings or tattoos used to keep children from accidentally revealing their magic, to the very cool air bubble things that can be used to send messages, to more traditional witchy things like pentagrams and blood magic animal sacrifices. (Gotta love that blood magic).

This was such a fun read, I had such a great time reading it. Whilst I’m still mad that I didn’t read this earlier, it does mean I don’t have to wait for the sequel because it’s already out!

30 Days of Pride: Memoirs

Hi everyone,

I really haven’t been a big memoir or nonfiction reader in the past (like….really not at all), and it’s something I want to remedy in 2020! Whilst the first half of the year I’ve completely failed at that goal (I’ve read a grand total of 1 and that was two weeks ago), I’m going to be making a big effort to fix this over the next 6 months. So I thought I’d give a shout out to some of the queer memoirs and biographies that I’m aiming to read in the next few months!

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

In the Dream House is the memoir I’ve read, and I just read it a few weeks ago! I am in awe of Carmen Maria Machado and the strength it must have taken to live through this, but also to relive it when she wrote this book. In the Dream House is a memoir about living through an abusive queer relationship. It is so powerful, every single sentence has been written so carefully. I was absolutely blown away.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

This was a very recent purchase so I haven’t quite had time to read it yet, but I’m so excited to! This is a collection of essays by LGBTQIA+ activist George M Johnson. All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, family and Black joy.

Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno

Releasing on August 1, Tomboyland is an essay collection about gender and identity in the American Midwest, following Melissa’s journey through life and questions gender, queerness and class, and how our upbringing impacts these.

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele

Patrisse Khan-Cullors is one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is her memoir, about her life growing up as a queer Black woman in America, and the hashtag that birthed the BLM movement.

We Have Always Been Here by Samira Habib

We Have Always Been Here is a queer Muslim memoir. Samira Habib tells of her childhood in Pakistan as an Ahmadi Muslim, a small sect that faces threats from Islamic extremists who believe them to be blasphemous. She talks of her move to Canada, the bullies and racism she faced there, and her journey exploring sexuality, faith and love.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

The only biography on this list, The Trauma Cleaner is a book about the life of Sandra Pankhurst, a trans woman, drag queen, sex worker and founder of a trauma cleaning business, who faced a lifetime of transphopbia and hate but fought through to create a business that would help people at their worst.

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

From award-winning poet Saeed Jones, this is a coming-of-age memoir about a gay, Black, Southern man. How We Fight For Our Lives is both a love letter to Jones’ mother and an examination of race and queerness in the US.

Sissy: a Coming of Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

I just picked up a copy of this at my local library and can’t wait to jump in! (Update at time of scheduling: okay I’ve actually jumped into this and so far it’s so good, and is very confronting in the way it reveals the horrific impact of enforcing gender norms on young kids). This looks like it will be both amusing as well as a blueprint for transinclusive feminism. It’s described as a memoir about growing up wondering if “you’re (a) a boy, (b) a girl, (c) something in between, or (d) all of the above”.

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider is a collection of speeches and essays from Black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde. This collection examines class, racism, sexism, homophobia, and ageism.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

And last but very much not least is the only graphic novel on this list, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. I won’t lie, I was highly intrigued over this graphic novel from one sentence in the blurb “bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction”. I’m already sold. But if you need to know more, this autobiography started as a way to help Maia come out to eir family as nonbinary and asexual, and is a guide to the meaning of gender identity and how to think about it.

I hope you’ve found a few books to add to your TBRs! Do you need memoirs often? If you have any recommendations, do let me know in the comments as I’m keen to read a lot more!

30 Days of Pride: The Tropes to Top all the Tropes

Hi everyone,

And finally we’re here, day 3 of my ode to tropes. Today we’re featuring two brilliant tropes. First up, is monster romance (which rather got out of hand as it turns out I love quite a few). Secondly, we’ve got a trope hugely important to all of us in the queer community: found family.

Monster romance

I am a sucker for monster romance. Give me dark monsters falling in love with soft, cinnamon rolls everyday.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Let’s start with a book I’m pretty sure might be THE sapphic book of the year. Releasing in July, Girl, Serpent, Thorn is about a princess who is poisonous to touch. When she tries to rid herself of her curse with the help of a demon, she unleashes unimaginable consequences and must question everything about herself. Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a book with a monster girlfriend, a morally grey princess, a descent to villainy, and wings!

Blood Countess by Lana Popović

So whilst Blood Countess doesn’t have a typical ‘monster girlfriend’, you can’t get more monsterous than the most prolific female serial killer of all time. Hence I think this book deserves to be included in this trope! This is a dark, horror retelling of Countess Elizabeth Báthory, the inspiration for Countess Dracula from the POV of Anna, a servant in Elizabeth’s castle. Check out my full review here.

Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

In Missing, Presumed Dead we have a ghost, Jane, who’s out for revenge on the person who killed her. Lexi, a woman who can see how a person dies, sees Jane’s death but doesn’t do anything to stop it. So when Jane sticks around to destroy her murderer, she enlists Lexi’s help. And monster romance begin. Check out my full review here.

Beyond the Black Door by A.M Strickland

In Beyond the Black Door, not only do we get a gorgeous asexual biromantic heroine, we also get a monster romance! This is a dark and lush YA fantasy with people who can walk through the souls of others, and I’m not going to say anything else about the monster romance because spoilers!

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

In Sawkill Girls, there’s a dark and spooky island setting, where girls keep going missing and there’s lots of talk about a monster hiding in the woods. This books has a horrory-mythical vibe, a focus on female friendship and monsters to fall in love with.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

Does a gothic horror tale about murder and monsters and a man who loves himself some of both sound interesting? Then this is the novella for you! The night is dark and full of corpses. The town of Elendhaven was left to die thanks to a plague outbreak and then stripped of all its industry. But the people in Elendhaven are going to have their revenge. Enter evil, murderering magicians and monsters.

In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard

A dark sapphic Asian retelling of Beauty and the Beast inspired by Vietnamese mythology beats all other Beauty and the Beast retellings, I said it. Even more so when the Beast is a motherfucking dragon.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

And we’re ending with another ghost romance, one that is already one of the most talked about books of the year! Not much gets better than a gay, trans, Latinx brujo accidentally summoning the wrong ghost then falling in love with him.

Found Family

Found family is quite possibly the most important and queerest of all these tropes I’ve talked about, which is why I’m leaving it to last. It’s a trope that resonates with those of us who can’t trust the family we’re born into, and instead must find our own in life to keep us going. It’s such a powerful, hopeful trope and I think these books really emphasise that positivity.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

This is one of the most gorgeous, wholesome, joyful, queerest books in the whole world, I love it! Featuring found family at it’s very best, The House in the Cerulean Sea follows Linus, a caseworker who goes to investigate an orphanage with some very special magical children (of whomst one is the Antichrist). This book is warm and cosy and utterly delightful. Check out my full review here.

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

K.Ancrum is an absolute genius and one of my auto-buy authors, no matter what she writes. Her debut The Wicker King was incredible, as is her second novel, The Weight of the Stars. This features a group of rough kids who’ve found each other thanks to Ryann, a girl who dreams of going to space. It has a soft sapphic relationship, Ancrum’s usual lyrical writing, and a beautiful page design!

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

I’ll take your found family and raise you a found family made up of queer, librarian spies fighting fascists in a Western-style dystopian future. Yes that does sound as incredible as you think it is. This story is told from the POV of Esther, a stowaway who catches a ride when the librarians come to town and then realise she’s in the place she’s always needed to be.

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

This is an absolutely weird and wild Sherlock Holmes retelling where Holmes is a pansexual female sorceress and Watson is a trans man who just can’t catch a break as he’s beset by vampires, pirates and sharks during his efforts to help out his fellow lodger. Full of fun and friendship and acceptance, everything the found family trope is known for.

And that’s a wrap on my trope posts! What’s your favourite trope? Are there any you love that I’ve missed?

30 Days of Pride: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

Publisher: Tor

Publication date: 17 March 2020

Genre: Adult | Fantasy

Page extent: 393 pages


Goodreads blurb: A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Well my heart has melted into a puddle of rainbows, this is ghost Rachel speaking. I come to you from beyond the grave with the gift of a book review for the happiest, most joyful, so fucking queer, loveliest, sweetest, glorious book I’ve read all year. This was magnificent. I read this book a month or two ago near the start of the coronavirus stress and isolation here in Australia, and I’m so glad I could escape into this world with these beautiful characters during that lonely time.

Linus is a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY). He is assigned a new, highly classified case whereby he must go to a secret orphanage on an island where six special magical children live, to investigate if the orphanage is up to DICOMY standard. There, he is changed and renewed by this children and their caretakers, Arthur and Zoe, as he comes to know their lives and see underneath the monster society has labelled them as.

These six children are the life blood of this book, giving it the hope and joy which made this book so special. Each of these children are special, more powerful than other magical children which is why they have come to be placed in this particular orphanage. We have:

  • Talia: a female gnome (the being female makes her unique as this has never before been heard of). She is such a fierce character, full of threats and bluster and grump, and yet at a moment’s notice can be touchingly sweet.
  • Sal: a teen who can turn into a Pomeranian, though one who can also pass this magic on if he bites you. He has had an awful, terrible childhood, passing through 12 orphanages until he was placed on the island. He is terrified of adults and constantly startled and frightened, but grows into his confidence as he learns to have faith that this home is permanent.
  • Theodore: a highly intelligent wyvern, clumsy as he hasn’t quite grown into his wings yet, who has a secret hoard of treasure and a particular fondness for buttons, who looks at the world with such beauty, even the smallest things imaginable.
  • Pree: a traumatised young forest sprite, who saw her mother die in front of her, who is dealing with powers she struggles to control, full of teenage flounce.
  • Chauncey: the adorable and sweet Chauncey, a creature no one knows quite what is, with a see-through body and tentacles, who’s only dream in the world is to help people by being a bellhop, and yet has only ever been told he is a monster.
  • Lucy: and then we have the enigmatic and morbid Lucy, the Antichrist himself, but still just a six year old child who is overwhelmed with nightmares of spiders and destruction, but who has a brilliant love for music and cooking.

I cannot express the beauty of these characters in words. They are so perfectly whole and wonderful, Klune has created a cast of characters who make this story feel like home. You feel as much at home with these children as Linus does, as they drag him from his dreary office job into a world of colour. And dear old Linus. What can I say about a man who sees himself as below ordinary, as the most unspecial, unimportant person on the planet, but who does what he can with what he’s got. I would say his hate for himself when he such a wonderful person is utterly destroying, but that would be wrong, because Linus doesn’t hate himself, somehow it’s much worse than that: he thinks he is invisible, devoid of any use, and his indifference and acceptance of what he sees as uselessness is so much worse to see. Because he is a beautiful person, so able to see hope and love in the world and yet unable to accept it as something he could have. But these children, Arthur and Zoe, provide an opportunity for his life to gain colour.

Arthur himself is an enigma for much of the book, standing on the edge of the story but always looking and seeing Linus for who he is. He helps Linus to see his worth, much like he helps the children to see theirs.

In addition to the beauty of these characters, Klune makes subtle (and sometimes decidedly unsubtle) jabs at our capitalist, surveillance state, from the robotic blank slate that is the DICOMY offices, to the obscene 250 page Rules and Regulations manuel, to the posters decorated everywhere – Say Something, See Something. This integration of satire adds to the humour of the children to create this funny and inviting novel, set in a world so much like our own in so many ways.

Klune’s writing is full of humour and smiles. I felt so happy to see this world and be around these characters and I long to see more of them. I didn’t want this world to end, but it did, and I was so full of happy tears and joy at this delightful book which brightened up a very dark and lonely time in isolation.

30 Days of Pride: The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Title: The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: 24 March 2020

Genre: Adult | Fantasy

Page extent: 437 pages


Goodreads blurb: Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

The City We Became is another masterpiece from speculative ficiton legend N.K Jemisin. As a non-American who has only spent five days in New York, I marvelled at the character and essence Jemisin evoked of this city. I expected great things from this book, because Jemisin is the author of my favourite adult fantasy series (The Broken Earth trilogy), and all my expectations were thoroughly met! This book entwines a brilliantly unique and imaginative a premise and the harsh and confronting realities of racism in the US, in a way that manages to bring New York to life and makes me feel like I know the city in a way I never imagined I’d be able to.

The City We Became is about what happens when the city of New York becomes alive. Sometimes, when a city grows large and develops a unique enough culture, that city’s soul can become alive. But the birth process of the city is dangerous and destructive, and smashes through other parallel universes in the process. When New York comes alive, the process is a bit different. There is such distinctive culture in each of the boroughs, that each borough awakens – and they choose one person (an avatar) to protect them, one person who personifies the culture of that city. So at the start of The City We Became, six people, one for each borough and one for the city of New York, suddenly realise they are a city. And the city needs protecting because during the birthing process, the avator of New York was injured. The Enemy is trying to kill the City whilst it’s weak, and it’s up to the five boroughs to find each other and protect the city from an attack that would kill millions.

I am in awe of Jemisin. I have never been to New York, and yet Jemisin has made me feel like I know the city. The way the culture of the boroughs is embedded in the characters is so well done, from the way they dress, to the way they act, to the the tensions between each of the characters, these characters fully embody the spirit of their home. Obviously, I’ve only spent 5 days in New York, so I feel like Americans and New Yorkers will be way more able to actually speak about how realistic and well this characterisation does actually represent the boroughs. But as an international outsider, I thought it was done fabulously, and I feel like I really get who and what each of the boroughs is. There were all so different and even though we switched between lots of POVs, every one felt so different. We have:

  • Manny: the newby to New York, who literally stepped off a train platform and the city immediately took him over and made him forget his past, New York giving him the new start he moved here for. He seems to have a very dark side, a memory of a coldness and cruelty to his past to represent the coldness and cruelty of Manhattan’s business class.
  • Bronca: if I had to choose a favourite, I’d choose Bronca. She’s the oldest of the team, Native American, queer, director of the Bronx Arts Centre. She’s fought all her life with AIM (the American Indian Movement), and she’s tired and doesn’t want to fight again. But she is so fierce and tough and her close relationship with daughter-figure Veneza, another employee at the Arts Centre, is sweet and so protective.
  • Brooklyn: points to the best fucking entrance goes to Brooklyn, who managed to fight off an alien with a music beat and goddamn stilleto heels, she is an icon! Black, rich, councilwoman, mother, Brooklyn is as stylish as they come. She has a past as a rapper, and uses her music to give her power.
  • Padmini: the woman from Queens, incredibly clever, but who’s bored out of her mind putting her mathematical brain to use in finance because that’s where they money is, which she needs to support her family.
  • Aislyn: Staten Island, white, racist, doesn’t feel like part of New York, scared of change, scared of foreigners, someone who just wants to be left alone.
  • And then there’s New York themselves, the homeless, skinny young man who would die for the city – but he isn’t going to let The Enemy win that fucking easily.

The diversity and uniqueness of each of these individuals, and of the boroughs they represent, was so vivid. I feel like I know New York even though I’m not a New Yorker, and not even American.

What’s just as special and as important as this incredible characterisation, is the way Jemisin entwines this hugely creative concept with the confronting insidiousness of racism and otherness. The Enemy, this creature from another world, is able to manipulate people in New York who are susceptible to bigotry – it makes them easier to manipulate into attacking the avatars of New York. From police turning into monsters, to the white women calling the cops, Jemisin showcases the way societal structures can be twisted to uphold white supremacy. What I found most haunting, most insidious and most terrifying, was the way The Enemy interacted with Aislyn, Staten Island. This is a woman who’s had a pretty shit upbringing, she lives in an abusive household, she isn’t a loud and vocal racist like her dad though she prefers if foreigners stay away from her, she’s there as the silent, complicit white person. And the way The Enemy hooks its claws into Staten Island slowly, the way it uses friendship and niceness as a weapon, the way Staten Island is willing to give it the benefit of the doubt because of how it looks, is terrifying because Jemisin made it so easy to see how white supremacy is upheld – not by the white supremacists, but by the people like Aislyn who don’t say anything, who choose to believe what’s easy and not what’s right. I want to recommend this book to every white person I know.

So suffice to say: I fucking loved this book. N.K Jemisin remains one of my favourite authors. Her books are so unique, so well researched, and she combines these huge creative powerhouse concepts with vicious take downs of societal structures and the racism they uphold. I cannot recommend enough!

Book review: The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

Title: The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

Publisher: Tor Books

Publication date: 11 February 2020

Genre: Fantasy | Adult

Page extent: 464 pages


Goodreads blurb: What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

“Nothing in this world has earned the power to frighten you, Csorwe,” he said. “You have looked your foretold death in the face and turned from it in defiance. Nothing in this world or any other deserves your fear.”

Hello to another incredible fantasy of 2020. I absolutely loved this debut! It set itself up to be a pretty incredible sounding fantasy: sacrifice, necromancy, terrifying gods, a deal with a wizard, portal travel, f/f slow burn romance, TUSKS. And I definitely thought it delivered! It’s one of those “it’s definitely not for everyone” fantasies. It’s quite slow in places, and has extensive (and I mean extensive) worldbuilding with all of these cool flying ships, portals, the Maze and the different worlds to explain and explore. But if you like a long, detailed, super queer fantasy, then this is for you!

The story begins with Csorwe, a young woman destined to be sacrificed on her fourteenth birthday to her god. But, when it comes her time to die, she instead runs away with a wizard, Sethennai, who offers to take her on and train her to be his sword and right hand person. We follow Csorwe on her journey to help the wizard find an ancient artifact, the Reliquary of Pentravesse, an object that claims to hold incredible magical knowledge developed by the legendary Pentravesse himself.

First of all, I had no idea this had portal travel going in, and it was so much fun! This novel really blends sci fi with fantasy, combining the best parts of magic with technological advances to create this incredible world. At the start, it can be difficult to get your head around – I wasn’t quite sure how The Maze worked for a while. But as Csorwe expands her knowledge of the world and discovers what living is really like, so do you! Larkwood has created such a huge, expansive world, full of imagination and wonderfully describes it. Each different world we enter is fully realised and created such a perfectly clear picture in my head, from the Shrine where Csorwe grew up, to the city of Tlaanthothe, to the dying world within the Maze (the inbetween space of the portals). It reminded me rather of Dragon Age actually, with the same type of expansive world, these gates that lead to an inbetween space, so full of different peoples and of course, magic. I think if you love the Dragon Age games, this book is definitely for you. Like DragonAge, religion is a huge element of this book which is something I always love in fantasies because I find them so creative and unique in every book I read. In The Unspoken Name we are introduced to several gods and the people who follow them, from Csorwe and the Shrine of the Unspoken orc priestesses to Shuthmilli’s nine gods, one of the nine fallen to evil who attempts to re-enter the world through mages (of which Shuthmilli is one). I loved exploring each of these and I expect we’ll see more of these religious theories play a part in the next book.

As much as I loved the worldbuilding (and given this is perhaps one of my favourite world’s I’ve ever read about, I love it a lot), my favourite thing about The Unspoken Name were the characters. There is something about a character who is just a total mess that makes you love them (and we have several!!)

Csorwe: our main character, so devoted to Sethennai, the wizard who rescued her and determined to pay him back for what she sees as giving her life. Her growth over the book is so brilliant, from the quiet sacrificial bride, to the fiersome, but blunt, sword of Sethennai, to a woman who must toy with betrayal to do the right thing.

Tal: the much needed lightness and humour of the book! God he has had a rough ticket in life. He’s so full of anger and resentment that he is never noticed by Sethennai and thus spends the entire book attempting to undermine Csorwe so for once he will be centre of Sethennai’s attention.

Shuthmili: probably my favourite because there’s nothing I love more than the most powerful, in control woman in the room completely losing it. I LOVE HER. She’s able to wield incredibly powerful magic, and is due to be bound into a group of magic soldiers with one mind. But then she meets Csorwe, and well, things go a bit off course.

Oranna: our wonderful necromancer. She dances in and out of our gaze and we’re never really quite sure if she’s the villain we should be looking at. Searching for immortality, she is always two steps ahead of Sethennai and his crew.

And then there’s Sethennai himself: the wizard controlling all the strings and so secure in the faith and loyalty of his crew. Well, see for yourself what that gets him….

I really just adored this fantasy. It kept me so immersed and distracted from the real world. Csorwe and Shuthmili’s relationship is of course a delight. My heart was bursting, there’s one particular scene which killed me (see above comment about a very in control woman losing all sense of control). I was so invested in all of these characters, I understood all of them so much (even if I wasn’t the best fan of them at first – sorry Tal. But then he ended up being one of my favourites!!) I really liked that we got to see short insights into the minds of each of these characters, breaking away from Csorwe at times to see what the rest of them are up to. I think that really helped get me so invested in all of them, rather than just our main character.

“No hard feelings, you piece of shit.”

Is there probably a few problems with this book? Sure. I’m never the biggest fan of time hopping in books, and there were some scenes were things fell into place a bit too easily. But I still adored this book. My issues with it didn’t detract at all from my love of these characters and my desire to see more of them!! I cannot wait for this sequel.

Book review: The Library of the Unwritten by A.J Hackwith

Title: The Library of the Unwritten by A.J Hackwith

Publisher: Ace Books

Publication date: 1 October 2019

Genre: Fantasy | Adult

Page extent: 384 pages


Goodreads blurb: In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.

Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell … and Earth.

This book is SO. FUN. I went in thinking wow, what a cool concept, and then it nailed everything and I’m so happy that a book I was anticipating lived up to all my hopes and dreams! Not only is this a fun, queer fantasy about angels and demons and librarians, but it is funny and snarky and I loved it.

Claire is Hell’s Librarian. Controlling the Unwritten Wing, Claire manages the collection of unwritten books, those ideas that an author has not yet written. But sometimes the books come to life. Claire must then hunt down the characters who escape and bring them back to the library. When she visits Earth to track down Hero, a character who escaped to go find his author, she encounters a scrap of paper that claims to be the Devil’s bible, which of course sets off a fight between heaven and hell.

I was immediately entranced with this library and the world. The writing is beautifully detailed and made for a wonderful experience just in the prose. It felt so immersive and I often find that detailed writing like this was brings me out of a story, or makes me struggle to connect – but this definitely didn’t. It was the perfect balance between detail and drama/tension. The story is immediately mysterious and throws out several questions to keep the reader interested and reading on: What’s up with Leto’s random appearance? Why was Brevity kicked out the Muses? Why is Claire so mysterious about the previous Librarian before her? What is the Devil’s Bible? It makes for such an exciting read.

I really enjoyed the exercepts from the Librarian’s handbook at the start of each chapter. Giving insights into the workings of the library as well as hinting at past and future events, much like many more of my recent favourite reads, I love the power these give me! I love knowing things the character might not know about what’s about to happen.

One of my favourite elements was the snark. Oh my god there’s so much snarkiness, I found the writing really funny. I adore snarky, sarcastic characters and there were so many sections I laughed at, then read it immediately aloud, completely out of context, to my partner.

“Lucifer’s our ruler, not a dark wizard, Leto. You can say his name,” Claire muttered.”

I also adored, of course, how inherently queer this world and these characters were. Queerness just existed. It was brought up several times so easily – the word pansexual is used in relation to the main character ( which I think might be the first time I’ve seen that actually written and acknowledged in fantasy?!? Which is awesome?!?), then the fact Hero just openly flirts and blushes with everyone, the way Leto’s back story hints at him being with a guy, it’s just all so wonderfully done. The world also very subtly portrays an Earth that sounds like it actually improved from where we are now. Little things, like the way there’s no guns in the library because humans stopped imagining them, just made it seem a more joyful and hopeful world which I really appreciated.

Our main characters are just as fun and engaging as everything else. We have:
♥️ Claire, our no-nonsense, calm and collected (outwardly…), Librarian, who’s seemingly hiding something about her past relationship with the previous Librarian, as well as her past as an Unwritten Author herself
♥️ Leto, the demon (possibly) who delivered the instruction to go to Earth in the first place, teenage boy who doesn’t know who he is or why he’s here
♥️ Brevity, short bundle of joy in a blue skinned, green haired bundle who must learn to have faith in herself to save the library
♥️ Andras, who of course is going to be odd and eccentric and creepy when he’s called the Arcanist, the mentor figure who trained Claire after the mysterious disappearance of the previous Librarian
♥️ Hero, who I think might be my favourite because I love his sass, the escaped character from the book, who blushes when people flirt with him and learns how to love others across the book, gosh he is such a precious bean and no one must hurt him

We then have the angels, those heaven bound creatures determined to gain control of the Devil’s Bible themselves:
♥️ Ramiel, fallen angel who’s trying to use this quest to get back in the good books with God and get let back inside of heavens gates
♥️ Uriel, the face of God, justice and righteousness, and all around bitch

This unlikely ragtag team must save the library! And the world of course….that too!

The Library of the Unwritten is an absolute joy to read from start to end. I absolutely loved it (can you tell?!) and I feel like this is going to be the novel I spent all year trying to push other people to reading. It’s unashamedly queer and fresh and funny and brings a new story and twist to the library setting. Bring on the sequel!

Book review: Keep Faith (+ GIVEAWAY!)

Title: Keep Faith – Adiba Jaigirdar, Bogi Takács, C.T. Callahan, Elly Ha, Gabriela Martins, Julia Rios, Kate Brauning, Kess Costales, Mary Fan, Mayara Barros, Megan Manzano, Shenwei Chang, Sofia Soter, and Vanshika Prusty

Publication date: 1 September 2019

Genre: Various!

Page extent: 338 pages

Goodreads blurb: Keep faith, in the broad sense of the word. It doesn’t have to be a religion, unless you want it to be. It doesn’t have to speak about the universe, unless you want it to. It doesn’t have to be about anyone but yourself. Keep faith, in other planets and other houses; be it in the face of danger, grief, or while you spread your arms and laugh. Keep faith the same way you keep hope, bright and shiny, ever present. Keep faith in all your queer, beautiful self. Because you deserve it.

This is an anthology of 14 short stories, by 14 queer authors, where faith and queerness intersect. Incidental, purposeful, we-exist-and-that’s-why queerness. And faith meaning whatever you want it to mean.

I already raved about this anthology earlier in the week when I got to interview the wonderful editor and contributer Gabhi Martins. But today I’m back with a full review of Keep Faith, a short story anthology dealing with the intersection of faith and queerness. I am also super excited to be running a giveaway – to win a copy of Keep Faith, check in at the end of the post for how to enter!

I was already tearing up at Gabhi’s editor’s note, so I think we all know this one is going to be emotional! But what it also is, is an incredible diverse and nuanced discussion on spirtuality. There is such a range of genres and styles, there is a story in here for everyone. So I thought I’d showcase the brilliance of each story with a mini review of each – enjoy!

And I Entreated – Bogi Takács

I don’t think I quite realised how empty science fiction is of faith and religion until reading this short story and seeing it so represented. This is a wholly Jewish tale set on a space station, with one of the coolest concepts I’ve seen in a while: our MC has been turned into a houseplant. I just love that idea!! The mother, now houseplant, has to witness the struggles of their trans kid, clueless husband and non-binary assistant work together in their absence. With nuanced discussion of what it means to be non-binary and how that fits into Judaism, this story was an excellent start to this anthology, both humourous and touching in it’s telling. 

Bigger Than Us – Megan Manzano 

What a sweet relationship!! Jude has just come into her powers, and can now perform magic. Her powers make her a servant to the Goddess Valencia and mean she must leave everything she’s known behind to serve the goddess. But Jude doesn’t want to leave Mari, the girl she loves. This is such a sweet romance about love, sacrifice, and having faith that the one you love will always come back. 

Droplets of Starlight – Vanshika Prusty

A god who hates their worshippers’ happiness is no god of ours.

Oh gosh how poetic and incredibly beautiful is the prose in this story! It felt almost like a dream story for how magical and intense the slow development of Zoya and Payal’s relationship was. And what a fabulous discussion of religion and gods and love – wonderful to see this so clearly on the page. 

Godzilla – Kate Brauning 

I think people suffer and stagnate when they try to meet other people’s ideals. You’re a person, not an ideal, and if you think there’s purpose and joy for you in following something other people won’t like, then screw them. You are the one who has to live your life.

Yes yes yes yessssssss a story with supportive friendships, kick ass feminists who don’t want to perform their queerness so you can pretend you’re accepting (Y.E.S), about not being enough for anyone, about being you, unashamedly and unapologetically. I really wish I could do what this story says and stop caring what people thought.

Golden Hue – Mayara Barros 

Such a different look at faith to the other stories so far! Instead of the religious focus, this was more a look at spirituality, at what happens after death, about how even after death the spirits of our loved ones are there supporting us. With cool magic, including healing magic which I always loooooove, and super fierce beasts! 

How Not to Die (Again) – Gabriela Martins

Oooooh this is one of my favs!! It was so much fun and there was a little mystery as Margô the MC keeps dying and waking up a day later, and figuring out why it all seems to revolve around Josie. Super cute development of relationship – both MCs were really well characterised and I had such a sense of who they were even though it’s only a short story which always impresses me! Loved the theme of having faith in yourself as well.

Life is a Story of Change – Elly Ha

Ohhhh how I adore books with mental health rep yes please and thank you! Elly Ha’s story feels so relatable, it felt very real and honest in how she discussed falling in love and how mental illness, asexuality and aromance adds to this. Some great thoughts on being true to yourself alone and using the definitions which you and you alone feel comfortable with, not forcing yourself into a box just so others understand you. 

Nothing Left Standing – C.T Callahan

Well this was emotional! From the very first word to the very last, this story felt oh so impactful and emotional. The despair of the MC, Aaron, was so powerful. This story very much focused on the emotional pain of the MC as opposed to action/plot and I LOVED it for it!! One of my favourites. ♥️♥️

On the Other Side – Shenwei Chang 

Another totally different look at faith and queerness, this time all combined with the pressure and grief of not getting to tell a parent who you are, which felt very real and relatable. So interesting to see an insight into the Buddhist faith as well. Throughout this story, you really got a sense of peace, and hope, which was lovely.

Read the Room – Sofia Soter

Oh my gosh, this was great! I loved the poly relationship, loved the nervous flirty behaviour of all the characters, they were all so adorable trying to hide their feelings but totally failing. I also loved the background and concept of telling fortunes with cards to guide the story as well! 

Ten Steps to Becoming a Successful Vlogger – Julia Rios

You matter.

Guh these stories about having faith in yourself really do pack a hard punch. Potentially (read: extremely and 100%) because it’s something I struggle with so much. This was such an interesting and different style to all the others, told as if a vlogger was saying this online. It resulted in a very unique voice and I totally could imagine this as a vlog as they were so enthusiastic and genuine in the story.

The Language of Magic – Adiba Jaigirdar

This story just made me even more excited to read Adiba’s debut novel next year! This was a mysterious and magical fantasy, about having faith in magic when it calls to you, about believing the unbelievable, all to be with the one you love before it’s too late. 

The Messenger – Mary Fan

😭😭This was beautiful! I adored the concept – humans as machines yes please! The ending is just perfect. Stunning story about space travel, immortality, humanity, and finding joy in places you don’t expect. 

Whatever She Wants – Kess Costales 

I shouldn’t notice these things, but I do, and if I am perfect as I am, then I shouldn’t be ashamed. But I am ashamed and terrified and I keep looking anyway.

Ahhh what a story to end on!! This was such a lovely contemporary romance. It felt so like things I’ve felt, all that worry and guilt about how you feel, about what it means to be made in God’s image. And it was such a lovely, heartwarming note to end on! 

Keep Faith is an anthology with such a diversity in genre, representation and voice. There are stories that had me close to tears and ones that had me laughing. There are romances and heartbreaks. Fantasy and sci fi. And through all of them are such interesting, different but very honest thoughts on what it means to have faith and be queer. 


I am so lucky to also give you the chance to win a copy of Keep Faith! This is my very first giveaway and it’s such an awesome book to do this with! To enter the giveaway, comment on this post, or on my Twitter annoucement, letting me know what faith means to you!

You can purchase Keep Faith from gumroads here!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco