F/F February: Most anticipated 2020 sapphic releases

Hi everyone,

This February I’ve been participating in FFFebruary, a readathon run by Charlotte (@darashirazi) on Twitter. As well as reading only sapphic books for all of February, I’ve also been posting every day on Instagram to celebrate my favourite f/f books. So continuing this trend, today I want to talk about the 2020 sapphic releases I can’t wait to read! This list is by no means exhaustive, it’s just some of the incredible books coming our way this year!

The Seep by Chana Porter

This book published in January, and my pre-order finally arrived in Australia this week! I’m already half way through and it is such an interesting read. Part social commentary, part alien invasion, The Seep follows trans woman Trina as tries to grieve and recover from when her wife wished to be a baby again, and the aliens give her that wish.

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Another January release, Scavenge the Stars follows a chaotic bisexual in this genderbend retelling of The Counte of Monte Cristo. Not gonna lie, a woman with a dagger on the cover will always sell a book to me.

Cherry Beach by Laura McPhee-Browne

Cherry Beach is all about the power and love of friendship. Hetty and Ness have been best friends forever, and are now moving from Melbourne to Toronto. But Ness has a secret: she’s hopelessly in love with Hetty. In Toronto, in contrast to their life growing up, Hetty’s life seems to disintegrate, whilst Ness meets Hope. But as Hetty falls apart, Ness might lose the person she loves most. This dark, sapphic book just sounds so incredible! Publishing: February 4

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

This is the first of Gailey’s 2020 releases and it is a good one!!! Queer librarian spies on horseback trying to save the world from fascists with resistance propaganda in a Western style setting. Publishing: February 4

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Mercies is inspired by the true events of the Vardø storm, which wiped out all the men of Vardø, and the 1620 witch trials. A witchhunter Scotsman and his wife, Maren, travel to Vardø to find the women independent and free. As Maren grows close to one of the women, the witchhunter sees evil and seeks to rule. I can’t wait for this feminist, witchy novel about love and evil to arrive. Publishing: February 11

The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

Csorwe knows when she’s going to die. She’s a sacrifice to her gods. But on the day she’s supposed to die, a powerful mage offers her freedom to follow him, and become his sworn shield, assassin and thief. Also including a very slow burn f/f romance! Publishing: February 11

We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia

This sequel to 2019’s excellent We Set the Dark on Fire is one I can’t wait for! After We Set the Dark on Fire was written from Dani’s POV, We Unleash the Merciless Storm looks to Carmen and her role in the rebellion. Publishing: February 25

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

This is set in the same universe as The Winner’s Trilogy (which I haven’t actually read so know nothing about). But sapphic fantasy is always high on my list to read so here this is! Nirrim is one of the low-class inhabitants of the Ward. There, she cannot wear colour or eat sweets. When she encounters Sid, a traveller who brings rumours of magic, she is persuaded to seek the magic for herself. Publishing: March 3

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

2020 is the year of queer witches, and this is just one of them! This one sounds particularly intriguing to me as it’s inspired by Celtic mythology, features a bi teen in a conservative small Irish town who suffers from somatic OCD, and an infamous serial killer called The Butcher King. Sign me up right now. Publishing: March 3

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

The second of Sarah Gailey’s super queer 2020 releases! And what a bad ass cover. A group of queer witches must try to right a wrong (a dead boy) but their magic keeps failing! Publishing: March 3

The Love Hypothesis by Laura Steven

Bi! Romcom! Science! Geek! I adored Laura Steven’s The Exact Opposite of Okay, it holds the award for funniest book I’ve ever read. So of course when she announced a bisexual romcom about a teen who discovers a scientfic breakthrough that makes you irresistible to everyone around you, I have to read it! Publishing: March 5

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

OHHHH this one sounds so good! During WW2, Hetty is tasked with evacuating and looking after the mammals from the natural history museum. At Lockwood Manor, where they are to stay for the duration of the war, Hetty finds herself drawn to the mysterious and traumatised daughter of Lord Lockwood, Lucy. But animals start disappearing and Hetty is sure she’s being followed down dark corridors… Publishing: March 10

Don’t You Know I Love You by Laura Bogart

Angelina only just escaped from under her violent fathers’ thumb. But after a car accident, now she’s back. As her father aggressively pushes for an accident settlement, she grows close to Janet, an artist who inspires her to create unsettling art that shows her scars and forces her to face the abuse. Publishing: March 10

Queerleaders by M.B Guel

Cheerleading but make it really really gay: enter this book. Mack doesn’t expect to fit into at school. She’s well used to being different. But now she’s mysteriously become a cheerleader magnet, but is it a set up, or could she actually have a chance at romance? Publishing: March 15

Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight

Another one that sounds so incredibly interesting with an odd profession at its heart! Nell works in biological sciences exploring poisons and antidotes. She’s also obsessed with her mentor, Dr Joan, writing journals and research notes dedicated to her, as the lives of her and Joan along with several others become tangled in a web of desire and affairs. Also check out that cover!!! Publishing: March 31

Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran

An f/f romance between a queen and her SPYMASTER?! Hot damn, yes please. Together, they must decide what to sacrifice, for both the kingdom, and each other. Publishing: April 6

Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlan

Codi and her friends spend most of their time inside playing games, not out at parties. But when they decide to crash a party, Codi finds popular kid Ricky, kissing another boy, and the two form an unexpected friendship. As the summer progresses, Ricky takes Codi under his wing and introduces her to popularity, parties, and a cute girl called Lydia. Only problem is, her friends have no idea. Publishing: April 21

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Another stunning cover!! On a pirate ship, Flora takes the identity Florian to earn respect amongst the crew. But on board, Florian is drawn to passenger Lady Evelyn, who is on her way to an arranged marriage. With witches and mermaids, gender fluidity and Asian folklore, I predict this book will be one of my favourites of the year! Publishing: May 5

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

Nothing beats the description from the author’s Twitter for this one: “pitched as stranger things in the french revolution, there’s an ensemble cast of queer disasters, two girls in love and a bi love triangle. plus strange science, swashbuckling action and a little magic 💀”. THE BI LOVE TRIANGLE IS HERE AND WE LOVE TO SEE IT. Also I lucked out with an ARC for this and I literally cannot get the song “I’ve got a golden ticket” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out of my head when thinking about this. Publishing: May 5

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

Lesbian witch forms a coven with three popular girls after she casts a spell for them. This books aims to subvert the traditional ‘cliquey mean girls’ and instead focuses on the strength of female friendship as they fight the witchhunters who want to steal their magic. Publishing: May 12

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Two teens set up rival businesses, Nishat is celebrating her culture, Flávia is appropriating. But as they get to know each other, Nishat can’t quite get over her crush. Discussions around the intersection of queerness and race by a QPOC! If you support any book this year, support this one! Publishing: May 12

The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert

A 1920’s New Orleans SUPER QUEER historical murder mystery oh my days this is perfect! I give you a tweet from the author:

“🏳️‍🌈MC Millie is bi (hello bi love triangle!)
🏳️‍🌈Her BFF Marion is gay & performs in drag
🏳️‍🌈Her aunt is a lesbian in a committed relationship w/ a woman
🏳️‍🌈They all work in a queer-friendly speakeasy
🏳️‍🌈A few people are straight I guess?”

Also it comps to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery and this makes me even more excited!!

Publishing: May 12

I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch

By day: rivals at a competitive Arts Conservatory, fighting for the chance to win a scholarship. By night: unknowingly collaborating with each other on a fanfiction graphic novel. What happens when their online personalities begin to fall in love? Any romcom with fanfiction has me SOLD! Publishing: May 26

Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

A love story about a showrunner and her assistant and what happens when they accidentally spark the paparazzi rumour mill by laughing together on a red carpet. Publishing: May 26

The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

More of that good enemies to lovers shit but make it S A P P H I C. Each year, the Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. But when Lina tries to save her brother from the fate, the friend who helped her is chosen instead. So Lina offers up herself. Enter love stuff. City dying. All the tragic must choose who to save, the city, or each other. I LOVE IT. Publishing: June 2

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smith

What could possibly go wrong when you make a binding agreement to break up at the end of a summer full of cliched romance? Well, love for one… Publishing: June 9

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

This book explores the life of a woman caught between her culture, religion and sexual identity. From the age of 12, when she was yelled at by a group of men for baring her legs in the biblical city of Bethlehem, through her time in the US, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon, we follow her as she is lead to The Ledge, a treatment facility for “love addiction”. Publishing: June 9

The Lady Upstairs by Halley Sutton

Modern day noir thriller, set in Hollywood, with a sapphic lead who spends her time blackmailing lecherous old men. But when one of her targets ends up dead, she takes on one last job to get out of the game for good. A twist on the feminist revenge story! Publishing: July 14

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

A historical f/f romance with:

• a grumpy widowed engraver working far too hard to keep her print-shop going until her son is old enough to take over

• a middle-aged lady beekeeper who goes striding about in trousers and loves bucolic poetry

•a Queen on trial in Parliament and the press

•luxuriant English gardens with extremely naughty statues

•satirical ballads about tight pants

•… and more than you probably ever wanted to know about early 19th century beekeeping!

Publishing: July 14

Afterlove by Tanya Byrne

A lesbian love story set in the afterlife! When Ash dies, she becomes a girl-reaper, someone who collects the souls of the dead and takes them to await their fate. But she vows to see her first love again, dead or alive… Publishing: August

Iron Heart by Nina Varela

Crier’s War was one of my favourite sapphic reads last year and I have no doubt Iron Heart will be just as good! Filled with all the enemies to lovers to enemies trope we could ever need, I won’t say much as I don’t want to spoil the first one if you haven’t read it yet. But watch out for this one. Also THAT COVER!! So SHINY. Publishing: September 8

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

This book has another of my favourite covers, look how gorgeous that pink is!! When Corinne’s secret girlfriend dies, she struggles to mourn for a person no one else knew existed. The only person she can talk to is her dead girlfriend’s ex. A story about making sense of grief and how to be honest with yourself. Publishing: September 15

Burning Roses by S.L Huang

Two queer older ladies, combining Western and Chinese folklore (Red Riding Hood and Hou Yi the Archer). The two must join forces to fight deadly sunbirds, and embark on a quest for immortality. Publishing: September 29

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J Hackwith

I very recently read the absolutely amazing The Library of the Unwritten and it was one of the most fun fantasy novels I’ve read in years! The sequel is out this October, and we go back to Claire and Brevity, Hero and Ramiel to solve new mysteries in the library. Oh and did I mention Claire is a pansexual librarian which literally just fills me with so much delight because it’s the first time I’ve ever seen pansexual written down in a fantasy novel before?! Publishing: October 6

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

A “tiny chaos lesbian” accidentally destroys the only person in her town who can create water and now everyone’s f**ked so she has to go save the world. Or burn it down. Publishing: October 13

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

The Never Tilting World was my first Rin Chupeco book and I really enjoyed it! A kingdom split in two, half in unending heat and sun; the other in constant snow and ice; one of twin sisters at the helm in each realm. This is the sequel and will carry on the quest to put the world back together. Publishing: November 10

Ruinsong by Julia Ember

A sapphic phantom of the opera, hell to the yes. Cadence has been forced to torture the nobility with her magic voice, under the rule of her Queen. But when an old friend comes back into her life, she has to decide whether to rebel or become a monster. God this sounds so good. Publishing: November 24

A Miracle of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

This is an f/f retelling of the Portugese myth A Miracle of Roses, where a princess wants to reverse a gift that turns all the food she touches into flowers. This sounds so different to any other fairytale I’ve read so very excited for it! Publishing: December 4

Consensual Hex by Amanda Harlowe

There isn’t much about this one in the public yet, but it sounds INCREDIBLE. The author’s website describes it as “coven of queer witches at an elite women’s college who employ their powers to exact revenge on the frat boy warlocks using magic to cover up sexual assault on campus”. Publishing: fall

Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

I give you one of the most amazing author descriptions for a book ever: “If you like: magic derived from bones, migratory islands, a distant DOOM, a failing empire, a palace of locked doors and secrets, an heir with a father she can’t help but disappoint, a jaunty smuggler with a tragic past, creepy magical constructs, DOOM getting a bit more real now, two women in an established relationship working through class differences, magical animal companions, and dumplingssss!” Publishing: 2020, I assume fall/winter

Wow what a list!! 40 super sapphic books! I’m so excited for all of these. I know there are some amazing ones I’ve missed or not heard of yet so I apologise if I missed your favourite! But I would love to know: what’s your most anticipated 2020 sapphic book release? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 Tuesday: Summertime reads

So this week I found out about Top 5 Tuesdays, a weekly blog topic run by Bionic Book Worm. So I decided to join in! You can find Bionic Book Worm and join the fun by checking out the topics for the month here.

This week’s topic is Summertime Reads! As it’s going into Winter here in Australia, it’s been a while since I’ve read something summery, but here goes…

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I bought this book for a summer trip to Thailand a year ago. I started on the plane and just couldn’t put it down, got no sleep, and managed to complete it before the plane touched down. It was magnificent! Such a wonderful and bittersweet story about an old Hollywood starlet and the love(s) of her life.

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

This was another I read in Thailand and was such an uplifting and happy read – perfect for summer! It tells the story of Don Tillman, a man with Aspergers who tries to find the perfect partner for himself by creating The Wife Project, a questionnaire designed to find the perfect partner. In the process, he finds out a lot about love and it’s such a fun read.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee

This is one one of the funnest books I’ve read all year – I was so incredibly happy reading it. I absolutely loved all of the characters, it had the perfect amount of romance, drama and adventure for summer!

The Quiet at the End of the World – Lauren James

This is such a lovely little book – it is the perfect book for summer. It features a beautiful friendship between the two youngest humans on Earth, as they watch the world slowly end. There are lots of twists and turns, and whilst I didn’t expect the ending (and at the time wished it had been a bit less happy – I’m a killer for a book that hurts me), it’s definitely a book for a chilled, summer read.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles – Hiro Arikawa

This book is definitely a tearjerker but I think it has a really lovely message, and feels very summery to me. It tells the story from the point of view of a cat, Nana, and his owner, Satoru, as Satoru tries to find someone to look after Nana – though we don’t know the reason why. As a cat owner, this was so hard to read as Nana was so confused about why Satoru would want to give him away and it was just so so beautiful and sad and wonderful.

Paws out,

Rach + Draco

Top 5….2019 releases

Hi world,

2019 has been FIERCE so far with its new releases and I am already falling behind. And yet there are so many great releases to still look forward to it this year, it makes me so sad to think that there is no way I am ever going to be able to read them all.

Today, I bring you the first of my Top 5 recommendations – expect to see these every few weeks. If you have any Top 5 suggestions you’d like to see me write, drop me a comment and let me know! They can be as random and wild as you want – from my Top 5 magic systems, to my Top 5 books featuring cats (I can’t wait till I write that one!) But for now, here are my Top 5 2019 releases (still to come.)

Number 1 – Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir

Lesbian. Necromancers. Do I need to say more?! Necromancy is one of my favourite fantasy powers, in part, I won’t lie, because Dorian was a necromancer in Dragon Age: Inquisitions and he is such an important fictional character to me, and therefore I support all things necromancy. But also, because necromancy just has the perfect amount of creepiness and darkness that it’s so appealing. Release date: 10 September (just in time for my BIRTHDAY!)

Number 2 – I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

Okay I’m almost cheating with this one, since it’s a mere few days before this is realeased, but I have been waiting for this book for what feels like forever and I can’t WAIT to read it. IWYATB is about a person who comes out as non-binary to their family, and they’re thrown out of their home. It sounds both heartbreaking and heartwarming and everyone should go pre-order this immediately. Also, Mason created an awesome Spotify playlist for this which made me cry at work and so therefore I think everyone should listen to it (you can check the playlist out here). Release date: 14 May

Number 3 – The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

The cover for this book is just stunning. Audre, a 16 year old from Trinidad, has found out she is being shipped off to the US after her very religious mother caught her with the pastor’s daughter. This book calls to me with the talk of religion and queerness in the blurb as it was something that really f**ked me up as a teen and so I can’t wait to read this one. Release date: 17 September

Number 4 – The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Okay you guys but this book sounds AMAZING: humanity now lives under the ocean becasue of climate change. The protagonist, Leyla, is a British Muslim who’s father has been arrested and she enrols in an underwater marathon to try and win a prize that will free him. This has such a great premise and I am very excited to read it. Release date: 29 October

Number 5 – Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Another hella gay one, another that is almost cheating because it’s out in just a few days. I am SO SO SO SO excited. This is a romantic comedy where the First Son of the United States falls in love with a British Prince. The two have to fake a friendship in order to fix the relationship between the US and UK after pictures leak of the two in a confrontation at a wedding. Release date: 14 May

And that’s my Top 5 books still to be released in 2019! Let me know if you are as excited as me to read any of these books, and if you have any suggestions for a Top 5 list, drop me a comment.

Paws out from Draco and I!

Anxious Nachos introduction

My top 5 books of 2019 so far

Hello world!

Thank you for reading the very first of (hopefully) many bookish posts here at Anxious Nachos. I’m Rachel and I’m here to talk to you all about the many books I’m reading and loving.

I thought I’d start with a little introductory post that would give everyone an idea of the type of books I read and enjoy. So without further ado, here are…my Top 5 books I’ve read so far in 2019!

2019 is the first year in quite a while that I have properly got back into reading, and I’ve already read so many excellent books that narrowing it down to just 5 was so tricky.

There is one book I’ve read this year which I had no problem deciding to put on this list. It has become one of my absolute favourite books, it is ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR: The Fever King by Victoria Lee. The Fever King was released earlier this year, and I picked it up after spotting it on a ‘Best queer books releasing in 2019’ list. It tells the tale of Noam, a queer Jewish immigrant, in a post-apocalyptic America. Lee combines science and magic into a fantastic, unique magic system. A full review will follow for this title, but suffice to say, it is my favourite book I’ve read so far this year, and I fully expect it to be a contender for my favourite book of the year. I couldn’t sleep the night I finished this book because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The sequel, Electric Heir, is out in March 2020 and I cannot. wait.

The next book on my list is a bit different from my normal reads. I picked it up after V.E. Schwab kept recommending it and I am so glad I did. It is the marvellous If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. If Were Were Villains opens when you meet Oliver, a man who has just spent 10 years in prison for murder. The story jumps back and forward between the present day, where Oliver is telling the true story of what happened to the police officer who investigated the murder back when it originally happened; and then the past, which takes place at a elite arts school and follows Oliver and his 6 friends as they study Shakespeare. This book is absolutely beautifully written, and it twists and turns until the very last page. The ending is just…..Gah. I have no words.  

I won’t say much about this third book, it’s a book I completed very recently and there will definitely be a full review to follow in the next week or so. Do You Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh I think might be my favourite sci-fi book EVER. There’s not a huge amount of focus on technology or space, instead, it is very character-driven which I loved. Do You Dream of Terra-Two follows 6 teens who have been training to go to space in search of a new, habitable planet (Terra-Two). It follows them as they launch their mission and is very much focussed on how space travel and the mission affects each of the characters. Absolutely fantastic, more will follow on this book soon..

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd was the first book I bought when my hard copy purchasing ban ended (a move to Australia and lack of space at various flats very much limited my buying power). But The Book of M caught my eye as it has such a pretty cover and looked beautiful in the bookstore. Set in what feels like a very near future, people start losing their shadows. And it turns out that shadows were where memories were stored. The book follows the story of Ory and Max, a couple who escaped to a hotel in the woods when people started losing their memories. However, when Max loses her shadow, she runs away from Ory to avoid causing him any pain at seeing her deteriorate. The story then switches between Ory’s point of view, as he tries to find Max, and Max’s, as she tries to reach New Orleans, where ‘something’ is happening. This is another one that has an ending that hurts (appears to be a theme in this list), but it felt very unique and I really loved reading it.

The last one for this list is very special one for me. I read it very early in the year, and it was so fabulous and magical and I cannot recommend it enough: Witchmark by C.L Polk. This book was really what propelled me to start reading in earnest again, because I was so happy at seeing the diverse cast and the beautiful queer relationship that it made me want to go find more awesome diverse books to read. Witchmark is set in what feels like a Edwardian England, where noble families use their powers to control the nation. Miles Singer was born less powerful than his sister, and thus was destined to spend life enslaved to his family’s desires. Not willing to suffer this, he went to fight in his country’s war. When he returned, he started work in a hospital, where he treats those suffering mentally after the war. His powers give him a gift for healing, but when a patient is murdered and his powers are revealed, he has to investigate the death. I struggled when I first read this to find words other than MAGICAL to describe this book, because that’s what it truly is. It features such an interesting magic system, and yet feels like it could’ve been taken out of a history book, the setting is so realistic. Add the fierce character list, and it really is just such a wonderful read. Witchmark has a sequel coming out in 2020 with Grace, Miles’ sister at the helm, and I am so interested to see her thoughts on what happened in the first book.

And that’s it for my first post! In working out this list, I noticed two very clear themes that come through:

  • Queer books are killing it in 2019.  Expect to see quite a lot of amazing books featuring queer characters on this blog. This year so far, I’m very much reading for teenage me who would’ve killed to see such awesome queer books on her shelf (but instead had to resort to fanfiction).
  • I like to be hurt: 3 of the 5 books on this list had endings which absolutely killed me

Let me know what you think of these reads, or if they’re on your TBR!

Goodbye from me, and Draco (my cat)

What a babe.

P.S. Okay so I’m cheating with the whole ‘Top 5’ and giving a special mention to The Poppy War by R.F Kuang which I only finished last week and which was phenomenal.