It’s February which means it is time for annual readathon F/F February! This month long readathon is run by Imi (@imireviewsbooks on Twitter) and Ellie (@faerieontheshelf) over at Beyond a Bookshelf, and it’s a readathon all about celebrating f/f books! There’s both a reading challenge bingo board and an Instagram challenge, and I’ll be doing both of these. There’s 9 reading prompts, but I’ve also chosen some extra books to switch in and out as I’m feeling very mood-ready this month. So without further ado, here’s my very rough TBR for February!
I’m also wanting to fit in a reread of N.K Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy….sooooo there is not a chance I can fit all this in.
And that’s my (extremely optimistic) TBR for the month! There is no way I can read this many books, I think I’m going to struggle just to get the nine prompts completed as I’ve still got a lot of judging reading to do for the Aurealis Awards. But I’m giving myself lots of options! Have you read any of these? Which one do you think I should read first? Let me know in the comments!
I’m going to be very loosely participating in the Clear Your Shit readathon over the next two months. This is a RPG style readathon where stories/quests will be announced on Twitter every week with prompts, with the aim of clearing books that are already on your TBR. I probably won’t be closely following specific prompts, but am instead just pushing myself these next two months to clear some of the many, many, many books on my physical TBR. So here’s some of the books I’m hoping to read in November!
It is SO CLOSE to being October, which is one of my favourite reading months of the year as I love focusing on spooky books. This year, I’m going to be participating in the fantastic Gothtober readathon, which is hosted by LadetteM, Olivia’s Catastrophe and Little Wolf. It’s a readathon to celebrate gothic fiction, although you don’t need to read just gothic books to participate (and I won’t be!) But all the themes and prompts are designed to work well with gothic fiction. So without further ado, here’s my TBR for this readathon!
Disability rep: a book with disability representation
I have been wanting to read Christina Henry’s books for so long, she writes horror retellings of fairytales which sounds very up my street. The Girl in Red is a horror retelling of Red Riding Hood, and it features a main character with a prosthetic leg!
BIPOC author: A book written by a Black, Indigenous, or Author of Colour
In news that made me happy this week, my library reopened its doors for collection orders which meant I could go collect a bunch of reservations I’ve been waiting on, all of which are perfect for Gothtober! White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi is one of these, it’s a modern, queer, gothic horror about a spooky, mysterious house where generations of women inhabit the walls.
LGBTQ+: A book with LGBTQ+ representation
Sarah Waters is the author of one of the biggest lesbian novels of all time, Tipping the Velvet. I haven’t actually read any of her novels, but she writes a lot of gothic, historical, mystery novels which seems perfect for spooky season! Fingersmith is the one I’ll be reading, it’s about a girl from a family of thieves who falls in love with the rich mark she’s trying to steal from.
Bones: A book with Bones either on the front cover or in the title
Okay I really struggled with this prompt, none of my books have bones in the title or on the cover so this connection is tenuous to say the least. My thinking was: bones are dead things; and also the flamingo’s legs are so thin they totally look like bones. Thus, Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett will be my read for this prompt.
Female protagonist: A narrative led by a heroine
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo is a spooky (because of the ghosts) historical romance based on Chinese/ Malaysian customs and is about a girl offered to be a ghost bride for a recently decesaed young man (as ghost brides are used to placate angry spirits). She is then drawn into the parallel world of the Chinese afterlife every night.
Oldest purchased: A book that has been on your owned TBR the longest
I have been meaning to read The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux for years, it’s one of those classics which has just sat on my shelf and I’ve never gotten time to read. But that changes now! It’s the gothic horror/romance novel which the musical is based on!
Foreign Country: A book that takes place in a country foreign to the one you currently reside in
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi is a retelling of one of the most well known gothic novels of all time! It’s, obviously, set in Baghdad, and follows a scavenger in US occupied Baghdad who collects human body parts to sew together a corpse, to get the government to recognise the parts as people and give them a proper burial. But as we all know, the corpse, Frankenstein, wakes up…
Modern retelling: A modern retelling of a Gothic Classic, or a newer release which is described as ‘gothic’
I am considering rereading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia for this prompt because it’s my favourite book of the year and I really want to reread it, but I have so many other books I need to read as well…. My other option for this prompt is The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. It’s a sapphic retelling about the brides of Dracula.
Red: A book with the colour red on the cover, or in the title
Award for most fucked up book on my TBR goes to this baby! Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica is a fucked up story about a virus that makes animal meat poisonous to humans, so eating human meat is legalised (yeah, I told you it was fucked up). We follow one of the “farmers” of human meat who is given a “special gift” (a woman) that he starts to get to know, even though he isn’t supposed to talk with the specimens. As I’ve said like three times already, this is some fucked up shit.
Grey Morality: A book with character or themes that are morally grey
Back to another classic gothic novel here, with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read this years and years ago as a teen and I am very much due a reread as an adult! Dorian Gray is of course the morally grey character, who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty!
Lies: A book where the title has liar, lies or lying it it, or the MC is a liar
Rebecca by Daphne du Marurier is another classic, like The Phantom of the Opera, which has been on my TBR for years and I’ve just never got around to it. But, I’m very excited for the Netflix film adaptation which is releasing near the end of October so I need to read this before then! The husband spends the whole book lying about his first wife, which is why I’m reading it for this prompt!
Undead character: A book which includes an undead character (this can be ghost, zombie, Frankenstein, vampire, wraith, banshee, mummy, skeleton etc)
Another classic gothic novel, Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of my favourite classics and I’m very excited to reread it this month! I first read this when I was in high school, I studied this book and Carmilla for my English dissertation which pretty much talked about queer vampire sex and it was great.
Dark academia: a book set at university/college with dark themes or vintage aesthetic
I have like four different dark academia books sitting on my shelf right now so who knows which one I’ll actually end up reading for this prompt. At the moment, I’m thinking it’ll be The Secret History by Donna Tartt since that’s been on my shelf the longest, and I keep hearing people talk about it. One of my most anticipated books of 2021 (A Lesson in Vengeance) is also described as a sapphic The Secret History meets The Craft so I want to know what I’m in for!
Vampire film/TV: watch your favourite vampire TV show or film
For my film, I’ll be watching my favourite adaptation of Dracula, the 1992 edition with Keanu Reees, Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman! I might also try out the recent BBC Dracula TV show, which was created by the same team behind Dr Who. I’ve heard some mixed feelings so I haven’t yet got around to it, but maybe October is the month!
Finally, because I am EXCEEDINGLY indecisive, I also have some extras here which all fit some of these prompts so I can mix and match depending on my mood.
I’m so excited for this TBR! All of these books looks so amazing, so spooky, there’s so many gothic novels in there, classics and modern, and I can’t wait to celebrate this genre all month long! I suspect there’s going to be a lot of new favourites in my reads this month. Are you participating in this readathon? Let me know in the comments!
We are halfway through the longest year in existence. After a terrible reading month in June, I decided to do a couple of things to whizz up my reading this month.
I asked my partner to look through all the books on my TBR and pick 5 for me to read this month. This was so much fun: he enjoyed himself, less decision fatigue for me, it’s a win win! So much so, we decided do this again in a couple of months because it was great.
Secondly, I decided to join in with the Pop Culture readathon! This readathon looks pretty much the most fun ever. This round is looking at 90s films, there’s bingo boards and lots and lots of nostalgic prompts to get me enthusiastic about reading.
So today I’m going to take you through my fucking excellent TBR for this month. Because seriously, looking at my bingo board with all the covers laid out, I am so excited to get started!
Let’s make my Not A Reader partner pick books for me to read based on their covers
Since he’s an absolute legend, he even wrote me a mini essay on his process, narrowing it down to a top 10, and why he picked the final five!
Look at all unread books, pick a rough set based on their covers. From that set, thin the herd again based on covers, down to 10. (I did also base it on general first impressions as opposed to covers alone.) Finally, read the blurbs of the final 10 and make the choice from there!
The top 10
Docile by K.M Sparza: This one I cheated a little with. I didn’t base it on the cover, I based it on the fact that I know the plot synopsis for this book and it sounds really interesting. I’m into post-apocalyptic-the-future-is-shit stories.
Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen: Very yellow (I imagine you also like it because it’s yellow). I like the art style of the people, as well as the yellow and the boldness of the title.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall: The ship caught my eye at first, but the more I look at the cover, the more I find. The people on the deck, the mermaid in the water, the big face below the surface, the face in the sky to the top left of the ship (in that order).
Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry – Very yellow, again. The weirdness of the can caught my eye, as well as the yellow. On top of that, as I said, I’m into doomsday-ish stuff so it ticks all the boxes for first impressions.
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim: Dumplings. I really think that’s all I was going for here? We both love dumplings, what could be better?
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: I really like the deep purple background of the cover. On top of that, the cards give me board games vibes. Finally, the “hot ex” on the cover has the dark, unstable look that I have a bit of a penchant for.
Slay by Brittney Morris: Again, the purple colours got me. I really like the spot gloss for its visual and also for the fact that it’s clearly meant to hint at some kinda techy/cybery/computery thing and that’s my jam.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: The gold and the lime green go really well on top of the black. I also really like the ‘lil octopus and the fact that the shape of the watch is cut out. This was a purely visual one.
The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska: Again, shiny gold and black cover got me. The first thing I thought of when I saw the phases of the moon was that they were planets and that therefore this was a space-y book. However, from looking at it now, and reconsidering the title, I reckon it’s instead a nautical theme. Still a good cover though.
The Spy with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke: I like spy stuff. The phrase “nuclear arms race” drew me in and now I’m looking again, the combination of magic and the cold war setting (I’m assuming?) sounds really interesting.
And the winners were….
Docile by K.M Sparza: This sounds super dark and really interesting. I enjoy stories about dark possible futures that are perhaps not so far off our current trajectory.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall: Pirates are good fun and I know you like pirates. I’m hoping for you that there are lots of people dressed in naval outfits.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: AS I SUSPECTED from the cover, the hot ex is very my type given that she’s also a witch. The idea of a real witch catering to Wiccans and tourists who’ve come for witch-trial history is amusing and who can resist a “deadly Blood Witch”.
Slay by Brittney Morris: This one sounds awesome. It’s a hidden video game world that starts to crash into reality when someone gets murdered – then people try to destroy the video game world! And the MC is a software developer! Very cool.
The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska: The regular demand of a sacrifice to the sea makes for a dark, dystopian world where people are willing to kill “for the greater good”. That’s always a good starting point for me. Then there’s the MC getting involved with the queen to save her BF and then falling in love with the queen! Good fun.
Pop Culture Readathon
So if you haven’t heard about this readathon, I totally encourage you to look at their twitter (@PopCReadathon), they have a ton of info and it’s all SO COOL.
To summarise, this round is based on 90s films. There are four bingo boards created, with a prompt in each square linked to a 90s film. The boards are all themed around: Teen Dreams, Thrill Rides, Family Affairs and The Adult Table. You can try to get bingo (four in a row) on any board, all boards, try complete the boards, pretty much whatever you like! So obviously I chose the Thrill Rides board because it has the biconic film The Mummy, aka one of my favourite ever films.
So I took the five books Gavin picked for me and matched them to prompts on my Thrill Ride bingo board. I then also picked a book for all the other prompts because it got me this pretty image (even though I know there’s no chance I’ll read them all!) So here’s my final TBR for the month! There’s a few I have where the link between the prompt is perhaps a little tenuous, or based on guesswork from me, but I’m so excited to read all these books! I think this one of my most exciting TBRs in several months.
Nancy Downs – book with a power hungry character: Docile by K.M Sparza
My second last post of Pride! I still can’t quite believe I actually managed to post every day… I’m going to have so much free time once this is over and I’m back to usual posting. For my penultimate 30 Days of Pride post, following from yesterday’s top queer books of 2020 so far, it’s time to look at what is still to come in 2020! I keep a journal with lists of new releases, and there seems to be a lot less books coming in the second half of 2020 than the first half? I’m scared I’m missing lots of good releases! But do not fear, I still have plenty of books to talk about in this post, so prepare your TBRs: here’s the 36 queer books I’m looking out for in the second half of 2020!
I’m such a fan of retellings and I’m sure this one will be no different! Set 200 years after the death of Cinderella, teens now appear at an annual ball where the boys choose their wives based on their beauty and finery. If a girl is not chosen, they are never heard of again. Sophia would much rather marry her best friend than any boy, and so she runs away and hides in Cinderella’s mausoleum where she meets the last descendent of Cinderella herself. The two team up to bring down the King once and for all.
Burn Our Bodies Down, from the author of the hugely popular Wilder Girls, is a horrory, mystery, thrillery genre bending book following Margot, who has lived alone with her mother as long as she can remember and is forbidden from asking about her family. When Margot finds a clue leading back to her other family, she runs away and returns to her mother’s hometown to find out about her history.
So I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this title and all I can say is YOU ARE IN FOR A TREAT! I’ll have a full review of this one coming on release day, so here’s just a little teaser: imagine monster girlfriends, a bisexual love triangle, descent to villainy, and a princess who is poisonous to the touch…
This is another book I was so lucky to get an ARC for, and as with Girl, Serpent, Thorn, THIS IS AMAZING AND YOU ARE IN FOR SUCH A TREAT. Klune is making his YA debut with his take on the superhero genre. The Extraordinaries follows Nick, a fanfiction writer obsessed with real life superheros Shadow Star and PyroStorm. After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nick vows to become extraordinary himself, with or without the help of his best friend, Seth, who just so happens to have gotten really cute over the summer… With ownvoices ADHD rep as well, this is so cute and so fun, and I’ll have a full review coming on release day!
Enemies to lovers FANFIC romance?!?! Are you kidding me?! Please I need it now. Two girls are locked in a fierce competition to win a prestigious art scholarship at their school. They each escape using fanfic, where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And their fanfic aliases are really beginning to fall for each other. But, obviously, the truth will out…
“Feminist space opera following seven resistance fighters” sign me the fuck up. Eris and Cloelia have been assigned a new mission to infilitrate a star ship that is carrying deadly cargo and bring back information to the Resistance. But the fact they hate each other might make the mission a bit difficult. When they find the ship, they also find three fugitives who carry knowledge about the corrupt empire. They must all work together to bring the empire to its knees.
Blessed is the adult scifi in August, because here’s space opera number two! It’s described as “The Handmaid’s Tale but in space” and just?!? That pitch?!?! I’m so excited. This has spaceships and spies, a secret Sisterhood, and a soldier hunting down his traitorous former partner.
August queer sci fi NUMBER THREE?!?! Why is August so spacey? But I love it and I am here to get my queer ass in space. The Space Between Worlds is a take on the multiverse. In this world, multiverse travel is possible, but you can’t travel to other worlds if your counterpart is still alive. Which makes Cara great for multiverse travel, as 372 of her other selves are dead. But Cara is plunged into trouble when one of her 8 remaining selves is killed in mysterious circumstances that will impact the entire multiverse.
If asexual, Lipan Apache ownvoices doesn’t already get your excitement up, also imagine an America that’s just a little stranger than the current one. In this world, America has been shaped by the magic, monsters and legends of its people, both Indigenous and not. Elatsoe can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a magic that has been passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. When her cousin is murdered in a town that doesn’t want people investigating, Elatsoe vows to protect her family and reveal the town for what it truly is.
LESS THAN 2 MONTHS UNTIL DARIUS #2!!! I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a contemporary book before, it’s like I’m a changed reader!! This is the sequel to Darius the Great is Not Okay which was one of my favourite books of 2019 (and is also one of my favourite books ever). This sequel follows Darius who has returned to the US, has a boyfriend, an internship at his favourite tea shop, and is finally getting on with his dad. But everything changes when his grandmothers come to town and now he has to rethink everything.
If I had to bet money, I would bet that this book is going to be the most talked about queer release of the rest of the year. And that’s because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be amazing. Cemetery Boys follows trans boy Yadriel, who summons a ghost to prove he is a real brujo. But he accidentally summoned the wrong ghost, Julian, the school’s resident bad boy. Julian wants Yadriel to help tie up some lose ends after his death and of course the longer Julian sticks around, the less Yadriel wants him to go.
Caitlin Starling is the author of one of my favourite horror books, and one of my favourite reads of 2019, The Luminous Dead, so it comes as no surprise that I am so excited for this novella coming out in September. This follows a shipping magnate, Evelyn, when one of her ships brings a mysterious sickness to town that causes obsessive behaviour and eventually a catatonic state: and all those infected seem to be obsessed with her. Evelyn must find out why the sickness is focused on her and how to stop it before it destroys everything she’s worked for.
I haven’t read any of Dorricott’s other work, but I’ve heard so many great things which makes me even more excited for The Final Child! Erin and her brother were the last kids to be kidnapped by serial killer The Father, who only ever took pairs of siblings. Whilst Erin managed to escape, her brother was never seen again. 18 years later, Erin meets Harriet, whose cousins were The Father’s first victims. Harriet is writing a book and wants to interview Erin. Erin wants nothing to do with her, but when she starts receiving sinister gifts and her house is broken into, Erin begins to feel she’s being watched and that maybe The Father never really disappeared… How terrifying does this sound?!
Bestiary looks to be an absolutely explosive literary fiction novel debut from K-Ming Chang. It is a story following three generations of Taiwanese American women who are each haunted by myths and legends from their home country.
Okay okay okay but how incredible does this sound: magic controlled by BONE SHARDS?! An established lesbian relationship?! Magical animal companions?! The emperor has ruled for decades, with his magic powering the magical animal constructs which keep order. But now his rule is failing and revolution is sweeping the nation. Lin, his daughter, is trapped inside the palace with a father who refuses to name her his heir. So she vows to gain mastery over bone shard magic to prove to him her worth. But the revolution has reached the palace gates… This genuinely might be the fantasy release I’m most excited about in the second half of 2020?!
Well this cover is so outstandingly beautiful, I adore it. This is a very queer dystopian novel about a near future where a queer Black drag performer teams up with his allies to take down an oppressive regime which is rounding up everyone considered “Other” into camps.
Oshiro is bringing a fantasy YA novel in verse with Each of Us a Desert, which follows Xochital, who is destined to wander the desert forever with only the stars and lines of poetry which have been magically strewn across the desert as her companions. When she is joined by the daughter of the town’s murderous mayor, the two must survive the terrors that come after dark before they can be together.
This sounds like it’s going to be one of the most heartbreaking books of the year, following Corinne, a closeted bi girl who has to hide her grief when her secret girlfriend is killed. The only person she can turn to is Maggie’s ex, Elissa. Who I Was With Her will explore the messiness of grief as Maggie begins to have feelings for the last person she ever should.
Covers are fierce in the second half of the year!! Legendborn is a super queer King Arthur reimagining, and follows Bree who is invited to a special program for bright students at the local university. And then accidentally sees a magical demon attack on her very first day. She is drawn into a secret society who claim they are the descendents of King Arthur. But Bree suspects they had something to do with her mother’s death and she must decide whether to work with them to save the world from a magical war or to take them down from the inside.
This is described as a “sapphic romance for millenials” so obviously, I want to read it. A World Between follows college students Eleanor and Leena who meet in an elevator and have a whirlwind romance. Years later, they bump into each other in San Francisco and find themsevles drawn back to each other.
How it All Blew Up follows Amir, a teen who ran away to Rome when he faced bullies, blackmail and a failed relationship. But now he needs to explain all that to a US Customs Agent when he’s trying to get back into the country.
Not much gets me more excited than a book with bisexuals and vampires, hence The Lights of Prague is probably one of my most anticipated books of the next few months! Set in Prague, this follows two POVs: one, a vampire hunter who is being stalked by the White Lady, a ghost who haunts Prague castle; and two, a widowed, noble vampire Lady trying to find her way in a human world.
Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia
Release date: 22 September
Two YA icons are teaming up for this one, Anna-Marie McLemore, the lyrical genius of Dark and Deepest Red and When the Moon Was Ours, and Tehlor Kay Mejia, the legend between sapphic YA dystopia We Set the Dark on Fire! This magical realism novel follows a girl made of stardust who enters into the beauty pageant, Miss Meteor, a beauty pageant all about sharing yourself and loving the parts of you no one else understands.
Give me all the non-Western retellings please! Burning Roses combines Chinese and Western folklore with this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and Hou Yi the Archer, who must join forces to stop sunbirds from destroying the countryside.
Watch me vibrate with excitement for this book!!! The Library of the Unwritten is one of my favourite fantasy novels and I am sure I will love the sequel just as much. The Archive of the Forgotten continues Claire, Brevity and Hero’s story in the library of unwritten manscripts as a strange ink begins to leak from the books.
So if The Bone Shard Daughter is my most anticipated adult fantasy, then this might be my most anticipated YA fantasy. Beyond the Ruby Veil follows chaos lesbian Emanuela after she kills the only person in her two who can create water and now has to find a way to save everyone before the entire town dies of thirst.
I read Aminah Mae Safi’s Tell Me How You Really Feel earlier this year and it was so so good therefore I can’t wait for This is All Your Fault! This book follows three young women across one day as they try to save the indie bookshop they work at.
This feminist noir thriller follows Jo, a woman who spends her time blackmailing the most terrible, lecherous Hollywood men. When one of her targets is murdered, Jo ends up with the police, and her mysterious boss The Lady Upstairs, on her back and must take on her biggest con yet to get out of the mess.
“Dragons. Art. Revolution.” Ummmmmmmmmm YES PLEASE. Phoenix Extravagant follows painter Jebi after they are recruited by the Ministry of Armour to paint the mystical sigils that animate the automaton army. But when Jebi discovers the source of the magical paint and the crimes of the government, they can no longer stay out of politics. So they steal a dragon. FUCK YES.
The Thirty Names of Night is my most anticipated literary fiction of the entire year. It was originally due to be released in May but has been pushed back to November thanks to the cornovirus. The Thirty Names of Night follows three generations of Syrian Americans and the mysterious bird that binds them all together. It follows a trans boy who is his grandmothers sole caretaker after the death of his mother. He finds the journal of a Syrian American artist, Laila Z, who reveals the history of queer and trans people within his community and discovers she is tied to his mother and grandmother in ways he couldn’t expect.
This sounds like a very fun, very queer fae fantasy! Rags is a thief. But when he’s caught by the Queensguard, he is forced to find an ancient fae relic for the royal sorceror. But turns out the relic is an ancient fae prince. Who just so happens to be distractingly handsome…
A historical fantasy about witches on strike? Yes yes yes! In The Factory Witches of Lowell, women are faced with awful working conditions in the cotton mills. So when their rent is raised, they decide to go on strike. Judith had been on strike before, and saw that strike fold and she is definitely not going to let that happen here. So it’s a good thing her best friend has the gift of witchcraft and can ensure no one leaves the picket line.
A sapphic Pride and Prejudice romcom? Between a media astrologer and an actuary? *insert screech of excitement here* Darcy is desperate to stop her brother from ever playing matchmaker again after a disastrous date. So she lies and says everything went great. Meanwhile, Elle, Darcy’s brother’s new business partner, is very confused when Darcy’s brother talks about how happy he is they hit it off. Darcy begs Elle to play along with the lie and the two begin their fake dating plan to get both their families off their backs. But obv, feelings ensue….
Ruinsong is the sapphic Phantom of the Opera retelling you’ve always dreamed of. In this world of music magic, Cadence has been forced to use her voice to torture nobles at the queen’s bidding. But when she is reunited with a childhood friend who has ties to the rebellion, Cadence must decide whether to stand up and fight or to become a monster herself.
I can’t believe I still haven’t read a Robin Talley book. Perhaps this will finally be the one! (Highly likely as this one is all about musical theatre and I am a theatre geek.) This queer romcom follows Melody, her high school’s stage manager extraordinaire. But in the past, every time she’s fallen for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show have ended in complete disaster. So Melody swears off any romance for the school’s next performance of Les Mis. But of course she didn’t count on rising star Odie to audition.
And finally the last one! And what a gorgeous cover we’re ending on! A Curse of Roses is a sapphic retelling of a Portugese myth about a woman who turns any food she touches into flowers. Princess Yzabel is on the verge of starving, much like the rest of Portugal. She wants to reverse her curse so she can turn flowers into food, and knows Fataya, an Enchanted Moura, could do so, but she has magical binds on her power. She can be set free with a kiss but to do so, Yzabel would be committing treason as she’s betrothed to the King.
All I can is WOW, we are in for so many incredible books over the next few months and the fact I have neither the time nor the money to read them all is heartbreaking. What queer release are you most looking forward to over the next six months? Let me know in the comments below!
Well, Pride month is here. I’d like to preface the first of my posts by saying that this isn’t a year for celebration. It doesn’t feel right to celebrate our freedom and identity when others are fighting right now to have the right to the same freedom. I hope this year everyone is challenging themselves to look back at our history and discover how we got here. That you look back and thank god for Marsha P. Johnson and the other Black trans women who rioted for our rights at Stonewall, that you look back at the violence that got us where we are today, and you reflect on why that means we now need to stand up for the Black people who are suffering today and support their actions. Change doesn’t come easily, and it doesn’t come if we just sit around waiting for the right time. There is never an easier time.
To the white queer people who follow me, when celebrating this month, I want to ask all of us to use our platforms to support Black people and lift their voices. This is a month when our platforms get more views, when those outside our community try to support us: so use that focus to amplify the voices of Black people in your communities. We need to help fight their cause, because we owe them for how far LGBTQIA+ rights have come since Stonewall.
Racism is a problem everywhere. I’m seen too many people on my timeline saying “thank god we’re not as bad as the US”. You are wrong. So look to your local community and find out what you can do to help. We all need to do better. Be prepared to get shit wrong, be prepared to feel guilty, be prepared to be uncomfortable. It won’t even be close to the pain and trauma millions of people have lived with.
So this month, use your platform to speak out about racism. Support Black authors. Support Black content creators. Give money if you can. Raise their voices on Twitter. Spread information. But most of all, don’t forget about this in a few weeks time.
How can you continue your support and activism in future? I am considering this question too and will be trying to find ways in my local community here in Australia to help support and fight racism in a country that was founded on it.
Over Pride, I’ll be posting every day on both here and my Instagram account. Every book featured will (obviously) be queer – and currently there’s almost 200 books that I’ll be talking about across the month so I hope your TBRs are ready. There will be lots of recommendation posts and I’ve tried to keep different titles in every single post so there will be new books every day to avoid being repetitive, which is how we ended up with almost 200 books and many hours spent working on these posts for the month.
Last year during Pride, I read the most books I’ve ever managed for one month (15), so today, here’s my ambitious TBR for the month. However, I’m very doubtful I’ll manage to finish all these because there are a couple of pretty massive fantasies in here (yes, I’m finally vowing to read Priory). This Pride, I’m also really trying to expand my reading outside of my usual genres, so we’ve got memoirs, literary fiction, contemporary, fantasy, historical, science fiction, and mystery! And thank you to my library of reopening on June 1 so I can collect all the books I had reserved and read them this month.
This will be the very first memoir I’ve ever read and I am absolutely thrilled it’s by Carmen Maria Machado. I’ve heard incredible things about her writing so I’m sure this memoir about the author’s experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship will be so so powerful.
Real Life is on many ‘most anticipated books of the year’ lists and I predict it’ll be one of my favourites of the month. This is a book about a Black queer biochemistry student from Alabama who studies at a very white Midwestern university and his dealings with both overt racism and the more subtle microaggressions in his friendship group.
In my efforts to read more widely, I’m trying to read more queer literature classics (or more like books not released in the last five years), and this 2002 sapphic Victorian murder mystery sounds very up my street.
Goldilocks is set in a future where the Earth is close to environmental collapse and there’s lots of restrictions on the freedoms of women, so a group of women steal a spaceship which is going to explore a potentially habitable planet.
And now for my second memoir, this one by cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Khan-Cullors. When They Call You a Terrorist is a memoir about being a Black woman in America and what led her to cofound the movement aiming to transform the US.
I’ve been meaning to read this book since it was released and finally picked up a copy last month. This is written as a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read about the son’s life as a Vietnamese-American growing up in the US.
Is this one of my monst anticipated books of the year, YES IT IS!! This is a contemporary YA about two girls who set up rival henna businesses for a school project, but one of them is appropriating the other’s culture.
And another of my most anticipated books of the year on this months reading! I’m also pretty sure this is my favouritve cover of the year (although more on gorgeous queer covers later this month!) Felix Ever After is about a trans teen who decides to catfish his bully and ends up in a quasi-love triangle.
The Gods of Tango is set in Argentina, and follows Leda, a genderfluid/trans man (it isn’t clear from the blurb) who moves to Argentina to be married but finds their husband dead. So they dress up as a man called Dante and join a a group of tango musicians, but find the lines between Leda and Dante begin to blur and feelings they have supressed begin to reveal themselves.
This is the sapphic book everyone is talking about and I’m very excited to read it this month! I haven’t read The Winner’s Trilogy so very new to the world and universe of The Midnight Lie but everyone seems to love this book so fingers crossed I do too.
Here there be dragons. I still can’t believe I haven’t read this book. But it’s finally the month, because since we’re all isolating I don’t need to carry this chonky book about on public transport to read.
Pretty sure this will end up being one of my favourite ever books because it sounds brilliant: diverse fantasy discussing colonialism from the perspective of both colonised and coloniser, five nations all inspired by different Asian nations, talking animal companions?!! This is going to be incredible.
This sounds like the sprawing, decades long, heavily political epic historical fantasy that I love. This is a steampunky, alternate history set in the Belgian Congo if native populations had learned about steam technology earlier.
Scavenge the Stars is another of my favourite covers of the year! This is a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, which I haven’t read, so going into this totally new! All I really know is that one of the main characters is bi, and that that’s a pretty badass dagger, so this book already rocks.
🦁Draco is sick and we don’t know why 🦁Mental health = not great at all 🦁Nowhere near my NaNo goal 🦁Pretty much felt ill the entire month 🦁Dental emergency x 2
However, December is a new month, and I’m excited to spend some time on blogging again! This month, as well as some reviews from books I’ve read recently, I really want to focus on my extreme excitement for all of the 2020 releases we’ve got coming so I hope everyone is ready to add a TON of books to your TBR!
Today though, I’m looking back at November. My brain and body had a fairly terrible time, and whilst I’m happy with how many books I read, I was rather underwhelmed with quite a lot of them…
Books I read
This month I read 10 books! A lot of these books I expected to love a lot more, but there were a few fantastic reads in the mix!
Opposite of Always – Justin A Reynolds
I adored this exceedingly joyful book! A full review will be coming, but this book filled me with as much happiness as the cover does (the yellow makes me so happy!)
The Abyss Surrounds Us – Emily Skrutskie
This was one I wanted to love more. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, particularly the last quarter. But when I heard “queer sapphic enemies to lover pirates” I did expect to be blown away more than I was. I struggled a little with the characterisation of the main character which I think made it difficult to get fully into this book.
An Orchestra of Minorities – Chigozie Obioma
So a group at my work do a Man Booker reading group, and this year I picked An Orchestra of Minorities to read! There were parts I really enjoyed; and parts I hated. Ended up being an average read, I much preferred Obioma’s first work, The Fisherman.
We Set the Dark on Fire – Tehlor Kay Mejia
Another one I thought I would love more! Again, I really liked it, and will definitely pick up the sequel. But I just felt a little underwhelmed. I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to.
The Virtue of Sin – Shannon Schuren
Phhheeew this book is heavy. It’s about a cult in the middle of the desert, empowering female voices, and faith.
The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson
Oh my gosh, I loved The Storm Crow so much! In a month where I felt so slumpy and disengaged with my reads, this book really picked me up! I have a full review of this one coming!
Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
This one started out great, I was really loving the setting and style of the book. The reveals and twists were fantastic. HOWEVER. I got so bloody annoyed at the Scottish characterisation – apparently the only way a Scottish person can be Scottish is if they loudly complain to Nazis that they’re Scottish when someone calls them English. 🙄🙄🙄Do…do people know Scots have other character traits??
The Hollow Girl – Hillary Monahan
This was a short, creepy read, but again…..I just didn’t get into it?! I wanted more world-building and depth.
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Yes, I realise it’s really bad I reached almost the end of the decade and still had not read The Night Circus. But I managed! Just! And I ADORED it. This book was everything, the prose is stunning, the world is magical, the story was so full of beauty and emotion, I can’t wait to start The Starless Sea!
Sanctuary – V.V James
This book filled me with rage. And in a month where my mental health was so bad, I really wouldn’t have recommended this one to my past self! It filled me with so much stress and anger. At another time, that would have been AMAZING that a book can make me feel so impacted, but it really wasn’t the best time.
Books I bought/borrowed/magic-ed into existence on my shelf
The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White
The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco
The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf
Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett
I Hope You Get This Message – Farah Naz Rishi
Slay – Brittney Morris
Steel Crow Saga – Paul Krueger
The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern
Rules for Vanishing – Kate Alice Marshall
Books I plan to read in December
Now for this month! I don’t have a completely solid reading plan yet, but there are definitely a few books I need to get finished before the end of the year.
All my library books definitely read so I can return them asap – they’re due in….two weeks I think?? So definitely possible but I need to get my act together and actually start them first…
The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White
The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco
The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf
Other books I plan to read this month are mostly ones I’ve been trying to read for months and I want to finish before the decade is over!
The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
Reverie – Ryan La Sala
The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang
The Kingdom of Copper – S. A Chakraborty
That’s it from me today! I would love to hear what books you’re planning to finish off before we leave behind the 2010’s for good!
Top 5 Tuesday is created and run by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. You can join the fun by checking out the topics for the month here.
How’s everyone’s NaNo going? We’re almost half way through the month and I’m….well…..not doing as well as I wanted to! I’m at around 12000 words currently, but I haven’t written for the past four days at all. I have a defence for 50% of those days: I had planned to catch up on Sunday for the previous two days, but ended up in bed with a horrific migraine. And then Monday, I triggered an asthma attack, I’m guessing through the combination of highest pollen level possible in Melbourne + going for a run + cleaning the bathroom with a closed door. All that means is that I’m now rather behind and getting annoyed at myself which is really not helping the whole writing process at all.
If you’re doing NaNo this year, let me know how it’s going! If you want to add me as a buddy on the site, I’m rh_aitken!
But onto Top 5 Tuesday! This week, I’m here to dream about all the authors I really need to get around to reading. Because ohmygod there are so so many and I can’t quite believe some of the names on this list.
I KNOW I’m starting with a really big author and it’s so embarassing I haven’t read any of her work yet! However, I am hopeful because I do have a stunning copy of The Hate U Give on my bookshelf currently, and so I’m definitely aiming to start reading Angie Thomas before the end of the year!
Most of this list is going to be “sorry but in my defence I have this author on my shelf and just need to get around to reading.” I have a copy of Priory on my shelf which is very sad because I started this book, loved it, and I KNOW it’s so good, but its just so heavy to carry around on public transport that I haven’t read more than 50 pages. I’m hoping that over the Christmas break I’ll get around this, when I am able to sit down at a table and read it – hence no carrying around. I’m also really keen to read The Bone Season and very very almost joined in with the recent Boneathon, but I couldn’t get a copy in time.
So everyone I know seems to adore The Night Circus, and Erin Morgenstern has a new book coming out this month, which I have heard nothing but incredible things about and so I definitely need to read both of these! Luckily, I actually have The Night Circus currently borrowed from the library, so maybe that will be my next read…
SO – at the time of scheduling this post on Monday, I actually have managed to finish my library copy of The Night Circus so technically this doesn’t count anymore…However my asthma attack has left me quite exhausted so I’m keeping it on the list. Please pretend I haven’t read and adored it….
Sarah J Maas
Yes. I know. I don’t know how I’ve managed to not ever read a book by Sarah J. Maas. But somehow I have. I have ACOTAR on my shelf right now so I’ll probably start it some point soon…ish. Mainly because I feel so much shame for being pretty much the only person in the book community to not have read anything by her…
One of my favourite bloggers has been talking about McLemore for so long and I keep saying ‘I need to pick this up!’ for literally all of her books. But when I read the blurb for her 2020 release, Dark and Deepest Red, I knew without a doubt I REEEEALLLY need to get onto McLemore’s work because I am missing out on so much!
That’s it for this week and my Top 5 authors I need to read. Most of these I am fairly confident I will get to in the next few months, because I actually have a copy of all of them. But I also have copies of so many other incredible books so who knows if I’ll ever get to these. Which of these authors do you think I should read first?
Top 5 Tuesday is created and run by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. You can join the fun by checking out the topics for the month here.
I’m back to Top 5 Tuesday after missing it all of October! These might be my only posts in November as I’m doing NaNo for the first time this year, but I loved these November topics too much to not take part! This week I get to talk about my extremely extensive TBR with the Top Five books on my current TBR!
Jade City/Jade War – Fonda Lee
I’m counting these books as one. My wonderful partner got me these for my birthday and I have heard nothing about incredible things for Fonda Lee’s series. Detailed fantasy world and lots of emotional pain is how it has been described to me, and I really need to get around to reading these! Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to be in November as just don’t think I’ll have the time to concentrate on these and appreciate them fully when trying to spend so much time writing! Maybe December will be the month…
A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir
I randomly picked up An Ember in the Ashes from the library a few months ago, and absolutely fell in LOVE with the world and all the incredibly morally grey characters. It has been one of my favourite reads of the year and so I immediately ordered the second in this series, which I now have sitting on my bookshelf and am eagerly awaiting to read!
The Kingdom of Copper – S.A Chakraborty
Continuing the sequel theme, I also have The Kingdom of Copper ready and waiting to be read. I actually have had this on my shelf for months now, having ordered it as soon as I finished The City of Brass. However, I was so emotionally scarred after COB that I haven’t been able to start its sequel yet. I know it’s going to be amazing, I just need to work up the courage! You can do it, Rachel!
The Dragon Republic – R.F. Kuang
Okay yes most of this list is sequels. The problem is that authors keep writing INCREDIBLE books, but they hurt me so badly I’m too scared to start the sequel. Like The Kingdom of Copper, The Dragon Republic’s predecsseor The Poppy War, has scarred me so much I have been too scared to start reading. But I will! I promise I’m going to have all these sequels read before the end of the year.
Kingdom of Souls – Rena Barron
Another fantasy! My TBR shelf is pretty much entirely fantasy right now, and so this list is very reflective of that. Kingdom of Souls was a book I bought myself with a birthday voucher, because it just sounds incredible! Unfortunately, because almost all of my library reservations arrived at once very recently, I still haven’t been able to start Kingdom of Souls.
So basically my TBR for the rest of the year is fantasy fantasy fantasy. I have so many more I need to read as well, it’s really scaring me, because TIME just does not EXIST.
I can’t wait to see everyone else’s lists! Have you read any of these books? Please persuade me to get off my butt and read them!
So in my role as Failure Bi™ I completely missed Bi Visibility Day this week.
So to make up for my failure, I thought instead I’d make a list with some of my favourite books with bi characters as well as some of my most anticipated bi books to come!
Books I’ve read
Deposing Nathan – Zack Smedley
This book is one of my favourite books of the year, it absolutely broke me. Discussing the intersectionality of religion and bisexuality, this is the story of Nate and Cameron, how they fell in love, and how Nate ends up stabbing Cam. This book is so emotionally powerful, addressing the validity of bisexuality as an identity and at it’s heart has a powerful message about learning to love yourself and who are it. It is utterly captivating, and I so want you to read it! If I haven’t yet persuaded you, check out my full review of this book here!
I still can’t believe this book only published in March, I feel like I’ve had it in my life and obsessed over it for so long. EVERYONE in this book is queer! And if that doesn’t sound incredible enough itsmyfavouritebookeverandtyoureallyreallyreallyneedtoreadit. Set in a dystopian US where most of the population has been wiped out by a deadly virus, Noam wakes up and survives – but he’s changed. He has magic now. Taken in by Calix Leher, one of the most poweful men in the new state of Carolinia, Noam is tutored in magic and science, alongside Dara and Ames. But Noam wants to bring the government down – and though he’s falling for Dara, he just doesn’t seem to be on the same side… Be warned: The Fever King will cause you so much pain. This book owns my heart – find out more in my full review here!
Another book that immediately jumped to my all time favourites, I Wish You All the Best has TWO bisexual MCs: Ben and Nathan. This is Ben’s story: when they come out as non-binary to their parents, they are kicked out of home. Highly emotional and personal, this book is an inspiring coming of age story about acceptance and love and it is honestly just so perfectly stunning!! Full review here!
Dragons & bisexuals, bisexuals & dragons – could a book need more? How about a kind of bi love triangle that actually shows BOTH sides of bisexuality?! That would be a yes yes yes. When Maren’s girlfriend Kaia is kidnapped by the evil oppressors who rule their country, Maren vows to rescue her. She sneaks into the dreaded Dragon training fortress, aiming to steal a dragon and rain fire to get Kaia back. On route, she mets Sev, a guard at the fortress who seems to be hiding a secret as well. I adored the magic system in this book, and the way the dragons could be controlled with different aromas. The dragons are both fearsome and adorable, and I’m so keen to read the sequel! A full review can be found here.
This book is so awesome – it’s dark and gritty, fantastic portrayal of mental illness, oh and a girl who falls in a love with a ghost?! Lexi has the power to see when a person dies – if she touches them, she sees their death. When she see’s the death of Jane, it’s particularly violent. And then Jane comes back as a ghost, to exact revenge on her killer and Lexi, feeling guilty for not saving Jane, helps her hunt the killer down. This has magic, mystery, thriller elements and I loved the MC Lexi. I loved how the book shows how the magic really impacts on Lexi, and how lonely she is because of it – I feel like it’s really rare to see such a horrifically negative impact of magic on someone? Usually even if bad things happen, there is still wonder in having the magic – but in Missing, Presumed Dead it really is such a burden for Lexi, and it’s so emotional at points as we see Lexi suffer. I have a full review of this book here!
Goodreads:Page Street has acquired Adiba Jaigirdar’s The Henna Wars. Pitched as When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the romcom is about two teen girls with rival henna businesses who fall in love. The projected pub season is spring 2020. You can find out more about The Henna Wars on Adiba’s website!
Scavenge the Stars is a gender-swapped retelling of The Counte of Monte Cristo with a bi MC and I am so here for this! Goodreads: When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
BI ROMCOM ALERT BI ROMCOM ALERT BI ROMCOM ALERT. I adore Laura’s Exact Opposite of Okay series – she is probably the funniest author I’ve ever read. And now she’s coming with a BI ROMCOM if you hadn’t already got that. Goodreads:Physics genius Caro Kerber-Murphy knows she’s smart. With straight As and a college scholarship already in the bag, she’s meeting her two dads’ colossal expectations and then some. But there’s one test she’s never quite been able to ace: love. And when, in a particularly desperate moment, Caro discovers a (definitely questionable) scientific breakthrough that promises to make you irresistible to everyone around you, she wonders if this could be the key. What happens next will change everything Caro thought she knew chemistry – in the lab and in love.
Is her long-time crush Haruki with her of his own free will? Are her feelings for her best girl friend some sort of side-effect? Will her dog, Sirius, ever stop humping her leg?
Faridah wrote a create post regarding the bi rep in Ace of Spades earlier this week – check it out here to learn more about this book! Also there’s a cat called Bullshit in this book and if that isn’t the greatest thing ever, I don’t know what is.
Goodreads:Usborne has acquired an “explosive” high-school thriller by debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé that examines institutionalised racism.
Ace of Spades is about Devon and Chiamaka – rivals at the Niveus Private Academy. An anonymous texter starts spreading secrets about the two students, who find themselves at the centre of a disturbing game.
Bi rep in a book advertised as Grease but gay?!? As a massive musical fan THIS IS MY JAM! I have an eARC of this – thank you for granting my wish on NetGalley – and I cannot wait to read!
Goodreads: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless, inspired by Grease.
When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.
Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.
The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.
I hope you enjoyed this list featuring some of my favourite bi books of the year as well as some of the 2020 books I cannot wait to read! I would absolutely love to hear some of your favourite bi recs – because in making this list, I realised how few I actually have on my shelves and that needs immediately RESOLVED. So send all your bi recs my way, stay strong, and remember: your bisexuality is valid regardless of your relationship.