Top 5 Tuesday: Alphabet Authors Part 4

Top 5 Tuesday is created and run by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. Thank you Shanah for all the work you do on this! You can join the fun by checking out the topics for the month here.

Hi everyone,

Well we’re slowly descending into lockdown here in Australia as well now. Victoria (the state I live in, in Melbourne) officially annoucned full lockdown for non-essential services on Sunday (literally about 5 minutes before I started writing this post!) As this is the last week at my current job, it does also fill me with lots of anxiety about starting at my next place. Who knows what will happen in the next few weeks. But I’m trying to look on the bright side as much as I possibly can: lunchtime yoga has become a daily exercise in our house; and without a commute I do get a bit more time to sleep which is always good. Whilst our cat is still a bit annoyed and confused about what’s happening, Zoom meetings with pets are always fun.

But to books! For this week’s post, we’re continuing the alphabet with authors beginning with P, Q, R, S and T.

Authors beginning with P

Chana Porter

Chana Porter released the wonderful novella The Seep earlier this year, and it’s one of my favourite reads of the year so far. First of all, it had the coolest heroine ever who wears kick-ass biker boots and leather jackets in a world where everyone else wears plants. After a subtle alien invasion, controlled by an entity who gives humans everything they wish for, Trina’s girlfriend wishes she was reborn as a baby again, and leaves Trina devastated. We follow Trina in the aftermath as she tries to find meaning in a world without her love.

Authors beginning with Q

Kelly Quindlen

Suprising no one, Q is a really hard letter! I haven’t read any authors beginning with Q, but Kelly Quindlen has a book releasing this year that sounds so much fun! Late to the Party is a queer YA contemporary about Codi, a girl who doesn’t usually go to parties, catching one of the popular kids, Ricky, kissing another boy. They bond and form an unexpected friendship and Ricky begins to introduce Codi to a wild Summer. There’s only one problem: Codi hasn’t told any of her friends about any of it.

Authors beginning with R

R.F Kuang

R.F Kuang is the author of one of my all-time favourite fantasy series! The third and final novel in this series, The Burning God, is releasing later this year and I SO FUCKING EXCITED. These books are filled with intense drama, twists, so much war, incredible magic, and Rin, one of the greatest, sooooo morally grey characters that has ever been written, along with NEZHA whom I’m still angry with.

Authors beginning with S

S.A Chakraborty & Silvia Moreno Garcia

Two killer authors here! S.A Chakraborty is the author of another of my all-time favourite fantasy series. I am in awe reading her work, I am so emotionally invested and I am terrified for what might happen in The Empire of Gold, which releases in just…three months now?!

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is an author I haven’t read yet, though she has TWO of my most anticipated releases of the year. Untamed Shore is ready and waiting for me to read (and I plan to read this during April as one of the prompts for the OWLs Readathon), and Mexican Gothic, a dark, gothic mystery with one of the most beautiful covers of the year, is releasing later in 2020.

Authors beginning with T

Tehlor Kay Mejia

Tehlor Kay Mejia is the author of the incredible f/f duology We Set the Dark on Fire and We Unleash the Merciless Storm. I still haven’t read the sequel yet (it just released in February!) but I can’t wait to read from the POV of Carmen. This series includes a revolution, enemies to lovers, one of the best f/f pairings in fantasy, and a strong focus on immigration, mimicking the current issues in the US. Joining with an author I also featured this month, Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore are releasing a joint novel and it’s going to be amazing!

That’s it for this week. As I said last week, I hope everyone is staying safe out there. Stay strong.

Top 5 Tuesday: Alphabet Authors Part 3

Top 5 Tuesday is created and run by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. Thank you Shanah for all the work you do on this! You can join the fun by checking out the topics for the month here.

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone is staying safe in the current situation. Today, my office officially closed and I worked from home for the first time. Draco, my lovely kitten, made a fine addition to the team. I won’t lie, I’m very nervous – I’m supposed to be starting a new job in two weeks, but as Australia is a few weeks behind the major outbreak we’re seeing in Italy and saw in China, I don’t really know how that will affect everything. But for now, I’m very glad I don’t have to commute because I can get a little extra sleep! My partner and I are implementing daily lunchtime exercise (yoga today!) to help us keep fit and hopefully reduce mental health stress from social distancing.

This week’s Top 5 Tuesday continues the March theme of authors for each letter of the week, and today we’re looking at letters K – O.

Authors beginning with K

TJ Klune & Adib Khorram

I found TJ Klune last year when I read Wolfsong, the first book in his werewolf romance series – and holy shit I did not expect the complete destruction of my soul as I read it. It was incredible! Every time I mention this author, I get more recommendations for which of his books to read next and I can’t wait to read the rest of his work. Klune has two new books out this year. The House in the Cerulean Sea is an adult fantasy, about a social worker for magical youth who must go to a magical island to investigate an orphanage. The Extraordinaries is Klune’s debut YA, a new take on the superhero story featuring a queer teen with ADHD.

Adib Khorram wrote one of my favourite books of 2019, Darius the Great Is Not Okay. This had such a poignant and relatable mental health story, the most incredible development of a father-son relationship, and a brilliant male friendship at its core. I am SO FREAKING EXCITED we get a sequel. This year, Darius the Great Deserves Better is coming and brings new struggles as Darius tries to work out what he wants for the future. And I think that cover is one of my favourite of 2020. I just adore the colour contrast so much.

Authors beginning with L

Laura Steven

Laura Steven is, without a doubt, the funniest writer I’ve ever read. The Exact Opposite of Okay astounded me, because I have never found a novel as funny as I did that. And yet it also manages to be an incredible feminist novel addressing slut shaming and female empowerment alongside the captivating and hilarious main character, Izzy. Izzy’s journey continues in A Girl Called Shameless, and this year we have a new Laura Steven book: The Love Hypothesis, the bisexual romcom I’ve been dreaming of for so long.

Authors beginning with M

Mira Grant & Anna-Marie McLemore

Well these are two rather different authors… Mira Grant (a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire) is a horror writer of the most incredible horror ever! Into the Drowning Deep was one of the first horror novels I’ve ever read, and it is the standard from which I hold all up to now. I think it still remains one of the longest reviews I’ve written (if you’d like to read about how terrifying this novel is, check my review out here!) It was the most intense, terrifying, thrilling book, bringing a fiersome twist to mermaids, is one of my all time favourites, and I’m really due a reread…. (Update: I’ve started rereading. Writing this got me too excited.)

Anna-Marie McLemore is an author I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and whilst I haven’t yet started any of their books yet, I wanted to shout them out as one of the authors I’m most excited to read this year! Anna is one of my favourite book bloggers favourite authors, and I hear so much about them that I really need to just get my act together and start. Dark and Deepest Red, Anna’s newest release, is sitting on my shelf right now and I very much plan on reading it soon.

Authors beginning with N

Abdi Nazemian

Another one of my favourite reads of last year, this week’s list is full of my favourites! Like a Love Story absolutely blew me away. Set during the 1980s AIDS crisis, it is one of the most emotionally stunning, beautiful uplifting books, the most brilliant tale of friendship and love and the power of life. I would love everyone to pick this book up. I have a full review here!

Authors beginning with O

Temi Oh

If I had to think of a book or two I wished I heard more people talking about, I think Do You Dream of Terra-Two? would be one of them. This really kicked me out of a reading slump last year. It was also the very first book I reviewed on this blog, so holds a very special place in my heart. (If you want to see how I’ve progressed – and hopefully I have! – you can read it here.) Do You Dream of Terra-Two? is a heavily character driven science fiction journey, inspired by the 1960s Space Race and set in a world which continued its drive and race to the skies. It feels very similar to sci-fi like Becky Chambers and Emma Newman, in that it brings a strong focus on brilliant, detailed characters, and less of the heavy science. I really loved this one, and I think Temi Oh is going to be a writer to watch in speculative fiction.

That’s it for this week. I have no idea how Australia is going to be doing next week, and I wish so much love and strength to everyone around the world to get through this. Please stay safe out there, and do practice social distancing if you are able to. And try to focus on the bright side: for me, it’s that little bit extra sleep and no need to stuff myself on a awfully humid tram to commute into the city. But find what you can focus on to stay positive in this pretty hellish environment right now.

Top 5 Tuesday: Alphabet Authors Part 2

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.

Hi everyone,

I am a fool and because we had a public holiday on Monday I totally lost track of days and forgot it was Tuesday. So Happy Top 5 Wednesday?! The world clock tells me it is still Tuesday somewhere in the world, so I’m going to write this so fast to get it in time! Continuing last week’s theme, this week we are looking at authors from F-J.

Authors beginning with F

Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee is an author pretty new to me. I started (and finished) her two novels Jade City and Jade War in January this year, they were my first reads of the year! They had been on my tbr for soooo long and I finally decided to tackle all the massive fantasy tomes on my shelf, starting with these. And I loved them! Filled with twists and turns, characters you expect to be around for a while suddenly…aren’t, incredible worldbuilding and magic system, and morally grey characters. I just LOVE. This is a fantasy series not to miss. Bring on the end to the trilogy in 2021!

Authors beginning with G

Sophie Gonzales

Enter the reimagined queer 90s romcom you’ve always dreamed of! Sophie Gonzales’ Only Mostly Devastated is one of the funniest, most joyful, sassy books I’ve read. Described as a queer Grease meets Clueless, it is the YA romcom I wanted in my youth. It is just the most fun. Ollie, the main character, is so sarcastic, he is a character after my own heart. I’m lucky enough to live in Melbourne, and so tomorrow get to go meet Sophie at her book launch. But if YA contemporary, queer romance, or 90s romcoms are your thing, then this book is for you! Check out my full rave review of this one here!

Authors beginning with H

Shaun David Hutchinson

We are the Ants is the only book I’ve read from Shaun David Hutchinson so far, but I already know he is an author I’m going to love reading more from. We Are the Ants was such an emotional read, Hutchinson has such an honest and relatable way of discussing mental health, I fell in love with the book and loved every second. I’m not usually a memoir reader, but Brave Face is one I really want to read as it talks about Hutchinson’s experience with mental health issues. I also am incredibly excited for his queer political romance The State of Us releasing this year!

Authors beginning with I

Ivy Pochoda & Jordan Ifueko

‘I’ was the first of the letters I really struggled with. So whilst I couldn’t think of any authors I’ve read beginning with I, I could think of two books releasing this year I wanted to shout out. Ivy Pochodo’s These Women is a serial killer literary thriller. A story about female empowerment, focusing on five women all connected to a dangerous, obsessive man. It sounds thoroughly dark and intriguing and oh so thrilling.

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko is the very different, debut YA fantasy about a woman sent to the city to compete to join the Crown Prince’s circle of advisors, but who is bound by a magical wish to kill him once she gains his trust.

Authors beginning with J

Joan He & N.K Jemisin

Two authors, one new to me last year, another I have loved for years! So of course I had to talk about them both. Joan He’s Descendant of the Crane was one of my favourite books last year. It is a detailed, political fantasy, a murder mystery with magic, and the most twisty YA fantasies you’ve ever read. It was incredible work for a debut author, and He’s second novel, The Ones We’re Meant to Find, somehow sounds even more incredible. It’s described as We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, and is about a girl living on a deserted island with no memory of who she is, and a girl trying to save an Earth ravaged by natural disasters. And He says it is even more twisty than her first, which I can’t even comprehend.

N.K Jemisin is certainly no stranger to fantasy readers. She is one of the biggest names in fantasy, most well known for her Broken Earth series, the queer as fuck, science as fuck, utterly captivating, geological masterpiece. It is, and will likely remain forever, one of my favourite fantasy series. N.K Jemisin also has a new book coming at the end of this month, The City We Became, based on a previous short story, about cities with souls. And New York has five of them.

That’s it for this week. Next week I will definitely not forget what day Tuesday is and have to stay up late to write this post and thus be exhausted at work tomorrow, definitely not.

Top 5 Tuesday: Alphabet Authors Part 1

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.

Hi everyone,

Whoooooops, so I managed to miss every single February Top 5 Tuesday?! I had an unexpectedly busy February so really didn’t get much of a chance to blog in between all my FFFeb Instagram posts, but things are slowly beginning to calm down.

I’m both excited (and kinda scared) for the March topics! Last year, Shanah created the Alphabet week theme for a whole month where we had to find a title beginning with every letter of the alphabet. I feel like I was very not good at it at all – a lot of cheating with ‘The” and “A” book titles! But this time, it’s Alphabet Authors! Which has no easily available cheat! (Though by X, I have no doubt I’ll be like ‘if the name includes the letter’…..) This first week though should be slightly easier! I decided to not focus on only first or last names, to make it at least a little bit easier for me since I failed so badly last time. So here goes, the first week of Alphabet Authors!

Authors beginning with A

A.J Hackwith & K. Ancrum

Starting with a bang! I wanted to talk about two authors because both these authors jumped onto my ‘favourite authors ever’ list very recently!

A.J Hackwith wrote the incredibe snarky queer fantasy of your dreams, The Library of the Unwritten (with the sequel The Archive of the Forgotten releasing in October). I loved this book. It felt like the fantasy I had been needing for so long – it’s lighthearted and fun and was so different to the stream of very heavy fantasy books I’d been reading. You can check out my full review here, but I predict this to be one of my favourite books of the year so I would love to get somebody else reading this series!

K. Ancrum is someone I started reading last year, fell in love with The Wicker King, fell more in love with The Weight of the Stars and then pretty much died when I found out her next novel is a queer Peter Pan retelling, Darling. She is one of my ‘will always read’ authors, her work is known for it’s fantastically unique designs (definitely one to try pick up a hard copy for!) and I can’t wait to read her next book!

Authors beginning with B

Akemi Dawn Bowman

I randomly picked up Starfish at the library last year, not really knowing what to expect, but vaguely remembered seeing some bloggers praise the book. And I was blown away. The raw power of Starfish was so unexpected and so heartbreakingly familiar, it’s probably one of the novels I’ve felt most seen it. I can’t wait for her novel Harley in the Sky which is releasing this year and involves a circus, and more of the phenomenal mental health rep Bowman is known for.

Authors beginning with C

Caitlin Starling

Caitlin Starling’s The Luminous Dead was one of my favourites books of 2019. It was one of my first novels in horror, and I loved it so much. I was so impressed at her ability to create so much tension and fear and drama with just two characters and one, very tight, caving system. Her next two novels sound equally thrilling, one involving a Crimson Peak gothic horror about haunted mansion and ritual magic, and one involving a deadly plague (how current).

Authors beginning with D

Mason Deaver

Another amazing read from 2019! Mason Deaver’s debut novel I Wish You All the Best was one of the most beautiful, most emotional, most queer novels I read all year. Telling the story of a depressed nonbinary teen who is kicked out of home, it is a difficult but important read. Their next novel, The Ghosts We Keep, releases later this year. Dealing with grief, rejection, PTSD, and with an nonbinary teen at the centre of it all, I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue to love everything Deaver writes.

Authors beginning with E

Erin Gough & Erin Morgenstern

And to wrap things up, I bring you two Erins!

Erin Gough is a fantastic Aussie author who wrote one of the funniest YA books I’ve read, Amelia Westlake. Set at a fancy Australian private school, it’s an f/f romcom featuring bad girl Will and perfect student Harriet as they fight back against the misogynistic, homophobic crap at their school. I’ve worked in the Aussie education sector (in publishing) for the past few years, and ohmygod it is so fucking accurate I was crying with laughter. I love love love this novel, and I can’t wait to see what Erin writes next!

My second Erin is the wonderful Erin Morgenstern, who has written some of the most hyped books I think I’ve seen: The Night Circus and The Starless Sea. I was embarassingly late to The Night Circus, only reading it last year. But it was so delightfully magical and immersive and it’s one of only a few bookd where I immediately ordered the author’s next work, the second I put down the book. I might not have gotten around to reading The Starless Sea yet, but I know I will love it!

That’s it for this week! Have you read and loved any of these authors too? Can’t wait to see get back into Top 5 Tuesday and read everyone’s posts!

Top 5 Tuesday: Most anticipated books for 2020

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.

Hi everyone,

Well this subject is impossible. I tried to write a Top 10 list for this blog of my most anticipated 2020 books back in December, and I think it ended up being 20 books long because I couldn’t narrow it down anymore. So to choose just FIVE is pretty much impossible.

I honestly didn’t know where to start and choose. So, I went through my very long 2020 Goodreads lists (257 books, what am I doing) and picked 5 which stood out to me as ones I was extremely excited for yesterday evening. I don’t know if I can say these are my ‘most anticipated five’ because I have so many others I am as anticipated for. But they are definitely a short snapshot of my most anticipated.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

A gothic, suspense, horror novel set in a creepy mansion, with a husband who’s poisoning his wife. This is set in 1950s Mexico, and the entire setting and atmosphere of this book just sound incredible. In addition, I believe ARCs have gone out very recently for this book and I’ve heard a lot of amazing things on my Twitter timeline about this book. Also that cover is to die for (that will be a reoccurring theme throughout this list).

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

So I have always had a fascination with the French Revolution. And here comes this bisexual love triangle set in the French Revolution and I cannot ask for more from a book. This is it. Heaven in a dark green package. Anyway, somehow the queer gods blessed me and I have an ARC of this one!! I still don’t know it happened, but it did and I am so excited to read.

Docile by K.M Sparza

I feel like this is one of the most hyped books of the year, and I am so on board for it! Capitalism, dystopia, sex, control, abuse and power, I already know this book is going to be challenging and controversial and so, so powerful!

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

I don’t usually read much historical fiction, so to have one on my most anticipated books of 2020 is a really big deal. But this one just sounds so interesting I couldn’t resist. This involves Hetty, who is tasked with the evacuation of the natural historuy museum’s mammals, from the city to Lockwood Manor, a mystery when the animals start going missing, and an f/f romance between the Lord of the Manor’s daughter and the animal keeper.

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

Genderfluid pirate! Genderfluid pirate! I’m so happy I could cry. Asian folklore, witches, mermaids, pirates, swashbuckling fun – and at it’s heart, questions about identity and love. Plus the most beautiful cover ever!! Look at that detail!!

And that’s five!! Last year I read fairly heavily YA, and this year I’m aiming to get more of a mix of adult/YA, which actually worked out fairly equal in this particular list without me trying! There are so many books I could mention, but instead of rewriting why I love the sound of them all, you can check out my most anticipated reads of the year post here! (Or, check out my most most anticipated contemporary, queer reads, fantasy, horror and science fiction lists!) Be warned the fantasy and queer reads lists ended up having to be posted in separate parts because there are soooooo many. Which is amazing! But also makes me so sad because there is not a chance I can possibly read every single one.

I can’t wait to read everyone else’s lists! Are any of these also in your most anticipated books for 2020?

Top 5 Tuesday: Reasons I Rate a Book 5 Stars

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.

Hi everyone,

This week I’m coming to you from:

  • The middle of a work conference…
  • Which I was forced to go to during the middle of manuscript deadline hell….
  • And where there is a strict “no exceptions” to the evening social rule…
  • So if we want to get any of our work done (because of course the deadline doesn’t change even if you pull us out of the office for a week!!), we have to stay up until the early hours to do so….

So life is great right now. So great.

Okay rant over. Let’s get onto to celebrating why I rate books 5 stars! You know, I’ve never actually considered what makes me rate 5 stars in huge detail, outside of thinking about the one specific book I’m reviewing. I’m not even sure if there are recurring elements – I think to rate 5 stars, pretty much every part of the book needs to be incredible right? So I decided to go through all my 5 star reads of 2019, and go down a very statistical direction to identify the common themes and elements between those books. This is what I got.

It’s gay

Yup. No surprises here. If a book has LGBTQIA+ characters, I am on the squee express and will love that book. For some stats, 71% of my 2019 five star reads were queer! And that makes me so happy. I love reading books about people like me, so it is no surprise that most of my 5 star reads are loudly, proudly queer. Bring on the 2020 gays.

My 5 star examples:

A morally grey protagonist/villain

Give me our morally grey protagonists and villains. I love characters that do bad things for good reasons. I love when authors play with the idea of good and evil, when I don’t know who I’m supposed to be supporting, when there’s no clear idea of who is good and who is evil. God I love it so much. Give me morally grey every day.

My 5 star examples:

Excellent mental health rep

Much like queer books, seeing characters cope with mental health, in both real life-settings or fantasy worlds, just makes my heart hurt because I’m seeing people like me. It can be hopeful, which for obvious reasons, is fantastic to read as way of finding hope myself. But even if it is hopeless, it makes you feel seen and understood as a reader, and for a second, you can feel less alone because there’s someone out there who feels like you do.

My 5 star examples:

Nails the ending

So many of my 4 star books last year were fantastic….until the ending. Nailing the ending is such a difficult part of writing, and it has such an impact on my ultimate enjoyment of the book. I want an ending that is as brutually emotional as every page before it has been. I want knowledge and understanding of what’s happened. I don’t need all the ends tied up, but I want to feel something on the last pages. You can shock me, hurt me, thrill me. But the ending should make me feel something.

My 5 star examples:

Breaks my heart

So almost 50% of my 5 star reads of 2019 broke my heart. I don’t necessarily mean they made me cry – I’m a difficult reader to make actually cry, though I do tear up a lot. I like books that make me have a visceral emotional reaction, and let’s be honest, that kind of reaction usually comes when a book is stabbing you in the heart and ripping you open. I want to feel my chest physically hurt because I can’t believe what’s happening on the page. I need to be so emotionally invested in the characters, that what happens to them hurts me as much as possible. That’s definitely worth 5 stars.

My 5 star examples:

So to conclude, basically I want a queer, depressed, murder muffin to make me cry. Which does actually sum up several of the books I’m very excited for this year, so I clearly definitely have a 5 Star Type.

Top 5 Tuesday: Books I Need to Read in 2020

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.

Hi everyone,

It’s the first Top 5 Tuesday of 2020! You may notice I’ve had a little bit of a blog lift. That is thanks to Vinny over at Artsy Draft! Last year, I was THE LUCKIEST PERSON EVER and actually won a blog redesign! Vinny has spent the last little while redesigning my entire blog and drawing the most amazing illos to use and I am so incredibely grateful and amazed by their work! I’m still in the process of updating all my backposts, but it’s getting there!

So I was tempted to put a very similar list for this week’s topic as one in December (the ‘2019 books I never got to’ because I SWEAR I will get to them in 2020). But I also have several others on my shelf that I really need to get to, so let’s just add to that pile….

Steel Crow Saga – Paul Krueger

I picked this one up after seeing Shealea at Shut Up Shealea write the most amazing review I think I’ve ever read for it! It sounds honestly mind-blowingly good. I know I will definitely get it to it in 2020 – I’m participating in #FFFeb, a sapphic readathon in February! One of the challenges is a book with a bisexual character, which this does! So I plan on getting to this one very shortly…

The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern

I (rather embarassingly) only got around to reading The Night Circus late last year. But I adored it! It was absolutely perfect. So of course I immediately got my hands on a copy over her second novel, The Starless Sea, which I can’t wait to read in 2020!

A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir

So this adds to the awfully long list of sequels I really need to read…. Alongside The Dragon Republic, The Kingdom of Copper and Jade War (which I’m currently reading!), I really need to read the sequel to Sabaa Tahir’s incredible fantasy An Ember in the Ashes. It was one of my favourite fantasy books I read last year. I don’t know why I struggle so much with sequels!

The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco

I actually almost go a chance to read The Bone Witch last year! I ordered it from my library, but then didn’t quite get time to read it before I left on holiday, so had to return it. Perhaps a second attempt this year will be luckier!

The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

Okay so I know I said I wasn’t going to put any books from my Book I Didn’t Get to in 2019 list….But this one I swore I was going to read ALL YEAR and didn’t. So once again I am vowing to read Priory in 2020. I’m actually considering it for my next read – I’m trying to get all my massive fantasy tomes read before any 2020 preorders come in….I guess we’ll see if I’m sucessful in the next few weeks!

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Tuesday! I can’t wait to read everyone’s lists. My key reading goal for this year is very much ‘please Rachel for the love of God read all your sequels.’ I feel like it should be achievable?! But I failed last year so, do I really know anything?

I hope everyone has a great week~

Top 5 Tuesday: Dear Santa…

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.

Hi everyone,

Merry Christmas! (Almost…) Today was my last day at work (CHEEEERS ALL AROUND) and I am currently frantically writing this post about 2 hours before I have to leave for the airport to go to Vietnam!!! Whoops for leaving it this late…. This year, I basically gave my partner a list of books from my TBR for him to surprise me with some off it, because there is no way for anyone to navigate my current Goodreads TBR. So that made writing this post soooo easy because I already have a list of 5 books I would love if ‘Santa’ (*cough* Gavin *cough*) would get me for Christmas…

The Girl in Red – Christina Henry

So after an absolutely amazing year getting really into creepy horror books, I saw this one and immediately fell in love! It just sounds so terrifying and the cover is amazing – look at that AXE and that SWAGGER – and I love retellings!! So Dear Santa, please let this book be under my tree…

The Light at the Bottom of the World – London Shah

This book was one of my most anticiapted reads this year, and because I am so bad at preordering and then October was just a month from hell, I never actually got around to buying this one! I absolutely love the concept of a London underwater and am so intrigued by the this world, so Dear Santa, please let this book be under my tree….

Brave Face – Shaun David Hutchinson

Okay so maybe not the cheeriest book in the world to get for Christmas. B U T. I’ve had a really pretty fucking awful few months with my mental health, and I’ve heard some incredible things about Shaun David Hutchinson and I really just wanted to read something hopeful from someone with lived experience of what I’m going through…so Dear Santa, please let this book be under my tree…

Ziggy, Stardust & Me – James Brandon

This one was actually one I also put on my birthday wishlist and Gavin didn’t choose it then, so I’m interested to see if he’ll remember and know I want it enough to put it on my list again in hopes of finally reading it… Historical queer fiction has absolutely killed it this year (Like a Love Story has to be one of the best books of the decade in my view!!!) and I’d love to continue reading the brilliant books in this genre. So Dear Santa, please let this book be under my tree..

Bloodlust & Bonnets – Emily McGovern

Finally, this graphic novel is from the incredible creater of the My Life as a Background Slytherin comic. I have this comic on my wall, Emily is just absolutely hilarious and therefore might be the very first person to ever get me to read a graphic novel… because I KNOW this book will just be utterly captivating and funny. So Dear Santa, if you want me to read my first graphic novel, please let this book me under my tree…


And that’s a 2019 wrap!! Wow! This has been a year! I have loved being a part of the weekly Top 5 Tuesdays and can’t wait to continue in 2020. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday period, and that you get some of the presents you hope Santa might bring!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Books I Did Not Get to in 2019

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.

Hi everyone,

It’s officially ONE WEEK till I go on holiday and I am so excited. But I have so much work to do and so many blog posts to write before I go, let alone packing for the trip… Plus I’m seeing one of my favourite bands tomorrow night (Halestorm!) and it’s my work Christmas party on Wednesday. This week is going to be so busy, December, why are you like this?!

Thank you Shanah for another awesome December topic! For many weeks now, I have been talking about several books I was totally, definitely, 100% going to read before the end of the year. Well for this week’s topic I finally admit that’s never going to happen.

Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

I can’t believe I haven’t gotten around to this! I keep saying I need a few days of no work and no plans so I can sit down and just read it, but then that….never happened. And I do plan to read it over the Christmas work break – but it’ll be in the New Year before I get to start so definitely not going to finish by the end of the decade…

Jade City/Jade War – Fonda Lee

I was so excited to get these for my birthday as I’ve heard so many amazing things! But I’ve been in such a bad mental health period and I really want to concentrate and savour these two, so I haven’t started them yet.

The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang

This is another book I know I need some brain power to read, in part because I know full well it will BREAK me. So if….when….my mental health recovers, this is top of the list!

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

My Twitter feed has been nothing but Queen of Nothing all month, so I really do need to start this series. But it’s one of those ones that just keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile for other books. Sorry Jude and Cardan!

The Kingdom of Copper – S.A Chakraborty

Ahhhhh this is probably the one I’m most disappointed I haven’t read this year. The City of Brass was one of my favourite books of the year, but it was so emotionally traumatic I still haven’t been able to work up the courage to read the sequel.


There are so many others I could have on this list, but these are probably the ones I want to feel most shamed about not having got to. So please shame me into reading them first thing in 2020!

I look forward to reading everyone’s lists this week!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Surprising Reads of 2019

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.

Hi everyone,

I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday. But it’s officially only two weeks until I go on leave over Christmas and I’m off to Vietnam so I’m beginning to both panic about planning as well as get super excited!

This week is a really fun topic – surprising reads of 2019. BUT, Shanah hasn’t specified whether it needs to be a good surprise or a bad surprise. So I thought I’d talk about some of each!

They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera

Let’s start with a bad surprise which may get me attacked by half the book community. I went into They Both Die at the End extremely hyped. I don’t think I’d seen a single negative review, everyone on Twitter I follow loves it…..and I…..really…..really….did not. I was so shocked. The premise of this book sounds exactly my cup of tea, but I just didn’t care about it at all. The characters were bland and boring; it was repetitive; it was just so so meh and I had expected something incredible. This was a very bad surprise of 2019 for me.

Into the Drowning Deep – Mira Grant

Now for an EXCELLENT surprise! Horror has never really been my “thing”. At least in visual media. I get scared very easily, and combined with my exceedingly overactive imagination, interacting with horror media has never been a good combination for me. However, this year I did start reading a few books in the more psychological horror genre. Into the Drowning Deep was one of these, and I ADORED it. It’s one of my favourite reads of the entire year; it’s deliciously creepy and terrifying. I couldn’t tear my eyes away and I am already looking forward to rereading it! You can read more about my love for this book in my review here!

YA Contemporary

My third surprise isn’t a specific book, but instead is a genre! I don’t think I’d ever read a YA contemporary novel before this year. Not even when I was a teen. I have always been very heavily into fantasy, but this year I picked up Darius and fell in love with the genre. Softer, quieter and yet just as impactful as my favourite fantasies, some of my favourite books this year have been YA contemporaries, and I can’t wait to read some of the amazing books releasing in this genre next year!

An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes was one of my biggest surprises this year because it was a book I randomly picked up at the library thinking the blurb sounded vaguely interesting, and then it was INCREDIBLE. I usually go to the library to pick up reservations I’ve specifically chosen, I rarely pick up random books I’ve never heard of before because I’ve found them very hit and miss in the past. I like doing research on my books! But this one I randomly picked up, and I became enthralled with this world. I can’t wait to continue this series!

Eve of Man – Giovanna + Tom Fletcher

And I’m ending on another bad surprise! In contrast to An Ember in the Ashes, Eve of Man was another of my randomly picking up because of a vaguely interesting blurb. In addition, this one had a very shiny cover and I as very attracted to shiny things. Only problem was, it was terrible. In hindsight, I wish I’d just DNF-ed it, but I kept going to the end even though I had no interest at all. It had such a good premise, and then completely failed in all execution. I rarely read books I dislike this much, because I do so much research into what I’m going to read. This one really just reinforced my opinion that randomly picking up a book is rarely ever a sucessful endeavour.


That’s my top 5 surprising reads of 2019! I’m looking forward to more (good) surprises in 2020. Bring on my new journey into horror and contemporary fiction!

Looking forward to reading everyone’s posts this week!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco