Top 5 Tuesday: 2019 Covers

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 think this week’s topic might be my favourite topic since I joined in with this weekly feature! Thank you Shanah for giving me the opportunity to scroll though Goodreads and look at all the pretty covers and then absolutely panic because I had so many tabs open and I couldn’t decide on five! So this week I’m giving you my EIGHT favourite covers of 2019!

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

This is one of my most anticipated releases of the 2019. I adore this cover – it’s so intricate, everytime you look you see something different. It also reflects different colours in the light which is just so beautiful!

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Need I explain why I find this so beautiful? Oh it’s just so pretty – the colours, the snake, the mushrooms, the hands, it is just stunning. I also here there are some INCREDIBLE

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

This is one of those covers which is absolutely stunning in person – careful spot gloss and embossing make this book an absolute joy to hold! I love the yellow and pink, it’s so warm against the intricate grey cityscape.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

This cover just screams necromancy and will go down as one of THE most iconic book cosplays (I predict). The mask, the power in the stance, the daggers, the gauntlet GAH this cover is just so sexy.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

This cover is just so beautiful – the softness interposed with the hard, haunting body horror, is so impactful! I also love the colour of this book, it’s so soft and mysterious.

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

Another gorgeous fantasy cover – I just adore this. I find it very peaceful and calming. The colours are so relaxing, the font is lovely and the crane and the way the beak comes over the title, it’s stunning!!

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

This is one of the few books that sit face out on my shelf currently, and it’s because I find it so so beautiful. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity. The way Ben leans against Nathan as if pulling strength is just gorgeous.

Slay by Brittney Morris

How powerful is the cover?! The way the model stares directly at you, her glasses, the strength in her gaze! I love the graphic effect on the right side, it really gives the gamer vibe, and the bright pink is awesome!

And that’s my choices this week – sorry I couldn’t narrow it further….And I won’t lie, you could ask me again next week and I’d have another 8 stunning covers I adore. 2019 has been so awesome for gorgeous covers and I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings! Link me your Top 5 covers post in the comments below so I can check out some more lovely covers ❤️

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Series I Need to Finish

Hello my Top 5 Tuesday friends, I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far! This week’s topic was actually way more of a struggle than I thought – I tend to binge series when I start reading them, so I actually have very few:
a) Complete series I have started and not finished
b) Incomplete series that have a sequel available for me to read but I haven’t.

So several on my list this week are books where I’ve read the first one, but the sequel has not yet been released so I haven’t been able to continue! And then I did also note down a few popular series which I have somehow not managed to read at all. Which technically means I do still need to finish them too…

The Daevabad Trilogy – S.A Chakraborty

I shall start with a series I can actually continue – and I do have the sequel sitting on my shelf waiting for a day I am recovered enough from the first to continue – The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A Chakraborty. I read The City of Brass earlier this year and adored it – but it’s such an emotionally hard-hitting book that I have yet to recover enough to read The Kingdom of Copper. But I am honestly so excited to continue this series – there is so much political machinations, drama, heart-stopping-will-totally-kill-you scenes and I am both terrified and thrilled to continue this series! The third book isn’t out until 2020 so I still have time until I’ll be able to finish the whole trilogy.

The Poppy War trilogy – R.F Kuang

This is the last of my ‘available to continue but haven’t yet’ series. The Dragon Republic was released very recently, and it took so long for my pre-order to make it to Australia it has only just arrived last week. But it’s here now! And I am so excited to go back to the world of Rin and Kitay and Nezha. The worldbuilding is just incredible, R.F Kuang writes just ridiculously awesome battle scenes (fight scenes are my most dreaded part of writing and it causes me great struggle that all my WIP ideas need them). Inspired by real events, this series is so gritty, emotive, and really just hits you in the chest when you read it.

Girls of Paper and Fire trilogy – Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire was such a brilliant debut with such a wonderful host of characters – and a f/f relationship at it’s core, which I love love loved seeing! I can’t wait until the second book is released in Novemeber and will definitely be pre-ordering. I was hooked from the very first page, the writing was just so beautiful. I found the caste system so interesting, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Feverwake duology – Victoria Lee

Absolutely no surprises to see this here! The Fever King is my favourite book (both of the year, and ever!) and I have been shaking with excitement for the sequel and finale to this duology since I first read TFK. Set in a dystopian future US, Noam survives a virus which wipes out most of the population and gives him magic. Taken in by Calix Leher, one of the most powerful men in the new country of Carolinia, Noam is trained for the army. There he meets Dara (GAH) and together the two must pick their side and try to overthrow a corrupt government. The Fever King was just exquisite in every way and I adore it so so much, and The Electric Heir is my most anticipated release of 2020 (MARCH EVERYONE PREPARE THYSELVES!).

Series I haven’t started

For my fifth ‘book’, I thought I’d talk about some of the super popular series that for some reason I’ve just never got around to reading.

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas

So I actually have the first in this series on my bookshelf – I’ll admit, I bought it this year in the wake of the anniversary of dick soap gate because I was both intrigued and utterley shocked.

The Nevernight Chronicle – Jay Kristoff

Yep never read Jay Kristoff! I really don’t have any excuses. And I believe there is a really awesome cat (kind of) in the series, which totally sounds like my cup of tea…

The Folk of the Air – Holly Black

Another major name I haven’t ever read… I do also have The Cruel Prince on my shelf so I will get around to it someday, there’s just far too many books to read!

I hope you enjoyed my list this week – let me know if you’ve also not finished any of these series!

Paws out
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Books I don’t talk about enough

Hi again, for this week’s Top 5 Tuesday! And what an interesting topic it is this week… There are definitely books I shout about constantly so I’m so glad to sing about some of the books which I 100% need to talk about more often. Because they are awesome.

Love from A to Z by S.K Ali

I read this book earlier this year and it is one of the most beautiful love stories ever. It is just so incredible and utterly perfect! Love from A to Z follows Adam and Zayneb as they meet and fall in love. There is such as strong Muslim voice in this book – I adored seeing how religion guided the relationship. Zayneb is one of the fiercest, stongest characters – she refuses to back down from what’s right and is so driven. As well as a love story, this book also discusses topics such as Islamaphobia and discrimination, with the author using her own experience for several scenes in the book. Love from A to Z is such a powerful story about love and strength and the strength of faith. You can read my full review of this title here.

I Still Dream by James Smythe

So this book actually featured on last week’s Top 5 Dystopian but I’m also featuring it here because it is one of my absolute favourite sci-fi, dystopian novels but I never seem to talk about it which is so wrong. It’s a brilliant tale about artificial intelligence and what happens when humans choose to input morality and control (or not….) into AI. It’s a very character driven story, like most of my SFF favourites, and follows Laura, who creates her own AI, from her teenage years until she’s an old woman. It’s a brilliant look at how humanity will likely destroy itself for power.

Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan

Keep This to Yourself is a queer murder mystery, set in a small country village by the sea. The setting really shines in this book – it creates such creepy and tense scenes, with rough seas and caves and the small-town village vibe which always seems kind of creepy to me. (I grew up in a tiny village so clearly this is something I picked up from my years there…) The fourth murder by serial killer ‘The Catalog Killer’ in this small town was that of high school hero Connor, beloved by the inhabitants of Camera Cove. After this murder, the serial killer disappeared. Mac, best friend of Connor, is unsatisfied with the resolution of the case so begins his own investigation, but it reveals more than he could ever have wished for… Great mystery, awesome to see a queer relationship and such an interesting setting!

The Afterward by E.K Johnston

The Afterward has such a different feel and tone than any other fantasy I’ve read – instead of focussing on the quest, it focusses on what happens after, on how the heroes settle back into everyday life. It’s a very quiet book and really does feel a breath of fresh air in such a heavy, action central genre, hence I really want to give this book the praise it deserves because I think it might often be overshadowed by those more action heavy books. This is another superb queer story – I love both Kalanthe and Olga, our two very different MCs as they try to forget their feelings for each other that developed during the quest and move on with their lives. Fantastic characters, brilliant relationship and awesome female knights! Check out my full review of this book here!

Birthday by Meredith Russo

Oh god this book is just an emotional and heartbreaking read. What a spectacular book! The book follows Eric and Morgan each year on their shared birthday. This is a brilliant way to tell the story, which focuses on Morgan and her journey to transition. This book has such a harrowing and honest depiction of depression, and really shows how strong Morgan is to survive her journey. It is a potentially triggering story, with a graphic depiction of attempted suicide, transphobia, homophobia, and depression so please take note of warnings if you do want to read. A powerful, incredible story of survial and strength.

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 books I don’t talk about enough! Let me know if you love any of these books as much as I do!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Dystopian

So I missed the first August Top 5 Tuesday because life was sucking and blogging was hard, but I’m back now for Dystopian week!

I thought this would be waaaaay easier, but I seem to have not read very many dystopians?! And I didn’t want to choose the more obvious ones like THG or Handmaid’s Tale, so there may be one or two debatable choices on this list – but I consider them dystopian so here they are!

The Fever King by Victoria Lee

What a shock, The Fever King is the book I want to talk about first on dystopian week. This isn’t just the best dystopian novel ever, I currently consider it my favourite book EVER, and I cannot keep recommending it to everyone. The Fever King is set in a future US, where a virus (magic) has wiped out most of the population. Several hubs of survivors have risen out of the wreckage, including Carolinia, where Noam, our MC lives. The son of an immigrant, Noam survives the virus and wakes up with technopathy, an ability to control technology. He is recruited by one of the most powerful men in Carolinia, Calix Leher, and goes to train at a special school for magic-wielding survivors. There he meets Dara, Ames and the rest of a crew, tries to take down the government, and falls in love.

This book is just everything. It is such an amazing story, with lots of action and drama, and characters I would die for. What it does not have: the SEQUEL which isn’t out until MARCH. C’mon time, please hurry up. You can read my full review of this book here!

I Still Dream by James Smythe

I Still Dream is probably more sci-fi than dystopian, but I think the topics discussed in the book do make it dystopian, hence it’s appearing on this list. I Still Dream tells the story of Laura, who at 17 created an artificial intelligence called Organon. Laura uses it almost like a diary, inputting her thoughts and desires into Organon who supports her as she grows. Meanwhile, the world advances, technology changes, and corportations develop their own AI. But their AI is very different to Laura’s. Laura’s was only ever designed for her; and as Organon has developed, it has done so with Laura’s humanity and her morals. The mega-corps? Of course they didn’t care about putting controls in their AI! Why would they do that?!

This is probably my absolute favourite AI book I’ve read. Despite the plot revolving around Organon, the book really focuses on Laura which I love. We follow Laura throughout her life as she and Organon grow and develop together, from her 17 year old self, to when she’s old. I Still Dream discusses what it means to be human, and shows how we can destroy ourselves for power. It’s such a brilliant tale, with incredible character development in Laura, and a brilliant look at how technology and humanity might interact in the future.

Sealed by Naomi Booth

Sealed is a very creepy, horror-esque dystopian novel set in a future where pollution has damaged the enviornment. Cities are covered in smog; food is grown only in sterile labs, and now a virus which causes skin to grow over any openings on your body is infecting everyone. To escape, pregnant Alice and her partner escape to the mountains, where she hopes the cool, fresh air will protect her from the epidemic. Of course, things aren’t quite as expected in the mountains. Something is very wrong.

Sealed is such a fantastic book – it had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through, and is one of the most terrifying books I’ve read. I actually found the ending a little disappointing, but a lot of people LOVED the ending so it’s probably just me… I wanted a bit more resolution of the virus, which is why I picked up the book (because I have a really weird obsession with media about virus epidemics), but we didn’t. Otherwise, this was a super suspenseful and chilling book.

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

The Natural Way of Things is a very Handmaid’s Tale-esque, feminist dystopian. Yolanda and Verla wake up drugged in an abandoned property in the middle of the Australian desert. Along with 8 other girls, they’ve been kidnapped from their lives and left there, forced to do hard labour each day. Two jailors and a nurse accompany them, watching over their every move. As they begin to bond with each other, we discover that each girl has a secret, a history of a sexual scandal with a powerful man – and this is what led to their kidnapping.

This is an extremely dark and uncomfortable novel discussing gender, the patriarchy, and misogyny. You can see the Margaret Atwood inspiration, but it’s such a modern look at the issues Atwood wrote about 35 years ago.

It’s pretty depressing this shit never seems to change.

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

I just finished this book last week, a book I have been looking forward to read for months, and it didn’t disappoint! The Kingdom is new theme park, one where wishes come true; where happy ever after isn’t just a hope, it’s enforced. Ana is one of seven fantasists, extremely human-like robots who are employed by The Kingdom to make wishes come true. Ana is also standing trial for murder. The Kingdom is split between Ana’s POV in the years before the trial; and in snippets of interviews and videos from the trial.

What a brilliant concept and great mystery! This book was pretty dark and gritty, despite how it first seems. Ana is very naive and unaware of The Kingdom’s seedier side, and so we discover along with her. This book has such brilliant discussions about what makes someone human, about how choices make humanity, and how dark and awful we really can be. I did wish the ending had been a bit darker – it felt a little too hopeful for me for the concept, but as it’s setting up a sequel, I’m interested to see what happens next. I have a full review of this book coming soon!

And that’s it for this week’s Top 5 Tuesday Dystopians! Let me know what you think of these books – and if you haven’t added The Fever King to your TBR yet, DO!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Alphabet, part 5!

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.

Squuueeeeee so it is officially the last week of July and therefore the last part of the alphabet extravanganza that has been Top 5 Tuesday these past few weeks. It was so much more difficult that I expected to find books with every letter, and I did have to cheat so many times and ignore the words ‘the’ and ‘a’ in order to actually complete it.

This week, I have a mix of: letters I have so many recommendations for and other letters I struggled with so much. There’s literally no books beginning with V or X, I swear it. So expect lots of books I haven’t had a chance to read yet, but that I’m still very excited for! (and expect lots of books beginning with W to make up for the fact I have a big fat zero for X…)

The letter U

Unbroken – Brooklyn Ray

So I haven’t quite read this one yet, but I’m hoping I get a chance to soon. This book is about Victor, who moves into an old haunted house. And of course falls in love with the witch turned demon who is bound to the house. Yes please, sign me up, I am here for this trope!

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Publishing early 2020, this book tells the story of Esther, a stowaway who’s trying to escape her arranged marriage. The arranged marriage to a guy who used to be engaged to best friend and love of her life before her execution. Queer librarians, resistance fighting and spies, this book sounds excellent. Queer librarians will sell me every time!

The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

Another publishing early 2020, this book has everything that makes me want to scream about fantasy: religion, venegful gods, sacrificial magic (and I think it’s f/f?!!) Csorwe is destined to give herself up as sacrifice to her gods. However, on the eve of her foretold death, a poweful mage offers her freedom, if she’ll become his thief, assassin and spy. This is the story of a villain’s sidekick – and that is something I never knew I wanted until I heard about this book and now I can think of nothing better!

The letter V

Viper by Bex Hogan

I love pirates. I just do. So of course this seafaring adventure with a female lead caught my eye! Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, the legendary defender of the Twelve Isles. But until that day, the current Viper rules the seas in a murderous and venegful way. Oh and the current Viper is her father. This sounds like a thrilling pirate adventure with lots of family drama and hopefully eyeliner wearing pirates.

The letter X

I’m sorry book bloggers, for I have failed.

I have nothing beginning with X. I did find book I thought sounded interesting but I was concerend about potential for problematic content so I read the reviews, and they confirmed my concerns – hence I don’t feel comfortable recommending it to people!

So instead of books beginning with the letter X, here’s some containing the letter X….

I’m very sorry for my failure….Have lots of W books instead!

The letter W

The Wicker King – K. Ancrum

This book is absolutely mindblowing, from the design of the book (would highly recommend reading a print copy over eBook if you’re able!) to the poetic prose. The book follows August as he watches best friend Jack slowly succumb to degenerative hallucinatory disorder. No review I could ever write can do this book justice, but I did try and you can find out my full thoughts here.

We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal

What a debut fantasy this was! We Hunt the Flame is an Ancient Arabia inspired fantasy, involving broody assassins, amazing bros, fierce hunter women who is an ace with a bow (YES), and a creepy and disturbing villain who is slowly taking over the entire land… Check out my full review here!

Wicked Saints – Emily A Duncan

Another great fantasy debut this year, Wicked Saints has so many of my absolute favourite things in fantasy: blood magic, religion, Gods who commune with people, sassy bisexual icons, dark broody monsters….I could go on. Plus the cover is just stunning on my bookshelf. Check out my full review here!

We are Totally Normal – Rahul Kanakia

I am so here for queer couples of covers. There’s been a sweep of just stunning queer covers recently and this is another! Publishing in early 2020, We are Totally Normal is a YA, coming-out love story about labels and what it means to be normal. When Dave and Nandan hook up at a party, despite not being into guys before, Nandan vows to give it a shot but struggles when everyone starts to look at him differently.

Wicked Fox – Kat Cho

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I am so excited for this book! I was waiting for it be delivered for almost 2 months, and it finally arrived and so I’m definitely planning to read this one in July. “Gu Miyoung has a secret – she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive.” Ummmmmmm yes?! I’ve heard such great things about the romance in this (as in, I’ve heard people it describe as one of their favourite YA romances ever) so I can’t wait to start reading!

The Letter Y

You Asked for Perfect – Laura Silverman

This book hurt my heart because it hit very close to home: featuring a teen struggling to feel good abotu himself, who always needs to be the best to feel worthwhile, and who suddenly fails his first test and everything slowly falls apart.

The letter Z

I actually have a book for Z! Yes! Although again, I haven’t technically read this one yet…

Ziggy, Stardust and Me – James Brandon

Set in the 1970’s, this book follows a teen in a time where homosexuality was still considered a mental illness, as they fall for someone they really don’t want to. It looks to be quite a difficult read, with discussions around homophobia and queer conversion therapy, but despite how hard-hitting this will be, I think it sounds phenomenal.

And that’s it for this week! I can’t believe I made it to the end of the alphabet – and with only one letter I totally failed on!

I can’t wait to see what everyone put this week (especially for letter X!!!)

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Alphabet, Part 4

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.

Well this was a week from hell. The day job was awful this past week so reading motivation (and really just all around general motivation) went down so much. Writing this has totally taken it out of me and I am ready to fall asleep… So I do apologise for any typing errors as I have proofread exactly none of this.

We are Week 4 of the themed July alphabet challenge. This week we’re looking at letters P-Q-R-S-T and as with last week, I thought I’d continue celebrating some new releases publishing this year as well as books I’ve already read.

The letter P
The Poppy War – R.F Kuang

It is almost August which means it is almost The Dragon Republic release date, which is the sequel to The Poppy War, and I am so so so so so so so so so so excited. The Poppy War is one of the best fantasies I’ve ever read. It’s one of the only grimdark books I’ve read with a female lead, who is INCREDIBLE. There is such a range of amazing characters, the story and action is so brilliant and the magic system is amazing!

Planetfall – Emma Newman

I have a full review of this book scheduled for this week! This was an amazing read, with such a realistic and strong portrayal of mental illness. If it hadn’t been for the ending, this would’ve been one of my favourite books of the year – but it is still definitely worth a read!

Practically Ever After – Isabel Bandeira

Publishing in November, Practically Ever After is an f/f, YA novel following Grace as she enters her last few months of high school. Grace has perfectly calculated how to succeed at everything, but now life is fighting back and her perfect calculations are a mess. The blurb sounds quite similar to You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman which I loved so I have high hopes!

The letter Q
The Quiet at the End of the World – Lauren James

So Q was definitely the hardest letter this week – I can only think of one I’ve read, and NONE that are publishing this year. The Quiet at the End of the World is a really great, happy science-fiction novel. I kind of wanted it to be less hopeful and happy because I am an absolute sucker for a novel that hurts me, but the mystery and quiet air of ease in this book is really lovely.

The letter R
Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

This is a book so many people are talking about – and it is totally worth it! This is such a happy, fun and fiercely queer novel about what happens if the First Son of the United States falls in love with the Prince of England. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious and oh so fun!

The Raven Tower – Ann Leckie

This is Ann Leckie’s first foray into fantasy after a very successful sci-fi series. I really enjoyed it – it’s definitely not for everyone. The Raven Tower uses second person, which I know is quite divisive as a POV, but I thought it was used very well and was so effective. Based loosely on Hamlet, the story is told in two parts: a kingdom who’s King is missing (presumed dead), and millions of years in the past, and following a rock, an ancient god who watches the world develop. It sounds a bit odd, but it’s really great!

The Resurrectionist of Caligo – Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga

Bodysnatchers, princess, Victorian style setting, blood magic, science, fantasy noir? YES YES and YES.

The Letter S

Okay so S is a big category this week because I couldn’t narrow down all the amazing books publishing this year that begin with S. They all sound SO good!

Shatter the Sky – Rebecca Kim Wells

Shatter the Sky technically releases at the end of July but I was lucky enough to get a NetGalley review copy and hence I am counting it as my read book this week. This book contains dragons (both fierce and adorable), bisexual heroine and a mission to take down an evil regime – and it’s so good! You can read my full review of this title here!

Salvation Day – Kali Wallace

“A lethal virus is awoken on an abandoned spaceship in this incredibly fast-paced, claustrophobic thriller.” I don’t think I can describe it better than the Goodreads blurb! This sounds so tense and scary – any form of media about viruses really sparks some innate fear and captivation in me so I am very excited about this one!

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them – Junauda Petrus

This is one of my most anticipated books of the entire year! YA love story – super diverse, sapphic, POC, religion, illness, this just sounds like a book that is going to break my heart and I cannot wait.

Salvaged – Madeleine Roux

Okay so this is another kind of virusy-like sci fi. This time, it’s an alien parasite infection. Rosalyn is a space janitor, cleaning up space missions that have gone wrong. She’s sent to the Brigantine, a research vessel which has ‘gone dark’, and all crew are assumed dead. Except they aren’t. They are very much alive, except not quite human anymore…

Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin

Witches and church war! Accidental marriage between a witch and a priest! Not meaning to fall in love! Enemies to lovers! I am a fan of ALL OF THIS.

Slay – Brittney Morris

Okay diverse gaming YA book with murder and a completely epic teen developer fighting against online racist trolls?! Yes this does sound like a perfect book.

The letter T
The Travelling Cat Chronices – Hiro Arikawa

This is such a sweet and loving little book – told from the story of a cat and their hooman, as the cat tries to understand why his hooman no longer wants him. It is so heartbreaking but lovely and so perfect for any cat lovers out there.

The Book of M – Peng Shepherd

Okay so I realise I’ve been using ‘the’ for every other letter and am now using it for the letter T as well. But this book is too good not to mention it! People start losing their shadows, but it turns out that’s where memories are stored. As people start forgetting who they are, they begin gaining something else though….magic to make the impossible possible.

Tarnished are the Stars – Rosiee Thor

Illegal medical technology, queer, science-fantasy, assassins, a deadly epidemic, mysteries, this sounds incredibly awesome!

There Will Come a Darkness – Katy Rose Pool

I won’t lie, the title alone sold me on this book before I even read the blurb. Prophets and prophecies and 5 people who could save the world, or destroy it. SIGN ME UP.

Wow that was a lot of books. This last week has been impossible to get through and this took so much effort to write but I am done and I love all these books and I hope you do too! Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if there’s any you’re looking forward to as well.

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Alphabet, part 3

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.

Following on from the last two weeks is the continuation of the incredibly difficult alphabet list! This week’s letters are K-L-M-N-O, and for once I was actually super happy because I thought I had no ‘The’s’ or ‘A’s at the start of these titles (like I have had the past two weeks).

And then I realised I’d just typed up the wrong title on my spreadsheet and the correct title did have a ‘the’. So once again I have failed! I am sorry.

This week I thought I’d give both a title I really enjoyed as well as one I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year because I still have so many books I want to read and I want to share the love.

So without further ado…

The letter K

Keep This to Yourself – Tom Ryan

This book was an absolutely brilliant queer YA thriller. I feel like there really isn’t many YA thrillers (at least I haven’t read very many) so this was a really great new genre for me! The thriller/mystery aspect was very engaging and tense and I loved the slow reveal – it was so gripping and the setting was excellent!

Kingdom of Souls – Rena Barron

Okay how awesome is that cover?!? So powerful! Kingdom of Souls is about a girl called Arrah who comes from a long line of witchdoctors, but she isn’t able to wield magic. So, she sells years of her life in order to gain the power of magic. This sounds like it will be a really immersive and interesting read and it’s publishing on September 3.

The letter L

(The) Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali – Sabina Khan

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali is a brilliant story about a queer, Muslim teen and what happens when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend. A representation not often seen, this book does a wonderful job portraying the blend of cultures in Rukhsana who feels torn by her American upbringing and her Bengali heritage. You can read my full review of this title here!

Love from A to Z – S.K Ali

Love from A to Z is one of my absolute favourite love stories I’ve ever read. It’s a fantastically beautiful tale about Adam and Zayneb, who keep running into each other. Zayneb is such a fantastic and strong character, and I love the interwining of religion and romance this book has. You can read my full gushing review of this title here!

(The) Light at the Bottom of the World – London Shah

This book is one of the releases I have been most looking forward to this year. Set in an underwater London after sea levels rose, diverse characters, terrible sea creatures, corrupt governments, this has everything I love in a dystopian novel! This book publishes October 29 and I am so so excited.

The Letter M

Missing, Presumed Dead – Emma Berquist

Missing, Presumed Dead is one of my favourite reads this year so far. It focuses on the mental impact of having magic, specifically magic that means whenever you touch someone, you see how they die. When Jane comes back to haunt Lexi after being murdered, Lexi vows to help find the killer. This book is AMAZING!!!! It’s was much darker than I expected, but so thrilling. The mystery, the magic, the gritty atmosphere, it was all awesome. You can find my full reviw here!

(The) Merciful Crow – Margaret Owen

The Merciful Crow is just one book with a bird on it that I want to read this year. This sounds like such a great new fantasy – first of all, it has a group of undertakers which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before??! Necromancy, yes. Grave robbers, yes. Undertakers?? This feels like a really new take on the death fantasy trend. Then we have a prince who fakes his own death and a bodyguard who wants to live his own life and not protect his prince. This just sounds like an epic conglomeration of ideas and I can’t wait to read it when it publishes at the end of this month!

The Letter N

Normal People – Sally Rooney

I read Normal People last year after I spotted it on the longlist for the Man Booker and it became another book which made me far, FAR too emotional on public transport. The book tells the tale of two teens in Ireland, who fall in love and grow apart and all the hurt and pain that comes with it. It’s spectacular!

Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo

I haven’t actually read any of Leigh Bardugo’s other work. But when I heard she was publishing an adult novel, I was intrigued. And then I found out it was about secret societies and witchy occult magic and I was sold! Also the cover is stunning.

The Letter O

Other Words for Smoke – Sarah Maria Griffin

Other Words for Smoke is a very haunting, lyrical, fairytale-esque horror tale about an evil being in a house in Ireland. Dealing with the struggles of growing up alongisde the magic, Other Words for Smoke weaves a beautiful mystical world. Also there’s a talking cat. What else does a book need?! You can read my full review here!

Our Wayward Fate – Gloria Chao

A diverse book retelling of a Chinese folktale, set in small town America? Yes please! A book about family and racism and belonging, this sounds so excellent. I haven’t read American Panda but from reviews this book sounds like it’ll be a bit darker and heavier, and I am very interested to read.

That’s it for this week! Let me know what you think of this list – I hope you are excited for some of these as I am.

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Alphabet, 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.

July topics for Top 5 Tuesday are themed with the way-more-difficult-than-expected books beginning with letters of the alphabet! Last week was A-E, and this week it’s F-J.

I’m afraid this is another week of TOTAL FAILURE for me. Apparently I seriously need to read books with a wider range of titles because it’s getting embarassing. So for letters I haven’t read anything I liked beginning with that letter, I’m recommending releases I am super excited about!

And as with last week, I am completely 100% ignoring ‘A’ and ‘The’…

The letter F

No surprises here, I will be recommending this book until I die. The Fever King is just an incredible, dystopian, queer book of sheer magic and pain. You can read my full review of this title here!

But because I recommend this book constantly, I also want to highlight a couple of releases still to come this year which I am very excited for! (And which actually begin with F….)

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett is a contemporary novel about a girl living with HIV (and ohmygosh I LOVE the cover so much!!) Frankly in Love by David Yoon is also contemporary about a Korean-American who has to fake-date a friend. I love the we-need-to-pretend-to-date trope and I can’t wait to see how it plays out!

The letter G

Girls of Paper and Fire is one of the most fantasies I’ve read recently. I started it before bed one night and immediately regretted everything because I was HOOKED. You can read my full review of the book here!

Godspeaker is a book I actually found from fanfiction. I used to read a LOT of Harry Potter fanfiction, and Tessa Crowley has an absolutely incredible Drarry fanfic (Chaos Theory if anyone is interested!) I finally got around to reading her self-pub fantasy novel this year and I enjoyed it so much! It has everything I love: Gods, queer romance, and lots of morally ambiguous behaviour.

The Gutter Prayer is an absolutely fantastic fantasy debut that was published earlier this year. I adored every single character, the worldbuilding was INCREDIBLE, and everyone should go check this book out!

The letter H

Okay so I’m afraid I really struggled with H…. I couldn’t think of anything I’ve read and liked. So I’m going with How to be Remy Cameron because I actually have an ARC of this book and I KNOW it’s going to be fantastic!

THEN, just as I was about to post this, I remembered Her Royal Highness!! This was a really fun and easy, queer, sapphic delight! I may be a little biased, coming from Scotland myself, but this book, whilst it lacked a bi of depth, was a fun and enjoyable read! I have a full review of this title here.

The letter I

WHAT?! A letter I have followed the rules and all books actually start with ‘I’ and no ‘the’s’ and I’ve read them all?!?

I Wish You All the Best is one of my favourite books of the year so far, it’s an absolutely heartbreaking story about a nonbinary teen who comes out to their parents and is kicked out of their home. You can read my full review for this title here!

If We Were Villains is very different to everything else on this list – it’s set at an expensive, exclusive Arts school, and follows a group of 6 drama students studying Shakespere. One of the teens has just been released from prison where he was spending time for murder. This is the story of what happened. OH MY GOD it is amazing and that ending…..

I Still Dream is a fantastic sci-fi I read last year about a girl, Laura, who develops an AI at 17. We follow Laura throughout her life as the AI develops and the world changes. The book looks at humanity and how we can impart our humanity into artificial intelligence. It’s one of my favourite books dealing with AI, and I totally think this could happen…

The letter J

Okay so J was a total fail. I don’t have a single book in my Goodreads read list beginning with J, let alone one I liked. And then I looked through my notepad I have where I list all the upcoming books I want to read….and I still have no books beginning with J?! BUT then I remembered the awesome review I read of Jade War recently (over at I Should Read That) so I am going with Fonda Lee’s Jade War and Jade City! This series sounds like an absolutely incredible and very unique new fantasy series and I really need to get onto reading it….

That’s it for this week! I’ve already worked out my books for next week and I promise I actually have books I have read for every single letter (and there’s no ‘A’ or ‘The’ in sight!)

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Alphabet, 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.

When I saw Shanah’s choice of topics for July, at first I thought it would be easy – sure, there might be a few letters I’d struggle with, but overall, surely I’d read books beginning with most of these letters??

I was wrong. Who knew books beginning with ‘A’ and ‘E’ were so rare?!?! So for all letters I hadn’t read a book, I’ve chosen one I am really excited to read – and by putting it on this list, I am promising to read it before the end of 2019!

Book beginning with A

So, off to a terrible start, I really can’t think of a single book I’ve read beginning with A…Except the book I’m using for the letter C.

How is that possible?? So I decided to pick out two books publishing this year which I am really excited to read!

After the Flood – Kassandra Montag

This is a climate change destruction, dystopian novel, about a mother trying to find her daughter. From the Goodreads blurb: A compulsively readable novel of dark despair and soaring hope, After the Flood is a magnificent, action packed, and sometimes frightening odyssey laced with wonder—an affecting and wholly original saga both redemptive and astonishing.

A River of Royal Blood – Amanda Joy

A fantasy inspired by North Africa, A River of Royal Blood has sisters, assassins, battles to the death, dark magic and how epic does that sound?? From the Goodreads blurb: A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

Book beginning with B

Birthday – Meredith Russo

I read Birthday in June, and what a tearjerker this book was. It was so raw and emotional, and just an absolutely beautiful story about a teen coming to terms with their identity. The friendship between Eric and Morgan is so strong and wonderful and it’s a Brilliant read.

Book beginning with C

(A) Curse so Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer

Yes I’m ignoring the ‘A’ at the start of this title. This book was such an interesting retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I loved the portrayal of Rhen who is just so broken and full of guilt at what he forced to do; Harper who is so strong and fierce and refuses to fall in love; and Gray, Prince Rhen’s guardsmen, who protects the Prince at all costs and stands by his side, it is such a wonderful friendship! A character-driven retelling!

Book beginning with D

Deposing Nathan – Zack Smedley

So I reviewed this book last week, and I cannot praise it enough – it is so fantastic and so wonderful and has such a brilliant portrayal of bisexuality and how religion and family can impact a teen. It’s one of my favourite books; I LOVED it. A demanding and distressing yet absolutely dazzling book!

Book beginning with E

Okay, yes I already have another letter I don’t seem to have read any books for! However, I do actually have a book on my shelf beginning with ‘E’ which I just picked up at the library:

(The) Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

(Yes I’m ignoring the first word again). This books looks like it’ll be a super fierce feminist read so I can’t wait to read! From the Goodreads blurb: Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. 

That’s it for this week – I’m so sorry I have failed already at so many letters. It does get better a little later on in the alphabet…

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Fantasy

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,

Happy Tuesday! This week we’re talking about our Top 5 Fantasy. Fantasy is my favourite genre to both read and write. I have so many favourites and every new book I read seems to be just as incredible in its own unique way. These 5 books are just some of the amazing fantasy books I’ve read this year!

Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

I very recently read this book, just a week or two ago, and was absolutely enthralled. I was riveted from the very first page and couldn’t put it down. It was such a brilliant story, I thought the world building was absolutely excellent. I really love creature based fantasy, and so was fascinated reading about the demon class and seeing people who look like cats. It dealt with such difficult issues in such a mature and nuanced way, and I loved the theme of female empowerment throughout.

Missing, Presumed Dead – Emma Berquist

This is another book I read a week or two ago, and it immediately shot into my all time favourites. I don’t read a huge amount of contemporary fantasy, so it was quite different to my usual reads. It had a thriller/mystery at the heart of the story which I loved, and the MC’s power was just so interesting – if she touches someone, she can see their death, and can also see and talk to ghosts. I loved how the book explored the impact on her mental health from having such a power. Discussions about mental health are one of my favourite things to see in fantasy and it was written so so well. I will have a full review of this book shortly!

The Poppy War – R.F Kuang

I came to The Poppy War train late and I can’t believe I only read this book this year!! But what a book! I loved that a grimdark fantasy had such a poweful and strong female character as the MC, as most of what I’ve read in the genre are heavily male dominated. But Rin was fabulous! I loved her anger, that she wasn’t afraid of her anger, and that she embraced that anger and refused to back down. I loved the magic system, and I am so excited for The Dragon Republic!

The Wicker King – K. Ancrum

The books I’ve read recently have just been absolutely phenomenal and The Wicker King is another I only recently picked up. It’s another book which delves into mental illness in a contemporary fantasy way, with main character Jack beginning to hallucianate a fantasy world. It’s another stark and difficult look at mental illness, and I felt like someone had punched me in the chest the entire way through. The relationship between Jack and August was quite dark, with both needing each other and relying on each other in very differnt ways. This is another book I will have a full review of soon.

Witchmark – C.L Polk

Witchmark is another excellent fantasy novel (with a sequel publishing in 2020!) I loved the setting, it had a very Edwardian England feel but brought in magic and mystery. Miles is hiding as a doctor to avoid being enslaved by his family for his magic. The story looks at war and PTSD, and when something begins changing the war veterans Miles is treating, he is sucked into a mystery to find out what’s happening. It was such a good read, the romance was lovely, and this was one of the books that really made me get back into reading this year.

That’s it for this week’s topic! I have so many amazing fantasy books I want to read that are being released in the next few months that I feel like in three months time this list will be completely different. Some of my favourites I’m looking for to reading are GIDEON. THE. NINTH (Tasmyn Muir), Wicked Fox (Kat Cho), The Infinite Noise (Lauren Shippen), War Girls (Tochi Onyebuchi) – I could literally go on for so long. There are so many excellent fantasy releases to look forward to and I can’t wait to see what my Top 5 fantasy looks like a few months from now.

Paws out,
Rach + Draco