End of Year Book Survey

Hi everyone,

It’s the last of my posts looking back over my reading in 2020! Today’s post is the end of year book survey, which is an annual survey created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner to look back at your reading year. I first saw this survey on Laura’s blog @ The Book Corps, so do check out their post as well!

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2020?

My favourite book of the year is Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia! This book just blew me away. I read it as an eARC before it released, then of course immediately pre-ordered the hard copy and have since also gifted it to 3 or 4 different people. It is absolutely incredible. The atmosphere is so terrifying and chilling and everything is beautifully fucked up. It’s the kind of book you shouldn’t really read at night because it will give you the weirdest dreams (and also you really shouldn’t eat mushrooms whilst reading it…..just no).

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, I longed for more YA scifi just like this! Unfortunately, it was just far, far, far too cringey for me. I almost couldn’t get through because I was literally cringing on every page at all this awkward singing to each other at the silliest moments. And I think because I was so, so excited for this book, it made the disappointment even greater. I was also exceedingly disappointed in Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran, it was my only DNF of the year. It was described as a political fantasy with a sapphic relationships between a Queen and her spymaster (literally everything I’ve dreamed of in a book?!) but it just didn’t make a lot of sense, the characters were very inconsistently written and I had to give up about 40% through.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett surprised me in such a good way! It was a book I randomly picked up from the library without knowing anything about it, and it was such an amazing read! It was so visceral and so raw and so sensual, it created such a powerful reading experience. And this completely random library pick became one of my favourite books of the year!

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Alongside Mexican Gothic, I also recommended The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey a lot this year. This was such a wonderful debut and I feel it didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved as a sapphic, gothic historical fiction novel. Also that cover?! Is gorgeous?! Please pick up this beautiful book!

 5. Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2020?

I read both Jade City and Jade War this year, the first and second novels in Fonda Lee’s epic gangster fantasy series. Both are absolutely incredible, but Jade War stood out to me in particular. I am so excited for the the trilogy finale, Jade Legacy, which is releasing later this year! I need to find out what happens to the Kaul family!!

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?

Silvia Moreno-Garcia wrote TWO of my favourite books of the year, horror Mexican Gothic and fantasy Gods of Jade and Shadow. Both were such different books, but had me absolutely enraptured. And I can definitely say that she is now one of my auto-buy authors. Which is excellent given she has THREE books releasing in 2021!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

2020 was a year I started exploring nonfiction and memories, and it’s a goal for 2021 to further expand this area of my reading! I really adored the memoir How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones. You can really tell that Saeed Jones has a background as a poet, because the prose was so beautiful and powerful and intense.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

This book. THIS BOOK. H-O-L-Y-F-U-C-K. The Ikessar Falcon by K.S Villoso is the second book in the Chonicles of the Bitch Queen trilogy. Both The Ikessar Falcon and the first book in the series, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, could fit this question, but I went for the second one because it is truly a rollercoaster of terrible events. I was blown away just 20% in when something shocking happens and then shit KEPT GETTING WORSE. I love K.S Villoso because I really never know if the characters that I love will win, or even if they’ll still be alive at the end… So this book definitely fulfiles all three qualities for this question: action-packed, thrilling and unputdownable!

 9. Book You Read In 2020 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I actually have quite a few books I read in 2020 that I’m planning to reread this year, including the gorgeous The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. But The Unspoken Name by A. K Larkwood was the book that jumped to mind immediately, not least, because the sequel is coming later this year and I will definitely need to reread this book before it arrives. This was one of my favourite books of 2020 and I can’t wait to re-immerse myself in this world!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender has one of the most gorgeous covers ever created (and it is an incredible book as well). I love everything about this cover, the colours are so bright and happy, the flowers spark so much joy, and I adore the top surgery scars ON A YA COVER?!? This is amazing! It feels like such a step forward for trans rep with this cover and I just love love love love looking at it.

11. Most memorable character of 2020?

Yes, I have chosen the epic Cara from The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson for most memorable character of the year! This book was incredible, but Cara is definitely one of the best written characters I read about all year. A mere 9% in and one of the biggest twists of the year happened, and I was just in shock?! I loved the way the multiverse background to this book gave such a fantastic opportunity to show what parts of Cara differed and what stayed the same depending on how she grew up in that particular universe. It made for such an interesting read, and one I’m not going to forget any time soon!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2020?

Erin Morgenstern has some of the most beautiful writing, in both her debut The Night Circus and her second novel, The Starless Sea. She creates the kinds of worlds you just never want to leave, that feel like a dream as you are reading. I am in awe of how beautiful her writing is, every single word is so perfectly chosen to create the most lush and delicate prose.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020?

N.K Jemisin is always an author who embeds science fiction and fantasy with social commentary, and so always creates incredibly thought-provoking books. The City We Became, the first book in a new series, is no different. Different to her previous trilogies, The City We Became is set in our world, in New York, but in a world where cities can become alive once they reach a certain size and culture. It explores the way racism is upheld in society through the work of The Enemy, who uses those susceptible to bigotry to try and kill the city of New York. It is incredibly well done and is a book I want all white people to read.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt is a book I’ve been meaning to read for soooooooooooo long. Like years long. But I finally bought a copy last year and eventually read it in the last month of the year! It was definitely a very interesting read. It probably didn’t quite live up to the hype in my mind after waiting to read it for so long, but I still very much enjoyed reading it!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020?

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.” 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is one of my all-time favourite books, and it was one of my only rereads of 2020! This quote is one of the most beautiful quotes in the world, and I shall love it always.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020?

The longest book I read this year was the chonkiest baby The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon at 848 pages. The shortest was the wonderful fairytale novella Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh at 112 pages!

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is a book literally full of plot twists that left me hanging on the edge of my seat. I like to think I’m generally fairly good at spotting plot twists, but I saw NONE OF THESE COMING. Holy shit. The shock I was in at the end of Part 1 is possibly the most shocked I have ever been at a book.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

How could I choose anyone other Kiem and Jainan from Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell?! This book is an absolute delight, it was my last read of 2020 and it was absolutely incredible. This was such a fun book, it was full of tropey goodness and Kiem and Jainan were utterly perfect.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke has one of the best portrayals of female friendship I’ve ever read! It takes the high school mean girls trope and completely twists it on its head with this coven of witches who will do anything for each other and who welcome Sideways Pike, outcast lesbian witch, with open arms in contrast to everything you expect from a group of mean girls.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

T.J Klune is fast becoming a favourite author of mine. I read some of the novels in the Green Creek series last year and then a couple more of his this year, including adult fantasy The House in the Cerulean Sea. This book is just such a beautifully joyful story with some of the most perfect characters, including several hilarious children who have the most soul and heart in the entire world.

20. Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.

Anna-Marie McLemore is an author who keeps getting recommended on pretty much every single bookish platform there is. So I finally decided to pick up one of their books in 2020, their newest one, Dark and Deepest Red! I was definitely enthralled by McLemore’s writing but a little underwhelmed after all the praise to be honest…. I definitely think I need to try out some of their earlier novels instead.

21. Best 2020 debut you read?

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson is one of the most outstanding debuts I’ve ever read. The skill in the worldbuilding, the social commentary, the depiction of trauma, the sapphic yearning, the plot twists, everything about this scifi novel was absolutely outstanding and it’s fast gone to being one of my favourite books that I am absolutely longing to reread!

22. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

There were several books I considered for this question, I read so much fantasy that there are so many choices for best worldbuilding! But I decided on The Black Tides of Heaven by Neon Yang which is the first of a four-part novella series. I was particularly impressed with the worldbuilding in this book beacuse it is a novella, and the world and setting that Neon Yang managed to create in such a small book felt as detailed and expansive as books four times its size!

23. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

This was another book I read late in the year in December, and oh my god, it was the most fun!! It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian is a book all about changing the direction of your life for pleasure. It gave me so much to think about how I currently live my life and why I don’t put my own happiness at the centre of my actions and it was just such a romp. Also the beautiful depiction of bisexuality is absolutely fabulous!

24. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020?

I really don’t often cry at books – at all. But I do get teary-eyed and no one can make me teary-eyed as religiously as T.J Klune! I love that his books are the perfect example for writing that has you laughing on one page and crying the next. They are so full of heart, he has such an emotional way of writing every single word that you can’t help but cry.

25. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans was an absolute delight and I need more YA readers to know about this book! It is the perfect book for all the plant gays out there. It is such a magical, hopeful little read full of magic about dryads and nature and fairies, and has a nonbinary lead, a f/nb relationship, a trans boy. It is just such a lovely and gentle book about friendship and love.

26. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Look, if you’ve read The Dragon Republic by R.F Kuang, I have no need to explain why this book is the one that crushed my soul into smithereens. And if you haven’t read it, all I have to say is WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ IT please go read it now.

27. Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?

In my review of A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, I have the sentence “It is one of the most unique science fiction novels I’ve ever read.” So obviously, I had to pick this one for this question! The book is part murder mystery, part political thriller, part a love letter to poetry and on top of all that, a science fiction novel. And it is utterly marvellous!

28. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

I’m so sad this one made me mad! Because unfortunately, The Empire of Gold by S.A Chakraborty is not here because it made me mad with joy. I’m just so mad because one half of this book was some of the most incredible, heart-renching, soul-destroying fantasy I’ve ever read (the sections in Dara’s POV). But Nahri and Ali’s journey was some of the worst. It made no sense compared to the previous two books and created this really bad juxtaposition of Dara going through some of the worst things of life, whilst they did nothing but moon over each other despite Nahri never showing feelings for her friend, yes friend, before…. Fairly shocking ending to be quite honest.

Blogging/bookish life

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2020?

It’s so difficult to choose just a few wonderful new accounts I discovered in 2020, everyone has such wonderful content. But I adored exploring Hsinju from Hsinju’s Lit Log’s blog and bookstagram and watching them read Cantoras THREE TIMES even though they knew it would break their heart! They read so widely across so many different genres and put so much effort into supporting LGBTQIA+ indie publishers – go check out their post with all the sapphic indie books publishing this year!

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2020?

I hate looking back at things I’ve written lol….But I think my favourites posts were the series on SFF fiction after the mass harassment allegations in the community were revealed during the middle of last year. I looked at the adult fantasy, YA fantasy, horror, adult science fiction and YA science fiction you could be reading instead of books by old, white racists!

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2020?

I really love this photo of a stack of trans, nonbinary and gender diverse books I took! I love the colouring of the books with the colouring of the candles, and it shows off one of my favourite plants! (Which has since now…..kind of died….Here’s hoping I can bring it back from the brink of death).

4. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2020?

In December, I managed to hit over 1000 hits in one month on my blog for the first time! I never thought anyone would want to hear me talk about books so to know so many people came to my blog?! And read the nonsense I wrote?! I LOVE YOU ALL THANK YOU.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

The most challenging thing about blogging this year was probably my 30 Days of Pride series. I posted every single day in June to celebrate Pride month, and holy fuck, it was so much work. Since I moved jobs earlier last year, I’ve also had less time to work on my blog and reading, as I now often have manuscripts to read for the day job on top of doing all my own reading and blog work.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My most popular posts of last year were the YA fantasy books to read instead of books by old, white racists, and my most anticipated books of 2021! The latter definitely contributed to the increase of views I saw in December which helepd me reach the 1000 total views milestone that month.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I really wish my creation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show book tag had gotten more attention! I had so much fun writing it, I love that film so much and I love doing book tags so I wish others had done it too. Maybe next Halloween?!

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2021?

A Little Life has been a book I’ve been meaning to read foreeeever, and 2021 is going to be the year, I promise! It is top of the list of my ‘must read books of 2021’. I’m hoping to start it near the end of January, or in February. Although February is F/F Feb, so maybe March….? And before I know it, it will be 2022…

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021 (non-debut)?

Like I was going to pick just one!! These are some of the books I am hugely excited for in 2021!

  • A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
  • We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen
  • Under the Whispering Door by T.J Klune
  • The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
  • The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

3. 2021 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

And here are another five, debuts this time which I am absolutely so excited for (especially since I have an ARC for several of them!!)

  • She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
  • On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu
  • The Unbroken by C.L. Clark
  • The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon
  • Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?

In 2021, we have Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee, The Thousand Eyes by A.K Larkwood and The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S Villoso! These are all the finales/sequels to three of my favourite fantasy series so I am incredibly excited.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2021?

This year, I’m hoping to actually work on my physical TBR! Last year, I had several months that were so focused on library books and ARCs, that my physical TBR got a little out of control. So this year I need to actually finish the books I own!

6. A 2021 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable)

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell is absolutely glorious – it is the direction I want to see more of in SFF. Brilliant tropey fun, a wonderful romance, and the kind of characters that make you want to give them a hug and never let go! It was such a funny read and I had an absolute blast reading it.

And that’s the last of my posts looking back over my 2020 reading year! I’m hoping to have a more relaxed reading year in 2021, I don’t want to put the same kind of pressure on numbers that I did last year as I think it made me struggle to actually enjoy the books I was reading, in the race to try and read as many books as possible. I hope everyone has a good first month of the year!

2020 Yearly Wrap-Up + 2021 goals!

Hi everyone,

Today I’m looking back at all the books I read in 2020, and seeing how sucessful I was at meeting my goals! I opened up my 2020 goals post from early last year before writing this post and…..well I can’t say I did too sucessfully. It was actually rather depressing to see how much I’ve failed. I think I’ll need to make my 2021 goals a lot more manageable this year so I have even the slightest chance of meeting them.

My reading stats

Let’s start with the really fun stuff: statistics! I love doing different stats on my reading to see where I need to improve and get a more holisitc view of what I am reading. Across 2020, I read 109 books for a total of 37, 436 pages! This is 9 over my goal of 100, but 1 less than my stretch goal of 110 (which was what I managed in 2019 and so I wanted to match or beat it). But I’m still really happy with this figure, particularly as I haven’t counted any of the reading I needed to do in my new job this year (where I now get to read lots of manuscripts to assess for acquisition!)

The longest book I read was of course the magnificent The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon at 848 pages! My shortest read was the novella Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh, at 112 pages. My average rating across the year was 4.1 – my average rating usually sits quite high because I’m generally pretty good at picking books I know I’ll like to read.

Of the 109 books I read this year:

  • 49 were fantasy
  • 12 were science fiction
  • 13 were horror
  • 20 were contemporary
  • 4 were mystery/thriller
  • 5 were nonfiction/memoirs
  • 6 were historical fiction

I am very unsurprised by the fact more than half of my reads – or 68%! – were speculative fiction (fantasy, scifi, horror). 61% of all the books (or 66 in total) were queer, with 20% being about or by trans, nonbinary or gender diverse people. I’d love to get the percentage of trans/nonbinary/gender diverse books up, and I definitely think I’ll be able to since there are so many great trans books coming this year!

Of the 109 books, 47% were by authors of colour (or 51 books). This is another area I want to improve on in 2021, I’d like to get to 50% at a minimum, but I’ll be aiming for 60%. For a more specific goal, I’d like to focus on reading more books by Indigenous Australians in particular.

My favourites of the year

Here are five of my favourite books of the year. I also have a longer post talking about my 17 new favourites of the year, which you can check it out here! But for this post, I thought I’d just pick five from different genres for variety!

My worst of the year

Annnnnd these are my least favourites of the year. This list is filled with several of my most anticipated books of 2020! And it particularly breaks my heart to see Empire of Gold here. Because half of that book was pure excellence (yes hi Dara, you carried that book). Still one of my favourite series of all time though!

Did I meet my 2020 goals?

And now it’s time to go through my list of 2020 goals and embarass myself with how much I failed. Pretty sure I completely forgot about most of these goals by the second week of January

  • I want to review at least 60% of the books I read – and ALL of the 2020 releases I read.

Well this was definitely a fail, what was I thinking?! Reviewing every single 2020 release? WHAT. I think I reviewed approximately 64 books in 2020, which actually, having now counted it up, is still 57% of all the books I read so I almost got there. However, I definitely didn’t review every single 2020 release, particularly the ones I read in the last few months of the year when I just needed a bit of a break.

  • Read 100 books.

Woohoo, okay this one I managed!! Go me. I did find myself rushing at the end of the year to try get it completed, so I might lower it for 2021 to reduce the pressure on myself.

  • Year of the Asian Readathon – get the Malayan Tapir award, which is reading 21-30 books by Asian authors.

And I managed to sucessfully complete this one too! I was aiming for 30 books, but I’m still happy I reached the range for the Malayan Tapir award with 23 books by Asian authors!

  • I also had several very intense writing goals, including finishing my WIP (which I failed), researching two other books (also failed both these) and joining a writing group (failed). Although to be fair to the last one, I did try go to a writing group in early January but did not click with any of the people and then covid happened. So at least that one isn’t totally my fault?

Anyway here’s to making more achievable goals in 2021!

2021 goals!

This year, I’m trying to make more sensible, achievable, less overwhelming goals. So far, I’ve got:

  • Read at least 1 nonfiction book every month.
  • Read 75 books total – I’ve reduced this from my 2020 goal, even though I did sucessfully read 100 books, because I’d like to put less pressure on myself.
  • Read 60% books by authors of colour.
  • Read 75% queer books.
  • Read 30% books by/about trans, nonbinary and gender-diverse people.
  • Work on my physical TBR instead of getting overwhelmed with ARCs and library books. I can’t remember who, but someone on Twitter said their goal was going to be for every ARC read, they must then read a book they own and I absolutely love that! So for every ARC or library book I read, I immediately need to read a book I own after it! Hopefully that will get me get my physical TBR down.
  • I’m also putting finish my current writing WIP on here as well – and that’s my only writing goal after having four or five last year failed me horrifically.
  • Regarding all my social media, I would love to reach 300 followers on my blog and bookstagram, and reach 450 on Twitter! It’s approximately an increase of 100 followers on each platform….Is that achievable in a year??? I hope so!

And that’s my 2020 wrap-up, as well as a sneak peak at the goals I’m hoping to achieve in 2021! I’m excited to get started on my 2021 reading. This year has so many incredible books coming and I can’t wait to read them all! What goals have you made for 2020? Let me know in the comments!

My favourite books of 2020

Hi everyone,

What a year. All I can really say is thank god for the books that got me through it, that distracted me from the hell outside, that kept me going through the 23-hour-a-day, over 100 days long lockdown here in Melbourne. Thank you to the bookshops and authors who were able to keep supplying us with magical worlds to escape into, during a time where we really needed an escape. So I’m going to jump straight in to this post without saying anything else – here are my favourite books read in 2020!

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

If I had to choose just one book, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic is my book of the year. It’s the book I read as an ARC earlier this year, immediately pre-ordered my own hard copy, and have since gifted to 3 or 4 other people. Because I need as many people as possible to read this. This is the modern gothic novel of my dreams. It is dark and twisted and the atmosphere is utterly captivating. Set in 1950s Mexico, it follows Noemí, a young socialite who goes to visit (and potentially rescue) her cousin after she receives a letter hinting that her cousin is in danger. Up high in the misty mountains of Mexico is a world of dangers, many mushroom related, and all equally terrifying and atmospheric, the tension in this novel is absolutely sublime.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

YA contemporary is a genre I only came to last year, but I have loved exploring the new releases in this genre, years after I myself was a teen, because we just have so many more diverse reads than when I grew up. And it really just makes my heart sing when I see myself in books that never would have been published when I grew up. Felix Ever After is one of these books. It is one of the most personal and heartfelt stories I’ve read, and I connected so closely with Felix. It is a story about a young trans man who decides to catfish his bully and ends up in a quasi-love triangle. But what Felix Ever After does best is really explore the fluidity of gender and sexuality and it is this that made this book connect so personally to me.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Much like Mexican Gothic, The Space Between Worlds was a book I snagged an ARC of and then immediately upon finishing had to buy the hard copy. Because this book is spectacular. It’s probably my favourite science fiction novel of all time. It’s a twist on the parallel universe trope, but in this world, you can only travel between parallel universes if the parallel you is already dead. Otherwise you’ll be gruesomely torn apart in the process of travelling. But this book is so much more than that trope: it’s a catastrophic take down of capitalism, it’s like a glimpse into our future if we carry on down the track we’re heading, set in this world ravaged by climate change and where the divide between poor and rich is so glaringly horrific. From the way Johnson depicts trauma and portrays Cara in the aftermath of this trauma, to the intense, full-of-yearning sapphic relationship, everything about this book is just excellent and Johnson has found a reader for life in me.

The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

This was a book I read fairly early on in the year (April) just as the pandemic started ramping up and anxiety was at its highest. And god, it just blew me away. I was completely immersed in the world created by Larkwood and it was such a perfect distraction. I’ve spent the entire year since April thinking ‘yes, I need to reread this book’. And since we now have confirmation of a sequel coming this year, I’ll definitely be rereading it in advance of that! The Unspoken Name has everything I adore about fantasy: sapphic orcs escaping from gods who want them as a sacrifice, necromancy, slowburn sapphic romance, very powerful women totally losing their shit, wizards, tusks, portal travel, and so much more! The worldbuilding is so brilliant, this world is just absolutely huge and full of so much amazing detail. It really reminded me of the DragonAge games, which I also adore, so really it’s no surprise that this is one of my favourite books of the year! Bring on the sequel!

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

This book holds a particularly special place in my heart for several reasons. Firstly, it is the only book I have ever received a physical ARC of – I won it in the bushfire auctions at the start of 2020. And secondly, the Melbourne book launch for this was the very last event I went to before Covid hit and the entire country went into lockdown. And that’s before I even talk about the actual content of the book. This was just such a perfectly fun, lighthearted queer Grease retelling. The main character, Ollie, has such a funny voice, he was so sarcastic and self-deprecating which is one of my favourite voice styles to read in YA. And Gonzales absolutely nailed it. It also has some really fantastic discussions around queerness, particularly bisexuality. Only Mostly Devastated really reminded me of all my favourite 90s romcom films, like Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You, and it was such a brilliant, positive book to read in a time when the world was crashing apart around us.

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J Hackwith

One of my first reads of 2020, this one managed to stay on my favourites list for the entirity of 2020! It is quite possibly the most fun fantasy book I’ve ever read, just so full of joy and laughter. It’s set in Hell’s library, a place where all the unwritten manuscripts are housed. When a character escapes from one of the books, the librarian must hunt them down, but somehow ends up in the middle of a war between Heaven and Hell. The writing style is so funny and snarky, I absolutely loved it. And the casual queerness in the world is perfect – even more so because the word pansexual is actually used on the page to describe the main character!! Which is the first time I think I’d read that in a fantasy book! The worldbuilding also felt very hopeful – there are no guns in the library because humans stopped imaginning them – small inserts like that really gave this book the happy and joyful atmosphere that had me so in love with it.

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

One of my goals for 2020 was to actually read some nonfiction/memoirs for the first time, and it makes me so happy that one of them actually made my favourite books of the year list! How We Fight For Our Lives is a memoir from award-winning poet Saeed Jones, and you can definitely tell Jones’ background is in poetry. The prose in this memoir is absolutely stunning. It felt like someone had punched me in the chest the whole through, like there was this gaping hole inside me, the way that only the most special of books can make you feel. Stunning and heartbreaking and a book I am longing to reread.

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

Mostly Dead Things is the book that most surprised me in 2020. It was a book I randomly saw on a library shelf and picked up with absolutely no expectations (especially given the Goodreads rating is also fairly low – so let me preface this by saying, GOODREADS PEOPLE WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!). But I was absolutely blown away by this adult contemporary. It is one of the most visceral, sensual books I’ve ever read, which created such an intense reading experience. It is definitely a strange book: it follows a taxidermist whose father commited suicide and whose mother now makes erotic art out of the taxidermy animals. It is dark and follows a lot of selfish, unlikeable characters making really shitty decisions. But I was just completely enthralled by Arnett’s writing, it is such a raw, agonising portrayal of grief that I felt like someone clawed me open the whole way through. Absolutely stunning!

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro & The Ikessar Falcon by K.S Villoso

I read The Wolf of Oren-Yaro back in January, and The Ikessar Falcon when it released in September, and this series immediately moved to my all time favourite fantasy series. I am so excited for the finale to this trilogy (coming in May!) Villoso is one of my favourite fantasy authors for a very particular reason: I like pain. I read this series, I think my favourite characters are at absolute rock bottom, that things can only go up! And then Villoso just smashes me and the characters with a rock and we tumble even further. There is such power in knowing that anything could happen to these characters, that they actually might not win. They all fill me with such passion, both fury and fierce loyalty. Villoso embeds her writing with such excellent character development, alongside so much action in a way that not many fantasies do (usually we see a focus on either one or the other). This series in an absolute masterpiece of fantasy and I need more people to read this so we can scream about it together.

The City We Became by N.K Jemisin

N.K Jemisin is one of my all time favourite authors and writer of one of my favourite fantasy series The Broken Earth trilogy, so of course I had very high hopes for the start of a new trilogy, The City We Became. And of course, this is N.K Jemisin, so all my hopes were met! What a start to a new trilogy! This is extremely different to the Broken Earth trilogy. In The City We Became, we are in modern day New York, in a world where cities can become alive when they reach a certain size and develop a unique enough culture. New York is waking up, and six individuals suddenly find themselves with the soul of the city inside them. They have to fight back against The Enemy, who wants to destroy the city so New York doesn’t destroy other worlds when it wakes up. This was such a unique and creative concept but my favourite thing about Jemisin’s writing is the way she blends science fiction and fantasy elements with the insidiousness of racism and otherness to create this spectacular commentary on our current world. It’s just absolutely incredible. Jemisin really has a way of combining these huge creative powerhouse concepts with vicious take downs of societal structures and the racism they uphold. 

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

T.J Klune is fast becoming one of my favourite authors, I haven’t read a single book of his that I didn’t love. The House in the Cerulean Sea is probably the most comforting book I read all year. It felt like a hug. It’s that simple. It follows a caseworker from the Department in Charge of Magical Youth as he goes to check on some very special children at a very special orphanage. There, he finds even more than he ever dreamed himself worthy of: family. This book was just the sweetest, happiest, most joyful book I read all year. It is full of Klune’s trademark emotional wringing, from laughter on one page, to tears on the next, but it is so full of hope and joy that I want everyone to have the most magical of times reading it.

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Mercies was my first Kiran Millwood Hargrave book, and Hargrave’s first adult book. And what a fucking book it is. I haven’t traditionally been the biggest reader of historical fiction – there’s a reason this list is mostly SFF after all! But I am so glad I decided to give this book a try, because it was absolutely beautiful. This book almost felt gothic in its atmosphere, set in this far-away, cold, and lonely village in Norway. It follows a group of women after the menfolk of their village are all killed in a violent storm, and suddenly they have to fend for themselves. But then a new commissioner, a witch hunter, is sent to the village, and as he tries to take back control from the women, friendship is weaponised and the women are manipulated into throwing about rumours of witchcraft that result in the most horrific of acts. This was such a beautifully destructive book, really showing the way power, and the desire for power, can warp and destroy everything you hold dear.

Jade City & Jade War by Fonda Lee

Jade City and Jade War were my first two reads of 2020 and they stayed at the top of my favourites list ALL YEAR! These two chonky books follow the Kaul family crime syndicate as they try to wrest control of their city from their rival clan. I am so phenomenally in awe of Fonda Lee’s ability to write battle scenes. The intensity, the fear, the panic that claws through me when I read these fight scenes is absolutely unparalleled, I absolutely race through them, desperate to know if my favourite characters will still be alive at the end. The worldbuilding is also exceptionally well done, the world is so huge and yet I feel like I know the city of Kekon so well through Lee’s writing. The magic system is so cool – using jade to grant almost superhero like abilities, but ones that require huge amounts of training to achieve? Perfection! So in summary, I love everything about this series and I am shaking with excitment (and perhaps fear) to read the finale which is publishing in September!

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian

This really was the year I learned that happy books can be good too….I am such a sucker for a SFF novel that brutally tears me apart, but this year I really learned the benefit and necessity of a pure comfort read. And adding to my other new comfort reads on this list Only Mostly Devastated, The Library of the Unwritten, and The House in the Cerulean Sea, is It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake! Not only is the cover absolutely beautiful in real life (the pink is so bright, my heart just sings looking at it), but this book is such a beautiful and positive outlook on life. It made me think about the way I view the world and how I think and how I can be a more positive person. It’s a book all about making yourself find pleasure in life, about doing the things you’ve always dreamed of doing. It’s sex-positive, the representation of bisexuality is phenomenal, and Christian has such humourous writing that I laughed my way through this book from start to end.

The Black Tides of Heaven by Neon Yang

Queer novellas are really in a golden age right now, and it makes me so happy that one of the ones I read this year made it into my favourites! Neon Yang’s novella series is incredible. Currently, there are 4 parts, the first being The Black Tides of Heaven. I am so impressed at the detail and standard of worldbuilding Yang was able to incorporate into such a small book. It is by far some of the most impressive novella writing I’ve ever read. The casualised queerness is exceptional, and I was overjoyed to see the way gender is explored in this world, with children growing up gender neutral until a time when they are ready to make a decision. Can we do that in real life please? I have also read (and loved!) the fourth novella in this series, The Ascent to Godhood, and plan to read the middle two asap because I long for more time spent in this beautifully created world.

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Yes, Silvia Moreno-Garcia has such power that TWO of her books are on my favourite books of 2020 list!! I will literally buy everything she writes from now until eternity. This fantasy was one of my last reads of the year, and it was such a beautiful way to finish it. Gods of Jade and Shadow is set in 1920s Mexico, and follows Casiopea, a young woman who accidentally awakens the Mayan God of Death. Oops. It follows them on an adventure across Mexico as the two try to restore his power before he sucks her energy dry, killing her in the process and turning himself mortal. This book was just so full of adventure and curiosity and hope. Moreno-Garcia’s writing is absolutely picturesque, I felt like I could see each of the places they visited so clearly, from the bustling heart of Mexico City, to the desert of El Paso. The romance is spectacular – accidentally falling in love with the Mayan God of Death is exactly the type of fantasy romance I love. You know how it must end, and yet your heart is just torn apart watching them fall more and more in love. The yearning in this book is just out of this world. I never cry at books, and there were so many tender, beautiful moments between the two of them near the end, that I was tearing up so much!! Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the most exciting authors writing right now, and I cannot wait to read her THREE, yes THREE, releases coming in 2021.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Last on my list, but very much not least, is my final read of 2020! Winter’s Orbit is a 2021 release (coming February!) that I had an ARC for, and I really cannot express how much I need everyone to pre-order this book. It is the exact style of SFF that I have been longing for. Winter’s Orbit follows two men, Kiem and Jainan, after they are made to marry shortly after the death of Jainan’s first husband, in order to sign a treaty that keeps their empire safe from invasion. This book is just so full of joy: it is full of some of your favourite tropes including a variation of a personal favourite of mine, there’s only one tent… The romance and pining is so beautiful, the way their relationship develops is just perfect – from the uncommunicative, forced marriage start, to the foolhardy resuces to save the other! I also thought the writing about domestic abuse and the trauma from Jainan’s first marriage was really well handled, and written really beautifully. Please no one ever hurt sweet Jainain again!!! This book is the tropey fun I have been longing to see in SFF and I can’t wait to get a hard copy and reread it when it releases in Feb!

And another year is now passed, along with 17 new favourites to add to my bookshelves! What were your favourite books of 2020? Do we have any of the same ones? Let me know in the comments! I wish everyone a Happy New Year, and let’s make 2021 less shit, yes!

November wrap up

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a good November. I’m very happy to say that during November, I met my Goodreads goal of reading 100 books this year! I’m now aiming for my stretch goal of beating last year’s total of 110 which is definitely doable. I also read some new favourites, and, finally, the ending to my favourite fantasy series of all time, so I think it’s been a pretty sucessful reading month! Which makes a change from the last several months…

Books read

I read 12 books this month, of which 5 were novellas and 7 were books. On a numbers level only, this is actually the most books / month I’ve read all year. However, January is still winning on the page count level, as I read so many chonky books at the start of the year.

Only 41% of the 12 books I readwere ones I own. I know I have an excuse this month (all the novellas read were for my judging for the British Fantasy Awards) but I still want to focus on getting that % up and reading less from the library/NetGalley until I can work through my owned backlog a bit.

But I am very happy that I managed to read some books that have been on my TBR for far too long (The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling & All Boys Aren’t Blue), along with some 2020 releases I was hugely excited for (Cemetery Boys & Who I Was With Her). But most importantly, I finally made myself be brave and read the ending to my favourite series of all time: The Empire of Gold! I had a great time reading this book, and it remains my favourite series, but there were a lot of things I was quite unhappy with in this ending. My favourite book of the month was Saeed Jones’ memoir How We Fight For Lives, it was absolutely incredible.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Ragged Alice by Gareth L Powell

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

The Ascent to Godhood by Neon Yang

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The Butcher’s Table by Nathan Ballingrud

Terra Nullius by Claire G Coleman

The Empire of Gold by S.A Chakraborty

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson

Books hauled

I had a larger than anticipated book haul this month, a combination of my work giving us money to support an independent bookshop and me accidentally (lol) requesting a ton of books on NetGalley, so a few NetGalley books were hauled for the first time in several months. I also had a few of my most anticipated pre-orders come through in November which is very exciting!

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

Dairus the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram

The Burning God by R.F Kuang

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

The Gilda Stories by Jewelle L. Goméz

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Terra Nullius by Claire G Coleman

The Old Lie by Claire G Coleman

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

The Library of the Dead by T L Huchu

December TBR

I know I’ll end up mood reading for all of December, but I’ve tried to vaguely pick a TBR full of books I really wanted to read in 2020 but haven’t yet managed to. A mix of very heartbreaking books, very happy/fun books, and then one about cannibalism…

Cantoras by Carolinia de Robertis

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

After Elias by Eddy Boudel Tan

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus


I didn’t have as much time to be involved in the book community in November, which makes me very sad because I love reading everyone’s posts. I’m hoping to be around more in December now that one of my judging things is complete, so hopefully I’ll have more posts next month to share with you!

  • Hsinju from Hsinju’s Lit Log wrote an absolutely beautiful review of Cantoras by Carolinia de Robertis which has made me bump that book up my TBR in the hopes I’ll read it before the end of the year!
  • Nandini from Novels and Nebula’s interviewed the one and only R.F Kuang!! I’m still eagerly awaiting my preorder of The Burning God to arrive but the interview just made me all the more excited for it! It also has me very excited for Kuang’s next project!
  • Kait from Kait’s Cozy Reading Corner has a fun (and pretty!) series called Reading the Rainbow where she recommends queer books matched to colours of the rainbow!

I wish everyone the best of Decemeber’s, as we say goodbye to this pretty shitty year. What books are you hoping to read before the year ends? Let me know in the comments below!

October wrap up

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone had a fantastic spooky month! I had lots of fun participating in the Gothtober readathon, where I learned that OH BOY my brain is not in the mood to read classics right now. But I read some really fantastic books this month so the good won out over the bad!

I am going to be a little quieter on here next month, as I have some very exciting news!! I am a judge for both the British Fantasy Awards AND the Aurealis Awards (the SFF awards here in Australia!) So I have a ton of things to read for judging and need to focus my time on that. I’ll have a few reviews I’ve already written, and I’ll be here for #5OnMyTBR every week but that’s it. I’ll be back in December with lots of best of 2020 lists, and some most anticipated lists for 2021!

Books read

I had a pretty good October, managing 9 books and 2 novellas. And yes I counted Phoenix Extravagant last month and I’m also counting it this month, but that is because I read half of it in each month. My favourite book of the month is definitely Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett, but I also loved White is for Witching, The Ghost Bride and Fingersmith!

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Ghost Bride by Yangze Choo

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

The Survival of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma

Books hauled

Another batch of books from the library this month (first row)! Someone please stop me, I need to read the books I own (like the second row, which all arrived this month….)

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth

Luster by Raven Leilani

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J Hackwith

Vanishing Monuments by John Elizabeth Stintzi

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

My blog posts

Book reviews

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

The Midnight Bargain by C.L Polk

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett




Enemies to lovers

Halloween freebie


September wrap-up

My favourite gothic fiction

The Rocky Horror Picture Show book tag

My favourite horror (and favourites of the future)


It was another awesome month in the blogging sphere, I was particularly excited to see some very unique and fun content between bloggers and some very amazing authors this month!

  • We all know I love gothic books and I love gay books so The Alliterates post about gay gothic books made my day and there are so many favourites (and hopefully soon to be favourites!) on their list!
  • I had the absolute most fun reading Lili’s (@Utopia State of Mind) post with THE Chloe Gong pairing YA novels and classic Shanghai foods!
  • Okay yes I love gothic books so here’s another post all about them! Kristen (@Kristen Kraves Books) posted about some favourite gothic books as well as some on their TBR!
  • More incredibly fun and unique author posts with Kate (@Your Tita Kate) who did The Poppy War book tag with the author of The Poppy War!
  • I always love Laura’s (@The Book Corps) recommendation posts because their taste in books is SO GOOD, and this month they spoke about 2021 releases they’re exited for! Bring on a new year! (Please god just make it not be 2020 anymore).

In addition to all the books I need to read for judging in November, I’m also going to be loosely participating in the Clear Your Shit readathon! I probably won’t be following the prompts, but just generally pushing myself to try clear some of the books I have on my physical TBR.

September wrap up

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a good September! This month it was my birthday, and as lockdown is still going strong in Melbourne, I basically sat inside and ate cupcakes for a week (which I’m not complaining about at all, because they were excellent). I still seem to be reading more slowly than earlier in the year, and I think it’s probably because the whole current situation and worries about the future are just getting harder and harder to ignore (and the fact I keep picking up my phone to doom scroll). I’m hoping this will improve a little in October if only because I’m participating in the very fun Gothtober readathon and have a very exciting TBR! Anyway without further ado, here’s my September wrap-up!

Books read

This month I read a total of 8 books (and another two for work purposes), so technically I did reach my goal of 10 books this month, though I am still reading slower than usual. Especially considering I haven’t quite finished Phoenix Extravagant…. But the even better news is that my pile of ARCs is now looking much more manageable. I didn’t finish all of them, but I’ve only got one outstanding for the year and it’s a November release so I have a little while to read it.

The Ikessar Falcon by K S Villoso (you can read my review here)

The Roommate by Rosie Danan (you can read my review here)

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliot (you can read my review here)

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe (review to come)

The Midnight Bargain by C.L Polk (review to come)

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow (review to come)

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee (okay I technically haven’t quite finished this one but I’m counting it, review to come for this one too)

Books purchased/borrowed/approved for

My library reopened for collection orders and it was my birthday in September, so I had a slightly larger than usual book haul this month!

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

The Song of Achilles of Madeline Miller

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Legendborn by Tracey Deonn

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

After Elias by Eddy Boudel Tan

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

These Violent Delights by Michah Nemerever

October TBR

I’m participating in the Gothtober readathon and I posted yesterday about all the spooky gothic fiction on my TBR, you can check out my post here!

My blog posts





Here are some of my favourite posts from the community this month!

  • Mols @ Mols by Moonlight had an INCREDIBLE blog month, I am in awe of these posts!! Check out 50 authors describing their WIP in one sentence, 101 dark fiction books that aren’t by men, an interview with K-Ming Chang, the author of a highly anticipated release, Bestiary, and some really awesome books on part one of her 2021 anticipated releases! Seriously, I am in awe at how wonderful every single one of these posts were.
  • E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook posted a huge list of LGBTQ+ Retellings. I adore retellings, so this list expanded my TBR so much.
  • Charlotte and Anna @ Reads Rainbow, wrote a discussion on the erasure of the word lesbian for YA literature, it is well worth a read!
  • Aentee @ Read at Midnight posted an absolutely fascinating post about tigers in Viet lore and how this lore connects to several upcoming novellas.
  • Hsinju @ Hsinju’s Lit Log created a list celebrating 2021 sapphic book releases from LGBTIQA+ publishers and self-published authors. It’s huge and amazing and I honestly don’t know how I’m supposed to read all these amazing books next year?!
  • Laura @ The Book Corps has a list of trans and nonbinary books you should suppot instead of You Know Who, featuring some of my favourite authors!

And now to SPOOKY MONTH! I’m so excited for my October TBR so I’m hoping that I’m going to have a more positive reading month than the last few months. I hope everyone else has as relaxing a month as possible in our current times. What are you hoping to read this month? Let me know in the comments!

August wrap up

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a better August than I did! I feel like I’m in a bit of a reading slump, I’ve been really struggling to concentrate on reading books all through August, but in the last week it’s like my brain has just completely given up. I’m just so tired. So I only managed to get to 6 (and a half!) books this month, and to be honest, each of them was a bit of a slog, even the ones I really enjoyed since my brain just refused to cooperate with reading. Though I did read another three for work, that counts right? Hopefully I’ll have a better September… And it’s my birthday month! I would have loved to mood read to celebrate this month but I have so many ARCS to read and I have no idea if I’ll even get time to read a non-ARC. The pains of being a book blogger…

Books read

I read 6 (and a half) books this month! My favourite was probably The Year of the Witching. I’ve been in such a mood for spooky books recently and this one completely scratched that itch!

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart (review will come this month on pub day!)

The Four Profound Weaves by R.M Lemberg (review will come this month on pub day!)

Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen (you can read my review here!)

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson (you can read my review here!)

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (you can read my review here!)

Iron Heart by Nina Varela (review will come this month on pub day!)

And I’m halfway through The Ikessar Falcon right now!

Books bought/borrowed/approved for

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

The Ikessar Falcon by K. Villoso

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

September TBR

As I said above, I feel like I’m currently sinking into a pile of ARCs and I can’t let myself read anything else until I’m back on top of them. Which will also free me up for October where I’m participating in the Gothtober readathon, which is all about gothic fiction! Check it out here! I’m so fucking excited for this. I’m going to spend all month preparing my TBR.

But for now, here’s what I’ll be reading in September! I’ve got 7 ARCs I need to get through and then a couple extras if I actually manage that.

The Ikessar Falcon by K. Villoso

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliot

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

The Midnight Bargain by C.L Polk

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

My blog posts




And the last of this series, young adult science fiction, posts on Thursday!


Here are some of my favourite posts from the community this month!

How did your August go? What was your favourite book of the month? Let me know in the comments!

July wrap up

Hi everyone,

How was your July? This month has had its ups and downs here! Melbourne is back in lockdown. Whilst it didn’t change much for me, as I’m already WFH and wasn’t ever leaving the house anyway, the anxiety at this never ending situation is beginning to get to me. But then I started making candles this month, and it’s been so much fun, and just so relaxing to play with different scents. So a decidedly mixed month.

Reading wise though, I’ve had the joint best month of the year so far (in number of books, pages wise I’m a bit lower!) I read 9 books and 2 novellas this month, including one of my favourite books of the year so far, The Space Between Worlds! I also have something fun and exciting to talk about that I’ll be doing on this blog and my Instagram throughout August so stay tuned!

Books read

This month, I was participating in the extremely fun Pop Culture readathon! This was a readathon based on 90s movies, and I chose the Thrill Ride bingo board! I managed a couple of bingos this month! I am very ashamed that I didn’t get to the prompt for The Mummy, which was the film that made me choose this board in the first place! I have started The Bone Shard Daughter for this prompt, but I wasn’t able to finish it today!

The Space Between Worlds by Michaiah Johnson – review coming very soon (on pub day)!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – you can read my review here!

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke – review coming on pub day!

The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska – you can read my review here!

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles – review coming next month on pub day!

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh – you can read my mini review here!

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang – you can read my mini review here!

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – you can read my mini review here!

The First Sister by Linden A Lewis – review coming very soon (on pub day)!

Slay by Brittney Morris – review to come

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling – review to come

Books bought/borrowed/gifted/approved for

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson (a side note to say this is the book I’m most excited for in this month’s new books, it’s one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it sounds SO SCARY!!!)

Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

The First Sister by Linden A Lewis

The Midnight Bargain by C.L Polk

A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

August TBR

After a fairly strict set TBR in July for the Pop Culture readathon, I’m going to do the exact opposite in August and only mood read! I’m also trying to focus on books on my physical TBR, which are beginning to stack up, I need to stop distracting myself with more library books! Here’s a few of the books I’ve been wanting to read soon, but who knows, my mood might be totally different tomorrow, we’ll see at the end of the month if I do actually read them!

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis

Cherry Beach by Laura McPhee-Browne

The Empire of Gold by S.A Chakraborty

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

August SFF extravangza!

And with that, we’re onto my super exciting annoucement! If you’re a big reader of SFF, you may have seen the recent abuse allegations which revealed a horrific cycle of abuse in the community, with many of the abusers very powerful cishet men with large followings (and who probably provide the publishing industry with a hell of a lot of money).

Now, I’d already pretty much given up reading fantasy by cishet men (I just do not have time for the high level of sexual violence and utter lack of diversity in most of them). So I decided this month to create a series of posts all about the amazing, diverse books you could be reading and supporting instead of the same old fantasies by cishet (usually white) men with histories of abuse in the community. For the next 5 weeks, every Thursday, I will be posting a large list of diverse books you can support for 5 different segments of the SFF genre: adult fantasy, adult sci fi, horror (YA + adult combined), YA fantasy and YA sci-fi!

Alongside these posts, I’ll also be posting every day on my Instagram, featuring my favourite diverse books from each of the above segments – there will be one week’s worth of posts on each segment, matching the blog post for that week! I feel like I very much overcomplicated this explanation, but basically: if you would like to support marginalised authors doing their damn best to give us the most amazing diverse SFF, or would like some recommendations for great books in the genre, check out my blog and Instagram over the next 5 weeks, and you’ll hopefully come away with a ton of new books to read!

I hope everyone has a great August!

Mid Year Freakout book tag!

Hi everyone,

It’s time for one of my favourite posts of the year: the mid year freakout book tag! Where we talk about our reading so far, our favourites and our….not so favourites, as well as what we’re looking forward to for the rest of the year. Thank you so much to Laura @ The Book Corps for tagging me!

1. Best book you read so far in 2020

So obviously I couldn’t choose just one (duh) so I have two very different books that I couldn’t choose between because they are just too different.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This book released 6 days ago and I still haven’t got my delivery notification which is making me really sad. I just want to see how beautiful this cover is in person! Mexican Gothic is a fucked up gothic horror that just about killed me. It follows Noemí after she recieves a letter from her cousin saying her husband is trying to kill her. Noemí travels to the distant High Place, an old, musty mansion in the mountains to find out what’s going on. And trust me, there is some fucked up shit going on.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

I read this book last month and it absolutely blew me away. I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t realise it would be quite this incredible. The way Felix Ever After talks about questioning your identity, the way it validated everything I feel was just amazing. Felix Ever After is a YA contemporary following trans demiboy Felix when he decides to catfish his bully for revenge.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

I haven’t read many sequels so far this year, but the three I did read were all so so epic and amazing and continued some of my favourite adult fantasy series: Jade War by Fonda Lee, The Kingdom of Copper by S.A Chakraborty and The Dragon Republic by R.F Kuang. But if I had to choose my favourite of these, I think The Dragon Republic wins! That book absolutely blew me away and killed me in all the best ways. The Poppy War was so epic and then this was just as epic and possibly even a little more so?!?! Either way, I’m absolutely dying to read the last book in each of these trilogies.

3. New releases you haven’t read yet but want to

Ummmmmmmm SO MANY. I feel like I’m very behind on new releases because I keep getting distracted by books from the library so I think I might need to stop getting library books for the next few months so I can just focus on my physical TBR. Here are a few new releases I’m most excited to read!

4. Most anticipated releases for the second half of the year

I’ll have a post coming in a few weeks with my top 10 releases for the second half of the year (if I ever manage to actually narrow it down to 10 books). But if I had to pick just one….

Believe me, no one is more shocked than me that I didn’t pick an adult fantasy.

5. Biggest disappointment

I’ve had several books this year that have really disappointed me, but I chose these four as these were the ones I was most excited for and thus the disappointment was greatest. These are all queer YA fantasies that everyone seemed to rave about. This might be more down to me on the outs with YA fantasy rather than these books, but as epic and brilliant as I think the concepts behind each of these books were (they all sounded so amazing?!), I thought the writing was really bad in all of these.

6. Biggest surprise

The Library of the Unwritten is definitely my biggest surprise of the year. I hadn’t heard much about this book before I picked it up at the library, so I went in thinking I’d probably get a decent adult fantasy but nothing hugely special. And fuck me, I was so wrong. This book is incredible?! Not only did it have the first on page pansexual rep I’ve ever read (and the fact it was a fierce librarian from hell was so validating), it’s also one of the most fun filled fantasies I’ve ever read. It was so full of snark and sass and made for one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had all year.

7. Favourite new author

I’ve found several authors this year whose books absolutely blew me away and I’m going to be following everything they write: A.K Larkwood (of The Unspoken Name) and A.J Hackwith (of The Library of the Unwritten) are two who come straight to mind. But I think for this question I have to say the author whose first book I read at the end of December last year, and 6 months later I’ve now read several others and have many more lined up: T.J Klune! I read Wolfsong in December, and have followed it up with his Tor releases this year The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries, but I have many more of his backlist to make my way through!

8. Newest fictional crush

I mean it’s not exactly ‘new’, but since I read The Dragon Republic this year, I’m counting it! Rin from R.F Kuang’s The Poppy War series is just such an incredible, badass, morally grey mess and I love her.

9. Newest favourite character

Okay so I when I started writing this post, I wasn’t going to mention any books coming out in the later half of this year so I could focus on ones I actually read in the first half of the year, but then I reached this question and I’m sorry but I can’t help it so you’re getting a book releasing in August that I finished about 8 hours ago because THIS BOOK. My newest favourite character is Cara from The Space Between Worlds. God, I don’t even know how to put into words how amazing she is, and how she completely wrecked me. This scifi better fucking get the praise it deserves when it releases because it is so bloody good.

10. A book that made you cry

I mean, technically this is also a book that releases in the second half of the year, but at least I actually read this one in the first half. I don’t think Klune fans will be at all surprised to see one of his books for this question. Klune writes in a way that literally has me laughing on one page and then sobbing the next and The Extraordinaries was no different. It’s a book about a boy who wants to be a superhero and will do anything to make himself extraordinary.

11. A book that made you happy

And to prove exactly what I just said, here’s another Klune book in the section that made me happy! You could honestly just switch these two books back and forth, because they are both so happy and joyful but also made me sob. The House in the Cerulean Sea really exemplifies the found family trope and follows Linus, a caseworker for magical youth, who is sent to audit a faraway orphanage where very powerful magical children stay.

12. The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey is absolutely gorgeous. Not only does it have that intricately detailed cover, but I also snagged a special edition of this book with stunning endpapers and sprayed edges and it is just so beautiful.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

So, so, so many. The ones I’ve chosen to highlight here are ones I’m either:

a) particularly excited for but know it’s going to be highly painful and thus am scared to read (The Empire of Gold)

b) books that I’ve had on my TBR for aaaaages but have finally picked up a copy of (The Secret History and Empire of Sand)

c) books that have been on my physical TBR for over a year (my bad, I’m so sorry The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling & The Candle in the Flame, but this is your year!)

And that’s my year so far! I’m hope you’re having a good reading year. Anyone who wants to do this tag, consider yourself tagged!

30 Days of Pride: Wrap up

Hi everyone,

We’re finally here. Day 30. Let’s be honest, this June has been pretty fucked. And it feels like it’s lasted 6 years. Looking back over the past month, I really haven’t had the best reading month at all. My sleep has been a disaster and so I’ve stuggled with concentrating whilst reading and reached nowhere near my goal of 15 books. I hope your months have been more sucessful!

What I did manage to do (however unconsciously), is read 8 books that all have matching coloured covers?! How the fuck I managed this beautiful array of yellow, oranges and pinks completely by accident and without noticing before now, I’ll never know. But as a result, you get some happy Autumnal book covers to look at today!

Books read

This month, I managed to read 8 books in total. My favourite book of the month was definitely Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender which absolutely blew me away and I already want to reread!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

Blog posts

I still can’t quite believe I actually managed to post every day. I’m so exhausted and I’m going to have soooo much free time in July. If you missed any, here’s a full run down of what happened on my blog this month!


Recommendation lists




I wanted to finish by shouting out some incredible creators and the great work they’ve created during Pride month this year. Prepare to add EVEN MORE books your TBR!

Finally, as we move into the second half of the year, I hope you all are continuing to support Black authors in the coming months as you have done this month, that you continue to educate yourself on racism, and that you are looking into ways you can support Black people in your local community.

Whilst you’re here, please do also take a few minutes out of your day to sign petitions and donate some money if you are able. It takes two seconds to sign a petition, there’s no excuse. And so you don’t even have to Google right now to find out where to go:

  • The Black Lives Matter carrd is your go to resource for information on petitions to sign and places to donate. It’s updated regularly with new information.
  • The Australian BLM database has petitions for local issues
  • There’s a fantastic database if you’re interested in learning more about prison abolition and the need for this
  • If you want to be an ally, you can start by putting in the effort! This resource has a full out SCHEDULE you can follow over a month to educate yourself on racism and how to be an ally. There’s different schedules depending on how much time you can spend a day on this, and it starts at just 10 minutes a day so again, there’s really no excuse!

And to my fellow Aussies, if you’re looking for places to donate to locally, here are some people and charities you can support: