February Wrap Up

Hi everyone,

February has been an incredibly busy month, but I think things might finally be beginning to settle down… I hope so anyway!

This month I started kickboxing – and oh my god, I love it so much?! There’s really something to be said for getting to smash your leg against a bag on a regular basis. So powerful! I also got a new job. And in trade publishing. I’ll be moving to a small, independent Aussie publisher and I can’t wait to start at the end of March.

Books I read

#FFFeb wrap up

This month, I participated in #FFFeb, a sapphic readathon run by @darashirazi on Twitter. To conclude the month, Charlotte created some wrap-up questions for us to answer about what we read this month.

MILLIE QUINT: How many did you read?

I read 8 books and DNF’ed one!

DOMINO SWIFT: How successful were you in only reading f/f?

So successful – every book I read was f/f.

AYLA: Did you set yourself a tbr and did you complete it?

I did set a TBR and what a surprise, I did not complete it at all. Of the 8 official books I set on my TBR (to go along with the challenges set up Charlotte), I only read 4 of them…. I have no excuses.

LIKOTSI: How many challenges did you complete?

So even though I only read 4 of my original planned TBR, I did still manage to complete 6 of the 9 challenges! They were:

  • Book set outside North America (All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle)
  • Book with a lesbian mc and love interest (Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi)
  • Book with a pan mc (The Library of the Unwritten by A.J Hackwith)
  • Book without a romance (A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine)
  • Book by an author you’ve never tried before (The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave)
  • Read an ownvoices book (Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor)

AUDRE: Which was your favourite read and why?

My favourite book of the month was The Library of the Unwritten. I wrote a full review of this one (you can read it here!) but to summarise, I loved this book because it felt like a breath of fresh air to the fantasy genre. It felt so much more lighthearted and fun than any fantasy I’ve read recently, and I loved it. It’s also the first fantasy (in fact, I think it might be first book ever) that I’ve read with on page, the word is actually there, pansexual rep.

XIULAN: Which was your favourite ship and why?

My favourite ship was Maren and Ursa from The Mercies. First of all, this book is incredible. Second of all, oh my god these two are just so amazing. They are so sweet, there is such a beautiful friendship we see grow, there is so much love. I adored seeing the strength of these two female characters rise to fight against the witchhunters.

MUNA: Did you read any new authors? Who was your favourite?

Every single author I read this month was a new author! Of my 8 reads, three of them I rated 5 stars:

  • A. J Hackwith – The Library of the Unwritten
  • Erin Gough – Amelia Westlake
  • Kiran Millwood Hargrave – The Mercies

ROSA SANTOS: A book you were recommended and loved.

I feel I’ve seen so many people rave about Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi, but it was Fadwa at Word Wonders review that really made me want to read this. And I’m so glad I did, I absolutely loved it! It was such a fun and sweet rivals to lovers romance – also queer cheerleaders?! Yes please.

LEI: A book that was on your tbr for a while.

Amelia Westlake had been on my TBR since it published here in Australia. There was so much news and love for it and at the time, I just never got around to reading it. And I honestly do not know why and hate myself for waiting so long, because it is so funny and such a joy to read.

EVELYN HUGO: A book which you didn’t like as much as you expected to.

There’s two that fit this question. One book, I had to DNF quite early in. This was one I fully expected to adore, as all I’d heard was it was a super detailed, political fantasy which is very much my cup of tea. The book was The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Unfortunately, I just felt really weird reading it. The queer trauma porn, the colonisation, I just really didn’t like the way these topics were being discussed so put the book down.

Another one which I finished was just very… meh. I don’t think it was bad, I just had expected to love it a lot more than I did. That one is Tarnished Are the Stars. I loved the discussions of ace rep – so phenomenal to see! But everything else I just found pretty average.

GOLDIE VANCE: Are there any books you wish you’d read but didn’t have time?

So many. A couple I really wish I’d got to are Steel Crow Saga by Paul Kruegar and A Blade so Black (which I started but then completely ran out of time to finish before I had to return it to the library).

BARU CORMORANT: A book which wrecked you.

The book that most wrecked me is definitely The Mercies. It is such a touching and emotional retelling of a terrible period of history, with a very bittersweet ending. It’s beautifully told and I hope this book gets all the praise it deserves.

March TBR

I have a rather out of control library pile right now, and I also have several ARCs I really need to read so those are going to be my focus this month! Even though I was terrible at sticking to my TBR in February, I’m hoping putting this into writing will keep me on track this month since I need to read these books.

And if I somehow manage to make it through this pile, I have a couple of new releases I was incredibly excited for which have finally arrived – but I’m not allowed to start until I finish all of the above….Yeah. Sure. Totally going to achieve that.

So my goals for March are 100% achievable (ahahahahahaha she laughed maniacally). What are your reading goals for March? Are you also excited to read any of these books?

November wrap up and blog return!

Hi everyone!

I’m back! November was…..a real terrible month?!

 🦁Draco is sick and we don’t know why
🦁Mental health = not great at all
 🦁Nowhere near my NaNo goal
 🦁Pretty much felt ill the entire month
 🦁Dental emergency x 2

However, December is a new month, and I’m excited to spend some time on blogging again! This month, as well as some reviews from books I’ve read recently, I really want to focus on my extreme excitement for all of the 2020 releases we’ve got coming so I hope everyone is ready to add a TON of books to your TBR!

Today though, I’m looking back at November. My brain and body had a fairly terrible time, and whilst I’m happy with how many books I read, I was rather underwhelmed with quite a lot of them…

Books I read

This month I read 10 books! A lot of these books I expected to love a lot more, but there were a few fantastic reads in the mix!

Opposite of Always – Justin A Reynolds

I adored this exceedingly joyful book! A full review will be coming, but this book filled me with as much happiness as the cover does (the yellow makes me so happy!)

The Abyss Surrounds Us – Emily Skrutskie

This was one I wanted to love more. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, particularly the last quarter. But when I heard “queer sapphic enemies to lover pirates” I did expect to be blown away more than I was. I struggled a little with the characterisation of the main character which I think made it difficult to get fully into this book.

An Orchestra of Minorities – Chigozie Obioma

So a group at my work do a Man Booker reading group, and this year I picked An Orchestra of Minorities to read! There were parts I really enjoyed; and parts I hated. Ended up being an average read, I much preferred Obioma’s first work, The Fisherman.

We Set the Dark on Fire – Tehlor Kay Mejia

Another one I thought I would love more! Again, I really liked it, and will definitely pick up the sequel. But I just felt a little underwhelmed. I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to.

The Virtue of Sin – Shannon Schuren

Phhheeew this book is heavy. It’s about a cult in the middle of the desert, empowering female voices, and faith.

The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson

Oh my gosh, I loved The Storm Crow so much! In a month where I felt so slumpy and disengaged with my reads, this book really picked me up! I have a full review of this one coming!

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

This one started out great, I was really loving the setting and style of the book. The reveals and twists were fantastic. HOWEVER. I got so bloody annoyed at the Scottish characterisation – apparently the only way a Scottish person can be Scottish is if they loudly complain to Nazis that they’re Scottish when someone calls them English. 🙄🙄🙄Do…do people know Scots have other character traits??

The Hollow Girl – Hillary Monahan

This was a short, creepy read, but again…..I just didn’t get into it?! I wanted more world-building and depth.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Yes, I realise it’s really bad I reached almost the end of the decade and still had not read The Night Circus. But I managed! Just! And I ADORED it. This book was everything, the prose is stunning, the world is magical, the story was so full of beauty and emotion, I can’t wait to start The Starless Sea!

Sanctuary – V.V James

This book filled me with rage. And in a month where my mental health was so bad, I really wouldn’t have recommended this one to my past self! It filled me with so much stress and anger. At another time, that would have been AMAZING that a book can make me feel so impacted, but it really wasn’t the best time.

Books I bought/borrowed/magic-ed into existence on my shelf

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco

The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf

Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

I Hope You Get This Message – Farah Naz Rishi

Slay – Brittney Morris

Steel Crow Saga – Paul Krueger

The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern

Rules for Vanishing – Kate Alice Marshall

Books I plan to read in December

Now for this month! I don’t have a completely solid reading plan yet, but there are definitely a few books I need to get finished before the end of the year.

All my library books definitely read so I can return them asap – they’re due in….two weeks I think?? So definitely possible but I need to get my act together and actually start them first…

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco

The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf

Other books I plan to read this month are mostly ones I’ve been trying to read for months and I want to finish before the decade is over!

The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

Reverie – Ryan La Sala

The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang

The Kingdom of Copper – S. A Chakraborty

***

That’s it from me today! I would love to hear what books you’re planning to finish off before we leave behind the 2010’s for good!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

August + NEWTS readathon wrap up

Hello all!

I feel like I haven’t done a wrap-up in so long, but I’ve actually only missed July – unfortunately mental health took an awful dip at the end of July and I didn’t feel up to writing a massive wrap up post, but back now for my August wrap up which includes the NEWTS readathon I participated in! Whilst I didn’t quite manage to qualify for my Librarian career, after a very rough start to the month with my health, my reading and blogging did pick up again and I’ve had some awesome posts and news this month!

August highs and lows

  • I had my first author interview with the wonderful Gabhi Martins about the new anthology she edited Keep Faith. Keep Faith is a very personal and touching look at how faith and queerness intersect and I’m so happy I got the chance to talk to Gabhi about it – her enthusiasm and excitement is absolutely incredible.
  • I also ran my first giveaway – although I can’t say I feel it went particularly well. I wonder if perhaps the way to enter wasn’t clear enough or was too difficult to enter? The giveaway was for Keep Faith which I was so excited for, and it’s such a great project that I do feel I really let Gabhi and the team of wonderful authors down. The good news is the giveaway is still running until Wednesday – so if you’d like to enter, please comment on this post! I would also be interested in hearing any tips you might have on how to run successful giveaways!
  • In the last week of August, I also got the wonderful news that I will be participating in my first blog tour! This is so exciting, it’s for The Never Tilting World, and the tour is run by Caffeine Book Tours. I can’t wait to read this book – watch out for this tour in October!
  • I failed my Librarian studies in the NEWTs readathon. I’m so upset with myself. Unfortunately with such a rough start to the month, I lost a fair bit of time I needed to get through all my reads.
  • I went to YAFanFest, an event run by Australian independent publisher Allen and Unwin. This was my first bookish event here in Australia and it was so fun – authors Garth Nix, Amie Kaufman, Wai Chim, Ellie Marney and Astrid Scholte were all there to talk about their writing processes. I also picked up quite a few great books there which I can’t wait to read!

The NEWTS

WHAT A SHAME. I put so much effort into creating my TBR and then didn’t manage to qualify as a Librarian!

I did manage to get an O in the two exams I studied for which were Ancient Runes and History of Magic, but then I got too caught up in some library books and didn’t manage to read anything for the last exam I needed, Defence Against the Dark Arts. But I had good fun, and I guess that’s what matters in the end…..right…..?!

Book haul

The Dragon Republic – R.F Kuang

A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

Wilder Girls – Rory Power

Spin the Dawn – Elizabeth Lim

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas (YAFanFest haul)

The Suprising Power of a Good Dumpling – Wai Chim (YAFanFest haul)

Sabriel – Garth Nix (YAFanFest haul)

When the Ground is Hard – Malla Nuun (YAFanFest haul)

Impostors – Scott Westerfeld (YAFanFest giftbag freebie)

Keep Faith – edited by Gabhi Martins (eARC)

The Astonishing Colour of After – Emily XR Pan (Library)

Internment – Samira Ahmed (Library)

When Michael Met Mina – Randa Abdel-Fattah (Library)

A Very Large Expanse of Sea – Tahereh Mafi (Library)

Books I read

The Afterward – E.K Johnston (full review here!)

We Contain Multitudes – Sarah Henstra (full review here!)

How to be Remy Cameron – Julian Winters

The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg (full review here!)

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He (full review here!)

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Keep Faith – Gabhi Martins

The Astonishing Colour of After – Emily XR Pan

And that’s it for the month of August! In September, I have to look forward to: MY BIRTHDAY! Yes I turn the grand old age of 26 (hoooooo boy it’s rough going into ‘late twenties’) but I’ll likely get quite a few books from various friends and family which is exciting! I also am going on a trip to Noosa to celebrate, and it will be SO AMAZING to have a few days off work to lie on a beach. I can’t wait to relax – and it also means 4 days of non-stop reading which will be so fun.

I hope you all had a great August – and that you were more sucessful than me if you participated in the NEWTs readathon!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Mid Year Freak Out Tag 2019

So this sounds like the most fun book tag ever!!

I first saw Katie over at Melting Pages post about the mid year book freak out tag and it looked so much fun (you can check out Melting Pages’ Book Tag post here). And then I read Bionic Book Worm’s (check it out here) who tagged me and gave me all the reasons to do this post myself!

Beware, indecisiveness below.

Book stats

I’ve read 45 books so far this year (four books more than my entire 2018 total) and my goal of 55 books looks like it will be easily met this year.

1 – The best book you’ve read so far in 2019

No surprises here, the best book I’ve so far is of course The Fever King by Victoria Lee. This book blew me away, I was an emotional wreck and couldn’t see all night after I finished it, I’ve reread it since, and I just want everyone to read this book! It’s a dystopian YA, combining element of sci fi and fantasy – where magic is caused by a virus that kills most of the population. It features diverse characters, some dark topics, and is just so fantastic!

Okay so we all knew that was going to be my favourite book – but I do want to also shout some of the other incredible books I’ve read this year.

2 – Your favourite sequel this year

I have read pretty much no sequels this year, so the book I’m going for is technically not a direct sequel, but a companion novel – Before Mars by Emma Newman. This is the third novel in her Planetfall series, each book is set in the same universe but follows different characters. Before Mars follows Anna, an artist who is sent to Mars to create art for her rich employer. But when she arrives, she finds a note in her own handwriting warning her not to trust the colony psychologist. The portrayal of mental illness in this book is phenomenal, and I really need to actually read the other books in the series now.

3 – A new release you haven’t read yet but really want to

And the indecisiveness begins! This is such a hard question, there’s so many I want to read. I’m really looking forward to Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley, which was sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read when I first wrote this post, but I did now start today! I’m also hugely excited to read The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg but I haven’t bought myself a copy yet, and The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling which is a little (read: LOT) more horror-esque than what I normally read but I’m trying new genres this year, so really want to see what it’s like.

4 – Most anticipated release(s) for the second half of the year

Ooooooh this is another really difficult question!! I literally have a notepad just for listing all the upcoming releases I’m excited for by month (and using pretty coloured pens) because my Goodreads organisation is beyond help so I needed a new place to keep track of upcoming releases. If I had to say just one, it would be Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir (lesbian necromancers anyone?!) but some others following in close second are Wilder Girls, I Hope You Get This Message, The Light at the Bottom of the World, and Crier’s War.

5 – Your biggest disappointment

I’ve had a fairly good reading year so far, very few lower rated books, but I think the one I’m most disappointed in would be Rosewater by Tade Thompson. I had such high hopes, it opened SO well with such a cool technology, but I just couldn’t get past the main character and the misogynistic language + behaviour he used constantly.

6 – Your biggest surprise of the year

Biggest surprise for me isn’t title based, but genre based. This was the year I started reading contemporary YA and I have fallen in love with the genre. The first book I read was Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorran and it was fantastic and every other book I’ve read so far has also been so bloody good. I’m so happy I gave this genre a chance!

7 – Favourite debut or new to you author

So many favourite new authors, as I’ve really been trying to read more widely this year. I loved R.F Kuang’s The Poppy War which I read earlier this year and can’t wait for The Dragon Republic. Definitely added to my list of ‘always read’ authors.

8 – Your new fictional crush

Fiona from Her Royal Higness, beautiful Scottish princess (though may be a little biased to this one since I’m also Scottish). I just loved her fire and passion and how she grew throughout the book. Also, I have to mention Alex, bisexual ICON from Red, White and Royal Blue. He was just so confident and fierce and sarcastic. And if we’re on fierce, bisexual icons I should mention Serefin from Wicked Saints too!

9 – Your new favourite character

My new favourite character is definitely Dara from The Fever King. He’s so broken and soft and I fear so much for the sequel! PLEASE GIVE DARA HIS FARM AND GOATS.

10 – A book that made you cry

I’ve cried at quite a few books this year (several times on public transport – I get far too emotionally involved!) But the one I’ll mention here is I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver because I’ve wanted to mention it for so many other of these questions! This debut is phenomenal – it’s about a nonbinary teen who comes out to their parents and is then thrown out of their house and it hurts every part of my heart.

11 – A book that made you happy

I’ll be honest, I usually read books that make me cry over books that make me happy. But, a little behind everyone else, I finally read A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet this year and it was so fun and so happy, I loved all the characters and it was just such an enjoyable read.

12 – Your favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year

I don’t think I’ve actually watched any book to film adaptations this year… I don’t watch a huge number of films in general. I think the only films I’ve actually watched this year have been Marvel movies. Which I guess kind of count since they are technically based on comics…? So Captain Marvel all the way then!

13 – Your favourite review/post you’ve written this year

Well I’ve only had this blog for just over a month, so don’t have a huge number to choose from! And so far I’ve kept it fairly simple as I get into my blogging groove, with lots of reviews and TBRs. Which I guess makes this a lot easier. I’m actually going to go with my Pride month TBR post because it showcases such incredible queer books and it took me SO long to actually narrow it down to that list and I am proud I managed to get it down to just 15 books.

14 – The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

Descendent of the Crane is just stunning. That cover is so beautiful and is even more beautiful in person.

I also wanted to mention Missing, Presumed Dead, which is beautiful to me for a very special reason. I won a copy of this book in a Twitter giveaway arranged by the author (Emma Berquist) and Vicky Who Reads, and it arrived about two weeks ago. I hadn’t at all expected it to be signed, and this is the first book I’ve ever had signed by any author, and it made me a little emotional so it is incredibly beautiful to me because of this. (Also, having now finished it, it is AMAZING!!!)

15 – What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Ooooh I have so many I want to read! Image below is of my current ‘immediate TBR shelf’ – I hope to have a lot of these read during the rest of Pride month (per my TBR post, which I’ve actually managed to follow pretty well so far!)

Let me know how your year is going in books! I would love to see more of these posts – so if you’re still reading, consider yourself tagged!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Monthly wrap-up: May

So May was a big month! I started a blog! I spent the first two weeks jetlagged! I spent 3 weeks with a constant headache! I fainted at the Doctor! And I bought and read a lot of books…

Books I read

I read 10 books this month, which I’m very happy with, especially considering I spent pretty much the entire month going to bed by 9pm because I was either extremely jetlagged or headachey or work stressed. Of those 10, I gave five of them a massive 5/5 stars! There were a few I wasn’t quite as happy with, but all in all, a very fun reading month.

The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang (5 out of 5 stars)

Other Words for Smoke – Sarah Maria Griffin (3.75 out of 5 stars)

Shadowscent – P.M. Freestone (3 out of 5 stars)

Rosewater – Tade Thompson (3 ou of 5 stars)

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers (5 out of 5 stars)

The Fever King – Victoria Lee (5 out of 5 stars)

Darius the Great is Not Okay – Adib Khorram (5 out of 5 stars)

Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan (4 out of 5 stars)

Love from A to Z – S.K. Ali (5 out of 5 stars)

We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal (4 out of 5 stars)

Books I bought

I had a great book buying month – a lot of books arrived that I am so excited to read. I also managed to read a fair few of those that arrived which was great!

I Wish You All the Best – Mason Deaver

We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal

Love from A to Z – S.K Ali

The Candle and the Flame – Nafiza Azad

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan

Darius the Great is Not Okay – Adib Khorram

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

Her Royal Highness – Rachel Hawkins

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali – Sabina Khan

The Fever King – Victoria Lee

Vicky Romeo Plus Joolz – Ely Percy

Books I received

Convergence – Marita Smith (This was a book a lovely author I work with in my day job passed to me and I’m very excited to read! I’ve heard really great things about all the science in this book).

Shatter the Sky – Rebecca Kim Wells (Apparently the NetGalley gods were looking down on me for this one and I managed to snag an eARC of this incredible sounding book!)

What Makes Us – Rafi Mittlefehldt (Another NetGalley, my first approved request on NetGalley! I won’t lie, it was very much the cover which called to me. Rainbow + protest = my kind of book).

That’s it for my May wrap-up, let me know what you think about any of the books in this wrap-up!

Paws out,

Rach + Draco