ARC Review: Local Star, by Aimee Ogden

I originally planned to post this on F/F friday (I was somehow convinced it came out on the 9th, too, which would have been perfect!) but as it is out TODAY I thought it would be just so much better to talk about it now!

The Story

Local Star is a polyamorous space opera with a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that’s sure to punch you in the feels. It follows guttergirl Triz as she saves her hub from invaders from the Cyberbionautic Alliance, all the while negotiating her rekindled romance with Kalo, her ex who’s returned from battle and won’t stop hanging around the wrenchworks.

The Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I received a free advanced reader copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

So I wasn’t really convinced by the sketchy type cover art, but the blurb really got me. And the novella does deliver. It’s short, maybe a bit too short in places, but it certainly delivers in action.

I especially liked how the scene was set, with this queernorm space station where poly is normal, nonbinary folk go round using neopronouns and being part of said poly families, and where the space station provides you with food and lodgings even if you’re out of a job. The perfect queer utopia!

The main character was interesting in that she had a bit of an outsider complex and really couldn’t believe she could be part of any family, so it was nice seeing her go through that. I thought her relationship/”rekindled romance” as the summary puts it, with the male love interest was a bit rushed, and I’d have appreciated if the author took a bit more time there, but at the same time it wasn’t really the focus.

What was, instead, was Triz’s work to exonerate her girlfriend/partner from the ridiculous charges against her, and in the process run up and down a station that’s shutting down, and trying to catch up a convict and actual war criminal.

There was clearly a lot of worldbuilding that went into this and got me intrigued about the whole universe Ogden built there. I wouldn’t mind reading more of Triz’s, Casne’s and Kalo’s adventures, or even another polycule’s in the same universe. There’s lots more I want to see, but this was a good self contained first look into that universe, and it felt a lot like watching an episode of a star trek show in the way it all neatly resolves. Very satisfying to read, both because of just how queer it was, and for the adventure it took me on!

The Links

Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones

*these are affiliate links, I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you

Review: This is how you lose the time war, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

This is another review from my pre-blog days, but it’s also one that’s stayed with me. I mean I loved the concept when I first heard about it, but I expected it to me a monster of a book, not a tiny novella. And I wasn’t really convinced with the cover, if I’m being honest.

I watched the Hugo ceremony and was moved by the authors’ acceptance speech though, and I bought it shortly after. And it blew my mind!

The cover even grew on me

The Story

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

Red and Blue, two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions, strike up an unlikely correspondence. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, becomes something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
The discovery of their bond will mean their death. There’s still a war going on, and someone has to win that war. That’s how wars work. Right?

The Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I feel like I owe this novella a review, because it it was an Experience I won’t forget soon, but at the same time I’m struggling to find the appropriate words.
There is not one thing about this book I would change or criticise. I couldn’t even say it’s too short, because it’s so masterfully crafted that the size is just what it should be for the story it wants to tell. Where do I even start?
To borrow a metaphor from the book, it’s like a gorgeous and masterfully crafted piece of clockwork. The writing is pure poetry, the characters feel Just Right and even in so few pages you get to know them so well… 
There’s a scene where Blue goes to the Globe and wonders about Romeo and Juliet, and how it will end in this alternate part of the multiverse, and this was an absolutely brilliant reference,  not just because I’m a Shakespeare nerd, but because Time War has something of Romeo and Juliet in it, in its poetry and in its tragedy. And throughout, you can feel that every piece of the story was carefully crafted towards the ending, and everything fits very neatly. But beyond the craftsmanship, I was absolutely moved by this story, by the characters and by the writing. “Brilliant” doesn’t begin to cover it, and it is well worth all the awards it got. 

The Links

Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Portal Bookshop

*these are affiliate links, I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you

March overview (cat pics included)

March was a little bit of a low month, both in terms of reading and in my personal life. I’ve basically got all the assignments due for college, plus a bunch of health issues came knocking since early February so I’m exhausted all the time. Which, strangely enough, isn’t very conducive to reading…

I feel like I started a lot of things but did not finish much.

Then again I just had a look at what I read this month and it’s not too bad.

  • I just finished One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest this weekend. It’s for an assignment, and I’ve been dragging my feet to read it, which I think influenced just how much ELSE I got (not) done this month. I’m just not really into this postmodern, unreliable narrator thing, and contemporary fiction… But having read it I do think it’s a good thing to have psych students read, it puts the focus on a lot of medical abuse that psychology kinda got away with over the year, and it’s important, even if it’s by no means a fun read.
  • As a spillover from F/F February, I went on to read Other Words for Smoke at the beginning of the month, which I really enjoyed. I think it stayed with me a lot more than a similar book would have, simply because it’s set in the Dublin area, and living in Dublin it added to the uncanny.
  • I didn’t review it here directly but I finished the Murderbot Diaries series with Network Effect, and it was a lot of fun. I don’t think it could be read as a standalone, despite being the first novel in the series, because it does rely on a lot of previous context from the series. It was a nice wrapup though, and gave Wells the time to explore more of the universe and characters she sketched out (in quite a bit of detail already) in the novellas, and bring back old favourites.
  • I went through some more novellas (Nghi Vo’s duology, and Cat Sebastian’s a little light mischief, very different genres and styles), which I think were just the right size for me at the time.
  • Read a bit more middle grade with the second book in the Murder Most Unladylike series!
  • I also started quite a few things that I intend to finish in April, so more on that later!

I also got some lovely washi tape and stencils to use for my (not quite bullet) journaling, which I’m looking forward to using a bit more extensively. I did make nice spreads for my reading, which I’m happy with!

April Plans

So, ok, looking back on that… even if most of them were on the short side, it’s not so bad!

I have big plans for April, and I received quite a few books recently! I want to read them all…

But realistically I’m still exhausted, and I’ve still got a lot of things to do both at work and at college, so I’ll rein in my horses, so to speak. I think this month again, I’ll focus on novellas and shorter (audio)books, and maybe a few MG novels. Just some bite-sized content that I can get around too.

It’s also camp nanowrimo, and while I’m not really doing it on the website itself, I always do it on 4thewords, the RPG type game I use to motivate myself to write. They always have a special, one-off adventure for Camps and Nanowrimo itself (as well as occasional events for things like Valentine’s Day or Pride) and it’s just a chill, inclusive community (use the referral code GZNRQ83820 if you want to join in on the fun!)

But doing that means I’ll likely be spending more time writing than reading, so we’ll see how it goes!

Review: The Luminous Dead, by Caitlin Starling

I’m in a reading slump at the moment, so for F/F Friday I’ve decided to share with you my review of this book I read last year. It’s stayed with me ever since, and I’ve recommended it a couple times over the months, so I thought it’d be good to talk about it in a bit more detail.

I’ll probably also give the audiobook a try some time soon, because this is the kind of book that’s got to be amazing as audio!

The Story

A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.

When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.

Instead, she got Em.

Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .

As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.

But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?

The Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is not exactly the kind of books I usually read, but I was curious – I think it had been recommended at Worldcon last year for one reason or another, and it’s been on my list ever since. 

It’s not as horror as the blurb makes it sound, but it’s still out there. It reminded me of The Cave or The Descent, except not really. It’s a gripping read. The main character, Gyre,’s one link to the surface is unreliable. Perhaps Gyre herself is not reliable. Is she really seeing what she’s seeing, and what are the implications?  And in some ways you know the characters are emotionally or psychologically compromised, but there’s still the possibility that it’s all real. And of course, everything is from the point of view of Gyre, who is stuck in that cave in one dire circumstance or another. It felt claustrophobic at times, and hopeful at others, but it was, all along, a gripping and good read. The stakes were kept high throughout as well.

I could empathize with both characters quite a bit, and it was easy to feel for them both, although I think I was supposed to mistrust Em a lot more than I did. The two of them definitely had that “I hate you but you’re still hot” vibe from the start, and the dialogue was definitely entertaining!

I did not think, as I was reading, that any ending could really be satisfying, but it’s something the author managed to pull off!

The one drawback for me was the map, if I’m being honest. It helped, but it was also not reliable (3D things shown in 2D tend to do that) so it confused me more than it helped, at times. And yet it also did help me get a better idea of the expedition… Anyway, when the map’s all you can complain about, it’s definitely a good book! 

A year after having read it, I still find myself thinking about it again, occasionally. It’s one of those books that stays with you.

Barnes & Noble | Bookshop UK (affiliate link) | Portal Bookshop | Kenny’s | or listen to it on Scribd (affiliate link)

Review: Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

I’ve been struggling a bit with everything I’ve got going on at the moment plus some health stuff, so it has been hard for me to keep reading and posting regularly… I’ve also been looking for shorter or lighter reads, so this series is perfect for that kind of light content!

I read the first novel a while back because everyone I follow on twitter was just raving about how good they are, and I just had to know. It’s middle grade and not my usual reading but I like it! I’ve read the first 2 books so far, but I’ll just focus on the first!

The Plot

There’s been a rather shocking murder at Deepdean School for Girls…

When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there’s more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?

The Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As an MG murder mystery, I kind of expected it to be easy to solve for me, which it really wasn’t! The murder plot itself was interesting and engaging, with a side of “oh gosh girls why are you doing this!”

I really enjoy the concept of those two girls having their detective society and jumping at the thought of solving a murder! I also think it’s really good that Hazel is the narrator, first because she brings an outside perspective to this 1930s English girls’ school, being from Hong Kong. Second, because Daisy can be absolutely unbearable, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it if she were narrating, I think. Hazel is more self aware and less prone to rushing headlong, and that gave me a sense that they’d probably be safe.

The whole idea of two 13 year olds solving murders does rely on not telling the police, which works well because nobody knows about the murder in this case (body’s gone) and second, the girls really don’t trust the police. Daisy says, quite rightly I think, that they would not be believed because they’re kids, and the police is useless. Now the actual police officer turns out to be a good guy, which I think is important in an MG story, but their reasons made sense and I kind of hate that it does (as much in 1930s as it would now).

It was also a bit painful to read due to Hazel being Asian, because despite her father being just as rich or more than all these Englishers’ parents, there is a clear sense that she does not belong, in the way she’s treated. But I think it was a good thing that this was included. And that she seems very resilient about it. Clearly kids need that. From a story perspective I think it also made Daisy more bearable to me. She’s bossy and can be annoying but she’s not bothered at all by Hazel’s origins and treats her like any other (even though she’s bossy sometimes, she seems to be worse with others) and that small thing endeared her to me enough.

Overall it’s engaging, it’s funny, the side characters are a bit two-dimensional because the girls see them only as possible suspects (or as silly friends getting in the way) but overall I think it works very well, and I ordered the next book directly. And the next when I was done with that one!

Get the book

Amazon* | Waterstones 

*this is an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission for purchases made through this link, at no extra cost to you

Review: A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian

I mostly read SF or fantasy, but I also enjoy a good queer romance or mystery once in a while. So this year I’m trying to expand my reading to cover a bit more of that (if it’s a SFF romance or mystery it’s even better!) and I’d been looking for more regency/historical F/F. I’ve been recommended this novella a few times, and enjoyed Unmasked by the Marquess by the same author, so I thought I’d give it a go!

The Story

A seductive thief

Lady’s maid Molly Wilkins is done with thieving—and cheating and stabbing and all the rest of it. She’s determined to keep her hands to herself, so she really shouldn’t be tempted to seduce her employer’s prim and proper companion, Alice. But how can she resist when Alice can’t seem to keep her eyes off Molly?

Finds her own heart

For the first time in her life, Alice Stapleton has absolutely nothing to do. The only thing that seems to occupy her thoughts is a lady’s maid with a sharp tongue and a beautiful mouth. Her determination to know Molly’s secrets has her behaving in ways she never imagined as she begins to fall for the impertinent woman.

Has been stolen

When an unwelcome specter from Alice’s past shows up unexpectedly at a house party, Molly volunteers to help the only way she knows how: with a little bit of mischief.

The Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Trigger warnings – sexual abuse, emotional/physical abuse, alcoholism

This novella is part of a bigger series, but it read perfectly fine as a standalone. My main complaint is that it is on the short side, and I’d have liked a bit more detailed/longer pining.

The romance itself is sweet and fun, with both leads unsure if their feelings are really reasonable, considering their positions.

Alice’s backstory is quite dark, hence the content warnings, but I liked how that was handled. Molly fully believes her, and supports her, which for me was the turning point in rooting for their relationship. There’s also a bit of revenge going on, which in the current context was quite cathartic, I’ve got to say. Without spoiling, I can say the ending was quite satisfying and made me really happy – beyond the usual Happy Ever After that you expect from a romance.

I also really enjoy historical romance that’s not just about the dukes and earls and whatnot, but about the common people, and the poorer among the gentry, so this ticked quite a lot of boxes for me.

I just hope Cat Sebastian writes more women loving women stories. I’ll be here waiting for them, anyway!

The Links

Amazon* | Portal Bookshop | or listen to it on Scribd*

*these are affiliate links, I may receive a small commission (or a free month on Scribd) for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you

The Empress of Salt and Fortune, and When the Tiger came down the Mountain

Right so! I didn’t get to read all of the (admittedly long) list I made for myself for F/F February, but that’s alright because I decided to follow the lead of Beyond a Bookshelf and start doing F/F Friday. Since I post twice a week, and queer stuff is maybe 80% of what I read, it shouldn’t be too hard!

To start off this week, let me tell you a bit more about these two audiobook novellas I just read!

The Stories

The Empress of Salt and Fortune: A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy

&

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain: The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.

The Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I don’t feel bad reviewing them together because they can be read pretty much as standalones, although the main character, Chih, is in both. I feel that the summary of the first one is a bit misleading, though.

So we find ourselves with Chih, a cleric on their way to chronicle an eclipse in the capital, along with their… friend? acolyte? a little bird who remembers everything. They stop near Lake Scarlet to inventory the palace of the former Empress, which has just been unsealed, and they find there, besides priceless artefacts, the empress’s old handmaiden, Rabbit, who also journeyed there for unknown reasons.

After this introduction, each chapter starts with an object’s description, followed by Rabbit’s explanation on its significance to the empress, and its place in history.

I think this is crucial to explain this, because for me it’s this unusual take on the nested story structure that I found really interesting. I did care about the empress’s story, but I was more interested in Rabbit, and in her relationship to her. And I liked the idea that we were seeing history as it was being recorded – and it being recorded from the point of view of the servant, not the empress or any kind of royalty. It also interrogated in different ways what you’d see if faced with a historical artefact, versus the real story that might be behind it. If Chih alone was making that catalog, we would know only a tiny, uncomplete fraction of the story.

It was a beautifully told story that fit the format perfectly, and made me want to read more so… I quickly moved on to book 2!

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain also follows Chih, but this is basically the only link. They’re on this voyage across a mountain pass when they get caught by three speaking tigers, and have to bargain for their life. This is once again the beginning of a nested story, but this one has actual stakes to it. It’s a story both the tigers and humans know, and they don’t exactly tell it the same way, so Chih better not disappoint!

I loved that it added this level of suspense to the narration compared to the first novella, which was a lot more peaceful. The tone fit each story very well. But what it allowed in this one, was the possibility for two voices to tell the same story, with sometimes contradicting views. As the tigers correct Chih’s account, a very different picture of the tale takes form. And of course you start wondering why the changes happened to the human version (or which is true, or is it a mix of both?)

I think what both stories do really well is that they make you care for these characters, but they also make you question the way stories (legends and history, in particular) are formed and whether you can truly believe them. All the while weaving different tales of queerness together through the layers of story.

I think the second one was slightly stronger due to that extra suspense, but they were both really enjoyable!

Get the books

Amazon* UK | Waterstones | Portal Bookstore | or listen to them on Scribd*

*these are affiliate links, I may receive a small commission (or a free month on Scribd) for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you

Review: Other Words for Smoke, by Sarah Maria Griffin

A bit late for F/F February, but I did finally read Other Words for Smoke. I bought it some time during the summer, where bookshops were no longer in lockdown and you could actually browse. Did not expect it to be in YA (all I knew about it was from following the author on twitter), but it was a gorgeous little book with neon pink edges, and I absolutely loved it. Then it stayed on my shelves for months…

The story

When the house at the end of the lane burned down, none of the townspeople knew what happened. A tragedy, they called it. Poor Rita Frost and her ward, Bevan, lost to the flames. Only Mae and Rossa, Rita’s niece and nephew, know what happened that fateful summer.

Only they know about the owl in the wall, the uncanny cat, the dark powers that devour love and fear. Only they know about the trials of loving someone who longs for power, for freedom, for magic. Only they know what brought the house tumbling down around them. And they’ll never, ever breathe a word.

The Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I finally unearthed this book from my TBR, and the first thing I’ll say is, it’s so satisfying, aesthetically? The neon pink edges, the foil leaves, the grey artwork on some of the pages… and to top it all the pink edges meant the pages kinda stuck together and made the most satisfying noise when pulling them apart. Thoroughly happy I got a physical copy!

Second thing is, I wasn’t really expecting this to be horror? Or to be set in Dublin (well, in a tiny village at the foot of the Dublin mountains). It worked very well, it landed where it needed to land, but what worked the best for me was that the setting was so familiar, and so authentic. And the story, while focusing on two very modern children, also ties into the reality of Magdalen laundries and how that is still a very current topic here. I thought it was very good to have Rita as an older character, and to see her point of view as well, and Audrey’s, and to learn about what happened to their friend. Without spoiling too much, it was fitting that such a horrible and traumatic event is what triggers the horror aspects of the novel.

As for the horror itself, it’s not really my thing normally, so I’m not a good judge of it. But it was believable in that it resonates with realistic situations like abusive relationships or addiction, where Sweet James is truly bad for Bevan but she does not necessarily see it, and gets carried away.

It was very much F/F, as advertised (by friends. It’s not really advertised as such), but not in a way you’d normally see it. Mae sure has a crush on Bevan, and that’s pretty central to her character arc, but for me the most important relationship of the book, as understated as it was, was the relationship between Audrey and Rita. I say understated, but I think subtle would be a better term. And I loved that Audrey makes a point of calling herself queer and explaining there was no space for her when she left (Ireland/Dublin). But it’s not a definitive statement either, as we see the possibilities for all the queer characters in the future – both Rita and Audrey, but also Mae. So it is both a very modern book, and one that is deeply entrenched in its history, and deeply Irish. In all the best ways possible.

Get the book

Alan Hanna’s (IE) | Kenny’s (IE) | Amazon UK* | Waterstones (UK) |

*these are affiliate links, I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you

Book box review: The Book Resort

I was considering a subscription for a while, but I was struggling to find one with 1) adult SFF in it and 2) local enough that I don’t have to pay customs tax. The joys of being in Ireland post-Brexit…

I did find this lovely Book Resort one, which lets you pick the genre you want. It’s Irish, and the treats inside are from small Irish companies.

I subscribed in early January and received my first box last month. I was not entirely happy with it, as it felt a bit empty compared to other book boxes I’d seen. The chocolate was absolutely amazing, but the book (Beauty and the Wolf, by Wray Delaney) wasn’t exactly what I’d been expecting when I asked for SFF. I mean it IS fantasy but, as I described it to a friend, it looks like the kind of fantasy that likes to pretend it’s not, to be marketed with the non-genre literature. (I had a lot to read and I’ve not given it a try yet, so I might be wrong there, but it wasn’t the best first look for this book box).

I did decide to give it a second try (also, did I mention the chocolate?) and the second (March) box arrived on Tuesday.

Inside, the book is wrapped in black crinkly paper (bonus: the cats love it! they will tear it apart for a few days and sit on it before I send it to recycling) and this time I’m really excited about the contents:

So there’s the book, Blood Metal Bone by Lindsay Cummings (true fantasy this time, though I’m not quite sure how it falls on the YA/Adult continuum), which sounds intriguing. The cover is gorgeous and the phoenix is also (in black) on each new chapter page, which is just nice. I’m really satisfied with this.

The treat is luxury irish milk chocolate, by Sweet Living, a small company out of Kilkenny. It looks amazing and, well it’s milk chocolate, no sorcery there, but it does taste very good!

The self care item is a bit of a miss since it’s seaweed bath salts from AlgAran and, like probably most of the Dublin population, I live in a cramped studio that doesn’t have a bath. It is, however, palm free and vegan, and is made with organic ingredients. Apparently you can sort of use it as a scrub (so it says on the back) so I can still make some use out of it, maybe? For comparison, last month’s was a nice-smelling hand cream and I’ve been using it since, or more accurately opening it to sniff it regularly, because it’s so nice.

Overall I’m pretty happy with this box, I did not know about this book so it’s more a chance to try something new rather than getting the hot book of the month. The service is super quick (they ship on the 1st and I got it on the second) and the non-book items are clearly quality and local, even if I don’t always have a use for them.

I find it’s on the expensive side, at 33€ a box for a book around the 10-12€ mark, but you can customize it, and it includes shipping. It’s reasonable for the products you get. I think if I stay with them I’ll remove the beauty product and stick with the chocolate, which has been great so far!

Get the box here (with free shipping on the isle of Ireland).

(F/F) February recap

So this month did not go as planned, at all. Mostly because I’ve got a lot of exams for class, and some health things to take care of, and volunteering on the weekends, so I ended up not reading nearly as much as I’d planned for February, and not much on my F/F list. February’s been tough on my burnout feelings, so I’ve coped by reading more audiobooks instead of the paper books I’d planned.

So I have 2 bingos, but they’re not really the books I’d planned to read. And there’s overlap, so I didn’t count it all

F/F february books I read:

  • Gideon the Ninth (audiobook, “enemies to… friends?” trope, SFF… backlist and own voices too, but I don’t wanna count anything too many times): It was fucking amazing, and I’m not over the ending. I wish I’d found the time/energy to get through Harrow the Ninth some time this month too! Full review here
  • Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows (romance/historical, own voices I think): Equally as enjoyable as the first one in the series. Every time I read a sapphic historical romance it reminds me I should read more sapphic historical romances! Full review here
  • Fireheart Tiger (SFF, 2021 book even if not a debut, own voices): I jumped on it the very day I got it, and I read it in two hours. Just so very good, and there is more de Bodard in my reading future for sure! Full review here
  • Angel Mage (only very technically on this list. Audiobook, SFF): I did really enjoy it but it pales compared to all the other great books I read this month! Full review here
  • I also started Other Words for Smoke but I’m only about halfway through. It’s really original though and i’m enjoying it so far

Other reads

Been reading through the Murderbot audiobook as my way to relax this month, and it’s been great. I wrote a raving review here as well but the main point is that they’ve been giving me bite-sized audiobooks that I can just “read” when I have a minute, or while trying to sleep, and that’s all I’ve managed the last two weeks. This is really what all the pink in my reading tracker below is about: murderbots!

Other Life Things

I’ve been training for a charity volunteering thing, and it’s taken this whole weekend and the last, plus some evenings. So I’ve been absolutely knackered. In a good way, for the most part. I’m learning a lot. But I’m also getting a lot more headaches than before so it’s made it hard to do anything. And my psychology course is reaching its end, meaning that I’m scrambling a bit to get everything done. I feel like I’ll be a lot more at ease in a month or two when that’s done, then get more reading at that point.

With Tessa’s influence, I’ve been giving my bullet journaling (or lined journaling, technically) a second life. We were chatting about it and suddenly I’d ordered too many stencils and some washi tape… It was long overdue though! I also did a nice spread, which I think gives me a better idea of how much I read so far this year.

March blogging might be a bit more sporadic as I get other things sorted in my life, but my plan is 1) to read some of the upcoming ARCs that I got and 2) finish what I’d put on the F/F TBR!