Miscellaneous

OWLs Readathon 2019

Last year, I finished all 12 subjects for my OWLs, and I also managed to do decently on my NEWTs. Every single Magical Readathon I’ve seen so far was amazing, and this year there’s even more stuff, with career packages and everything! I admit I’m getting a little overwhelmed keeping up with things, especially since I really don’t have the attention span for 20-minute videos, but I’m eager to participate again.

You can find the introductory video here, and Magical Readathon’s Twitter here. All other links and useful stuff is in the description below the video. It’s amazing how much work went into the wizarding careers PDF!

For the OWLs, my plan is to complete all the prompts, since there’s “only” 12.

To stay true to my character Leila in Hogwarts Mystery, I decided to try for the Curse Breaker career, but there were so many good options!

curse breaker

Acceptable = 2 exams complete
Exceeded Expectations = 6 exams complete
Outstanding = 9 exams complete

Once & Future (Once & Future, #1)

Ancient Runes: Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay (OR: Circe, A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams)

Arithmancy: Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Astronomy: A Walk Between Stars by Tyler R. Parsons

Care of Magical Creatures: Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

Charms: The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

Defense Against the Dark Arts: Red Dove, Listen to the Wind by Sonia Antaki

Divination: The Outside by Ada Hoffman

Herbology: Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels

History of Magic: Ólomerdő by Csilla Kleinheincz

Muggle Studies: Marriage of Unconvenience by Chelsea M. Cameron

Potions: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Transfiguration: Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward

~ Alexa

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Miscellaneous

March Reading Update (including #Hamilthon)

Hi everyone! I haven’t posted anything since February, so I decided to check in with a more general reading update.

I. OCTOBER DAYE

An Artificial Night (October Daye #3)First, let me introduce you to my newest obsession: the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. I’ve enjoyed the Wayward Children series by McGuire, and I downloaded the first October Daye book, Rosemary and Rue sometime last year when it was either free or ridiculously cheap on Kindle, I can’t remember. I only got around to actually picking it up in January, motivated by Louise’s plan to read one book a month. (There are 12 books out right now, with the 13rd coming out later this year.)

And… yeah, I’m now obsessed. March is the time for the 3rd book, and I read it in one day on the second of the month, so now I just have to wait around for April before starting the 4th one. Help?

The October Daye series is about a woman (called October “Toby” Daye) who is half human, half faerie. She is a private investigator for humans as well, but more than that, she is about the only fae investigator they have, apparently. In the books, she solves murder, kidnapping and other crimes committed by/against other faeries, while insisting that she is absolutely not a hero.

Forbid the Sea (October Daye, #7.2)There are many things I love about this series: October herself, the world building and the way Seanan uses folklore and nursery rhymes, the side characters… but my absolute favourite is a character called Tybalt, who has already qualified for my all-time favourite characters list. I already loved him when I met him as a snarky pureblood Cait Sidhe, the King of Cats, who has an initially antagonistic, but also rather complicated relationship with the protagonist. And that was before I found out he’s canonically a bisexual theatre nerd who loves his family more than anything.

So, if you’re interested in faeries, mysteries, urban fantasy or anything I mentioned above –  please read this series, maybe join #ADayeAMonth, and come talk with us about it!

ADayAMonth

II. THE NEW WOMAN + HERLAND

As part of my gender studies specialisation, this semester I’m taking a class on the “New Woman”, a concept that emerged in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Basically, in this time people were faced with the reality that there were more adult women alive in the world than adult men – thus, even if every single man married, there would still be women “leftover”. This left many women without the chance of ever marrying, and a great need to take jobs and support themselves without a husband. The New Woman also refers to a woman who is headstrong, independent, often thought too masculine, fights for suffrage, engages in various scandalous acts, and the like.

Ann VeronicaFor this class, I’m supposed to read a book, play, short story or watch a movie related to this time period. And let me tell you… this hasn’t always been fun. The first book I had to read was The Odd Women by George Gissing – “odd” here meaning not (only) strange, but unpaired. I found this book absolutely miserable, with the so-called feminist women being horrible to each other, and the lives of women being heartbreaking.

I was mostly just left confused by Kate Chopin’s Athénaise. I enjoyed Ann Veronica by H.G. Wells significantly more, with its lively, passionate, although somewhat careless protagonist.

That being said, my absolute favourite has been Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, which is a little different from the other New Woman novels. Herland describes three male explorers who find a country that has been inhabited only by women for the last two thousand years. They developed a culture entirely without the influence of men, based on motherhood and loving support of each other. It is a kinder world without the violence and competition (*cough* capitalism *cough*) of our world, and I loved reading the descriptions.

III. HAMILTHON UPDATE

I was a little worried I couldn’t contribute much to #HamiltThon this month, but I’ve actually been doing fairly well so far!

hamilthon

The prompts currently unlocked for me are:

  • The World Was Wide Enough — Read a book set in a country (or originally written in a language) not your own.
  • The Schuyler Sisters — Read a book that’s part of a trilogy.
  • Helpless — Read a a book featuring a romance or a marriage.
  • Your Obedient Servant — Read a book with more than one POV.
  • Washington on Your Side — A book featuring a devious plot or cunning scheme.

The first four of these should be easy enough (I had some trouble with the trilogy one, but then I got offered an ARC of Beasts of the Frozen Sun, which is first in a trilogy) – but I’m not sure what to do with the fifth one, and absolutely no ideas for “last in a series”, which is Angelica’s final prompt.

And… that’s everything important! I also wanted to rant about the quality of Hungarian translations I’ve been reading lately (hint: they are BAD), but then I wasn’t sure if anyone would be really interested, since most of my readers aren’t Hungarian. Still, feel free to ask about it!

How’s your reading going in March? Any interesting books you read recently?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

The You’re Not Good Enough Book Tag

I’m with Louise here: finding thirty characters to use for a tag like this is surprisingly hard. I actually had to reach back to The Mortal Instruments, which… if you know me, you know I prefer to deny reading most days.

Rules: Write down the names of 30 characters, then randomly pick two for each question and choose between them.

This tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire and Beccathebookreviewer.

1. You only have one more spot on your Spelling B team, who would you pick to complete your team?

October “Toby” Daye (October Daye) or Jay (Chameleon Moon)

Gosh. I mean, I think they can both spell? But Jay is more likely to get flustered or start ranting about something unrelated, so I’m going to go with Toby here.

2. Both characters want to kill you, which one would you kill first so you have a better chance of surviving?

Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter) or Magnus Bane (The Mortal Instruments)

Let’s be honest here, if Magnus wanted to kill me, I’d be dead, so this question is irrelevant.

3. You’re on the bachelor/bachelorette an you’re down to these two characters, which one are you going to give your rose to?

Nadya (Wicked Saints) or Serefin (Wicked Saints)

Wait, do I give the rose to the one I want eliminated, or to the one I want to keep? I’ve never watched these shows. And I actually wouldn’t turn down either of them if they wanted to date me, but I’m weak for Serefin, so I’d keep him.

4. You’ve been chosen for the Hunger Games, who would most likely volunteer in your place?

Tybalt (October Daye) or Apollo (The Trials of Apollo)

Neither of these. Seriously. They wouldn’t. (I can imagine Tybalt volunteering to take Toby’s place, which she’d be pissed about.) I guess maybe Apollo might, just to show off his skills in the competition?

allyl16: “Here comes the gorgeous human ”5. You’re stranded on an island. Which character would you sacrifice to engage in cannibalism?

Alex Fierro (Magnus Chase) or Nancy (Every Heart a Doorway)

I… what kind of question is this?! They are both kids! Oh my god. I was going to say Alex because at least she wouldn’t die, but I’m guessing the island is outside Valhalla. I can’t answer this.

(Art source.)

6. You’re the next DC/Marvel superhero (with your own tv show of course), who is your sidekick?

Zilch (Chameleon Moon) or Xandri (Failure to Communicate)

Either of these could be good – powerful, but still morally good and heroic. Also, both socially awkward. Also, given that one of them is nonbinary and the other is autistic bisexual, Marvel/DC is very unlikely to put either of them in a TV show, but anyway. Chameleon Moon is closer to being a superhero book, so I’m going to pick Zilch here.

7. You’re a manager of an Avocado admiring company, who would you fire for lack of communication skills?

Quentin (October Daye) or Ava Garden Wilder (Everything Leads to You)

It would be hypocritical of me to fire anyone for lack of communication skills, and I think both of these people are good-ish at communicating? But they can also be messes at times. I suppose I’m going to pick Quentin, because despite her faults, Ava is an actress, so she has to learn to communicate at least somewhat effectively.

hellisntreal: “some regan from chameleon moon, was requested to draw (tho I am reading the book, not nearly done w it) ”8. You’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies, which character is most likely to comfort you?

Regan (Chameleon Moon) or Jack (Every Heart a Doorway)

I believe they would both try, although given Jack’s relationship with death, Regan would be more effective. But then again, Jack’s morbid jokes in the book made me laugh, so she might not be that bad at it.

(Art source.)

9. Ugh, it’s high school. Who would most likely be part of the popular clique?

Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter) or Felicity Montague (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue)

I can’t imagine Felicity being in the popular clique, despite her awesomeness. Meanwhile, Minerva has a leading personality.

10. The day has arrived; you’re finally a year older! Who would have the nerve to forget your birthday?

Ragnor Fell (The Mortal Instruments) or Nico di Angelo (Percy Jackson)

I feel like Ragnor would pretend to forget even if he didn’t actually, so definitely him.

11. You’ve just found an upcoming booktube star! Who would it most likely be?

Remus Lupin (Harry Potter) or Kade (Every Heart a Doorway)

Tough choice! I think Kade is more charismatic, but Remus is more bookish? And I adore Kade with all my heart? Still, I’m going to pick Remus here.

ree-duh: “🌹🌹🌹 ”12. Sleepover time! Unfortunately you can only invite one person, who would you invite?

Raphael Santiago (The Mortal Instruments) or Henry “Monty” Montague (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue)

Given that I don’t drink and don’t like being around drunk people, Monty wouldn’t be a very good choice here. But I also don’t fancy being insulted all night, so this is another tough choice. These are also two of my all-time favourite characters, so I’d probably invite them anyway despite those obstacles. I suppose the best case scenario would be book 2 Monty?

(Art source.)

13. Bam, you’re pregnant. Who’s the father/mother?

Murderbot (The Murderbot Diaries) or Simon Lewis (The Mortal Instruments)

Okay, ignoring how uncomfortable this question makes me, and also how the scenario would make me the next Virgin Mary… I wouldn’t want to torture Murderbot with even the idea of being a parent, while I think Simon could be a good one, once he manages to grow up a bit.

viria: “you never know when the desire to draw Luna Lovegood is gonna hit you… but it’s useless to fight it. ”14. You’ve just written a super important text. Who would ‘see’ it, but not reply?

Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter) or Magnus Chase (Magnus Chase)

As Louise said, Luna is scatterbrained, while Magnus is likely to be running/fighting for his life at any given moment and have no time to reply. So this could be either of them.

(Art source.)

15. You’ve just woken up and it’s time for breakfast. Your mum’s been replaced by… who?!

Rowan (Chameleon Moon) or Malachiasz (Wicked Saints)

As much as I love my broken monster boy Malachiasz… I really, really hope this would be Rowan. And not only because Malachiasz is my younger brother’s age. I feel like Rowan would be a good parent as well.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Top Ten Tuesday | Favourite Books with Fewer Than 1,000 Ratings on Goodreads

First, a brief check-in: I am still alive! I would say I haven’t had much time for this blog lately, but it might be more accurate to say I haven’t had the energy and the capacity. I have to read A LOT for university, including many tedious articles and books that I don’t even enjoy, and also my brother has moved out and he is taking the PS4 with him in March, which means I have to play as much as I can before that happens. I still have achievements to get in The Witcher: Wild Hunt, and want to replay at least some of Fallout 4 because I miss Preston and Nick.

And now on to the main topic of this post!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s theme is:

February 19: Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

I actually read a lot of indie books that have way less than 2,000 Ratings, so this isn’t challenging at all. In fact, all ten of these books have less than 1,000 Ratings, which is just a crime, honestly.

Also: you wouldn’t know it from this list, but I do read books with allocishet protagonists. Sometimes.

🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQAI+ representation
💐 POC/Indigenous representation
🌱 Disabled or Mental Health representation

Life Within Parole: Volume 2 (Chameleon Moon Short Stories)🏳️‍🌈💐🌱 1) Life Within Parole: Volume 2 
Number of ratings: 8

Yes, yes, we all know I adore Chameleon Moon (which also has less than 400 ratings), but no, I will never shut up about it. And honestly, Life Within Parole: Volume 2 is my favourite book in the universe so far. It’s a collection of short stories with all my favourite characters, and it has TONS of polyamory. I mean, obviously the main books have polyamory too, but this collection has stories about how various pairs in the poly-clusters first met, and it’s wholesome and amazing.

Representation includes: a fully LGBTQAI+ cast (including transgender, nonbinary and asexual rep), characters of colour, mental health rep (mainly anxiety and PTSD, + an autistic character), as well as polyamory.

Out of Salem🏳️‍🌈💐 2) Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve (review here)
Number of ratings: 9

Do you want a YA book about nonbinary zombies and lesbian Muslim werewolves? Try Out of Salem, by a nonbinary author. This book had fascinating world-building that was painfully realistic at times, despite the fact that it’s full of imaginary creatures. I admit that I was a little let down by the ending, mostly because it’s very open, and as far as I know this isn’t a first book in a series – but I still hope I’ll find out I’m wrong about that.

Representation: nonbinary/genderfluid protagonist, lesbian Muslim protagonist, nonbinary author, lesbian side character, multiple transgender side characters, Black Jewish side character

How Saeter Robbed the Underworld🏳️‍🌈 3) How Saeter Robbed the Underworld by Meredith Katz
Number of ratings: 21

I could have put any of Meredith Katz’s work that I read here: The Cybernetic Tea Shop and Smoke Signals are also on my favourites list, and they also have less than 1,000 ratings. How Saeter Robbed the Underworld is inspired by Norse mythology, and it’s about a gay male couple telling their adopted children the story of another mythical gay male couple. (Or is it?) It’s a wonderful story with queer mains, mythology and family feels.

Representation: several gay male protagonists

 

Green Toes🏳️‍🌈 4) Green Toes by Avery Flinders
Number of ratings: 30

I read this a while ago, but I actually took a break from writing this post to re-read it – it’s only 30 pages, after all. Green Toes is a love story between a bisexual woman and a nonbinary love interest – it is mostly realistic, with a pinch of gardening magic, and it’s guaranteed to make you crave fresh vegetables. Seriously.

Representation: bisexual woman MC and nonbinary love interest, nonbinary author

The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist🏳️‍🌈 5) The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist by S.L. Huang
Number of ratings: 76

“Hey, I wonder what the public would say if they knew two queer scientists were the ones trying to explain human sexuality to the much-romanticized atargati. There’s something else they’ll probably leave out of the book.”

Remember that time when Disney made me forget that original Little Mermaid did NOT have a happy ending, and then this short story completely blindsided me despite all the clues suggesting it’s a dark retelling? Yeah, that happened. And yet, I absolutely loved this story about a queer marine biologist and a nonbinary mermaid.

Representation: lesbian MC, nonbinary “love interest” (one-gender species), nonbinary minor side character

Failure to Communicate (Xandri Corelel #1)🏳️‍🌈🌱 6) Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sønderby
Number of ratings: 91

So when is book 3 coming out? Failure to Communicate is one of my favourite sci-fi books, with an incredibly loveable autistic bisexual polyamorous protagonist, incredibly loveable potential love interests, and just, wonderful aliens, worldbuilding, and discussions of morality. Please read it because the fact that it has less than 100 ratings makes me really sad.

Representation: autistic bisexual protagonist (ownvoices for autism and bisexuality), multiple queer side characters

Chasing Stars🏳️‍🌈 7) Chasing Stars by Alex K. Thorne
Number of ratings: 242

I’m just going to let my Goodreads review speak for itself here:

Aliens / superheroes, secret identity ✓
Sapphic romance ✓
Boss/employee age difference romance ✓
Fake dating and PINING ✓
One of them is a single parent ✓
Supportive and positive adoptive families (multiple!) ✓
Close female friendship ✓
LI has complex relationship with both identities ✓
LI’s kid adores MC’s superhero identity ✓
Queer side characters ✓
Complex plot with both romance and mystery/action ✓
Alien having to hide non-human traits, failing ✓
Addresses social issues like racism ✓

Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live🏳️‍🌈 ✡️ 8) Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live by Sacha Lamb
Number of ratings: 317

Sacha Lamb’s entire brand is gay Jewish trans boys and magic, and I love it. This author unfortunately has only two published works, this book and a short story in a queer anthology, but I was subscribed to their Patreon for a while so I got to read a few other unpublished stories and they are all so good.

Note: despite the title, no queer people die in this book.

Representation: gay Jewish trans boy protagonists in a romance

The Queen of Ieflaria (Tales of Inthya Book 1)🏳️‍🌈 9) The Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin
Number of ratings: 418

This is another book you might have seen me squee about. Effie Calvin’s debut is a fantasy romance between two pansexual princesses that you should definitely read if you like sapphic fantasy. It has a sequel in the same world with more awesome worldbulding, but I shamefully still haven’t read it.

Representation: pansexual princesses (word not used), sapphic romance

A Little Familiar (Familiar Spirits, #1)🏳️‍🌈 10) A Little Familiar by R. Cooper
Number of ratings:

The last book on this list is a romance between a gay male witch and a genderfluid love interest (using he pronouns). The writing was absolutely wonderful and magical, and I can’t wait to pick up more of this author’s work. So much mutual pining!

That’s all for now. Have you read any of these books? Do you have any favourites to recommend that are underrated in your opinion?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

My January Book Haul

Remember when I said I’m cutting back on buying books in 2019? … Hey, I’m still going to do that! But it’s… a gradual process, and my hand slipped a few times in January. To be fair, most of these were on sale – and almost all of them were bought because they fit a rarer prompt in one of my yearly challenges. (Also, January was the last month I got scholarship money from the university, so I guess that motivated me.)

Basically just come look at these beautiful books with me.

I bought a total of 8 books in January, and I have already read 2 of those, so I’d say I’m doing relatively well so far. I hope I can keep this up for the rest of the year.

The ones I’ve already read are In Ageless Sleep and Skeleton Man, both for the Cornerfolds retelling challenge. I bought A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams for the retelling challenge as well, and I’m super hyped about it since it has polyamory, and such a beautiful cover that I’m contemplating getting a physical copy if I end up enjoying it.

Widdershins and Hexbreaker are both M/M historical urban fantasy by the same (nonbinary) author – Widdershins has been on my TBR for a long time, and when I discovered Hexbreaker, which sounded awesome, I decided to go “what the hell” and bought both. I may regret this eventually because they are both first ones in a series, one of which is quite long, so if I end up loving them that’s going to be a longer commitment.

The Gospel of Loki is the only one of these that I bought a paperback of instead of an eBook, mostly because holy shit it’s beautiful. As you can guess, it’s a Norse mythology retelling. I love Loki as a character and I love the different ways people interpret him/them, so I’m curious how this one goes – I do hope it includes the part where Loki is obviously queer as hell, but we’ll see.

This is where I admit that I own like 4 books like Chelsea M. Cameron and haven’t read any of them. Which is kind of dangerous, because if I end up not liking the writing then I’ll be stuck with 3 others – but I’ve heard really good things about both Marriage of Unconvenience and the Violet Hills series, so I doubt that will happen. Gimme all the light lesbian romcoms please.

I haven’t read many stories with djinns, but I want to – so I imagine an anthology is a good place to start. The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories also includes Nnedi Okorafor, whose work I love, so bonus points.

Have you read any of these? What do you think?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

TTT: Recent Additions to My TBR

Yes, yes, we all know how this goes, I own 400 unread books and my not-owned TBR is also over 500 books. Occasionally I try to go through it and delete the ones I’m not interested in anymore, but most of the time I decide to keep them, because hey, maybe one day I’ll get around to reading them.

January 29: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

I don’t usually participate in Top Ten Tuesday, mostly because I’m horrible at keeping myself to schedules or planning ahead – but I happen to be at home today, so I would love to share 10 of my recent TBR additions in this post.

(Note: I added a couple of books based on Louise’s post,  so technically those are the most recent, but I’m not counting them here because I don’t want any repeats. Go check out that post if you’re interested!)

🏳️‍🌈 = LGBTQAI+ representation
💐 = POC/Indigenous representation
🌱 = Disabled or Mental Health representation
✡️ = Jewish main

1)💐 Love From A To Z by S.K. Ali (May 2019)

I’ll be honest, I don’t usually read contemporary romances so this is kind of on the bottom of my TBR, but I just couldn’t NOT add it. That cover is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s a romance with a Muslim girl, and a boy with multiple sclerosis.

2)🌱 Please Don’t Hug Me by Kay Kerr (2019)

I added this mainly because I was intrigued by the title. I have an ambivalent relationship with hugs, but I am eager to read a book about a “neuro-diverse and socially awkward” student, Erin.

3) 🏳️‍🌈 Behind These Doors by Jude Lucens

Brace yourself for 3 books I added based on Corey’s recent “best of 2018” posts. I always want to read more books with polyamory (especially books where it’s actual polyamory, not “just” a threesome hookup), and I’ve also been meaning to read more historical fiction, so this book definitely caught my eye.

4) 🏳️‍🌈✡️ The Art of Three by Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese

Another polyamory novel (M/M/F this time) with a gorgeous cover that I’m excited to read. There also seems to be an age gap? (Note: both authors are queer and one is nonbinary.)

5)🏳️‍🌈✡️ All or Nothing by Rose Lerner

This one is also a historical romance novel with open polyamory, AND it’s a regency romance, so bonus points for that.

6) Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange

Pride and Prejudice is a beloved story of mine, and I am curious about this retelling from Darcy’s perspective. I especially like that it’s in diary format, which seems easier to read.

7) Asexuality and Sexual Normativity: An Anthology edited by Mark Carrigan, Kristina Gupta and Todd G. Morrison

Honestly, I’m horrible with nonfiction books, but this one is relatively short and I have never really read one that is focused specifically on asexuality, so I’m curious to pick it up.

8) Angel Mage by Garth Nix (October 2019)

Okay, so I’m literally always on the lookout for angel novels that don’t go too deeply into the religious aspects, but also aren’t cheesy YA straight romances. Basically I like a very specific genre of angel novels and I haven’t read many that haven’t disappointed me, but maybe this one won’t?

9)💐 Just South of Home by Karen Strong (May 2019)

I’m going to be honest, I added this 99% because of the cover. How do middle grade novels ALWAYS have the best covers? It just makes me feel good to look at them. The blurb does sound interesting though, so I’d love to read this if I can get my hands on it.

10) Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch (July 2019)

Another nonfiction book, specifically about internet language. I’m interested in sociolinguistics even though I’m horrible at it, so this should be good.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

New Years Resolutions Book Tag

We might be halfway through the month, but it’s still January, so “New Year” posts still count – right? In any case, I saw this book tag over on Peridot Rose Books and found it to be a really fun way to make even more reading goals for the year.

Obviously I have tons of examples for most of these, but I’ll try really hard to pick only one.

An author you’d like to read (that you’ve never read before)

  • Jordan L. Hawk. I’ve had my eyes on Widdershins for a while, because it’s M/M historical fantasy that a lot of people praise, so recently I bought the first book, and also Hexbreaker, the first book in the author’s other series. Hawk is also nonbinary, which is a bonus point!

A book you’d like to read

  • Kindred by Octavia Butler

A classic you’d like to read

  • I have a list of 38 classics that I want to read, although I’ll allow myself to DNF them more easily than my other books. But to pick just one, let’s say The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells.

A book you’d like to reread

  • I really, really want to re-read The Bartimaeus Sequence, starting with The Amulet of Samarkand.

A book you’ve had for ages and want to read

  • Too many. Let’s say Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody.

A big book you’d like to read

  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

An author you’ve previously read and want to read more of

  • Claudie Arseneault. I’ve read Baker Thief but I really want to read City of Strife.

A book you got for Christmas and would like to read

  • Uhh, technically I didn’t “get” any books for Christmas, I just bought myself books in December that were equally for Christmas and my birthday, but – Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward.

A series you want to read (start to finish)

  • Honestly, I can’t think of any. All the ones I have are either ones I started, or the last books won’t be out this year.

A series you want to finish (that you’ve already started)

  • Again, not sure what series I have where the last book is already out and I plan to actually finish it. Crooked Kingdom, I guess, but apparently even that is getting another book.

Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2019?

  • I set the Goodreads challenge to 150 books for now but I will most likely increase it if I reach it too soon.

Any other reading goals?

Boy, do I!

  • Around the Year in 52 books (52 prompts, I plan to double it so 104)
  • Popsugar Reading Challenge (50 prompts)
  • Retellings Challenge (25 prompts)
  • #BeatTheBacklist Bingo (80 prompts – yes, you read that right)
  • A personal list of 47 books I own and 38 classics available online.

Of course, keep in mind that I’m usually able to use one book for several of these at once.

Tell me about your reading goals for 2019!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

My Favourite Books of 2018

2018 is over, so time for a quick yearly wrap-up! By reading lots of short stories and some graphic novels in December, I managed to reach my goal of 300 books and a littl over 50,000 pages.

If 300 books seem like a lot, then remember that 1) most of these were under 200 pages (just look at my average length) – some people got 50,000 pages with half as many books!, and 2) I was unemployed and at home for most of the year. I’ll have much less time to read in 2019, because university and life troubles. (No, my year didn’t start too well, why do you ask? But that’s another story.)

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And now, have a collage of my absolute favourite books this year:

Key:

🏳️‍🌈 = LGBTQAI+ representation
💐 = POC/Indigenous representation
🌱 = Disabled or Mental Health representation

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a book about siblings and family with an unexpected twist. I adored this one, but make sure you have tissues ready.

🏳️‍🌈💐 Everything Leads to You is a fluffy, artsy F/F romance with loveable characters and lots of great scenes about movie set-planning. Also, a mystery.

🏳️‍🌈🌱 A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is a sci-fi book with a found family, and just as good as everyone says it is.

🏳️‍🌈 A Little Familiar is a magical romance between a gay witch and a nonbinary witch with beautiful writing and lots of pining.

🏳️‍🌈💐🌱 The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is historical fiction between a bisexual white boy and a biracial boy, with an aroace side character. It gets kind of dark at some points, but it’s a really funny read and I relate to the main character in a lot of ways.

🏳️‍🌈 The Cybernetic Teashop is a F/F read between a human and an android/robot where both of them are ace.

🏳️‍🌈💐🌱The Radical Element is a historical fiction anthology with all-female protagonists where the quality of writing is through the roof. Seriously.

Josie’s Coat is a sci-fi retelling of a Bible story, which isn’t something you see every day.

🏳️‍🌈💐🌱 The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase) has a bi/pan protagonist with my favourite genderfluid love interest, and I LOVE it.

💐 Akata Witch is a unique Nigerian fantasy with a tween protagonist, and I can’t wait to finally read the sequel this year.

🌱 All Systems Red (and the entire Murderbot series) is one of my favourite sci-fi reads, officially. I re-read all four novellas in one day on January 1st to kick off the year on the right note, and now I need MORE.

🏳️‍🌈🌱Failure to Communicate is a sci-fi with an autistic bisexual protagonist, with eventual polyamory later in the series. Seriously, when is book 3 coming out?

Sky in the Deep also had amazing sibling and family relationships, with a hopeful/positive ending, which was a nice surprise.

🏳️‍🌈Magic, Murder & Mistletoe is a quick and fun holiday F/F story with witches/sorcerers and a murder mystery.

💐 A Duke by Default is a contemporary romance novel, which I rarely read, but this had my absolute favourite dynamic, and also a Black heroine with a Scottish love interest.

🏳️‍🌈 The Queen of Ieflaria is F/F fantasy with pansexual princesses, talking dragons, and more!

🏳️‍🌈 Chasing Stars is another F/F romance with aliens, superheroes, fake dating, and all my favourite tropes in one place.

🏳️‍🌈 How Saeter Robbed the Underworld is M/M fantasy with (adopted) family feels – and I tried not to put the same author here several times, but people, Meredith Katz is GOOD.

🏳️‍🌈💐🌱 By now you probably know that anything Chameloon Moon-related is bound to be my favourite, but Life Within Parole 2 might just be my favourite collection in the universe – SO MUCH polyamory.

How was your 2018? Did you have many favourites this year?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | Birthday Book Tag

1.) Count Your Birthday Along Your Bookshelf and Then Subtract Your Birth Month

I went to my LGBT shelf, counted 15, then substracted 12 – and so, I landed on… Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour?! Definitely a fitting title. Maybe it was meant to be. It has one of the best covers, and I love touching it.

Everything Leads to You

2.) If You Could Spend Your Birthday With Any Fictional Character Who Would It Be and Why?

Okay, maybe this doesn’t count, but I would actually love to spend my birthday with my own original characters? I have one of them in particular, Alicia who is special to my heart and I love inserting her into new worlds, so… yeah.

Alternatively, it might be fun to meet Magnus and Alex. I’ve never eaten falafel before and I genuinely don’t know what it’s made of, but they make it sound so good. And it would be nice to bond over being bi/pan and enby.

I’m reading The Ship of the Dead right now so here is a little fierrochase smooch

(art by martsy-m)

3.) Find A Book That Takes Place In The Season You Were Born In

I suppose any Christmas book would work for this, but I’m not really a big fan of winter. I read The Tenderness of Wolves forever ago, and I barely remember any of it, but I’ve been meaning tore-read it… and it definitely takes place in winter.

Gyengéd, mint a farkasok

4.) Find A Book That Is The Color of Your Birthstone

The three birthstones for December are tanzanite, zircon and turquoise, all different shades of blue. Another book I’ve been meaning to re-read is The Amulet of Samarkand, which is the first in a trilogy I used to love by Jonathan Stroud.

A szamarkandi amulett  (Bartimaeus trilógia #1)

5.) Pick A Book Set In A Time Period, World, or Country You Would Like To Have Been Born In

I definitely wouldn’t like to have been born in most fantasy worlds, seeing what all those protagonists go through. I also wouldn’t like to visit the past, thank you very much! The present is bad enough for queer people.

I suppose I’d like to live in the world of Failure to Communicate, because there are many cool alien– no, nevermind, I just remembered what they did to literally all mentally ill people. Man, this question is tougher than I thought. I love the island setting of If I Loved You Less, but let’s be real, I’m not made for an outdoorsy smalltown life?

Going to Scotland and falling in love with a hot Duke sounds pretty awesome though, and Portia keeps all the advantages of the internet and social media, so I think I found my choice in A Duke by Default!

A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2)

I would love to look back on this in a year and see if anything changed. Happy birthday to me!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

TTT: Siblings & Families

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Artsy Girl. The topic this week is: Platonic Relationships in Books.

I love a good sibling relationship in a book, which is why I actually have a tag on Goodreads called “siblings I love”. That shelf currently has 20 books on it, so I’m going to pick 10 of those to gush about – including some parent-child relationships and friendships as well!

siblings1.png

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler: Listen. This book is all about the life of three siblings and their parents with an unexpected twist, and it absolutely WILL make you sob. I just want them to be reunited and happy together. It’s true that, as my brother grew larger, he also grew dangerous, same as my sister. But they’re still ours and we want them back.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young: I would say Sky in the Deep is mainly about two communities learning to work together, but it is also about siblings – there are both blood siblings and adopted/found siblings, and several different types of sibling dynamics that I really loved.

Sadie by Courtney Summers: This is a mystery/thriller about a girl who goes on a revenge quest to find the murderer of her sister. It’s a relatively quick read because you’ll just need to know what happens next.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: One of my favourite books, a hilarious historical romance novel with a bisexual lead, a biracial love interest, and the lead’s aroace sister. Monty is one of the literary characters I relate to the most, which rarely happens, and the sibling relationship was relatable as well.

Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour: While the protagonist’s brother doesn’t often appear in the book directly, his request for his sister is central to the plot, and what little we see of him is wholesome. This book also has an amazing friendship between the main character and her female best friend, so it’s twice as good.

siblings2

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden: This is a middle-grade book about a girl who has to help her mother raise her little siblings. It’s also about bravery, octopi and getting out of abusive relationships.

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth: Wholesome sibling relationships between three members of the main cast, and also the children of superheroes who grew up in the shadow of their parents. Also, everyone is queer.

Not Your Sidekick / Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee: This series doesn’t only have bi, trans and aroace leads, but also great sibling interactions.

Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault: Both mains in Baker Thief have siblings who feature in the story, and the main plot actually revolves around one of them wanting to save his/her sister, among others.

In The Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Board: The love interest in this book is a single parent of two adopted children, and familial love and loyalty is a central theme of the book, so there are great sibling scenes and also parent/child platonic scenes.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

~ Alexa