F/F February TBR

Today I officially decided to join next month’s F/F February readathon! I am so excited for this, first of all I have a lot of F/F books I own and especially a lot of novellas that were free at some point and I just never get to them, so this is going to be my chance to read some of them. And then any even that celebrates not only F/F relationships but sapphic books in general (like the announcement post explains) obviously is going to own my whole heart.

I decided to just focus mostly on what I already own so I am not joining the challenges, although some of these books definitely meet some of them.

If you want to join but don’t know what to read, make sure to read Charlotte’s announcement that also has A LOT of awesome recs, divided both by genre and by readathon challenges! I also have F/F recommendation posts here and here so make sure to check them out if you need inspiration for joining in on the fun.

I will try not to read anything else, but I am in the middle of my tgcf reread (that’s like, probably 2000+ pages if it was a physical book) and I don’t want to pause it for a whole month, so I will also be reading that although it’s not f/f.

I am sharing here a tentative TBR where I basically just dumped all the books I found in my kindle/audible/shelves that meet the criteria for the challenge and that I think I might read. I definitely know I won’t be able to read all of them but that’s okay! The titles in bold are the ones I definitely count on reading, the other ones are options I’m giving myself in case I finish the ones I want to get to first.

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Books:

👭 Female General and Eldest Princess by 请君莫笑 

👭 Lesbisch für Anfängerinnen: Willkommen in der WG! by Celia Martin

👭 Long Steady Distance by Helena Hill

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Novellas:

👭 A Lady’s Desire by Lily Maxton

👭 That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole

👭 Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss

👭 Deadline by Stephanie Ahn

👭 Special Delivery by J.A. Armstrong

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Short stories:

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👭 Swelter by Jules Kelley

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Audiobooks:

👭 Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

👭 Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

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Graphic novels:

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👭Sunstone vol. 3 (and possibly also volumes 4—6) by Stjepan Šejić

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Are you joining the readathon? What’s your TBR? 

F/F romance recs: 2019 edition

best ff 2019

Last year I ended up reading more f/f than m/m for the first time since I started reading queer fiction. If you’ve read my wrap-up post for 2019 you’ll see that out of 7 new favorites, 4 were f/f and 3 were m/m. I count that as a win on my part and in this post I wanted to mention the books that maybe didn’t make it into my favorites or in any of the other categories I mentioned in the above post, but I still want to recommend.

As with my previous post, I’m going chronologically with my recs, and the ones that I liked best are in bold. There are more f/f books I read than these but these are the ones I fully feel comfortable recommending!

See also the f/f rec post I wrote in 2018 

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Into the Drowning Deepby Mira Grant – ★★★★★ // review

The Afterward by E.K. Johnston – ★★★★★ // no review, just endless screaming

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum – ★★★★★ // review

The Stars are Legions by Kameron Hurley – ★★★.5✩✩ // review

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan – ★★★★✩ // no review, just read it for old sapphic ladies kicking some ass

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – ★★★★★ // no review just pterodactyl screeches

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins – ★★★★.5✩ // review

Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter – ★★★★.5✩ // review

The Queen of Rhodia by Effie Calvin – ★★★★.5✩ // review

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite – ★★★★★ // review

A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian – ★★★★✩ // review

Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon – ★★★★★ // review

Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler – ★★★★★ // no review but it’s a really nice college romance

The Impossible Contractby K.A. Doore – ★★★★.75✩ // review

Bloom Into You vol.1 by Nio Nakatani – ★★★★✩ // no review but it’s cute

The Deep by Rivers Solomon – ★★★★.5✩ // review

Tamen de gushi (Their Story) by Tan Jiu – ★★★★★ // no review but oh my god it’s my new favorite manhua

Being Hers by Anna Stone – ★★★✩✩ // no review but it’s good

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And this is it as for last year’s F/F recs! I hope this post was useful, I had a lot of fun going through last year’s books and I hope I can find a lot more recs this year.

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? How many f/f did you read last year?

Books I DNF’d in 2019

Hi everyone and welcome to the first post of 2020! Which is… still one of those wrap-up posts of 2019 because I got lazy during the holidays (and, to be fair, I was either chilling at my grandma’s with no internet or out with friends, so I don’t feel too bad about it).

I’ve been updating this post since the beginning of last year because I always tend to forget my DNF’s unless they’re really bad or there is something otherwise memorable about them. Note that not all my DNF’s have the same value or explanation and that I also not always rate them.

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke – no review/rating, I tried listening to the audiobook but I really didn’t care about anything that was happening.

American Queen by Sierra Simone – no review/rating, I loved the writing and the audiobook made me fall into it right away, the characters sounded very interesting and the concept of the plot intrigued me immensely. Unfortunately one scene made me very very uncomfortable (MC is 16 and future LI is 26) and I couldn’t continue.

Definitely, Maybe, Yours by Lissa Reed – no rating, review here

Island of Broken Years by Jane Fletcher – no rating, review here and discussion post inspired by this book here

Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern – no rating, review here

The Second Mango by Shira Glassman – no rating, review here

Reverb by Anna Zabo – no rating (but it would’ve been a positive one), review here. This is probably the first book that I had to DNF although I was loving it because it made me too anxious, the stalking element can be very triggering and I personally decide to take care of myself by asking friends how the book ended but not finishing it myself. I would still absolutely recommend this book and this series to lovers of the contemporary romance genre!

Villains Don’t Date Superheroes by Hayden Archer – no rating/review, I barely read one chapter and it read way too childish for my tastes (I’m not trying to be the adult reading YA and complaining that it’s YA, just saying for me it was not something I’m interested in). I think teens would like this though, it sounds like it’s fun and it’s sapphic!

Reverie by Ryan La Sala – no rating, review here

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Do you DNF books sometimes? What do you think about DNF’ing in general?

I hope everyone has an amazing 2020 filled with good books!

End of the Year Recap: new life favorites, favorites of the year, most fun, most disappointing

Hi friends! I feel like this post grants a long time no see, given how absent I’ve been lately here on the blog, aside from a few reviews that I’ve posted. The truth is I’ve been reading more mdzs fanfiction than books lately so I didn’t feel like writing monthly wrap-ups and things like that because I just feel like I haven’t been reading enough books.

And the thing is, I am perfectly fine with that! I am having a lot of fun consuming all the mdzs adaptations several times and not feeling (too) guilty about reading a little bit less. If you’re wondering what the hell I’m even talking about, I wrote a guide to mdzs.

Despite all this, I still finished my 100-books reading challenge! I am writing this post on December 24th and I am currently at exactly 100 books, but I know I will finish a couple more by the end of the year. It’s the first time since I started reviewing books that I got so close to not finishing my challenge but I’m fine. This is fine. Even before this (which I refuse to call a reading slump because of its negative connotations), I was very busy with uni for several months and it makes sense that I’ve read less this year overall. I still read a ton and I will feel proud about it.

I was looking at all the books I’ve read and I decided to do a quick recap for posterity and because it’s always fun to look back. I divided things into a few categories that I named according to how the books made me feel. I will have a separate post with all the books I’ve DNF’d this year and I will post it later on, but for this post I wanted to keep things (mostly) positive, so let’s get into it! I won’t be talking about the single books in this post but I will post summaries and links to my reviews. Each list follows a chronological order (when I read the books).

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NEW FAVORITES FOR LIFE

Every year, I always feel like there are favorites and Favorites. The ones that will stay with you no matter what. The ones that would make the list Favorites of the decade. I felt like it was only fair to place these in their own category, and it’s the second and third book by the author Moxiang Tongxiu.

👑 魔道祖师 (Módào zǔshī – The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation)

As the grandmaster who founded the Demonic Sect, Wei WuXian roamed the world in his wanton ways, hated by millions for the chaos he created. In the end, he was backstabbed by his dearest shidi and killed by powerful clans that combined to overpower him. He incarnates into the body of a lunatic who was abandoned by his clan and is later, unwillingly, taken away by a famous cultivator among the clans—Lan WangJi, his archenemy. This marks the start of a thrilling yet hilarious journey of attacking monsters, solving mysteries, and raising children. From the mutual flirtation along the way, Wei WuXian slowly realizes that Lan WangJi, a seemingly haughty and indifferent poker-face, holds more feelings for Wei WuXian than he is letting on.

👑 天官赐福 (Tiān guān cì fú – Heaven Official’s Blessing)

For you, I’ll become invincible!

“Have you heard? The rubbish Heaven Official is having an affair with the ghost realm’s number one bigshot!”

Eight hundred years ago, Xie Lian was the Crown Prince of the Xian Le kingdom; one who was beloved by his citizens and the darling of the world. Unsurprisingly, he ascended to the Heavens at a very young age. Now, eight hundred years later, Xie Lian ascends to the Heavens for the third time as the laughing stock of all three realms. On his first task as a god, he meets a mysterious demon who rules the ghosts and terrifies the Heavens……yet unbeknownst to Xie Lian, this demon king has been paying attention to him for a very, very long time.

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TOP 5

 

I feel like this year was the year of good books that didn’t quite feel like favorites. I wish I could say I had a hard time narrowing them down to 5 but no, they just happened to be a nice number for a list lol.

A small observation: four out of five of these are books with an f/f romance in them and that makes me so happy. Despite this, this list is rather white, although the books themselves are very diverse.

What surprised me more was the mix of genres: deep-sea horror, two romances (I love romances but they usually don’t end up in my favorites, also one of them is a historical romance, a genre I almost never read), and two fantasy books (not surprised about these, usually fantasy books end up in my favorites). Of these, only one of them is YA. Could it be that I’m getting over YA?

🎉 Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant 

my review

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

🎉 Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

my review

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

🎉 The Afterward by E.K. Johnston

It has been a year since the mysterious godsgem cured Cadrium’s king and ushered in what promised to be a new golden age. The heroes who brought the gem home are renowned in story and song, but for two fellows on the quest, peace and prosperity do not come easily.

Apprentice Knight Kalanthe Ironheart wasn’t meant for heroism this early in life, and while she has no intention of giving up the notoriety she has earned, her reputation does not pay her bills. With time running out, Kalanthe may be forced to betray not her kingdom or her friends, but her own heart as she seeks a stable future for herself and those she loves.

Olsa Rhetsdaughter was never meant for heroism at all. Beggar, pick pocket, thief, she lived hand to mouth on the city streets until fortune–or fate–pulled her into Kalanthe’s orbit. And now she’s quite reluctant to leave it. Even more alarmingly, her fame has made her recognizable, which makes her profession difficult, and a choice between poverty and the noose isn’t much of a choice at all.

Both girls think their paths are laid out, but the godsgem isn’t quite done with them and that new golden age isn’t a sure thing yet.

In a tale both sweepingly epic and intensely personal, Kalanthe and Olsa fight to maintain their newfound independence and to find their way back to each other.

🎉 The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

🎉 The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

my review

As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover’s sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn’t until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Showing up at the Countess’ London home, she hoped to find a challenge, not a woman who takes her breath away.

Catherine St Day looks forward to a quiet widowhood once her late husband’s scientific legacy is fulfilled. She expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the young woman who turns up at her door, begging to be allowed to do the work, and she agrees to let Lucy stay. But as Catherine finds herself longing for Lucy, everything she believes about herself and her life is tested.

While Lucy spends her days interpreting the complicated French text, she spends her nights falling in love with the alluring Catherine. But sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them. Can Lucy and Catherine find the strength to stay together or are they doomed to be star-crossed lovers?

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

 

I adored all of these and I had so much fun with some of them, they just don’t totally qualify for favorites.  This list is a little bit more diverse (I mean, they’re still all queer like the previous list, but at least it’s not all white authors).

🎊 The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

my review

Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.

One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.

Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .

In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page.

🎊 Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon

my review

Her sister’s bachelorette party is the highlight of a miserable year for Alexis Chambers, but once her bridesmaid’s dress is packed away, she’s back to coping with her life as a once popular athlete and violinist turned loner and the focus of her parents’ disappointment. She isn’t expecting much from her freshman year of college until she finds herself sharing a class with Treasure, the gorgeous stripper from her sister’s party.

Trisha Hamilton has finally gotten the credits and the money together to transfer to a four-year university. Between classes, studying, and her job as a stripper, she has little time for a social life, until she runs into the adorably shy baby butch from the club. Trisha can’t seem to hide her feelings for Alexis, even when Trisha discovers what she has been through, but will Alexis have the strength to be just as fearless about their new love?

🎊 Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler

Frankie Bellisario knows she can get anyone she sets her sights on, but just because she can doesn’t mean she should—not when the person she’s eyeing is Samara Kazarian, the daughter of a southern Republican mayor. No matter how badly Frankie wants to test her powers of persuasion, even she recognizes some lines aren’t meant to be crossed.

But when Frankie learns she’s been on Samara’s mind too, the idea of hooking up with her grows too strong to resist. Only Sam’s not looking for a hookup; she wants—needs—the real thing, and she’s afraid she’ll never find it as long as Frankie’s in her head.

Forced to choose between her first relationship and losing the girl who’s been clawing her way under her skin, Frankie opts to try monogamy…under her own condition: 30 days of keeping things on the down low and remaining abstinent. If she fails as hard at girlfriending as she’s afraid she might, she doesn’t want to throw Samara’s life into upheaval for nothing. But when neither the month nor Frankie’s heart go according to plan, she may be the one stuck fighting for the happily ever after she never knew she wanted.

🎊 The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee

Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.

Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.

Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.

🎊 Human Enough by E.S. Yu

my review

When Noah Lau joined the Vampire Hunters Association, seeking justice for his parents’ deaths, he didn’t anticipate ending up imprisoned in the house of the vampire he was supposed to kill—and he definitely didn’t anticipate falling for that vampire’s lover.

Six months later, Noah’s life has gotten significantly more complicated. On top of being autistic in a world that doesn’t try to understand him, he still hunts vampires for a living…while dating a vampire himself. Awkward. Yet Jordan Cross is sweet and kind, and after braving their inner demons and Jordan’s vicious partner together, Noah wouldn’t trade him for the world.

But when one of Jordan’s vampire friends goes missing and Noah’s new boss at the VHA becomes suspicious about some of his recent cases, what starts off as a routine paperwork check soon leads Noah to a sinister conspiracy. As he investigates, he and Jordan get sucked into a deadly web of intrigue that will test the limits of their relationship—and possibly break them. After all, in a world where vampires feed on humans and humans fear vampires, can a vampire and a vampire hunter truly find a happy ending together?

🎊 The Deep by Rivers Solomon

my review

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

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MOST FUN

 

Some of these could easily be in my honorable mentions but I decided that the feeling they gave me felt more right in this category. These are books that were really fun to read, whether the adventure itself was fun or the fandom experience of it was.

🥳 The Disasters by M.K. England

Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours.

But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.

On the run and framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, Nax and his fellow failures execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth about what happened at the Academy.

They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.

🥳 The Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

🥳 The Chronicles of Ghadid series by K.A. Doore

my review (of book 2)

A novice assassin is on the hunt for someone killing their own in K. A. Doore’s The Perfect Assassin, a breakout high fantasy beginning the Chronicles of Ghadid series.

Divine justice is written in blood.

Or so Amastan has been taught. As a new assassin in the Basbowen family, he’s already having second thoughts about taking a life. A scarcity of contracts ends up being just what he needs.

Until, unexpectedly, Amastan finds the body of a very important drum chief. Until, impossibly, Basbowen’s finest start showing up dead, with their murderous jaan running wild in the dusty streets of Ghadid. Until, inevitably, Amastan is ordered to solve these murders, before the family gets blamed.

Every life has its price, but when the tables are turned, Amastan must find this perfect assassin or be their next target.

🥳 Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

my review

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

🥳 The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu

Can’t I read stallion novels anymore?! [TN: genre with OP protag & harem]

Shen Yuan is reborn into a young man and scum villain destined to die, Shen Qingqiu.

But it must be known that the original Shen Qingqiu was sliced alive by his disciple, Luo Binghe, into a human stick! A human stick!

Shen Qingqiu’s heart is a full herd of grass mud horses running full tilt, yet:

“It’s not like I don’t want to hug this main character’s thighs, but who let this fucking man be so black. The revenge that needs to be taken is some thousands of deeds!

Why is all the romance that should be going to the women in the plot imposed on him?

Why as a scum villain, should he still have to block gun and knife for the protagonist and sacrifice himself?

Shen Qingqiu: “…… _(:□)∠)_I think I can still save him one more time.”

He wants to prove – even scum villains can live, and live coolly at that!

It’s also the story of a small white flower who later became a black flower attacking a scholarly, scum villain type.

This is the story of a master and disciple’s everyday unknowing, very strange, dog-blood process of falling in love.

It’s also a scum villain’s firsthand account of the male protagonist turning from a small white sheep into an overbearing black king, sort of story……

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WON’T EASILY FORGET

I think there are more books that deserve to be on this list but this is the main one. This category is for books that don’t quite qualify for the above categories but that made me think about a lot of things, mainly how I/we view books and how we jump to conclusions without knowing anything about the actual book at all.

39863312❗️ Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter

my review

Seductive. Cruel. Bored.
Be wary of…

Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries ― until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.

First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies’ otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price ― and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.

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FANDOM FUN

I decided to not have books in multiple categories, otherwise mdzs and tgcf would be on top of this list. But there’s still one book that made it here and now that I think about it it might actually be the show’s fault more than the book itself, but I decided to put this here anyway. Being in this fandom was/is a lot of fun and even though the fanart influx has died down it’s still lovely to see it on my timeline.

13418329🥰 Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

MOST DISAPPOINTING

I don’t feel like adding covers and summaries since these disappointed me lmao.

😔 King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

😔 Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff – my review

😔 The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – my review

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And here it is. I always feel so satisfied after having done a wrap up of some sort and it was fun to look back at all the books I’ve read this year. If I were to give a rating to my reading year I think it would be a 4/5. I think I learned a few more things about myself in the process and hopefully this means I can make the next reading year even better than this one was.

I would love to hear what everyone has been up to while I was absent on the blog! If you have already written a wrap up post for the year please feel free to link to it and I will check it out, I love those kinds of posts! If not, tell me one book you read this year that you feel will stay with you forever.

Until the next post!

Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon

I was sent this book as an advance listening copy via libro.fm for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

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★★★.5

This was one of the best and most unique novellas I’ve ever read.

I went in without knowing a single thing except what the book cover might tell you, so I was launched into this world and immediately, ahem, drowned in it. It was not always easy to follow at the very beginning, but I soon became extremely invested in the world, and later about the main character too.

There’s a reason for this delay, why you first get intrigued and want to know more about why things in this society work the way they do, and only later truly start caring about Yetu. Yetu is the historian of her society, meaning that she carries all the burden of a tragic and violent history while the rest of her species live their lives free of it, but she often loses herself in this history.

Only later, after the yearly ceremony where Yetu gets to share the history with the rest of her group, for only a few days, can we see Yetu free of her burden, and it’s not a wonder that her character might read a little generic at first. She doesn’t really know herself, was too young to really know herself when the full weight of their history was reversed on her.

It was then so satisfying to watch her regain her own identity, take decisions for herself, and reflect on what history means for the individual and for the community, and find out more about her origin while developing a beautiful romance with a human woman.

This is a tale that’s more about a community than about the main character, but it was still so good to see Yetu’s development while raising questions that are relevant to so many people, especially those who have had their roots and history erased from the collective memory. This is a story for those people especially, and as for everyone else who, like me, is white and knows her country’s and her hometown’s history, we just need to absorb the true meaning of this and reflect upon it.

I haven’t seen many reviews mention this, but let me be absolutely clear: this is also as queer as it gets (main f/f romance; m/m side romance; every water dweller is intersex and decides their own gender(s) or no gender at all; there is a human side character who uses they/them pronouns), and everyone is Black (both the water dwellers, who descend from pregnant African slaves, and the humans).

I’m not sure how the book itself would read, but the audiobook was really good and the writing came across flowing well, so I would definitely recommend this format if you’re into listening to books.

TWs: slavery, violence, suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts

Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

I was sent this book as an advance listening copy via libro.fm for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world–a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

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★★★✩

First and foremost: I enjoyed listening to this audiobook, I thought all narrators (full cast!! I love full casts!!!) were absolutely right for the parts they were narrating. They made this book flow well and fast and made me want to keep listening even during the parts that I found confusing, and I truly thought that my experience was enhanced by having listened to it as opposed to reading it.

Now, I do also think that this is a book that could’ve benefited from being read and taking one’s time to truly absorb the various stories more, but I am also aware that I wouldn’t picked it up at all if it wasn’t for the chance to listen to it.

The Starless Sea is a beautiful book with beautiful writing that will speak to a lot of readers, so why the three stars and not more? This is a case of it’s not you, it’s me: if I had to judge this book objectively alone I would probably give it 5 stars; my overall enjoyment of it was closer to 3 stars, and I wondered if I should do a mathematical average and end up giving it a solid 4, but that didn’t seem to convey the fact that this was, ultimately, a book that wasn’t for me.

Books about books and stories are, in theory, a great idea, and I see many readers do love them and I have in the past too. But there comes a point where if I feel like I’m being manipulated into this narrative then I get annoyed and stop enjoying this aspect of the book. If this aspect is what constitutes the core of the book, then it goes without saying that I lose interest in the book itself pretty easily.

In truth, I could tell you a bit about the first 20% of the book, where we get to know our protagonist, Zachary Ezra Rawlins, and not much else. It’s not that I lost focus or even that I didn’t enjoy it, because as I stated at the beginning, my listening experience was enjoyable and I even went out of my way to keep listening when I was done with my chores (that I do while listening to audiobooks). It’s just that the book shifts from Stories to our Main Story and yes, there is a point that the book makes, and I feel like I either missed it or it was truly just: “books and stories are nice.”

Well, no shit.

I don’t know, but I truly don’t get what’s so alluring as a person who reads a lot to feel like I’m being lectured about how good stories and books are. I’m not saying there is no place for this book in this world, because there obviously is, but I just don’t like feeling so manipulated into something I’m well aware of. This is obviously my opinion and I know people who read even more than I do and who absolutely adored this.

I did however really like, in the first part, the fact that stories were being talked about in a broader sense than just books. Zachary is a gaming student and he spends some time reflecting on the nature of videogame narratives vs books, and there is a scene where he and a group of students have a discussion about this topic and I thought that was the highlight of the whole book for me. As someone who doesn’t play a lot anymore (because….I don’t have a console or a proper gaming laptop. RIP) but is in love with story-heavy games, it was so refreshing to see videogames that are heavy on plot and narrative being treated as equals to other forms of fiction.

After this first part and after something happens to Zachary, it was all about hearing different stories and trying to piece together the threads of a common narrative, which admittedly would have been easier if one was reading in physical form or in ebook. And as the book progressed, we got to see how Zachary’s own story intertwined with the other ones, and, well, you get the gist of it.

As for the single stories, I found some of them truly beautiful and that’s where Morgenstern’s writing really shone through. However, it was kind of hard to keep track of everything. It’s the kind of thing that would require a reread to really understand fully and maybe you’d find something new every time you reread, but I’m just not going to do that.

One aspect I really did love was the diversity and the fact that this book was so normally and casually gay. The main character is gay, his love interest is nonspecified queer, and there’s two sapphic characters, and there are multiple POC characters including the protagonist. Despite this, I unfortunately didn’t love the romance, which I found too rushed despite being promised a slow burn (they get together late, but the attraction is more of the insta-love type). There also seems to be an age gap and I’m really not fond of that (the MC is 25 I believe but I couldn’t find any info on how old the LI is. nothing problematic, just not my cup of tea).

So, overall, would I recommend this? It really depends on you. If you’ve loved The Night Circus there’s a high chance you’ll love this too. If this doesn’t seem very appealing to you for the reasons I myself didn’t give it a higher rating, maybe read a few more reviews to make up your mind.

Review: Human Enough by E.S. Yu // a lovely and diverse vampire romance

I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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When Noah Lau joined the Vampire Hunters Association, seeking justice for his parents’ deaths, he didn’t anticipate ending up imprisoned in the house of the vampire he was supposed to kill—and he definitely didn’t anticipate falling for that vampire’s lover.

Six months later, Noah’s life has gotten significantly more complicated. On top of being autistic in a world that doesn’t try to understand him, he still hunts vampires for a living…while dating a vampire himself. Awkward. Yet Jordan Cross is sweet and kind, and after braving their inner demons and Jordan’s vicious partner together, Noah wouldn’t trade him for the world.

But when one of Jordan’s vampire friends goes missing and Noah’s new boss at the VHA becomes suspicious about some of his recent cases, what starts off as a routine paperwork check soon leads Noah to a sinister conspiracy. As he investigates, he and Jordan get sucked into a deadly web of intrigue that will test the limits of their relationship—and possibly break them. After all, in a world where vampires feed on humans and humans fear vampires, can a vampire and a vampire hunter truly find a happy ending together?

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★★★★

I really loved this book and I’m not finding anything I didn’t like about it, which is rare. I’m normally not even one to love vampire stories but this sounded so good and I was not disappointed in the least.

Noah is a vampire hunter who gets trapped in an old vampire’s house, and there he meets the vampire’s partner (although he’s a victim of his abuse too), also a vampire who’s been turned unwillingly.

The story takes place both in the past and in the present and while at first I was scared this was going to feel a bit disruptive of the action in both timelines, I didn’t find that was the case at all. If anything it just made me more eager to keep reading. It was also a nice way to both see Noah and Jordan’s relationship develop and see them as an established couple, and they were so cute as both.

I think this book’s strength is the focus on representation, especially Noah’s autism and Jordan’s discovery of being ace. Noah’s internal monologue often makes it clear what’s it like for an autistic person to live their daily lives and as far as I know from having read ownvoices reviews the rep is good and accurate. Jordan, being a vampire, was born in the 1920s and has been kept almost seclusive by his abusive ex partner, so while he’s known forever about his homosexuality, he still has some issues being open about it because of the mentality back then. This is not something that impacts the relationship with Noah though, and it’s clear that Jordan grows more comfortable once he gets access to the internet and is able to be more open. He also finds out about asexuality when Noah talks about the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum and he realizes that’s also a part of his identity, and that was one of my favorite scenes in the book.

There’s also a kind of investigation plotline that I thought was well written, perhaps it didn’t keep me on my toes and was even a little bit predictable but I found that it perfectly fit the tone of the book.

There’s really nothing I can complain about and I would 100% recommend this book to whoever is looking for a fun, sweet and diverse vampire story.

Rep: autistic pansexual Chinese-American MC, gay grey-ace vampire LI

TWs: emotionally abusive relationship, ableism, violence, death, grief, captivity