December and sapphicathon wrap-up

Welcome to this year’s last wrap-up post! I’m also sharing my results for Sapphicathon (while mini reviews for the books I’ve read are coming next month).

BOOKS

So here’s what I read in December:

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(The ones with 👭 are books I read for Sapphicathon)

  • A Night at the Mall by M. Hollis
  • Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff
  • Tripping Over You by Owen White
  • 👭 Ripped Pages by M. Hollis
  • 👭 Kim Reaper: Grim Beginnings by Sarah Graley
  • The Goose Girl by Robin Gallica
  • 👭 The Edge of the Abyss by Emilie Skrutskie
  • 👭 The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis
  • The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan
  • Fence #2 by C.S. Pacat
  • 👭 Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  • 👭 Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (DNF)
  • 👭 Set the Stage by Karis Walsh (DNF)
  • The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the gods of Asgard #2) by Rick Riordan
  • Always Raining Here by Bell and Hazel
  • Long Exposure by Kam “Mars” Heyward

I’m quite impressed because I managed to read a lot more than I did in the past months. I did get a little bit of a reading slump around the end of Sapphicathon, and that’s because sadly after a streak of great novels/novellas I started two books that weren’t great and made me want to change genre completely. Thankfully I fought the slump by starting the second book of Magnus Chase and I managed to finish it sooner than I thought I would, so there’s that.

Thoughts on Sapphicathon:

I’m so happy I decided to join. It was super chill and I loved seeing everyone read a lot of f/f stories and especially raise awareness on them. Even if I didn’t get to read a ton of books for it, I came out of the readathon with a lot more recs that I found on twitter and goodreads, so I now can’t claim anymore that “I want to read f/f but I don’t know of any good books.” That’s an easy excuse to give but that’s all it is. The books are there, they’re being created and they span all genres if you really care to find them. Don’t be afraid to use your social platforms to ask for recs if you can’t find them yourselves, and get familiar with people who regularly talk about about f/f content.

With that said, I’m a little sad that my last two reads for the readathon weren’t great. I had a lot of problems with the writing in Winterglass, and that put me in a slump, so I didn’t even feel like reading Set the Stage, which I started specifically to have something contemporary to read when Winterglass would bore me. Sadly, that too wasn’t great because I didn’t care about the characters at all, and at that point I really needed to read something completely different, meaning that I basically ended my sapphicathon after one and a half weeks instead of doing the full two weeks.

However, I came across a lot of (from what people say) great f/f books and I now own a few of them as ebooks and I’m looking forward to read.

CURRENTLY READING

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  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman: this is actually my first audiobook ever and I hope this format will work for me. I’ve already listened to half an hour of it while I was making food earlier and I feel like I could follow it well, so I’m confident that I will be able to enjoy “reading” in this format. I wasn’t even interested in this book until reading Magnus Chase made me want to know more about this mythology (we learn Greek and Roman mythology in Italy but we never talk about the Norse myths!)
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee: this was given to me as a Christmas present in hardback format and I already started reading snippets of it, plus the introduction. It’s a nonfiction book about the discovery and history of DNA and genes, how mankind first reacted to it, and how science and medicine were and still are trying to uncover its many secrets.
  • If the Fates Allow (anthology by various authors): this is an anthology where every story features LGBTQ+ themes and characters, and the common theme is Christmas holidays. Admittedly anthologies aren’t my thing, so I’m taking it slow. I’ve read only one story so far and it didn’t work for me at all, so we’ll see what happens with the next ones. This was an ARC by Netgalley btw, but I don’t know if it’s still available there.

 

TV SHOWS

I caught up with Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Rosa Diaz is biautiful 💖💜💙) and I can’t stress enough how amazing this show is. It’s probably not perfect, but I don’t really know of any other show that is as woke as b99. And it’s SO funny without making fun of anyone.

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I also finished Stranger Things and I really liked it. The kids are all amazing actors and I’ve already signed the adoption papers. My only complaint is the unnecessary use of the girl hates girl trope, especially in characters so young and especially since there aren’t that many girls to begin with. That truly pissed me off and I expected better, but other than that it’s still a great show. My favorite thing in season 2 (without spoiling anyone) was the unlikely friendship between Dustin and Steve.

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And this is it for this month and this year. I’ll see you all in my next post, and I wish you all to have fun celebrating New Year’s Eve!

Happy 2018!

 

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A look at 2017

I find this kind of post really hard to start writing, so let’s start by looking at numbers because numbers are easy.

I set my reading challenge to 100 books for this year, and I managed to read 120, which is my personal best. However, not all books were full length novels, and some were manga, graphic novels or webcomics. Those still count in my opinion (and in goodreads’ opinion) so I personally don’t really care that some people will be like “oh that’s not really impressive then”.

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I also DNF’d 11 books. I know everyone feels differently about DNF’ing books, but personally I count that as a win. Granted I can say this easily because most of those were ARCs so I didn’t actually waste money on them, but DNF’ing books I’m hating (or even just not enjoying) was one of my reading goals of this year, so I’m really proud of myself for doing that. Of course it still sucks when the book you have to DNF is something you paid for with your own money, but fortunately that has only happened a couple of times this year.

But let’s go back to the books I did read until the end and see what goodreads says.

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Ah, it really is my curse to be reminded of *that*. I talked a lot about all the issues I had with ACOWAR, mostly regarding representation and how I don’t seem to enjoy SJM’s writing so much anymore. I don’t feel like talking about it again but you can read my review here.

I’m not surprised that the average length is so short. As I said, I read a few short stories (mostly ARCs I got) and some comics, so that’s okay. I know I also read a few really long books so *shrug*

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My average rating is something that makes me question the way I rate books. I think I’m happy with my rating system, but I also realize that I give a lot of five stars to books that don’t make it to my “favorite” shelf. I don’t know if this is something I want to change in the future though, because as I said, I think this system works for me. The only thing I would need is an extra star to give to my actual favorites, but we can’t always have what we want.

And while we’re talking about favorites, I think it’s time to finally talk about my reading year in words instead of numbers.

This was a year of reading great books, but it wasn’t a year of life-changing books. Better said: I can point to a lot of books that, because I read them together with many others, contributed to a lot of changes in my life, but I can’t really point at a single one of them and say, “This was it, this changed me.”

And that’s okay, but coming from 2016, which was the year I read truly life-changing books and series, the realization that this year I can’t claim the same made me a little sad.

But even if I can’t point at one book specifically that “changed my life”, I know exactly how each book I read changed me as a reader and as a person, even if just in small ways, and I owe who I am now to the combination of many of the books I read this year rather than to a single one.

In truth, analyzing a single reading year is only a convenient way to split the continuum that is, in this context, our whole reading life, but it’s fun nonetheless.

And, because you can’t end the year without saying which ones are your favorites, here it is:

Favorites read this year (not counting rereads)

 

There are many honorable mentions that I could name but won’t, and there are many (so many) books I wish I had read but I didn’t manage to, in part because I’m a really slow reader and in part because with some kinds of books I really need to be in the right mood in order to fully enjoy them.

This post is a mess and there is so much more that I wanted to say but I’m so scared of getting too cheesy so I’ll just end it by wishing you all a happy 2018, and if you are someone who in the past year has talked to me even with just a little comment, a big shout-out to you 💕🌈

A Guide To ARCs | #2 The Master Who-To-Contact List for Internationals ARC Requests

This is a great and useful post!

Lost In A Story

As the title suggests, I’ve created a list of all publishers that do send out ARCs to international reviewers! Of course, the publishers on this list also send out ARCs nationally so I won’t exclude those wonderful people, but mainly this list is for internationals. Since getting ARCs is often harder for internationals (see this post), and we don’t always know what our options are, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of contact details for all publishers that send out ARCs to internationals (so that is everyone that does not live in the US. I have not specifically looked for publishers that send out in the UK, but I assume all national UK publishers do that.)

Anyway, there are a couple of things I want to say before we get into this. And it’s fairly important to read this through:

A…

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Comic review: Fence #2

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★★★★

Read my review of issue #1 here!

While the first issue was all about introducing the main character, Nicholas, and setting up the rivalry with Seiji, this second issue felt more like a full dive into the world we’re going to be part of for the rest of the comic. I felt like this kind of pacing was perfect for me, because once I get to know the main character and what he stands to lose or gain by achieving his dreams, I am ready to be given more information and I enjoy looking at the tiny but significant details that this comic offers.

And there is really a lot that this issue told us, directly or not. Let me go on a little tangent and say that after this I am truly, 100% convinced that Pacat’s style is absolutely perfect for the comic format. The uniqueness of her writing style in novel format has always been the ability of conveying information in indirect ways, and letting the reader do the math to come up with their own conclusion. This was especially true in Captive Prince, which of course it’s told in a novel format, but it’s plain that the same is happening in Fence, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

*some minor spoilers, don’t read if you want to go in blind*

In #1 we found out that Nicholas and Seiji will be roommates at Kings Row, and in #2 we see how they handle it. Which is: not well. The first part is so funny I literally almost choked on the tea I was drinking lol?? Anyway, we also see how eager and excited Nicholas is to finally be at a proper fencing school, even though Kings Row is far from being an excellence.

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Just like that, you don’t only care about Nicholas’s personal journey, but you also care about the school in itself and you want the fencing team to do well. After all, what’s a good ol’ sports comic if you don’t root for the underdog?

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A lot of characters were introduced and I love every single one of them. We have Harvard, the team captain, Bobby who is simply too cute to be real (yes I know he’s not real, chill), Eugene the jock, Aiden who is too goddamn handsome for his own good (and for Harvard’s), along with the three Bons (lol) and coach Williams (I love her so much, she’s so sly lmao).

Something perhaps more important we get to see here in terms of representation is how casually non-heteronormative the setting of this comic is. There’s no fragile masculinity, no batting an eye if a guy is wearing his hair in a bow and his uniform involves a skirt, and casual flirting and complimenting between schoolmates.

*RANDOM RANTY SPOILERS OF THINGS I LOVED FROM HERE ON* 

– Seiji claiming he doesn’t know Nicholas shrglrshlhs I knew he would and I hate him

– Harvard is such a sly asshole I love him

– “I AM NOT SOME FENCER. MY NAME IS NICHOLAS COX AND I’M GOING TO MAKE YOU REMEMBER IT”

– that height difference tho

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– “the captain shows no remorse” oh Harvard

– THE LINE BETWEEN THE BEDS LMAO THEY’RE SO DAMN CHILDISH

– Nicholas put some clothes on you’re gonna kill Seiji

– THE. DUCK. SHOWER. CURTAIN.

– Seiji’s PJs

– This:

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– “no shower curtain” gslkghldhgdfh

– EUGENE IS A JERK

– BOBBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

– I WOULD THROW MYSELF OFF A CLIFF FOR BOBBY!!!!!!!

– BOBBY’S CRUSH ON SEIJI I CAN’T HE’S TOO CUTE

– NICHOLAS BEING SUCH A SMOOTH FLIRTER??? everyone is gonna fall in love with him within a week

– Tanner and Kally are the established couple we deserve

– I KNEW IT WAS JESSE WHO BEAT SEIJI FGDHHLDH

– Jesse Coste looks so good y’all

– Coach Williams’ wall of things not to say is THE BEST THING

– “Aiden dumped me”

– Aiden himself holy shit

– The three Bons lol

– Robert Coste went to KR??????????

– THE EXTON TEAM LOOKS SO GOOD OMFG

– I wanna meet the twins

– okay but I care so much about all of them so can we like, idk, change the rules of fencing so that everyone can make the team????????? thx

 

Have you read Fence #2? If so, did you like it? Are you tired of me talking about it? Let me know in the comments 😀

Cover reveal: Society of Wishes by Elise Kova & Lynn Larsh

Today I am excited to be part of the cover reveal for a new series by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh. This sounds so interesting and so different from what Kova has published so far, so I’m definitely looking forward to see how she does in a different genre and in a collab with another writer (who I still haven’t had the pleasure to read anything by).

Summary:

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

Josephina Espinosa makes her living as a hacker-for-hire in the Lone Star Republic, a remnant of the fractured U.S.A. That is, until the day she and her best friend are gunned down in a government raid.

With her dying breath, Jo uses magical lore passed down from her grandmother to summon a wish-granter. Her wish? To save her friend’s life. Except wishes have costs, and for Jo, the price is the erasure of her entire mortal existence.

Now, as the most recent addition to the mysterious Society of Wishes, Jo must form a new “life” alongside the seven other members, one of which being her savior himself. Living as an occupant of the Society’s lavish mansion should be quite the perk, but while it is furnished with everything its inhabitants could possibly need, it lacks one thing—freedom.

Her otherworldly identity crisis takes a backseat, however, when Jo learns that the friend she sacrificed everything for is headed down the same path to ruin. Jumping in head-first, Jo uses her newfound magical abilities to protect him, only to realize that the ripples of her actions have far-reaching consequences. When the Society’s aloof leader Snow decides to give her a taste of his own ancient magic, Jo discovers that there are threads woven into the tapestry of her new reality that reach far beyond the wishes she is now required to grant. Ones that, if tugged on, could mean the unraveling of her existence itself.

Publication Date: January 29, 2018

Genre(s): New-Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance

I FREAKING LOVE THIS COVER and it only makes me more excited to read this book/series!

 

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHORS

E = Elise’s Answer
L = Lynn’s Answer

1) What made you want to start writing?
L: Is saying fan fiction too lame? Because it was definitely fan fiction.
2) What was your favorite part about working on this project?
L: Honestly, just being able to work with original characters and concepts was so exciting for me. And having someone so talented to collaborate with just made the whole experience that much more fun.
E: The collaboration was definitely an exciting and new element. Lynn really helped bring a fresh perspective to my writing and a new voice to draw from—especially regarding her personal heritage that really gave the character Jo so much more depth.
3) What part of the process did you find the hardest?
L: Everything was so new for me, but I probably had the hardest time keeping on myself to make sure I didn’t fall behind. I wasn’t used to working on a schedule, but I think I handled it well enough!
E: I really wanted to make sure that the work was divided evenly and it was our story. I’m so happy with the final product though. I really think it’s the perfect merger of both of our abilities.
4) Who is the character you relate to most and why?
L: Probably… Wayne? Because I’m charming and debonair and possibly, despite my heart of gold, most likely an annoyance to all. I also occasionally call people doll face.
E: Likely Nico. I was a studio art minor in college and was that girl who always had paint staining her fingers. Plus, even if I don’t always succeed, I really like making people smile.
5) Why the switch to new-adult, and urban fantasy?
E: I always want my work to be growing, changing, and evolving. I don’t want to be an author where people always know the story they’re going to get before they even pick up the book. Plus, it was really fun to write some super steamy romantic tension!
Links:
• Pre-Order on Amazon: http://getbook.at/sow

(NOTE: The book is FREE to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Readers who don’t have a Kindle can send proof of purchase from Amazon to Elise.Kova.Author@gmail.com to get a “read anywhere” link when the book is out.)

• Elise’s Website: http://elisekova.com

• Lynn’s Website: https://www.lynnlarsh.com/

• Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36698152-society-of-wishes

• Release Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/39698f6c24/?

LGBTQ+ webcomic recommendations #1

I promised this post was coming so here it is.

These are all the lgbtq+ webcomics I’ve read this year (but basically in my life since I didn’t read any before) and they’re also the only webcomics I’ve read lmao. They’re not too many and I considered waiting to have more to rec but then it would have ended up being an awfully long post where I couldn’t even spend a few words on each of them so I decided to post it now with the few I have, which I believe are all really good anyway.

I will definitely keep finding more and reading them so I’m guessing I will write a similar post in a few months to update this list, but in the meantime I hope you’ll find this useful.

All of these are free to read and I will leave links so you can easily start them. On their respective pages you can also find out how to support the authors by buying physical copies and/or comic-related merch, so make sure to consider supporting them if you enjoyed the comic they put up for free.

🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈

🏳️‍🌈 Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu 

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I think this was my first ever webcomic and I can’t think of a better way to get started on this genre. It’s a queer sports comic and it’s not only focused on romance but a huge part of it is about friendship. I still need to catch up with the latest update since this is still ongoing but I love it so much and I want literally everyone to read it.

Status: ongoing

Audience: teen and up

Goodreads | Read here | My review

 

🌈 Starfighter by Hamlet Machine 

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I was hesitant about having this in this list because its tone is very different from all the other webcomics I’m mentioning today. It’s much darker and it’s certainly queer because it sees a M/M relationship but it’s not really about that, it’s more of a dark and kind of twisted story and it’s very explicit so it won’t appeal to everyone. It can be a little disturbing and confusing especially at the beginning, and I wasn’t really sure whether I should keep going or not, but the end of the chapters always made me want to read more.

Status: ongoing

Audience: 18+

Goodreads | Read here | My review

 

🏳️‍🌈 The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal by E.K. Weaver

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This is a pretty long webcomic which is already completed so if you don’t like having to wait for updates this is definitely for you. The title says enough about the plot, this is very character driven and it follows the road trip of two strangers who fall in love with each other. I basically loved everything about it and the pacing really worked for me in the sense that I could feel the MCs develop feelings for each other naturally and not because the author decided it. The art is also fantastic and the dialogues are so funny it hurt. It has nsfw scenes but they’re always very well woven into the story and they’re not gratuitous.

Status: complete

Audience: 18+

Goodreads | Read here | My review

 

🌈 Rock and Riot by Chelsey Furedi

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This is easily described as Grease if everyone was queer. Characters are bi, gay, lesbian, trans, genderqueer, demi, aroace. I don’t think I need to add more to this description lol.

Status: complete

Audience: teen and up

Goodreads | Read here | My review

 

🏳️‍🌈 Griefer Belt by Kali de Wild

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This is about bad people. These are criminals and the comic focuses more on their relationships with each other, but it also doesn’t try to justify what they do for a living or to romanticize crime, which is one of my pet peeves. The story is engaging and if you can move past the fact that these are morally grey characters who lean more on the “black” side of the spectrum, then you will definitely like it.

Status: ongoing

Audience: 18+

Goodreads | Read here | My review

 

🌈 Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

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This is basically the cutest thing ever and everyone needs to read it. The author is really talented and if you weren’t aware of it she’s the author of Radio Silence which I still haven’t read but I’ve only heard good things about. She’s also a very good artist and this comic is so funny and relatable you can’t not love it.

Status: ongoing

Audience: teen and up

Goodreads | Read here | My review

 

🏳️‍🌈 Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill

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This is a wlw fairy tale retelling which is written for both a younger audience and an adult one. Kids will see what the story shows, which is two princesses falling in love with each other. Adults will also see that this is a story full of subtext despite its short length, but it’s also not less lighthearted because of it. This is a story that I believe you can read with your child even if they’re younger than the suggested middle grade.

Status: complete

Audience: middle grade (or even younger) and up

Goodreads | Read here | My review

 

🌈 Tripping Over You by Owen White and Suzana Harcum

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This is a slice of life webcomic following Milo and Liam. It’s not too much of a spoiler since it happens pretty early in the comic (if you consider the overall length of it) but the two get together and most of the comic is about their life as an established couple. I really loved it and appreciate the fact that there’s never useless relationship drama and the two characters manage to communicate their issues in a healthy way. I 100% recommend it if you love slice of life.

Status: ongoing

Audience: teen and up

Goodreads | Read here | My review

🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈

And here ends my list for now. Let me know if you’ve read any or if you’re planning to, and I really hope this was useful!

 

My #SapphicAThon TBR

So I finally settled on a TBR for the upcoming SapphicAThon! (Reminder: it starts this Thursday, December 14th!) I tried to prioritize a few books and ARCs I already own, and even counting only those I’m really not sure that I will manage to read them all during the event, but I also made a wishlist in case I finish my owned TBR and want/can read some more. In that case I’ll just buy the ebooks because they’re not too expensive and it’s also around Christmas so #treatyoself.

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Owned:

The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis (Bingo spots: under 500 ratings, non coming out story, interracial relationship)

The Edge of the Abyss by Emilie Skrutskie (Bingo spots: SFF, QWOC mc, non coming out story, hate to love, interracial relationship)

Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (Bingo spots: SFF, QWOC mc, they’re both WOC)

Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden (Bingo spots: friends to lovers, MC realizing they’re queer)

Falling for Forever by Caitlin Ricci (Bingo spots: under 500 ratings, something else probably)

Ripped Pages by M. Hollis (Bingo spots: retelling, under 500 ratings)

Set the Stage by Karis Walsh (Bingo spots: under 500 ratings, not sure what else)

Kim Reaper: Grim Beginnings by Sarah Graley (Bingo spots: not sure??)

This is already a lot for a slow reader like me but counting that there are a few novellas and graphic novels among these I hope to get to most of them.

 

Wishlist:

Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon (Bingo spots: disabled mc, QWOC mc)

Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman  (Bingo spots: not sure!)

The Second Mango by Shira Glassman (Bingo spots: not sure!

Cinder Ella by S.T. Lynn (Bingo spots: trans MC, retelling)

Waiting on a Bright Moon by J.Y. Yang (Bingo spots: SFF)

I don’t really plan to do the bingo thing but I still want to know what categories I’m reading from. I don’t know realistically how much time I’ll have since I don’t want to ignore my friends/family/cat in order to read more so I’m hoping I’ll manage to stay chill throughout the event and just enjoy these reads. I’ll also probably change my mind ten thousand times (mood reader and all) and find new things that I want to read, so I guess this post has very little reason to exist but hey, all’s good as long as I get to talk about this readathon again. I just really want people to join it and know about it ok.

I left a few more “popular” (but lbr they’re never truly popular when it comes to F/F sigh) books out of my wishlist simply because I know that I will get to them eventually, and I wanted to focus on things I might be less likely to read once I don’t have this added pressure from the readathon.

Are you joining sapphicathon? Did you post your TBR already? If you did please let me know in the comments because I don’t want to miss anyone’s posts when it comes to this!