what I read in february

Hi everyone! It’s mid-way through March, so what better time to come out with a Feb wrap-up? I read a lot more than I usually do in February, finishing 6 months in a shortened month so that was great.

I have pretty much not set any TBR’s or goals with reading this year (except to read more translated fiction) so my reading has kind of been all over the place in terms of the kind of stuff I’ve been picking up. But it’s been nice to have a variety of things I’m reading at once. I read a mix of fantasy, classics, historical fiction, non-fiction and contemporary this month. Let’s get into the books I read


these violent delights by chloe gong: This book was so super hyped up on twitter, which is how it initially caught my attention. It’s a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, set in Shanghai in 1926. Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov are heads of opposing feuding gangs. I really loved the set up of this book but it started to drag a little for me in the second half. The relationship between Roma and Juliette and the spin on Romeo and Juliet was definitely the highlight. I’m not sure if I’l read the sequel, but if people are interested in the premise I would definitely still tell them to give it a try.

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the autobiography of malcolm x: as told by alex haley: One of those books ‘everyone should read’ which I am so glad I finally got to. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Laurence Fishburne which I HIGHLY recommend, he did such a good job. This is just one of those books where there isn’t much to say, it’s all been said. But I really think everyone should read it. It delves into Malcolm X’s life, his relationship with Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, his politics and some of the pivotal moments of his life.


the raven king by nora sakavic: One of my favourite series which I started rereading last year. This was my first time reread the raven king (I always reread the third one) but I’m glad I decided to read it again because it was a super fun experience! There was definitely a lot of things I picked up that I missed the first time reading, and some stuff I completely forgot happened. Also.. Andrew Minyard favourite boy deserves the world


the city of brass by s.a chakraborty: I actually tried to read this on audiobook last year and didn’t like the narrator, so I got the physical copy. And I ended up… not finishing it again. I just couldn’t get into it. I thought it was super slow, the politics wasn’t really well explained and I didn’t really care for the characters or their romance. I had 250 pages left but it felt like a chore reading this.

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giovanni’s room by james baldwin: My favourite book I read in Feb. I’ve been meaning to start reading James Baldwin for a long time and I’m so glad I started with Giovanni’s Room. This book was stunning. The writing is so lyrical and beautiful, which was probably the highlight for me. I also loved how it explored it’s themes, particularly sexuality, manhood and queer spaces and experiences in 1950’s Paris.


season of migration to the north by tayeb salih: In 2021, I set myself a challenge to read more translated novels, and this was my first one (It was translated from the original Arabic by . Set in Sudan, this is a postcolonial novel inspired by Heart of Darkness (I book I had to read for Literature in Uni twice, and super hate) so I was excited to see what Tayeb Salih did with this. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this book overall. I liked parts of it, but I felt like other parts totally went over my head. I liked the setting and the spin on Heart of Darkness, but it’s probably not a book that will stick with me for a long time.

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That was everything I read in February. As a March spoiler, I can tell you this wrap-up is much bigger than my March one will be. I really enjoyed this reading month, both Giovanni’s Room and The Autobiography of Malcolm X are early front-runners for my favourites of the year list.

Let me know what you read in February, or what you think of any of these books if you’ve read them!

until next time

1001 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE: Books: 46-50 / mini reviews

Hi all!  Today I’m going to be doing a little update of my “1001 Books to Read Before You Die” project. This project is based on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die List, and I previously posted talking about all the books I’d read from the list.

Although I’m not taking this list that seriously (I really don’t feel there can be a definitive list of 1001 books you need to/should read before you die) but A LOT on the list were ones I wanted to read anyway, so I thought this would be a good way to track them as I read them and do some mini-reviews.

The below books are the five I have read since that list posted, numbers 46 to 50. Here are my thoughts.


46: Dracula by Bram Stoker

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I’ve talked about Dracula a few times now, because I liked it so much when I read it. It’s one of the books from this list that has been on my TBR for so long so I’m really glad I finally read it. The gothic is one of my favourite literary modes and this is a gothic CLASSIC so I was pretty much destined to love it. It was also much funnier than I expected? For a classic, it’s quite accessible in terms of writing, and I think its a classic that you can enjoy both on a surface level and also on a more deep, analysis level which are usually my favourite. I’m definitely planning to reread this at some point.

47: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

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I’ve been trying to read my way through the Bronte sisters, and I found this at a secondhand book sale which worked perfectly since I hadn’t read any of Anne’s books yet. She has immediately shot up my ranking of Bronte books because I really liked this! Not quite as much as Jane Eyre, but it’s a really great book. I loved the central character, and this books depiction of abuse, womanhood and marriage. It’s probably one of the only books from this era I’ve read that deals with abuse within a marriage in this way, and looks at the extreme ways society limits the options of women in these situations. I also thought the romance was genuinely nice. It’s a proto-feminist text that is definitely underrated in comparison to Jane Eyre.

48: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

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The Moonstone is often cited as one of the original detective novels, which is one of the reasons I was really excited to pick it up. I thought this was okay, I rated it a three star and really enjoyed some parts. But I thought other parts dragged a little. The mystery was fun, but I wish it hadn’t taken so long for parts of it to be explained. I also thought some of the racial elements were very questionable, though I did ultimately like the ending and how this book explores the coloniser/colonised relationship and how the colonised people eventually ended up successful in their aims.

49: Persuasion by Jane Austen

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I’ve been reading through Jane Austen’s entire catalogue and I was starting to lose hope anything would ever hit like Pride and Prejudice and then I read Persuasion. Oh man I loved this SO much. It’s a second chance romance, basically, between two people who broke up and then get reunited a few years later and I just loved it so much? The main character was one of my favourite Jane Austen heroines, and the tension between the love interests was EXQUISITE. It’s also very short which I appreciated after reading Emma and Sense and Sensibility. This didn’t QUITE end up topping Pride and Prejudice but it’s my second favourite Austen now.

50: Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

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I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. This was my first James Baldwin novel (though I have seen the movie for If Beale Street Could Talk) but it just immediately made me want to go out and read all his other books. I really loved the writing so much, it was so beautiful and although this was only a 150 page book it just felt like such a detailed and complex story. It explores sexuality, masculinity and love within queer spaces so well. I also loved it’s depiction of the queer scene in Paris which was just interesting to me. It’s a much more modern classic which helps, but the writing is so accessible and just so beautiful and I really am so glad I finally read this, I will definitely reread it.


Since I started this project, I think this set of five books have been my favourite so far. They are all so different and I enjoyed all of them! I think my favourite was definitely Giovanni’s Room but Persuasion comes a close second (but AAH I really liked Dracula and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall too!!). If you’ve read any of these I would love to hear your thoughts!

As always, I’m never quite sure what I will read next, but I’m thinking my next five could definitely contain more James Baldwin (Go Tell it On the Mountain is on the list) or Great Expectations (I own it now). But I think I would like to read some of the more modern books added in the 2000s, though I haven’t determined which yet.

until next time!

sign off

“When the Past Isn’t Dead: Post-Colonialism and Horror in Mexican Gothic “

SPOILER WARNING FOR MEXICAN GOTHIC BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA: This post makes many parts of the plot of this book explicit.

The gothic has always been one of my favourite literary modes. I love gothic literature, I love how it uses aesthetics to explore themes and comment on dominant social ideologies and discourses. The gothic can do so much! Exploring sexuality, nationality, race, gender and more. I’ve read a lot of classic gothic literature, but one of the most fascinating emerging branches of gothic literature is, in my opinion, post-colonial gothic. Or more accurately, books that utilise the gothic to explore post-colonial society and discourses which dominate our social consciousness right now.

Mexican Gothic is a 2020 novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia which utilises the gothic to explore post-colonial realities. Set in Mexico, the central character, Noemí, receives a mysterious letter from her cousin Catalina, begging to be rescued from the house in which she lives with her husband and his strange family. Concerned for her cousin, Noemí arrives at High Place, to find things are strange and amiss. The family have strict, unexplained rules, Catalina is perpetually sick with an illness that can’t be explained, and talking about hearing voices in the walls. Also, the family is racist, leave their well-read books about eugenics lying around. Through this twisting story about voices in the walls, murder, sick sisters and weird family members, one thing really stood out to me – the skilful way Moreno-Garcia post-colonial ideas

What is The Gothic?

The first thing you need to know about the gothic is it is concerned with degeneration, with a return of the repressed, and with ‘the Other’ taking control. It is concerned with exposing the barbaric and always casts the barbarous as horror. Barbarism is horror, and horror is barbaric. The ‘other’ can be anything, as long as it’s allowing a return of the repressed, or for society or individuals to degenerate, and it usually subverts social norms and ideals. Most importantly in the context of Mexican Gothic, the gothic is used to explore concerns of degeneration brought about specifically the intermingling of British colonialists with other nations during the colonial period.

In 18th and 19th century literature, when imperialism was at its peak, English society saw itself as the most advanced, civilised nation, particularly for those living within major cities, and especially London. But English people were concerned about the end of progress. The Victorian era, in particular, was a moment of rapid change, and English people worried that the endpoint of this progress would be a collapse into a dark age. The potential for degeneration, for their society to go ‘backwards’, was a dominant discourse, a prevailing horror. And the burden of this horror was placed upon the other, the non-civilised, whose presence in society was deemed to threaten the steady march of progress.

This ‘other’ was frequently represented by those living in colonies. Because the imperial machine relied on racist ideologies such as eugenics, phrenology and most importantly, social Darwinism, to continue – the non-white were cast as the other, deemed to be more primitive, more savage, more barbarous. Thus, the gothic comes into play – English people were terrified of the ‘primitive’. They feared that they, despite how ‘civilised’ they were, had the potential to return to a primitive state. Upon meeting ‘native’, ‘untouched’ people who they considered ‘barbaric’, they wondered if it meant the human condition in it’s ‘untouched’ form was inherently barbaric. If according to the theory of Darwinism, these ‘barbarous’ people they met were a less evolved forms of themselves, it seemed feasible within all people was the potential to ‘degenerate’ back to a primitive state.

Thus, gothic literature used specific aesthetics and ideas to explore this horror – the horror of a returned past. For example, the prevailing gothic image of the crumbling mansion is intended to be horror because it shows a degeneration of important images of English civilisation. English manors returned to their primitive states, often due to a lack of wealth, which was almost always there because of imperialism, is an extension of a fear of the end to progress. Locations set far away from the city, such as the moors (most famously represented in Wuthering Heights), are often described as pre-historic and primitive, due to the lack of a built landscape. Their distance from the city, the hub of civilisation, leaves great potential for repressed emotions and behaviours to emerge – this is why we see Heathcliff (who also, important, is coded as being non-white) famously represented as engaging in activities – revenge, criminality, violence – which are deemed non-civilised.

Explaining the gothic can be difficult, especially since it emerges in so many forms and can be used to explore many things. But these are the basic principles, that a return of the past is a horror, and the past is barbaric, and that the barbaric people are those who are uncivilised, explicitly linked to those who are non-white, and non-English.

What does it have to do with Mexican Gothic?

As I said, the gothic can come in many forms. One of these forms emerged in the 20th century, the post-colonial gothic. As all post-colonial literature seeks to respond to colonial literature, post-colonial gothic does the same. But it employs and subverts the same tropes utilised in gothic colonial fiction.

Julie Hakim Azzam outlines some of the central tenets of the post-colonial gothic in her dissertation ‘The Alien Within: Postcolonial Gothic and the Politics of Home

Postcolonial gothic fiction arises in response to certain social, historical, or political conditions . . . part of the postcolonial gothic’s agenda is unveiling that behind the construction of hominess abroad lies something fundamentally unhomely. . . . Postcolonial gothic employs a gothic historical sensibility, or a sense of “pastness” in the present . . . if the gothic is the narrative mode by which Britain frightened itself about cultural degeneration, the loss of racial or cultural purity, the racial other, sexual subversion and the threat that colonial-era usurpation and violence might one day “return,” then postcolonial gothic deploys the gothic as a mode of frightening itself with images of transgressive women who threaten to expose the dark underbelly of their own historical and political contexts”

Mexican Gothic is an entertaining, unputdownable text, but it’s also one which is explicitly post-colonial in it’s approach to exploring the central characters and the themes. Many of the tenets of post-colonial fiction, as outlined above, are clearly in play within Mexican Gothic. Thus, I wanted to explore for the rest of this post how Mexican Gothic explores post-colonial themes and the role of the gothic in this text.

The Past is Not Dead:

One of the major ways in which the use of the gothic became present in Mexican Gothic is how often the past is returned in the present. Moreno-Garcia starts the story by employing classical gothic tropes – Noemí must travel out of the city, to a decayed mansion built through the spoils of colonialism. Early in the story, Noemí thinks, “God, the city seemed so far away” This thought serves to reinforce the countryside as the locus for the emergence of the gothic.

However, in Mexican Gothic, the only part of the countryside that is backwards and representative of the past is the mansion at High Place. Here, there is no electricity (another common symbol of civilisation in gothic fiction), and the mansion is the last standing reminder of the British inhabitants stronghold on the town below the hill. Although decaying, the house serves as a literal representation of the past lingering in the present.

The depiction of High Place reminded me of another colonial gothic text, The Hound of Baskervilles, in which the decaying mansion upon the moors is the final bastion of civilisation against the horror-inducing landscape. High Place visualises itself, in the context of the landscape, in much the same way. Throughout the book, the increasing horror of High Place and it’s inhabitants subverts this image. The mansion is a symbol of the past, but it is a blot upon the present. And so Mexican Gothic begins to set the stage early for a post-colonial, gothic novel.

The past seems to pervade the present in Mexican Gothic. This is sometimes represented overtly, the aging patriarch of the house, for example, is literally an enduring symbol of the past within the text. He cannot die, but Noemí needs to kill him in order to escape High Place (which is a node for the past). The past also emerges into the present through the form of hauntings, as those from the past speak to Noemí, and through ideologies. Virgil discussing race, eugenics, and incest also brings the past to the front – and it is through these colonial ideologies, which are so present in traditional gothic, does the post-colonial gothic emerge. Whereas in traditional gothic, the reality of these ideologies is the horror within which the gothic manifests, in Mexican Gothic, it is the endurance of these ideologies which is the horror. The uncanny similarity of the family, and their selective ‘breeding’, is the horror, the gothic this book presents. In doing so, it subverts the gothic. It also brings the past constantly into the present, and Noemí literally needs to kill the past in order to secure her future. The horror that must be dealt with, is the past.

This merging of the past and present, in a way that is uncanny and horrific, is also clear in the plot about the dead miners, and the families attempt to leave High Place. The miner’s death haunts the house, the townspeople believed it’s cursed because of it, and it is also the catalyst for High Place falling into ruin. What is implied in the miners is a colonial industry – the mining seems to be done on behalf of, and to the benefit of, The Empire. This violence and the atrocities linger in the present, with the voices of the workers heard in the walls, and their stories constantly brought up by the family and the town.

Azzam also notes that, “In the postcolonial gothic, homes and dwellings are the geographic sites in which larger political, historical, and national allegories are cast”, this is clear within Mexican Gothic. First, the name High Place itself denotes a belief by the family of their own superiority. Imperial mindsets cast peoples on a hierarchy, and the name of the house already shows how the family consider themselves to be at the top. So as early as when the name is revealed, the home at High Place is staged as the site in which political, historical and national debates play out. The clash between a colonial post and a post-colonial future is played out within the house, both before and after Noemí’s arrival. The house itself is a hub of the past; it is haunted by voices, visions and people belonging to the past, often in a very literal way. Moreno-Garcia firmly casts the family at High Place, and their beliefs, as primitive, and she also situates the drama and the political, historical and allegorical narratives relating to the family as being explored, played out, and ultimately defeated within the home.

Therefore, the attention paid to the house in the novel is significant; and it’s final destruction is symbolic of a triumph of post-colonial ideas and debates.

Using the Gothic to Explore Post-Colonialism

Intuitively, it makes sense for postcolonial writers to tap into Britain’s “dark” or “illegitimate” narrative mode with which to understand the relationship between the colonial era and the present moment of complicated postcoloniality as one that is haunted by the specter of the colonial past

As Azzam notes, using the gothic mode, a mode which historically characterises the colonised as barbaric – as the same mode by which to undermine this narrative and explore post-colonial themes makes sense. It’s something which Moreno-Garcia does constantly in Mexican Gothic, taking classic gothic tropes but twisting them. There is horror in the barbaric and violent deeds committed by colonists, which have lingering results. There is an uncanny horror in these deeds; because they are often the very regressive deeds the gothic writers feared they could succumb to. Simply put, the post-colonial gothic seeks to solve and explore the issues of colonialism, using the very same narrative mode which helped perpetuate them.

In Mexican Gothic, the use of gothic tropes includes the presence of sexual taboo’s, especially incest, as well as the horror of cannibalism, death, and the emergence of undesirable traits, particularly as a result of ‘mixing’ between races. Moreno-Garcia takes all these ideas, each being a staple of the gothic, and twists them in such a way where the horror exposed is the manifestation of these ideals to justify the lingering colonial presence of the house on High Place.

The gothic has always been preoccupied with incest and cannibalism, seeing it as a horrific trait associated with colonised peoples. In Mexican Gothic, this is subverted; it is the English colonisers who practice cannibalism and incest, and they do so in order to uphold antiquated ideas. It is another example of the subversion of the colonial mindset within the novel, exposing the horrors that colonisation and racism bring, to the point of the colonisers engaging in what they novel also portrays as a horror; incest and cannibalism. In doing so, both the past is brought forward to the present, and also the post-colonial narrative is reinforced by displaying where the colonial mind, as enamoured and obsessed as it is in its own ideals, will practice complete horror to uphold them. Noemi’s mission leads her to expose this horror, and in doing so, exposing the barbarism that has allowed the family to continue to exist in High Place.

Exposing the Dark Underbelly:

As Julie Hakim Azzam writes, a marker of the post-colonial gothic is “a focus on transgressive women who expose the dark underbelly of their own historical and political contexts.” Noemi perfectly encapsulates the idea of a ‘transgressive women’ both generally but more importantly, to the family. The most famous feminist examination of gothic literature “The Madwoman in the Attic” by Gilbert and Gubar, argues gothic literature categorises women as either monster or angel. Either they are pure, virginal and docile, or unkempt, mad and rebellious. This dynamic is played out between the women of the cast; Florence and Catalina as docile and angelic, Noemi and Agnes are rebellious and mad. But the dynamic quickly breaks down as these women begin to be explored outside the male gaze. Noemi is rebellious, but she is also kind, logical and the angelic saviour of the book. Catalina is docile, but she is is also her rebellious act which starts the action of the novel. It is suggested, that the women are forced into and typecasted by the men, and in turn, the novel eventually breaks each from their mould. They are all somewhat transgressive women, though Noemi in particular, for her refusal to have her sexuality controlled by the men of the novel.

Exposing the historical and political context within which she lives is also central to the plot. It begins early, where Noemí’s ethnicity, being Mexican and Indigenous, clashes with the English family. Noemí is constantly required to navigate the racist beliefs of the family, and have her own legitimacy brought into question despite the text being set in Mexico. The English manor on High Hill is the ‘English home away from home’, which is demonstrated early as Noemí is told how the British family even imported soil from England to ensure their English plants would grow. Very early then, the dichotomy between Mexico and England is set up, as playing out between Noemí and the family. Exposing the unholiness of this home abroad, and its encroachment on the Mexican community, is continuous.

The family believes High Place to be a perfect English home, and yet it is soon revealed they cannot leave, that as much they try to they are drawn back, and into a grim fate. The home abroad is not a home, it is a prison, and therefore it’s homeliness is a myth. Its image of itself, as an untainted English hub on the landscape, is also exposed. We learn High Place is the hub of unspeakable horror, particularly family violence. We learn the house itself, with all its supposed English grandeur, is built on the blood and deaths of Mexican workers. And we learn for all the families talk of English purity and ideals, it was only through violence and manipulation that the family was able to continue to exist, and that the idea English genetics are inherently superior was undermined as soon as Agnes sought to leave with a Mexican worker who successfully ran an uprising against them.

This book is one, long, exposure. Of the family, of their ideals, and in turn, of the social and political narratives which underpin their characters and the purpose of High Place. The fear of the scandalous, unseen thing rapturing into the seen, present consciousness is a gothic preoccupation. But the specific exposures, that the home abroad is unhomely, that political and social discourses underpinning colonialism are false, that the colonial hub itself is a nightmare, move this book into the realm of the post-colonial. Finally, it is post-colonial because, as Azzam notes, what Noemi exposes is her own context and history, of herself and her country as the colonised persons.


Mexican Gothic was such a wonderful book to read and to think about. It’s one of those books that seems richer to me the longer I go since I finished it. I keep constantly thinking, and another thing! Because the depiction of the post-colonial gothic was so clearly well thought out and incorporated. The way this book employed classic gothic tropes, taking the mode which upheld imperialism with every breath, to write a scathing critique of it, and its perpetrators, was wonderful. I really loved how this book used the gothic to explore social discourses and pick apart the faults of the logic in colonial fiction.

Mexican Gothic constantly addresses the problems and consequences of Imperialism in Mexico and uses High Place as the locus within which the tensions of decolonisation and clashing social discourses play out. I really loved how simple and complex this book was at the same time, with scenes such as the literal death of the past in Agnes being the path to the future one that really stood out to me, both as a post-colonial symbol and also just as a satisfying piece of writing.

There is so much I feel I did not get to say about this book, and I think it’s one I would love to come back to again with an even more critical eye to pick over again. I’ll definitely be looking out for Moreno-Garcia’s work in the future.


Azzam, Julie. “The Alien Within: Postcolonial Gothic And The Politics Of Home”. D-Scholarship. Pitt.Edu, 2007, http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/9521/1/J-Azzam.pdf.

Moreno-Garcia, Silvia. MEXICAN GOTHIC. Thorndike Press, 2021.

until next time!

what I read in January

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is having a great start to their 2021. I have personally found myself back in lockdown after ten months of living in a covid free state but, that’s okay! It’s given me some time to read, and some time to blog – which is great! So I decided I really should make a post for my January wrap-up.

This month I only read four books, but that is okay because I’ve been focussing on reading a bit less and reading more slowly. But even though it’s a small wrap-up I still thought I would share what I’ve read.

The Dragon Republic by R.F Kuang

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I decided to reread this before I finished off the series. I absolutely adore this series and I think I liked the second book even more the second time I read it. There is just so much to love about this series – the magic system is awesome, I love the characters and how all of them are so complex and harsh, the relationships between the characters are really intricate and detailed which I love because character driven stories, and the setting being based in a historical version of China, and the plot based on the second Sino-Japanese war, is just something I love a lot about this series. I had so much fun reading this again.

The Burning God by R.F Kuang

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After rereading The Dragon Republic of course I immediately moved onto The Burning God. This was such an epic end to the series, I loved it so much. So much happened in this book it was just so exciting and action-packed and had an ending that was both satisfying and devastating. I’ll miss this series so much but I think it is one I will come back to again and again.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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I had heard soo many good reviews of this book I had really high expectations and I actually enjoyed it so much! This is a gothic book set in Mexico (duh) which follows the main character Noemi trying to figure out why her cousin sent a mysterious letter begging for help. It’s super spooky and the plot unfurls really slowly in this really creepy atmosphere, and I loved that. I am writing a full review/discussion of this book so I hope that is out soon!

The Coal Curse: Resources, Climate and Australia’s Future by Judith Brett

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These short essays are audible originals and I really like them because they are just like podcast length essays about issues in Australia. This one was exploring Australia’s reliance on the coal and gas export industry and how successive governments failure to make serious commitment to climate change is detrimental to Australia’s future. I really liked this, I’m looking forward to more of these essays.

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That is my very small January wrap-up! I’m hoping to read just a little bit more next month because I did have a slow month but it’s nice to have a short and sweet wrap-up. Also, I really liked everything I read this month.

Let me know what you read in January, I would love to hear!

until next time

anticipated 2021 releases for the first half of the year

Hi all! I’m putting together one of my favourite posts today, my anticipated releases for the year! There is SO many incredible sounding books coming out in 2021 and I just really wanted to talk about them. Last year, I didn’t keep up with new releases very well at all. I was more focussed on my backlist and reading my physical TBR. This year, I’m hoping to read a lot more new books. So I wanted to put together the list of the ones which are grabbing my attention the most. I would love to hear which books you’re anticipating in the comments, as I obviously haven’t heard of everything and I want to keep expanding my list. Now let’s jump into it!



➤ Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison. Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav’s got everything under control. Until, that is, Maverick finds out he’s a father.

Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he’s different.

When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can’t just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.

Angie Thomas’ third book follows the father of Starr, Maverick Carter, in his youth. I loved both of Angie Thomas’ previous books, and I have no doubt I will love this one too. Thomas writes such amazing, interesting protagonists and I love the themes she explores in all her books. Can’t wait to pick it up.

➤ The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M Waggoner

A charming historical fantasy with a tender love story at its core, from the author of Unnatural Magic.

Hard-drinking petty thief Dellaria Wells is down on her luck in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees a want ad for a female bodyguard, and she fast-talks her way into the high-paying job. Along with a team of other women, she’s meant to protect a rich young lady from mysterious assassins.

At first Delly thinks the danger is exaggerated, but a series of attacks shows there’s much to fear. Then she begins to fall for Winn, one of the other bodyguards, and the women team up against a mysterious, magical foe who seems to have allies everywhere.

This book sounds like EVERYTHING? Historical fantasy, which is my favourite, a thief as a main character and a bodyguard romance trope? With an f/f relationship? Like honestly this seems SO up my alley and I can’t believe it’s already out because I’m so excited to read it.



➤ How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps her House by Cherie Jones

In Baxter Beach, Barbados, moneyed ex-pats clash with the locals who often end up serving them: braiding their hair, minding their children, and selling them drugs. Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the Baxter Beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences. A gunshot no one was meant to witness. A new mother whose baby is found lifeless on the beach. A woman torn between two worlds and incapacitated by grief. And two men driven by desperation and greed who attempt a crime that will risk their freedom — and their lives.

This is one of those books I’ve seen a log of hype for from booksellers and librarians who have read the manuscript/arc. So that is one major reason I want to read it. But honestly it’s more just that the premise really appeals to me, and I can’t explain why exactly, but I really like stories that focus around lots of people who a loosely connected, which is what this is. So I think I’ll really like it.

➤ Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.

I love Kazuo Ishiguro, so that is why he’s here. This isn’t my favourite of his premises, but I trust him and I’m definitely excited to read this! It’s been a while since his last book came out so I’m sure many people are anticipating this one.

➤ Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation. Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.

This sounds AMAZING? I’ve been wanting to read more books by Indigenous authors, but I also just really love investigation stories? It’s kind of giving me Truly Devious vibes, which is a series I really enjoyed. I also really like romances with people on sports teams because I love sports……. anyways, really hope this is as good and fun as it sounds!

➤ The Project by Courtney Summers

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

I loved Sadie by Courtney Summers so much so I was of course interested in her next book. This book also GIVES ME massive Sadie vibes which I am soo intrigued by. I really find reading about cults interesting and the plot involving a magazine really reminds me of Sadie, so I hope it has a great audiobook and the same back and forth kind of thing that book did.


➤ We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida

Teenage Eulabee and her magnetic best friend, Maria Fabiola, own the streets of Sea Cliff, their foggy oceanside San Francisco neighborhood. They know Sea Cliff’s homes and beaches, its hidden corners and eccentric characters—as well as the upscale all-girls’ school they attend. One day, walking to school with friends, they witness a horrible act—or do they? Eulabee and Maria Fabiola vehemently disagree on what happened, and their rupture is followed by Maria Fabiola’s sudden disappearance—a potential kidnapping that shakes the quiet community and threatens to expose unspoken truths.        

Suspenseful and poignant, We Run the Tides is Vendela Vida’s masterful portrait of an inimitable place on the brink of radical transformation. Pre–tech boom San Francisco finds its mirror in the changing lives of the teenage girls at the center of this story of innocence lost, the pain of too much freedom, and the struggle to find one’s authentic self. Told with a gimlet eye and great warmth, We Run the Tides is both a gripping mystery and a tribute to the wonders of youth, in all its beauty and confusion.

The premise of this book just sounds like…. everything I love. Best friends are one of my favourite friendships in fiction and so under explored, and I really love books about nostalgia and a mystery in the past. Also, I find San Francisco a really interesting city to read about for some reason, I love so much media that centres around San Francisco? This book just sounds like it was written for me I can’t wait for it.

➤ The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

Okay, I’m gonna be honest – this one is here a little bit for the hype? The premise sounds okay to me, but it’s the really good early reviews coming in that really makes me wanna read it. But I do love books that centre on groups of people with gifts, and I’ve heard people who like Children of Blood and Bone might like this, and I enjoyed that book.


➤ A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.

IS THIS NOT EVERYTHING? Fae, murder, found family /unlike alliance trope, and I’m fairly sure it has an f/f relationship… and an all queer cast? I loove queer fantasy so much and this just sounds so fun I can’t wait for it. Also, I’ve seen some great reviews coming out already


➤ She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.

This book has been on my 2021 tbr since the second it was announced. Why? F/F RETELLING OF THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY! Need to say any more. It says it’s a ‘sexy psychological thriller exploring the intersections between beauty, art, and love’ like… extremely up my alley stuff, and I cannot wait to read it. I think this is really up there as possibly my most anticipated release.



➤ The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

I really love books that have a present and a past timeline and then the two merge. So this is basically what appealed to me to this book. Also the premise of this just sounds really intriguing and interesting, so I really hope I enjoy this one! I also love the cover


➤ The Girls are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.

I LOVE books like this. Like I mentioned earlier, books about best friends are a favourite, but I really like books that involve something about the past being revealed. Mean girls in college is definitely something I want to read more of because I love them every time I read them. I just wish it had a better cover.

➤ Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.

I read Get a Life, Chloe Brown in 2020 and I liked it so much! It was so funny and I thought Talia Hibbert did such a good job at portraying the sisters as side characters. Eve was my favourite of the sisters we see so I cannot wait for this. I do plan on reading Take a Hint, Dani Brown first but I will be definitely picking this up and finishing off the series.

➤ Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

In Sophie Gonzales’ Perfect on Paper, a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens.

In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong

I really liked Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales which I read in 2020, and I’m so excited for this one because of the bisexual main character. The bi rep in Only Mostly Devastated was really well done and I’m interested to see how she explores it in a book with a bi main character. But also, this recent trend of anonymous letters and advice in YA is one I’ve been loving, I like To All the Boys I’ve Loved before which this is compared to, and I liked Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) which is sounds very similar to.

➤ Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first..

I am a simple person…. I see magic sapphics….. I add to TBR. But for real, I love queer fantasy like I’ve said, and this is compared to Girls of Paper and Fire which I really loved.


➤ Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy.

Jessamyn Teoh is closeted, broke and moving back to Malaysia, a country she left when she was a toddler. So when Jess starts hearing voices, she chalks it up to stress. But there’s only one voice in her head, and it claims to be the ghost of her estranged grandmother, Ah Ma. In life Ah Ma was a spirit medium, the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Now she’s determined to settle a score against a gang boss who has offended the god–and she’s decided Jess is going to help her do it.

Drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets, Jess finds that making deals with capricious spirits is a dangerous business. As Jess fights for retribution for Ah Ma, she’ll also need to regain control of her body and destiny. If she fails, the Black Water Sister may finish her off for good.

As I mentioned earlier, reading from more countries is an aim of mine this year, and Malaysian fantasy is definitely something I want to be more into! I have read a few others and I liked them, so I’m hoping I like this one too. I also have kind of been back into paranormal books again, which is cool cos I used to really love them, so I thought the premise sounded super intriguing. Also, settle a score against a gang boss who offended a god? have you EVER heard a cooler line.


➤ The Unbroken by C.L Clark

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

It’s a sapphic, North-African inspired military fantasy with political elements and an f/f romance NEED I SAY MORE. In all seriousness, I love political fantasy a lot, and have been thinking of trying out more military fantasy after loving The Poppy War so much. I think I’m going to really like this book!


➤ Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.

The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.

The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

Okay not much needs to be said here… it’s the sequel to King of Scars / Leigh Bardugo’s new book set in the Grisha universe , which I LOVE SO MUCH. I plan to reread the series before it comes out, I’m so excited!



➤ The Helm of Midnight by Marina Lostetter

A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter.

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power–the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.

I mean… read the premise… doesn’t this sound SO GOOD. A ghost serial killer on the loose, ticking my paranormal and mystery moods off, and a HEIST, which I always love. Also it’s a fantasy series and I really need to start more because a lot of mine are ending and I want to get invested in new stuff. Honestly I just think the premise of this sound so fucking good I can’t wait.

➤ The Serpents Curse by Lisa Maxwell

A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter.

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power–the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.

This is the final book in one of my all time favourite series, and I’m both so excited to see how it ends, and so sad that it’s ending! This series is SO underrated I truly wish it had got more attention, it’s historical fantasy set in the 1920s with heists and an enemies to lovers romance and I ADORE IT. I’ve already preordered it, so you know I’m listening on release day.



➤ Off the Record by Camryn Garrett

Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she’s equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She’s got this.

Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie’s world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn’t know whether she’s flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she’s in over her head.

One woman’s account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she’s reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will?

Camryn is someone who I love reading from. From her tweets, to her books, I love all her content. I just recently read Full Disclosure and I thought it was just so great, like I adored the characters and the themes and the vulnerability it had. Plus the main romance was so cute. So I have super high hopes for this! The premise actually sounds way more up my alley than Full Disclosure’s did, so I cannot wait to see what Camryn does with it.



➤ Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

TAYLOR JENKINS REID. I have loved her last two books so much and yet again she is bringing something that just sounds So Up My Alley out. I actually love books about famous people, and Reid is the queen of them at the moment. The mystery element is also intriguing me so much, and the sibling relationships. I can’t wait for this one.

➤ One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

CASEY MCQUISTON. I admit, I loved Red, White and Royal Blue. It was kind of silly, but that is what I liked. It was funny and easy and I thought the characters were really well written. The snippets that have come out about this book already have me so excited and I have seen sooo many positive reviews from ownvoices reviewers saying the representation and romance is amazing, so I cannot wait.

➤ Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

Harlem, 1926. Young black girls like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead.Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Manhattan’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that.

When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore–several local black girls have been murdered over the past few weeks. After an altercation with a local police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or let a judge make an example of her.

Louise has no choice but to take the case and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind. She’ll have to tackle her own fears and the prejudices of New York City society if she wants to catch a killer and save her own life in the process.

A Black flapper takes it upon herself to investigate the murders of girls in Harlem? That already has me sold without even having to say much more. But I’m also intrigued by the parts of the premise that suggest this will also look at the experiences of Black women in the 20s.

➤ The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Great Gatsby retelling which focusses on Jordan Baker and reimagines her as an Asian queer woman WOW. I really love The Great Gatsby and now that it’s in the public domain I am so excited to see which each author does with it. This sounds so creative and is kind of giving me Wide Sargasso Sea vibes which is so cool.

➤ Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

Compared to GOSSIP GIRL and GET OUT? Have you ever heard better comp titles in your life. Like this sounds genuinely so cool, and it’s another one I’m excited for for the mystery and anonymous messaging stuff.

And there we have it! This is such a long post, and it didn’t even cover everything, just the ones that really are at the tippy-top of my list. Also, apologies for getting this post out super late so some of the books are already out.. sometimes… it be like that.

The second half is already shaping up to have some great releases (NEW SALLY ROONEY!!) but I’m gonna hold off posting an anticipated releases list until it gets a little close.

I would love to hear in the comments which books you are excited about for the first half of 2021.

until next time!

non-fiction I want to read, part two: general non-fiction

Hi everyone!  I recently posted my ‘Political non-fiction I want to read’ post, in which I promised a part two for more general non-fiction was coming. So here it is! This post will be for all the other non-fiction at the top of my TBR, which is mostly history, society, culture and essays/writing based because that’s what I read most. I have quite a list to get through so lets just jump right in.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals by Saidya Hartman ➤ 


A book that deals with massive changes in the early 19th century that altered the beliefs and ideologies of the Victorian era, including free love, common-law and transient marriages, serial partners, cohabitation outside of wedlock, queer relations, Black families and single motherhood. I believe it specifically focusses on Black women living in America.

This just sounds super interesting and right up my alley.

Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia by Billy Griffiths ➤ 


A book about archeology in Australia, specifically looking at uncovering evidence and stories of ancient Aboriginal cultures. It also focusses on trying to shift public consciousness by outlining the long and complex history of the oldest continuing culture on Earth, looking at how deep the history of Aboriginal connection to the land in Australia is.

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga ➤ 


When I read ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race’ I asked for more recommendations that were like the first few chapters of that book and this is one people recommended. So I’d like to finally pick it up. This is pretty much what it says on the bill, detailing the history of the relationship between Britain and Africa, and Black British people.

Black Bull, Ancestors and Me: My Life as a Lesbian Sangoma by Nkunzi Zandile Nkabinde ➤ 

Black Bull, Ancestors and Me: My Life as a Lesbian Sangoma by Nkunzi  Zandile Nkabinde | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®

I just think the description of this book is so short and sweet and immediately made me add it to my TBR, so I’ll let it speak for itself

Describing the dichotomy of being both revered and reviled, this memoir traces the story of a sangoma—a traditional healer—who is also a lesbian. Descriptions of traditional African healing practices and rituals are provided alongside the personalized account of one woman acting as a mirror to the daily hardships and indignities felt by members of the gay community in Africa.

The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit by Helena Attlee ➤ 


This natural history book explores the history of Italy, it’s culture and food specifically through the citrus fruit, from the arrival of citrons in 2nd century Calabria, through Arab domination of Sicily in the 9th century, to slow food and cutting-edge genetic research in the 21st.

This just sounds super quirky and interesting, it’s definitely going to contain information I don’t know and I just think the perspective this book takes makes it so interesting to me.

How To Break Up With Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo ➤ 

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This is part self-help, part expose looking at the fast fashion industry, and how bad it is for the environment. It also explores why people get sucked into the fast fashion cycle, and how to break it. It looks at methods of avoiding falling into fast fashion trends to give your wardrobe a longer life.

As someone who has been slowly trying to phase fast fashion out of my life, I found the subject matter appealing and I’d be interested to hear the author’s tips.

The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers by Noah Charney


This book is just about art forgery – which I find super interesting and is ALSO something I’m writing into a book, so it’s part research? It explores famous art forgeries and how masters of forgery get away with it.

The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire by William Dalrymple


This is one of those books I’ve just seen recommended a lot and I have been meaning to read it for so long. It look at how the East India Company became an aggressive colonial power unto itself and the catastrophic effect it had upon India.

How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City by Joan DeJeane


This book looks at how Paris transformed into a major urban hub over a century. I think this book is mostly about urban planning and how Paris invented the idea of the city where people are out, walking around, occupying a same cultural space. I’m not one-hundred percent sure if this will be up my alley, because I do like history but it might be too focussed on the planning and structure of Paris as a city, but I’d like to try it anyway.

The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London by Christopher Skaife


I actually went to the Tower of London last year right before Covid hit and I got ejected back to Australia. But Christopher Skaife was my tour guide and I found him so funny and some of the stories he had so interesting. So I really wanted to read his books which looks a bit more about what life is like when you live in the Tower of London.

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer ➤


When I read Sapiens, one of my favourite parts was when it talked about genetics and how genetics pass along. This is an entire book about generics and how things pass from generation to generation. It looks at the birth of genetics and how it changed the idea of traits being hereditary.

I have a lot more books I want to read, but those are my top 10 (but it’s actually eleven because I couldn’t cut it any more from my top TBRs). Like I said in my previous post, I plan to read a lot of non-fiction this year, so I can’t wait to dive into these. If you’re planning on reading non-fiction this year, I would love to hear which books!

until next time

non-fiction I want to read, part one: political non-fiction

Hi everyone! As I mentioned in my 2020 wrap-up / 2021 goals post, reading a lot more non-fiction in 2020 was something I really loved about last year, and something I want to continue. Because of this, I’ve compiled a long list of non-fiction I want to read. But what I really want to focus on is political non-fiction, mostly because I have a Political Science degree so it’s my major interest area anyway, but also because it’s just important to read, I think?

So after a twitter poll asking if I should split into two posts, I’ve gone ahead and done that. Part one will be about political non-fiction I want to read, and part two about other general non-fiction. Let’s get into it!

The Autobiography of Malcolm X ➤ 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X : Alex Haley : 9780141185439

An absolute must read in social justice/race theory/civil rights movement literature and I’ve just.. never read it? But 2021 is DEFINITELY the year for it, I’m putting it at the top of the list because it’s the one non-fiction I refuse to get through the year without reading.

Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World by Kumari Jayawardena ➤ 


A feminist classic by a journalist and human rights activist outlining the history of women’s movements in the Middle East and Asia. It explores how feminism in these countries responds to issues such as colonialism, poverty and inequality, education, voting rights and safety. I know this is a very introductory text for this topic but, unfortunately introductory is the level I’m at – though that is what I’m trying to change!

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present  


I saw this book recommended for fans of Stamped from the Beginning, which would be me. Canada is definitely a country I don’t know as much about when it comes to the treatment of Black people. This book delves into the history of slavery and criminalization and seeks to unmask the veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance in Canada.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Another book I really just do need to read in 2021. I really don’t know what to say, it’s an absolute modern classic in race theory and essays and I really just need to read it? I almost didn’t put this here since I know it does have personal elements but you know what… the political is the personal.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein


This Changes Everything attempts to reframe the discussion around climate change and global warming by shining a light on the role of capitalism in the disaster, and how no amount of personal responsibility will fix an issue caused by a flawed economic system. This is an idea I already agree with and am on board with so I’m not sure if this may be too introductory for me, but I’d like to try it regardless.

Noongar People, Noongar Land: the resilience of Aboriginal culture in the South West of Western Australia

Noongar People Noongar Land : The Resilience of Aboriginal Culture in the South West of Western Australia - Kingsley Palmer

This book follows the struggle for the Noongar people to claim Native Title under the Australian Native Title Act. It also explores Noongar culture and people, with contributors exploring how their relationship to the land reflects their relationship to the communities. I live in the country of the Noongar nation which is why I really want to read this.

Although I do have a lot more political non-fiction I want to read (a never-ending list, to be honest), these are definitely the top reads I want to get to. I’m planning 2021 to be a big non-fiction year, so I expect to get to a lot if not all of these. Stay tuned for part two, which will be about non-fiction in general I want to read.

until next time!

2020 goals wrap up + 2021 reading goals

Hi everyone! I’m here today to write one of my favourite posts. I love watching and reading goal posts every year, and I also really enjoy taking this time to look back at my own goals and accomplishments to see what my year was like.

In 2020, I didn’t really write out too many goals. I knew my reading shifts were tasting and I just wanted to see what happened with it. The only goal I really had was to read these twenty books, to finish my physical TBR and then my general goals which are always to read more diversely, to keep up with series and to read a wide range of genres.

First, here’s some of the basic stats for the year

  • Pages read: 36, 619
  • Books read: 100
  • Shortest book: The Old Guard (36)
  • Longest book: A Little Life (720)
  • Most popular book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Least popular book: Islam and the West: Perspectives from Australia
  • Highest rated book: Know My Name by Chanel Miller
  • Average rating for 2020: 3.8 stars
  • Hours listened: 204
  • Best reading month: December (17)
  • Worst reading month: February (4)

Genres Read

  • Fantasy: 27
  • Non Fiction: 19
  • Contemporary: 12
  • Classic: 9
  • Historical: 6
  • Mystery: 4
  • Science Fiction: 4
  • Graphic Novel: 2
  • Magical Realism: 2
  • Anthology: 1
  • Paranormal: 1
  • Romance: 1
  • Poetry: 1 (I’m not sure why this isn’t showing on the graph, I definitely read one)

I read from the exact same amount of genres this year and last, both years from thirteen different genres. However, the genres were a bit different. I had anthology and paranormal on my list this year, but not in 2019. Last year I had drama script and literary fiction on my list. However, I think this year I consolidated a lot of literary fiction into contemporary instead of splitting them, so that one might be a misleading stat.

Some genre changes, the fantasy read dropped from 37 to 27 but still remained my favourite genre by a fair margin. Non-fiction had a dramatic increase from 10 to 19. Contemporary remained about the same, with 12 read compared to last years 14. It also dropped from my second to third most read genre. I read three less classics, 9 instead of 12. my goal for 2021 is to read 12 again. Historical fiction also dropped away, with 6 read compared to last years 9. This is another misleading stat, since I think this year I counted historical fantasy under fantasy rather than historical. Mystery/thriller was four this year, and 3 in 2020. Science-fiction reading increased from 3 to 4. Graphic novels went from 3 to 2. It’s a genre I really am not that into, so that makes sense. Magical realism and poetry stayed about steady, I read one poetry last year too, and two magical realism.

Here is last years breakdown:


Last year I said ‘I’d like to focus on literary fiction, historical fiction, poetry and mystery/thriller in particular‘ in my goals, which I clearly did not do. The only two genre’s here I agree I would like to read more of are literary fiction and poetry, though. Like I said, literary fiction probably actually did get read this year, it just got counted under contemporary. Historical fiction I tried a few times and I couldn’t get into it, I think I only like very specific versions of it, like when it’s paired with fantasy or mystery. As for mystery/thriller, I like them as pallet cleansers and occasional books, but I really don’t have much interest in diving into the genre too deeply or reading a lot of them.

Types of books read

My most read format was physical, followed by audio, followed by ebook. This is what happens every year, but I did find it interesting that I read a lot more ebooks this year since I bought my kobo.

Of my 100 books, 48 were ownvoices and 52 non ownvoices. Honestly this is a good stat for me because I don’t really want to 100% this out (I don’t think it’s fair to expect marginalised authors to always write about their identities) so I think reading about 50% ownvoices is really good.

My audience this year was nearly 60% adult, followed by 40% young adult, 2% new adult and 1% middle grade. Last year I read about 50% adult, so the number has increased, and I’m expecting it to be even larger after 2021. It was actually interesting though that last year I read 34% YA, and 8% new adult. So I actually read more YA this year and less young adult, when I really would have expected the opposite based on what I thought I was reading.

Finally, the majority of the books I read (27) were from the library. Then I read a lot of owned book (25) which actually makes sense since I was trying to zero out my TBR. I saved at least 615.77 AUD reading books from the library this year (calculated using the cheapest purchase option per book, so realistically probably more) and I spent $151.91 AUD buying 19 books. I only bought four books new, the rest were secondhand hence why it was fairly cheap. I listened to thirteen books from audible, and received eighteen from a publisher. Of those eighteen, seven were physical arcs, two were e-arcs, and the rest were audiobooks I receive from Libro.FM as I’m in their influencer program.


To the left is the breakdown of author’s I read by identity. I read just over 50% white authors, and then just under 50% authors of another identity. I am literally always trying to improve this, but it is an improvement on last year which I’m happy about, even though I really would like the ratio to be 50%+ for non-white authors. I do think this year was impacted by me trying to clear out old books on my physical TBR though, and I’m hoping in 2021 which I think will be more organic and less backlist reading, I should see more of a shift. I definitely would like to focus more on reading books written by authors from central and south America, as well as books published there. I also would like to read more books by Indigenous authors, especially ones not from Australia (although I am content to prioritise Aboriginal Australian authors since I’m Australian)

To the right is the breakdown of author by gender (this year I did not record other LGBTQ+ identity because usually it’s like, 80% and I don’t feel a need to track it) Overall I was really disappointed by this, I only read one book by a trans author which is so bad, and only six in total by non-cis people. (Of course some authors may not be cis, but at least openly non-cis authors). This is definitely something I need to work on in 2021, especially since I read a lot more books by trans, non-binary and gender queer authors in previous years.


This year I read 73 standalone books, and 27 books which are a part of a series. This is a massive shift for me since I usually read way more series. I think the reason may just be that a lot of the series I like didn’t have sequels come out this year, and I am just not in the mood to start more while I’m waiting for them to finish.

I completed or got up to date on nine series, continued or started nine series, and reread eight books which are part of a series.

completed / up to date series:

  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare (read Ghosts of the Shadow Market and Chain of Gold)
  • Captive Prince trilogy by C.S Pacat (read Kings Rising)
  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (read The Silvered Serpents)
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (read Girls of Storm and Shadow)
  • World of Linaria by L.L McNeil (read Amarah)
  • The Queen of the Tearling (read The Fate of the Tearling)
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (read The Hand on the Wall)
  • We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (read We Unleash the Merciless Storm)
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray (read The King of Crows)

started / continued series:

  • The Old Guard by Greg Rucka (read volume one)
  • The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
  • The Brown Sisters by Talia Hibbert (read Get a Life, Chloe Brown)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin (read A Storm of Swords, part two)
  • Sands of Arawiya by Hafsah Faizal
  • Not Your Sidekick by C.B Lee
  • Sherlock Holmes (read A Study in Scarlet)
  • Green Creek by T.J Klune (read Wolfsong)

My 2021 goals:

This year, I really am trying not to have too many goals again. I’m planning on sticking with keeping my physical TBR down, as well as continuing to improve my reading in terms of diversity. One challenge I have for myself aligning with that goal is to read more translated works. I fully believe reading only within the US/UK publishing world and not reading books from the periphery is not truly embracing the spirit of reading diversely. And I just think the world of translated literature is something I want to get more into. Every year I dip my toe into it a little, but I think 2021 is the year I dive in.

I also want to keep up reading so much non-fiction. I had a lot of fun with that in 2020, and learnt a lot, and I seem to typically enjoy non-fiction more consistently overall? Like there’s less chance of a ‘miss’ book in non-fiction for me.

In line with above, one branch of non-fiction I want to get more into is essays, writing and letters. I really want to get more into reading writings by literary figures outside their fictional work.

I made a list of ten books I want to read, so reading these will also be my goal too.

Here’s a small list of series I want to start, continue or complete which already have published books prior to 2021

  • The Poppy War by R.F Kuang
  • The Brown Sisters by Talia Hibbert
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • WANT by Cindy Pon
  • The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A Chakraborty
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin
  • The Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee
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There we go! I’m sure as soon as this posts publishes I’ll think of a new goal, and a new stat to add in, but for now I think I have covered everything. Reading goal wrap-ups and posts is one of my favourite things about January, so I hope people enjoyed mine. I definitely had fun writing and researching it. I would love to hear your goals for 2021, and how you went on your 2020 goals.

until next time!

my top 10 favourite books of 2020

Hi everyone! It’s time for one of my favourite posts to write every year, my top ten favourites. I love writing this post and getting to share some amazing books that really impacted me with you all. I feel like this was one of those years where I didn’t have HEAPS of new favourites, but the ones I did find I love soo much. I’m also a little more picky with favourites than I used to be, but all these books I’m about to mention I can safely say I adore. They really live rent free in my mind. These are not really in any order, I couldn’t figure one out, I love them all so much!

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong - Penguin Books Australia

Okay, I know I just said no particular order, but I love this book so much and it might actually be my 2020 favourite. I LOVED listening to it so much. I listened to it in April and I honestly have thought about it every single day since? This is a poetry memoir written in the form of letters from Ocean Vuong to his mother, who is illiterate. It’s just so raw and honest, exploring race, sexuality and being an immigrant in America. I really loved it so much, from the themes to Vuong’s stunning prose, to the experience of listening to the audiobook itself which is narrated by Ocean Vuong. I really wish more people would read this book, it’s so beautiful and powerful to me.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People by Sally Rooney: 9781984822185 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Another book that was on ANOTHER LEVEL for me this year. I wrote a full review and analysis of it on this blog despite being in the middle of a massive writing slump, because it just means so much to me? I love it and think about it every single day. This is just one of those books… I wish I had written. It reminds me of why I like music actually, complex and emotional thoughts put into simple words. I really related to both characters here, and so many scenes in this book I really have like, lived out in real life which made it kind of both horrific and interesting at the same time. I felt both the main characters felt very flawed and very real, which I love, and I also appreciated the deft way this explored classism and class differences, and how that plays out within interpersonal relationships.

Maurice by E.M Forster

Maurice by E. M. Forster - Penguin Books Australia

This is by far one of my favourite books I’ve ever read, and easily one of the best classics. This book follows Maurice time in university and his relationship with other men, and was partly inspired by Forster’s own relationships. I love how this books deals with tenderness and love, and it’s examination of how Victorian England’s focus on propriety causes toxic repression. The afterword was really beautiful, and the story itself was just really lovely. I really, really loved reading it and felt very emotional when I finished it. I did write a full review and analysis of this book as well. I definitely intend to read more from E.M Forster in the future.

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde: 9781580911863 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

I read this collection about mid-way through the year and it’s another one that really stuck with me. I also enjoyed it so much it kicked off a whole thing of me just reading non-fiction for ages, which is so cool! Really shows how much I enjoyed it. This is pretty much what the title says, Audre Lorde’s collected essays and speeches. They cover race, gender, sexuality and intersectionality. Lorde discusses her experiences being a Black lesbian, a communist, and her thoughts on current events such as queer movements, the civil rights movement and

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in  America (Paperback) | Politics and Prose Bookstore

I think I’ve talked about this book a few times on my blog now, but I just loved it so much and learnt so much from it. As the title says, this books goes through the history of racist ideas in America, tracking their origins and then how these ideas developed and changed through time, to mirror changing social, political and cultural conditions. I absolutely think this is the book I recommended the most this year, I wish everyone would read it. It’s so informative and well-written, which means despite the length it’s quite easy to follow. It goes into so much detail and so clearly illustrates how racist ideas adapt and change within society, ultimately leading us to modern times.

Persuasion by Jane Austen


I have this thing where I refuse to make these lists until the proper end of the year in case a new favourite sneaks in at the end and… this book PROVES my point, because I read it in December and I loved it so much. I really love Jane Austen but Persuasion was on another level. I loved the characters so much and the main relationship was done so well. I also just thought the plot and writing was the most engaging of Austen’s novels, beside Pride and Prejudice. I liked this equally as much as Pride and Prejudice, which I didn’t expect. But I just got so into it when I started it, and it was really nice to like…. fly through a classic? I read this book so fast. Jane Austen I love you.

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow

Catch and Kill - Wikipedia

Another non-fiction entry! I was really into non-fiction this year if you cannot already tell. I’d been meaning to read Catch and Kill for a long time and I’m so glad I did because I liked it so much. This is about Ronan Farrow’s investigation into Harvey Weinstein, as well as the wider conspiracy within Hollywood to cover up sexual harassment and assault. I thought it perfectly balanced out Farrow’s personal story with the investigation, as well as respectfully and carefully outlined and included stories and interviews by survivors. This is another book I feel like everyone should read.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

This is one of the first books I read in 2020 and I still think about it and recommend it all the time? It’s definitely more one just on the ‘it’s so entertaining and fun’ scale compared to some others on this list, but I really did have so much fun with this. It’s a mystery involving a cult and people living in your house and it’s just… so engrossing. I read most of it in one day which is rare for me and it’s also rare for me to really love a mystery so for all those reasons I feel like it really deserves a spot as a favourite of the year.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Another non-fiction entry, but regardless of if I had become a non-fiction nerd or not this year, I think this book still would have made it, because it’s impossible for it not to. Sometimes there are just books that, before you even read them, you know are going to be five star life changers and this was one of them. Chanel Miller, AKA Jane Doe in the Stanford Assault case, tells the story of her assault by Brock Turner and details life coping with this both during the long trial and afterwards. It’s incredibly powerful, especially since it’s narrated by Miller. It’s just one of those books that lingers in your mind for so long after you’ve read it.

Meet Me at the Intersection edited by Rebecca Lim and Ambelin Kwaymullina

Meet Me at the Intersection - Fremantle Press

The final book I want to talk about is also one of only two anthologies I read this year. Meet Me at the Intersection is an Australian anthology where each story delves into and explores diversity within Australia, exploring the experiences of First Nations Australian’s, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, those living with disability and more within Australia. This contains a mixture of the personal, fictional and investigative, including formats from poetry to prose. I really loved every single story in this collection and thought it was really well edited and flowed perfectly. I don’t always love anthologies but this one really stuck with me.

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Choosing a top ten was hard this year, so let me shout out some honourable mentions:

  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki
  • Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

Thank you for reading this post. If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear, otherwise I would love to hear which books you included in your favourites list this year. Especially books that released in 2020! I realised most my reads this year were backlist, so I may need to do some catch up on 2020 reads in 2021.

until next time!

10 books to read in 2021

Hi everyone! Long time, no post. My bad for going completely AWOL. I’ve had so much going on and haven’t been in much of a blogging mood. But I want to get back into it! I miss talking about books and doing reviews here. So I’ve decided to kick the blog back off with a post about 10 books I want to read in 2021. These are all going to be backlist titles, I think I’ll do an anticipated releases list separately. But I have so much I’m excited to read, and I want to share those with you all, let’s go!

The Burning God, by R.F Kuang ➤ 

The fact I never read this in 2020 is … wild. But I wasn’t ready! Like I know that sounds stupid, but I genuinely couldn’t bring myself to do it. I also really want to reread The Dragon Republic first. But I think The Dragon Republic will be my first read of 2021, and I want to read this right after. I really am so excited, I love this series so much, it’s one of my favourites of all time, and definitely the fantasy stand-out for the past few years. I’m really sad it’s coming to an end, and I know it’s going to be all pain, but I can’t wait to see how this series wraps up.

Great Expectation by Charles Dickens ➤ 

9780141198897: Penguin English Library Great Expectations (The Penguin  English Library) - AbeBooks - Dickens, Charles: 0141198893

For the …. third year running? It’s Great Expectations, again! I know what everyone must be thinking.. you can’t be THAT excited to read it if you still haven’t. But I am, I genuinely am! It is just that this book is long, and intimidating, and I didn’t want the pressure of getting it out the library. I received a copy of this book for Christmas though, so I think now I can confidently say I am definitely going to read it in 2020. And I’m actually so excited! I’ve read A Tale of Two Cities and loved that, and I’ve seen the adaptation of Great Expectations, which I enjoyed a lot, so I hope I love the book.

The Iliad by Homer ➤

Another repeat entry. I wanted to read The Iliad this year and ordered a copy to do just that, but then I just hit a massive reading slump and didn’t get to it. I definitely intend to though! This is one of those books I’ve wanted to read for years, but I was intimidated. I ended up picking up the Caroline Alexander translation, which is the only one by a woman, which added another level of excitement for me finally reading this. I’ve always been fascinated by this story and these characters, and I’m excited to be finally picking up the real thing in 2021.

Iron Heart by Nina Varela ➤

The fact I haven’t read this yet is a disgrace, a disgrace !! I love Crier’s War so much and I’ve read it twice and I just, never got to reading this when it came out? And I was SO excited for it. My great 2020 reading slump just killed all energy to read, even stuff I was excited about. But I will definitely be reading this one in 2021, because I love this story so much, and the characters, and the ship! and I’m so excited to see how it all finishes up. This is genuinely one of my favourite sapphic series ever I’m actually such a fraud for not having read this yet.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin ➤

Reading James Baldwin’s entire body of work is definitely a goal of mine, and I think I want to start with Giovanni’s Room, because I’ve heard so much about it. I honestly don’t know if I have much more to say then that – James Baldwin just seems like a staple to me, and an author I’m really going to enjoy, so I have to start reading some of his books in 2020.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez ➤

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez: 9780307389732 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Kind of similar to above, Gabriel Garcia Márquez is one of those authors I’ve just been really wanting to start reading. I’m not sure why I picked out this book of all of them to start, maybe because I read a few pages of it in a bookstore so it feels familiar? Not sure, but I really want 2021 to be the year I start reading more books written outside America/The UK and this is sort of a Colombian classic.

Jade City by Fonda Lee ➤

Fonda Lee | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

The fact I haven’t read this yet is a CRIME? It’s been on my TBR for so long and I have literally heard just, nothing but good things about it? I didn’t read much adult fantasy in 2020, but I really want to get back into it in 2021 and this seems like a good place to start. I’m really excited for this, and probably will try to read the entire series in 2021.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami ➤

Buy Norwegian Wood Book Online at Low Prices in India | Norwegian Wood  Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

Murakami is another one of those authors I have just been meaning to read for a long time. I’m not sure why Norwegian Wood is standing out to me specifically of all his works, but it’s where I think I would like to start in 2020. I really want to read more works in translation and Murakami is so well known and his novels so highly recommended for translation works it seems necessary I at least give him a go.

Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan ➤

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I really wanted to read Mayflies this year and I just didn’t get to it. It’s a coming of age novel about a group of school friends, and it’s giving me Dead Poets Society vibes. I just really like literary fiction books like this but I wasn’t in the mood for it by the end of the year. I’m really hoping I am in the mood for it soon!

The City We Became by N.K Jemisin ➤

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Another book I really wanted to read in 2020 and just didn’t get to. I really love N.K Jemisin, I’ve read her The Fifth Season trilogy, and read How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? this year. But this book sounds right up my alley and I have seen so many great reviews of it. I really need to get to it soon!

Those are my top ten books I really want to get to in 2021. My list is much shorter this year (usually I do 20 books) because I’ve halved my reading challenge to 52 this year. I’m trying to focus on rushing my reading a bit less and I’m going to keep on mood reading so I didn’t want to add too many books to my lists. But I would love to hear what books everyone else has on their must-read lists.

until next time!