Wednesday 31 July 2019

July Wrap-Up.

Reading-wise, it has been a pretty appalling month. I kind of expected it to be though as I've had lots to catch up on work-wise after the wedding/honeymoon and I'm finding myself falling into a bit of a reading slump again. I managed two reads overall, only one of which was on my original list. I'm getting better at not beating myself up over this stuff though!

  1. 'Naturally Tan' by Tan France. I have now got through Season 4 of Queer Eye and this was the perfect accompaniment. Tan France is one of the fabulous five hosts of the show and his British origins have meant I've always had a soft spot for him. I loved the insights about the show's processes that I gleaned from this read, and learning more about his life, though perhaps could have done without his slightly over-critical nature at times. 3.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'Mooncakes' by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu. Graphic novels might be the answer to this slump I'm having. Especially queer ones. I loved this little story for a variety of reasons - the diverse characters, fun plot and supernatural goodness. There's a lot of originality in here too! 4/5 Stars.

This month I read zero books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total seventeen.

This month I read two books for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total eight.

- Naturally Tan
- Mooncakes

This month I read zero books for the Finishing The Series Challenge, making my yearly total four.

This month I read two books for the Diversity Reading Challenge, making my yearly total eighteen.

- Naturally Tan 
*Mini Challenge: (LGBT Pride Summer)*
- Mooncakes 
*Mini Challenge: (LGBT Pride Summer)*

Monday 29 July 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (22nd July - 28th July)...

There's not much to talk about this week in all honesty, other than the fact that I went to the Dentist and got to see my family for the first time since the wedding! It was nice to have a catch-up! My sister is getting pretty close to her due date now so it's certainly getting more nerve-wracking and exciting my the minute.

I Read...


I Received...


Monday 22 July 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (15th July - 21st July)...

This week has been so much fun, particularly Monday, as for the first time in ages I went to the Theatre! Yay! I went with Mat and a good friend of mine, and we saw A Midsummer Night's Dream starring Gwendoline Christie at the Bridge Theatre! It is for sure one of the best Theatre experiences I've ever had as we were in the pit, meaning we were actually in the show and the actors acted around us! There was dancing, acrobatics, hilarity, and an eerie, enchanted feel. I absolutely loved it and would definitely recommend it!

Mat and I have also started a D&D group and Thursday was character creation day, or 'Session 0' as it's often referred to. I had so much fun making my character and I'm totally intrigued by the sheer complexity of this game, but it looks like so much fun! I've never played before - looking forward to trying!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Mooncakes' by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu: NetGalley (19/07/19)

Friday 19 July 2019

Book Review: Mooncakes; Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu.

I stumbled upon this one on NetGalley quite by accident but I'm so glad I did! What a find!

SOURCE: NetGalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Mooncakes
AUTHOR: Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu
PAGES: 256
GENRE: Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+, Fantasy, Romance

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers' bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

What I Liked:

  • This story just felt so effortless. I liked the plot because it was heartwarming and felt like a fresh take on a few common tropes! I was intrigued by the world-building and wanted to know more about this world filled with witches, ghosts, demons and people with pigeon heads.
  • I really loved the diversity in this one. In this story you'll find a non-traditional family structure, Chinese-American characters, a deaf MC, a F/NB romance, and so much more! If you support diverse books then please give this adorable story a try!
What I Disliked:
  • I'd have liked this to be longer? Currently, it seems to be a standalone and I'd love to see this as part of a series because I'm so intrigued by a lot of aspects of this and want some of my questions answered! It did give me that 'snapshot' feeling rather than that of the whole picture, so I'm hoping that this turns into something bigger!
Overall Conclusion:
I really loved this graphic novel, and am so glad that it caught my attention while browsing NetGalley. Not only was it a quick, easy read but it was a great story, and had oodles of great characters and fun supernatural shenanigans. I'd like to see more from this world please!

Monday 15 July 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (8th July - 14th July)...

I'll be honest, this week has been a little on the uneventful side. I did get a few sneak peeks of some of the wedding photos that Mat and I can expect to see, and we are very excited to see more! They are stunning!

One great thing that did happen was that I finally received my FairyLoot June box! It has been a bit of a debacle trying to get hold of it seeing as it was delivered nearly a month prior but honestly the team at FairyLoot have been nothing short of amazing in quickly responding and trying to make it right. I received a very exciting book too!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Sorcery Of Thorns' by Margaret Rogerson: FairyLoot Box (08/07/19)
- 'Crossfire' by Malorie Blackman: NetGalley (13/07/19)

Sunday 14 July 2019

Book Review: Naturally Tan; Tan France.

Season 4 of Queer Eye is almost here, and so I'm celebrating by reading Tan France's newly released book, 'Naturally Tan'!

SOURCE: NetGalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Naturally Tan
AUTHOR: Tan France
PUBLISHER: Virgin Digital
PAGES: 271
GENRE: Autobiography, Memoir, Non-Fiction, LGBTQ+

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Growing up gay in a traditional South Asian family in South Yorkshire, Tan France could never have imagined he’d become part of a worldwide phenomenon. One of the few people of colour at his school, he experienced racist bullies, found solace at his grandad’s denim factory and eventually discovered his true calling at fashion college. Told with his trademark humour, for the first time Tan reveals the experiences that have made him the witty, compassionate man he is today.

From meeting the love of his life Rob (a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City) to juggling three demanding businesses, Tan charts the highs and lows on his path to Queer Eye. And of course he can’t help but pepper this book with fashion dos and don’ts. Full of candid observations about US and UK cultural differences, celebrity encounters, and behind-the-scenes revelations about Queer Eye, Naturally Tan gives us Tan’s unique perspective on the happiness to be found in being yourself.

What I Liked:
  • I love Queer Eye and so getting to see the production of the show in more depth was really cool. The audition process especially was awesome to read about, it sounds like a lot of fun and a very interesting approach! I think reading more about the show, the fab five and Tan's experiences within Queer Eye was my favourite part of this book.
  • I also liked reading about Tan's childhood, and it was interesting to read about the culture that he grew up in and how the fact that he was gay was not the only reason that he ended up feeling isolated in his community.
What I Disliked:
  • The writing was not bad and felt very distinctly Tan, but there was a common theme in which Tan would ask a rhetorical question and then answer it a few times in a row repeatedly and that annoyed the heck out of me. I'll give an example: 'Were Tan's rhetorical questions repetitive? Yes. Did I want him to stop? Yes. Did it ruin my life? No.' The good news is that I read it all in his voice in my head, so the writing definitely contained the essence of Tan.
  • For someone who is about promoting individuality and staying true to yourself, Tan France is very critical. He gives a variety of top tips on how men and women shouldn't dress, wear their hair, and behave in order to become sexier or more likeable. I'm not 100% surprised as he is the 'style' portion of the show and it is his job. But some of it felt unnecessarily harsh.
Overall Conclusion:
This was an enjoyable read - Tan France originates from England so I totally got his sense of humour, gripes about American culture and language and found a lot of his experiences relatable. Of course, I also learnt a lot about the South Asian community and culture, gay culture (something I have not really immersed myself in), Queer Eye and personal style. It's a shame that the writing was not as edited as I'd have liked and that some of the advice that Tan gave grated on me a little (there is nothing I love more as a women than being told how to dress and look by a man) but I think  everything that Tan wrote was well-intentioned and fit well with the image of the show. I still love him and look forward to watching more Queer Eye when the new season hits!

Monday 8 July 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (1st July - 7th July)...

Mat and I are back in the country and have an absolute ton of life to catch up on, so had very little time to read/relax. Firstly, we have been to see so much at the cinema, which was nice because we haven't gone in a while! We really loved the new 'Live Action' version of Aladdin, enjoyed (whilst ignoring continuity errors) X-Men: Dark Phoenix and absolutely adored the latest instalment from the MCU, Spiderman: Far From Home! All great films to come back to and hopefully there are many more cinema shenanigans to come!

I also met up with the lovely friend that I am in the process of co-creating a comic with and we are working towards getting back on track with that because this project is looking to be so much fun! It was nice to enjoy the sun in the process too. On Sunday, Mat and I had a catch-up with some of our friends at a barbecue and that rounded a lovely week off nicely!

I Read...


I Received...

- 'The Ten Thousand Doors Of January' by Alix E Harrow: NetGalley (01/07/19)
- 'David Mogo, Godhunter' by Suyi Davies Okungbowa: NetGalley (02/07/19)
- 'City Of Ghosts' by Victoria Schwab: Gift (03/07/19)

I Posted...

Planned Reads For July
Pride Weekend - Top LGBTQ+ Reads
Pride Weekend - Most Anticipated Queer Reads

Sunday 7 July 2019

Pride Weekend - My Most Anticipated Queer Reads!

Once again - happy Pride to all! I'm back after my post yesterday which listed my favourite LGBTQ+ reads to date, and I'm now going to take a look at what is coming up! It actually makes me so happy knowing that so many wonderful queer reads are coming out in the future, as I am always here for diversity in literature! I think we all want to feel represented when reading books and though there are plenty of cis, white girls for me to choose from, I would love to read less about neuro-typical straight girls, and more about anxiety-ridden bisexuals!

So here goes - click on the covers to be taken to the Goodreads page!

It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Lesbian horror fiction is just...such a mood. The sickness in this sounds so intriguing and alongside that gorgeous cover, I am in love.


Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity . . . except for Amora. Asgard's resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him.

But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard's most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor.

When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he's meant to be.

Did someone say Marvel? Did someone say 19th Century London? DID SOMEONE SAY PANSEXUAL, GENDERFLUID LOKI? Here. For. It.


They say the thirst of blood is like a madness - they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn't understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate...

This cover has me drooling. As does the vampire-filled synopsis. I love the idea of an LGBTQ+ deep-dive into the story of the brides of Dracula. Honestly, this is one of my most anticipated upcoming releases.


Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya—obsessed with ancient myths—lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has hidden her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are caught in an intimate moment, they are sent to Friendly Saviours: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to save them both and to return them to the world of the living, at any cost. 

In a haunting voice reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, with the contemporary lyricism of David Levithan, Orpheus Girl is a mythic story of dysfunctional families, first love, heartbreak—and the fierce adolescent resilience that has the power to triumph over darkness and ignorance.

This book looks amazing and I love the synopsis purely for it's homage to Greek myths, my favourite kind!


A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher's chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog -- donning the moniker Technician -- to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner's tyrannical laws.

Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner's son, has never had to fear the law. Determined to earn his father's respect, Nathaniel sets out to capture the Technician. But the more he learns about the outlaw, the more he questions whether his father's elusive affection is worth chasing at all.

Their game of cat and mouse takes an abrupt turn when Eliza, a skilled assassin and spy, arrives. Her mission is to learn the Commissioner's secrets at any cost -- even if it means betraying her own heart.

When these uneasy allies discover the most dangerous secret of all, they must work together despite their differences and put an end to a deadly epidemic -- before the Commissioner ends them first. 

I want to read more sci-fi! Especially if it's LGBTQ+, and this one not only contains a lesbian romance, but also an ace MC!


This modern, groundbreaking YA anthology explores the complexity and beauty of interracial and LGBTQ+ relationships where differences are front and centre.

"When people ask me what this anthology is about, I’m often tempted to give them the complicated answer: it’s about race, and about how being different from the person you love can matter but how it can also not matter, and it’s about Chinese pirate ghosts, black girl vigilantes, colonial India, a flower festival, a garden of poisons, and so, so much else. Honestly, though? I think the answer’s much simpler than that. Colour outside the Lines is a collection of stories about young, fierce, brilliantly hopeful people in love."

After reading 'Proud' I really want to read another curated collection, and this one has caught my eye because it focuses on PoC characters and interracial relationships!


I am so hyped for these reads and know that there'll be plenty more to get excited about in the future too! Let me know what queer reads you are anticipating in the future!

Saturday 6 July 2019

Pride Weekend - My Top LGBTQ+ Reads!

So first of all, to everyone (but particularly Brits in London right now), HAPPY PRIDE!

This time of year is very special to me - and I'm devastated that I didn't get to go at all because I was working. It would have meant the absolute world to me if I could have done. But we did a lot of really fun stuff at work, and I still got to dress up!

In honour of the London Pride celebrations, I decided to create a couple of posts based around LGBTQ+ books that I've read and recommend to those that want to diversify their reading, and those that I'm hotly anticipating (which you'll find tomorrow).

So without further ado, here are a few of my fave LGBTQ+ reads...

One of my very first ever M/M romances was Benjamin Alire Sáenz's 'Aristotle & Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe' and I was absolutely addicted to this book. It's beautifully written, emotional, romantic and quickly becoming a classic in the world of LGBTQ+ fiction. I'd definitely recommend to those looking to read more gay YA.

My next chosen novel might be one of my favourite of all time, and I particularly adored Robin Talley's 'Lies We Tell Ourselves' because not only did it portray a gorgeous F/F romance, but it also perfectly captured the essence of racial tension and segregation in the late 1950s. I can't shout enough about how those first few chapters following a group of PoCs simply trying to get to class was one of the most harrowing things to read of all time. If you read and ended up liking this, do also try out Talley's 'As I Descended', a lesbian retelling of Macbeth set at a boarding school. It's fabulous!

Next on the list has to be a more recent read of mine, a collection curated by trans icon Juno Dawson - 'Proud'. You'll find stories, art and poetry-a-plenty in here. All contributors are #OwnVoices and all are fiercely talented. Favourites included 'Penguins' by Simon James Green (gay love and gayer penguins), 'I Hate Darcy Pemberley by Karen Lawler (I am always here for a lesbian retelling of Jane Austen's 'Pride & Prejudice') and 'The Phoenix's Fault' by Cynthia So (LGBTQ+ goodness in an asian historical fantasy setting). Read. This. Book.

For those of you that find graphic novels to be more your thing, then do make time for Alice Oseman's 'Heartstopper'. It is phenomenal. I love the British grammar school setting and the characters are just masterfully crafted. If you've read some of Oseman's novels (I totally recommend it if you haven't), then this focuses on Nick & Charlie from 'Solitaire' but also features Aled from 'Radio Silence' which is a lot of fun! Vol. 1 & 2 are available in paperback (they capture chapters 1-3) but the whole thing so far can be read in WebComic format on and tumblr.

I wanted to include some sci-fi & fantasy LGBTQ+ reads too because I find it's often harder to find those - especially very good ones. So let's start with Becky Chambers 'The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet', a space opera that totally made me realise that I should read more sci-fi. I loved the characters in this, each one stole my heart. It is a character-driven novel - slow on the plot - but Chambers found so many new and interesting ways to represent diversity and 'other' while creating each species and I lived for it.

Malinda Lo's 'Ash' is also an absolute gem of a read - deeply rooted in fae magic and a f/f retelling of the classic fairytale 'Cinderella' are just two reasons why this book remains one of my favourites. I loved the sinister take on the fairy Godmother, the similarities and differences to the original story and of course the fact that Lo replaced Prince Charming with Kaisa, the King's Huntress.

And there you have it - a few of my favourite queer reads! What do you think of my choices? Do you have any that you want to shout about? Let me know!

Monday 1 July 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (24th June - 30th June)...

Well the main event of this week was returning from glorious Croatia and spending the last few days off from work with my wonderful husband. We both had a lovely time away, enjoying some truly gorgeous weather and even though I am going back to work soon (and down to Earth again with a bump) I am on cloud nine because this last few weeks has just been so special!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Nightchaser' by Amanda Bouchet: NetGalley (24/06/19)
- 'The Heart Of The Circle' by Keren Landsman: NetGalley (25/06/19)
- 'Aphrodite Made Me Do It' by Trista Mateer: NetGalley (25/06/19)
- 'Gods Of Jade & Shadow' by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: NetGalley (26/06/19)
- 'The Grace Year' by Kim Liggett: NetGalley (26/06/19)
- 'Bone China' by Laura Purcell: NetGalley (26/06/19)
- 'Soul Of The Sword' by Julie Kagawa: NetGalley (28/06/19)

I Posted...

June Wrap-Up

Planned Reads For July.

Even though I'm officially 'back', I'm really enjoying the lack of pressure when I pick less books per month, so I'm picking out another six for July! Seeing as the 6th July is London Pride, I really want to focus include some LGBTQ+ reads, but also Summer puts me in the mood for lots of contemporary reads with light, fun covers!

'Reign Of The Fallen' by Sarah Glenn Marsh has been on my TBR for way too long, and as much as I love seeing it's beautiful cover on my pile, I want to read it too! Pink, necromancers, a bisexual MC and plenty of fantastical shenanigans are all things I am so here for!

I took a few of the books on this list on my honeymoon with me, 'The Love Interest' by Cale Dietrich being one of them. I love the idea of two boys from rival 'spy' academies working agains each other to get the girl but maybe...falling for each other? So original and fun!

My next pick is a book perfect for the season! 'What If It's Us' by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera sounds like the gay rom-com I've always wanted. I hope it lives up to the hype I've built in my head for it!

Madeline Miller's 'The Song Of Achilles' looks like a stunning addition to my list of July's reads, and the following that this book has is more than enough to convince me that I will love this. It contains Greek Mythology, my favourite, and an LGBTQ+ outlook on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus.

I love watching Queer Eye so is it any wonder that I want to read Tan France's autobiography 'Naturally Tan'? It looks super funny, and as Tan is from England originally I'm quite excited to read about his experiences in this country.

My last choice looks like it will take my emotions and drown me with them, but I'm really loving the cover and concept of 'Summer Bird Blue'. I enjoyed the last book I read that focused on grief immensely ('The Astonishing Colour Of After' by Emily X.R. Pan) and this one is set in Hawaii!