Reviews

Once & Future: King Arthur in Space and Also Queer

Once & Future (Once & Future, #1) Title: Once & Future
Author(s): Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
Series: Once & Future #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Retelling
Pages: 368
Published:
March 26th 2019
LGBTQAI+: main F/F relationship, main M/M relationship, nonbinary side character, ace side character, and more. trans/nonbinary authors.

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

4 stars

“I, um, come from a society with a history of gender assumptions based on physical markers, aesthetics, et cetera.”
“Ew,” Ari said.
“That’s wicked sad,” Kay added.
Merlin, at least, looked deeply ashamed. “You have no idea.”

I… don’t know what happened to me halfway through this book.

It started out brilliant, and sucked me in almost immediately. An adopted queer teenage girl with Arabic background, a gay wizard who ages backwards and uses songs to do magic, both of them being in same gender relationships, a nonbinary side character, an ace side character, same-gender adoptive parents, and a wonderfully diverse cast in terms of both race and sexuality. A fresh, beautiful take on Arthurian myths that somehow mixes both the past and the future, reenacting the myths of old, but in space. Also, the big bad tyrannical empire this time is not actually a government, but a corporation, and if that isn’t relevant then I don’t know what is.

I absolutely loved Merlin and his memories of all the Arthurs, the feeling that this is really an unending cycle, that they are all so different and yet still have the same soul, the same story, the same end.

So why did the second half leave me uninterested and kind of disenchanted? I really have no idea, but somewhere around the one-year timeskip I felt myself losing interest and becoming numb to the twists.

It might have had to do something with the character deaths (not telling you who, obviously, but damn I didn’t like that), or the fact that these apparent teenagers are going around having sex, getting married, and having literal babies. Not that those things don’t happen to teenagers, but it’s far from the norm, and just in general, this felt like it should have been a New Adult novel. We already have so few of those, so the missed opportunity made me kind of bitter.

I also feel like there might have been a symbolic reason behind Ari, Val, Lam and Kay all having names with three letters, but having the last three be so similar was indeed kind of annoying. I wondered why Percival couldn’t have been Percy or Perce or something instead. This is just a minor pet peeve, but still.

I am both scared and intrigued by the hints we have for the sequel (you, because you’ve never imagined it, and you because you believed you’d escaped it), and duologies are my favourite format that are also rarer than I like, so I’m still excited about next year.

NOTES:
– This should definitely have a content warning for genocide of a non-white people.
– The ace side character is only referred to as ace, but the way she describes it implies she’s supposed to be aro as well.
– There seem to be three recognised nonbinary genders in this world, referred to as “fluid”, “set” and “non”. This was a little strange, but not necessarily bad.

~ Alexa

Wrap-up

March 2019 Wrap-Up + State of the ARC

EMOJI STATISTICS

🌍 Around the Year in 52 Books: 4
🍬 Popsugar Reading Challenge: 4
🧚 Cornerfolds Retelling Challenge: 0
🏮Year of the Asian Challenge: 2

💀Monstrous March: 3
🎶#HamilThon: 14

🦊 Total: 22

Challenge progress here.

All books read here.

STATE OF THE ARC

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies).

State of the ARC has a Goodreads groups ARCs Anonymous. Join it here.

🦄 Review copies read: 6

🐇Review copies remaining: 15

bingo

bingo2.png

As you can see, I finished my first bingo sheet in three months, and since there’s still another three months left, I started working on another one!

hamilthon

I also finished every prompt for #Hamilthon… except one. I guess you can say I’ll never be satisfied, huh? I tried to finish Crooked Kingdom in the last minute, but I don’t want to force myself through 400 pages in one day if it doesn’t come naturally.

POSTS ON THE BLOG THIS MONTH

READING HIGHLIGHTS

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

(🏳️‍🌈) The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire: (Urban Fantasy) This month, I got impatient and read 4 main books in the October Daye series (#3-6), as well as two short stories. It’s like this series gets better with every book – but it also doesn’t pull punches when it comes to angst. The main character isn’t LGBT, but there are multiple sapphic side characters (and also a bisexual guy, although as of book 6 this has only been mentioned in a prequel short.)

🏳️‍🌈 Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe:(Nonfiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel) This graphic novel memoir of a biromantic asexual genderqueer person was one of the best things I’ve ever read. Seriously. The art is beautiful, the experiences are relatable and honest, and it was eerily close to my own experience despite having so many differences. This would have helped teen-me so much. (review queued)

Red, White & Royal Blue🏳️‍🌈💐Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: (New Adult, Romance) A New Adult romantic comedy between the bisexual, biracial son of the first female President of the United States, and the gay grandson of the Queen of England. I absolutely loved this book – it was funny, diverse, and also called out/paid attention to real world issues that are often ignored in political/royalty romances. (review queued)

A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell: (Short Story, Classics) I read this short story about two wives investigating a murder mystery for class, and it was so hauntingly well-written.

🏳️‍🌈 A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers: (Sci-Fi) This is the standalone sequel to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and I actually liked it even more than the first one. It had less main characters to concentrate on, and two dual storylines that both involved AIs.

🏳️‍🌈 🌱 Write Good Sh*t by RoAnna Sylver: (Nonfiction) This is a book by RoAnna that offers writing advice, both in general, and specifically on writing marginalised characters / writing as a marginalised writer. Just as RoAnna’s other works, it’s funny, relatable, and comforting, while also being honest about hardships.

NEW BOOKS THIS MONTH

Review copies

 

Bought

 

On the one hand, I was REALLY good and only bought one book this month (Once & Future is a pre-order). On the other hand, I was REALLY bad at not requesting more review copies. Oops? To be fair, I already read two of those ARCs.

Fun fact: With these two, I have now officially bought four mythology books from three different mythologies this year. (+ An e-novella based on a Native American legend.)

VIDEOGAME UPDATE

Towards the end of the month, I bought both Rise of the Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed: Rogue on sale, with pretty awesome discounts. I’ve been replaying Tomb Raider to freshen up my knowledge of the story and get a few more achievements before actually playing the sequel. I am also planning to finally play the AC games in order, but the first one is just… so boring. And yet I don’t want to just skip it? I don’t know, man.

I also finally gave Fallout: New Vegas another chance, and actually got far enough to recruit Arcade this time. He’s great, 10/10, would recommend. I’m planning to finish that game and Fallout 3 eventually (I’ve finished Fallout 3 before, but not the DLCs), but I’m distracted by Tomb Raider at the moment. Too many games to play, honestly.

Aaand then I got addicted to Stardew Valley. I’ve owned this game for years, but never really got into it before recently, because I never knew what to do? Thankfully, with some helpful tips from a friend, I am doing quite well right now and on my way to romancing Sebastian. Probably.

~ Alexa

Reviews

BLOG TOUR: Wicked Saints – Dark Fantasy with Magic, Grudging Allies and a Dangerous Romance

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)Title: Wicked Saints
Author(s): Emily A. Duncan
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Gothic
Pages: 400
Published: 
April 2nd, 2019 by Wednesday Books
LGBTQAI+: lesbian side character

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

WickedSaints_BlogTourBanner_BEFORE 4.2

5 stars

You know what I love? People who are supposed to be enemies grudgingly working together, and growing to like each other no matter how hard they fight it.  Also, an examination of what it means to be a monster, and how human monsters can be. So, really, it’s no surprise that I ended up adoring Wicked Saints.

The series title is Something Dark and Holy, and I think that describes the feeling of this book perfectly. It is deliciously dark, and yet I didn’t feel like it had any of the unnecessary violence that repulses me in many dark fantasy books. It is also focuses heavily on gods, saints, heretics and how whether something is one or the other really depends on your point of view.

The three main characters in Wicked Saints (two of them with their own POV in this book, unless we count the epilogue) are all powerful, dangerous, and possibly as likely to destroy the world as to save it.  And yet, they are also broken, charming, awkward, in love, and so many other human words. They are all enemies, and yet they all have the same goal, or at least a goal similar enough to force them to work together. Also, they all want to save their own respective countries, which doesn’t always seem possible without destroying the other.

I loved the worldbuilding in this book, but what really pulled me in and kept me going was my deep attachment to the three main characters. Nadya, Serefin and Malachiasz are all complex characters whose loyalties are tested in this book, and whose fates seem to be entwined despite their protests.

After that ending, I am a little scared what the sequel will bring, but I am definitely curious.

Emily A. DuncanEMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Website: https://eaduncan.com/
Twitter: @glitzandshadows
Instagram: @glitzandshadows
Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

OWLs Readathon 2019

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

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

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

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

curse breaker

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

Once & Future (Once & Future, #1)

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

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

Astronomy: A Walk Between Stars by Tyler R. Parsons

Care of Magical Creatures: Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

Charms: The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

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

Divination: The Outside by Ada Hoffman

Herbology: Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels

History of Magic: Ólomerdő by Csilla Kleinheincz

Muggle Studies: Marriage of Unconvenience by Chelsea M. Cameron

Potions: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Transfiguration: Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward

~ Alexa

videogames

Have I Played This Yet? | B-C

Welcome to the second part of Have I Played This Yet?, a series started by Tecsie that I found through Avery. I’m excited about this part because at least two of my favourite game series start with a B.

(And no, I never posted that separate Assassin’s Creed edition I promised. Oops? Short version: I own most of the games but haven’t finished any other than Black Flag and Liberation.)

Note: Since I have literally one game in my Steam library starting with C, I’m including it here, and then I’ll either skip the third installment, or go straight to D.

Look for hearts next to the games I recommend!

Black Closet

Playtime: 71 minutes
Status: Started
Achievements: 0%

Sooo this is a strategy game that I’m incredibly bad at. You are at a prestigious all-girl school and supposed to find a traitor, but my failure stressed me out so much that I didn’t even finish one playthrough. Maybe one day?

The Blackwell series

  • The Blackwell Legacy
  • Blackwell Unbound
  • The Blackwell Convergence
  • The Blackwell Deception
  • The Blackwell Epiphany

Combined playtime: 18 hours
Status: All games finished

💛💛💛 Remember when I said this part would have two series of games I adore? Yeah, this is one of them. You play as a medium, Rosa, who finds unsatisfied spirits with her ghost friend, Joey Mallone, and helps them… go into the light, I guess? During the series, you’ll learn more about Rosa and her family, her female ancestors and Joey’s connection to them, Joey’s past, and also a pretty big conspiracy. In the second game, you even get to play as Rosa’s aunt. Seriously, I love these so much I could play ten more of them. I miss Joey and Rosa.

The Borderlands series

  • Borderlands
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
  • Borderlands 2

Combined playtime: 65 hours (+ more outside Steam)
Status: All games except the first finished

💛💛💛 Here’s the thing: if you told me one of my favourite game series is going to be a kind of gorey shooter with multiplayer, I’d laugh in your face. And yet… I love this series so much? To clarify, multiplayer is optional, but a lot of achievements depend on it, and some of the bosses can be tough without it. Nevertheless, Borderlands is an incredibly funny series with canon queer characters, so there’s that. (I love Zer0 and Timothy so much okay.)

Broken Age

Playtime: 2 hours
Status: Started
Achievements: 7/45 (16%)

I got this in a bundle, and despite playing 2 hours, I have no idea what it’s about. I know that it’s full of puzzles that kept frustrating me.

Cibele

Playtime: 60 minutes
Status: I actually can’t remember if I got to the end of the story or not.

I got this in the same bundle as Broken Age and I remember… not liking it. At all. I also don’t think it’s really worth 9 euros, but that’s just me. Uh, it’s about a teenage girl and her long-distance relationship with a guy that doesn’t end well, and I think it may be based on a true story, or at least the “cut scenes” are filmed with real people?


That’s all for today. I have 7 games starting with D, so see you later!

~ Alexa

Reviews

She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary Resisters

She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary ResistersTitle: She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary Resisters
Author(s): Robyn Ryle
Series: 
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: 400
Published: 
March 5th 2019 by Sourcebooks

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you’ve ever questioned the logic of basing an entire identity around what you have between your legs, it’s time to embark on a daring escape outside of the binary box…

Open your eyes to what it means to be a boy or a girl — and above and beyond! Within these pages, you get to choose which path to forge. Explore over one hundred different scenarios that embrace nearly every definition across the world, over history, and in the ever-widening realms of our imagination! What if your journey leads you into a world with several genders, or simply one? Do you live in a matriarchal society, or as a sworn virgin in the Balkans? How does gender (or the lack thereof) change the way we approach sex and love, life or death?

Jump headfirst into this refreshingly creative exploration of the ways gender colors every shade and shape of our world. Above all, it’s more important than ever for us to celebrate the fact that there are infinite gender paths — and each of them is beautiful.

3 stars

Reading this book was… exhausting. I did two full paths, as well as several detours where I checked out another path, and many dead-ends. In the end, I’m sure there are still chapters I haven’t read (I might return to them later), but I feel like I have a good enough idea to write a review.

Here’s the short version: as an information resource, this book is pretty good. As a choose-your-own-adventure book that emphasises nonbinary people on the cover, it fails terribly.

1) Let’s talk about the information first. Most of this book is about binary gender roles in Western culture, with a US focus. It addresses race, class, and has some chapters on transgender healthcare, as well as a few chapters on other countries, and explanation of gender roles in some indigenous cultures. It also deals with some statistics, and gave information about gender in Olympic sports that was really interesting to me. Obviously, I can’t speak for the accuracy of all this information, but I appreciated the intersectionality, and the focus on issues that I didn’t even think of.

So, why does this book absolutely fail to deliver what the cover and blurb seemed to promise?

2a) A quick word about the formatting. I read an e-ARC that had links to every chapter in the contents, but at the end of chapters (where it gives you the choices and tells you which chapter to go next) there are no links. There are also no page numbers, which (especially in a paperback copy) would have been much more useful in my opinion than chapter numbers. This book required a lot of jumping around, as all choose-your-adventure books do, but the actual activity of jumping around was so inconvenient that after my second read-through it just got frustrating.

2b) And now let me talk about my personal experience trying to read this book as it was intended, as a nonbinary person.

On my first read, I picked that my assigned gender didn’t match the gender I felt I was. So far, so good. Next question is whether your parents accept your gender identity or not. I picked no, so I was taken to a chapter that forced me into “pretending to be a cis person for now”. And then… the gender questioning thing never came up again. I actually knew about this because another reviewer pointed it out, but it was still a really dysphoric experience, and a pretty big oversight. There could have been a chapter there about transitioning as an adult, or leaving your parents, or ANYTHING. But no, I guess if your parents don’t accept your gender then you’re out of luck forever.

On my second read, I picked that my parents accept my gender identity. This allowed me some options, like choose to be a transgender man, a transgender woman, nonbinary, or agender. (Yes, nonbinary and agender are separate.) I picked the nonbinary option, and there was about… one chapter about nonbinary experiences. Then at the marriage part, the route merged with the previous path, and I was forced into a binary of picking between being a man or a woman.

Other things I noticed:

1) If you pick the asexual option, you can be either alloromantic or aromantic, but if you pick to be allosexual, there is no mention of aromanticism.

2) I mentioned this above, but I’d just like to emphasize that for a book that emphasises nonbinary people on the cover, all the medical, sports, work and other information is only for men and women. I understand that Western society is binarist, but at the very least it could have been phrased as “you are perceived as a woman” or something similar, as opposed to “you ARE a woman”. There are also very few chapters specifically about nonbinary experiences in non-indigenous cultures.

3) There are several chapters where man vs trans man and woman vs trans woman are used, as opposed to cis man vs trans man or cis woman vs trans woman. There is also a chapter where the sentence “they have lived their lives as normal women” (as opposed to intersex) is used.

In summary, the information in this book focuses on a lot of issues and includes a variety of experiences – however, it heavily erases nonbinary people in non-indigenous cultures, and treats cisgender people as the norm, which was really disappointing after that cover.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

March Reading Update (including #Hamilthon)

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

I. OCTOBER DAYE

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

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

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

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

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

ADayAMonth

II. THE NEW WOMAN + HERLAND

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

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

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

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

III. HAMILTHON UPDATE

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

hamilthon

The prompts currently unlocked for me are:

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

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

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

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

~ Alexa

Reblogs

Early 2019 Books with Trans &/or Non-Binary Authors

I don’t usually reblog posts here, but this recommendation post is so good that I need to save it and show all my followers.

Corey's Book Corner

Here are some books I’m excited about that were released or are coming out January 2019-June 2019 that have trans and/or non-binary authors.

It is not my intent to out anyone. If I have listed identities in error that you would like me to change, or you would like to be removed from this list, please let me know.

Disclosure: All links to Amazon will be affiliate ones. If you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money on that sale (which I plan to use to buy books to review), but it will not add any to the cost of your product. It comes out of the company’s profits.

January Releases

  • Criminal Intentions: Cult of Personality by Cole McCade (Jan 10) My favorite queer detectives are dealing with a ghost and I cannot wait to read this installment of a series I adore. (Trans man author.)

View original post 1,195 more words

Wrap-up

February 2019 Wrap-Up + State of the ARC

EMOJI STATISTICS

🌍 Around the Year in 52 Books: 5
🍬 Popsugar Reading Challenge: 5
🧚 Cornerfolds Retelling Challenge: 0
📚 #BeatTheBacklist Bingo: 12
🏮Year of the Asian Challenge: 2

🍄 Fantastic February: 7

🦊 Total: 21

Challenge progress here.

All books read here.

STATE OF THE ARC

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies).

State of the ARC has a Goodreads groups ARCs Anonymous. Join it here.

🦄 Review copies read: 4

🐇Review copies remaining: 13

bingo

As you can see, I’m almost done with the bingo, but the “oldest ARC” square is one I struggle with. My oldest ARC is actually a sci-fi anthology that I started, but I keep putting it aside to read something else.

Since the bingo is for 6 months and I’m almost done, I think I’ll try my best to fill the last square in March, and then maybe re-start it again – so try to do it twice in the 6-month period. I don’t know if I’ll have another book for some of the squares, but hey, it should be a challenge, right?

POSTS ON THE BLOG THIS MONTH

READING HIGHLIGHTS

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

Kindred💐 Kindred by Octavia E. Butler: This book is a classic – called the first science fiction by a black author, although it felt more like fantasy to me, even with the time travel. It’s about a black woman married to a white man in 1976 (present time when the book was written) whose fate is tied to her white, slave-owning ancestor in the 1800s, and it’s a brutal read about slavery and racism. I never realised how easily people could be trained to accept slavery is a quote that might sum it up nicely. Also, just look at that beautiful cover.

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett: Wyrd Sisters was my first Discworld book, and while it’s not my favourite ever, I can definitely see the hype. I’m planning to check out more Discworld books later, although I’m not making any promises to read all 40. I’m mostly going for the Witches, Death and Tiffany Aching books.

🏳️‍🌈 Green Toes by Avery Flinders: This was actually a re-read of an old favourite, but it’s still just as good – which is why it made it to the top 10 list I posted this month. In just 30 pages, it tells the story of  a young bisexual woman, her search for a community that understands her identity, her romance with a genderqueer person, and even her magic  gardening boots.

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire: Since I bought Rosemary and Rue, the first book in this series last year and then didn’t get around to reading it, I figured I might as well join Louise’s A Daye a Month… book club? Readalong? I’m not sure. Then, of course, I ended up completely falling in love with the series, so now I’m actually having trouble with only reading one a month because I’m so impatient.

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)🏳️‍🌈 Forbid the Sea by Seanan McGuire: Yes, this is a short story in the same series as the book above – but it centers my favourite character ever, who is also revealed to be bisexual in this quite tragic short story. I really hope that will be brought up in the main books as well! I’m only on Book 2 out of 13, so there’s plenty of time for it.

🏳️‍🌈💐 Love Beyond Body, Space and Time edited by Hope Nicholson: This #ownvoices indigenous queer anthology really deserves more love, and I’m glad I finally got to read it. The editor isn’t indinegous, but all of the authors in the anthology are.

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan: I have emotions about all three of these main characters and their dumbass decisions. Please help. Also, look out for my 5-star review on March 31st during the blog tour.

NEW BOOKS THIS MONTH

NetGalley

Bought

~ Alexa

videogames

Have I Played This Yet? | A

Remember when I edited my description on this blog to include videogames, and then I never post about videogames ever? This is not entirely true, because I made a couple of posts about visual novels, but that’s it.

I have been meaning to change that, I’m just not really sure how to talk about videogames on a book-focused blog, or whether it’s even worth it. Fortunately, some of the blogs I follow – mainly NorthernPlunder, Tecsie and RedRocketPanda – post about videogames, so maybe these will motivate me to do so as well.

Have I Played This Yet? was originally started by Tecsie, but I picked it up from Avery’s blog (links to both in the previous paragraph). This first post is supposed to be for games starting with A, but the first games in my Steam library actually start with numbers, so I’ll be including those too.

Aaaaand… this is already making me want to continue several of these games, so HELP.

Look for hearts next to the games I recommend!

12 is Better Than 6

Playtime: 21 minutes
Status: Started
Achievements: 2% (1/46)

So I got this through Humble Bundle, and as you can see, it wasn’t really my thing. It’s a Wild West game with some strategy, but it just wasn’t holding my attention. Still, I’m a sucker for achievements, and some of these look quite easy if I just played longer, so now I kind of want to at least get a few more? I have literally one right now.

2064: Read Only Memories

Playtime: 6 hours
Status: Story completed
Achievements: 39% (25/64)

💛 Gosh, it’s been so long since I played this. Here’s what I remember: it lets you pick your own pronouns, it has a cute robot buddy, and I’m pretty sure canon queer characters? I played through it once, and I’ve been meaning to replay it because I did enjoy it and because so many achievements are left, but I was feeling meh about it. This post is actually motivating me to pick it up again! … I should be studying.

80 Days

Playtime: 9 hours
Status: Story completed
Achievements: 26% (9/35)

I love him. I have loved him for a long time, in the gaps between words and in the hesitations that linger on the tongue.

💛💛💛 Okay, so I actually adore this game. The only reason I haven’t played it recently is because I felt like I kept getting all the same routes and I got bored, but I really should try because there’s still a bunch of achievements left, so that means a lot of places I haven’t explored.

Yes, this is based on Verne’s novel, and you travel around the world in (hopefully) less than 80 days with the two main characters. There is a written story, but you decide where to go, what choices to make, and your choices influence whether you even make it home alive at all.

Also, if you ever read the original novel and thought it was kind of gay, then boy, you’re going to love this. And if you didn’t, but you love pining and forbidden (literal illegal) love, then you’re going to love it anyway.

ABZÜ

Playtime: 31 minutes
Status: Started
Achievements: 8% (1/12)

💛 Yes, yes, turns out I own ABZÜ too. I started playing it once and I found it beautiful – it’s definitely a good calming-down game if you have anxiety and just want to relax a bit. I wasn’t really feeling up to it at the time, and then I never touched it again, but I just found out from Tecsie that the main story can be completed in a very short time, so I might give it another shot soon.

AI War: Fleet Command

Playtime: 35 minutes
Status: Started
Achievements: 0%

This is another game I got for free on Humble Bundle. The fact that it has over 300 achievements and I have none of them should speak volumes. Unfortunately, it is absolutely not my thing, but I’m sure others love it? It’s a very strategy-heavy game where you control spaceship fleets and it was just too complicated and not fun for me.

(The) Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

💛 This is a free demo set in  the universe of Life is Strange, which I own on Steam, but it was lagging so much on my laptop that I quit playing pretty early. In fact, I played 57 minutes but I don’t think I got far in the story at all. — So clearly, now, motivated by this post, I have to go download it on the PS4 to play it while I can.

Note: I’m going to be making a separate post for Assassin’s Creed games and my progress with them, because there’s just so many.

~ Alexa