Hi everyone and Happy New Year! I hope 2021 is a great year for us all! This post is coming a few days later than I originally hoped but I just had no motivation to write this post over the past couple of days lol! One of my main reading goals for this year (other than reading 100 books), is to read more of my owned TBR, and to do so I’ve set two objectives for each month – read at least one non-fiction book each month, and read at least one of my classics or a book that’s been on my shelf the longest each month. As these are the books I read least often, I thought it’d be best to almost force myself to read them! I also really want to read more books by disabled authors and authors of colour this year, so I will be taking part in a few readathons this year, including one for Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and I will be aiming to read mostly books by Black authors in October, which is Black History month in the UK. Other than that, I’m just hoping to keep up with my ARCs and have fun with my reading! But without any further ado, here’s the TBR for January!
Of course, as always, I’m aiming to read a ridiculously high number of books this month, but some that I will definitely be getting to are the ARCs that are released this month! The first four are all sapphic romances published by Bold Strokes Books. I’ve already finished The Clinch and let me tell you, if you love sports lesbians and rivals-to-lovers then you need to pick this one up! I’ve had my eye on Kris Bryant’s work for a while so I’m super excited to pick up her latest novel, Scent. Thor: Daughter of Asgard is a YA fantasy romance that is also a myth retelling and, despite the not so positive reviews I’ve seen so far, I’m still really intrigued by that premise! Finally, The Last First Kiss sound like a fun butch/femme romance and I can never get enough of those! The last two are books that were published in the US last year but which are also getting published in the UK for the first time in 2021! The Seep is a sci-fi utopian novella following a Jewish trans woman of colour who is dealing with her wife deciding to leave her to be reincarnated as a baby. It’s a book I’ve been dying to pick up since its release in the US last January and with all the glowing reviews it has received, I can’t wait to finally dive into it! Finally, Black Sun is a book I had preordered months ago, but I jumped at the chance of getting to read it as an ARC while waiting for my physical copy to arrive! I don’t know much about this one other than it is a high fantasy novel with tons of queer rep and honestly that’s as much as I want to know because I’m a sucker for a good, queer adult fantasy!
Despite the festive season coming to a close, in Scotland it is very much still Wintery and cold and I’m still in the mood to curl up with a good Wintery book, so I have quite the number here that I’m excited to get to! First up is The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco which features a world that is half desert and half covered in ice, ruled over by twin goddesses. I preordered this as soon as I found out that it has a sapphic goddess/bodyguard relationship in it, but I’ve not had the chance to read it yet, and now is the perfect time since the sequel was recently released! The next book was a Christmas present from the lovely Kayla that I was hoping to read in December but I didn’t quite manage to get round to! I loved Melissa Bashardoust’s latest novel, Girl, Serpent, Thorn, so I’ve been excited to read more from her, and it turns out that her first book, Girls Made of Snow and Glass, is sapphic too! Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett may not seem like the kind of book I’d normally reach for, but it’s part of one of my absolute favourite middle grade/ya fantasy series – the Tiffany Aching series! It’s such a hilarious series and uses so much of the Scots language, which I grew up speaking, and I always have so much fun reading them! This is the third book in the series and I can’t wait to go back into the world of the Nac Mac Feegle!
The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is simply in this category because to me, it has Wintery vibes, and that’s it! It’s inspired by the Vardø storm which killed all the men on the island, and the 1621 witch trials, which sounds super interesting, and it’s sapphic, which is all I really want to know before going into it! Finally, my classic-slash-old-book-choice of the month is The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I picked this one up back in 2019 after hearing so much hype about the series and its beautiful writing, but I’ve slowly lost interest in it – but not enough to simply get rid of the book. Again, I don’t know too much about this one, other than the fact that it’s based on Russian folklore, but I’d love to know what you thought of the book if you’ve read it!
Next up is the ambiguously titled ~sapphic books~ category! Sapphic books make up the majority of books that I read because…well…I am sapphic! Though there are obviously other books on this TBR that are sapphic, these just didn’t really fall into any other category that I could organise nicely! We Are Okay was the first book that I read in 2021 – I wanted to start the year of well and I really did! It’s a beautiful, raw book about dealing with loss and grief and it’s definitely a hard-hitting read! Annie on My Mind is a sapphic ‘classic’ that was one of the first sapphic books I ever heard about. For some reason, in my mind I need to read this in Winter so that’s why I’m picking it up this month! The Unspoken Name is another book that I preordered last year but then heard some not so great reviews of, causing me to keep putting off reading it, even though it sounds right up my street (sapphic orc spy/assassin? Yes please!). But recently I’ve seen some really great reviews from people whose reviews I trust, and I’ve seen it on quite a few Best of 2020 lists, so I’m really excited to finally get round to reading it!
Last year I read, and loved, Kirsty Logan’s feminist, queer horror short story collection, Things We Say in the Dark, so I’ve been really excited about picking up some of her full-length novels. I saw Mallory talking about The Gloaming on her Instagram recently so I picked myself up a copy from Queer Lit bookshop because sapphic mermaids sounds amazing!! The last two books are by Robin Talley and, again, I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know much about them! I loved the two books by Robin Talley that I read in 2020, and I’m super excited to read her backlist, so I picked up Lies We Tell Ourselves and As I Descended really cheap second-hand on Depop!
Because I’m determined to read more of my owned TBR, I only have a few pre-orders for January. The first is Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (my first book by Malinda!), which I can’t wait to read as it’s historical fiction, set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1954 during the Red Scare. Another book that was released earlier elsewhere than it was in the UK is A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha which is a sapphic Portuguese folklore retelling, and I’ve heard Marta talk so often about how much she loves it that I absolutely can’t wait to pick it up as soon as it arrives!
When Tara Met Farrah is a sapphic romance that I’m dying to read! It’s a sunshine girl/grumpy girl romance between two brown girls and it just sounds so, so adorable! Plus the cover is absolutely gorgeous! Finally, Tess Sharpe is yet another author I’ve been dying to pick up for a while now, so her latest novel The Girls I’ve Been has been on my radar for months now! This one follows the daughter of a con artist who gets caught up as a hostage in a bank robbery…and it’s sapphic! This sounds like the book of my dreams!!
The penultimate category is the book club picks I’ll be reading this month! I’m reading these as part of the Sapphic Stories Bookclub, and for our first month there are two books! The first is the book I’m currently reading – The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar! I’m so excited to finally have an excuse to pick this one up because I’ve heard such amazing things about it from literally everyone who’s read it! Again, although rivals-to-lovers isn’t my favourite genre, I can’t wait to read this one! The second book, Plain Bad Heroines, doesn’t actually get released in the UK until February, but I was lucky enough to be approved for and audiobook ARC copy, so I will be joining in with reading this one too! This is adult sapphic horror which just speaks to my soul and, although it’s a real chunky book, I am so excited to finally be able to pick up another book by Emily M. Danforth!
I told you this was an over-ambitious TBR, but we’re finally at our last category which…is a bit of a strange one! These are the stragglers that didn’t fit anywhere else! First up I’ll be re-reading two books this month! The Bone Season starts off one of my all-time favourite series, of which the fourth book is finally being released this year! It’s been a good two years or so since I last read the series, so I want to refresh my memory before I pick up the latest instalment (stay tuned to see if the ending of this one makes me cry again!). Recently I picked up a second-hand copy of Inkmistress from Depop and so I thought it was finally time to get round to picking up the second book in the Of Fire and Stars duology. However, I can’t even remember how many years ago it was since I read the first book, so I’m having to re-read it! I’m not unhappy about this in the slightest though, as this book holds a special place in my heart for being the first sapphic fantasy novel I ever read! Finally, my non-fiction read of the month is In Their Shoes by Jamie Windust – a memoir-like book all about being nonbinary! I’ve already finished this one, too and I was very pleasantly surprised!
What books are you starting the year off with? And if you’ve read any of these ones, I’d love to know what you thought of them! Stay safe!