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December 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

December has, quite predictably, been a below average reading month. I fell into a bad slump and even what I did read, I mostly haven’t had the energy to review. I found it interesting, however, that my current version of “woe, I barely read anything this month” is still more books compared to the slump months of previous years (6 books as opposed to 4 or less).

As far as the yearly wrap-up goes…well, I hope I finish it before February? 😂


  • The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan (reread): As good as ever, fits me as well as ever. Glad of it.
  • On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard: My favourite of the Xuya books so far, probably the best entry point into the series of what I’ve read so far. The tech is finally starting to make some sort of sense.
  • The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal: Very readable, queernorm space mystery. Also cocktail recipes! (Both alcoholic and not!)
  • Geometries of Belonging: Stories and Poems from the Birdverse by R.B. Lemberg: Lovely. Very queer, very neurodivergent, beautifully written. Seems like the only short story collections I enjoy are single-author, single-world ones.
  • Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo: Falls somewhere between the previous two books on the enjoyment scale.
  • Ash by Malinda Lo: Lesbian Cinderella. Fairly standard retelling, not without flaws (very abrupt ending!), but a fun, quick YA read.

Books read in 2022: 75 (+ 16 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 🥳

November 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

November is also the month when seasonal depression hits. I was relatively lucky this year that the gloomy weather didn’t start until the second half, but I’m well and truly in it now (hence the late wrap-up post) and not really able to either read or review. Instead, I’m watching shows and knitting, or playing games. The blog will return, so please stand by 😄


  • A Restless Truth by Freya Marske (ARC): Just as fun and spicy as the first book!
  • The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (DNF 37%): Very saccharine and I was feeling too grumpy for it. Maybe another time.
  • Mindline by M.C.A. Hogarth (reread): Needed some hurt/comfort.
  • Dracula Daily also finished this month. A really fun and approachable way to a classic, especially the community aspect on tumblr.
  • The Red Scholar’s Wake by Aliette de Bodard (ARC): Liked it. But some of the worldbuilding, especially the mindships, went a little over my head. Decided to read more Xuya.
  • The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (reread): Needed more hurt/comfort.
  • The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin (reread): Excellent and readable as always. Plus I forgot enough that the worldbuilding reveals felt at least a little fresh 😂
  • Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk: Good novella, fresh and vibrant setting (1930s Chicago!), very queer.
  • Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard: Good, if dense for a novella, but I read it a little too close to The Red Scholars Wake and the relationships felt a little too similar. Still, enjoyed reading about a scholar.


  • Andor: Started a new knitting project just so I could watch it. Fucking loved it. Naturally. This is probably the best of Star Wars so far. More on the dark and serious side, but still hopeful, and really leans into the antifascism of rebellion against the Empire. And what’s best: no fucking Jedi.
  • Rewatched Rogue One. Still mediocre with a good ending.
  • Rewatched half of s02 of The Mandalorian as a refresher. Except for the episode with the spiders, which I skipped.

Books read in 2022: 70 (+ 15 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 🥳

Retrospective: Dracula Daily

This both is and isn’t a review. Yes, I’m among those who read Dracula via the Dracula Daily newsletter and I had a great time. On the other hand, it’s really hard to review or critique something that’s not only a book but also a minor cultural phenomenon, with the latter part being rather essential. You cannot talk about recommending or not recommending an experience that is unlikely to repeat for others to take part in, or at least not at such scale. But I had to write something for goodreads to mark it as read, and, well, turns out I have a lot to say.

Continue reading “Retrospective: Dracula Daily”

October 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

October was another pretty good month. Not one single DNF. As a reward for having finished Bingo in September, I got myself paperbacks (cheap, visibly used, mismatched, but they’ll do) of the first half of Dunnett’s Niccolò series and reread the first book immediately to refresh my memory. I also briefly got lucky and got up to the coveted 80% on Netgalley, but then a few requests I’ve given up on got approved and, well. But that’s how blogging is! 😂 And the books are great so I can’t complain.


  • Niccolò Rising by Dorothy Dunnett (reread): Just as good as I remembered, and even more fun. The ostrich subplot is just the best.
  • The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee (ARC): Expected a weird western, got something mostly about fae. Disappointing.
  • His Quiet Agent (reread) and Agents of Winter by Ada Maria Soto: One of my favourite fluffy hurt/comfort romance series. Even if it’s contemporary, it hits all the tropes I like and the characters are asexual.
  • The Two Doctors Górski by Isaac Fellman (ARC): A very heavy novella about PhD magic students, trauma, and academic abuse. Quiet and low-key in Fellman’s usual style. Good, but oof.
  • Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling: Creepy little gothic novella. Suits the season well.
  • The Keeper’s Six by Kate Elliott (ARC): Kind of underwhelming. I’d say there was too much infodumping but really, I just didn’t vibe with it.
  • Kundo Wakes Up by Saad Z. Hossain: Liked it! Delightfully batshit world again, but more introspective than The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday.
  • Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell (ARC): Nothing groundbreaking, but very light and fun and easy to read in large chunks. Loved the disaster protagonist.
  • Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: Based on the cover and the first few chapters, I expected more horror vibes and less quirky adventure than the book ended up being. And a lot of it didn’t click with me.

Currently reading:

  • A Restless Truth by Freya Marske (ARC): Took a while to hook me but I’ve been enjoying it very very much.

Books read in 2022: 65 (+ 10 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 🥳

September 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

Quality-wise, September has been a below average reading month, and quantity-wise, an unremarkable one. However! I finally managed to finish this year’s r/Fantasy Bingo, even earlier than last year (November, already very early by my standards!) 🥳 I hope I’ll manage to get the wrap-up post finished in a reasonable amount of time (knowing myself, I won’t). Formatting and statistics have, at least, been done, but writing short descriptions for 25 books is my version of hell.

Also, here is my Bingo journal spread! Had to find a way to use up all those stickers 😂

bingo journal spread


  • The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez (ARC): A reasonably decent book, but I absolutely hated reading it. Awful slog.
  • The Past is Red by Catherynne M. Valente: Didn’t like the whimsical style at first, but the second half was quite good.
  • Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence by R.F. Kuang: Brilliant. Language nerdery, anti-colonialism…in short, just up my alley and worth the preorder.
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey (reread): The older I am when I reread, the more I realise that this…aged really badly in many aspects and the less I like it. Oh well.
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North: Fun premise, didn’t vibe with the blandness of the narrator.
  • The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis (ARC): Apart from the setting, this is bog standard vampire UF. Not bad, but aggressively mediocre.
  • A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland (DNF 45%): Oil and water, me and this book. Should have been just up my alley, but I started nitpicking the dumb plot pretty much as soon as I started.
  • The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg (ARC): Liked that one a whole lot. I found the writing clumsy in the first few pages (strange, the short stories and The Four Profound Weaves had no such issues that I’d remember) but it got smoother and some themes were very close to my heart. Need to ruminate on it a bit before I review.

Currently reading:

  • The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee (ARC): Queer weird western sounded pretty good to me, and that cover is spectacular. We’ll see!
  • Also aiming to finish the fourth part of Les Misérables soonish…?

Books read in 2022: 57 (+ 8 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 🥳

August 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

Ah, August, vacation month. Is it really so unexpected that I managed to read a lot of books? Especially with limited internet abroad? (And me accidentally using up half of it in the first two days with tumblr. Oops.)

I also got a new kindle for my birthday, with much better battery life!


  • Another part (3/5) of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Wordy as usual, but at least no convents or Waterloo this time.
  • The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri (ARC): Wasn’t a huge fan. Felt like the plot barely moved for over half the book and I was bored, too.
  • The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth (reread): As good and melancholic as I remember it being. Wow.
  • The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard (DNF 42%): Sounded so perfect, great worldbuilding, but…meh. Overlong, with a main character who barely faces any adversity and is always right.
  • Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner (ARC): My oldest ARC. Very flawed plot structure, but I had enough fun that I’ll read the other book set in the same universe anyway.
  • The Sign of the Dragon by Mary Soon Lee (DNF 19%): Would be great if not for the fact that I have always hated bland free verse.
  • A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys: A very queer, very Jewish first contact novel. Incredibly well-written and slightly reminiscent of Le Guin, but not terribly compelling.
  • Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree: The most hyped slice of life book of the year, of course I had to try it. And I enjoyed it, but aspects of the worldbuilding felt sloppy.
  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers: Didn’t vibe with it as much as the middle two, but it was still good old slice of life and a very quick read.
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (reread): Somehow finishing the last book made me want to reread the first. Still good.
  • Their Heart a Hive by Fox N. Locke: Slice of life as sweet and comforting as honey. A village boy is hired by a strange person after he kills a bee. Queernorm world, cottagecore vibes, folktale influences, lots of bees.

Currently reading:

  • The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez: Not too sure of it yet. The prose and POV style are unique, but the story…so far, not really.

Books read in 2022: 50 (+ 7 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 21/25 (84%)

July 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

July has been a fairly unremarkable month. Job search continued (to no success), an average amount of books read, no vacation yet. But I started playing my old Stardew Valley save again because I heard it’s possible to get a dino and an ostrich and it took me a few weeks (real-time, about a year in-game) but I did it!


  • The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee: Wanted to finish the series. All I can say is, Monty is an asshole, I have no idea how I got through the first book, and second half was much better than the first.
  • A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha (reread): Rec’d it to someone cause it fit their request and then got the desire to reread. It’s not perfect, it’s still a bit of a mess, but I do like it more the second time around.
  • The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller (DNF 53%): It was very meh overall and then I hit an insufferable POV. Nope. I’m done.
  • An Oresteia translated by Anne Carson: Holy shit. That was beautiful. The story, whatever, as a former Greek mythology nerd it’s familiar enough, but the language is astonishing. I don’t know if I can review it.
  • Explorer and Destroyer by C.J. Cherryh: High-stakes interspecies space diplomacy, just as I wanted. The first one started a little slow but got going soon enough, but the second one mercifully opened with a bang. I guess this is my palate cleanser series of guaranteed 4* reads now.
  • High Times in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson (ARC): Hated this one, especially the humour. But it was just kind of a mess in general too.
  • Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots (reread): As good as I remember.
  • The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling: Creepy gothic horror similar to The Path of Thorns, but with more blood and guts. Enjoyed it a lot.
  • A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers: Nope, I do not like Monk & Robot. I find the characters annoying and the philosophy heavy-handed and trite. A shame, Wayfarers is one of my fave series.

Currently reading:

  • The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard: Conflictless and very long (do I have the stamina? We’ll see!), but cozy. Feels like a mashup of The Goblin Emperor and taking your fully-leveled-up Stardew Valley character on vacation to that island.

Books read in 2022: 44 (+ 5 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 18/25 (72%)

June 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

June was without a doubt a great reading month. I didn’t think so, since the second to last book I read, Scarlet Odyssey, took me forever, but looking back, 4 novellas, 3 novels, 1 DNF and 16/25 done with Bingo three months in is not bad at all.


  • Spear by Nicola Griffith: Possibly my fave Arthurian book so far. Very queer and very very well-written. The afterword about the author’s writing process made it even better.
  • His Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto (reread): Needed a comfort reread.
  • The Path of Thorns by A.G. Slatter (ARC): Gothic fantasy, rather dark and murdery but I enjoyed it a lot. Very feminist as well.
  • Aurora’s Angel by Emily Noon (DNF 13%): That’s an early DNF even for me, but the clunky, awkward dialogue was a complete dealbreaker. A shame because I was looking forward to it.
  • Of the Wild by E. Wambheim: Cute, fluffy novella about a fae shapeshifter and his found family.
  • Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki: Not perfect, the tonal disonnance between the POVs at the start is irritating, but it’s full of heart and donuts and was impossible for me to put down.
  • Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi: Read it pretty much because I was looking for a book with antelopes in it. Really good worldbuilding, but the plot is exactly the kind of multi-POV epic fantasy I struggle with.
  • The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia: Good ideas, but the execution was a bit of a mess. Should have been a novel with how much it had going on.

Currently reading:

  • The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller: Went into this one pretty much blind. Let’s see where it goes!
  • The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee: Got reminded that I never finished the series and I wanted a lighter read…but…the sibling interactions are so full of secondhand embarrassment I might just DNF.

Books read in 2022: 37 (+ 3 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 16/25 (64%)

April & May 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

Posting two months at the same time again, but by the time I remembered I had half a wrap-up for April sitting in drafts (look: I’m not great at this whole blogging thing 😂), it was already mid-May. I was far too wrapped up in, first, frantic Bingo reading combined with a reviewing slump, then learning my way around watercolours, then a reading slump induced by two disappointing books in a row, then travel – in short, too much to keep the blog active.

But hey, I got to see a very Moria-like cave and really cool castle!


  • Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman: Probably one of my favourite books of the year. Very low-key and messily queer, loved it.
  • Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell: Enjoyable novella with Stardew Valley vibes.
  • Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances by Aliette de Bodard (ARC): Fun enough but argh, I hate miscommunication used to add drama.
  • Foreigner #3-5 by C.J. Cherryh: Still excellent. And poor Bren still can’t catch a break.
  • Two Dark Moons by Avi Silver: A fairly standard coming of age plot but very unique worldbuilding and the story flowed well.
  • Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky (DNF): Too much worldbuilding infodumps, not enough character work. I didn’t care about anything that went on.
  • The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach (ARC): Loved it. Weird in the vein of Vandermeer, Māori-inspired, and a very quick read.
  • Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu: Cute, but similar pacing issues to most novellas.
  • Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi: Prequel to Pet focusing on the revolution. Enjoyable, with much to think about.
  • The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (DNF): Boring to the point it was pushing me into a slump. Absolutely nothing interesting – not the writing, not the characters, wordlbuilding, plot…meh.


  • Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor: Promising start, but the first book ended with a frankly outrageous cliffhanger and in the second the plot devolved into a mess.
  • The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler: Between the antisemitic tropes used, not being a fan of how the revolution was handled, miscommunication romance drama, and the general mediocrity of the rest of it all, I will not be continuing the series.
  • Weird Fishes by Rae Mariz (ARC): Really liked the worldbuilding (strange sentient sea creatures! Yes!), but not a fan of the rape scene with extremely brutal consequences near the end.
  • I also subscribed to Dracula Daily!

Books read in 2022: 30 (+ 2 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 11/25 (44%)

March 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

I got so excited about Bingo I almost forgot to post the March wrap-up. But in March, the last month before the start of the new Bingo, my goal was to finish as many books I was in the middle off as possible (obviously, aside from Les Misérables, which is a yearly challenge). I got the amount down from 8 to 5 or 6, which is decent, especially since a lot of it was nonfic I still wasn’t quite in the mood for.

I also finally managed to post the 2021 Bingo wrap-up!


  • The second part of Les Misérables, or another 300ish pages. The infodumps were testing my patience. Not at half yet, but getting close!
  • Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee (ARC): Really really liked it, especially the reluctant and sometimes cowardly protagonist. Good worldbuilding too.
  • The Will to Battle by Ada Palmer: Enjoyable. Plot didn’t move as much as I hoped, but overall it did its job.
  • The Thousand Names by Django Wexler: Finally finished it after a two years break. I still don’t know why I paused, it’s good and a fast enough read. Now, only need to find the time to continue the series.
  • Half a Soul, The Lord Sorcier, and The Latch Key by Olivia Atwater: Tried it some time ago in too grumpy of a mood, retried it this month, and absolutely loved it. Since the series is getting republished and I can’t get the sequels until April 5th, I went straight for the novellas.
  • Foreigner #1-2 by C.J. Cherryh: Mostly started it because I had lots of time until Bingo with nothing to read and Dia suggested I might like it. The first book was too meandering, the second is a lot better so far. But I’m not reviewing until I’m done with book 3.

Books read in 2022: 16 (+ 2 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 🥳🥳