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Review: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Teixcalaan #1)


This is one of the many books that have been on my TBR far longer than they should have. I’m pretty sure I wanted to read it since before release, had it on my kindle since the first time it went on sale…but you know how it is 😂 In the end, I enjoyed myself and I think the author has great promise, but there were some rather rough patches, too.

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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%) 🥳

Review: The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal


Look: I’m weak for a good cover. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. In hardcopy. Oh, my weakness got me burned plenty of times in the past, but this time it paid off. Despite some initial misgivings because the protagonist is so rich and influential, it turned out to be a fun, fast-paced, twisty mystery set in a queernorm world. Oh, and each chapter begins with a cocktail recipe (alcoholic and not!).

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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%) 🥳

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%) 🥳

Review: Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell


Thanks to the publisher (Tor) for the ARC of this book.

Well, this was fun! I confess: I still haven’t read Winter’s Orbit, but something about description of Ocean’s Echo intrigued me enough to request it. And I was right. Sometimes all you need is some light, queernorm sci-fi. Even though Ocean’s Echo has its flaws, it simply clicked for me.

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Mini Reviews: Agents of Winter, Yellow Jessamine, The Keeper’s Six, Kundo Wakes Up

Once again, it’s time for a quartet of mini reviews. This time, I liked three out of four books and felt meh on one of them, which is really not a bad ratio given how some of those roundup posts tend to go. Three novellas, one short novel, three SFF books, one not. I see a pattern here. I also admit I bought the last novella, Kundo Wakes Up, solely because I like to have four books before I post and I wasn’t willing to wait until I either DNF’d something or stumbled into a novella randomly again, but given that 1) I had planned to read it since release and 2) I liked it, this is not at all a bad thing.

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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%) 🥳

Mini Reviews: The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, The Past is Red, The Lights of Prague, A Taste of Gold and Iron

This month’s batch of mini reviews, finally big enough to post, came out very varied. A book I liked but couldn’t give a full review to because I was on a vacation book binge, a pretty good novella that’d get a mini review anyway, a novel so mediocre that I didn’t have much to say, and a grumpy unexpected DNF. For once, more novels than novellas.

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Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North


Everyone is probably familiar with the good old ebook backlog. I tend to start planning my Bingo with those to try to knock at least a couple off the list, but between being a mood reader, ARCs and more kindle sales…well. At least I managed it with this one. Even though I wasn’t really in the mood and probably wouldn’t ever be, it was perfect for the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey square. In the end, I am left with mixed feelings. While the premise was interesting enough to keep me from DNFing, the characters and parts of the plot were underwhelming to say the least.

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