Books Coming Out in October 2020 You Should Have On Your Radar

Last month I posted a round up of my most anticipated new book releases of September and I really enjoyed sharing that list with you. It was the first time I’d written a post like that for my blog but I thought I might try and keep it up if you enjoy it so let me know. For now I’m going to share with you the books coming out in October that I’m the most excited about because there are a lot! If you have any titles to add let me know ;).

Save Her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan (October 1st, Little Island) – As far as I’m concerned anything Deirdre Sullivan releases is gold! This novel is a feminist retelling of and Irish folktale known as the Children of Lir. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton (October 1st, Raven Books) – I absolutely adored Turton’s previous, and first, novel The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (it was a masterpiece). So if his new mystery is even half as good I’m going to be in for a treat. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

On Connection by Kae Tempest (October 1st, Faber & Faber) – Kae Tempest is possibly my favourite poet of all time so of course I am going to be excited for their first ever non-fiction title. This one explores creativity and the exploration of self-indentity through art. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee (October 1st, HMH For Young Readers) – This book is about a group of second generation Japanese teenagers in the US whose lives are irrevocably affected by the mass imprisonment of Japanese by the US as a result of WW2. This is a piece of history I know far too little about and am so pleased to see written about for a YA audience. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair (October 1st, Picador) – Allow me to include some poetry to shake things up. This debut collection is described as evoking ‘the poet’s Jamaican childhood and reach beyond to explore history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile’. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston (October 1st, – I can always rely on Tor to release unique new titles that I immediately add to my TBR and this sounds no different. A multiple perspective story set in a magical world where poison is eating the land. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (October 1st, Swoon Reads) – This is one I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about so my excitement is entirely based on the buzz. A YA fantasy with a trans male lead, however, does sound blooming brilliant. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Ruby by Nina Allan (October 6th, Titan Books) – Literary horror? Mystery? Fictional biography? It sounds like this book is everything at once and I’m here for it. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Eventide by Sarah Goodman (October 6th, Tor Teen) – Orphaned sisters move to rural Arkansas in 1907 only to discover some dark and dangerous secrets may be lurking in the shadows? Yes please! – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (October 6th, Algonquin Young Readers) – I LOVE middle-grade mysteries especially when they’re set in the Victorian era and have fiesta female leads. Naturally, therefore, I was going to be drawn to this new series by Elizabeth C. Bunce. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron (October 13th, Simon and Schuster) – This is a fantasy novel set in Jim Crow era USA. The main character, Evie, has a magical ability passed down through the women in her family that has decided to rear its head at the most inconvenient of times. Yes I am ready. CHECK IT OUT HERE

The Winter Duke by Claire Eli Bartlett (October 13th, Titan) – Kylma wants nothing to do with her dangerous and nefarious family but when they are all struck my a sleeping curse she is dragged back into their lives where she also discovers her brothers intriguing bride… – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (October 13th, Saga Press) – I am actually in the middle of Trail of Lightning by Roanhorse as I write this post and as soon as I read the blurb of her new series I knew I’d be reading that too. It sounds like a magical epic that creates a speculative world inspired by real history. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk (October 13th, Erewhon Books) – A historical fantasy novel where women have to give up their magic upon ‘tying the knot’. This sounds like a fabulous feminist take on a magical past that I cannot wait to read. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Iron Heart by Nina Varela (October 14th, Harper Collins) – I’ve been excited for the sequel to Crier’s War ever since I read the first chapter of book one. Queer F/F fantasy is my jam and this is a fantastic example in an incredibly imaginative speculative world. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Hollowpox by Jessica Townsend (October 15th, Orion Children’s Books) – This is book three in the Nevermoor series, which is middle grade mastery as far as I’m concerned. It’s a magical series about a cursed child who is whisked off to a magical world where she must compete in a series of trials. Each book has just improved for me so I can’t wait to find out what’s next in store! – CHECK IT OUT HERE

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrrow (October 15th, Orbit) – Simply put this book is witches meet the suffrage movement in late 19th century Salem. Need I say anymore? – CHECK IT OUT HERE

The Princess and the Prick by Walburga Appleseed (October 15th, HQ) – This one is screaming Christmas gift guide to me (yes I’m already thinking about that). It’s a satirical collection of fairytale retellings that puts a feminist spin on some of your childhood favourites, which just sounds perfect! – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey (October 15th, Avon) – This is the third and final instalment in Tessa Bailey’s Hot and Hammered romance series. Book one was such light hearted fun that I’m looking forward to checking in with our previous protagonist’s sister and her love story. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco (October 27th, Hodder & Stoughton) – A family of witches who run a restaurant? Sounds like bliss! Well until our main character’s sister is murdered and she teams up with an untrustworthy prince of hell to solve her murder. Now it just sounds exciting! – CHECK IT OUT HERE

Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard (October 31st, Subterranean Press) – Aliette de Bodard is one of my absolute favourite speculative authors. She has an incredible imagination and beautiful writing so naturally I’m excited for her latest literary offering. – CHECK IT OUT HERE

All publication dates given are based on Amazon or Netgalley.

Reading, My Dad, and I


I am absolutely certain that I would not be the avid reader I am today if it was not for my dad. My dad read every day of his life. He read to learn. He read to relax. But he also read to hide from the world. I bought him books for Christmases, birthdays, and father’s days. If there was a wall in our house that you could stand a bookcase against then up one went. He visited the library at least once a week. We had to hunt down English language books on our holidays abroad when he inevitably read everything he had packed. If I needed a recommendation growing up, he could hand me something in an instant. And he was still reading huge tomes on that cruelly final day before the cancer took him two years ago, aged fifty-nine. Still when I picture my dad, he has a book in his hand. Everything about my dad’s relationship with books has affected my relationship with books. At this point it is impossible for me to disentangle one from the other.

But just as he was, in a way, always present when I was reading before he passed away, he remains present now, just in a different and often more difficult way. Every time I see a new release in a bookshop or press release that I know he would have loved I feel a pang of remorse that I cannot buy a copy, parcel it up, and post it up north to him in Scotland anymore. When I consider picking up the last few books by Terry Pratchett, ironically published after his own death, I feel frustrated that I get to read them, and my dad does not. And that is not to mention the stack of books that he bought before passing away, which are now sitting on his ‘to be read’ shelf with no hope of ever sharing with him what they have inside. Whenever I do read a book that he loved or recommended to me when he was alive, I am overwhelmed by grief remembering that I cannot talk to him about it or hear him explain why he chose it. When I pop into a bookshop, I wish he could be there. When I visit the library, I remember him taking me there. When I dog ear a page, I hear him telling me to put a bookmark there. And when I pick up a book, he is, in a sense, always there.

But reading is my greatest love. Just as my dad found solace in those tightly bound pages, I turn to books for comfort and relief. If you asked me where I would like to go at any given moment, I would be halfway to the bookshop already. And not a day goes by that I do not read a little bit of something. The library was my favourite place to visit as a child and really, I am still that same little girl two decades on. I am still my father’s daughter. And I do not want to be anything else.

So, I am learning. I am learning take comfort in the books he loved even when he cannot tell me why. I want to be able to pick up Émile Zola and remember that it was my dad who recommended I read him in the first place. I want to be able to engross myself in the kind of prose my dad always cherished and experience them for myself. I do not want to push the memory of my dad to the side and clamber to find my complete independence as a reader. I still want to share everything about this beautiful and enlightening pastime with him, even if he cannot be here himself. I want to embrace all of these emotions, this sadness and love, and find joy in the fact that reading was a gift my dad gave me and that one of the best parts of me was a part of him as well.

Stop Hiding the Lady Love

There’s an epidemic in the world of publishing. Ladies in love don’t sell books. Or so they say.

When I first started seeking out queer women in literature, I found a lot of books exploring the rejection and homophobia faced by thousands: the quintessential coming out tale. But that was where queer literature seemed to start and end. Or did it? Turns out the stories of adventuring princesses and dragon-riders who fall in love with their fellow women are out there; they’re just hidden from plane sight.

Time after time I’ve picked up books from the genre fiction shelves, whether it be fantasy, sci-fi or historical fiction, and quickly discovered my heart’s desire: ladies in love. At first this was a pleasant surprise and I thought, I need more. Then I realised discovering more was going to be a quest in itself. How do you find queer women in literature when the publishers don’t tell you they’re there? Books that turn out to be queer are often exactly that: they ‘turn out’ to be queer. There’s no mention of queer identity or romances between two women in the blurb. There’s mention of women who must save the world or forbidden romances with no further elucidation but rarely are there rainbow flags flying throughout these stories’ marketing campaigns.

Please don’t tell me it’s because romance doesn’t sell. From Twilight to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, from Throne of Glass to Clockwork Angel, romance plot-lines between women and men are implied if not explicitly stated in the blurbs of popular genre fiction. So, who are we hiding the queer relationships from? Because it surely can’t be the queer readers.

Having spoken to queer authors the teams behind their book’s blurb seem to think that these themes won’t sell, or they can surprise homophobic readers into queer-acceptance by springing these subplots on them during the reading experience. Well, there are problems with both of these arguments and they both come down to the undervaluing of the queer audience. Who do queer books exist for? Of course, everyone can read and enjoy a queer novel, but the significance of representation is that it makes queer readers feel seen. It gives us a voice; it says ‘you are not abnormal’ and that ‘your stories matter too’. Queer literature doesn’t exist to convince others we are valid.

In fact, hiding these romances does all readers a disservice. LGBT+ bookshops like Gay’s the Word, the only one of its kind in England, rely heavily on customer recommendations when stocking their shelves because the publishers fail to flag their titles’ queer themes. How many books have I missed-out on in my local bookshop or library because I had no idea I might find myself represented in these fantastical adventures? How many authors’ works have been done an injustice because their publisher convinced them they would sell more copies if they kept their book in the closet? My guess? Too many.

The Best Audiobooks Currently on Scribd

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I recently joined Scribd – an app that allows you to listen to unlimited audiobooks and read unlimited ebooks for a set monthly price. Like with anything else my instant instinct since signing up has been to troll their catalogues for books that spark my interest, in particular audiobooks because it’s a massive saving listening this way. As an avid audiobook listener, however, where was I to start – their selection seems endless. So apart from searching the app I’ve been asking on Twitter for recommendations, and using google to look for other Scribd users favourite audiobooks. During this proccess it occured to me that if you are looking for something, chances are, someone else is too. And since I’m asking for your help I thought perhaps I could also lend a hand of my own. Which brings us to this blog post where I’m going to share my selection of the best audiobooks currently available on Scribd (this may vary depending on the country you’re listening in). Most of these I have already listened to either prior to downloading Scribd or since I installed the app but a few are books I’m incredibly excited to listen to myself in the coming weeks and months. I hope you find some recommendations from this list and do let me know what audiobooks on Scribd you would recommend.

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10 Books Reading Challenge

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That’s right everyone, I have met my Goodreads reading goal for 2017! We are two months into the year and I’ve already hit that coveted goal, so why bother reading any more for the next ten months? Bring on the TV binge watching.

I know that last year when I changed my Goodreads reading goal to 10 books I had a few questions about why I’d set my challenge to such a ‘low’ target. Since this is a number I have decided to stick with I thought I might address the issue of ‘why’ in a wee blog post.

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100 Women Writers


I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of lists, especially from mainstream outlets, suggesting ‘100 Books You Should Have Read in Your Lifetime’ are dominated by male authors. Fantastic authors with great books, sure, but nevertheless unrepresentative of the population makeup. My mum and I have a penchant for scrolling through these lists together and seeing how many of the books on it we have read – my mum in particular likes to set herself the goal of reading as many of these books as possible. More often than not, however, we despair at the overwhelming gender bias they present. Even when I sought out specifically female focused lists of ‘100 Authors You Must Read’ they did not offer 100 female authors but 100 books by female authors many of which were written by the same authors.

This is in no way due to a lack of phenomenal women writers to chose from. As fantastic as Jane Austen is (you will see her featured here) there are many more women writers out there. So I have decided to curate my own list of ‘100 Women Writers I Need To Read In My Lifetime’. The women on this list go as far back as antiquity and as far forward as the 21st century. They have been pulled from the suggestions on the standard ‘100 Books To Read’ lists, my own experience with women writers who have made important contributions to literature and recommendations from my mum (with a few adages from friends). Each and every one deserves to be on this list but it didn’t take long for me to realise 100 was a very small number; this list is, therefore, by no means exhaustive.

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The Hunger Games the 2nd Time Around

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Over the span of the last week, I have re-read Suzanne Collins’ entire Hunger Games trilogy for the second time and what an adventure it has been. I originally read the trilogy shortly after the first film was released on DVD and I watched it one night not expecting much but coming away thoroughly surprised and impressed. After that I just had to read the books; I had to know what happened to Katniss, Peeta & the rest of the citizens of Panem. So I delved in with the first book in the series only to learn so much more than the film had shared with me and continued to zoom through books two and three. I was honestly shocked by how these books actually managed to successfully live up to the hype I had been hearing from left, right and centre; just based on past experience.

Now, four years on, I decided it was time to re-read the series for the first time. I am an avid re-reader as much as I am an avid reader. If life is proving stressful there is nothing I find more soothing than to return to a story that brought me joy the first time around and re-emerse myself in its pages. The re-read often provides with me with as equally an exciting journey as the original read, a return to old emotions and the discovery of new. The Hunger Games did not disappoint. Everything I enjoyed about the series the first time around was waiting for me and something extra too.

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It Begins With Picture Books


Books provide so many things, at different times and for different people. More often than not, however, they expand our world. They introduce to new places, and people, and ideas. They develope our vocabulary and show us how to use language in new and exciting ways. They make us consider ourselves and the people around us. They inspire and give us hope.

One of the most wonderful things my parents gave to me was the joy of reading. This simple passion has taken me to so many places, metaphorically and literally, that I may never have gone if it were not for them. And it all started with picture books. I was lucky that amongst my children’s picture books were insights into different cultures from my own, varied characters of different races, sexualities and backgrounds and introductions to difficult but important topics; I’m certain I’m a better person for it.

I was thinking about this most recently because of two books that came through my letter box (OK the postie had to ring the doorbell). These are truly beautiful books: beautiful ideas, beautiful words and beautiful images. They break down prejudices, open up the reader’s mind and potentially make some feel a little less alone. For that reason I had to share them with you all in someway or another.

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Books that made me | The Argonautica

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The Argonautica; Jason and the Golden Fleece; Jason and the Argonauts; apparently the book with a million names, by Apollonius of Rhodes (can we also acknowledge that he wasn’t even from Rhodes).

So, because who cares about chronology lets jump many years into the future for my next ‘Books that made me’ instalment: from secondary school the early years to university the early years. This book first entered my life in January of 2012 – recently enough that I can be that specific. It was one of the three set texts for my Classical Literature course in the 2nd term of my 2nd year at university. The course itself was all about Ancient Epic and featured along side The Argonautica Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid. Neither of which quite did it for me in the way Apollonius’ work did.

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Books that made me | The Penelopiad


The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

What can I say about this book that I haven’t said before? Probably nothing so that’s why I’m going to start at the beginning and probably repeat some things that the 3 people who have actually watched every single one of my YouTube videos will have heard before.

This post is not a book review per say but the first in a series of posts sharing with you the ‘books that made me’; this is to say the books that have stuck with me since the day I read them, that have had an impact on the decisions I have made, the way I perceive the world and the person I am today, big or small. You can assume that I recommend each and everyone of these books before I say anything else and what I’d like to do here is just give some context to what that book has meant to me in my life.

So back to The Penelopiad.

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