Christmas Book Haul!

This is a tad delayed, but here’s a Christmas book haul!

Every Christmas I do the usual bookworm thing of asking almost exclusively for books. This year the vibe I got was that they’d rather get me other things too so I was a little more conservative with my Christmas list (I put four non-book items on it).

So I still did pretty well for books…

It helps that my brother also almost exclusively asks for books, which is how I ended up with The Buddha Of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi after my mum accidentally ordered two copies for him.

I’ve wanted Inua Ellams’ poetry collection, Six of The Fairy Negro Tales after I saw him speak at Bare Lit festival earlier in 2017. I have another anthology of his, #Afterhours, but never got round to buying this one off my wish list!

I also got One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, which has been on my list of planned reads for my Read the World project for Colombia for a while now!

These hardbacks of What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah, Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana and The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso are gorgeous and I can’t wait to read them! I’ve had my eye on What It Means… for ages and couldn’t find it in any of my local bookshops so I’m so glad I finally own a copy!

Finally, I saw a friend talk about Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis on Instagram and you know how I can’t resist a good dystopian!

Did you get any books this Christmas?


2018 Reading and Blogging Goals

Every so often I decide that I’m going to reflect on the kinds of things I’m reading throughout the year. Looking back I didn’t do any ‘reading resolutions’ as such this time last year, at least not publicly, but the do this I did better with reading thoughtfully, critically and with a view to experiencing more diverse books and writers.

That being said I’m always looking to improve so I’ve been thinking about my reading and blogging goals for 2018.

Get my Netgalley feedback ratio above 80%. I’ve submitted about 60 reviews on Netgalley but my ration still isn’t as high as I’d like it to be. My aim is to go through some backlist ARCs and submit feedback, as well as be more conscious about the books I request.

Cross post reviews to Goodreads. This is something I’m really awful at. I mainly use Goodreads to keep track of what I’m reading and post ratings, but I figure those ratings aren’t helpful without explanation and it’s still the easiest way for a potential reader to find out about a book.

Read at least 30 books for Read the World Project. I haven’t been as enthusiastic about blogging in the early part of this year, and by extension my drive to talk about this project kind of went away too. I definitely want to get back on the bandwagon this year and I have plans to start up an online book club with a different country per month, maybe even with a readathon sometime towards the end of the year!

Diversify the speculative fiction I’m reading. I got back in to SFF towards the end of the year and, as a poor result, the ratio of white male writers I was reading went up. I have books by POC SFF writers, and queer writers and female writers and a-combination-of-all-three writers so there’s no excuse.

Link to more Ownvoices reviews and posts in my own reviews. I’ve been trying to do this more regularly, so really I want to continue!

More women and marginalised writers. This is always a goal of mine. More queer authors, more diaspora authors, more black authors, more authors from outside of the UK and US, more mental health rep, just to read more than just the status quo.

Read three short stories a week. I have so many anthologies and this seems like a good way of getting through them rather than sitting there staring at them on my bookcase thinking ‘I’ll get to those’.

… and a bonus goal.

I’ve been thinking for a while about how I’d love to get back in to writing. I’m not cut out for a novel, I don’t have the attention span, but iv always loved short stories and I’d love to write some in the coming year.

So, that’s it! A mismatch of reading, blogging and writing goals for the coming year!

My Favourite Online SFF Literary Magazines

What a specific title! Some time in the last few months I became obsessed with digital SFF literary magazines. I’ve made absolutely no secret of my love of science fiction as a genre or my preference for short stories (and my firm belief that they are a greatly under appreciated form of literary genius) and it suddenly clicked for me that there is a wealth of short form fiction that I could subscribe to. Some time ago I backed a kickstarter for a special edition of Uncanny showcasing the work of disabled writers and as part of my reward I received the most recent issue as well. I already regularly buy FIYAH and I started investigating the other options on twitter, gumroad and patreon! Here are six of my favourites!

A note about patreon fee changes: I support many of these magazines on patreon but I understand that the fee changes might put people off [Update! They’ve retracted and aren’t introducing the fees!] Most of the patreon based magazines have, or will be, working on alternatives for supporters who wish to contribute on alternative websites. Please don’t be put off if I have mentioned patreon!


Quarterly. Edited by Justina Ireland and Troy L. Wiggins.

FIYAH is one I’ve been with since the beginning. Every quarter they publish a packed edition with submissions based around a theme exclusively from black writers. I personally love the themed issues (I love a curated themed anthology) and it’s great to see individual interpretations of a themed prompt. The cover artwork is also beautiful (enough that they sell prints of each cover online!)

Buy it or subscribe from their website.

Strange Horizons

Weekly, monthly ebook. Edited by Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde.

Strange Horizons is a lit mag that I’ve subscribed to recently via patreon, every Monday they publish a short story, poem and a review of a speculative book recently published. Monthly, they produce an ebook collating the weekly editions for subscribers in a variety of formats.

Subscribe via their Patreon.


Monthly. Edited by Julia Rios.

Fireside publishes stories on their website that lean towards the speculative side but are occasionally ‘off genre’. They’re keen on fair pay for their workers and so pledges on their Patreon go towards paying above standard per word. They also provide content notes for all of their stories- where applicable- on their website.

You can read on their website and support/subscribe via patreon.


Monthly. Edited by Jason Sizemore.

Apex offers short fiction from a diverse range of SFF writers as well as essays and interviews. Essays revolve around the world of publishing and being a reader, and interviews often link to people featured within the issue. I think Apex has my favourite layout of all of the ‘mixed medium’ magazines I’ve read so far. Rather than having all the fiction, poetry and non fiction together and separate from one another it feels like a more natural flow: an interview with a writer after their story, for example, rather than it being later on in the issue. It’s cleverly done. And the writing is top-notch!

Subscribe via their Patreon.

Luna Station

Quarterly. Edited by Jennifer Lyn Parsons.

Luna Station exists to showcase the talents of speculative writers who identify as female. They’ve recently doubled down on this definition to explicitly include anyone who identifies as a woman in any way. The stories are beautiful, often painful, and their covers are stunning.

You can purchase their quarterly edition on gumroad.


Bimonthly. Edited by Lynne M Thomas, Michael Damien Thomas and Michi Trota.

Uncanny were the first SFF magazine I subscribed to this year, after having had ten brought to my attention by their recent Kickstarter. I subscribe via Amazon, but back issues can be read or purchased on their website through a variety of channels. Each bimonthly issue is jam packed with original stories, reprints, poetry and essays and has accompanying podcasts online.

Read, listen, buy or subscribe on their website.

If anyone has any recommendations then let me know!

Best Book Subscriptions for Adults!*


*Or anyone who doesn’t want a YA box, or anyone in the UK!

Sometime in 2015 I got very jealous of all of the book subscription boxes that seemed to be in the US. I loved the idea of getting surprise book post, but didn’t like the idea of paying ridiculous postage costs only to get a YA fantasy book I probably wouldn’t read (it’s the one genre I just can’t abide, with very limited exceptions.) Those boxes are great, but they aren’t designed for my kind of reading, which is fine, but I wanted a similar experience too! So I went on the hunt for UK based subscriptions that would be geared towards adult readers. Here are some of my favourites from along the way, and a couple that I am desperate to try!

Book and A Brew


This was the first subscription I ever signed up for, back in October 2015. Since then I’ve had every box (Including their one-off Halloween special!) and I absolutely love them. I’ve blogged about them a few times already but the premise is quite simple; every month they’ll send you a hardback book and a box of tea to complement it. As someone who drinks tea like it”s going out of fashion it’s perfect! The price is well worth it too; most of the tea they’ve sent I’ve later seen in the supermarket for upwards of £5 a box, so £12.99 for that and a hardback is a bargain!

Subscribe here.

Book Voyage UK.


Please note that I no longer recommend BookVoyageUK as they have not sent out any boxes from October or November despite taking payment and are not responding to customer messages. I will update this page if the situation changes.

As part of my ongoing Read the World Project I’m constantly on the look out for recommendations for books from different countries so when I found out about this subscription I was so excited! I think I ended up getting the very first box and again I’ve subscribed ever since. Similar to Book and A Brew, there is tea (or often coffee) involved, but with a twist. Each month they’ll send you a book from a country in the world (in translation), a snack from that country and a box of tea or coffee from the country too. Again, it’s well worth it price-wise, at £14.99 you get a monthly surprise and treats!

Subscribe here.

Ninja Book Box


This is another favourite that I’ve subscribed to since the beginning- when I joined the Kickstarter back last year. Bex puts together a fantastic box each quarter; each with an independently published book and gifts that fit around a theme. Gifts are handmade, specially made for the box or from small businesses so it’s truly a celebration of small-businesses and small press! The theme each time is unique and well thought-out so I’d thoroughly recommend subscribing!

Subscribe here.

Persephone Books


Now for something slightly different- publisher subscriptions! Persephone Books is a small, independent publisher in London that are always worth a visit. They publish mainly out of print female writers, but each book is produced so beautifully- with an endpaper based on a fabric produced at the time the book was originally published. They also offer a subscription service, either as a gift or for yourself, whereby they’ll send you a book from their catalogue a month for 6 or 12 months.

Subscribe here.

Tilted Axis Press


Another publisher-based subscription! I met some representatives of Tilted Axis at Bare-Lit festival this year and fell in love with the idea of a small press publishing books in translation. I purchased their 2017 print subscription when I got home and so far have received two of their 2017 releases on release day! The subscription includes all of their 2017 releases, straight to your door (as well as any that have been published already this year) and they’ve got a fantastic catalogue!

Subscribe here.

The next two are subscriptions that I haven’t tried out yet, but I am absolutely desperate to because they look so good!

Moth Box Books


Moth Box Books is another independent publisher inspired postal service that’s still very unique. On alternative months they’ll send out a box with two independently published novels or two independently published short story collections. They’re not technically a subscription service- you have to purchase one-off boxes that sell out very quickly- but I’ve got my thumb poised for 1st June when the next Short Story edition goes on sale!

Buy here from 1st of each month.

And Other Stories


And Other Stories is a publisher that I’ve actually read a few times (One of my- many -current reads was published by them) but I’ve had my eye on their subscription for ages. It’s more of a reciprocal agreement; being a small press they rely on support from readers to source, translate and publish a wide range of international titles so your subscription directly supports individual books. They’ll print subscriber names at the back of each book they publish and send copies to you too so you get a real sense of involvement!

Subscribe here.

Books in the cover photo of this post all came from subscriptions:
The Impossible Fairytale: 
Tilted Axis Press 2017 print subscription.
Dragon’s Green: Ninja Book Box ‘Magical Lands’ box.
Raised From the Ground: Book Voyage UK ‘Portugal’ box.
Songs of Willow Frost: Book and a Brew Feb ’17 box.
NOS-4R2: Book and a Brew Halloween ’16 special box.

Bare Lit 2017

Today I spent the day at Bare Lit festival 2017 with my friend Bex, of Ninja Book Box/London Bookshop Crawl fame, and it was the most incredible day! We decided a while ago that we would only be able to go to one day and I’m so glad we chose the Sunday!

Our first panel was From Real to Unreal and Back, a talk about the use of fantastic storytelling elements to reflect the real world. I was super excited to hear Ali Bader read one of his short stories from the Iraq + 100 anthology, which was incidentally my favourite in the whole collection! Also on the panel were Irfan Master, who read two excerpts from his new novel, and Inua Ellams who chaired and read a new poem.

It was an interesting mix of opinions! With such a diverse set of backgrounds it was great to hear debate rather than bland agreement and I found the incite of Ali Bader, whose prominence as an Iraqi writer gave him a different perspective to authors living in Britain.

The next panel, When Bad Things Happen, was my favourite and I was hooked every second. The five panelists discussed the responsibility involved in writing about trauma, as well as ways to protect yourself as a writer looking to put personal experience on the page and the important of writing about traumatic events without sensationalism. 

Guilaine Kinouani, a therapist and writer for The Independent, was a passionate but measured chair and I found her thoughts to be fascinating. Nasrin Parvaz spoke about her time being tortured in an Iranian prison and how writing her prison memoirs brought emotions back to the surface. Robyn Travis talked passionately about the process of writing his book Prisoner to the Streets and the responsibility he felt to young black readers not to glorify his past violence. Olumide Popoola provided a powerful incite in to writing as a queer author of colour and finally Stephen Thompson talked about writing his book, No More Heroes, and the process of drawing on other people’s experiences.

Honestly one of the most inspiring group of people I have ever had the privilege of listening to.

Next was How to Judge a Book Prize where Sunny Singh, Yvette Edwards and Catherine Johnson discussed the absence of writers of colour on larger prizes’ long lists and the systematic problems faced by authors of colour in the publishing industry. They also talked about judging the Jhalak Prize For Book Of The Year By A Writer Of Colour and some of the challenges (predominantly by one disgrace of an MP) that the prize has faced in its first year.

Finally, Kerry Young gave the keynote speech on the social, political and personal responsibility writers have. The speech was sponsored by The Royal Literary Fund and was the perfect close to the day.

I came away with a modest book haul of four books (pictured at the top) and a very long ‘to buy’ list! It was a surprisingly tiring day and I definitely needed the wind down time on the train home (in which I read a third of the two anthologies I got!).

If anyone if debating going next year then I would say it’s a definite must!

Diversity December Bingo TBR List!

There’s a great event going on, mainly on Twitter, at the moment called the Diversity December Bingo. One of the organisers is a mutual of mine from Twitter so I’ve seen a lot of posts about floating around the past few weeks.

The idea is to pick a line in the grid and read a book that fits each square. I’ve picked the first horizontal line for my TBR list (although I’m looking at other squares to see if I’ll have time to read more this month!)

Non-Western Cultural FantasyWho Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor.

Demisexual Main CharacterRadio Silence by Alice Oseman

Mental Health AwarenessUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

POC On Book CoversWitness the Night by Kishwar Desai

Indigenous Main CharacterReservation Blues by Sherman Alexie.

A couple of these are on my list for my Read the World project too, so I’ll tick those off of the list. If anyone else fancies joining in then check out the #DiversityDecBingo hashtag on Twitter and Instagram!

Read the World Project

I’ve been thinking this week of a long term project to broaden my reading horizons. @NinjaBookBox introduced me to Book Voyage UK, a book subscription service that sends a book from a different country every month. I immediately signed up, of course, but it also got me thinking. Could I read a book from every country in the world? I mean, of course it’s possible, but could I do it within a certain time limit? Say, before I’m thirty?

So, this weekend I made a list of every country, dependent territory and annexed territory I could find online, with a few extra entries for Native people and people without states- my politics degree and a particular political interest in marginalised groups within nation states helped here. I’ve tried to think specifically rather than broadly- for example I’ve broke down the United Kingdom in to its deprecate four countries because otherwise it’s likely that ‘British’ would, by default, become’English’. Likewise, I’ve created a separate entry for Quebec and Catalonia from Canada and Spain for reasons of nationalism; the latter presumably don’t represent the former in culture and fiction. 

So far my list consists of about 250 entries, although I imagine it will grow naturally over time (for example, I’ve just now asked myself ‘should I create a separate entry on my list for Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot?‘). I turn thirty in May 2021, which gives me approximately four and a half years. Achievable? I think so.

I’ll be using the hashtag #readtheworldproject on Instagram and Twitter, should anyone feel inspired to join me, or be interested in simply keeping tabs. I’m going to be reading a variety of books, from fiction and memoirs to short stories and poetry, so if anyone has any recommendations then please get in touch!