#Diverseathon 2017 TBR

It’s Diverseathon time* again!

Diverseathon is a week-long readalong taking place from January 22nd to January 29th, and it’s organised by Christina Marie, Joce of SquibblesReads, Monica of She Might Be Monica, and Whitney of WhittyNovels. There are no real rules, the stated goal is to read more diverse books but that’s left fairly open to interpretation. I’m choosing to read Own Voices books, ie. books about people with marginalised identities that were written by people who share those marginalised identities.

I believe that second part is crucial because in addition to being severely under-represented in books, marginalised identities are severely under-represented in the publishing industry and book-reviewing community. As an ally with many factors of privilege, I want to support and signal boost the voices of marginalised people telling their own stories.

And now onto the books!

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

This is the group read that participants are encouraged to pick up, which is how I first heard about it. I originally assumed it would be a non-fiction work about the Underground Railroad, and I was alreay pretty excited about that concept, but it turns out it’s a novel that features an actual clandestine railroad! I must confess, I do really like stories set on trains or that have trains in them. I got the audiobook of this one, it seemed only fitting that I should listen to it on my commute, since that is made of trains.

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

January 29, 2035. That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister? When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

The premise of an Earth that knows it is about to be devastated by an asteroid and the subsequent conflict about who and what to save and prioritise isn’t new in SFF; there’s a long tradition of using robots, aliens and artificial intelligences as metaphors to discuss those themes, it’s great to see works that explore those same ideas through actual marginalised people interacting with a science-fictional world. This novel came out in 2016 and it’s one of a giant pile that I want to get read before the nomination period for this year’s Hugo awards closes.

Dreadnought by Alice Daniels

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but between her father’s dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny’s first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined.

I’ve just received an ARC of this upcoming YA novel via NetGalley and I couldn’t be more excited that it came in time for me to read it for Diverseathon! The premise of this novel is just fascinating, with a conflict that seems immediately real and poignant for all that entirely foreign to me, as cisgender woman. What a perfect illustration of why we need not only diverse books, but specifically diverse books written by marginalised people about their first-hand, lived experiences.

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaSalle

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

I’m not sure I’ll have time to get to this novella during the readathon, but I still wanted to include it, as it was published in 2016 and is therefore eligible for Hugo award nomination. I’ve not read anything from this author before, but this novella is part of Publishing’s widely acclaimed novella imprint, and by this point I trust the team of to pick stupendous work. I’ll happily pick up anything they publish and give it a whirl these days.

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A new era begins for the Black Panther! MacArthur Genius and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates takes the helm, confronting T’Challa with a dramatic upheaval in Wakanda that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before.

When a superhuman terrorist group that calls itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil. If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt–but can its monarch, one in a long line of Black Panthers, survive the necessary change? Heavy lies the head that wears the cowl!

I’ve never read any Black Panther comics but I definitely enjoyed T’Challa in The Avengers: Civil War (it was NOT a Cap movie, fight me), so I’d like to check this one out. Most of it should be on Marvel Unlimited by now, so it should be easy to get a hold of, and it also doesn’t hurt that I’ve heard nothing but praise for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ writing! This volume came out in 2016, so it is eligible for Hugo award nomination – another excellent reason to get to this one sooner rather than later.

*The challenge actually started yesterday and I’m posting this TBR late because I am a muppet and misremembered the start date. I’m a week-starts-on-Monday kind of girl and things starting on Sunday confuse me.


ARC August 2016 TBR

ARC August is a reading challenge hosted by Shelly and Octavia of Read.Sleep.Repeat with the only goal to read ARCs in August. I was very excited to find out about this challenge since I have a whole bunch of ARCs sitting around that I want to read, and my NetGalley ratio really, really needs improving (it’s basically non-existent now…)ARCaugust

First, here are the books I want to get to first, things that have just come out or that are coming out soon:


  • False Hearts by Laura Lam
  • Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Dragon’s Blade by Michael R Miller
  • A City Dreaming by Daniel Polanski


  • Poison City by Paul Crilley
  • After Atlas by Emma Newman
  • The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin

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And a few older ARCs I should definitely get to if I can!

  • Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome by Serge Brussolo
  • Nancy Parker’s Diary of Detection by Julia Lee


  • Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  • Sleepless by Lou Morgan

Finally, I also have a large stack of comics I was sent for review, and while they weren’t advanced copies, I do want to get to at least some of them in August:



1,000 Subscribers Giveaway!


My lil’ booktube channel has just reached A THOUSAND subscribers. Eeeee!

This was me, checking my sub count sliiiightly obsessively when it got into the 980s, waiting to see it tick over into four figures:

leslie squee

So here’s a giveaway to say thank you! If you’d like to win one of my favourite books of 2015, check out the video below for more details and scroll down to enter the giveaway.

The books:


More details about the giveaway:


More about the books you can win:


Enter the giveaway:

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Planetfall – Review & Giveaway

What better way to start Sci-Fi Month than with the opportunity to win some shiny swag? Everybody loves shiny swag right?

So, without further ado, I present my very first giveaway! *squee*

The rules & the swag

The rules are pretty simple:

– The giveaway is open from now until the 14th of November 2015.

– Since the prizes aren’t too heavy, this one will be an international giveaway.

– To enter, scroll down to the rafflecopter at the end of this post, and submit your entries. A winner will be selected at random once the raffle has closed.

And here’s what you can win:

A signed copy of Planetfall, the latest novel from Emma Newman. The book came out from Roc on November 3rd and is getting a lot of good buzz. I’m leaving the blurb as well as my video review below if you’d like to know more about it.

A robot-themed tote bag. It’s a nice sturdy bag, with a bright robot print on the side & it was exclusive to GollanczFest 2015, so you can’t get one elsewhere. Since this was a goody bag, it comes with little extras like novel previews & buttons.

About Planetfall

From the award-nominated author Emma Newman, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity’s future might be its undoing…

planetfallRenata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony’s 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart…

My Review

If you’d like to hear what I thought of Emma Newman’s Planetfall, check out the review I filmed for my booktube channel:

Enter here!

If you’d like to win a signed copy of Emma Newman’s latest novel Planetfall and a sturdy robot tote bag from GollanczFest 2015, use the Rafflecopter below to submit your entries:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions! I’m new at this giveaway malarkey & I’m sure I’ve forgotten something or other…


August TBR: Booktube SFF Awards Nominees

In an original twist of fate, I haven’t seen the beginning of this year swish by and I can’t believe it’s August already!

Shiny things in August

I’m really excited for this month: the Great British Bake Off is coming back in two days, shortly followed by Nine Worlds, my favourite geeky convention. If these weren’t enough to set me a-squee (they are), the BooktubeSFF Awards would certainly do it.

I started my booktube channel last October and just has it took me a while to find booktube in the first place, it has then taken me ages to find the BooktubeSFF, the science-fiction and fantasy loving section of the booktube community. But I did eventually find fellow SFF-focused booktubers, and I’m super excited to have found them now, just as the first BooktubeSFF Awards are kicking off.

Some excellent books were nominated for the inaugural awards, and from now until October, the organisers are holding readalongs to read & discuss all of the nominees over on Goodreads.

The August readalong will be focusing on these five works:

Best Adult Novel

The Martian by Andy Weir
I first read The Martian last year, and listened to the audiobook again in June, so I won’t be re-reading this one in August, but I’ll definitely participate in the readalong discussion.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
I bought a copy of this book a while back on a bit of a whim, so I’ll be reading it as soon as I’m done with my current commute book. I hear it’s beautifully written, although very bleak.

Best YA Novel

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
I’ve just borrowed this book from the library, and I have high hopes for it. I haven’t read any Abercrombie before but I do enjoy a bit of grimdark, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t really like it.

Best Graphic Work

Rat Queens Vol 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J Weibe and Roc Upchurch
I got an e-copy of this one in my Hugo voter’s pack and read it towards the end of July, so it’ll be fresh in my mind for the readalong.

Best Short Work

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
I’ve got this book on hold at the library & I should get my hands on it soon, though I’d like to read The Name of the Wind before starting this one. This is a character study type of piece for one of the characters in The Name of the Wind, so it doesn’t make much sense to read it on its own.

And a few more…

Apart from these, I also want to at least start The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson, because its sequel, Words of Radiance, is one of the nominees and a part of the September readalong. The only slight issue I might have with that is that the books are A THOUSAND PAGES LONG. EACH. Quite literally.

If I have any time left over for reading this month (which I rather doubt!!), I’d also like to start The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. The third book, Cress, is nominated & we’ll get to that one in the September readalong, but I haven’t read either of the first two books, Cinder and Scarlet.


That is quite a list for a slow reader like me! Thank goodness I’ve got a plane ride or two planned this month…