I follow a lot of amazing bookstagramers, so I recently saw the F/F February reading challenge. As someone who writes sapphic speculative fiction and actively tries to read as much of it as I can find, I don’t think I need to explain that I was instantly hooked. But here’s the thing—I’m a bit uncomfortable with online communities, so participating in a reading challenge like this is definitely going out of my comfort zone. However, I already write about queer books for Morina kutija, a Croatian speculative fiction magazine, and even though I’m not a bookstagramer, nor do I try to be, I like to post about books I’m reading on my Instagram and Twitter. So I’ve been thinking—this is really not that outside of what I already do, just more focused. What’s the worst that can happen? (As someone who has social anxiety, I don’t even want to try to answer this question, because I don’t want my brain to go to that dark place.)
Anyways, I’ve been trying to be a more active reviewer recently, and I truly find this reading challenge interesting, so let’s try this thing.
Here’s my very ambitious February TBR list with exclusively sapphic characters and f/f relationships.
1. In the Vanishers’ Palace, Aliette de Bodard
Let’s start with something that I’ve already read and I’m actually rereading this month. In the Vanishers’ Palace is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with Vietnamese dragons, and a mix of science fiction and fantasy in the best way possible. Aliette de Bodard is one of my favorite authors and I really liked this novella when I first read it. So when I had to choose this month’s reading for my corona book club (that means we do video calls instead of live meetings), I decided to chose this novella and When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo (because when my turn to pick out titles coincides with the month of “love”, of course I’m going to choose f/f sff romance titles). Since it’s been two years since I’ve read In the Vanishers’ Palace, I’m definitely rereading it.
2. Unconquerable Sun, Kate Elliott
I don’t know a lot about this book, just that it’s a sapphic space opera with a gender-swapped Alexander the Great. I saw a lot of people praising it, so when I was thinking about what audiobook I should listen to this month, I decided it’s time for this title. I think this will be the first time I’ll read something by Kate Elliott, so I don’t know what to expect.
3. Burning Roses, S. L. Huang
This is one of those titles I wanted to read last year, but didn’t get to it. At one point, everyone was talking about it. I live for fairy tale retellings, so this got to my radar and TBR shelf. I’ve heard that this novella has all sorts of fairy tales in the mix, but it’s mostly promoted as a Red Riding Hood and Hou Yi the Archer retelling. Also, people praised it for the fact that the characters are older sapphics, so I was doubtly interested. I think it’s time for me to finally read this novella. Also, first time reading S. L. Huang.
4. Persephone Station, Stina Leicht
Persephone Station is another space opera on my February TBR. Its pitch is that it’s for the fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop, which means nothing to me, because I didn’t watch either. However, it looks very interesting to me and I want to follow more new releases so I really want to try it out. Stina Leicht is also a new writer to me.
5. Fireheart Tiger, Aliette de Bodard
Another book of Aliette de Bodard’s, because it’s out on Feb 9th and I have it already preordered. It’s a Vietnamese court inspired novella (set in a pre-colonial Vietnamese-esque world), with a sapphic love triangle and magic. And, like I already said, I love de Bodard, so this one was a no brainer for me. I’m so excited for this book it’s ridiculous.
6. Pyotra and the Wolf, Elna Holst
I’m trying out NetGalley because, as I’ve previously mentioned, I’m trying to write more reviews, primarily for Morina kutija (mostly in Croatian, but my first review in English, which was also my first NetGalley read, is already up.). Browsing upcoming LGBTQ titles, I saw this one—it’s apparently an f/f retelling of a Russian fairy tale with werewolves. Of course, I’m more than interested. My request was approved, I’ve got the ARC, and I’m starting with this title in February.
In any case, I have no idea if I’ll be able to read all of these titles in February. Six titles is already too ambitious, because this month is so short and I’ll be swamped with work, both with my day job and my other job as a writer, editor and co-publisher. But three of these titles are novellas, which I’ll definitely have time for, and I’ll certainly have time for a slow “reading” of an audiobook. So I have high hopes that I’ll manage most of these. Of course, there is a possibility that I’ll change my mind about some of these titles and choose something else instead. But it would be interesting to see if I’ll be able to have discipline for going through my own TBR.
If your reading this and participating in #FFFeb2021 drop me a note.