This year we kicked off the new year on a video call with friends. It was fun, and we’re so glad we did it, but it was odd not to have them in the room with us – playing video games and eating way too many snacks. Mind you it’s not all bad – last year started off with me in A&E so in some ways 2021 is improving on its predecessor right from day one.
I let the ball drop on the blog at the end of last year, everything just got too much and my motivation shrivelled up – this year, I hope to revive it for you all and finally tackle my TBR for your entertainment! I’ll also once again be taking part in the Heaving Bosom’s Reading Embrace which has some spectacular prompts this year such as ‘Holy Cats, That’s a Nice Nipple!’ which makes me giggle every time I read it.
To start off 2021 as I mean to continue it, here’s a summary of January at Sapphistication HQ!
I have read 5 books this January, which isn’t half bad!
The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett, YA fantasy, 5*
Starting off my reading this year was this wonderful queer YA fantasy novel which I just adored. Following Ekata, who unexpectedly becomes Duke of Kylma Above after a mystery illness strikes down her family and has to balance finding a cure, finding a wife (who is amazing by the way) and finding out what is really going on both in Kylma Above and the icy waters of Kylma below, the mysterious kingdom that supplies magic to the world above.
I POWERED through this book, it was just beautifully imagined and was an excellent choice for my first YA novel in a while! Huge thanks to Lauren who always buys the best books from my literally endless wish list, and to Vegas who served as a lap-warmer while I read this book over the Christmas break.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, Narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Literary fiction, 5*
My first audiobook of the year was the stunningly written Piranesi, narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor whose smooth and beautiful voice told a story of a world within a house, where marble statues populate endless halls and the ocean crashes through the levels below.
This book is such a hard one to talk about which sucks because I want to talk about it a lot. It was brilliant, and definitely one to get on audio if you like that format because the narration was STUNNING. I enjoyed Chiwetel Ejiofor’s narration so much I looked up other examples on Audible and have treated myself to a new performance of Othello as a result.
Kissing The Witch by Emma Donoghue, Narrated by Maggie Mash, LGBT+ Fantasy, 4*
A re-read for me, this time in audio form after my initial paperback experience, Kissing the Witch is a series of interlocking, delightfully queer fantasy stories told one after another going back through the ages. I don’t know if it was the narration vs reading it myself, but it lost a star the second time around. Emma Donoghue is a fantastic writer and this is no exception, but short stories and I have a difficult relationship in that I always want just a little more backstory, a little more depth, than they tend to be capable of providing. But hey, it had sapphic witches so it still got four stars from my gay ass.
The Beast by Katee Robert, LGBT+ Romance Erotica, 5*
A fantastically filthy menage love story inspired by Beauty and the Beast from Katee Robert? YES PLEASE. Honestly the Wicked Villains series is just the gift that keeps on giving, like if a book can make me adore GASTON (Gaeton, in this book, because Disney copyright lawyers are vicious and would probably disapprove of erotica no matter how excellent) then it is a GOOD BOOK.
I also love that to the rest of the world these are big, powerful people but to you as the reader they are dumbasses who need to communicate and can only seem to do so when they’re naked.
Tangled Vows by Anna Stone, narrated by Lexy Rebe, LGBT+ Romance, Erotica, 3*
A sapphic marriage of convenience seemed like a match made in heaven for me, and I did enjoy the bulk of the story, but you’ll have to wait for the full review to hear what cost this one two stars.
(Spoiler alert, it might have had something to do with the narration).
It was sexy and inclusive though, so three stars well earned!
This month I have delved deep into podcasts at work once again, and I wanted to share some of my personal highlights from the month!
No Such Thing As A Fish
A recommendation from a colleague who knows me well as someone who has a weird tendency to retain weird facts, this podcast has been a joy. QI has always been one of my comfort shows, so the fact that the team behind it do an equally brilliant and funny podcast is EXCELLENT.
Episode Highlight: Episode 351: No Such Thing As Pop Charts for Bagpipers
Smart Podcast, Trashy Books!/ Heaving Bosoms
This month brought me the hilarious romance crossover podcast of my DREAMS when the hosts of the Heaving Bosoms podcast made a guest appearance on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books! For a VERY NSFW book discussion!
Episode Highlight: SPTB Episode 441: Bosoms and Bitches: A NSFW Discussion of Toxic Desire
Books In The Freezer
After a brief stint where my poor, fatigued brain just didn’t feel up to scary books I am BACK ON THE HORROR TRAIN with the latest episode of Books In The Freezer, which revisits my all time favourite horror genre: Haunted Houses! It also introduced me to a new podcast!
Episode Highlight: Revisit: Haunted House with Bradley from Be Your Scary Best
It’s A Sin on Channel 4
I cannot stress enough how much everyone needs to watch this show. It is so good, and funny and utterly heart wrenching. Dealing with the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, It’s A Sin follows a group of friends as their world changes and collapses around them, and highlights how shame has killed so many LGBT+ people over the years. We watched it all in a single night, we could easily watch it again once my poor tear ducts have recovered. Also, not to brag but my mate’s mum played Thatcher which is hilarious given that she’s a very northern LGBT+ ally.
Anything interesting happening to me this month? Well our dog turned 10 and we had a birthday party for him where we (one household, don’t worry we’re not idiots) played uno and ordered a chinese and gave him lots of treats and belly rubs. I’m learning to knit after a group of us at work decided to learn over the course of the year and make our own Christmas hats at the end of it – because clearly if there’s one thing I need it’s ANOTHER bloody hobby.
This January also marks three years of Lauren and I being engaged. Let’s hope this year also FINALLY marks the year we can get married because honestly, it’s about bloody time.
How was your January? Are you reading any good books, have you found any good movies? Started any obscure hobbies like macrame or playing the spoons?
Feel free to drop a comment below, and happy new year – let’s hope this one is better than the last!