Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers [Blog Tour Review]

Morgan Rogers’ debut novel is a sweet and touching f/f romance starring Grace, a recent graduate with a Doctorate in Astronomy, who marries Yuki, the presenter of a radio show. Grace and Yuki’s romance begins in Vegas, where the pair get drunkenly married.

The novel begins with a hungover Grace, trying to piece together the events of the night before. What is this ring on her finger? Did she really get married? What has she done?

Returning to her home in Portland, Grace tries to make sense of what having a wife will mean for her life, meanwhile trying to find a job and figure out what life after formal education is “supposed” to look like.

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Adult Book Recommendations Based on My Favourite YA Fiction

A few weeks ago, I read a tweet that spoke about the transition from reading young adult to reading adult literature.

I can’t now find the tweet, but it spoke to this shift and how it becomes especially difficult when you are book shopping on a budget, as the probability of dissatisfaction increases, and so many readers find themselves “stuck” (for lack of a better word) in reading young adult literature.

I’ve heard many people speak up about a need for more new adult literature, which focuses on people in their twenties, and I think that could be a really nice transitional literature device for readers. Publishers should really tap into that.

Though I don’t know the original poster, their tweet really got me thinking about the privilege I had of having access to a local library. I used to visit week upon week and at a certain point in time I had read everything that interested me in the young adult section. And so I moved into adult.

I still remember my first few ventures into the adult sections of the library, tentative were my steps. I kept expecting a librarian to tell me I wasn’t supposed to be there. Of course, that never happened, but building my confidence in the adult section took some time.

What took longer was figuring out exactly what kind of adult literature I liked. An increased range of genres opened up to me and, without the necessary vocabulary, I struggled to figure out exactly what sections of the library I might find an adult version of the Noughts and Crosses series. I couldn’t locate verse novels, like many I had read and loved in YA. And the themes in adult were often darker, scaring me away at times. I liked my cosy, safe, young adult fiction section. But I knew I didn’t belong there anymore and I had outgrown it.

I soon found adult romance literature, one genre that was easy for me to translate from young adult to adult literature. The heat was definitely more intense, but you could still find clean or cute romance. I read romance at a rapid pace and so started reading Penny Vicenzi simply because I felt I was getting better value and was able to stick with characters for longer (I think a part of me was missing series). It was a good bridging, for me, and I later found my way into historical fiction, something which was (is?) far rarer in young adult literature.

My sharing of this personal anecdote is to say that when I read that tweet, I related to the struggle of moving from young adult to adult literature. I wanted to use this space to provide something useful for those who are in that place and at that stage right now, and so I’ve compiled a list of recommendations for adult titles you might like if you enjoyed specific young adult literature. I’ve read all of the titles in the list, unless otherwise stated, and would recommend them all.

These recommendations will largely focus on diverse literature because that is what interests me most. Something I often see being said about young adult versus adult literature is that most readers struggle to find diverse adult literature. If this is you, know that it is out there and it’s just a matter of digging deep and doing a bit more research (basically, the big publishers put less marketing budget into it so it won’t necessarily be shoved in your face in the same way). 

Literary prizes will guide your way, if you’re unsure. Check out Lambda Literary Award, Polari Prize, and the Jhalak Prize. There are literary magazines (print and online) whose work is worth paying attention to: Bad Form and F-Word are two that I pay attention to. Note who you follow, too, and try to follow people who read diverse adult literature. A couple of my favourites, who read widely and diversely are: @safiyareads and @caseythereader on Instagram and Mercedes @ Mercy’s Bookish Musings and Ashley @ BookishRealm on YouTube. I tend to watch who my faves interact with and check out their stuff, too, so there’s a little tip for you.

If you need content warnings, please do check The Storygraph website. I didn’t want to break up the flow of the piece by including them here but some readers may benefit from content warnings on some of these pieces.

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

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2020 End-of-Year Reading Wrap Up

A book bullet journal spread showing all the stats that I talk through in this blog.

What a year 2020 has been! I set out at the start of the year to slow the pace of my reading but found myself with more time than ever before to read (hiya six months of unemployment), leaving me to set record numbers of books read.

At the start of the year, I set myself some reading goals. These were:

I succeeded at all three, which is great! I didn’t set numerical targets because I didn’t want to get fixated on those and I wanted freedom to pursue whatever interested me throughout the year. I’m glad I did that and will likely continue to do that in 2021.

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19 Books by LGBTQIA+ Scottish Authors

As I began compiling resources for the #ScottishReadathon, I reached out to my Instagram followers to see what kind of recommendations they might be interested in seeing. One friend got in touch to ask for recommendations for books by LGBT writers, which gave me the inspiration to write this blog.

I’ve tried to feature each author only once, though many have more than one book published, so do check out the rest of their catalogue if something catches your eye.

As with all of my Scottish Readathon posts, here I’ve defined Scottish as those who are born or are a resident in Scotland. I’ve based all information on author bios and information found online but it is not my intention to misrepresent anybody so please do let me know if I’ve done so.

With that said, in this blog, you will find a wide range of stories from LGBTQIA+ Scottish authors. From historical fiction and folktales reimagined to non-fiction; there should be something for everyone!

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The Best Independent Bookshops in Edinburgh

An image of Edinburgh city skyline with the text "Best Bookshops in Edinburgh" across the bottom.

Edinburgh is a city bursting with history and culture, all bundled into the gorgeous Georgian architecture that the city is famed for.

Home to the Scottish Parliament, Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh Zoo and St Giles Cathedral, as well as the world-famous Edinburgh Castle, the city is worth visiting for so many reasons.

I lived in Edinburgh for around six years and absolutely adored it. Being a student, I spent much of my time reading textbooks in the library but once I picked up reading for pleasure again, I spent a lot of time making my way around Edinburgh’s plethora of wonderful bookshops.

Here I share my favourite bookshops in Edinburgh, alongside a couple that I anticipate falling in love with. Read until the end for my top advice for those visiting Edinburgh on a budget.

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Sonny and Me by Ross Sayers [Review]

Sonny and Me by Ross Sayers is a YA Scots language novel which is delightfully funny and heartfelt. I read it during the summer and totally devoured this tale of family, friendship and fighting for justice.

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Writing by Scottish Authors That You Can Enjoy Online For Free

For Scottish Book Week (16th-22nd of November), Erin @paperbackcollective and I are hosting Scottish Readathon, a readathon which celebrates Scottish writers.

Throughout the week, here on the blog, I’ll be sharing recommendations for Scottish writers that I think are worth checking out. For clarity, here I define “Scottish” as anybody born or resident in Scotland.

If there’s one thing worth knowing about me, it’s that the accessibility of reading is really important to me. That’s essentially why I decided to write this blog: to make the readathon even more accessible.

I’ve included extracts from each piece, with links to read the full version (which I highly recommend doing) underneath each of the extracts.

So without further ado, here are some pieces of free-to-access Scottish writing worth reading during this year’s Scottish Book Week and beyond.

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How to Get Free Advance Reader Copies of Books from Publishers

One of the trickiest and most taboo topics in the book community is free books: who gets them and how.

This blog will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about requesting books from publishers.

  1. How many followers do I need before I start requesting books from publishers?
  2. Who do I contact to request ARCs of books?
  3. What do I say to the publisher when I email them?
  4. What kinds of expectations will the publisher have of me once they have sent me the ARC?

One thing I do want to acknowledge before I begin: it can be tricky if you’re based outside of the UK or US for you to get your hands on Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) or proofs of your most anticipated releases, and depending on where you are based, it might be virtually impossible. However, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, so don’t let this deter you. Publishers are also becoming more open to sending review copies to readers across the world, though I think they still have a way to go. While living in Scotland and Iceland, I have been successful at securing ARCs by exercising the advice I give here.

So let’s get into it and let me tell you all you need to know about requesting copies of your most anticipated reads.

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