2021 r/Fantasy Book Bingo TBR

Hello again everyone! Sorry for falling off the planet for the past couple years. I got really burnt out on blogging, and to be honest, I am not really back back right now…I just wanted somewhere to keep track of my options for the 2021 r/Fantasy Book Bingo. I haven’t participated in the bingo the last couple of years either, so I am a little rusty when it comes to tracking things. I have still been reading, but not many traditional books….mostly web novels and web comics. I got really into wuxia and litRPG for the past year or so, but I am finally in the mood to read traditional novels again. Hence me attempting bingo this year.

Oh and another thing, if possible, I don’t want to buy any books for this year’s bingo, I want to read the books I already own. I am not sure if that will be 100% possible, especially since I want to 100% the card, but I am going to try my best and cut down on the giant pile of books I own but haven’t read yet. Fingers crossed that I can make a decent dent.

Anywho, without further ado, here is the 2021 book bingo card:

2021 r/Fantasy Book Bingo Card

And here are the possible books I could read for each square (I indicate books I do not already own):

Row 1 TBR

Five SFF Short Stories – Any short story as long as there are five of them. HARD MODE: Read an entire SFF anthology or collection.

Set in Asia – Any book set in Asia or an analogous fantasy setting that is based on a real-world Asian setting. HARD MODE: Written by an Asian author.

A Selection from the r/Fantasy A to Z Genre Guide – Any book listed in our A to Z Genre Guide. HARD MODE: A book by a BIPOC author.

Found Family – Or as TV Tropes calls it – Family of Choice. Often not biologically related, these relationships in a group typically form through bonds of shared experiences and become as important (in some cases more) as family members. HARD MODE: Featuring an LGBTQ+ character as a member of the found family.

First Person POV – defined as: a literary style in which the narrative is told from the perspective of a narrator speaking directly about themselves. HARD MODE: There is more than one perspective, but each perspective is written in First Person.

Row 2 TBR

Book Club OR Readalong Book – Any past or still active r/Fantasy book clubs count, as well as past or current r/Fantasy readalongs. HARD MODE: Must read a current selection of either a book club or readalong and participate in the discussion.

New to You Author – This would be an author whose work you’ve yet to read, meaning no novel, no novella, no short fiction, etc. HARD MODE: Not only have you never read their work before but you’ve not heard much about this author or their work before deciding to try a book by them.

Gothic Fantasy – Gothic Fantasy is similar to Gothic Fiction but it includes fantasy elements or settings. Gothic Fiction is “a style of writing that is characterized by elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom, as well as romantic elements, such as nature, individuality, and very high emotion. These emotions can include fear and suspense.” (Source) Here is a good ‘introductory post’ on Gothic Fantasy for further reading from Book Riot. HARD MODE: NOT one of the ten titles listed in the Book Riot article.

Backlist Book – For our purposes we’re considering ‘backlist’ an author’s older titles that are not their latest published book or part of a currently running series (no further sequels announced when you read it). The author must also be a currently publishing author. HARD MODE: Published before the year 2000.

Revenge-Seeking Character – Book has a character whose main motivation in the story is revenge. HARD MODE: Revenge is central to the plot of the entire book.

Row 3 TBR

Mystery Plot – The main plot of the book centers around solving a mystery. HARD MODE: Not a primary world Urban Fantasy (secondary world urban fantasy is okay!)

Comfort Read – This is one of those ‘personal to you’ squares. Any book that brings you comfort while reading it. You can use a reread on this square and it WON’T count for your ‘1 reread’. HARD MODE: Don’t use a reread, find a brand new comfort read!

Published in 2021 – A book published for the first time in 2021 (no reprints or new editions). HARD MODE: It’s also a debut novel–as in it’s the author’s first published novel.

Cat Squasher: 500+ Pages – Time to go tome hunting–find a book that is over 500 pages in length. HARD MODE: Lion Squasher – a book that is over 800 pages.

SFF-Related Nonfiction – Back by popular demand! Any nonfiction book that is related to SFF. Could be a book about the history of something in SFF, writing SFF, essays from a SFF writer, etc. HARD MODE: Published within the last five years.

Row 4 TBR

Latinx or Latin American Author – Author is from Latin America or of Latinx/Hispanic heritage. HARD MODE: Book has fewer than 1000 Goodreads ratings.

Self-Published – Only self-published novels will count for this square. If the novel has been picked up by a publisher as long as you read it when it was self-pubbed it will still count. HARD MODE: Self-pubbed and has fewer than 50 ratings on Goodreads.

  • No idea, might replace this square (since we can replace one square with a square from a previous year’s bingo card)

Forest Setting – This setting must be used be for a good portion of the book. HARD MODE: The entire book takes place in this setting.

Genre Mashup – A book that utilizes major elements from two or more genres. Examples: a romance set in a fantasy world, a book that combines science fiction and fantasy, etc. HARD MODE: Three or more genres are combined.

Has Chapter Titles – A book where each chapter has a title (other than numbers or just a character’s name). HARD MODE: Chapter title is more than a single word.

Row 5 TBR

Title: ______ of _______ – The title of the book must feature the format X of Y. Example: The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier. HARD MODE: _______of _______ and _________ . Format of title must be X of Y and Z.

First Contact – From Wikipedia: Science Fiction about the first meeting between humans and extraterrestrial life, or of any sentient species’ first encounter with another one, given they are from different planets or natural satellites. HARD MODE: War does not break out as a result of contact.

Trans or Nonbinary Character – A book featuring a trans or nonbinary character that isn’t an alien or a robot. HARD MODE: This character is a main protagonist.

Debut Author – An author’s debut novel or novella. HARD MODE: The author has participated in an AMA. AMA List linked here.

Witches – A book featuring witches. Note – characters practicing what is traditionally in their culture referred to as witchcraft would also count. For example brujos or brujas would count for this square. HARD MODE: A witch is a main protagonist.


Obligatory warning, all the books mentioned in this post are subject to change per my mood. I suspect that many of these will be changed out for other options…though perhaps not as many as I think if I really stick to my guns and try to read only books I already own. We shall see. Anyway, good luck to everyone who is participating in this reading challenge! I am going to disappear again until it is time to update yinz on my bingo progress. Ciao!

2019 r/Fantasy Book Bingo Half Way Update

mermaid banner

Hello everyone! I haven’t posted an update for this reading challenge for a good long while, and as we have hit the half way point, I figured it was a perfect time to check in with y’all and share my progress. So, here is how it is going so far:

fantasy book bingo card 10.3.19-1

I have managed to get 2 bingos (so, technically I have already “won” this year…but I am still aiming for a black out), and in 5 cases I am one square away from another bingo.

Stats:

  • 16/25 books read
  • 12/16 hard mode (the yellow shaded squares indicate hard mode)

At this point I have completely lost track of what books were mentioned in my original TBR posts and which ones weren’t. (If you recall, I left my TBR rather vague, and gave myself lots of options for each square so that I wouldn’t feel trapped/pressured into reading specific books.)

Anyway, I am doing pretty good so far this year. I am most excited to read the book I have planned for the Ocean Setting square. I plan to read The Deep by Rivers Solomon. It is being published next month and I am SO EXCITED!

Good luck to everyone who is participating!

Space Opera September Readathon Wrap-up

space opera september

(Banner created by SFF180)

Hello intrepid space travelers! As you may or may not be aware, I participated in the Space Opera September readathon. I was aiming for the rank of Space Pirate, which only required that I read 4 book, but alas I only managed 3 and made it to the rank of Rebel Leader (provided it is ok to switch the prompt order around, which I am not sure was covered in the rules or not hahaha).

space opera september tracks 2

I ended up completing prompt 1, 2b and 4 from my original TBR, so if each prompt = 1 rank, then I got to the Rebel Leader rank. If not, then I only managed to get to Privateer, and then read an extra book. Here are the books I read:

1. Read a space opera novella

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard – I love the cover of this book. The story was pretty good too. I particularly like that the AI character suffered a trauma in the past, and had to overcome that trauma. The mystery was a bit weak, especially for a story based on Sherlock Holmes, but I liked the characters enough that it didn’t bother me too much.

4 Stars

2b. Read a space opera by a diverse author featuring a diverse protagonist and/or major characters

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – Holy crap this book was amazing. I loved everything about it…how it messes with your pre-conceived notions about gender, how it weaves 3 different timelines together to build your understanding of the current timeline, the icy world, the characters. Everything. It was a glorious read and I immediately went out and bought book 2 and 3 when I finished reading it.

5 Stars

4. Read a space opera 500 pages or longer

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – This was another wonderful read. I loved how the different characters came together in a found family, and it was really interesting learning all the cultures of the disparate species.

4 Stars

The one prompt I didn’t manage this month was prompt 3:

Read a space opera published before you were born

The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge – I just didn’t feel up to reading this book, and I hate forcing myself to read a book that I am just not in the mood for. Tends to send me into a reading slump. I still would like to read this book someday, just not feeling it right now.


You know, i have been thinking about it a lot, but I really think I am going to stop doing readathons except for the r/Fantasy Book Bingo one. Readathons really mess with my reading habits, put stress on me to complete certain books within a narrow time frame, and oftentimes send me into a reading slump afterwards. They are fun too yes, but not worth the fallout. I might still informally participate in the O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s next year (for instance, if I happen to read a book that completes a prompt then I will add it to their masterlist), but I don’t think I am going to create TBRs and all that. Readathons have also forced me into a position where I have a bunch of started series but no completed series. I hate that. Usually, when I start a series, I read the entire thing one after the other (if it is out, and I liked the first book).  Anyway…yeah, I think I am really only suited to year long readathons since there is hardly any time pressure.

Sorry to anyone who follows me and is disappointed in this decision. I might still post “heads up” type posts if there is a good readathon going on that I think others might be interested in, but really I just want to focus on reading the books I want to read.

Magical Readathon Wrap-up

NEWTs Readathon banner

Yay! The N.E.W.T.s are over! I am both very happy, and a little sad about it. This readathon is so much fun, but man is it intense. So many books, and because I am such a mood reader it is difficult for me to stick with the prompts. Congratulations to everyone who participated, and especially to those of you who managed to pass all the N.E.W.T.s required for your chosen profession!

As you all might be aware, I was aiming for the profession of Metal Charmer, and had to complete the following N.E.W.T.s:

Metal Charmer Newts

Well guess what? I DID IT!! Woo! Just barely (I finished the last required book on the last day of the readathon) and I made a lot of changes to my TBR. I think maybe only 1 or 2 of the books I intended to read were actually books that I read hahaha. Oh well.

Btw, collectively, everyone who participated in the readathon read over 6 million pages, which equates to over 18,700 books. That is just mind boggling to me.

Anyway, here all is what I read:

Arithmancy

  • A: Book that ends on an even page number

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Vol. 10 by Fuse and Taiki Kawakami

I watched the anime of this and adored it. This manga fills in some of the stuff that was left out of the anime, mainly Rimuru making more alliances with other countries.

3 Stars

  • E: Read a standalone

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

OMG this book was so amazingly good! I just picked it up on a whim, though I had heard some buzz about it online. I read it as an ebook and as soon as I finished it I went out and bought a physical copy because I decided I had to own it in physical form.

5 Stars

  • O: Book that’s longer than 350 pages

Cardcaptor Sakura, Book 2 by CLAMP

I ran out of time on this prompt, and ended up reading the second Cardcaptor Sakura omnibus. (This is the one I finished on the last day of the readathon.) There is a lot to love about the Cardcaptor Sakura series, but man, the pedophile teacher thing really REALLY bothers me.

4.5 Stars

Charms

  • A: Read a book that you think has a gorgeous cover

The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon by Megan Derr

I adore Megan Derr, but I have been hesitant to pick this book up because it didn’t sound like my cup of tea. But then I read a review that made me think I would like it so I got it and read it (I love all the covers of this series btw) and I was right that the romance was not to my taste, but I did enjoy the characters and the overall story.

3 Stars

  • E: Read a comic/graphic novel/manga

Asterisk Vols.1-8 by Shuu Morimoto

I decided to read all 8 volumes here, but count them collectively for one prompt since I read them all in one go. These were a re-read as I actually own all of the volumes of this series in Japanese. However, this time I found English translations online and read those. I love this series and wish there was more but alas it is finished.

5 Stars

  • O: Spongify (softening charm) – Read a paperback book

The Vision of Escaflowne Vol. 1 by Katsu Aki

I am not certain exactly how I feel about this manga. They warn you at the beginning that the anime came first, and this is one of 2 manga versions that was developed from the anime (this is the shonen, or boys, version, there is also a shorter shojo, or girls, version) but that it has been tweaked so it doesn’t follow the anime exactly. In fact, it is very different from the anime, and I wonder if I would prefer the shojo version of the manga…anyway:

3 stars for now

Transfiguration

  • A: Read a book with LGBTQ+ representation

Bone Rider by J. Fally

Also picked this one up on a whim and holy crap was it batshit. Really fun read.

4 Stars

  • E: Read a book that’s not a first in the series

Striker by Lexi Ander

So, yeah, was gonna read The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, but the thing is…I haven’t finished it yet. (I am having a real problem with Ronan.) I am about 100 pages from the end. Good thing I re-read this book in August. Man do I love the Valespian Pact books. I am desperately awaiting the third one.

5 Stars

  • O: McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book over 500 pages

Cardcaptor Sakura, Book 1 by CLAMP

Apparently, this book is now out of print since they are re-releasing the omnibuses as a 9 book series (instead of the current 4). I got one of the last copies from my local Barnes & Nobel. It is so good, but again, the pedophile teacher thing….just so gross. WHY? CLAMP, WHY DID YOU PUT THIS IN? ;~;

4 Stars

Ancient Runes

  • A: Ehwaz (partnership) – Read a book recommended by a friend

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This series was recommended to me by my friend Sarah @WindsorWrites (in fact she bought me all the books for…Christmas I think it was). I had a lot of trouble getting into this book, but once I got about half way I started to enjoy it.

3.5 Stars

  • E: Book written in past tense

Alpha Trine by Lexi Ander

As I said before, love the Valespian Pact books (I re-read them at least once per year), trying to be patient waiting for the 3rd one.

4 Stars

Defence Against the Dark Arts

  • A: Book that’s black under the dust jacket

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I am actually borrowing this book and Crooked Kingdom from my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest. I enjoyed this one a lot, though I found myself comparing it a lot to Foundryside which I read last month. Still a fun read though and am excited to read the next one.

4 Stars


And because I am fucking extra (and read a lot of manga last month) here are all the other N.E.W.T.s I completed, even though they weren’t required for my chose profession:

Astronomy

  • A: Moon on the cover or anywhere in the title

Demon Slayer Vol. 2 by Koyoharu Gotouge

I became a little obsessed with the Demon Slayer anime last month and picked up the manga series as well. I think I actually like the anime better, since a lot of the scenes work better in the anime than in the manga (such as the demon that can flip the room orientation…that did not come across well in the manga but was awesome in the anime). Even so, the manga goes a little bit beyond where the anime is at currently, so it is fun to know what is coming up.

4 Stars

Care of Magical Creatures

  • A: Book title that starts with A (for Aragog!)

Arcana Vol II by So-Young Lee

This was a re-read, and I only have the first 5 volumes of the 10 volume series. I really should buy the rest to find out what happens.

3 Stars

  • E: Book under 300 pages

Demon Slayer Vol. 4 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Like I said, I have all the volumes that are currently out in English (7 so far) and read them all last month.

4 Stars

  • O: Book with a bird on the cover

Arcana Vol I by So-Young Lee

I have also read Model by this manhwa writer/artist. I really like their style.

4 Stars

Herbology

  • A: Book with a green cover

Demon Slayer Vol. 5 by Koyoharu Gotouge

The background color of the cover of this manga is very green. The back cover especially is very green. On a separate note, I really love the character featured on this cover. I hope we learn more about him in the future.

5 Stars

History of Magic

  • A: Read a fantasy

Demon Slayer Vol. 1 by Koyoharu Gotouge

I also really like Nezuko, the sister featured on this cover. I wish she was actually able to speak though (she is gagged for most of the series so far so that she won’t eat humans).

3 Stars

Potions

  • A: Read your friend’s favorite book

Clover Vol. 1 by CLAMP

This is one of (I mean seriously, how can you just pick one!?) my friend Sarah’s @WindsorWrites favorite manga. I agree with her that they do really interesting things with the layouts in this manga. Fascinating (and beautiful) use of negative space.

4 Stars

  • E: Book with a cover in your Hogwarts house color

Demon Slayer Vol. 3 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Ok, so it isn’t the whole cover, but a good portion is black and yellow, my house colors (Hufflepuff). Unfortunate that my least favorite character in the series (Zenitsu) wears my Hogwarts house colors. Sigh.

3 Stars


And that’s it! 27 books total for this readathon (12 required, 15 just because). I actually read even more books than shown here, but they either didn’t fit a prompt, or they were for an E or O level prompt and I didn’t have a book for the A (and/or E) level so I couldn’t count them. If you want to know exactly how many books I read last month, that will be in my upcoming August 2019 Wrap-up post, so keep an eye out.

On to Space Opera September! (I am so glad I only need to read 4 books for this readathon hahaha.)

Space Opera September Readathon TBR

space opera september

(Banner created by SFF180)

Hello intrepid space travelers! So, I know that next month there is going to be a Tome Infinity and Beyond readathon, but my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest told me about this brand new readathon that is being put on by Thomas at SFF180and we both decided we wanted to give this new readathon a try instead. Part of the reason is that Tome Infinity has become a big time “team” readathon, and Emily and I are much more “single player” types, but also the Space Opera September readathon is much lower intensity (i.e. way fewer prompts) which will be nice after the N.E.W.T.s conclude at the end of August.

Anyway, for more information on the readathon, check out this totally awesome video:

If you don’t want to watch the video (though you should, cuz it’s awesome), you can also find the info at the Goodreads group. The important things to know are:

  • The readathon lasts the entire month of September
  • You only have to read 4 books to “win”

There are actually 2 tracks you can take, Federation or Rebel, and you must complete one prompt in order to rank up. There are 4 ranks, so that means 4 prompts total. The prompts differ slightly depending on which track you decide to take.

space opera september tracks.png

I, of course, wish to be a space pirate, so I will be taking the Rebel track, and will have to complete the following prompts (FYI, I am only going to read books I already own…gotta cut down that TBR pile):

1. Read a space opera novella

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard – I literally just bought this book a week ago, and was going to read it as soon as it arrived, but then I heard about this readathon and decided to wait to read it (though it is torture).

2b. Read a space opera by a diverse author featuring a diverse protagonist and/or major characters

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – I am really excited about this book, and to see just how it subverts gender.

3. Read a space opera published before you were born

The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge – I didn’t think this book would count as Space Opera originally, and was worried about this prompt, but then I found this book on a Barnes and Noble list of 55 Essential Space Operas of the Last 70 Years and figured if it was on the list then it must count as a Space Opera. It was originally published in 1980, 6 years before I was born, so I should be good to go for this one.

4. Read a space opera 500 pages or longer

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – I plan to read the same book as my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest but for a different prompt…I wonder if we should/could do a buddy read? ^_^


There are some long books on this TBR, but I should be fine since it is only 4 books total. It will feel easy peasy after the N.E.W.T.s.

N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon Mid-way Update

NEWTs Readathon banner

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t been posting. I have been reading lots this month trying to get through my N.E.W.T.s exams and it has taken time away from everything else. I have made some good headway with my exams though, so I thought I should share my progress with you all.

As some of you may or may not be aware, this month I am participating in the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon. I gave myself a lot of options for the prompts in my TBR post, and I think it has helped a lot to keep me going with this readathon.  There is definitely less stress when I don’t feel locked into the TBR choices I make.

Anyway, here are the N.E.W.T.s I need in order to achieve my chosen profession of Metal Charmer:

Metal Charmer Newts

And here is where I am with my exams:

Arithmancy

  • A: Book that ends on an even page number – Complete!

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Vol. 10 by Fuse and Taiki Kawakami

I watched the anime of this and adored it. This manga fills in some of the stuff that was left out of the anime, mainly Rimuru making more alliances with other countries. 3 stars.

  • E: Read a standalone – Complete!

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

OMG this book was so amazingly good! I just picked it up on a whim, though I had heard some buzz about it online. I read it as an ebook and as soon as I finished it I went out and bought a physical copy because I decided I had to own it in physical form. 5 stars.

  • O: Book that’s longer than 350 pages – Not Started

Still not exactly sure what I am going to read for this prompt, but I am leaning towards Rosewater by Tade Thompson.

Charms

  • A: Read a book that you think has a gorgeous cover – Complete!

The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon by Megan Derr

I adore Megan Derr, but I have been hesitant to pick this book up because it didn’t sound like my cup of tea. But then I read a review that made me think I would like it so I got it and read it (I love all the covers of this series btw) and I was right that the romance was not to my taste, but I did enjoy the characters and the overall story. 3 stars.

  • E: Read a comic/graphic novel/manga – Complete!

Asterisk Vol.1-8 by Shuu Morimoto

These were a re-read as I actually own all of the volumes of this series in Japanese. However, this time I found English translations online and read those. I love this series and wish there was more but alas it is finished. 5 stars.

  • O: Spongify (softening charm) – Read a paperback book – Complete!

The Vision of Escaflowne Vol. 1 by Katsu Aki

I am not certain exactly how I feel about this manga. They warn you at the beginning that the anime came first, and this is one of 2 manga versions that was developed from the anime (this is the shonen, or boys, version, there is also a shorter shojo, or girls, version) but that it has been tweaked so it doesn’t follow the anime exactly. In fact, it is very different from the anime, and I wonder if I would prefer the shojo version of the manga…anyway, 3 stars for now.

Transfiguration

  • A: Read a book with LGBTQ+ representation – Complete!

Bone Rider by J. Fally

Also picked this one up on a whim and holy crap was it batshit. Really fun read. 4 stars.

  • E: Read a book that’s not a first in the series – In Progress

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Just finished The Raven Boys yesterday for another prompt, so I have only just read the prologue on this one. I have heard that for most people, this is their favorite of the series, so I am looking forward to it.

  • O: McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book over 500 pages – Not Started

 

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo or The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

For this prompt, I will probably read one of these two books. I read Six of Crows earlier this month for one of the other N.E.W.T.s exams, so I am leaning more toward that one at the moment…however I did read The City of Brass several months ago and would really like to know what happens next. So, really, I could go either way with this one.

Ancient Runes

  • A: Ehwaz (partnership) – Read a book recommended by a friend – Complete!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This series was recommended to me by my friend Sarah @WindsorWrites (in fact she bought me all the books for…Christmas I think it was). I had a lot of trouble getting into this book, but once I got about half way I started to enjoy it. 3.5 stars.

  • E: Book written in past tense – Not Started

No clue what I am going to read for this one.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

  • A: Book that’s black under the dust jacket – Complete!

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I am actually borrowing this book and Crooked Kingdom from my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest. I enjoyed this one a lot, though I found myself comparing it a lot to Foundryside which I read last month. I really want to know what happens next, which is why I am currently more inclined to read Crooked Kingdom for the Transfiguration prompt.


I have completed 8 out of 12 exams…all in all not bad, however the rest of the books I have planned to read a on the longer side, so wish me luck!

N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon TBR

NEWTs Readathon banner

Buckle up people, cuz the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon is coming for us. The N.E.W.T.s exams are set to begin on August 1st and run for the full month. Go here to see the N.E.W.T.s announcement video.

Back in April I participated in the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon, and managed to pass all the required exams for my chosen profession of Metal Charmer. Since I managed the O.W.L.s, I am going to attempt the N.E.W.T.s…even though I will need to read 12 books for it. A little difficult, but doable.

The N.E.W.T.s work a little differently than the O.W.L.s. For the O.W.L.s, I just had to read one book per required subject to qualify for Metal Charmer. For the N.E.W.T.s, your grade in the required subjects is much more important. To clarify, here are the N.E.W.T.s requirements for a Metal Charmer:

Metal Charmer Newts

Each subject has 3 different grade levels, A for “Acceptable, E for “Exceeds Expectations”, and O for “Outstanding”. Each of these grade levels represent a different reading prompt. So, for example, I must get an O in Charms, which will require me to complete the A level prompt, the E level prompt, and the O level prompt. Oh, and the prompts must be done in order…so I can’t just skip to the O level prompt and go back and do the A and E level prompts later on. Oh, and I can’t double up on prompts. I must read a different book for every prompt. Tricky right?

Anyway, one other thing, though it is related to TBRs in general, not to this specific readathon, I have decided I don’t like giving myself just one reading option per prompt for TBRs. It makes me feel like I am locked into that choice (even though I am not) and then I end up feeling disappointed in myself (kinda like I have failed or something) when I end up reading a different book instead for a particular prompt. So rather than just picking one book per prompt, I am instead giving myself a couple of options per prompt, so that way I don’t feel locked into the choice.

I am also trying to whittle down the pile of books that I own but haven’t read yet. So, most if not all of the options in the following list are books I already physically own.

Arithmancy

A: Book that ends on an even page number

E: Read a standalone

  • It’s kinda scary how few standalone books I have, but here are a few options:

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Gilgamesh by Anonymous (translated by Stephen Mitchell) – True, since we don’t know who wrote this, it is possible it isn’t a standalone, but since only this story survived, it is technically a standalone now
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

O: Book that’s longer than 350 pages

  • This covers a lot of the books I own, so I will just pick one I feel like reading and read it.

Charms

A: Read a book that you think has a gorgeous cover

  • This is also covers a lot of the books I own, so again will probably just pick one I am in the mood for and read it.

E: Read a comic/graphic novel/manga

  • Paper Girls Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
  • Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran – this one could be tricky since it isn’t even available to buy until August 20th
  • The Vision of Escaflowne (vols. 1-5) and The Wicked + The Divine (vols. 5 or 6) are also possibilities here

O: Spongify (softening charm) – Read a paperback book

  • I own a lot of these too…see earlier responses.

Transfiguration

A: Read a book with LGBTQ+ representation

E: Read a book that’s not a first in the series

  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – This would require me reading the first book in the series, The Raven Boys, first (which I haven’t) but see Ancient Runes below…as I might have a plan
  • The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – This one is long, so I might end up using it for the O level prompt below
  • The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – This is an option for A level Arithmancy as well

O: McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book over 500 pages

  • The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – As I said above I might use this book for this prompt
  • Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell – This is the group read book, and it has a special power. You can use the group read book for any prompt, so since this prompt is a beast, I might use the group read book special power here.

Ancient Runes

A: Ehwaz (partnership) – Read a book recommended by a friend

  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – As I said earlier, in order to read The Dream Thieves, I would need to read The Raven Boys first. Well, this is the prompt I could use to read The Raven Boys. This book (in fact the entire series) was recommended to me by my friend Sarah. She also bought the entire series for me and gave it to me as a gift. I just haven’t had the time to read it, but this readathon might give me the chance to do so.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – This was also recommended to me by my friend Sarah and I have been borrowing it from her for more than a year
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – My friend Emily is the one who recommended this to me. I recently borrowed the Grisha trilogy from her and read it, and the other day she lent me the Six of Crows duology, as well as King of Scars, to read.

E: Book written in past tense

  • Again, most of my books are written in past tense so…I will just choose one off the TBR shelf

Defence Against the Dark Arts

A: Book that’s black under the dust jacket

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I might have to read this book for this prompt due to lack of other options
  • Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko – I am supposed to buddy read this with my friend Emily at some point, but I actually have surprisingly few options for this prompt…I will try to be good and not read it…but I might not have a choice

That’s it! It seems like a lot of books, and it is, but I am going to try and read manga/graphic novels where I can to help alleviate the load. Good luck to everyone else who is planning to sit their N.E.W.T.s exams!

2019 r/Fantasy Book Bingo Update

mermaid banner

Hello fellow readers! As you might already know, I read a boatload of books last month. Because of that, I was able to put a fair number of books on the 2019 r/Fantasy Book Bingo card!

For more information on the r/Fantasy 2019 Bingo Challenge, go here.

My card now looks like this:

fantasy book bingo card 05.03.19-1.png

The books in white shaded squares do not satisfy hard mode, the yellow shaded squares do satisfy hard mode (and also there is a little (h) after the title). All of these books were books I read for the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon. For short blurbs about what I thought about them, go here.

The funny thing is, I don’t think any of these books, except for The City of Brass which was planned and The Devourers which had a strong possibility of being read for the O.W.L.s, were on my original TBR posts.

Anyway, I am pleased with my progress, though I imagine I will swap out a couple of these books. I would really like to get hard mode for all the squares this year. Wish me luck!

O.W.L.s Magical Readathon Wrap-up

hogwarts crest

Hi everyone! It is May 1st which means the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon is officially over! I had so much fun with this readathon, and Book Roast, who put the whole thing together, did a FABULOUS job!! Twitter was the place to be for this readathon. There were Hogwarts classes, a Quidditch tournament, and daily wand (drawings) giveaways! It was amazing. I was blown away with how much time, effort, and care was put into making this readathon extra special. I can’t wait for the N.E.W.T.s in August!

Also, just as an FYI, collectively all the participants of this readathon read over 12,000 books which added up to over 4 million pages!!

If you would like more information about the readathon, go here for the announcement video.


This readathon was a bit difficult for me, since there were so many prompts to complete, and doubling up was not allowed. So, I am pleased to announce, I PASSED ALL OF MY O.W.L.s!! WOOHOO! Got an Outstanding too!

If you recall from my announcement post, I was aiming for Metal Charmer, which required the following subjects to be completed:

Metal Charmer OWLs requirements

However, I decided to pick 4 “subjects of choice” instead of 2 in order to read 9 books total and get an Outstanding on my O.W.L.s. The 4 additional subjects were:

  • Herbology
  • Potions
  • Care of Magical Creatures
  • Divination

I chose these because (with the exception of Divination which I chose because I liked the prompt) this combination of classes meant I could pursue Metal Charmer, Potioneer, or Wandmaker as a career when the N.E.W.T.s come around. I am not sure how difficult the N.E.W.T.s are going to be, so I like to have options.

As you will see below, I ended up making a bunch of changes to my original TBR, mostly in the interest of saving time, because, like usual, I ended up mood reading throughout the month.

Ancient Runes: Retelling

the bear and the nightengale.jpg

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – Complete! Part 1 of this book was really hard to get into, but once I got to part 2 it really picked up and I ended up loving it. I definitely intend to read the next book in the trilogy. 

4 stars

Arithmancy: Work written by more than one author

Death

Death by Neil Gaiman and a whole bunch of artists/colorists/letterists – Complete! This one was a deviation from my TBR. I got 95 pages into The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O with only 2 days left for the readathon and knew there was no way I would finish. So I picked this up instead. I think Death might be my favorite of Neil Gaiman’s Endless, and I loved this graphic novel.

5 stars

Care of Magical Creatures: Land animal on the cover

His Cursed Prince by Ryan Loveless – Complete! This was another deviation from my TBR. It was one of the mood books I picked up last month. Unfortunately, I was not a fan of this book. It was way too silly for me, and the sex scenes were decidedly un-sexy. I did like the twist to the curse though, and the mix of modern day and fairy tale.

2 stars

Charms: Age-line, an adult work

Band Sinister.jpg

Band Sinister by KJ Charles – Complete! I really enjoyed this book. The premise and just everything about it was really neat. I really need to read more KJ Charles.

4 stars

Defense Against the Dark Arts: Reducto – title starts with ‘R’

red queen

Red Queen by Christina Henry – Complete! I had mentioned in my update post that I might substitute this book for my original choice since I didn’t want to start up yet another series. I decided that was in fact the case. I liked this book. It was different than the first one, Alice, but on the same level of interesting.

4 stars

Divination: Set in the future

the auroroa conspiracy

The Aurora Conspiracy by Lexi Ander – Complete! Yet another deviation from my original TBR, and another mood read that happened to fit the prompt. It was an entertaining but forgettable read. To be honest, I don’t even remember what happens.

3 stars

Herbology: Plant on the cover

The Devourers

The Devourers by Indra Das – Complete! Oh my gosh this book was so good! Unless I totally read it wrong, Indra Das used shapeshifters as a metaphor and a message of empowerment for Trans people. So cool! I actually had already decided to substitute this book for my original TBR pick before the readathon even began, and I am so glad I did.

5 stars

Potions: Next ingredient – sequel

arm of the sphinx.jpg

The Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft – Complete! Holy crap this was fantastic. Just as good, if not better, than Senlin Ascends. I can’t wait to fall into the 3rd book. So glad I already own it. 

5 stars

Transfiguration: Sprayed edges or red cover

beowulf

Beowulf by Santiago García and David Rubín – Complete! While the story is a classic, I was a bit underwhelmed by the art style. I did like how Grendel and Grendel’s mother were drawn though. The graphic novel was super, duper gory.

3 stars


I am at once sad this readathon is over, and glad for the break. April was a little nuts as far as number of books I read (more on that in my April Wrap-up post). As you might be aware, I am participating in the Asian Readathon this month which only has 5 prompts and I am glad for the reprieve….and I am actually not even going to start reading those books until this weekend. Anywho, happy reading everyone!

Asian Readathon TBR

Asian Readathon banner

(Banner is created by readwithcindy for the Asian Readathon.)

Hi again everyone! With April coming to a close, and the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon with it (more on that later), I am looking ahead to May and the Asian Readathon. Please go here to see the announcement video for this readathon.

The Asian Readathon is a month long readathon starting May 1st until May 31st. May is going to be a bit of an interesting month for me, because on May 24th my dad and I are going on safari in South Africa. Long plane rides are great for reading, however they are mostly overnight flights, so sleeping might be more important. And once in South Africa, I am not sure how much reading I am actually going to be able to do.

Fortunately, the Asian Readathon only has 5 prompts, and doubling up is acceptable. Please go here for a very helpful google doc that has lists of books you can read for the readathon, including a bunch of books listed by country (which is so awesome).


Challenges:

  1. Read any book by an Asian author
  2. Read a graphic novel featuring an Asian character or written/drawn by an Asian author 
  3. Read a book featuring an intersectional Asian character or written by an intersectional Asian identity (i.e. queer, mixed, disabled, neurodiverse, etc)
  4. Read a book by Asian author that was originally written in their native language 
  5. Read the group book: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh

The Twist:

  • EACH book you read should feature a character or author of a different Asian ethnicity

So, the twist is a bit difficult for me, because I am trying to read only books that I already own, and the graphic novels I own are heavily skewed towards Japan (manga), and the book I want to read for prompt 4 is by a Japanese author. I do have some Korean manhwa, but the book I want to read for prompt 1 is by a Korean author. Yes, I know I could potentially choose other books, but these are books I have needed to read for awhile now and this readathon is my excuse to read them. Anyway, here is my tentative TBR:

TBR

Read any book by an Asian author

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Korea) – This book was recommended to me by my step mom months ago and I really need to read it so she can talk with me about it.

Read a graphic novel featuring an Asian character or written/drawn by an Asian author

Starpower by Michael Terracciano and Garth Graham (Space?) – I looked through all my not-yet-read comics and couldn’t find any that weren’t Japanese or Korean. Starpower is a webcomic whose main character, Danica Maris, is Asian, though I don’t recall where she is from…if it is ever said. I have read all of Starpower that is out so far, but have wanted to start from the beginning again, so that is what I might do for this prompt. Otherwise, I might read The Boat, and interactive webcomic by Matt Huynh (Vietnamese).

Read a book featuring an intersectional Asian character or written by an intersectional Asian identity

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (China-Malaysia, queer) – This has been on my TBR for a bit and this is the perfect readathon/prompt for it.

Read a book by Asian author that was originally written in their native language 

The Makioka Sisters by Tanizaki Junichiro (Japan) – My dad bought this for me ages ago, and he keeps asking me if I read it so yeah, I need to read it.

Group Read

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by a bunch of authors (Earth) – This is an anthology that is the group read for the readathon. I do not own it, so it is the one book I will buy for the readathon.


That’s it! I am glad that it is a month long and only has 5 prompts. I am a big mood reader, so it is hard for me to do prompt heavy readathons, even if they are a month long. The O.W.L.s Magical Readathon was a struggle (and I am not quite done in fact). I am both terrified and looking forward to the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon in August (mostly terrified). Happy reading to everyone who is participating in any of these readathons!