Challenges and Readathons

Doing the r/fantasy 2022 bingo… the easy way

Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the bingo. I printed out the grid, I had little star stickers to put on it, I wrote down all the prompts in my journal with what book I read for it… I also noticed that as the year went on, I read more books by the same authors that fit different prompts and I wanted to shuffle things around and it was a bit messy.

I also read what I’m in the mood for and rarely stick to a specific TBR for a specific month so it was kind of hard to finish it… and I’m struggling to read paper books let alone ebooks at the moment, which puts limits on what I can do.

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(February and) March wrapup

Teal coloured title card reading £March Wrap-Up" with flowery teal and purple ornaments above and below the title

So things got a little bit away from me there…

To give you a bit of context, I’ve been struggling with my health (yes, again, that’s the “chronic” part unfortunately, and it’s making me exhausted, and also depressed, so that’s a double whammy there) while having to restart work, and job searching for something better for both my sanity and my health. Oh, and I moved apartments! So, it’s been busy. And in the middle of all that, I kept thinking I needed to do a February wrapup, until it was mid-March and I thought, well… The same happened with reviews, where I’ve been postponing some so much that I just can’t think what I wanted to say anymore.

So here we are, March has just ended, I’m still in the same job, I’m still exhausted all the time… but on the plus side, I’ve read some cool books! I managed to finish the r/fantasy bingo, as you might have seen earlier this week. I’ve read some of my physical books, too, and a buttload of audiobooks because they help me get through stuff when I otherwise don’t have the spoons to focus.

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an update on r/fantasy bingo

I said last year I’d be doing the r/fantasy bingo, which runs from April to the end of March. I’ve completed it, mostly, except for the SFF-related nonfiction square. I know you can replace one square with any from a previous year but if I’m being honest, I don’t really have the energy to go look for previous ones, and I’d rather just admit I’ve not done the one square. 24 out of 25 prompts feels pretty good if I’m being honest!

I also lost track of which ones I managed in regular or hard mode, and sometimes I have the regular+hero (review) mode. I had a tracker in my planner, with little star stickers, but I switched reading journals and planners with the beginning of 2022 so it’s weird to go back…

It ended up being mostly reading whatever I wanted and then matching it to the prompts. I think if I do it again this year, I’ll try to assign books from my TBR to the card first, then tick them off, it feels more in the spirit of the game.

Let’s have a look at what I read!

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A little last minute readathon: Pondathon II signup

Yeah so I’m not always Au Fait of what’s going on in the bookblogging world, as I’m mostly doing my own thing. So today I found out it’s the start of Pondathon II (created by The Quiet Pond, a great blog with lots of great content!) and decided to join.

What is the Pondathon?

Pondathon II is a story-driven and gardening-themed readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of the Pondathon II readathon is to read books to earn plants and decorate your own little garden so that we can restore the forest together. More information about the readathon can be found here.

Information about Joining the Pondathon

  • You can sign-up to the Pondathon II readathon here. The readathon starts on January 10th 2022 and ends on December 11th 2022; sign-ups are open across the duration of the readathon.
  • You also get to create your own Pond animal character for the Pondathon, and create your own character card!
  • If you’d like, create a blog post, bookstagram post, booktube video, Twitter thread, or whatever medium you wish, with ‘#PondathonII’ in the title or your tweet. Share the character you have created and your character card!
  • Link back to this post so that new friends can find the readathon and join in as well.

My Pond Character

Character card design by @artfromafriend, for The Pondathon only. A dark purple background with green leaves and golden stars. In the centre, a lighter square with info that reads: Aurelie @ Ghosthermione Reads, in teal. Then under a line, Wrangler of Frogs. Twitter: @Ghosthermione.
On top of the light purple square, there is a brown and teal trowel on the left, and a teal watering can on the right. Both are covered in green vines with leaves. In the middle, a drawing of a beige cat with stripey tail, standing on her back legs like a human. She's wearing a green leaf as a hat, a red apron, red boots, and a necklace of pink flowers. She holds a cane with a vine twining around it, and wears a bisexual pride and rainbow pride badges on the right side of her apron.
character sheet made using the Pond’s resources and @artfromafriend’s gorgeous background. I got inspired for the title by the Swan wranglers of

We get to use this shiny sheet to track extra quests and bonuses! and with that also comes a shiny (for now empty) garden, in which you can plant all your rewards from reading books!

Now, let me just say this – I’m not the best at keeping track of things. This Readathon requires to send in a form for books you read and I’m already filling my reading journal AND The Storygraph, so there’s a good chance I’ll drop the ball on this, or not submit forms in time, etc. etc. But the concept was so neat and the design so shiny, I just have to try my hand at filling my own terrarium with shiny plants earned from reading!

Looking forward to a very green reading year!

Introducing: the 2022 nonfiction bingo!

One of my goals for next year is to read more nonfiction. I enjoy it when I do, but I don’t normally go toward it.

I looked into a few existing bingos and challenges, and I wasn’t super happy with the prompts, which covered too many topics I am in fact not interested to read. So I decided to make my own, and because sharing is caring, here it is:

Poster with a pale orange background and some orange gradient shapes on the corners. It reads: 2022 Nonfiction Reading Bingo. 
Then a list of prompts with squares to tick off:
Earth and Space ; Indigenous culture or history ; LGBTQIA+ theme ; Black history ; About a non-Western culture, history or person ; Psychology and mental health ; famous or overlooked women ; recent publication (2021-2022).
Ok, it’s not really a bingo, more like a prompt list. You know what I mean!

Now, these topics are catered towards subjects I’m interested in personally, like non-white, non-Western history, queer stuff, mental health, feminism, and space. That said, I’m hoping some people do find it to their liking and want to join in!

I’ve created a Storygraph reading challenge that you can join as well to track your progress.

Happy reading!

October recap – #OcTBRChallenge and a bit of a chat

So…. I read a lot in October, and even tweeted quite a bit about it, but I didn’t blog much. One reason is that writing a blog post requires some energy, and having some time to just sit down and write without much interruption, so your thoughts make some sense. But October has been a high-chronic issues, low- energy month, so while reading was fine, writing about it in more than 280 character bursts was harder. This is also why this recap is less detailed than some.

Still, in the middle of all that, I’m pretty happy with myself for what I achieved. I set out my objectives in this post, if you want to have a look back.

I read 12 books and DNF’d another 3 (2 of them classics, and 1 that I’d owned as an ebook forever but found pretty ableist and shitty upon trying the audiobook). I did read/DNF the whole pile of books I’d planned to read in my original OcTBRGoals, too!

Among the books I read, 3 were audios (1 I had in paper but the audio was just easier for me at the time), 2 ebooks (ARCs) and the rest were paper books, which allowed me to unload some of my books. I did not hate any of them, but I didn’t love many either, so a full bag went to a local charity.

Highlights of the month:

  • Gods of Jade and Shadow, by Silvia Moreno Garcia: a Mexico-based, 1920 new-adult novel which I really enjoyed despite my very limited knowledge of the country and that era.
  • A Dowry of Blood, by S.T. Gibson (full review): a auite emotional, polyamorous and queer story about Dracula’s brides (spouses?), abusive relationships, and emancipation.
  • Armed in her Fashion, by Kate Heartfield (full review to come): Bosch meets Chaucer meets feminism in a quest to get these two women’s inheritance back from the chatelaine of hell. It was fun!
  • Paladin’s Grace, by T. Kingfisher. I’m becoming such a fan of Ursula Vernon (and if you don’t follow her on twitter yet, you should, she’s a riot!). It’s fantasy romance with a great heart and a sense of humour.
  • In the same vein, A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, also by T. Kingfisher: YA/MG novel about a young wizard who controls… bread. All kinds of breads, but only breads! and who has to try and save her city from medieval-type fascists.
  • No Man of Woman Born, by Ana Mardoll. Fairy tale collection about trans and nonbinary heroes and gendered prophecies. Probably my favourite short story collection that I read this year.

For November, I don’t have any big plans. I’ve upped my storygraph goals and it’s annoying me that I’m no longer 10+ books ahead, so I’m trying to get some advance again there.

Other than that, I’ve a library book to hand back in like, last week (bless the lack of fines in Irish libraries!), a few recent ARCs, and I do want to read some of the Hugo nominated novels and Lodestar YA ones before voting closes on November 19th. You can see my opinions on the nominated novellas here. I’m not sure I’ll get through them all but I will do my best!

I hope you all had lots of candy for Halloween (I sure did!) and have a great November!

September wrap-up and October plans

I’m writing this early because I don’t expect to be finishing anything else before the end of the month, I’ve started Ancestral Night but I won’t have time to finish. Overall I read what I was hoping to read, and I’m pretty happy overall.

I DNF’d the Expanse (which had been on my “read this month” list for 2+ months) for multiple counts of misogyny and a case of “not interesting enough for me to bear through these boring, offensive points of view”. Other than that I enjoyed all that I read.

Some stats:

  • I’ve read 10 books in total, bringing my yearly read list to 89.
  • I’ve apparently read 2719 pages if we trust Storygraph on that count. I think some books did not have a page count there
  • It’s an average month for me
  • I read 3 audios, 6 ebooks and 1 paper book (and DNF’d 1 paper book too). That’s the most ebooks I’ve read since, like, last October (for reasons explained below)

I did read all the Hugo-nominated novellas as I’d planned, and I’ll tell you about them in another post, but here are the other books I read. I’ll tell you more about my October plans after!

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r/fantasy bingo progress report

As I announced previously, I’ve been trying to fill in my bingo card for the r/fantasy book bingo challenge. It runs from April to April, so we’re just about a third of the way through.

The bingo has 3 difficulty levels, normal mode, hard mode (which has a secondary prompt) and hero mode, in which you’re supposed to review all the books you read. I’m giving myself little stars ⭐for each level. I bought a reward star booklet specifically for this, so I’ve three colours.

You’re not supposed to use the same book twice, and ideally not the same author either. I’ve been penciling in titles so far, in the hopes of finding a title for each prompt that fills in all 3… but I’ve decided to start writing them in properly. Which of course, being an airhead, I could not do cleanly without mistakes… (yes I KNEW I wanted Lunis Aquaria for the self-pub one, I had it in pencil. But that’s another page, right? so I did not see it before I’d written it down for short stories…)

Then there’s prompts like “Backlist” (hard mode: published before 2000) where I’ve one book that fills the normal prompt and has a review, and one mode that fills the hard prompt but no review (and I don’t intend to review it)… So I’m still not sure how to deal with those. I went with normal+hard in my little star rating on the bingo card!

I still hope to find a Hard Mode title for some of the prompts so I’ve left them in pencil, and didn’t put in any stars on my card

I also have a smaller “spare card” as a backup because I do think maybe I’ll get extra lines with second books for certain prompts, but that’s really ambitious. So right now I’ve put the extra backlist star on it, as well as a normal mode star for Tram Car 015, on the Genre Mashup tile.

Really what this made me realise is 1) these 3 modes make it a lot more confusing than I thought 2) I am not so good at planning and being organized as I sometimes think I am.

The fact that you can’t repeat is also tricky. My new-to-me author is also a 2021 publication, I’ve got novels that fit for the 2021 AND debut prompt but I want them to fill some other tile first… So I don’t have a bingo yet, but I think with a bit of effort I’ll soon get the 4th column, as I’ve got a few cat squashers lined up, and I just need to pick a debut author to read.

But yeah, I’m finding the whole exercise a bit confusing and frustrating. I think I’ll keep penciling things in as I read them, and write them in proper when they do hit both hard mode and hero (review) mode. Then come December/January I’ll have a look at what I still need to read and become more serious about ticking them off purposefully.

mini readathon: a recap

So I planned to do this yesterday but i ended up finishing past midnight instead of 5pm like I said, soo it was a bit late.

While I didn’t read quite as much as I’d planned, I did finish 3 books I’d already started:

-Stormsong by C.L. Polk (I’ll be posting a review of the first in the series shortly)

-Jasmine Throne, by Tasha Suri, which keeps blowing my mind that much later. Also got a review ready to go

-Best SFF of the year (2018). Like all story collections there were great hits, and there were some misses. I allowed myself to skip some, but I enjoyed most of it

I’m currently on holidays for a few days in the countryside, and typing this from mobile. I’m excited to be out of the house for a bit, even if it looks like the weather won’t be on my side. My holiday read is gonna be The Unbroken, and I’m really looking forward to that!!