Book Bingo Update

I wasn’t expecting much with this update but given how much I have been reading this year I actually had plenty of candidates for these squares. I even had multiple choices for a few too which was exciting.

I’m glad I have so many completed spaces, and many bingos (yay!) because now I can focus on getting a whole card completed and with only a few left I have faith I can do it even with everything that is going on. Famous last words I know and I will be reading late into the night at the end of December to make this complete if it doesn’t happen before then so I don’t have to renege on my goal.

Looking at my categories and rereading my original post from earlier this year, I’m glad I have so much diversity because even without planning too I have followed this well and diversified my reading quite a lot. Not that I hadn’t done before, but I know my reading has improved because I have been able to find fantastic stories with great characters to enjoy, not only enjoy the genre or themes within that story. Seeing it so clearly by filling out a bingo card has shown me the range my reading has covered and I’m really proud of how I’ve managed to do that unintentionally, and as I say, I had multiple options for so many categories which is wonderful.

19/25 is a great position to be in with two months to go and I am going to start looking into titles I can track down in order to win.

 

2020 Release

One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying, #2)One of Us is Next by Karen McManus

This was an interesting sequel to One of Us is Lying. It was curious to see the aftermath of the end of the first book and seeing it from a different point of view, someone not really connected to the original story but still affected by it. It isn’t quite as engrossing as the first, but there is a mystery going on and teen drama to focus on.

 

Reread

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

There is something special about these books that the movies cannot capture. I love the small details that get excluded and random scenes that don’t have an impact on the larger plot. Even the additional information and story around the main plots is worthwhile. There is more emotion, depth and growth in the characters that I adore in these books that is always worth revisiting.

Set in Australia

The ExThe Ex by Nicola Moriarty

This was a great read as it had a lot of twists and turns but never where you expected them. I loved the way Moriarty set up her characters and when you thought you knew exactly what was going to happen suddenly everything changes and you have to reassess. It is incredibly clever.

 

POC Author

Ten Things I Hate About Me10 Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah

As a story trying to demonstrate the experience of growing up as a Lebanese Muslim in Australia I don’t think Abdel-Fattah succeeds in the way she intended to but there is some merit to her story if people can learn from it and gain some perspective.

 

Transgender MC

I Was Born for ThisI Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

With a dual narration there is so much to love about this story. I loved that being transgender isn’t the point of the story but it isn’t brushed aside or diminished either. The way Oseman balances the two narrators and their own unique lives is done remarkably well and as they join together it felt like it was meant to be. It is a story that constantly surprised me and I loved it never went where I was expecting.

Non Fiction

Queerstories: Reflections on lives well lived from some of Australia's finest LGBTQIA+ writers (16pt Large Print Edition)Queerstories ed. by Maeve Marsden

Each of these personal essays offers insight into the lives of all the contributing authors. The range of identities and experiences is diverse and getting to read about the everyday, the ordinary, and the extraordinary is the epitome of the “reflections on lives well lived” theme. There’s love and heartbreak but also lessons and fun experiences. Each story captures a certain something and it’s expressed brilliantly through each story.

Lesbian MC

PulpPulp by Robin Talley

I loved this story so much. A YA with a foot in the historical and the contemporary that shows the stark contrast of the lives and rights of LGBTQIA teens and how far they’ve come and how far there is left to go. There is romance and drama and a great historical element that shows off the ingenuity and resourcefulness of those oppressed in the past and how it inspires those in the future.

Mystery

The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

The third and final book in the Truly Devious series and it does not disappoint. There are answers to those pesky questions plus resolutions that feel real and appropriate for all involved. It has wonderful mystery and intrigue but also great mental illness representation and that Johnson charm and wit that I’ve come to expect from all her books.

Debut Author

The Library of Lost ThingsThe Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

This isn’t the most enjoyable book but it does explore the life of a bookworm and the secretive ways she tries to hide her mother’s hoarding from being discovered by anyone. For a debut it has promise but there wasn’t a real hook to grab me and while there is a romance of sorts it wasn’t developed enough to raise my interest. A good premise and with the temptation of books and reading I expected more but sadly it was an average execution.

Own Voices

Love From A to Z

Love From A to Z by S.K Ali

This is such a cute story that combines two worlds that are similar but the same and brings them together in an unexpected way. The dual narration was fun and I loved how it could be simple and sweet but also tackle larger issues with ease. The diary entry format helps break up the two voices and it was such a fun way to read the story. There’s big issues like family, religion, illness and love, but there’s also the fun smaller things as well, not to mention two fantastic characters who are just simply adorable.

Fairytale Retelling

Fairytales for Feisty Girls

Fairytales for Feisty Girls by Susannah McFarlane

These retellings were creative and enjoyable and while there are so many retellings for al the well known tales already, these stories still managed to be unique and be surprising. The famous fairytale characters we meet have new skills and talents and a certain feistiness that means they are certainly going to play out differently than the expected stories we know so well.

Free Choice

Once & Future (Once & Future #1)

Once & Future by A.R Capetta

King Arthur in space was all I needed to know to get my hands on this book. It is a masterful retelling and I loved Capetta’s genius mind for conceptualising this entire thing because while it is so clearly a retelling of Arthur when you see the clues and plot points, it is also so not a typical Arthur retelling and I loved that. There’s diversity in characters and fantastic representation, the futuristic world is brilliantly created and there is enough action, drama and medieval fighting to satisfy everybody.

Finish A Series

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

It’s a small miracle but I actually finally finished this series after it has been on my list and on my bingos for so many years it’s actually shameful at this point. Meyer’s world is masterfully created and the traditional characters we know are there but are taken and turned into something else entirely while still seeing their recognisable origins. There is romance and action, drama, tension and so many wonderfully intricate and complex plots that I was amazed at how it all fit together. It was a delight to finally finish this series but it was pure joy to read in the first place.

On TBR Pile

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This has been on my list for so long and it is so incredible I can’t believe it’s taken me until now to read. The Greek myth retelling is phenomenal, the action is divine, the writing is incredibly clever and from page one I was sucked into this world where I never wanted to leave. I can only plan now to inhale the rest of the series because I want to keep experiencing the high I had while I read because I adored it so much.

Romantic Suspense

Charlotte Pass

Charlotte Pass by Lee Christine

A fantastic romantic suspense that has great mystery, great characters, and a setting where anything could happen both romantically and nefariously. The Australian setting was familiar and Christine has done a great job building a fictitious world around a real Australian location and real events through history while adding her own criminal twist.

Movie Adaptation

The Sun Is Also a Star

The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon

There is something wonderful about books that take place within a single day. The hour by hour events and lives of characters makes you realise how much can happen and change within the space of a day. This is a great story about finding yourself, fighting for your rights and fulfilling dreams, whatever they may be. I loved the two main characters and I love the big important issues they tackle, the passions and the dreams they have and how Yoon has created such complicated and flawed characters that they felt complete.

Gay MC

Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper, #1)

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

This entire three book graphic novel set is all kinds of wonderful but the first one is where it all begins. Charlie and Nick are adorable, and seeing their beginnings and their relationship grow is pure and wholesome and perfect. There are issues explored about bullying, mental health and other things but there is so much heart as well that you can’t help but love every one of these characters.

Historical

Pennies for Hitler (Hitler Trilogy, #2)

Pennies for Hitler by Jackie French

This was a heartfelt and emotional book as you follow Georg’s story and hear how his country is changing around him. French knows her historical stories and you are definitely transported into Germany just prior to the war and feel each of the fears and terrors as they unfold.

 

Classic

The Animals of Farthing WoodAnimals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann

Another book I have been wanting to read forever. It was a great story and one that the TV show followed quite closely. The long trek to safety is full of danger and slightly depressing as animals die but it plays into the realism. Dann puts us in the minds of these animals and how they see the human world around them by keeping them natural with natural instincts but also giving them a bit of awareness about human behaviour.

 

Book Bingo 2020

Making my bingo cards are a real joy because I get to think about my reading habits, genres I want to read and stories I want to read about. It is always a hard decision with what to include because when you start thinking about it there is a very deep rabbit hole you fall into. Based on others I have seen around I tried to do a tropes or a theme approach but I have never been good at those so I’ll stick with these for now. Maybe I’ll try for next year, or maybe do a much smaller side bingo of them.

With the goals and other reading challenges I have set myself this year I have tried to adapt my bingo accordingly. I also mixed it up based on some things I read last year in other challenges because I got to experience some great stories and want to actively try and read some more. I know there are a few ones on there that I keep adding each year because I am determined to do them. Fairytale retellings are one of my favourite things but I have had such a bad run reading any these last couple years so it’s back on so I can try once more. I think I need to get it out of my mind which ones I want to read and find a new, fresh story that I can break my drought with instead do thinking of all the ones I have been wanting to read and never do. As for reading a play, I am giving it one more chance before I stop putting it on there and admit I am not going to read any plays, even the ones I do want to actually read. I need to not make it a bingo option and maybe then, ironically, I will have more success. Aside from those two I am super keen to dive into this. I hope over the next 12 months I can find 25 wonderful and exciting books that I can tick off this list and expand my reading circle a lot more.

Are you going to participate in a Book Bingo this year? As in previous years, you are more than welcome to use my card for your own Book Bingo, click the download link to grab a copy and remember to link to my page and attribute me properly if you post it somewhere. If you don’t want to use this one, follow my Book Bingo tag to find previous cards to use.

Book Bingo 2019: Win?

All year I have been keeping a fairly regular eye on my bingo card and for a while I was on track, then it seemed like I was behind, but finishing 2019 with two lines of bingo and the majority of my card filled I am seeing the success, but feeling a slight let down I was so close. It probably would have been easy to finish it off, I only needed a few squares, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Looking at my planned intentions at the start of the year I kept it relatively simple but with a decent challenge:

“For 2019 I’m looking at reading a variety of stories, voices, and genres I don’t explore that often.”

This was achieved because I spread out my categories once more and with the addition of the #LoveOzYABookBingo I was able to experience a lot of other amazing stories as well. The ideas for next year are already circling my mind – with the possibility of branching into narrative themes or maybe I’ll just have to challenge myself to do another bingo, smaller of course, but with a few different squares. Another thing I also said at the start of the year is “I don’t know if I will do a full card this year, but I will try for as many lines completed as I can” which, I think, 100% clears me from worrying about how successful I have been.

 

Graphic Novel: The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited by Clint McElroy

Read a Series: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Self Published: And All the Stars by Andrea K Host

Gay MC: Play It Again by Aidan Wayne

Free Choice: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

Transgender MC: George by Alex Gino

Movie Adaptation: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Own Voices: Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina

TBR for Over Two Years: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus

Classic: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Non-Human MC: Watership Down by Richard Adams

Fantasy: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Set in Australia: The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Non Fiction: Good Girl Stripped Bare by Tracey Spicer

Debut: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Reread: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Historical: Emmie and the Tudor King by Natalie Murray

Science Fiction: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Bisexual MC: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Chosen for the Cover: Mr Darcy by Alex Field

#LoveOzYA Bingo Challenge

Image result for loveozya logo

October has arrived which means I am starting a new reading challenge! If you’re not aware, Australia has its very own Young Adult book community which is celebrated through the hashtag #LoveOzYA. This October the #LoveOzYA team is running their very first Bingo Card, this is a chance to spread the love for Australian young adult books and maybe even tick off some more from your TBR pile.

I am so excited to get started on this challenge, not only to finally catch up on books I’ve had on my shelf for ages wanting to read, but getting to find some new stories and authors to fall in love with that I may not have discovered.

The bingo squares are truly epic. They have easy ones like 2019 releases, outback, contemporary etc, but there’s also awesome ones like wanderlust, 90s, Australian flora and fauna, and mental health. I cannot wait to see what books fall under these categories.

The rules are simple:

“Just like a normal game of bingo, you’re looking to get five squares in a row: horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. You can mark a square off whenever you read a book that matches the criteria in the square, so long as it’s considered an OzYA book. There’s a “free” space in the middle of the board to make it a little easier if you can’t find five books you’d like to read.”

The challenge runs from 1st October until the 31st October but this is a great challenge if you wanted to keep going after October and aim for more than a single line and fill the card by years end. You can download your own bingo sheet here.

If you are new to the Australian YA scene or not sure which books count, never fear, the team have created a handy spreadsheet containing some book recommendations to get you started. They have even included which categories they fall under to make it even easier for you to find the right books and there are over 100 titles already for you to choose from to aide your bingo journey.  Another great place to get started would be to look at the #LoveOzYA October new releases or the #LoveOzYA hashtag can connect you with some amazing books on all the social media platforms. Who knows, you may even find some new authors to fall in love with.

For more information about the #LoveOzYA team, the challenge, or awesome Aussie YA books follow the links below.

#LoveOzYA Website

#LoveOzYA Book Bingo

Book Bingo 2019 Update #2

BingoBefore we have a small crisis that it’s almost the end of the year, let’s celebrate I made a Bingo! It’s a great line to cross off too, many great reads in there. I’ve added six this time on top of my original nine. I read a lot of things that didn’t fit into the categories recently but I am glad some still managed to fit in. I am keen to try and fill some of these other boxes because they are ones I don’t usually read. The poor Play box has been neglected from the beginning except one year so I’m hoping to fill that one at some stage.

As for the books I read they were wonderful. I got to read some wonderfully diverse stories and brilliant new authors and some books and series I have been wanting to read for what seems like an age! I will link my reviews when they go up but I’ve included a brief review as per usual. If you are ever looking for recommendations feel free to check out my current and former bingo cards. There’s still time to participate if you want a quick 3 month challenge before the year is out!

 

 

Read A Series

How to Train Your Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon, #1)How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

This series has been on my list since I was in high school and I can’t believe it has taken me so long because once I started I could not stop. I flew through all 12 of these books within a few weeks and it was the best thing I ever did. It is the perfect series if you liked Harry Potter because there are a lot of similarities in theme and grandness and it is beautiful and heartbreaking and heartwarming.

Graphic Novel

The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited!The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited by Clint McElroy

After a fantastic and successful first story, this second adaptation of the McElroy podcast is of equal standard. Funny, clever, beautifully illustrated it is the perfect way to re-experience the podcast or see what all of the fuss is about with a near perfect representation of the original audio format.

Self Published

13411999And All the Stars by Andrea K Host

This is an amazing story about friendship, aliens, and Australians. I loved it from start to finish; I read it in one sitting and I couldn’t put it down. There is more about the people than anything too science fictiony if that isn’t quite your thing. But the science fiction aspect is rewarding in itself. It was so captivating and there is a great mystery and drama that hooks you from the start.

Gay MC

Play It AgainPlay It Again by Aidan Wayne

This was a fun read, it shows how online relationships form and you get a peak at how YouTube stars do their thing. It is adorable and while some characters can be overbearing you get used to them. It’s a sweet story though and Sam is a lovely soft, sweet boy.

 

Transgender MC

GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino

This is such an significant book and Gino has done a fantastic job at showing the innocence and the maturity of young transgender kids and there is so much to learn from this story. It is an uplifting story and seeing George’s personal development through the story makes your heart soar.

 

Free Choice

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

This is not a series you can start in the middle of so I suggest you start with Truly Devious but Johnson brings her full game with this second book. Our favourite characters are all there, the mystery still looms high above everyone and when one is solved, there are more waiting to take their place. Boarding schools and cold cases are a perfect combo, plus realistic mental health expression and relatable characters is an added bonus.

 

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