It’s been a few months since r/Fantay’s bingo started and some people have already finished the card. I’ve only finished ten squares but have a few books that can still fill up more squares. I’m really enjoying myself and hope to get a few more books off my TBR this way since the majority of my reads will come from books I already own but didn’t read yet.
The biggest downside of doing a reading challenge like this is being a mood reader. If I have to force myself to read a certain book, it’ll take me much longer, but I know I have a few that’ll be difficult. Like the First Contact square. I don’t even know if I have a book that qualifies. Another downside is that I’ve been reading more books by the same author which means I can’t add them to the bingo card. Insert sad face. Three of my favourite authors are on this list already and I want to read more books by them. That’s a decision I have to make myself though.
As a reminder (also to myself), here is my previous post announcing the bingo and my list of books I had selected then. Are there any surprise titles?
I’ve got these written down but reserve myself the right to change things up in the future. I’ve got more and other books I could add instead and I really want to try to make every read diverse.
Set in Asia
Hard mode: Book by BIPOC author
Fireheart Tiger – Aliette de Bodard
Fire burns bright and has a long memory….
Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to the powerful faraway country of Ephteria as a child. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.
Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home. Eldris won’t take no for an answer, on either front. But the fire that burned down one palace is tempting Thanh with the possibility of making her own dangerous decisions.
Can Thanh find the freedom to shape her country’s fate—and her own?
Hard Mode: Doesn’t qualify
The Infinity Courts – Akemi Dawn Bowman
Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.
The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.
When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.
As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
Other qualifying squares: First Person PoV, Forest Setting, Published in 2021
Bookclub or Readalong book
Hard mode: Must read a current selection of either a book club or readalong and participate in the discussion.
Rosewater – Tade Thompson
Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers.
Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.
Hard mode I read this book when one of the book clubs started reading it. I left a few comments in the discussion post but no one replied. So did I participate? I don’t know if it’s enough.
Other qualifying squares: First Contact, Selection from A-Z Guide
New to you author
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.
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking – T. Kingfisher
Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt’s bakery making gingerbread men dance.
But Mona’s life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona’s city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of Mona’s worries…
Hard Mode I had seen the name T. Kingfisher before in one of the many recommendation requests from people but never looked into who it was or what kind of books they were. When u/travolon told me to read it for another readalong, I jumped right on it. I mean, the title itself was enough to convince me.
Other qualifying squares: Mystery plot, Self-published
Hard mode: Don’t use a reread, find a brand new comfort read!
The Elite – Kiera Cass
The Selection began with thirty-five girls. Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?
America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.
Hard Mode This was my first time reading the first three books of the series. I still have to read the other two.
Other qualifying squares: First Person PoV, Backlist,
Published in 2021
Black Water Sister – Zen Cho
Jessamyn Teoh is closeted, broke and moving back to Malaysia, a country she left when she was a toddler. So when Jess starts hearing voices, she chalks it up to stress. But there’s only one voice in her head, and it claims to be the ghost of her estranged grandmother, Ah Ma. In life Ah Ma was a spirit medium, the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Now she’s determined to settle a score against a gang boss who has offended the god–and she’s decided Jess is going to help her do it.
Drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets, Jess finds that making deals with capricious spirits is a dangerous business. As Jess fights for retribution for Ah Ma, she’ll also need to regain control of her body and destiny. If she fails, the Black Water Sister may finish her off for good.
Other qualifying squares: Set in Asia (hard mode), First Person PoV, Genre Mashup (urban/contemporary fantasy, suspense)
Shards of Earth – Adrian Tchaikovsky
The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .
Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.
After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared—and Idris and his kind became obsolete.
Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects—but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.
Other qualifying squares: First Contact?
Latin American author
Hard mode: Book has fewer than 1000 Goodreads ratings.
The Beautiful Ones – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.
But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina—and himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.
Hard mode This is a tough one. At the time of writing this, the book has well over three thousand ratings on Goodreads, but when I finished it, it was less than a thousand. I know because I read this as an ARC and not many people had read it yet. So does it count or not? I’m not sure.
Other qualifying squares: Genre Mashup
Hard mode: A witch is a main protagonist.
These Witches Don’t Burn – Isabel Sterling
Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.
But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.
While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.
Hard mode Well, yes.
Other qualifying squares: First Person PoV, Debut author