2019 r/Fantasy Book Bingo Wrap Up

Well, the 2019 r/Fantasy Book Bingo is finally done and over with and we’ve now begun the 2020 card. Since I have a actually been able to complete reviews for all of my reads (some are full length and some are mini reviews–link included where possible) I thought I would go ahead and do a wrap up post talking about some of the books I’ve read for this challenge over the past year.

For the 2019 card I decided, for the first time, to do a themed card. Many people pick a theme and see if they can fill the card with something fitting not only the square but the overall theme they’ve picked–it adds an extra layer of challenge onto it. I’ve seen people do all women authors, all translated works, and this year someone is doing all short story collections or anthologies! My theme:  Vampires. That’s right. I did an all-vampire themed card. So every book I read for bingo has a vampire in it somewhere in some way.

Here is my filled out card!


The Squares and Books

First Row Across:

  • Slice of Life / Small Scale FantasyThe Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes – 5/5 stars. This has to be one of my favorite books I’ve read for this bingo card. I’d been meaning to read it for a little while already and this themed card was the excuse I needed and I’m so glad. This book was a delight!

  • A SFF Novel Featuring a Character With a DisabilityBlood Price by Tanya Huff – 5/5 stars. This series is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. If you’re at all familiar with the urban fantasy subgenre this might feel pretty on par but considering this came out at a time when this type of urban fantasy was a new thing is pretty impressive.

  • SFF NovellaSabella, or, The Bloodstone by Tanith Lee – 3/5 stars. One thing I loved about this book was Tanith Lee’s writing, her prose and weird sensually dark atmosphere is certainly present here. The story was interesting but I had trouble caring much about the characters. That being said, I’d still recommend this one if you’re looking for a vampire story that’s a bit off the beaten path.

  • Self-Published SFF Novel Stars Descend by Kara Jaynes – 3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed this one a lot more than I thought I would. It’s an interesting blend of science fiction and fantasy that somehow makes all of its elements work together and make sense. Space Elves! Vampires! A post-apocalyptic setting! Did I mention Space Elves! (they deserve a 2nd mention) I actually kept reading the sequels and I think the story just keeps getting more interesting as it goes along.

  • SFF Novel Featuring TwinsBloodlines by Janice Harrell – 3/5 stars. This book was okay. It definitely felt like something middle school me would have been very into. I thought the mystery of what was going on was good but also the kids didn’t seem to grieve all that much when their mom died at the beginning? It wasn’t a bad book but definitely skews towards a younger audience. Things I wouldn’t have questioned as a younger reader stand out to me now.

Second Row Across:

  • Novel Featuring VampiresStraight Outta Fangton by C.T. Phipps – 3.5/5 stars. If you’re looking for a vampire tale that has some humor to it but is also full of action and a good bit of tension, I’d say this might be a good one to check out. I enjoyed this one a good bit but not quite as much as some other work I’ve read by Phipps.

  • Format: Graphic Novel (at least 1 vol.) OR Audiobook / Audio dramaBloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern – 4/5 stars. This was really cute and funny, I laughed a lot while reading it. Sometimes it’s nonsensical and absurd but that’s part of its charm, I think. Would definitely recommend.

  • SFF Novel by a Local to You Author – Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw – 5/5 stars. Wow, what a fantastic finale to one of my favorite recent series. I thought this book did the series and the characters justice and it also had some really great themes in it for such a light book. I’ll miss spending time with this crew but the good news is I can go back and reread them whenever I want. 🙂

  • SFF Novel Featuring an Ocean SettingThe Scar by China Miéville – 4.5/5 stars (review to come shortly). This book is weeeeiiirrd. Mosquito people? Giant sea creatures? Literal book pirates? This book has it all. This one was a bit of a slog for me at times as I think it’s one you really have to be in the mood for, but it also feels pretty accessible.

  • Cyberpunk SUBSTITUTED: YA FantasyVampire Academy by Richelle Mead – 3.5/5 stars. Oh, this book, where to start. The beginning was SO ROUGH. I wanted to chuck the book across the room. The main character is annoying and there are some things that just don’t make sense. Yet, I did end up really getting into it by the end of the book. I’ll definitely continue the series to see what happens next.

Third Row Across:

  • 2nd ChanceFevre Dream by George R.R. Martin – 3/5 stars. I tried George R.R. Martin before and just…lost interest. So used this for my 2nd chance. I love that the hero in this book is just some regular guy that gets swept up into this world of vampires. But there were a few things about the writing that I didn’t love and in the end. It was okay.

  • AfrofuturismMy Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due – 4.5/5 stars. I really loved this one! It was a mix of genres–thriller, horror, fantasy, family drama. I loved the take on vampires too, felt very unique and stand out compared to other stories. Definitely one of the better books I read for this bingo card.

  • SFF Novel Published in 2019Fair Isle and Fortunes by Nancy Warren – 4.5/5 stars. Another volume of the Vampire Knitting Club series of cozy mysteries! This continues to be a really fun series–mystery, romance, witches, vampires, knitting–what more could you ask for?

  • Middle Grade SFF NovelA Living Nightmare by Darren Shan – 3/5 stars. For whatever reason I didn’t write a full review of this one like all the other books I read. This was okay but there wasn’t anything about it that blew me away. It was a lot darker than I thought it would be, especially for a middle grade book! There was something about the main character that kind of grated on me, can’t put my finger on it though.

  • A Personal Recommendation from r/FantasyThose Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly – 4/5 stars. Oh, I wound up really loving this one. A historical urban fantasy? Yes please. Also even though this is the James Asher series, I think the real star of the show for me is James’ wife! Definitely going to read more of this series.

Fourth Row Across:

  • Any r/fantasy Book Club Book of the Month OR r/fantasy Read-along BookAngels’ Blood by Nalini Singh – 2.5/5 stars. I think the me of five years ago would have loved this one but the me of now has become way too picky about romance and certain tropes. There were some things in this one I just couldn’t get over, sadly. I do want to try another in the series though, maybe they’re not all like this one.

  • Media Tie-In NovelSlayer by Kiersten White – 3.5/5 stars. I thought this one was pretty good! I liked that it is very much its own story even though it also has those connections to the original BtVS story. It took me a while to connect with the characters though so it wasn’t a stand out for me, but I enjoyed it.

  • Novel Featuring an AI CharacterBlindsight by Peter Watts – 3/5 stars. I appreciated a lot of what this book was saying, the themes are intriguing as hell, but the way it was structured and the narration of the audio version just wasn’t for me.

  • SFF Novel That Has a Title of Four or More WordsThe Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – 5/5 stars. This was one of my favorite reads of the year! I really loved that it’s a story about stories! A love letter to books and story telling. But also about the complicated relationships between fathers and daughters.

  • Retelling!Vampire Darcy’s Desire by Regina Jeffers – 2.5/5 stars. This one was promising at first but then it just took a turn and kept going down hill from there. It’s a shame because it had a lot of potential! Just wasn’t for me, I guess.

Fifth Row Across:

  • SFF Novel by an Australian AuthorFull Moon Rising by Keri Arthur – 3/5 stars. Never thought I’d say this but:  too much sex. Also, there’s rape but it’s never really acknowledged as rape? So….yeah. But other than that I did enjoy the book! I am actually curious to see if some of this is addressed later in the series.

  • The Final Book of a SeriesThe Blood Prince by Josie Jaffrey – 4/5 stars. I really loved this series overall. It’s another one that combines a few of my favorite things (vampires! zombies! post-apocalyptic setting! multiple romances!) and somehow it all works. I thought this was a pretty satisfying conclusion. Definitely recommend this series if you’re into vamps and looking for something just a tad different.

  • #OwnVoicesFledgling by Octavia Butler – 3/5 stars. Oh, this was a weird one. Not my first Butler. I do think she liked to make her readers uncomfortable and that was certainly achieved here. I liked some of the things that it explored but there was just too much weirdness at times. That being said, fantastic prose–there’s a great rhythm to the writing.

  • LitRPGCrimson Nightmare by Zoey Rivera – 2/5 stars. This novella was kind of boring. I didn’t connect with the characters and the story felt like it had no point to it. Also it isn’t technically LitRPG I guess as there aren’t really any game stats, it felt more like a Second Life type of game they’re in. But I’m using it for this square anyway.

  • Five SFF Short Stories – I actually wrote reviews for all the shorts and you can see that post here. But I read five selections from The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women.

Some Final Thoughts

This year was really tough for me because I did a themed card. I read more books that were ‘average’ or ‘not for me’ than ever before for any other bingo as my strategy forced me to seek out things I wouldn’t normally have picked up (really the point of bingo). It was a lot of fun but I don’t think I’m going to do a themed card of this type in the future–finding books for some of the squares (like LitRPG and Featuring and AI Character) was tough as there aren’t many things to choose from. I also did find a lot of great books and series (James Asher series by Barbara Hambly, Vicki Nelson series by Tanya Huff, and Fred, Vampire Accountant series by Drew Hayes are all fantastic) so there were some positives.

Have you read any of these books? Do any of them catch your attention? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!

15 thoughts on “2019 r/Fantasy Book Bingo Wrap Up

  1. Lindsey says:

    Oh wow – congrats! I wouldn’t even be able to name that many vampire books, let alone be able to do it for a bingo. There’s a great list here – will have to check out all your reviews!

  2. Tammy says:

    Congrats Lisa! I can only imagine how challenging the vampire aspect must have been. Wait, there was a vampire in The Ten Thousand Doors? My memory must be awful🤣

  3. Zezee says:

    I intend to get Ten Thousand Doors of January when it’s out in paperback. I started the audiobook and realize that the writing is so detailed that I’ll need to read it instead. I liked the story.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I think I did audio and it was okay for me but the writing is of a particular style, it’s kind of prose-tastic, so I know what you mean. I loved that book–one of my favorite reads last year! Hope you enjoy.

  4. Kitty Marie's Book Reviews Blog says:

    Wow you read a vast array of books in this genre! I remember DNF’ing Vampire Academy years ago for its rough start. Nice to hear that it gets better toward the end, might revisit it again sometime. I miss vampires a bit, now that the YA genre is much less saturated with them lol.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      It was SUCH a rough start. I wanted to throw the book across the room! It did get better later. I miss them too, it was the best time for me when they were popular LOL. 😀

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