Genre Bingo 3

fantasy time clock sleep

Long review post ahead!

You may wonder why I choose to enter these reading challenges when I dislike some of the genres that appear on the bingo card. Well, I’ll tell you! I think it’s valuable to read a variety of authors as well as genres in order to write well. If I’m only reading Regency romance, my thinking tends to narrow and my writing does too. I want loads of different ideas, styles, voices, etc., floating around in my head as my “muses” when I’m in the mood to work on a story.

1. For the young adult fantasy category, I tried to find a book that wasn’t the first in a series. My preference is to finish a complete, standalone story and not be tantalized with something getting resolved in a sequel, or after many sequels. I don’t mind related stories, if each one is complete (Lawrence Sanders [RIP] wrote excellent sets of novels and Anna’s Sugarplums are related via a workplace). Anyway, I chose The Fae of Darkwood: A Tellusm Tale (Beyond Horizon) by Ben McQueeny, despite the irritating title. It looked interesting from the blurb, and it wasn’t the typical setup about an orphaned teen girl fighting evil spirits and falling in love with someone from the wrong tribe. Geez, writers, a little variety, if you please!

So why do these mythical lands full of supernatural beings always have a map in the front that looks suspiciously like England? Rhetorical. The Fae story grabs me, right from the start, with a barber who has a side gig as a scientist. Rehan needs to collect “fresh specimens” of humans and other creatures to study in his lab. Gory, but cool. Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of distracting typos scattered throughout. Ben seems to have taken David Gaughran’s advice about pestering readers to join a mailing list, but sadly not the advice about hiring a proofreader. As it turns out, this is only a short story to chronicle how the Fae of Darkwood came to be (no spoilers), and we must continue with more stories to discover his adventures. Sigh. I gave it 3 stars because I enjoyed it, especially the unexpected turns, but I’ve no desire to read more about the Fae.

Key on stones

2. The book (another short story really) I chose for the satire category is Happiness, Inc. by A.E. Hodge. It was OK, a quick read, kinda fun in the way it was styled with the protag never actually saying anything, but still it was soooo heavy-handed. I gave it 3 stars because I liked it enough (like the Fae story above), but it wasn’t anything great. In my opinion, satire is best with a lighter touch and it’s more difficult to do than people think. Comedy is hard, yo. It just so happens that Paula Light (aka me) has a novella that satirizes a huge swath of things, lightly. Hehe. Hodge does a great job with his marketing at the end of his story though, unlike some people (aka me). If you read his book, you’ll understand why I chose the pic of stones; if not, probably not!

3. For the historical nonfiction square, I chose An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew by Annejet van der Zijl. Wow, this book covered a lot of ground, from the founding of Jamestown, New York through WWII and beyond, focusing mostly (but not exclusively) on the life of Allene Tew… who had five other last names (along with a couple royal titles) in her life due to multiple marriages. Despite my usual disdain for nonfiction and history in particular, I really enjoyed this book. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because I thought the chronology could have been smoother, and it took a bit too long to introduce (actually re-introduce) Allene ~ I didn’t need to know so much about the history of Jamestown and Lake Chautauqua. But overall the book is interesting and I recommend it. One thing that Annejet did very well was humanize the events I’d previously only studied in a dry way, such as the economic boom of the late 1800s and the subsequent crash of 1929. Imagine, ordinary people complaining that the wealthy are too greedy and ostentatious and we need to vote out politicians who cater to them. You’d think I was reading today’s news!

Alrighty then. Onward with the genre challenge…

Genre bingo challenge

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©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

16 responses to “Genre Bingo 3

  1. The genre bingo is such a great idea
    And the top Takeaway for me today was the American Princess one because wow “five other last names (along with a couple royal titles) ”
    It also sounds well done and like you said – too often history is very dry in delivery
    ☀️😊

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  2. Might I suggest John Jakes for your Historical Fiction. His “Kent Family Chronicles” are all good by themselves, and he wrote lots of other books too.

    I’ll add the Princess book to my list of recs. I used to devour several books a week. I hope to get there again🤞

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  3. You never know, you might find you enjoy. At the moment, I choose to stick with favourites and genres I generally enjoy. I say well done to you!

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  4. I used to read a lot of fantasy when I was younger. Perhaps part of why there are so few stand-alone books is that people are walking, or at best riding horseback, around the land that looks suspiciously like England, and one book just isn’t enough time to cover the whole territory on foot. 🚶‍♂️

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  5. I agree. Some things that I read simply are not my cup of tea, others are boring or poorly written. Even if I am offended, I have learned something.

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  6. Recently we watched an old documentary (Ken Burns) about Thomas Jefferson and, yep, you could change some names and it would have sounded like current events. They say the truth will set you free, but it’s kind of depressing. At least the freedom that truth will give you is actually real.

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  7. Oh. More on topic: I doubt I could slog my way through any examples of most genres. I’m not necessarily proud of that, but it takes me a long time to get through a book and life’s too short.

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    • Right. I can’t make myself read a truly awful book ~ that’s why it can take me a long time to find something palatable in certain genres. Plus they have to be free! I’m not about to spend money on these bingo challenges 😂

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  8. The “historical nonfiction” one (An American Princess) was written in a novel format? I’ve enjoyed a few things like that. Recently, I discovered that an author who wrote one of my favorite reads (a fiction-ish kind of thing based in history with the form of a novel) has additionally done some heavy-duty research into psychiatry; I ran into this information because I sometimes go to sleep while watching a video I’ve selected (usually either political news or study updates on Covid or vaccine injury or long haul or health-improvement) and then wake to some other video I haven’t selected. The YouTube non-choice involved was called:

    The Astonishing Rise of Mental
    Illness in the U.S. · 9 years
    ago (Robert Whitaker)

    •ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC
    •“Psychiatry Under the Influence:
    Institutional Corruption, Social Injury,
    and Prescriptions for Reform”
    •MAD IN AMERICA
    •ON THE LAPS OF GODS
    •THE MAPMAKER’S WIFE

    I’ve read “The Mapmaker’s Wife”
    — might read “On the Lap of Gods” too.

    I’ll look into this book on American lives per Allene Tew.

    I have a son whose second major when he was an undergrad was psychology (not psychiatry, though, while his work is almost totally data science instead). I sent all of this to him as well, since he still finds psychology interesting.

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    • Yes, it was written more like a novel than a history book because it focused mainly on one person, but there were info-rich narrative sections too. Thanks for the rec!

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