April has come and gone, and now it’s time to reflect on how the A-Z Challenge went.
April went by in a swirl of blog posts — and not just my own, but all those I visited. Let’s first look at my blog posts for April.
My A-Z of Book Recommendations and Reviews 2023 (AKA my languishing TBR):
A – ARCs (Return to Silverhills by Sandra Cox, Proof of Existence by J Lenni Dorner, Twice Upon a Name by various authors, With a Demon’s Eye by JF Penn)
B – Bane, books by Theresa Bane (Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures, Encyclopedia of Imaginary and Mythical Places, Encyclopedia of Beasts and Monsters in Myth, Legend and Folklore, Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology, Encyclopedia of Giants and Humanoids in Myth, Legend and Folklore, Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology)
C – Crookshollow trilogy by Steffanie Holmes (Art of Cunning, Art of the Hunt, Art of Temptation)
D – The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo
E – Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch & Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch by Julie Abe
F – Friend Request by Laura Marshall
G – The Girl and the Witch’s Garden by Erin Bowman
H – Books with Horses on the Cover (Kerry EB Black books: Carousel of Nightmares, Fairy Herds & Mythscapes, Herd of Nightmares)
I – Into the Tall, Tall Grass by Loriel Ryon
J – Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (also: The Wedding of Antanasia Jessica Packwood and Lucius Valeriu Vladescu, Jessica Rules the Dark Side)
K – Once Upon a Kiss by various authors
L – The Light Between Worlds by Laura E Weymouth
M – Manderley Academy trilogy by Steffanie Holmes (Ghosted, Haunted, Spirited)
N – Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
O – The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt edited by Ian Shaw
P – A Psalm of Storms and Silence & A Song of Wraith’s and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown
Q – Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh
R – Wicked Saints, Ruthless Gods, Blessed Monsters by Emily A Duncan
S – Blood Sisters by various authors
T – Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci
U – Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey
V – Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon
W – The Witches by Roald Dahl
X – 30 Seconds by Chrys Fey
Y – You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
Z – ZZZ Books that didn’t make this cut this year (they got DNFed).
My A-Z of Faerie 2023:
F – Fiery Farralis
L – Let it Go: Lethe
M – Mystifying Muse
P – Playful Phouka
S – Speedy Steeds
V – Violent Artemis
Y – Yodelling Dwarfs
Z – Zoo: Faery Frogs
My top commenters in April 2023:
My favourite blogs from April 2023:
- Uniquely Maladjusted but Fun with a Grey’s Anatomy themed crossword.
- Wisdom for A Good Life with food for thought every day.
- Gypsie’s Wonderful World of Words with beautiful garden photos inspiring me for Spring.
- Pepper Route with delicious recipes that inspired me in the kitchen.
- Confessions of a broccoli addict with a bit of Zen for the day.
- Silencing the bell with beautiful garden photos.
- jabblog with beautiful garden photos.
I was featured over on the Operation Awesome blog for R. You can read my interview here.
As always, there were things that I liked and disliked from the challenge.
- I added more books to my TBR!
- I liked that a lot of my usual A-Z peeps were back for more this year.
- I tried out ChatGPT and now have a new research assistant for when I get stuck.
- Thanks to a blog about decluttering, I’ve tackled a project a week (my closet, my email, etc.) and feel like I have more “space”. The stuff I could donate, I did. You can check out the awesome posts about cats and decluttering here.
- I also had a couple of comments from people who liked the graphics I used in my posts — the ones I created and the ones I sourced.
- I read and reviewed a lot of books that I’ve had for ages and never seem to get around to reading.
- I wrote 26 new folklore posts and made a list of more I want to write.
I had a laundry list of dislikes, but honestly — who needs it? I’m just keeping the ones that affected me personally.
- The internet sucked, so at times my scheduled posts didn’t go live and I had to manually do it hours later.
- Sometimes blogs made my thoughtful comments just disappear after I’ve posted them.
- Not everyone I visited returned the favour.
- Some sites blocked my comments because it was seen as spam when I added my hyperlinks (as encouraged on the A-Z blog) — or even just because of my IP address. Not cool.
- People who post the main part of their post in Italics made it inaccessible to someone like me who has vision issues. A bit of Italics is fine, but not if it’s everything.
- Now all of these were irksome, but do you know what made me mad? When I would return to someone’s post to see what their reply would have been to a thoughtful comment I’ve left, only to find that they’ve deleted my comment. Why? Probably because I have pointed out that what they are wondering about is seventy years or more in the past and that there are books (titles recommended) to fill in the gaps.
How I approached this year’s A-Z
So on day one, I got a copy of the master list, and started going through it. All blogs marked adult content or continuous story were immediately removed from the list. I just didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with continuous stories this month (except for Roland’s, but that’s because I’ve known him for years and know that I like his stories.) Then I removed everyone I know I don’t get along with — like someone who said something not-nice about Millennials last year (I’m a Millennial). And then I started visiting blogs. My dislike list rapidly grew on day one… But I culled my copy of the master list to a manageable number. And then added to it on day two…
Thankfully day one was a Saturday and we miraculously had internet for most of the day.
It was clear from day one that my decision to do a double A-Z was a good one: a lot of people commented in the folklore post that they preferred that to the bookish post. And the bookish post had a lot of love, too.
Unfortunately I didn’t have all of my posts done before April as I usually do, so there was a bit of added stress to get everything done. Which I accomplished, BTW.
By the time the first week was over, I decided to remove some blogs I’ve been visiting regularly as they never made an attempt to either visit me back or to reply to my comments on their blog. I know that life can get in the way sometimes, but is it too much to ask to at least “like” one of my posts? I said in last year’s reflection post that I’ll have to reassess how I do the commenting and visiting thing, this is how I did it.
Visits went down after the initial revisiting, so I culled those blogs, too. No point in offering two posts a day if someone I visited can’t find it in them to at least like something I did… The point of the A-Z Challenge is after all to read blogs out of your usual sphere and make new friends and learn about new stuff.
A special thanks to Chrys Fey for the info at the bottom of her posts about commenting. I’ve added a modified version to my own info block in case that is the issue people are struggling with.
So by the time the first Thursday rolled around, the internet either didn’t work or only worked sporadically, so I was only able to post on Instagram, add my reviews to Goodreads and BookBub and my links to the A-Z blog. This lasted for a little over a week.
I also got flu during that week… that turned into bronchitis that lasted until the end of the month. (I’m better now.)
And adopted two new puppies! Caitlin was having a hard time, so I got her puppies to distract her from her grief. Stiles and Ruby enjoy them, too. (I’ll be posting more photos of them on my Instagram if anyone wants to watch them grow up.)
Will I do the A-Z Challenge again next year?
Yes. I’ll have to think on how I’ll be approaching it, though, and what I’ll be posting about.
So, that was this April’s A to Z Challenge. I look forward to hear what you liked about my posts, what you disliked and what you would like to see in the future. What was your favourite part of blogging during April? Any favourite themes or blogs?
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