2019 Popsugar Reading Challenge

I’ve wanted to try this challenge for at least 2 years now but I always forgot about it until the middle of the year. 2019 is the year that I start from January 1, so I am so pumped about it! I will be keeping track of the challenge on this post and will continue to update it as I complete more prompts. If you’re also doing the challenge let me know where you are!


The Challenge

Count: 32/40

[X] A book becoming a movie in 2019

[X] A book that makes you nostalgic

[X] A book written by a musician (fiction or nonfiction)

[X] A book you think should be turned into a movie

[] A book with at least one million ratings on Goodreads

[X] A book with a plant in the title or on the cover

[] A reread of a favorite book

[] A book about a hobby

[X] A book you meant to read in 2018

[] A book with “pop,” “sugar,” or “challenge” in the title

[X] A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover

[X] A book inspired by mythology, legend, or folklore

[] A book published posthumously

[] A book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie

[X] A retelling of a classic

[X] A book with a question in the title

[X] A book set on a college or university campus

[X] A book about someone with a super power

[X] A book told from multiple character POVs

[X] A book set in space

[X] A book by two female authors

[X] A book with a title that contains “salty,” “sweet,” “bitter,” or “spicy”

[X] A book set in Scandinavia

[X] A book that takes place in a single day

[X] A debut novel

[X] A book that’s published in 2019

[X] A book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature

[] A book recommended by a celebrity you admire

[X] A book with ‘love” in the title

[X] A book featuring an amateur detective

[X] A book about a family

[X] A book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America

[X] A book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in the title

[] A book that includes a wedding

[X] A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter

[X] A ghost story

[X] A book with a two-word title

[X] A novel based on a true story

[X] A book revolving around a puzzle or game

[X] Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Advanced

[] A cli-fi (climate fiction) book

[] A “choose-your-own-adventure” book

[X] An “own voices” book

[X] Read a book during the season it is set in

[] A LitRPG book

[X] A book with no chapters, unusual chapter headings, or unconventionally numbered chapters

[] Two books that share the same title (1)

[] Two books that share the same title (2)

[] A book that has inspired a common phrase or idiom (e.g., Big Brother from 1984)

[X] A book set in an abbey, cloister, monastery, vicarage, or convent


January 2019

  1. when dimple met rishiA book you meant to read in 2018: When Dimple Met Rishi (5/5 stars)

I absolutely loved this book! Dimple and Rishi were such great characters and I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. I had seen this book in bookstores and libraries but had never checked it out, despite its longtime place on my tbr list. I’m going to work hard to shorten that list this year, and this was the first book I crossed off. You can read my full review here.

 

2rayne & delilah's midnite matinee. A book written by a musician (fiction): Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee (5/5 stars)

I got this arc through NetGalley and will be releasing my review when the book is published on February 26, 2019. This book is written by Jeff Zentner who, according to his Goodreads bio, started his writing career as a songwriter and guitarist. He has released five albums and has recorded with many well-known artists.

 

3.this is what it feels like A book told from multiple character POVs: This is What it Feels Like (4/5 stars)

This is What it Feels Like is told from three main points of view and one secondary point of view. The book follows three post-high school graduates as they try to win the Sun City contest for a chance to win $15,000 and a shot to work with their favorite band. But Dia, Jules, and Hanna have a long and complicated past together, and they need to figure out how to work together long enough to win the contest. You can read my full review here.

the golden tresses of the dead.jpg4. A book featuring an amateur detective: The Golden Tresses of the Dead (5/5 stars)

This is the 10th book in the Flavia deLuce series by Alan Bradley. The series follows Flavia deLuce, a spunky 11 year old who has a penchant for chemistry and mystery. Flavia is one of the funniest, wittiest book characters I’ve read, and the mysteries Alan Bradley concocts are fantastic. You can read my review of this book on my Goodreads page. If you haven’t started this series yet I would highly recommend doing so!

library of fatesAdvanced 1: An ownvoices book: The Library of Fates (5/5 stars)

Aditi Khorana writes about Indian folklore in The Library of Fates. This book follows Amrita as she embarks on a journey to get her kingdom and her family back from a ruthless emperor. The author dedicated this book to those whose voices aren’t being heard, and her acknowledgements section mentions the importance of the ownvoices movement. You can read my full review here.

two can keep a secret5. A book you think should be turned into a movie: Two Can Keep a Secret (4/5 stars)

As I mentioned in my original blog post, I prefer McManus’s debut novel over Two Can Keep a Secret. However, I think this would make a great movie. You have the creepiness of the horror park, the woods, disappearances, and overall thrilling mystery. I think the style would be better executed on a more visual platform like a movie or TV show (I’m almost getting Riverdale vibes).

strange graceAdvanced 2: A book with no chapters, unusual chapter headings, or unconventionally numbered chapters: Strange Grace (4/5 stars)

Strange Grace is overall a very unconventional book. It has impressive LGBTQ+ representation (especially for YA), tells the twisted tale of a devil in the forest, and is written in parts rather than chapters. Within each part there are breaks to switch POV between the three main characters, but even those just pick up right here the last POV left off. I think this really added to the book by keeping us on our toes with the supernatural mystery surrounding Three Graces.

starfish6. A book about a family: Starfish (4/5 stars)

I guess this book is more about a girl trying to discover her own voice within her family and society as a whole. However, Starfish touches on a lot of serious issues that can occur within families, such as sexual and emotional abuse, mental health issues, and divorce, to name a few. Even as the main character is doing her own thing in California, she is still drawn to her family and the role they have in her life. It isn’t the type of narrative you usually find in YA books, and I think it is important to change that.

warrior of the wild7. A book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature: Warrior of the Wild (5/5 stars)

This is another book that I received from NetGalley, so my review will be coming later in February when the book is published. Warrior of the Wild contains many imaginary creatures like the ziken, the gunda, valder, and many more. The world the author has created in this book is rooted in old civilizations but has fantastical elements like imaginary monsters that make the plot exciting and more imaginative.


February

five feet apart8.  A book becoming a movie in 2019: Five Feet Apart (5/5 stars)

I’m really looking forward to this movie. I’ve read that the screenplay and the book were developed closely together, so I’m excited to see the differences between the movie and the book. Based on the trailer, Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson look like the perfect cast for our two main characters. I’m glad we don’t have to wait too long after the book’s publication to see the movie.

9. A book that makes you nostalgic: Coraline (4/5 stars)coraline

This month was the first time I read the book, but the movie came out 10 years ago earlier this month! I can’t believe it’s been that long. I remember seeing the movie with my neighbor’s family when it came out and being simultaneously freaked out and in love with the story. I recently re-watched the movie on a plane ride around Thanksgiving and still loved it. Reading the book definitely brought back a lot of memories.

 

what if it's us10. A book with a question in the title: What If It’s Us (3/5 stars)

There’s not much explaining that’s necessary here! What If It’s Us tells the story of Ben and Arthur as they navigate their meet-cute love story in New York City. Are they destined to be together or does fate have other plans? The authors did a great job co-writing such different characters and putting them in funny and awkward (usually at the same time) situations.

me before you11. Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR reading challenge- A book about mental health: Me Before You (3/5 stars) **Mild spoilers ahead!**

I originally had this book at 4/5 stars, but after more thinking I’ve decided to change it to 3 stars. I didn’t love Lou as a main character and felt that the romantic aspects to the book were lacking. However, I did find Will to be an interesting character. I have read other reviews where his giving up is seen as a very negative thing, but I think the auhter went about this in a unique way. On a person-to-person level I can understand why Will had depression and felt unfulfilled. I can’t say anything from the POV of someone with a disability, but I would hate to go from such an action-packed life to such a pain-filled life. Although the representation might not be the best, I think the context of mental health in this book is unique.

meet me in outer space12. A book set on a college or university campus: Meet Me In Outer Space (3/5 stars)

Meet Me In Outer Space follows Edie, an aspiring fashion designer waiting out the semester until she can go to Paris to study and work with established designers. Unfortunately, she is failing French class and needs to pass before she can leave. Struggling through the class is hard enough in itself; add a cute boy and central auditory processing disorder on top of that and you have an interesting semester ahead of you. Overall I felt like this book had a lot of potential but it just fell short for me. However, one thing I really liked about it was the college setting, even if it wasn’t that present of a setting.

13. A book set in space: The Martian (5/5 stars)martian

I loved this book and am ashamed it took me so long to read it! My friend and fellow-librarian did a buddy read with me for this book and we both couldn’t stop talking about it. I’ve now read the book and seen the movie and love both. This is also my first hard sci-fi and I’m on the hunt for more. The whole concept of being stranded on Mars is terrifying and fascinating- I loved it. You can read my full review here.

 

stay sweet14. A book with a title that contains “salty,” “sweet,” “bitter,” or “spicy”: Stay Sweet (2/5 stars)

I know people really like Siobhan Vivian’s contemporaries but I really didn’t like this book. Like, at all. I just found it so juvenille, surface-level, and annoying. I’m usually down for a light summer read but this was way too long of a book to be nothing but light content. This may be on this list because it has “sweet” in the title but I’m feeling bitter about wasting my time on this book.

wicked saintsAdvanced 3: A book set in a monastery: Wicked Saints (5/5 stars)

This book isn’t set to be published until April, but I’m going to count it now. You can check out my full review here! The book opens in a monastery with one of our main characters, a girl who grew up there. The majority of the book takes place outside the monastery but the symbol of the monastery plays a vital role throughout the book for the plot and the characters. So although I might be cheating a bit since the book doesn’t solely take place there, I think it should count because of the figurative role it plays in the book.


March 

theodosia15. A book inspired by mythology, legend, or folklore: Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos (4/5 stars)

I read this book years ago in elementary school and decided to give it a reread as an adult. Theodosia helped cultivate my love for mythology, fantasy, and mystery, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. This is the first book in a four-part series about Egyptian mythology and a young girl fighting to keep the evil forces at bay.

 

16. A novel based on a true story: Romanov (3/5 stars)romanov

Romanov is based off, you guessed it, the Romanov family! This is a fantasy retelling of the fall of the Romanov family and tsarist Russia. My full review will be coming closer to the publication date, but the one thing I loved about this book was the historical retelling element. The author put in a lot of effort while researching for this book and included real people, places, dates, and events during the time period.

 

again, but better17. A debut novel: Again, But Better (4/5 stars)

Again, But Better is the debut novel of popular booktuber Christine Ricci. I haven’t personally seen her videos (something I hope to remedy soon!) but have heard that she and the protagonist have many similarities. Again, But Better was a fun and original read and I’m excited to read Ricci’s future works! My full review will be up in May, so stay tuned for that.

 

18. A retelling of a classic: Sky Without Stars (2/5 stars)sky without stars

Sky Without Stars is pitched as a retelling of Les Miserables, a book I haven’t read (never will, tbh) but a musical I have seen many times. I will say that it is an imaginative retelling of the classic and I enjoyed that aspect of it but, unfortunately, my love for sci-fi and the Les Mis musical weren’t enough to get me to like this book. I think the series as a whole has promise but I was disappointed by this first book. Full review to come closer to the release date!


April

39863498

19. A book with a plant in the title or on the cover: The Gilded Wolves (4/5 stars)

The imagery in The Gilded Wolves made this magical world seem so realistic. I loved the descriptive scenes in the garden that are hinted at in the cover. Honestly this book is just all-around beautiful: a beautiful cover, beautiful writing, beautiful imagery, beautiful everything!

 

 

20. A book that’s published in 2019: If You’re Out There (4/5 stars)39333677

If You’re Out There was a book that I had my eye on from the beginning of 2019 when I saw it on Goodreads. The premise just sounded so interesting. I love mystery plots and am always quick to snatch up a YA mystery. I’m going to be real with you- I enjoyed the mystery element but it wasn’t something that really hooked me. What I did love was the friendship dynamic. I really felt a genuine connection between Zan and Priya that was relatable and admirable. So, my anticipated 2019 read wasn’t what I thought it would be but it was still really fun and enjoyable!


May

goth girl21. A ghost story: Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse (5/5 stars)

I checked this book out from the library because I absolutely fell in love with Chris Riddell’s illustrations in Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle. It’s funky, it’s creepy, and it’s crazy detailed. Although it’s a children’s book, Goth Girl has so many literary references and jokes that add another layer of humor to the already funny story. I initially thought I’d be reading a more traditional ghost story for this challenge but it occurred to me as I was writing this post that a mouse ghost is still a ghost!

22. A book set in Scandinavia: The Girl the Sea Gave Back (3/5 ARC edition)42867937

I read a lot of books set in Scandinavia but this was one I was really looking forward to. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the ARC. However, I’m going to reread Sky in the Deep and then read the final published edition of The Girl the Sea Gave Back in hopes that reading both in a shorter timespan will help me reconnect with the characters and enjoy the book more than I did. I thought there was a lot of potential but the execution wasn’t as good as Sky in the Deep, so maybe the published edition will be better!

l&otw23.  A book that takes place in a single day: Love and Other Train Wrecks (2/5 stars)

Love and Other Train Wrecks isn’t the book I was planning on reading for this specific challenge but I had seen it on Goodreads and then saw it at the library. I normally don’t plan out which book I’m going to read but I wish I had gone with what I had planned. Love and Other Train Wrecks was not my cup of tea. It has annoying characters, a slow plot, and not many redeeming qualities. ALthough the book only takes place in 24 hours, it felt like a much longer read. You can read my full review here.


June

24. A book about someone with a super power: Through the White Wood (4/5 stars)through the white wood

This is another sequel/companion book I was really looking forward to that didn’t live up to the first book’s greatness (looking at you, #22). However, the one thing that I absolutely loved about this book was the magic/superpower elements. It’s funny because I didn’t really think of it as a superpower, even though being able to control the elements and  having super strength are definitely superpowers. When I hear the word “superpower” I just think of Marvel or DC; when I think of historical fantasy books I think of it as magic. You can read my full review here.

3636223425. A book with “love” in the title: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali (3/5 stars)

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali fits into this challenge in a very obvious way. However, it makes me think of the book from a slightly different perspective. This wasn’t my favorite book but I did appreciate how Rukhsana’s love for herself, her family, her friends, and her girlfriend was a driving force in the story. I never really thought of it like that, but the story clicks a bit more now. I really appreciate books with a strong emphasis on character development and this book certainly has that for many of the characters. Check out my full review here.

nocturna26. A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter: Nocturna (4/5 stars)

Nocturna is a wonderful book written by Maya Montayne. It’s full of magic, evil forces, an awesome and unexpected friendship, and interesting family relationships. The stunning cover is just the start of how cool this book is. It does depend on some popular YA tropes, but what book doesn’t? They’re popular for a reason. There is a lot of originality in Nocturna and I can’t wait to read the second book (and the third, and anything else that the author will ever write).


July

crown's game27. A book revolving around a puzzle or game: The Crown’s Game (5/5 stars)

It didn’t occur to me that The Crown’s Game would fit into the Popsugar Challenge until I started updating this post. This is one that caught my eye as I was leaving the YA section of my library. I had never heard of it but I saw the words “Russia”, “magic”, “secrets” , adn “danger” and was hooked. I love how the Crown’s Game played out, with Nikolai and Vika secretly dueling it out in the streets of St. Petersburg. I love the imagery, the characters, and the conflicts that arise beyond the Game itself.

28. A book with a two-word title: Dreamland Burning (4/5 stars)31203708._SY475_

Dreamland Burning is a powerful book about the Tulsa Race Riot and how the racism, discrimination, and hatred alive then is still around now. I think the title, a short two words, does a fantastic job of explaining what this book is about. Back during the race riot, the Greenwood District was literally burning. In the present day, Rowan finds the image she has of herself and America burning as she deals with hate crimes, racism, and the discovery of a dead man in her backyard. It might be a short title but it describes the book in such a powerful and succinct way.

1127529929. A book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in the title: Murder in the 11th House (2/5 stars)

Here’s the short version of the story behind why I read this: I was starting a long, unplanned drive, I wanted a mystery audiobook to listen to, Libby had very few options available for checkout, I didn’t want to spend long looking for a good one, and I selected this book. I don’t really buy into the whole astrology thing, the writing was not very good, and the mystery was weird. I definitely wouldn’t buy this or recommend it to anyone, but it at least provided a lot of laughs with how ridiculous the plot was.

36196108._SY475_Advanced 4: Read a book during the season it is set in: Listen to Your Heart (4/5 stars)

Listen to Your Heart was a cute summer read by none other than Kasie West! This ended up being one of my favorite Kasie West books. It’s packed with character development, family fun (and drama), a cute romance, and a great friendship. I’m definitely glad I read this in summer because it made it that much more immersive as the reader.

 


August

Nothing I read in August fit with the Popsugar Reading Challenge, so it’s time to start really tackling this list with some intention.


September

45835605._SY475_30. A book written by two female authors: The Unhoneymooners

I’ve seen Christina Lauren’s books for quite a few years now and never picked one up. I’m so glad I grabbed The Unhoneymooners from the library because I loved it! These two make a great writing team. The book was filled with so much out-of-the-blue humor, absurdly funny circumstances, and just the right amount of drama. The family elements were endearing, I loved the romance, and I was laughing out loud too many times to count. I’ll definitely be giving their other books a read!

38664775._SY475_31. A book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America: Sea Prayer (5/5 stars)

This is the first Khaled Hosseini book I’ve read and I thought it was beautifully written and illustrated. I’ve heard really good things about his other books but it’s rare when I’m looking for such heavy books, especially lately. I was really impressed with how much of an emotional punch Sea Prayer packed in just 48 pages. It covers the heavy topic of the current refugee crisis in a way that makes it easy to understand, empathize with, and get fired up about. The illustrations are beautiful and complement the story so well.

36285129._SY475_32. A book with an article of clothing or an accessory on the cover: Let Me Hear a Rhyme (5/5 stars)

I’ve read a lot of books this year that have an article of clothing or accessory on the cover but wanted to wait to cross it off the list until I felt it meant something. In this case, the clothing on the cover of Let Me Hear a Rhyme was carefully considered and planned for the cover. Here’s a link to an article from EpicReads that goes into detail about the cover design. This book takes place in the late 90’s and the cover definitely reflects this aesthetic.

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