POPSUGAR 2020 Reading Challenge

Image source: POPSUGAR Photography

Hey! So I wanted to make a list of books I hope to read this year that can fit the categories for the POPSUGAR reading challenge. I don’t have all of the prompts filled as I might find other books to fit the prompts, plus I’m giving myself options since my goal is to read 25 books this year, not 52. (But if I do all of these challenges, then yay for me!)

I won’t necessarily be reading these in the order listed, either, since I’m such a mood reader. I also picked as many books as I could already on my shelves, on my kindle, or on audible that I already own.

So anyway, here’s the official list with my choices for books, and here’s where you can find their pretty printable list on their site!

2020 Challenge – Regular prompts

1. A book that’s published in 2020Remembrance by Rita Woods
2. A book by a trans or nonbinary authorThe Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar
3. A book with a great first lineAn Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
4. A book about a book clubThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
5. A book set in a city that has hosted the OlympicsThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
6. A bildungsromanThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
7. The first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closedAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (I had my husband pick with his eyes closed)
8. A book with an upside-down image on the coverGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
9. A book with a mapThe City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
10. A book recommended by your favorite blog, vlog, podcast, or online book clubThe Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
11. An anthologyThe Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
12. A book that passes the Bechdel testJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
13. A book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to itRenegades by Marissa Meyer
14. A book by an author with flora or fauna in their nameThe Wicked King by Holly Black
15. A book about or involving social mediaTweet Cute by Emma Lord
16. A book that has a book on the coverPersuasion by Jane Austen
17. A medical thrillerThe Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
18. A book with a made-up languageWords of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
19. A book set in a country beginning with “C”Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
20. A book you picked because the title caught your attentionThe Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
21. A book published the month of your birthdayThe Color Project by Sierra Abrams
22. A book about or by a woman in STEMHidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
23. A book that won an award in 2019Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
24. A book on a subject you know nothing aboutThe Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might by Courtney Weber
25. A book with only words on the cover, no images or graphicsA Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
26. A book with a pun in the titleDying to Please by Linda Howard
27. A book featuring one of the seven deadly sinsPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
28. A book with a robot, cyborg, or AI characterWires and Nerves vol 1 by Marissa Meyer
29. A book with a bird on the coverThis Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
30. A fiction or nonfiction book about a world leaderBecoming by Michelle Obama
31. A book with “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze” in the titleThe Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons
32. A book by a WOCThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
33. A book with at least a four-star rating on GoodreadsThe Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
34. A book you meant to read in 2019Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
35. A book with a three-word titleWink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
36. A book with a pink coverThe Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
37. A WesternVengeance Road by Erin Bowman
38. A book by or about a journalistNext Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
39. Read a banned book during Banned Books WeekThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexi
40. Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge – 2017: Involving a mythical creature – A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan

2020 Challenge – Advanced prompts

1. A book written by an author in their 20sSorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
2. A book with “20” or “twenty” in the titleTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
3. A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (a nod to 20/20 vision)All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
4. A book set in the 1920sMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
5. A book set in Japan, host of the 2020 OlympicsPachinko by Min Jin Lee
6. A book by an author who has written more than 20 booksVision in White by Nora Roberts
7. A book with more than 20 letters in its titleThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
8. A book published in the 20th centuryNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman
9. A book from a series with more than 20 booksNoragami vol 21 by Adachitoka
10. A book with a main character in their 20sMagic Slays by Ilona Andrews

And that’s it! Those are the 50 books I hope to read in 2020, but my overall reading goal is to read 25 books, so if I read half of this list, I’ll consider that a win.

Let’s chat!

What are some of your reading goals for 2020? What book would you read that takes place in Japan? Or what about a book about or by a woman in STEM? Let me know!

2020 Reading Goals & Challenges

We’re still quite early on in December, but I wanted to talk about some of my reading goals and challenges that I’m setting for myself in 2020 because, let’s be real, my reading the past few years has been a bit lackluster. So I really want to challenge myself to read novels again (and keep up with webcomics, of course, which has been 90% of what I’ve been reading the last few years).

Anyway, I’m also going to be talking about my year end goal for this year. It’s not much, but it’s something I’m going to hope to achieve before December is over.

So, let’s talk about them!

December 2019 Year End Goals

I have a couple of books I started reading this year, got about halfway through, and then put down and never picked up again, so I want to fix that lol (Not that I lost interest, per se, I’ve just had a very up and down mental and emotional year.)

So the books I want to complete by the end of December are:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I’m 55% of the way through as of this post, and I was loving it so much! I think I lost motivation because I ruined part of it on myself by looking ahead and just… I need to stop that lol

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I’m 39.78% of the way through the book as of this post, and again, it’s not that I wasn’t enjoying it, it was that my reading mood shifted and I just couldn’t pick it up for a while.

Those are the two primary books I want to read by the end of this year. I know I can do it; I just have to set some time to do so.

Okay, so these are some books I know I’m going to finish this month:

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – I have been listening to this audiobook on and off for… too damn long lol I have about 7.5 hours left to go as of this post, so I’m FINISHING IT DAMMIT. (The audiobook is 45 hours in length, so… it’s been a journey lol but a good one!) I love this book and can’t wait to start the next audibook – which is even longer than the first! 😀 *cry* And the third is even longer than the second… *sob* (It’s really fine. The story is fantastic so far!)

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – I started this book on a whim a few days ago because I really just wanted to read something that wasn’t a webcomic (or anything else on my shelf, clearly), and started reading this on my kindle and haven’t stopped. I’m about half way through and really enjoying it because I didn’t realize it was faeries, and I love faerie stories, so it’s been a great read for me so far.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – A few customers at my seasonal job (a bookstore) were telling me about how they or a relative/friend read this, and after reading the synopsis, I had to pick it up. WELL, I started and didn’t want to put it down, so. Definitely going to finish this book this month. It’s already magical and I’m only 24 pages into it as of writing this post.

I doubt I’ll have time to finish anything else this month, so I’ll leave other things for next year.

Speaking of, let’s talk about my goals for next year!

Reading Goals & Challenges for 2020

As I said earlier, I miss reading novels- truly, I do. And though I’ve been reading some here and there, I miss the days where I was reading 50 books in a year (about a book a week), and though I’m not aiming to hit that number again, I do want to try to read maybe half of that?

That was actually my goal for 2019, and, well… yeah, even if I read the five books above, I’d still be five short of that 25 book goal. But that’s fine! I’ll be a little disappointed in myself, but I’m not going to let it hinder me. I still read a decent amount of books – more than last year, for sure – and I’m proud of that! So, I’m going to keep that goal:

2020 Reading Goal: 25 books for the year

Now, let’s talk challenges. I want to seriously challenge myself in 2020 for a multitude of reasons, and so now I’m going to talk about some of the challenges I’m setting for myself this upcoming year:

Challenge 1: Any book on my TBR for that month MUST already exist on my shelves. That’s right. I’m going to try my best to not buy more books than I read this year. I want to seriously cut down my TBR since I’ve had some books for five years or so and haven’t touched them. (This may also include donating more books to my local library.) Of course, there will be some exceptions. But 99% of what I pick I want to already come from my shelves.

Challenge 2: Read at least three classics throughout the year. And by that, I still mean classics that are on my shelves. I mainly want to focus on Jane Austen, but I’ve got a few others I’d like to read at some point. Even though I find classics very difficult to get through, this is listed as a challenge for a reason.

Challenge 3: Complete as many reading prompts from the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge as I can. I wanted to participate in it this year, but I quickly fell off of the wagon, so I’m aiming to do as much as I can (and want) in 2020! They have such a fun list, so why not?

There’s no real reward or punishment that comes from completing or not completing these challenges other than the satisfaction of doing so. Maybe I should reward myself with chocolate or something…

Anyway, I think that’s it for my reading goals for next year! I’m not trying to push myself too hard, but rather ease myself back into reading. It’s been a rough few years mentally and emotionally, and I’ve only been recently starting to feel a little more human and less robotic. So I hope that 2020 brings a lot more happiness in the reading department as a result.

Let’s chat!

Tell me what your reading goals are for the new year! Are you planning on participating in any challenges? What are you most looking forward to next year (non-book related, if you want)? Let me know in the comments!

Happy New Year! | Goals & Stuff

Happy New Year, peeps!

I can’t believe it’s already the new year. 2018 FLEW by, and I bet 2019 is going to go even faster. Oh joy.

But with a new year comes new year’s resolutions and promises that you won’t keep (maybe lol), so here’s my list of goals that I hope to achieve this upcoming year:

Reading & Blog Goals

  • Read one book per week. That’s 52 books for the year, which is entirely doable for me considering I’ve read 50 books in the past. This includes manga and comics, just so we’re clear.
  • Have half of those books be ones that are already on my shelves. Look, I recently did a large unhaul of unread books that had been sitting on my shelf gathering dust because I knew I wasn’t going to read them and I’d rather them go somewhere I know they’ll be well loved, so this year I want to focus on reading at least 25 books that are already currently on my shelves. Doable. Achievable. Awesome.
  • Post twice a week on my blog. I’ve already been doing this as I wanted to start the habit before the new year, but I’m going to try to post on Mondays (reviews) and Thursdays (chats/discussions/fun things). So far it’s been working, so that’s good. So that’ll be 104 posts for the year. Again: doable.

Personal Goals

  • Reach level two Japanese by the end of June. So I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a while but I really suck at studying, so I’m going to try to make it my mission to study daily and reach level two on the app I use by the end of June. Again: doable. This also includes reviewing and practicing and all that jazz.
  • Lose at least ten pounds by the end of June. I’m not going to set the bar too high for weight loss goals. This one is entirely doable, and I’ve been working on it more this past month that I have in the past. Let’s hope for some good results!
  • Find work that’s more suited to me. This one is one I’ve been working towards, but I don’t know how it’ll go yet, so I’m going to keep this one kind of vague lol, but I do hope to find a job either in my field, teaching abroad, or something entirely different.
  • Finish the first draft of my book by the end of June. I have a lot I want to get done by midyear lol, but I really want to finish just the very rough first draft of the novel I’ve been trying to work on.
  • Work toward a better well-being and state of mind. It’s been a rough couple of years, friends, and I just want to get to a place of joy. This one is ongoing, though, so it’ll be for a lifetime.

I think that’s it for my goals. They’re all attainable, all doable, and I think that’s the best part of this whole thing.

Let’s chat!

What are some of your goals for this year? What are some of the things you achieved last year, but still want to continue into this year? Let me know in the comments!

New Years Book Tag

Hello beautiful people! Today I’m coming at you with a book tag~ I figured I haven’t done one of these in a while, and this one’s a fun one since it focuses on the new year and stuff, so here we go!

I saw this on Super Space Chick’s channel, so check out the video here!

1. How many books are you planning to read in 2018?

I did this last year with my Goodreads goal and I’m also doing it this year: setting my goal to ONE book. That’s right. One book. I want to have zero pressure as my life is crazy and with a lot of planning and other things that are going on this year, I don’t want to focus on reaching a number, especially with how I’m mainly been reading comics and I can’t exactly keep track of those on Goodreads. But I will be reading novels this year because where I feel like last year was the “year of comics and manga,” this year will still be that, but I’m definitely feeling like reading regular novels, too.

But for a more “serious” goal, I want to aim for 10 novels. Again, little pressure, but I’m very busy with a lot of things this year.

2. Name 5 books that you didn’t get to this year but want to make a priority in 2018.

Okay, I know I listed six books instead of five, BUT I didn’t get to any of these in 2017 and I REALLY WANTED TO, so I’m going to try to read all of them sometime between now and summer. At least, that’s my goal.

3. What genre do you want to read more of?

I’m always up for fantasy as it’s my all time favorite genre, BUT I’d love love love to read more Science Fiction this year, whether adult or YA, or even comics! If you have any awesome sci-fi recommendations for me, please let me know!

4. Name 3 non book related goals for 2018.

  • To complete my course to become TEFL certified (teach English as a second language) and teach English in South Korea by the fall/winter of this year!
  • Which includes getting all of the paperwork done. All… of… the paperwork… *cries*
  • Learn at least one new dance every month, whether it be from a Kpop band or a cover dance or whatever! I need to get more active and start really thinking about my health more. So this is the generic “health” goal lol

5. What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?

*stares at shelves*

I don’t know which to choose.

6. One word that your hoping 2018 will be:

Adventurous!

7. Tag a friend!

I’ll tag all of you peeps because, well, I never know who to tag in these sections lol


Let’s Chat! ^w^

What’s one non-book related goal you have for this year? I’d love to hear about it!

Beautiful Books – 2017 Writing Goals

beautifulbooks

Hey peeps and welcome to Beautiful Books, hosted by the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up & Further In. What is Beautiful Books? It’s very similar to the monthly link up of Beautiful People, but this month it focuses on NaNoWriMo writing projects rather than specific characters in the novels. You obviously don’t have to be participating in NaNo in order to join; it can be any writing project. Click here or the picture to be taken back to the most recent Beautiful Books linkup page!

Today’s post is focused on our writing goals for 2017. Now I already talked briefly about some of the goals I hope to achieve this year, but this one goes a little more in depth in a few places where I feel I didn’t touch upon. So here we go!

1. What were your writing achievements last year?

I think just writing the story that had been on my mind for so long was the biggest achievement I accomplished. I had wanted to write about these two characters, Nara and Mikail, for so long and finally doing it was such a release. I loved it!

I also successfully outlined for the first time in years and I actually liked it? I’ve griped about outlining before and how pointless I found it but OH MY GOD I LOVED IT. I need to outline with every single story I do in the future. Seriously, it helped to keep my story focused on the goal I was trying to achieve with it, and even if I didn’t use every plot point that I had written, I was still hitting the major ones and it felt so incredible to be able to see that happen and how the story changed and morphed as I went as a result.

2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

  • Finish writing not only the draft from NaNo 2016, but also the draft from Camp NaNo 2015. I haven’t finished either story yet, but I’m getting so close to the end for both! (I have a problem writing endings, so that’s probably why I’ve avoided it for so long.)
  • Then edit said drafts. I might just focus on one story for this year even though I love both of them (and the draft from Camp NaNo is a hot mess… I have NO IDEA how I got to where I am in the story from the beginning of what I was writing…). So I think that I’ll just focus on the NaNo 2016 draft for now and edit that one.
  • But here’s my main “to-do list” when it comes to writing this year:
    • Finish drafts.
    • Edit them.
    • Find beta readers.
    • Edit some more.
    • Query some agents and hope to find a great agent.
    • Proceed with publication process. Hopefully.

I’M GOING BIG OR GOING HOME THIS YEAR, GUYS. IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.

3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects this year!

“The Thief and the Magician” is my top priority this year. I really loved what I was writing for this story, but I just have a few kinks to work out and obviously some major editing, but otherwise, this story is going to be my primary focus. I feel like it’ll be the story that I want to surface to the world.

I also want to finish writing “Crossing Boundaries,” the story I was working on in 2015. I LOVE my two main characters, but as I’ve stated: it’s a hot mess. I don’t know if I’m going to let it see the light of day any time soon, but maybe one day in the future.

Also, I feel like I have ideas brewing in my mind that I should probably write down. Maybe I’ll work on something new? Or maybe a sequel? Who knows? Not me, clearly.

4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?

I want to improve in all ways as a writer, honestly. I want to listen to people about what makes a problematic book and how to defeat that beast. I want to do more outlining and just work on editing. At the end of 2017, I want to be able to feel like I’ve accomplished something rather than just letting these projects sit and feeling sorry for myself that I’m not actually doing any writing.

By the end of this year, I want to be able to follow my passions and dreams and write and create and be happy.

5. Describe your general editing process.

After my first NaNoWriMo that I actually wrote 50k words (which was 2014), what I had done was printed out my story (and used up all of my ink) and began to read through it with a critical eye, using a red pen (yes, the dreaded red pen) to mark changes, grammar fixes, etc. For me, personally, I feel like I need to write with pen on paper in order for changes to really stick out in my mind. I could do it all on the computer and save trees and ink and whatnot, but I’m old school and love the feel of writing out what I want to see changed in my story by hand.

At this beginning stage, I already know a LOT of things that want changed because I think of them as I write the first draft, but I rarely go back to fix those things. But once I know I’ve successfully completed writing my first draft, that’s when I can move on and actually put those changes in. Like even now I know there are several things I want to add and change and remove from my draft of “The Thief and the Magician,” but I’m not ready to make those changes just yet.

After that, I’ll go back in, apply those changes to my documents on my computer, and at that stage I’m thinking of letting my husband be my first reader. I want a second set of eyes from someone I trust (who’s also a fast reader) to give me feedback. I know if I tell him to be honest and not sugar coat it that he’ll let me know if things sounds weird, if the flow is wonky, whatever the case may be.

After that, I’ll do another round of edits. I’ve never gotten past the first stage that I talked about, though, and even then I never finished my first round of edits, so this is going to be interesting for sure. But I’m going to take my time with it, doing small chunks at a time until I’ve completed it, then I’ll go from there.

6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?

Well, considering I’m not finished… With what I have actually written, I think that this draft is turning out around a 5 or a 6. I’m happy with parts of it for sure, like personalities, certain scenes I know I want to keep, certain emotions that I want to keep, but there’s a lot that needs to be fixed. So yeah. 5/10.

7. What aspect of the draft needs the most work?

If Nara’s supposed to be extremely afraid of Magicians, or just wary around them, WHY DID I NOT MAKE HER MORE AFRAID AND WARY AROUND MIKAIL? UGH. This is currently my biggest gripe of the whole draft and I need to add chapters or change some scenes around to fit this in. Just. UGHHHHHHH. I’m mad at myself, honestly, haha! And I knew I was doing it as I was writing, but I didn’t want to stop and fix it. It’s fine, EVERYTHING’S FINE.

And then there are obviously kinks and stuff I need to elaborate more on, and there’s definitely one chapter that I KNOW was just a filler chapter and needs to be replaced, like, ten years ago, and… yeah. Okay. The draft in general just needs some work.

8. What do you like most about your draft?

I love my characters. I grow very attached to a lot of characters I write, particularly the main characters because, well, duh, and this story, “The Thief and the Magician,” is one I feel so passionate about that I’m so glad that I decided to give it another shot because I struggled HARD during Camp NaNo 2016 when I first started working on it. The chapters weren’t coming out right AT ALL. In fact, I rewrote several chapters during this time because they just didn’t work and they weren’t how my characters were supposed to be, and I was writing it in the wrong tense, so that was frustrating. But yeah. The characters are really what make my draft feel alive to me.

9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

I kind of already glossed over it in a couple questions already, but here’s more:

  • Finish the draft, do a round of edits, let husband read it, do another round of edits.
  • Hopefully find two beta readers to give feedback, then do another round of edits.
  • THEN I’ll start querying. I want to go the traditional publishing route because that’s just what I personally want to do.
  • Then I’ll just go from there.

10. What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

Let it sit for a little while.

I literally haven’t looked at my draft or thought about it or touched it since the end of NaNoWriMo 2016, and I haven’t even finished it yet. Writing over 50k words in 30 days really taxes the brain, and even if you didn’t do NaNo but you still have a completed first draft (or mostly completed): let it sit.

Don’t think about it, don’t open the file, don’t let yourself worry about it for now. Obviously, don’t take too much time away from it or you might never go back to it until you’re filled with guilt, but give it a month or two. Or give it a week or two. Either way, just let it sit so your brain can recuperate from the hard work it just put in with you writing this first draft. You worked extremely hard on this draft, so now take a break, do something for yourself that isn’t writing, and then go back to your draft. You’ll have refreshed eyes and quite possibly a new outlook on what you want your draft to look like once you start edits. Taking that step back could be very beneficial to you.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

How are you doing on your writing project? What are your plans for this year? Is your novel ever going to see the light of day, or is it going to be buried under mounds of debris, never to be seen again? What do you like most about your draft? Tell me all the things!