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Sunday Funday: 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge - Update #1 & Mini Reviews

Happy Sunday everyone and welcome to my first Sunday Funday post of 2020!  Today, I'm sharing my first progress update and mini reviews for the books I've completed so far for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge.  I've completed 9 of 50 books, so I'd say I've made great progress and have read some pretty good books already.  Without further ado, here we go in the order I read them in:


I wanted to enjoy The Babysitters Coven more than I did. I mean, the premise sounded irresistible with the comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Adventures in Babysitting but it never quite worked for me. A huge chunk of that was because very few of the cast come across like authentic teens. They sound like an older person is trying to copy how a teen from today sounds and there were moments that were pretty jarring. Those moments really helped take me out of the story.

My review can also be found on Goodreads. This fulfilled the task to read a book with a pink cover.

❋ ❋ ❋ 

As a total bookworm, I adored Inkheart by Cornelia Funke so much. Why did I wait until I was 30 years old to read it for the first time? I think I would have loved this even more as a young teen when it was brand new. Meggie's obsession with books and stories is totally relatable. Now I'm going to have to read the rest of the series and rewatch the 2008 movie. Yes, it's a bit different but it does a decent job of bringing the story to life.

My review can also be found on Goodreads. This fulfilled the task to read a book with a book on the cover.


DNF'd at 27%

I couldn't tell you what's going on and where Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi is going, and I'm not particularly interested in continuing the book to find out more.

My review can also be found on Goodreads.  This fulfilled the task to read a book with a bird on the cover.

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I've seen a lot of great reviews for this but Where the Forest Meets the Stars ended up being just an okay read for me.  Let's just say there were some things I really wanted to happen that never did, and they focused on some aspects I wasn't all that interested in. Honestly, I would have preferred this to be from Ursa's perspective.

My review can also be found on Goodreads.  This fulfilled the task to read a book you picked because the title caught your attention.

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This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is a very unique time travel sci-fi read and the authors' writing style is incredibly atmospheric.  Unfortunately, though, it wasn't quite for me since I was hoping for more in terms of plot.  There's still a lot to like about it, like the atmosphere and the beauty of the language.  This novella is still definitely worth picking up if you're interested in the genre, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for.  I do know that I want to try more from both of the authors in the future.

My review can also be found on Goodreads.  This fulfilled the task to read a book published the month of your birthday.

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I think I've found a brand new favorite series opener in Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell.  I loved the unique world-building and the cast of characters.  I can't wait to see where the series goes from here because it could become an all time favorite.  Ferius is the MVP in my books and Reichis is quite the vicious little scene stealer. By the way, I'm pretty sure Reichis sounds exactly like Bradley Cooper's Rocket Racoon in the Guardians of the Galaxy.  In fact, I have a feeling Reichis and Rocket would get along.

My review can also be found on Goodreads.  This fulfilled the task to read a book with an upside down image on the cover.

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer is easily the best Beauty and the Beast retelling I've ever had the opportunity to read.  Kemmerer does a fantastic job of honoring the classic fairy tale while managing to keep her adaptation fresh, thrilling, and twisting.  It's also is also nearly 500 pages long, but it doesn't really feel like it at all and a lot of that is due to our cast of characters and the world they inhabit.  The novel is told in alternating perspective chapters from Harper (our Belle) and Rhen (the Beast) and I enjoyed getting to know the both of them.  Harper herself is determined and fierce and not going to let anyone walk all over her.  She is also the first leading character I've read who also has cerebral palsy, and Kemmerer does a good job of educating readers on it as well.  Rhen is also an intriguing new spin on the Beast, in that he isn't afflicted at all times.  In fact, his monster is never exactly the same since it changes forms between each Groundhog Day style reset if the curse hasn't been broken over the course of a season.  However, my favorite character is Grey, Rhen's guard.  He's willing to do whatever it takes save Rhen and the kingdom, even if it comes down to kidnapping people from a parallel world to break the curse.  He is very talented at what he does, is a little scary, and has a bit of a dark sense of humor.  I wish he had perspective chapters because that could be fascinating.  Finally, I'm dying to see what's coming next for our characters in A Heart So Fierce and Broken because that finale was brutal.  Fingers crossed that Grey will have a POV chapters.  If you haven't read this series opener and you love a great retelling, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a must read.

My review can also be found on Goodreads.  This fulfilled the task to read the first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closed.

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I had really high hopes for Ghoster by Jason Arnopp since I loved The Last Days of Jack Sparks, but this new horror novel just never quite reached those heights.  It starts off well; the author's twists kept me hooked and the unreliable cast kept me intrigued.  The pacing is decent as is the writing style.  The main theme of the story is that smart phones are bad and are out to kill you.  By the way, the title refers to the modern concept of ghosting someone as well as a ghost story which was unfortunately the weakest aspect.  While it could have been a cool, creepy thriller, it's more appropriate to say that it's a little tired.  Remember Cell by Stephen King?  Our lead character wasn't that likable either, but that wasn't what bothered me about her.  What bugged me is that she's kind of brain dead.  If you were around me while I was listening to the audiobook, you probably heard me muttering to myself after she let so many red flags pass her by.  Overall, though, I'd still say the novel is good and has many things going for it, but it just wasn't what I was hoping for.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Arnopp will do in the future.

My review can also be found on Goodreads.  This fulfilled the task to read a book about or involving social media.

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Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans is fascinating.  How is this not more common knowledge?  I liked getting to know the historical aspects of Ada Lovelace and her work, but over the course of the book I was hoping for more of a focus on more modern history.  Of course, that historical backing gives us a good foundation for what's coming.  Overall, the information of the women who worked oftentimes behind the scenes, is presented in an understandable way, even if you're not much of a computer person.  It's odd knowing that so much of the information presented is within my own lifetime and just thinking about how much has changed in the last 30 years.  If you enjoyed Hidden Figures, this is a must read.

My review can also be found on Goodreads.  This fulfilled the task to read a book on a subject you know nothing about.

Are you taking part in this challenge?  Have you read any of these books?  As always, thank for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!


  1. I felt the same way about Ghoster. The supernatural parts were very weak and really ruined the story for me. But you have reminded me I need to read A Curse so Dark and Lonely!

    1. I have a feeling you'd enjoy A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Tammy. Thanks for coming over.


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