Book Reviews, Fiction, Fun Stuff, Non Fiction, The Writing Process, Writing, Writing Tools, Young Adult

My Reading Challenge Update



As a writer, there is one task that matters more than most – reading. Reading the work of other writers can only improve our vocabulary, sentence structure and knowledge of the craft.

I have always been an avid reader, as a child I could be found nestled in between my bed and the radiator, with a stack of books at my feet. My tastes changed as I grew up; moving on from Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Jill Murphy, I began my teen years stealing my dad’s Wilbur Smith books and my mum’s Mills and Boon.

In my late teens and early twenties, I went through a horror phase and devoured everything by James Herbert and Stephen King. My thriller stage swiftly followed, where I enjoyed reading Dean Koontz and John Grisham. As I approached my thirties and forties, I turned to the Young Adult genre and found the fantasy works of Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare, Sarah J. Maas and Jana Oliver, to name but a few of my favourites.

My passion for fantasy was rooted in my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – that girl got me through some tough days!

So when I read about Pop Sugar’s Reading Challenge, I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

They have put together a list of books to read over the course of a year – not genre specific, or leaning towards a particular author – no, this list is a bit different!

As we are halfway through the year, I thought I’d share my progress with you and ask for some suggestions to help me finish the challenge. The full list is available to view on Pop Sugar’s website so I won’t add the entire list here; I will concentrate on what I’ve managed to achieve.

Here goes:

  • A Book That Became a MovieThe Maze Runner by James Dashner.

I did this the wrong way round as I watched the movie before reading the book (I never normally do that). However, I did enjoy watching the motion picture with my two boys. The book is amazing.

  • A Book Published This Year – Eternal by Helen Boswell (Indie Author)

This was the third book in Helen’s Mythology Trilogy, and one I had been waiting for with excitement. It’s packed full of angels, demons and romance – right up my street.

  • A Book with a Number in the Title – The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

I believe this book is also about to be made into a movie so it would fit into my first category. The book is young adult sci-fi – think War of the Worlds meets Falling Skies. I thought it took a while to get going but then it exploded on the page, and I couldn’t put it down – I hope the Hollywood types make a good job of converting it.

This book choice also covers the A Book with Non-Human Characters category.

  • A Book Written By Someone under 30 – Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas.

Heir of Fire is book three in the Crown of Midnight Series. Sarah is twenty-nine and from New York. I met her recently when she was on her UK tour. She is such a wonderful lady and one of my most favourite authors. Her young adult books are full of sexy faeries and fast-paced action.

  • A Book by a Female Author – Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

This book was off the wall weird. I loved Brenna’s style of writing in the Replacement and Smoulder, but this book was a struggle for me. I did finish it, and I was glad I persevered as the final part is fast paced. Not my favourite.

  • A Non-Fiction Book – Twitter for Writers by Rayne Hall.

I find Rayne’s Writer’s Craft Series to be a valuable writing source. I have several of her books and like an avid Twitter fan it was an easy decision to add this to my list. I knew a fair amount of the content (I wish I’d read this year’s ago!) through making my own mistakes. What I love is how Rayne uses the mistakes she made as a newbie tweeter to teach us what not to do. Clearly written without any techno jargon to scare a beginner, there is a handy summary at the back on the most common abbreviations. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on ‘weird reasons I was unfollowed’, hilarious!

  • A Book You Can Finish In a Day – Guardians of the Dead by Shelley Wilson.

Yes, I’ve included my own creation here, only because it does fit the category. It was also something I kept hearing over and over from my readers – they enjoyed it so much that they couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day. At just over 50,000 words, it is a quick and easy read – I loved reading it as much as I loved writing it!

  • A Book with Bad Reviews – Fury by Elizabeth Miles.

I didn’t read the reviews until after I’d finished this book, but I agreed with all of them. I detested the main characters – passionately. Words failed me when I closed the last page on this one.

This book choice also covers the A Book with a One-Word Title.

  • A Book with a Colour in the Title – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

Another book destined to become a movie (please don’t massacre it, Hollywood). I loved this book so much, and it was left wide open for the next instalment. Young adult at its best.

  • A Book with Magic – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

A new young adult series from my favourite author, and this time we find faeries and humans having to fight together. Plenty of magic to keep me turning the pages. Loved it.

This is just a small section of the challenge, over the next six months I need to read:

  • A Book with More than 500 Pages.
  • A Book Based on a True Story.
  • A Classic Romance.
  • A Book that Scares You.
  • A Pulitzer-Prize Winning Book.
  • A Book That Came Out the Year You Were Born (1972)
  • A Book with Antonyms in the Title.
  • A Book of Short Stories.
  • A Funny Book.
  • A Book from Your Childhood. (Happy to re-read Folk of the Faraway Tree!)
  • A Book Set in the Future.
  • A Graphic Novel.
  • A Book You Started But Never Finished (Oh Dear! That’s a long list)

If you have any suggestions to help me finish my 2015 challenge, then please let me know in the comments below. If you fancy giving the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge a go for yourself then pop (no pun intended) over to their website.

Happy Reading.

Image courtesy of Surachai at

20 thoughts on “My Reading Challenge Update”

  1. Book based on a true story, The King’s Concubine by Anne I’Brien, classic romance, Wuthering Heights or Pride and Prejudice, a book of short stories ( my own) Ten English Tales by Evelyn Steward, A book set in the future, Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, a book from my chilhood. Treasure Island or The Water Babies, a book that scares me, The Haunting of Hill House or The Woman in Black. That is about it from me. Maybe there might be something in that list that appeals?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A fun challenge Shelley. C. J Sansom’s historical murder mysteries are over 500 pages. And Future Perfect by Katrina Mountfort is futuristic or Land of the Unaltered by Leti Del Mar is a YA futuristic read. Good Luck.


  3. Reblogged this on evelynralph and commented:
    Nice idea for anyone, read a book in all these genres or whatever, from the list (set your own list even) and give your on verdict. Just as a test to keep reading and learning different types of writing. Always useful.


  4. Freaky Friday, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Really Bad Day, and Charlie and the Glass Elevator were all published in 1972, could count as books from your childhood, and the last one could count, for me at least, as a started and never finished! The Stepford Wives also came out that year.

    My doctor has recommended The Goldfinch by Donna Tart every time I’ve gone to see him (new doctor…been 3 times). I believe that is a Pulitzer Prize Winner

    I would definitely dive into Pride and Prejudice for Romance…or Little Women, which could also qualify for story from childhood. Or Anne of Avonlea, which would work for both as well.

    For a book based on a true story, I love Tim Tingle’s Choctaw writings. He is a Choctaw storyteller (even if you don’t read his books…AND YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD…you should take a few minutes to check out some of his performances. They can be found on youtube) How I Became a Ghost is the name of the series, and the title of the first book therein, that he has written for Middle Grades/YA based on a melding of Choctaw Beliefs and stories handed down from those that were in attendance at the Trail of Tears. He also has a few short story compilations that do the same…Walking the Choctaw Road is amazing. He was the first (or at least one of the first…I believe THE first) to be allowed to use a tape recorder to capture the stories of the Elders when he was first starting out.

    If you would like to switch things up, Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree has several scriptural writings and a children’s picture book called Monsoon McKreel and The Rose, all available on Kindle and Amazon as well. Those might work for being based on true stories.

    As for short story books, I would also like to nominate my own. I have 3 currently available on Amazon/Kindle Short Story Sundays, Summer Sundays, and Tales from the Dying Grass (all three part of The Short Story Supposition)

    With your penchant for horror and fantasy…would a book on happy singing flowers and Harlequin type forbidden romance fill the bill for a book that terrifies you??


      1. I believe I would pass those flowers up as well…I much prefer the Wonderland version, though I will admit that they’re a bit frightening as well.


  5. More than 500 pages: All the Days of my Life by Hilary Bailey – one of my all time top 10, a brilliant book. Or Penmarric, Cashelmara or The Rich Are Different by Susan Howatch. FABULOUS!

    Based on a true story – Catch me if you can by Frank Abagnale – also became a film of the same name starring Leo Di Cap and Tom Hanks.

    Set in the future – FUTURE PERFECT by Katrina Mountfort – review on my book blog, stunningly good. Link

    Classic romance – try Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Lady Chatterly

    A funny book – Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K Jerome.

    Short stories – any volume by Somerset Maugham, Dorothy Parker or Roald Dahl

    I’ve loved ALL these books, and would recommend them to anyone! I see Rosie recommended Future Perfect too 🙂


  6. Shelley, I did a google search for 1972 and came up with a Goodreads listing of the most popular books by publishing date:

    This site has the 50 scariest books of all times:

    Here’s a list of books on my TBR list that are 500 pages or over from the RRBC club, also the Outlander books by Dianna Gabaldon:
    Wastelander by Tim Hemlin
    Deceived (Soul Keeper Series Book 1) by L. A. Starkey
    The Water Travelers: Heir of the Unknown by Daniel Waltz
    The Burgeoning (Heart of the staff Book 4) by Carol Marrs Phipps
    Where did your heart go? (The Heart Trilogy Book 1) by Audrina Lane

    Anyway, when all else fails, google what you’re looking for.

    Kim Cox


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