How The GoodReads Challenge Revived My Love For Books!

Hey Booklovers!

I HAD TO REPOST THIS SINCE IT WAS MISSING FROM PUBLISHED POSTS NOR WAS IT SEEN ON MY BLOG. 

I have been wanting to write on various topics other than just book reviews from the beginning but never got around to doing it. But now that the year is coming to an end I really wanted to post everything I have been putting off. Starting with this.

As a kid I have always loved reading. Honestly speaking my love for books was sparked by Archie comics and till today I have a stack of those comics with me. Even from my local library I would take around ten of them to read at home. But as I grew up I started noticing another genre perfect for my age – Romance. Slowly but surely I began to read a lot of them. Similar to Archie I began bringing home dozens of romance novels and even took some where I travelled hoping to not lose it (there was no kindle back then) as I still had to get it back to the library. I don’t know what it was but keeping books with me was some sort of comfort I guess.

Then the biggest disrupter emerged. Harry Potter. I was swept away by its magic and the friendship and that whole world JK Rowling created. I wanted to live in it and never come out. But I wasn’t a potter head or anything. I just loved the comfort of reading a potter book on a bad day or if I wanted to escape reality for sometime. To be honest I thought of myself as part of the potter world. Haha. I was the fourth member in the gang quietly watching everything. I even had a huge crush on Sirius. I was hooked on this series the longest.

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But time insists you grow up and its been a while I have reread those books ( which reminds me maybe I should do it next year?) and I found other books to sink my teeth into but alas not for long. For over five years I never bothered to read much (as life takes over) except some book here and there. But I never stopped “hoarding” books. I still have many books I haven’t read – like the Magicians Apprentice, Anne Rice books, lots of rom-coms, legal thrillers and such.

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The only series that I had any interest in at the time was Dan Brown. I did regularly keep myself updated with his books. It was fast paced and adventurous. Popcorn entertainment. But that too was short lived once his last book Inferno was published. I don’t remember reading much for four years after that and I keep wondering now, when I see others who have read so much more than me, why I call myself a Bibliophile. I have only touched the tip of the iceberg. There are so many books to still read. Thats when at the end of last year, I came across Dan Brown’s new book Origin. For a second I was transported to my other world where I would read for hours and be lost in it. A time I lost when I stopped reading much.

I discovered Goodreads again and realised there is this challenge I can accept. I kept a realistic number -20. Surely I can read 2 books a month and make it twenty four but I didn’t want to jump the gun. So I started an Instagram account except it wasn’t about me – it was about the book loving community and hence titled it Bibliogyan – wisdom from books. I was inspired by so many Instagram accounts that I seriously wanted to read all the books in the world.

Slowly but surely I read. At first it was slow. But three months in something kicked, and I have been on the high gear ever since. But am still taking it as it comes. I keep a realistic standard. I make sure I read at least 2 books a month and now I have reached the end of the year as well as end of the challenge. 3 more books and am done.

But this has been more than that. It has helped me revive something I thought long lost. I had lost so much time and connect with the very thing that made me happy, feel secure and accepted, without any prejudice. Its a weird thought, sure but to many kids growing up books are their best friends and sadly none of my friends were bookworms like me and for an only child books were her ‘siblings’.

In the course of one year I have been able to revive my lost love for books all thanks to the Goodreads challenge which am going to keep continuing. Next year am planning to increase the number to thirty (Excluding review copies). Not much. But enough. I wanna thank all the books that have taken me on a journey, from a lonely house wife to the virtual reality program Oasis to the tough ass heroine Gina Royal who gave us a glimpse of serial killer families – all of whom has been instrumental in this joyous ride of reading with me.

Along with this I have discovered a wonderful community on Bookstagram that keep inspiring me to read. What inspires you to read? I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I write this for all those bookworms who know what it feels like been surrounded by books and never wanting to leave. And to those still discovering their love for books – may the force be with you!

Masks & A Special Day by Sourabh Mukherjee

Hey Booklovers!

The weekend is over but new week means new books! Yay! So I had signed up for reviewing books on Writers Melon sometime back and received two books to review that I purchased from amazon, both ebooks costing me Rs.9 each (for which I will receive reward points). The books are written by Sourabh Mukherjee, an author whose work I have never read before.  They are short stories and has only 9 and 22 pages.

The first book I read was the Masks. The cover page had me interested. I actually thought it would be a romance where two people meet at a masquerade party or something. But this is nothing like that. Arjith works in the sales department of a reputed company who also needs to keep their clients satisfied. Akanksha/ Oindrila is an escort, wife and a mother searching for true love or something similar that she once had. m

The female character was more sketched than the male. Its one day of their life that forms the story. The beginning wasn’t good. I found the language not up-to mark. There were only 5 chapters. The first two were disappointing. But the last three does make an impression. Especially the end left me wanting more. Theres scope for improvement but looks like a pleasant read.

I felt the author was telling rather than showing what we should feel. The dialogues were very mediocre. Am not saying it should sound like a Shakespeare play but it doesn’t feel authentic. The Characters don’t connect. The story itself is different and thats where the author shines. Maybe a little bit more effort could do it wonders.

The second book I read by Sourabh Mukherjee is A Special Day. Its another short story and has only 22 pages. The story is about Mike and his dad, David. We meet Mike at his office. He has secured a job interview he was looking forward to but realises that he wont be able to attend it. David is resting at home, he doesn’t seem to remember the last time he went to work nor that he is married or has a son.

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The story is about their time together this one time. Been a short story its important to set the tone right in the beginning. It is mysterious as to whats going on at the start but the language again is not as good. The story is heartwarming about what matters is only our present not our past and the value of our loved ones but it could have been portrayed slightly better.

Again, the story is different, a father and son relationship. But the author puts too much emphasis on unnecessary dialogues and not creating an authentic voice. Maybe its cause they are short stories but the author has potential and also I feel he is trying to spoon feed. Otherwise a quick read.

BIbliogyan Rating – Good heartwarming stories but lacks good language.

 

If you liked my review you can purchase these ebooks here : Masks and A Special Day

Crazy Rich Asians – Movie

Hey booklovers!

Its been a while I have reviewed a movie and thats usually because I want to review only books adapted to movie/series. One such movie is Crazy Rich Asians based on the novel of the same name. I had seen the trailer long ago and just like ‘To all the boys I have loved before’, I kept seeing this all over my feeds and wanted to check it out. The trailer was amazing and I definitely wanted to see the movie. So finally I saw it last night.

The plot is pretty straightforward and almost Bollywood like story wise sans the music. I think it would have been a great musical but they probably didn’t want to take too much risk what with an entire Asian cast.

Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is an American Chinese. She teaches economics at the NYU and is dating Nick Young (Henry Golding). They have been together for an year yet somewhat puzzling is that she didn’t know his background. Apparently he is a multi billionaire heir to his family business in Singapore. She finds this out only on the flight to Singapore to attend Nicks best friends wedding where he’s the best man.

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The plot is without a doubt hilarious. How everyone knows everyone in Singapore wasn’t lost on me while we too here in India are always nosing around in other peoples business. I think it’s an Asian trait. Nicks mom played by Michelle Yeoh is absolutely gorgeous both in her grace and performance, which is really not a surprise. So what happens when a billionaire mother meets her sons not so rich potential wife? Well you can guess, am sure. At least to me nothing was a cliche. Except for Rachel’s friend played by Awkwafina who was a tad bit annoying.

There were subplots weaved in the story which enriched the storyline further rather than takeaway from it, especially the focus on Nick’s cousin Astrid ( Gemma Chan ) and her marriage. Sometimes I did feel like there was drama for the sake of drama like how everyone belittled Rachel at the bachelorette party, though in some ways necessary.

Constance Wu performed her part exceptionally well while I found Henry Golding to be a bit reluctant to shine – maybe cause his role was not as sketched as hers, it was mostly one dimensional. Despite caricaturish parts everyone brought freshness to it and didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

I haven’t read the book and I don’t know if theres any deliberate changes made to the movie but what I loved about the movie was that I found it complete without having read it either. We know a movie can never compare with the book – it almost never matches up but I think if we are satisfied with the movie on its own then somethings been done right.

Bibliogyan rating – A highly enjoyable movie that you can even watch with your family. My IMDb rating – 7

Artemis #18

Hey booklovers!

The weekend is here and I hope you are cozying up with lots of books! So after a considerably long time I was finally able to finish this book. Ta da!

The plot is pretty simple. Jasmine Bashara (Jazz for short) is a citizen of the only city on moon – Artemis. She is highly talented but works as a porter (a menial job on Artemis) and has had a fallout with her father. She wants to be rich and quick. So she makes a deal with a powerful man to do something daring and illegal for a million slugs (moon currency!). But obviously things take a different turn and now it’s up to her to make things right.

First of all the character Jazz was really weird. It was like a guys voice and not a girls. Sure I understand she has lived there, her morals are different, I can even agree she’s tomboyish but she is not convincing as a female to me. She is also from Saudi Arabia. I loved that the protagonist is ethnic but it sure as hell sounded like a white man.

And the science. Oh my god. In ever nook and corner of the book it’s inserted like a template which reminds me meet the new Dan Brown of Science and Space. It was so typical of the way he writes. Inserting trivia all over as much as possible. I get it that we are reading something out of our usual stuff but so much explanation of the science part was annoying.

I couldn’t connect with the characters. They were “alien” haha. Of course they are not citizens of the earth far into the future so that makes sense but then the crime part was like – who cares. Why should I invest myself in this character who is so lost and uncaring herself. I don’t know how to put it in words but Jazz wasn’t relatable. The worst part was that it just went on and on rambling about space-y stuff. To the authors credit he does try hard to create an original story and it works but it didn’t feel right to me.

Bibliogyan rating – for “space” buffs.

 

If you liked my review please consider buying a copy from here

Athena’s Champion by David Hair, Cath Mayo

Hey booklovers!

I love books that are grand and have a heavy world building and there’s nothing better than the master of it all – the Greek mythology. I remember the first time I heard stories based on it – the famous Labours of Hercules. It was my uncle who narrated it to me as a bed time story. I was pretty young … less than eight I would guess but it made a pretty big impact on me. The sad part was that he forgot the last few labours and I clearly remember been sleepless wanting to know the rest of it. Time passed but I remained a fan of the mythology and as I grew up I read up on it and that’s when Rick Riordans book fell on my lap. No, not the Percy Jackson series but he had written a handbook on Greek Mythology and I read it voraciously among other encyclopaedic books on the same but even that’s been a long time and since then I have only seen movies based on the same… The clash of the titans, the immortals, Percy Jackson, Troy, Hercules ( including the series) to name a few.

For some time now I have been looking to sink myself in a good Greek Mythology book (I chanced upon Circe late but I do want to read it) and that’s when I came across Athena’s Champion. The blurb looked interesting and when I began reading I was glad I made the right choice.

The opening sequence is dramatic and makes for a good movie screenplay. I don’t know why but I always imagine scenes in a book playing out like a movie. Do you guys do that? Anyhoo back to the plot, Odysseus, Prince of Ithaca discovers that his true parentage comes from the infamous Prometheus lineage who is the God punished for sharing fire with mankind. He is hence brandished as a bastard and exiled. But the Goddess Athena gives him refuge and turns him into a Theoi as well as requires him to play a part in a mission that was propelled by the prophecy that revealed Odysseus’s true lineage at Pytho.

The story is a lot to take in especially for one who is not well versed in Greek mythology. Even I did find quiet a few names new, but having seen the above mentioned movies and my little knowledge of the myths helped me figure out who’s who as I kept reading. Its a tale for the times and the writers make it look so easy. Despite such a heavy content they make it look so effortless and even those who have no patience to read such fantasies can do it. I was admittedly apprehensive going in wondering if I will be able to complete it as my patience is unpredictable but I truly emerged satisfied at the other end.

Odysseus is a complex character but his motives are simple. He discovers so much in his course of redeeming himself and is a point of reference for us as we too learn everything anew from his view point. His journey is absolutely enriching as well as exciting. Never has a protagonist made me feel so calm and in the moment like he has. The research the authors have made is extensive and it shows.

If you are like me and like your mythology high and grand you will love this. Its absolutely breathtaking.

Thanks to NetGalley and Canelo publishers for the advanced copy.

Publication date: 8th November, 2018

Bibliogyan rating – Mythology/Fantasy lovers don’t miss it.

Love You Gone by Rona Halsall

Hey booklovers!

I have to say it’s a relief when I finish a book. Any book. Cause sometimes I feel like I just can’t read anymore. Does that ever happen to you? And the weirdest part is I try to read more so I don’t lose that feeling of wanting to read. And it doesn’t help if the book is not interesting either.

After reading rave reviews of Love you gone I really thought I was in for a treat and had high hopes going in. Have you ever read a book with great anticipation only to be disappointed? The major factor in favour of the book was the fast pace. It’s the fastest book I have read in recent times. Around six hours, more or less. Here’s the plotline:

Luke is a widower with two kids. He is at loss for living his life after the death of his wife. He is estranged from his parents and haven’t a clue how to bring up his children.

Mel is in her late thirties and a successful business woman. But she desperately wants a child. So when Luke comes in her life she sees the perfect opportunity to step into the role of a mum as well as try to have a child of her own.

After a series of problems they decide to go on a holiday to sort things with each other only to find Luke and the kids missing once Mel arrives. What happened to them? How can they just disappear?

I found the characters to be so frustrating. In the beginning you are all for Mel and I realised this was just a push and pull tactic. As the book goes on and more things are revealed you understand where this is going. I didn’t realise I had read the book so fast and that’s a credit to the writer to make it seem so effortless.

I was impressed with the characters arcs and the plot itself was different but I was frustrated with Luke as a parent. It’s definitely not a regular plotline and that’s good. Maybe it’s the stereotype that frustrated me but even though I understand Luke it was just too much.

Its got great writing, interesting plot structure and is fast paced that is going for it but the plotline despite been different wasn’t something I “enjoyed”.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me this advanced copy.

Publication Date: 15th November, 2018

Bibliogyan rating – For fans of thriller/mystery.

The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland

Hey Booklovers!

Happy Halloween! This is my final review for October 2018. Wow. What an year its been and I cant stop smiling thinking about all the good books I got to read this year including this one – The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland. Frankly am surprised theres no noise been made over this book yet. If there is one book I seriously recommend reading – its this one. Make no mistake, in one way or another I would love for you to read the books I have reviewed on my site but rarely would I say – READ THIS. So far I have felt that only for three other books this year, I guess.

I decided to write a review right after I finished, which I usually don’t, in order to get over the fatigue of reading for so long. I like taking my time to read, savour the books especially if I like it. But this one was unstoppable. I started it on Monday and finished it last night. Thankfully it was a fast paced and the mystery gets deeper and deeper. Ok before I go on heres the gist of it:

Gemma Ballantine is a working mum with two adorable daughters, six and ten. She has a loving and devoted husband, Robert, but her work life is driving her bonkers and her husband doesn’t make much. No. She is the main breadwinner of the family. Naturally, her family life takes a backseat. So when she is coaxed to hiring a nanny cum tutor she feels everything is going to be perfect. The blurb is what got my attention – her younger daughter Katie goes missing in the beginning of the book and is soon found but things take a U-turn therein. I was curious as to what could be worser than that?

Soon things begin to go awry, missing keys, missing memory, horrible experiences and all this culminates to hiring a nanny that turns out to be life altering. What started great begins to feel like a mistake and soon Gemma finds herself in a devastating situation, but is it all real? – for a lack of better word. For sometime I really wondered if Gemma is crazy but later on I seriously wanted to punch the person behind all this – which brings me to the best part. You would never guess who – not from miles away. Thats what I loved about this book.

The thrillers I had read this year, most of them were mildly predictable. Maybe cause I hadn’t expected the obvious here but it was a pleasant surprise. The twist makes it even more delicious. I seriously love a book that leaves me conflicted yet satisfied. Shalini Boland has delivered a master stroke and I definitely want to check her other books.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me this reader copy!

Publication date: 6th November, 2018.

Bibliogyan rating -> Mind = blown👍