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.

harry-potter-books

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.

dan brown-Robert-langdon-collection

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

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👍

The Outsider #17

Hey booklovers!!

Am back with another book review. Am so excited to share this cause the book am reviewing is by none other than Stephen King. Admittedly this is my first king book, though I have seen quite a few movies based on his books. I never realised I could actually like his work since am not really a fan of reading horror. That’s the same reason am always stuck with Dean Koontz books. Maybe someday I might read his books too.the outsider by stephen king

Anyhoo, after careful consideration I decided to read The Outsider as part of my Halloween special books. Mainly because with just a few words Stephen king had hooked me. How can a man be in two places? Did the man really commit a gruesome murder or is it something else?

The book starts with corroborating witnesses on account of a murder committed couple of days back in Flint city. Our protagonist Ralph Anderson, chief detective sets out to arrest the perpetrator of the crime and does so in a grand manner which later in the book causes him a lot of trouble.

Terry Maitland is the accused, he is a football coach for boys and the allegations on him is that he murdered and raped an 11 eleven year old boy.

Despite evidence against Terry, including eye witnesses and fingerprints and a pending DNA test, Ralph realises there’s something missing but the angst of such a gruesome murder prevents him from thinking rationally and goes ahead with a public arrest. Later on we find many things missing and a baffling mystery as to Terry’s alibi. How can he have been at two places when the murder was committed?

I found king’s writing to be so effortless. Unlike other murder mysteries he dwells on the characters and creates something extra ordinary from the mundane. It’s hard to believe that the book goes on for 475 pages without making us feel like it’s dragging or that certain parts were unnecessary. Everything just fits. I was truly impressed and completely in awe.

Of course this is not a regular thriller murder mystery. Stephen king’s books are always doused with certain amount of the supernatural, and this is where “the outsider” comes in and he makes it look so natural. Like how could we not imagine it, right?

I definitely felt a bit creepy mid way through the book and started watching my back and having restless sleep till I completed the book and an extra day to boot. But this was unputdownable after the first two chapters and I can definitely add myself in the countless million admirers of Kings. Looking forward to reading another book of his.

Bibliogyan rating – what are you waiting for? Grab your copy and start reading!

Secrets Between Us by Valerie Keogh

Hey booklovers!!

Am back with another book review. Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me this reader copy. I find myself reading a lot of thrillers and maybe that is my specialty genre. But sometimes I do need to lighten up and read other genres too and am looking forward to the next one on my TBR list in Goodreads.

Coming to the plot: Ellie and Tia are identical twins but other than their appearance nothing else is identical. Ellie is ambitious and headstrong and married to Will where as Tia is a little slow, gentle and lives alone in an institution for the differently abled. They haven’t seen each other for fifteen years but Ellie writes Tia a letter every week where she pours her heart out about everything in her life, to the minutest details. Soon it’s time for Tia to move and both Ellie and Will agree to let Tia stay with them till they can find another place for her. But once Tia stays with them something happens and that something changes their lives forever.

I felt all the three characters are horrible. The worst was Ellie. What a horrible sister. Unless there are concrete reasons to stay away from your sibling like death threat or drastic sibling rivalry there’s no reason for one to stay away. Especially when their father had begged her to look after Tia, she was the vulnerable one after all. She stayed away cause they are identical – what a load of bull.

Of course am not a twin and I don’t know what it’s like to be one. But how can someone be so heartless. Will on the other hand is so selfish like he can’t see anything beyond what he desperately wants. What’s wrong with you?

And Tia. I don’t know where to begin. She suffered a lot without any complaints so when it was time to have something for herself I am really confused if she is in the wrong.

By the way I saw this happening miles away. Yet I wasn’t sure if the writer was going in that direction specifically. I found Ellie to be so contradicting. One second she cares about her sister, feels guilty for not been there for her and the next she can’t wait to get rid of her. Horrible horrible sister.

I didn’t feel like I was reading a thriller and the pacing too didn’t feel like one. Maybe a suspense in the mild form but when you already have an idea of where this is going there is little that surprises you.

The writing is definitely good for an author I have never read before and hence had low expectations going in. But she doesn’t disappoint where as the plot is nothing great ( I also wonder if the title is slightly misleading?) I don’t care about any of them but yes, Tia just was in the wrong place but I can’t decide who’s right or wrong here. So the author must have done something right, huh?

Publication Date: 14th November 2018

Bibliogyan rating – Read it if you can bear unbearable characters but good writing 🤷

The Promise by Teresa Driscoll

Hey booklovers!

Am so excited to share with you this review after receiving an advanced copy (Thomas & Mercer) from NetGalley! Yay! I had reviewed another book by Teresa Driscoll on my blog this year – I am Watching You . A genuinely surprising thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. So I figured it would be great to read another one of her books. Besides I wanna be able to read as many books I can get from NetGalley.

the promise

So here is the plot: three childhood best friends – Beth, Sally and Carol share a secret. A secret so powerful, it could destroy their lives and everything they hold dear, if revealed. Beth and Sally have continued to remain friends while Carol chose to distance herself. So what is this secret they can’t face and threatens their lives even today?

Unlike her previous book – I am Watching You, here the author takes the longer route to establish her characters and their backstory. It’s told with alternating timeline as well as different POVs but I think she has gone a tad overboard with all the character settings. It takes quite a while to reach the dreaded secret by which time the less patient may lose interest.

The story builds slowly with a lot of character development as well as brimming the story to a climax. As much as I enjoyed the plot, it was hardly a thriller. The author definitely has some tricks up her sleeves, so to say, but the end result is disappointing which is rather sad since I had really enjoyed her last book but this one felt like it lacked depth. Almost pointless. I found Carol to be removed from the story yet she was the one who struggled the most, and despite this everything in the end feels rushed. The twists don’t feel shocking although not ‘predictable’. Sure as teenagers every problem may seem like the end of the world and yes they go through something horrifying but as adults I couldn’t buy their so called ‘promise’ to keep it a secret.

The writing is top notch and readers who like slow burning thrillers may like it, especially if you never expected the ‘twist’ but if I compare to her last book, this one was inadequate in its delivery. But a decent read for her fans.

Publication date: Feb 7th, 2019

Bibliogyan rating – Strictly for Teresa Driscoll fans (First timers try it if you like the blurb).