Back to the Classics Challenge 2019

I have not read even a single classic and I am kind of embarrassed of the fact. I have quite a few on my bookshelf but can’t make myself pick any of the books up. This challenge can help me finally get down to reading classics.

This challenge is hosted by the blog “Books and Chocolate” and you can sign up for the challenge and read the guidelines here.


There are 12 categories in this challenge. You can complete 6, 9, or 12 for the drawing in the giveaway that the blog hosts. I am aiming for 12 because this is about me reading classics and a decent number of them to that.

1. 19th Century Classic: 

2.  20th Century Classic: 

3. Classic by a Woman Author:

4. Classic in Translation:

5. Classic Comic Novel:

6. Classic Tragic Novel:

7. Very Long Classic:

8. Classic Novella:

9. Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean):

10. Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia):

11. Classic From a Place You’ve Lived:

12. Classic Play:


I will have a playlist on YouTube to keep track of my progress and will also be updating this post with the books I read.

I have decided on making a reading journal to log this challenge as well as the others I am participating in, this video shows my journal.

If you are participating in this or any other reading challenge, leave a link in the comments so that I can visit and get in touch with me on social media so that we can keep track of and support each other in this reading journey.

Happy Reading!

 

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Birth Year Reading Challenge 2019

This challenge sounded interesting so I had to participate.

This challenge is hosted by the blog “Hotchpot Cafe” and you can sign up for the challenge and read the guidelines here.

What books were published the year you were born? This challenge encourages you to find out, and then read some of them. You might even draw some conclusions about what was going on in the literary world that year.

 

 


I will have a playlist on YouTube to keep track of my progress and will also be updating this post with the books I read.

I have decided on making a reading journal to log this challenge as well as the others I am participating in, this video shows my journal.

If you are participating in this or any other reading challenge, leave a link in the comments so that I can visit and get in touch with me on social media so that we can keep track of and support each other in this reading journey.

Happy Reading!

The 2019 TBR Pile Challenge!

Any challenge helping me tackle my TBR is a welcome thing!

This challenge is hosted by the blog “Roof Beam Reader” and you can sign up for the challenge and read the guidelines here.

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).

Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2018 or later (any book published in the year 2017 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile).

 


The books I plan to read are:

  1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  2. Emma by Jane Austen
  3. Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
  4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  5. Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller
  6. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  9. 1984 by George Orwell
  10. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
  11. Brida by Paulo Coelho
  12. Atlantis by David Gibbins

I will have a playlist on YouTube to keep track of my progress and will also be updating this post with the books I read.

I have decided on making a reading journal to log this challenge as well as the others I am participating in, this video shows my journal.

If you are participating in this or any other reading challenge, leave a link in the comments so that I can visit and get in touch with me on social media so that we can keep track of and support each other in this reading journey.

Happy Reading!

A to Z Reading Challenge- 2019

2019 Challenge cohosted

This challenge as you can see from the image is hosted by Ginger Mom and Company and Books & Binding.

I have always wanted to read books for each letter and finding out that there’s an actual challenge for it is obviously a plus for me. I have some books planned out and remaining I will add as I find them.

This is my entry post and also the post where I will keep track of all the books I read and review. All the reviews will be linked up.

A- Allegiant by Veronica Roth

B- Black Suits You by Novoneel Chakraborty

C- The Coin by Sandeep Sharma

D- Divergent by Veronica Roth

E- Everyone has a story 2 by Savi Sharma

F- The face at the window by Kiran Manral

G- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

H- Here Be Dragons by Mohit Uppal

I- Insurgent by Veronica Roth

J- Journey of Two Hearts by Anuj Tiwari

K- Khel- the writings by Vishal Goswami

L- Love in Metro by Pratyush Sinha

M- Murder in a Minute by Shouvik Bhattacharya

N- Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller

O- Our Impossible Love by Durjoy Datta

P- Pyjamas are forgiving by Twinkle Khanna

Q- Quiet the Dead by Morgan James

R- Right Behind You by Neil D’Silva

S- Seduced by Murder by Saurbh Katyal

T- Two to Tango by Nuala Woulf

U- Uncommon Sense by J R Miller

V-

W- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

X-

Y-

Z-

I will also be posting about it on my Youtube channel. Here is the playlist to follow. I will be adding reviews and updates to this playlist.

If you are doing this challenge, let me know, it would be fun doing the challenge together. 😀

Author Interview | Anthony P. Jones

Somedays ago I read a book named Red States by Anthony P. Jones. I enjoyed this book so much that I decided to interview the author behind this entertaining read. Like the book, his answers to my questions were interesting as well. Let me introduce you guys to Anthony first and then I will let you read his mini spun answers. 😀 Final Book Cover - Red States

Tony was born in a small rural town Kenbridge, Virginia. He studied biology at Xavier University of Louisiana, medicine at Meharry Medical College and creative writing at the University of Virginia. He has spent twenty-five years in corporate America, fifteen as an Associate Vice president with Morgan Stanley. Tony has written for twenty-four years and has published two novels, Operation Smokeout- Allen Publishing and D8 With F8- Self/Brown Bag Books. He has a collection of seven additional completed novels as well as two screenplays.


Questions regarding Red States:

  1. What made you choose the title “Red States” for your book?

The story is taking place during an election year, when there is talk about Red and Blue states.  The antagonist, Zhang Ju wants to make the US all Red States, China Red.

2. The government and mafia conspiracy and them trying to one up each other was something that I most enjoyed about the book. What  level of interest did you have in the topic before writing the book?

I have always had an interest in politics, though, my taste has soured with the division we’ve seen over the past twenty years.  With regard to conspiracy, I once told someone that I choose topics that make the average person say, “No fricking way” and makes the government say, “Humm.”  When my first novel, “Operation Smokeout” came out, the Detroit Free Press questioned the plausibility— the book landed me a six-month stint on the NSA’s watch list, I had to meet with the NAS and it generated twelve calls from intelligence sources.  Ten to twelve things I wrote came true— the book was a creation of my imagination.

3. There’s a good balance between action and description, neither one of the sides over power the other, which I really appreciate. How difficult was it to find the balance?

This is an interesting question.  For me, the characters tell me where to take the book.  I am simply telling the story “they” tell me to write.  If it comes out balanced, it’s due to the story my characters tell me to write.

4. Were there alternate endings you considered?

When I begin writing a book, I generally know the beginning and where I expect it to end.  As I get into the thick of things, the ending may vary a bit, I simply follow where the story leads me.

5. Which character from the book did you find the easiest to write about?

Wow, this is a tough one.  I believe there are elements of the writer’s personality in each of his characters.  Cole is sarcastic and uses off-beat humor to deal with difficult situations— much like yours truly.  Zasha is strong, compassionate and on task, much like people I appreciate.  Zhang is ruthless, driven and is focused on the task at hand, while disregarding any potential pitfalls to achieve what he wants— I recognize this guy too.  As a writer, you have to have an appreciation, if not love for all of your characters.  You have to be able to get in the head of each of them.  Learning their complexities is something that comes as you write.  Easiest?  Cole and Zasha because they represent the Yin and Yang.  IN Martial Arts, we learn to seek balance, Cole and Zasha represent this balance.

6. What got left out in the final draft?

In this book, nothing got left out.  This story plays out as it was written.  The changes happened internally.  I wrote this book fourteen years ago, I did have to update technology to reflect things that have changed during that time.


These questions and Anthony’s answers gave me more insight about the book that I enjoyed reading. So, I asked him questions about being an author.

  1. Are you a plotter or pantster?

My stories are plot driven.  Thrillers should never be planned, they are free-flowing and what happens in one seen dictate where the story goes.  If you use an outline writing a thriller, your readers will know that you are trying to force the story.  Thrillers should be free flowing, the characters will tell you where to take the story.

2. What’s more important for you: characters or plot?

For me, plot drives the story, but the characters tell you where the plot has to go.

3. How long on an average does it take you to write a book?

Every book is different.  I put a lot of research into my stories.  My first book took about five years and the last one I wrote took only a month and a half.  Every story unfolds in its own timeline.

4. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write about than others?

Sex scenes are the most difficult!  Sex is different in everyone’s minds— too graphic, not graphic enough, just enough to get the point across.

5. Which other genre would you want to try your hands on?

Thrillers are my stronghold.  I have dabbled with drama and even a religious based screenplay, but I always come back to thrillers.  Other genres cause you to think in different ways, I could do that, but I like the natural fit, I’m good at home.


After all these serious questions, I had to ask some fun questions as well. What better way to get to know a person than to ask them weird questions?

  1. Do you have any scars? What are they from?

Scars?  My back looks like a runaway slave’s.  The wrong relationships, trying to help people, who only wanted to use you, trying to be a good person in a world that doesn’t give a damn… and through it all, my daily goal is to make at least one person smile a day!  I may not be able to effect the world, but I won’t let the world bring me down!

2. What do you want your tombstone to say?

Shoot your best shot— there is no way to stop me!

3. Characters often find them in situations that they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

Five years ago, divorcing an attorney after twenty years of marriage.  I am going to win!  Not because I’m entitled, or deserve it more than anyone else, but simply because I refuse to give up!

4. Share a fun fact with us before signing off.

When this book becomes a hit, some will say that I’m an overnight success.  They’re right, 9,132 overnights!


This is one of those cases where you can truly see how much of himself an author as put in a book. I wish all the very best to Anthony and his book Red States and also all his future endeavors.

If you guys enjoyed this interview and would like to check the book out and support Anthony then go get the book.

Buy this book: Red States (Amazon)

Watch my review on the book-

Book review | 8: The Game is On by Swapnil Khamkar

8: The Game is On

 

Title: 8: The Game is On
Author: Swapnil Khamkar
Genre: Fiction, Historical fiction, Mystery- Thriller
Publisher: Srishti Publications

Publishing date: 10th December, 2017
Pages: 160

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

*Book received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

History holds a lot in its pages. But till when can truth be hidden?
Neel is a cop investigating the mysterious death of a famous film director. In the middle of a divorce case with his wife Avantika and amidst thoughts of resigning from his job, will he be able to find the culprit?
A five-hundred-year old sunken ship belonging to Vasco da Gama is discovered off the coast in Oman. It is well known that the ship sank with thousands of artefacts in it. Out of them, eight artefacts are missing in specific. Do they have some connection with the film director’s death?
Neel tries to unearth the truth behind the missing artefacts to find clues to questions nobody else can answer. Join Neel as he tries to find the truth behind 8! 1 ship; 2 deaths; 3 cops; 400 murders; 500 years; 60 days; 7 countries; 8 artefacts – Let the adventure begin!


My Take:

8! 1 ship; 2 deaths; 3 cops; 400 murders; 500 years; 60 days; 7 countries; 8 artefacts – Let the adventure begin!

This line was what sold me to the book. There’s so much scope in that one line. When I picked it up, I braced myself for a thrilling ride but the book wasn’t that.

The author was in great touch with the baseline of the story, the history part was well researched and smartly inserted in the story. Although the book could have done wonders only following this story line, I don’t know why Neel and Avantika’s stupid marital problems were added. In 1/3rd of the book, it turned from a decent thriller to a crappy romance story. Being cops them acting this way was so unwarranted, even after being in the same profession if this is how they react to situations and if this is what almost fails their marriage then God help their relationship.

Because of their story being introduced, the main story took a back seat. Where 3-4 pages were needed to find the first artifact, the last was found in a paragraph of 3 lines. Also, Raghu, their senior, sends Avantika with Neel and Jay (sidekick) to help their relationship. Excuse me? This is an international issue where you already have an incompetent officer (Neel) and you add his love interest, who by the way does nothing for the case, she either keeps making coffee or keeps romancing Neel in a real cringy way.

Neel was tried to be portrayed as this naturally talented officer who is really good at his job but the way he is written, he instead comes across as a really mean and arrogant person, who is incompetent but tries to hide it by talking people down and taking credit for their work.

The first story of the director is left hanging in order to pursue the artifacts storyline then that is forgotten because of Neel and Avantika (if you could not figure out, they frustrated me because they took a lot away from a story that could otherwise have been really good) and then we are again introduced to the first story line as a conclusion after rushing through the second one.

The climax was really anticlimactic, it seemed more of the TV series CID style. There were a lot of editing mistakes as well and then I looked at the name of the publishing company. I don’t know why but all the books that I have read from this publishing company are riddled with mistakes.

The idea and research that went behind it is really great, which is why I would love to read more from the author. You can see that he really has a great vision, this being his debut novel I feel the pressure to add romance to make it sell-able actually backfired.


Why would I pick it up?

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For a quick dose of history and a short read.

Buy this book-

Amazon