2018: Challenges and plans for the year

2018: Challenges and plans for the year

I know, yet another new year is here!! If you know anything about me, you should have guessed this. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are my favorite celebrations ever, only topped by my own birthday. Even though technically I don’t celebrate either of them, I get excited unwarrantably. So the 2018 New Year’s Eve is not gonna be any different. Yes, I might be sitting in front of the TV or laptop (usually both) with a bowl of ice cream, but I still will be very excited nevertheless.

Well, that sounded dull and awkward.

But dear readers, wait for it. I promise you that 2018 might turn out to be the best year yet for my blog and you (because you will be reading my blog, duh). I have a plan. Yeah for the first in my blogging life I have a plan and am not gonna wing it just like that. I am definitely growing up, right? But I am not gonna reveal them right away and jinx them. You will have to wait for them.

2018 year

You know there are several crazy book bloggers out there right? Yeah the crazy kind, not me pfft! They just are not content with churning out amazing contents for their blog week after week, but also are signing up themselves for weird challenges and make themselves suffer more. I don’t understand why anyone would do this to oneself especially when their reading lists already are too long. Seriously, some people do not have self control at all.

2018 year

Speaking of self-control, I have signed up for more than a few challenges for 2018. wails I know… I know… I have no self-control and my TBR is already too long and I don’t have to time to search for books that would fit their criteria but I have signed up. Somebody should definitely stop me.

2018 year
If you are still here listening to the drama, sniffles here are the challenges I signed up for the year 2018. And I will be updating my progress once in a while, which actually translates to ‘whenever I have nothing else to blog about’.

 

2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge

This is a fairly usual challenge that most book lovers know and are already taking part. I will be setting the bar fairly low so that I won’t stress myself out in case I don’t catch up. My last year target was 35 and I reached that goal even with the longest reading slump I ever had.

So I am gonna have it set at 35 again.

A-Z reading challenge

2018 yearI met Megan in one of the book blogger groups and I knew I had to jump in right away when I saw that she was hosting the A-Z reading challenge 2018 on her blog. The goal is to read a book for each letter of the English alphabet. We have a freebie blank letter that we can swap for a letter.

You can read more about the challenge at Gingermom and Company. She promises mini-challenges, giveaways and prizes too, guys.

Bibliobibuli Book Group challenge

I will also be reading two books per month chosen by the group members. So that counts for a total of 24 books and the only promise they ask for is reviewing every book that the group read.

I am such a mood reader and I don’t generally follow any prompts or schedule when I start reading, so following these challenges might be a tad difficult for me. But I must strive on, right?

Also as I mentioned earlier I am hoping to become a bit more serious (gasp) about blogging I took up two of the year long blogging challenges. There are going to be several shorter challenges as well, more about that later.

2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge Sign-Up

2018 yearI have been a follower of Nicole’s blog for a while now and I have taken part in her discussions post once in a while. To make it more regular, I signed up to write up to write up at least one discussion post related to books, blogging or personal every month.

Read more about the challenge here.

2018 year365 commenting challenge

As a step towards extending support to all bloggers and making new blogger friends, Nori started this challenge for 2018. I signed up to comment on 365 different blogs all through the year. Of course, I won’t be commenting a blog every day but will catch up a few once a week or so.

You can read more about the challenge here.

2018 yearI will be on the hunt to find new blogs as well, so if you are new here, leave me a comment I will visit your blog as well.

Aside, if you are interested in making new blogger friends, check my post about the Bloggers’ Comment Junction.

So tell me what are your plans for the new year – reading, blogging or even personal. Do you have any challenges set for yourself this year? Are you signing up for any of these challenges above? Let me know in the comments.

2018: Challenges and plans for the year

Book review: Come Sundown

You know what makes a winter night cozier? Hot chocolate? Yeah, that too but more so a romance. It has been years since I read a Nora Robert but I remember seeing Come Sundown on the Amazon top seller list I decided to give it a go.

I have read Nora’s books earlier and I knew what I was in for with Come Sundown. I knew I was going to have a solid plot, well-drawn characters, and that happy ending. Did she give me what expected? You will have to read the review to know more.

Book Name: Come Sundown
Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Fiction – Romance thriller
Characters: Bodine, Rory and Chase Longbow, Callen Skinner, Alice Bodine
Setting: Montana, The USA

The story begins with Alice Bodine’s abduction in 1991 and moves ahead to introducing us to the present day Bodine resort run by Bodine Longbow. The upscale Bodine resort along with the Bodine ranch, run by her brothers Chase and Rory, offers the ranch experience to its guests.

Bodine has no time to think about her love life and her whole life revolves around her family and running her resort. All that changes when Callen Skinner, her childhood crush, and her brother’s best friend comes back to the town and starts working at the ranch. The couple has always liked each other, but they decide they want to keep it casual. How far would they go before they realize they are destined for each other?

What could have been just a mere romance (gasp, did I say mere?), turns into a thriller when bodies of two women associated with the Bodine family turn up. As if that was not enough to rise a havoc, Aunt Alice returns to her family but severely abused and traumatized. Is there any connection between the murders and Alice’s return? Or is it Cal’s return that we have to worry about? You will have to read Come Sundown to know more.

Heavily marketed as a romantic suspense, Come Sundown could have easily been a thriller. The romance part didn’t work well for me (more on that later) but the mystery and thriller part held the book tight. It might come as no surprise that thriller is not a new genre for Nora, as she has been writing thriller under her alter ego J.D. Robb for a long while now.
Come Sundown
Nora’s books have always had a great emphasis on the familial bonding and subplots make them worthwhile. Come Sundown is no different. Rory and Chase’s romantic lives play a great distraction from the leads’ story. Which brings me on to Bo – Cal love which was tepid at the best. Apart from the physical attraction they have been harboring since their teenagers, I never found anything clicking between them. No passionate love that is usually promised by the genre. It is supposed to be a romance, dammit.

The most interesting character in the book was Alice Bodine. Hers was the only one that had a development. I have always loved reading about psychos; and social outcasts. Well, her suffering through rape and physical abuse caught me right into the story.

Nora’s writing is exceptionally good and I have come to expect nothing less from her. All you Nora Roberts’ fan you will love Come Sundown. If you are new to Nora’s writing, it will take a bit of your time to get into the setting and just sit through the introduction to every character in the story. If you can get through it, you will not regret this 400+ page romantic suspense, or as I call it a thriller.;

2018: Challenges and plans for the year

Book Tag: Are You Naughty or Nice on the Santa’s list?

I probably am the last person to do this ‘Naughty or nice’ tag but hey Santa has not visited yet, so technically I can still do this, can’t I? This is the perfect tag to spread the Christmas cheer and I am all excited to know if I am on the naughty list or nice list of bookish Santa.
Here are the 15 questions that the bookish Santa might be taking note before he could deliver his goodies.
Nice

1. Received an ARC and not reviewed it

This year I promised myself that I would be diligent and would not go ahead on a request spree on NG or Edelweiss. And I mostly kept it up. BUT, I still have a few ARCs to be reviewed that I received from the authors themselves and one each from NG and Edelweiss.
Nice

2. Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley

As I mentioned earlier, I reduced my request rates. So I was pretty close to 80% feedback. But I  have been granted request to more books in the past week, so I am back to 56%.
Nice

3. Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did)

I am so guilty. In fact, I have a shelf on my Goodreads just for this. But in my defense, I still promise I would.
Nice

4. Folded down the page of a book

Nope. Actually, I do not mind folding a book, highlighting or bookmarking at all (I know, gasp), I understand if you did. But I do not do it generally.
Nice

5. Accidentally spilled on a book

Yes. I spilled a bit of water on my copy of ‘The Inheritance of Loss’ while I was traveling in a train. Again in my defense, I just could not take my eyes off the book even for a minute to drink water and the train jolted suddenly.
Nice

6. DNF a book this year

I used to strive so hard to complete a book once I start it, even if I hate it all the way through. Among all the other changes, I decided I would quit reading if I am not happy with a book. But fortunately, I didn’t have to DNF a book this year.
Nice

7. Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it

Absolutely not. I would never do that. I read everything but I am very careful when I buy books, as I am still on a book ban. I have had to move twice in the past three years and I have learned my lessons on book hoarding. So if I won’t read it, I won’t buy it.
Nice

8. Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework)

Of course. I would be surprised only if anyone didn’t do this. I am sure Bookish Santa would definitely go lenient on me, and all the other book lovers who do that.
Nice

9. Skim read a book

Erm… Yes, there were a few books that were really not my type or/ and wasn’t into them, but I had to finish it anyway as I had to review them.
Nice

10. Completely missed your Goodreads goal

I am a strong believer in overachieving. That is why I kept my target low this year. And I completed the challenge and am moving forward already.
Nice

11. Borrowed a book and not returned it

None this year. But I do it once in a while when I meet my dearest friends back in India. They also have given up hinting me to return it. In fact, the entire Stephen King collection I have falls into this category. But hey, none this year.
Nice

12. Broke a book buying ban

Nope. I am being totally good on this part. Mainly because I had to lose several books when I had to move in the recent past and I promised I would reduce my book hauls to the minimum. Fortunately, or not, Dubai doesn’t have any economical bookshops and that helps me keep up the decision.
Nice

13. Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about

I did the opposite actually.
I loved The virgin suicides when I read it the first time years ago and I started a review and completely forgot about it. This year I reread the book and reviewed it here as I loved it as much as I did the first time.
Do I get brownie points for this?
Nice

14. Wrote in a book you were reading

Not on physical copies, but I have left loads of notes, highlights and make comments for reviewing on all my e-books. But I know that doesn’t count.
Nice

15. Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads

I usually read the books fast when I am on a spree and I add them all together when I get back to the laptop. I hope I have not left out any book on the list.
Nice
So, on the whole, I am definitely on the Nice part of the nice-o-meter.
Nice

Yes, I am totally nice. Yes, I am.

Nice
I tag Anky and Carrie to continue this tag.
Anyone else who wants to be tagged on the Naughty or nice tag, please consider yourself tagged.

Merry Christmas people. 

2018: Challenges and plans for the year

Bloggers’ Comment Junction

Earlier I had asked if anyone was willing to make new blogger friends, who would enjoy reading your posts and willingly comment on your blogs. And it was not surprising to me at all that many of you signed up because I know how much comments mean to all of us and hey, who would say no to a new friend?

So here I am posting the list of people who signed up and agreed to the following:

1) They want people to visit your blog and leave thoughtful comments and
2) They will visit and leave thoughtful comments back on the blogs that commented on theirs.

In return all I am asking is to grab the button on your blog and share the word around the world.

Comments for comments

Looking for the form to sign up? It is right here.

Here is the list you are all waiting for:

              1. Gayathri (Count me in, of course) @ Elgee Writes
              2. Aparna Prabhu @ The Thought Scribblers blog
              3. Mridula Gupta @ Ecstatic yet Chaotic
              4. Phannie @ Phannie the Ginger Bookworm
              5. Andreea @ Cheeky Lines
              6. Mindy @ The Book Recluse Review
              7. Ashten @ WonderlandiandBooks
              8. Lara @ Words With Lara
              9. Terri A Wilson @ terriluvsbooks
              10. Cassie Winters @ Messy Book Life of Cassie Winters
              11. Anky Singh @ Anky’s Book Bubble
              12. Katie @ Book Ink Reviews
              13. Megan Wille @ Ginger Mom and the Kindle Quest
              14. Shailaja V @ The Moving Quill
              15. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks
              16. Kris @ Boston Book Reader
              17. Ruby Jo @ Ruby’s Books
              18. Divya @ Jewels of Sayuri
              19. Marta @ The Cursed Books
              20. Sya @ Moonlight Pages
              21. Britt @ Alternatively Speaking
              22. Courtney Kurhayez @ Buried In A Bookshelf
              23. Fanna @ FANNA
              24. Rafael Ray Borja @ The Royal Polar Bear Reads
              25. Kristina @ Booksanddachshunds
              26. Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages
              27. Areeba talal jan khan @ Areebaflaunts
              28. Thena Franssen @ Thena Franssen
              29. Jenn @ Bound to Writing
              30. Aditi @ Aditi’s Pen
              31. Vivien Ayinotu @ Viviensvoice
              32. Tarissa @ In The Bookcase
              33. Aurora @ Aurora Librialis
              34. Ashley @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
              35. Geybie @ Geybie’s Book Blog
              36. Ana Irenea Olmedo @ thestarslisten
              37. Jane @ Janepedia
              38. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer
              39. Emma Lousie @ Emma Louise
              40. Erica Hatch @ Erica Robyn Reads
              41. Tessa @ Crazy for YA
              42. Claire @ clairefy
              43. DJ @ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape
              44. Aleen @ Lampshade Reader
              45. Ellie @ Books at the End of the Alphabet
              46. Katisha Smith @ Reel Literature
              47. Luana @ Bookstormgirl
              48. Pratip @ Realities Around Us
              49. Cricket (Latoya) @ Little Library Muse 
              50. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts 
              51. Sharon @ Booksarge
              52. Terrie Arasin @ Just Another Book Bitch
              53. Randi @ Kiss Like a Girl
              54. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious
              55. Sam @ Sharing Inspired Kreations
              56. Tori @ Be Careful Of Books
              57. Karla J. Strand @ Karla J. Strand
              58. Vedika @ Poems and Poets
              59. Jessica @ Booked J
              60. Sharon @ Booksarge
              61. Eline @ Lovely Audiobooks
              62. Jennifer @ Jenchaos Reviews
              63. Nikki @ Saturday Nite Reader
              64. Deanna @ Deanna Reads Books

        I will be updating the list as I get more sign ups. More sign ups, more friends and comments, right? Spread the word <3

2018: Challenges and plans for the year

Book review: The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited tells a tale that the readers of YA have read several times. It definitely talks about first love and teenage angst. But what makes this novel by Becky Albertalli such a hit both among young and new adults? Read my review to know more.

About The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited book review

Book Name: The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: Fiction – Young Adult Romance

Characters: Molly and Cassie Peskin-Suso, Reid, Will, Mina

Setting: Washington DC, The USA

Plot Summary of The Upside of Unrequited

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso has never had a kiss and has about 26 crushes that she has never made the move upon. She is shy, awkward and conscious about her body. Her fraternal twin Cassie, her best friend, is just the opposite.

Things change when Cassie falls in love with Mina. Molly is forced to get out of her aloofness and make new friends. Mina’s best friend Will takes a liking to her and he is about to become Molly’s 27th love interest when she meets Reid, her nerdy co-worker.

With Cassie moving further apart from her, Molly is forced to handle having the attention of two guys alone. To top it, her parents are finally tying their knots with the legalization of gay marriages in the USA and she has more on her plate than ever.

Will Molly and her awkward self, be able to pull this off? Will Will become her 27th unrequited love (did you see what I did there?) or is it someone else? You will have to read the book to know more.

Book review of The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited deals with several themes that are relevant in today’s world – peer pressure, body image, teenage love, and rejection.

I loved the writing. The style of the author is definitely quirky and cheerful that kept me hooked until the end.

One thing that The Upside of Unrequited has been continually praised for is the diverse representation of minorities, interracial and LGBTQ couples and families. The characters are diverse, of course, well thought out but still are too perfect to be relatable, except maybe for Molly.

Molly’s flawed, funny, socially inept characterization would be relatable to everyone who has had that phase. I like how family and sisterhood was important to her.

I would have loved Molly except that for the fact she had one goal in her life – finding and kissing her boyfriend. And all of a sudden she gains her self-worth when she finds herself a guy. Erm.. definitely something we don’t want books to reinforce of the kids today.

Bottom line

Despite the predictability in the plot, as one might find in most of YA romances, Becky Albertalli’s writing wins the book for me, I could not put the book down even for a minute before I could finish it.

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Let’s chat

Have you read The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli? Did you enjoy the diverse characters or you had the problems that I did? Which is your favorite Becky Albertalli book? Let us talk.