2018 in Reading and Challenge Updates

Hello Book Lovers! I hope you all had fantastic year in reading. This year it was my goal to keep reading tracker in excel and thought to prepare charts and keep count of various categories so that I can have expanded stats at the end of the year.

Total Books and pages I read and other categories-

Total books Read99
Total Pages Read24763
Average Rating4.5

I don’t know which one book I missed because in Goodreads total count shows 100 and in my entries total count is 99! Anyways it doesn’t affect much. Most of the books I read were great. only few book I rated low.

only 1 book was given 1 rating; 2 books – 2.5 rating ; 3-3 rating and 5- 3.5 rating. Rest were 4 and above.

Author GenderCount
M38
F60

Most read Authors-

Most read Authorscount
Anuja Chandramouli3
James J. Cudney3
Marian Orloń3

Book Formats-

Paperback27
PDF11
Mobi61

Reading Challenges-

I did well till August end but last 4 months had been unpredictable and once my girl arrived I hardly had time to read. But I’m satisfied with those 100 books I read so no regrets.

In Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge, I completed most of the letters except G, N, X, Y, Z. The list is HERE.

So this is it. I quiet enjoyed keeping tracker and making all that charts so I will continue the same in 2019 as well. And I don’t think I can read 100 books next year so my target for ‘2019 Goodreads challenge’ will be around 70 books.


How was your year in reading?
Do you keep reading tracker? If so how do you manage it?

Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

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Best of 2018

It’s almost end of the year and it’s time to set goals for new year, make some resolutions, and plan for upcoming year. But before going ahead with 2019 goals and plans, I would like to look back at my 2018 read list and would like to show off my favorite book read in 2018.

So that’s it…

Have you read any book from this list this year or going to read in 2019?
Share your best of 2018 in the comment box below.

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A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi

Publication Date: March 28th 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Read Date: December 27th 2018
Genre: High Fantasy / YA / Romance
Pages: 367
Stars: 5/5

She is the princess of Bharata–captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

It seems like a foolproof plan–until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength and wits at every turn. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

Adventure, passion, and vibrant storytelling, A Crown of Wishes is a story you won’t soon forget!

A crown of Wishes, sequel of The star touched Queen was beautiful mesmerizing tale of Gauri and Vikarm. It revolved around Gauri and Vikram- their struggle in their kingdom, deepest desire, fear, and love story- and The Tournament of Wishes. It was set some time later the story of first book, telling what happened in Gauri’s life after she left to rescue her soldiers from enemy kingdom and what happened to Vikram ones his fate was decided by Dharmaraj.

Gauri was strong character, different from all YA fantasy I ever read . She was prepared for all the battles life thrown in her path, she wore her kohl and cosmetics as armor, but nothing prepared her to fight the magic she denied to believe in. She was smart, fierce, strong willed, hard core princess but beneath that hard shell was a soft golden heart that beat for her kingdom Bharat, her loved ones and people of Bharat. Her situation in Bharat was complex and struggling. Playing games with her brother was hard, it was like winning one step by taking two steps back. It made me admire her for relentlessness and pity her for worst luck at the same time. She was true Jewel of the book.

Vikram called the fox prince of Ujjain. He was not good with swords but was sly, clever, amazing with word and riddles. What he lacked in physical strength he made up with clever mind. He was witty and lively character. He was not most handsome and swoon worthy prince but his words and actions made him most adorable. And that garden of Gauri’s dream he created at the end! He just stole my heart for that. His fight for making others see his potential was fruitful in the end. I loved everything about him.

Aasha had poisonous touch but was sweet and innocent girl. Her curiosity, desire to have human feeling, and helping others made her strong character and contestant in tournament of wishes.

If author has not marked impression by first book ‘The Star-touched Queen’ then she definitely will in this book. This book was far better and more impressive than the first one. Flowery poetical writing, imaginative world, creative characters and action packed adventure was perfectly balanced and written flawlessly. One liners and quotes, dialogues were mind-blowing. Wearing cosmetic as weapon! And that descriptive purpose of applying kohl, powder and lipstick was just wow.

The story was first person narrative from Gauri and Vikram’s perspective. It started with Gauri’s death sentence day in enemy’s kingdom, how her own kingdom betrayed her, thrown her to enemy’s prison cell and how Vikram got the magical invitation for tournament that could grant a wish.

Desire to get the throne of their own kingdom and freedom to rule fairly brought these two together. Warfare, battle skill of Gauri and scholarly cunning mind of Vikram started the magical adventure that took them through the streets of the otherworld to enchanting palace of Lord of Wealth. Clever prince and fierce princess created irresistible tale.

Story was divided in three parts. Part one was about getting invitation to tournament of wishes, intro of characters, and reaching to Lord Kubera’s palace. Part two was the game and three was the results of game. The game was heart of the book. Enchanting palace, mesmerizing details of its garden, halls and otherworldly people, story telling birds were imaginative and magical to read. Solving the riddles of Lord Kubera, getting keys to immortality, fighting Vishkanyas, serpent king and the nameless was thrilling. I was surprised by a small part of story based on old and famous Vikram and Vetala tales. Like pishacha in first book Vetala gave refreshing touch to story.

I liked Gauri’s strong bond towards her best friend Nalini, her love for throne and people of Bharat, her hatred for her lying manipulative brother and king of Bharat and some cherished memories of Maya. Vikram’s bond with his father was unique, I equally liked Vikram’s story- his hatred toward corrupt council, his desire to rule fairly to his people and designing new structure in his kingdom. It all intrigued me see how far they will go to win the game and what they will do with their wishes. Feast of fear was horrible and it showed what they have gone through and how they gained power over their deepest fear.

Relationship between Gauri and Vikram was bittersweet. Enemy-turned-lover worked perfectly in this book. I enjoyed conversation between them. In most of the stories prince saves the princess but here it was opposite. Gauri saved Vikram so many times in the book and yet there was no ego hurt or arrogance in both character. This made book different from other in this genre. Tournament of wishes gave both characters freedom and taught many other things. Working together in game brought out best in them. They surely will be on top of OTP list.

Climax was surprising. I didn’t expect all that happened to Vikram and Gauri. Aasha was also surprising element. End was beautiful. Those last few chapters were sweet.

Overall, it was full package of mystery, adventure, action, tales, myth, and romance that I recommend to all YA fantasy lover.

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Buy link: Amazon.com

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Clouded by Envy by Candace Robinson

Clouded by Envy by Candace Robinson
Expected Publication Date: February 19th 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Read Date: December 22nd 2018
Genre: Fantasy / NA / Paranormal Romance
Pages: 215
Stars: 5/5

Brenik has always been envious of his twin sister, Bray. Growing up as fairy-like creatures, known as bats, everything came easier to Bray. While Brenik spent his time in her shadows, never feeling he was enough. After escaping their world of Laith, and living on Earth for ten years, Brenik attempts to strike a deal with the Stone of Desire to become human. Though true humanity is not an option, he will accept the curse that will alter him to get as close as he can.

Living in a tree trunk for the past year hasn’t been easy for Bray, more so after her brother disappears again. When a human boy and his brother, Wes, find her, a new friendship is struck. Through Wes, Bray learns there can be more to life than waiting within a tree. But worrying over where Brenik has vanished to always remains in the back of her mind.

When Bray reunites with Brenik, she realizes she must help him break the curse after she discovers the need for blood is beginning to overpower him. The curse not only damages those who get close to Brenik, but it could also destroy whatever is blooming between Bray and Wes.

Clouded by Envy was a NA fantasy paranormal romance; a bittersweet story of siblings, envy, deepest desire turning out to be disaster, selfishness, dark vs light within self, choices and its consequences.

Brayora (Bray) and Brenik were twin sister and brother. They looked like small fairies, bats with human face. Bray was pure-hearted, amiable, smart and was quite mature. She formed relations with humans on earth easily. She was developed character and I loved the way she cared for Brenik but I did not appreciate she staying back in life because of Brenik’s selfish nature. I fell in love with her pure heart and jolly nature.

Brenik was envious, self-centered and blamed Bray for being weak at core of his nature. He loved her and hated her at the same time. There was lot of things bad about him but he also cared for Bray which he realized too late in the book. His negative role as a brother and the way he tried to repay the wrong he did at the end was exceptional.

Wes was amazing brother and Luca was most adorable kid. I loved everything about these two. They gave the book new turn and life.

This was the best book I read by Candace Robinson. I liked it even more than Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault . Writing was mesmerizing, characters were creative and the world was unique.

The book was third person narrative written in two timeline- 10 years before 1995 set in a fictional world, Laith and the present time (1995) on earth- from Bray and Brenik’s POV, alternatively. It began a decade before 1995 which told the story of Brenik’s feeling towards Bray and how the seed of jealousy was sprouted in Brenik’s heart, how they escaped Laith and arrived on earth. Most of the book was in present time Bray and Brenik’s life on earth, how they survived on earth being the creatures from the other world and how it changed their life.

First few chapters outlined Bray and Brenik’s nature and more colors were filled to their character as the story progressed. I loved reading Brenik’s POV because of his two sides good and bad always at war with each other. I hated him for being selfish while on the other hand I liked that his conscience was not totally destroyed. Bray’s growing friendship with Wes and Luca was charming.

I was curious to know where Brenik flew to, why he left Bray and when he will return, whether he will find a way to lessen his venomous feeling for his sister or do something unspeakable. Book held my attention even more when Brenik stuck a bargain with the stone of desire and series of tragic events take place that lead to disaster.

Emotions in the book felt true. Family dynamic was realistic. It was fascinating to read complicated relationships. Vampire, Picture of Dorian Gray and Captain Hook made it even more unique. Concoction of fairy tale and classic created an intoxicating cocktail.

Climax was gripping, the end was heartbreaking, and Epilogue was wonderful.

Overall, it was fast paced, imaginative, fabulous NA fantasy that I highly recommend.

Author: Candace Robinson

Buy Link: Amazon.in / Amazon.com

*** Note: I received e-ARC from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***

What do you think about the book and my review?
Have you read this book already or any other book by Candace Robinson?
Are going to add this book on your TBR?

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Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) by James J. Cudney

Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1)by James J. Cudney

Publication Date: October 15th 2018 by Creativia
Read Date: December 16th 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 270

Stars: 5/5

When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds the dead body of a professor in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Then he finds a second body after discovering mysterious donations to the college’s athletic program, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball pitcher isn’t expelled.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana weeding through the clues, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. Fate has other plans. Kellan is close to discovering the killer’s identity just as someone he loves is put in grave danger of becoming victim number three. And if that’s not enough to wreak havoc on his family, everything comes crashing to a halt when his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the charming Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. When this first book ends, the drama is set for the next adventure in Kellan’s future… and it’s one you won’t want to miss.

Academic Curveball was cozy murder mystery set around Braxton College, Pennsylvania,hometown of main character, Kellan. The book revolved around the Ayerwick family, Braxton college and murder of professor on campus.

Kellan was 32-year-old single father who wanted to start his have his own television show. But returning back to his hometown Braxton changed his life entirely. His sense of humor and unique voice was refreshing. He was smart, witty, and empathetic person.

There were many secondary characters, Ayerwick family, Kellan’s friends and those involved in the murder mystery. Not all characters were likable but I bet you can’t resist Nana D, Kellan’s grandmother. She brought the book to life.

This is third book by James I read and it was quite different from the first two. Book was character driven first person narrative with wonderful writing.I must admit James creates wonderful characters and each described fantastically with minute details that feel like watching them playing their role live on drama stage.

First 30% of the book was all about introduction of protagonist,his family and their quirks, picturesque narration of Braxton village, college campus and intriguing puzzle of anonymous blogger defaming Kellan’s father and murder in campus on the day of his retirement party.

I liked Kellan’s relationship with his sister and grandmother and his complex relation with his parents. I didn’t like the attitude of Sheriff and Connor, they did almost nothing to solve the case and the way they were treating Kellan for his efforts was pathetic. I have a feeling Kellan’s relation with these to was going to be even more complex in the next book.

It was interesting to find out the answers of- who was attacking Kellan’s father and why someone killed Abby Monoroe, who tampered the grades and why, how sport and politics of college was involved in murder and was it someone from the faculty or student or someone else. The mystery was hard to solve, I couldn’t guess who might be the killer among so many suspects.

The twist and turns were placed in such a way that it eliminate done suspect but at the same time added another. It kept stalling me till the last chapter. The climax and end was smooth and I liked the way the case was solved.

It was not fast pace book but certainly interesting. It was more like getting to know the characters and setting of the book. That last page twist hinting the sequel of the book was surprising.

Overall, it was interesting cozy mystery with quirky characters and a great start of series that I recommend to all cozy mystery lover.

Author: James J. Cudney

*** Note: I downloaded free e-book via Amazon Kindle. *** 


 

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Have you read any book by this author before?
Are you going to add it on your TBR?

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