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Posts Tagged ‘Goodreads’ 2018 Reading Challenge’


Yes of course, I am active at Goodreads because I keep the site as my virtual library. It’s where I find lovely and inspiring book reviews, books  that are some readers’ favorites, books that  earn five stars  and recommendations from other readers. I actually voted in the selection of books in the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards.  Been Looking forward to this and the results came out today. Though those books that I recommended didn’t win, I am still happy that I was able to read most of the nominated books for this year.  If you are not a Goodreads member, it might interest you to know these books which are included and which  I had the opportunity to read.

FICTION:

  1. Still Me by Jojo Moyes – this is a sequel (3rd book) to the first one called Me Before You.  Moyes is a British author and this is her first Goodreads Choice Awards.
  2. Girls Burn Brighter  by Shobha Rao. – This is actually placed at number 8, a story of India and two teenage girls in rural India. Here’s my short review:  I think this is my second book about India and my first one with this author. Not expecting much but oh gosh, this book grips you all throughout. I’ve never been aware of those traditions in rural parts of India until now. The story is brutal in a sense that it delivers without sugar-coating the events and happenings in the story.
    I was quite disappointed though when I reached the ending. Although it was implied that the two characters have finally found each other again, I would have preferred seeing their reactions face to face.
    There is still life after all the hardships as long as one believes.
  3. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin – I’ve read almost all of Emily Giffin books and this one is another winner. How far would you go to protect your child? Are you willing to sacrifice everything, even your marriage to protect them? This is a relevant story of how teens deal with stress and pressure nowadays. Some friends could be bad influences in their lives. Some could do well staying as just friends.

BEST MYSTERY AND THRILLER:

  1. The Outsider by Stephen King – I blogged about this a few days ago while I was in the middle of reading it.
  2. Force of Nature by Jane Harper – this is on the 9th slot and I didn’t have a review of it.

HISTORICAL FICTION:

  1. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.  – She bagged it in 2015 for The Nightingale and today she won again for this book The Great Alone. Read this last March 2018. A lovely, touching and beautiful book. One of Kristin Hannah’s best. One gets to be a little emotional while reading a wonderful story.
  2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – it came in second though. I wrote a review about this book here at WordPress a few months ago.A compelling read about the Holocaust. Based on a true story of two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz.I wonder why I am always drawn to historical books, fiction or otherwise particularly in that time of history which is the Second World War. I love those heart-wrenching stories of survival, the hope and faith of each person to live a normal life again.And I am reminded of our situation here in our country, democracy and populism. What is good for a group of people does not apply to all.
  3. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje – It came in at the number nine slot.  I thought at first, it is a memoir since there is not much dialogue so to speak. The story jumps making you a little lost. It was only during the third part of the story that it made sense at all. Sorry, not really my cup of tea as a historical fiction.

BEST OF THE BEST:

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie  Thomas. – I’ve long wanted to read this but I couldn’t find a copy. Curious about how it came to be the best story (among other winners in the past).
  2. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – This was my nomination but it came up in number two slot. I think I made a review of this at  WordPress too. I can’t remember now. I think I did when it won the Best Historical Fiction back in 2014.
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I rated this four stars.  I wasn’t active in reviewing books yet back in 2014.
  4. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – 2015 winner. Would love to re-read this. I think I already forgot the story.
  5. Catching Fire by  Suzanne Collins – the number two book in the Hunger Games series. I am sure you are also familiar with it. When the series came out, Nissa bought the whole set.
  6. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green – I love this book but it is the only  one  I read of the author. Nissa has a whole set too of the series. I also watched the movie adaptation. It’s Goodreads’ Best Young Adult Fiction of 2012.
  7. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. No wonder this won the 2017 Best Fiction. Beautiful!
  8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – I had a great time reading this. Best Young Adult Fiction of 2013
  9. Before We Were Yours – by Lisa Wingate  Best Historical Fiction of 2017. Really hard to review this but it was an enjoyable read.

You are welcome to read these books which I’ve enjoyed reading the past months and years.

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It’s been a long time since I read a John Grisham book and I’ve missed the courtroom scenes which were usually present in almost all of his books.

I enjoyed this one, love the premise of the story. And to think that I  only heard about WWII and the Bataan Death March  from my parents (first hand information on how they lived during the war) and from local history books that I learned in high school and college. The days leading up to the Bataan Death March were catastrophic for the American and Filipino armies that were stationed in Luzon  which composed of several provinces.

I like the detailed description of those brave soldiers who risked their lives for the love of country. I am quite familiar with the places mentioned in the book.

An excellent read about family and wars.

(This is my 143rd book on the 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge).

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An early 20th century story about a factory girl who struggled to keep her family intact.

I think this is my first Mary Gibson book. The harsh realities of being poor with an abusive father to boot. How they survived, find it out here.

This has been in my shelf for a couple of years now but it’s only lately that I got to  read it.  Though  I have always been partial to historical fiction,  I kept postponing reading it but I am glad I finally picked it up. This is my 126th read on Goodreads Reading Challenge this year.

I just started with another book by Jenny Colgan entitled  The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris.  I love books with various recipes inside. I enjoyed her previous books about baking. I love the sound of food that is why I am looking for another Ruth Reichl book.  The latter is an  American chef and food writer.

What are you reading?

 

 

 

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I just updated our Catholic page at Facebook when I came home from the 6:30 am mass in our Parish. I was thrilled to see these readings right on Nissa’s birthday come September 28. First reading is Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11.

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;4a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;6a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;7a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;8a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.9What gain has the worker from his toil?10I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with.11He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

I always love the Ecclesiastes readings. It tells us about how life is, how we go on with it and how we should face all those adversities and challenges that go our way. Life is not perfect, we all know that but there is always time for everything. There is always time to enjoy life, time to laugh and time to cry.

Last night, I finished the last page of the book Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise  Gornall, a first-timer on my list of books.

One thing that first attracted me to it is not the summary but the photo cover. I haven’t read a YA book for so many months now, then came this. I love it.

Can you imagine yourself being afraid of public places and so particular about cleanliness and hygiene that your life is not  normal?

The book focuses on anxiety disorder, OCD and agoraphobia. They are mental health issues that none of us know about. Self inflicted wounds find its place in a teenager’s life. How could one empathize with a sickness that  you can’t see?

This is the first time I’ve read about agoraphobia.  I remember  a daughter of our neighbor who is bipolar. She has been in and out of the hospital some years ago. There were times when we just hear loud shouts from her. When she is in a good mood, you can talk to her about anything under the sun.

This book is not for everyone . I was curious what goes in someone’s mind if he or she has anxiety disorder. How does the family cope  with it? How do you deal with someone with OCD?

 

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I’m done reading a hundred books in more than seven  months. I love this challenge  because I discovered so many authors and lovely books in the process.

I remember accepting the challenge back in 2011 and every year I committed to read at least a hundred books minimum but I always end up reading close to two hundred at times.  This year I started with a classic  Little Women  by Louisa May  Alcott and ended with a thriller called City of Endless Night by Preston & Child. It’s time to take a break and just enjoy reading at a leisurely pace.

I remember these lines while I was reading Catcher In the Rye a long time ago and even wrote them in my journal.

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”  J.D. Salinger

But then it is enough that yesterday an author acknowledged my review on her book.  Nice, isn’t it?

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Take a good look at this photo. isn’t it wonderful? And before I read the first page of this book, I was so taken by the book cover. That small pair of slippers did it.

I finished reading this last night, my 97th read this year. It’s Ka Hancock’s first book. It’s a story of an enduring love between a cancer survivor and a man with a bipolar disorder.

“Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes—he has bipolar disorder, and she has a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry.”  

Secondly, I was caught by the lovely and arresting title. They made their marriage worked despite the odds They dreamed of a family before Lucy  got the dreaded disease but when she got pregnant after her bouts with cancer, she was determined to keep the baby in spite of her doctor’s advice to abort it.

“Her heart is beating inside me. She moves inside me. She gets the hiccups inside me. Aborting her now is no different in my mind than waiting until she’s born and smothering her with a pillow, or throwing her in the lake on her third birthday, or shooting her in the head when she’s twelve.” 

I love all the characters in the story – family ties, friendship, a loving and supportive community. It explores the depth of fear and grief, losing a loved  one,trying to move on.

It made me a little emotional, crying while reading it and at the same time overjoyed that I found this lovely book.

 

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I am getting addicted with  Sydney Bauer’s books. I found three of hers, the first one which I blogged about a few days ago  was published much, much later than the one I have just finished and the third book I am reading at the moment. It seems to be a series but stand alone stories involving a criminal lawyer defending those who are accused of crimes they didn’t commit. The courtroom scenes and the way they gather evidences are so interesting. I have always loved “courtrooms” since I first encountered Lean Uris’ book called QBVII.  Conspiracy, racial bigotry, fast-paced  action scenes. Move over John Grisham, she’s it for now.

 Alibi  is my 94th read and I’m done with about a third of the book. Suspense thrillers, how lovely!

Yeay, six more books to go and I’m done. Plenty  months more to add those classics which I have yet to find.

 

 

 

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Just done with my 89th Goodreads book challenge for this year.  Here’s my short review on Goodreads.

I am giving this five stars. Wow, what a great read! A story of two kids who survived the Peshtigo fire in Wisconsin, the greatest fire in American history in 1871 and a six-year old orphan, a survivor from a Chicago fire on the same day. A story of struggles and triumphs, a story of ups and downs, a story of survival. 

Tess Hilmo is on my list of newly discovered authors. She writes a wonderful story, amazing children’s dialogue. The characters are fictional but the events were based on true stories. 

I am always drawn to historical fiction. I find them even more arresting to read than your run of the mill romances. I wish I could find more books like this.

Eleven more books to go and I’m done.  How lovely it is when you find a book this good.

 

 

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Took care of our latest family member throughout the day.  He played with his  little pillow, balls and sat on my lap while I was checking my accounts online and while reading.  I laughed when he saw his image in front of our full-length mirror and he kept on barking. He must have thought there was another puppy looking at him.

Strange, I seemed to have picked up two books in a row all about India.  The Girl From The Tea Garden  was about the life of an Anglo-Indian girl who grew up in 1930’s.

The story revolved  on how she struggled with life  away from home without her family coming back  at the height of WW II to find her true love.   Learning about how tea is prepared, how  Indian summer feels like.

Janet MacLeod Trotter is quite new in my list of authors.  She has several books about India and this one is  part of a series.

Camron Wright is the author of The Orphan Caretaker.   I am almost done with this book.

Learning  more about Indian culture and traditions. The only thing familiar to me are the chicken masala  and samosa. Years ago, I received a big jar of Masala from a friend whose family stayed in Rome for decades.

Couldn’t put down the book, it is based on a true story. An Indian boy abducted from his home and adopted by an American family. He learned  the American way of life but still kept wondering about his Indian roots. It is also my first time to read a book by Camron Wright, an American  author whose genre is Historical Fiction and yes, Literature and Fiction too.  You can’t help but be touched by the story.

“We don’t use knives and forks,” Pranay replied, leaning forward, “because we are not at war with our food. We don’t need weapons. We have learned it is better to surrender to the flavors, to caress and embrace them. You see, eating for Indians is a passionate affair. Picking up the food with our fingers evokes a closeness, a feeling of warmth, a connection. It would all be lost if we started stabbing and cutting.”

Is this still done until now?  Wikipedia says that:  “The  etiquette of Indian dining varies with the region in India.  Typically, both in urban and rural settings, Indians wash their hands thoroughly prior to dining, then eat with their fingers, without any cutlery. This practice is historic and based  on the cultural premise that eating is a sensual activity, and touch is part of the experience along with the taste, aroma of the food, and its presentation such as on a Thali, or on a large plate made from washed banana leaf, or stitched and washed leaves.”

Some people do  it in informal  occasions here. they call it boodle fight where the food is piled on top of  banana leaves with rice at the center. The food is laid on long tables. A military style of eating,  a symbol of brotherhood and equality among Filipino military by sharing the same food without regard to rank.  They also call it “kamayan” style of eating.

 

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This is a continuation of last night’s post. I started with Rod McKuen then played the whole album of Henry Mancini  and for the first time in so many months watched a movie after. And your guess is right. It’s another rerun of the classic,  The Thorn Birds. Though I know the story from  reading the book for a number of times, I still love to watch the film.

I need to finish the book  The Wind Weeps. Its author, Anneli Purchase is a fellow blogger here  and this e-book was downloaded free from her. A real give-away. So far, so good, an insight into the lives of fishermen  in general and how they maintain their boats. You would think, fishing is just a hook and line thing, but it seems harder than we know. I am  done with a third of the book and I am looking forward to the rest of the story but I am distracted again listening to Percy Faith this time then going back to other Henry Mancini albums then it’s Paul Mauriat as finale. I love instrumental music. It soothes the soul. When you are engrossed in music, it’s hard to get away from it.

This is a very short post. I hope your week started well.

 

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