The Half Yearly Look Back

So half a year has gone by, in a twinkle of an eye! I hope 2016’s turning out to be awesome for everyone.  It’s already past mid-way so I thought I’d put together a post with all that happened with me as a person and as a blogger so far this year.

January

My blog had 27 and I read and reviewed 7 books. I had 884 visitors on the blog and 5 bloggers wrote guest posts for me. Most interesting affair of the month was writing 3 entries towards #SportsChatter blogging contest.

February

With 25 posts, 8 books read and reviewed and introduced 2 new guest bloggers, I could attract 636 visitors. Not Valentine’s Day but there was some unexpected book gifting on ‘International Book Giving Day’ to one of my friends on Twitter who happens to be someone with whom I share great rapport. I won a fashion contest for bloggers hosted by Jabong, received thank you notes and vouchers from authors for reviewing 2 books and the BIGGEST surprise was winning the #SportsMirror contest.

March

The month had 28 posts, 7 books I read and reviewed, blog had 743 visitors. I signed up for AtoZ Blogging challenge and out of blues I was made one of the conspirators to take this challenge ahead and make it a hit along with 4 more wonderful bloggers by Blogchatter, this was a BIG responsibility. I won blogging contests by Limeroad, P&G, and AdventureN.

April

The busiest month ever. 55 posts written and published, with 7 books read and reviewed, the blog turned beasty with 951 visitors. What a rush! There was another unexpected book gifting on ‘International World Book Day’ to the same friend of mine. I had much hopes of winning some books for myself but luck was not in my favour. I won at the first place – #Iam Capable activity, #JungleBook activity by Blogadda as well as won some freebies from Limeroad.

May

One of my favourite months till date. I turned an e-book author. I won at first position- #MyInternshipTheory activity at Blogadda, so did I win at #Setwet and Ariel blogging contests. There were 28 posts with 5 reviewed books and got 633 visitors.

June

My blogging resolution came true; I inspired a fellow blogger (Masoom Jethwa) to get back to some serious blogging. I won my first BIG twitter contest of 2016 on #RDBurman. Not much just 24 posts and read/reviewed just 5 books, blog had 734 visitors.

In all I wrote 187 posts in these 6months. I read 53 books out of 100 books of #GoodReads challenge. My first e-book has been a great success, with readers showering so many compliments on it. My second e-book is almost ready. I look forward for July –December to be more busy and good blog and work wise for me. For the moment I am excited about the 7days and 15days daily blogging challenge for which I have signed up.

This post is written for the Half Time campaign at Blog Chatter community of bloggers in Twitter which meet every Wednesday at 8.30 PM IST discussing various blogging topics on twitter.”

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Festival Of Words 2- The Book of Secrets

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This was the first novel I read from Tom Harper, and I was really impressed by his writing style. It was very coherent and fast-paced, I didn’t expect it to have two stories though. The present-day story about Nick following Gillian’s tracks and a first-person narration/confession by Johann (whom we would later know as the famous Johann Gutenberg), were written parallel with each other and they slowly merged as the events unfolded. I loved this interlaced, fast paced story line of two stories, five centuries apart from each other running simultaneously at same time. I was hooked to book right by the first chapter and found myself completely lost in it. I found medieval story very intriguing and compelling. The character of Joahnn is full of faults and very human, very intriguing at the same time. The author portrayed his obsessions, his shortcomings, his struggles in a captivating way. All through the book I felt completely hooked by Joahnn’s story. The book is kind of long for this kind of plot.

I was expecting a cross between Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” and “Angel and Demons” upon looking at the cover, a Dominican priest usual type of wear. Anyway, I can’t say that I’m disappointed or that I love this book, but I’m sure that I’ve enjoyed it, though not tremendously. It was not just what I was expecting. I mean, they went all through that and Gillian risked her life just to unravel the mystery about the Master of the Playing Cards. But the biggest surprise of all was the involvement of Gutenberg among all the chaos, secrecy, and blasphemy. It seems so surreal, nevertheless, who exactly knows what happened during those? At first I was disoriented when I read the first chapter about the confessions and of course although I know that it must have some relation to the main story, it was a long time coming before I realized its importance. The short chapters make it easy to follow, the author always leaves a cliffhanger at the end of the chapters to keep one hooked. The stories never dragged, they just made you ask a lot of questions. What was it that Gillian found that’s worth killing a lot of lives for? Why was it secret? Was Gillian still alive? What’s the big deal anyway? All of those were answered of course, and it ended in Johann’s story.

I liked how the author’s imagination ran wild with filling in the gaps about Johann’s life. He really built a solid character who’s corrupt even in the beginning and somehow found redemption by freeing himself of his obsession. He really had it hard growing up, finding a passion for being a goldsmith, perfecting the craft and somewhere along the way he needed to run and start a new life. He did this a lot of times until it didn’t do him good, the end was unexpected and a little open-ended but it gave a light feeling. Now, about Nick and Emily’s traversing Europe, that’s the part where I really couldn’t put the book down. The author’s angle is about the book, and although it involved the Church, it’s not something scandalous as Jesus having married Mary Magdalene, but then again there’s a religious figure ordering the deaths of many. I felt their anxiety every time they get closer to the target, someone was also targeting them in mysterious ways. I also liked the “Gothic Lair” episodes.

I was really in tune with them that when Nick realized he’s not so eager to get back with Gillian when he sees her, that I started to hate her, and for a good reason too. I don’t want to spoil anything for the potential readers. For some who’re just looking for a quick read, this is not for you. It’s a comprehensive historical fiction based on some facts, the imagery was excellent, the author’s descriptions of the places and the process of early printing was laudable. I’m looking forward to reading his other works.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #5 from 10th – 16th July 2016 

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