Farwell Feb!

The second month of the year is over. I must say 2016 has been really kind to me so far…. Things have only moved upwards…. Let’s not jinx it now. 😉 Before I share the photos for the month, I would request you to make this bonus day of 29th Feb really count. 🙂

Di Bella coffee house has become my ‘go to’ place whenever I can’t think of any other place. I love the doodles on the walls and the waffles there are to die for…

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I happened to visit one of the most awaited exhibitions, Design One which was held at Turf Club this month. The exhibition displayed the latest Spring- Summer trends… This giant cutesy looking cage was displayed there.

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This yummy dessert at Yauatcha, Bandra is simply delicious. I am planning to do a full review of my experience at Yautcha soon.

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Calming Effect!!! Nature and coffee….

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A crazy, fun-filled, crazy ass night, filled with games, great music, dance, drinks and appetizers at Hopipola

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When one cake isn’t enough….

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Who doesn’t love gifts especially when there are dozen together? :p

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I had totally forgotten how delicious jelly use to taste.

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I tried my hands on khaw suey this month.. Glad it didn’t turn out to be a disaster. 🙂

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Visited the very first Flo Film Festival’s inauguration ceremony. The FFF’16 aimed at showcasing through films values of women empowerment and gender equality. Mr Governer, Mr Chief Minister and Sonam Kapoor amongst many others graced the festival with their presence & kind words. It was truly inspiring….

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Exotic treats from her’s bakery.

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Who doesn’t like an extended weekend right?

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Love curling up in my bed with some books and chocolates. …

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Finally Sephora makes it to Mumbai!!!!

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Book Review: The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

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Title: The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

Author: Celeste Fletcher McHale

Publication: Thomas Nelson

Length: 304 pages

Plot- When all else fails, turn to the divine taste of hummingbird cake.
In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food—especially dessert— is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family— even if the threat is something you cannot see. In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

Favorite Quote: ‘It’s not how long you live; it’s what you leave behind’

The book is about three childhood friends who are devoted to their friendship. The key characters in the book are Carriagan, Ella Rae and Lanie. The narration is from Carriagan’s point of view. Each of them has a very peculiar character. Carrigan is a fierce, bold house wife who married the love for her life, Jack, at the age seventeen until one day she finds out that her marriage is in a great turmoil. Ella Rae, is a easy going woman, happily married to Tommy. She is capable of punching anyone who bothers her loved ones. Lanie is a goody two shoes, always helping out people, an angel in disguise who makes the best humming bird cake in the whole wide world. These three women are joined by the hip since childhood.

At the beginning it feels as if the book is about girl pals doing girly things like gossiping, discussing their married lives, sharing their insecurities, etc until one day their lives change. They realize that nothing will ever be the same again. Every character in the book is well molded. The trio is amazing and makes you longing for such friends in your life. They stand by each other to thick and thin, right and wrong, life and death… any maybe beyond.

The story is devastating and assuring at once. It teaches us that everything does not need an explanation. We just have to make terms with it to lead a peaceful life. This book made me laugh, this book made me cry. The book surely churned a lot of emotions in me. This is definitely one of the best books I have read in a long time.

Ratings: 4/5

I received the  copy of this manuscript from the BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: How to Look Happy

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Title: How to Look Happy

Author: Stacey Wiedower

Plot- From bestselling romantic comedy author Stacey Wiedower comes a story about finding love in the social media age…
Jen Dawson is an interior designer at the top of her game, with a job at the South’s hottest design firm and a fiancé who’s on the short list of the city’s most eligible catches. But her perfectly designed plans for her life fall apart when her prima donna boss screws her over and her fiancé dumps her on the same day.
What’s a self-respecting Southern girl to do? … is what she should have asked. Instead, she drowns her troubles in cocktails and then adds trouble of her own by “drunkbooking” a Facebook status that gets her in more hot water at work. As her ex reappears at all the wrong times, Jen’s flirtations heat up with all the wrong men—until she finds the one guy who makes her realize love just isn’t something she can plan. And when she vows to set her life back on track and stage a comeback, Jen uncovers shady business at her design firm that could take down the entire operation … and her, but only if she lets it.

How to Look Happy is a romantic comedy revolving around Jen Dawson. She is a sweet, down-to-earth, interior decorator with one of the best boutiques in Memphis, engaged to one of the most eligible bachelors in town. She has her entire life plan chalked out until one fateful day things fall apart. She finds out her boss is trying to sabotage one of her biggest projects and that very night her fiancé calls off the engagement. One set back at work, a failed engagement and a single drunken an status on Facebook (“drunkbooking” an interesting word to describe drunken status updates on social media) turns Jen’s life upside down. Jen gathers herself and decides to put all the miseries behind her, adopts the policy of ‘fake it till you make it’ (fake happiness) and makes a ‘how to look happy’ list.

Jen’s character is very relatable. There are lots of punches in the book at the most unexpected times that will make you chuckle. The strong and detailed portrayal of the characters adds a depth to the storyline. I love the bond between Jen and Carrie. They actually prove the saying ‘Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with” right in a way.

The flow of the book is fluent and it is very hard to put the book down. I was completely immersed in the story. I loved the writing and I am definitely going to read the other books by the author.

How to look happy is a fun, entertaining, chick-lit, romantic comedy, filled with chaos, setbacks, punches, friendship and breaking through.

Ratings: 4/5

I received an advanced reader’s copy of this manuscript from the aurthor in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

Spotlight: Last Vacation

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Title: Last Vacation

Author: Sarah Elle Emm

Plot- Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard
from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner. Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Torrez crime ring. When Megan shows up asking questions and Gabe realizes her twin’s disappearance might be linked to the Torrez men, he has to convince her to go back to Florida before she becomes their next victim. The closer Megan gets to the truth, the more Gabe begins to suspect he is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. And someone is closing in on Megan…

Excerpt:
Megan peered out at the vast expanse of ocean gleaming in the bright morning sunshine
before her. The turquoise waters seemed to go on forever. From the Caribbean Airways
in flight map, she had noted the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. John were in
the far off distance. She had been told a faint view of the densely populated St. Thomas
could sometimes be seen on a perfectly clear day, but no matter how she strained her
eyes, she couldn’t quite see it today. Had Maddy hopped on a sailboat and continued her travels to another island as the police officer had suggested? It wasn’t like Maddy not to check in. Her cell phone had been going straight to voice mail since the last photo Maddy had sent, and according to the cell company, the cell phone was out of service range. Something had happened to her sibling. The last communication with Maddy had been an unexplained picture of an iguana. No message, no text, nothing. Just an enormous, slimy, dragon-resembling lizard. Megan sunk her head to her chest. Where in the world was her sister? “Everything okay, Miss?”Startled from her hopeless thoughts, Megan sat upright at the sound of the low voice. Her eyes scanned the length of the man standing before her, and she pursed her lips together. She guessed he was probably about six-foot-two.As she sat silently, observing him, the man repeated his question, “Are you okay?” His tone bordered on cautious, but concerned.“Everything’s fine,” she finally managed with a tight voice.With a smile, his concern faded away, and he reached behind his back to untie a grease-spotted apron. He folded the apron up, pulled out a chair at the table right next to
Megan’s, about a foot and a half from her, and sat down.An internal alarm went off, making Megan feel extremely uncomfortable with his proximity, and she fidgeted with her hands as he stared at her, finally forcing them into her lap. How could a voice so soothing go with a gruff-looking character like him? And what in the world was he doing sitting down so close to her?

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Book Review: Eleanor & Park

 

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Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publication: St. Martin’s Press

Length: 328 pages

Plot- Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Favorite Quote: “Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Let me start by saying that this is my very first Rainbow Rowell read and there will be many more to come. I like the writing. The narration just flows, word after word, chapter after chapter. The flow is very easy on the mind. The setting of the book is in 1980’s. It is about two teenagers, who are total misfits in their white neighborhood. Eleanor & Park are the lead characters in the book. The narration switches between these two characters.

Park is a half Korean, half Irish boy who lives with his parents (his parents have a very interesting love story too) and a younger brother. His Irish grandparents live across the street. This family has the perfect dynamics quite opposite to Eleanor’s family. I found him to be cute, considerate and mature for his age. Eleanor moved in Park’s neighborhood in her mother’s new husbands (she refuses to call him dad and hates it when her siblings call him that, not that she is overly attached to her own dad but Richie is kind of a jerk) small house with her five siblings and mother. Eleanor has a very difficult life after her parents got divorced and her mother married Richie. Eleanor & Park board the same bus to school and that is where their love blooms. Not right away but eventually…

I love that the story is so simple and heart-warming. It brings back the intensity, passion the innocence of the first love to life. The book is narrated from Eleanor’s and Park’s perspective making it easy to understand the characters. Every once in a while the author comments interestingly in the brackets. I love that. (if you read my blogs you will know how often I do that) What I didn’t like about the book was the abrupt and hurried end. Eleanor’s decision in the end was not justified well. It left me feeling sympathetic for Park.

All in all, the book is a breezy, light read that will remind you of your first love.

Ratings- 3/5

Book Review: The Newsmakers

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Title: The Newsmakers

Author: Lis Wiehl

Publication: Thomas Nelson

Length:  352 pages

Plot: What if it turns out that the newsmakers are actually making the news happen?

Television reporter Erica Sparks has just landed her dream job at Global News Network. Beautiful, talented, and ambitious, Erica grew up dirt poor, worked her way through Yale, and is carrying a terrible secret. She moves to Manhattan to join GNN, leaving Jenny, her adored 7-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband. Erica’s producer at the network, Greg Underwood, is handsome and compelling. Scarred by her divorce, Erica is wary of romance, but there’s no denying the mutual attraction.

On one of her first assignments, Erica witnesses a horrific Staten Island ferry crash. Then she lands a coveted interview with presumptive presidential nominee Kay Barrish. During the interview Barrish collapses. Erica valiantly tries to save her with CPR. The footage rivets the world—GNN’s ratings soar and Erica is now a household name.

But she’s troubled. What a strange coincidence that both events should happen on her watch. It’s almost as if they were engineered. Is that possible?

Erica’s relentless pursuit of the truth puts her life and that of her daughter in danger. Her investigation leads her into the heart of darkness—where the future of our democracy is at stake.

The Newsmaker is a well narrated book mainly revolving around the Global News Network (GNN channel). The key characters are Erica Sparks, Greg Underwood and Nylan Hasting. The book highlights the elements of plotting and politics that take place in the company. But that’s not it. The book is much more than that. As the name suggests it is about creating news. Is that possible? Read the book to find out.

Our protagonist, Erica Sparks is a beautiful, ambitious and an intuitive journalist who is  brought up in the country side and makes her way to Manhattan. Her journey from country side to Manhattan is not easy. She has a flawed past. She has the most indifferent parents in the world. Her mother has always put Erica down. In spite of the incompetent parenting, Erica was a bright student and with the right mentoring she made her way to the Ivy League schools. Erica over came the condescending looks that she received from the other Ivy League students and successfully graduated from Yale. She ends up marrying a school teacher and has a small career at a local news channel. They have a daughter together before they file a divorce. Erica doesn’t take the divorce so well and losses Jenny’s custody. All these things leave a deep scar on Erica. She becomes an alcoholic. And here she hits the rock bottom. The best quality about Erica is that she is swamped to the ground and yet she not only manages to pull herself up but she achieves heights.

She is discovered by Greg Underwood at the GNN and she is chosen to be a field reporter. Nylan Hasting, the man behind GNN has bigger plans for her. Erica happens to be covering news at the right place at the right time. And bam… She has two hit stories. Erica soon becomes a household name. What makes Erica a great journalist is that she empathizes with her interviewee. It is not purely business for her. She is trailing one of the cases and comes across a lot of shocking revelations. Here on, the story is full of suspense and mystery. The person behind the mystery is quite predictable but still the book holds interest.

Newsmaker is full of mystery, politics, and thrill. I would recommend this book to whoever is up for a little corporate politics and a lot of mystery. Let me also mention that the end of the book leaves you wanting for more….

Ratings- 4/5

BookLook Bloggers had provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exhchange of an honest review.