Book Review: Then The Doorbell Rang

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Title: Then The Doorbell Rang

Author: Capri Jalota

Page: 364 pages

Plot:  One fine morning, Jane wakes up and stands upon the ledge of her 18th floor flat in Dubai Marina. Till a few years back, she was everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. But then the wheels of time turned. Today, she is miserable and lonely. Would she get over a deception? Can she forgive herself for deserting a friend? Would she ever find true love? Will karma get the better of her or will life give her another chance to correct the wrongs?

Then the Doorbell Rang is about Jane’s roller-coaster journey as she explores the mystical phenomenon called Life.

Thoughts:  This book is about love, loss, pain, fears, remorse, and friendship. The book begins with Jane standing in her balcony, contemplating her life.  We follow Jane’s life, our key protagonist. In the book her life is carved out  from her childhood to her mid-thirties. Jane is daughter of a British mother and an Indian Indian father, who raised her in the city of Dubai.

At a young age, Jane’s mother eloped leaving a letter for her with a lot of confessions and advice based on her mistakes. From then on Jane decided to be a woman who wants to lead a successful career and wouldn’t allow love to come in the midst of it. . But life never offers what you want. So Jane meets Uday and married him within a period of two weeks form knowing him. She thinks this will work out. But life strikes again. The story picks up from then on.

I loved the imperfection of Jane’s character. She made big mistakes and was coward enough to face them but eventually came around and rectified them. Most of the characters were well depicted and relatable. The narration is from Jane’s perspective with few chapters as journal entries from a first person’s POV.

The plot is as uncertain as life.. The story maneuvers between past and the present.  I loved reading Jane’s journey full of more downs than ups. It is filled with so many unfortunate incidents that are too much to bear for any individuals. My heart went out for her each time. The language is simple yet mesmerizing. The book is long but I didn’t feel that it was dragged at all.

I would recommend this book to those who would like to read realistic life stories filled with highs and lows…

Ratings: 4/5

PS: Thanks to the author and The Book Club for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel

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Title: The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel

Author: Erin Bomboy

Page: 353 pages

Plot: The most prestigious ballroom dance competition in the United States.
Two dancers need to win.
Only one can.
Nina Fortunova wasn’t supposed to end up almost thirty, divorced, with her dreams of winning shattered. She teams up with Jorge Gonzalez, a Latin dancer, to reinvent the flashy Smooth style. When the Chairman of the Judges offers to throw the competition in their favor, Nina must decide how far she will go to win, even if it means losing Jorge.
Carly Martindale is doing everything she’s been taught not to do—placing her happiness first by dancing with Trey Devereux, the former three-time champion who’s returned to competition for mysterious reasons. Carly becomes obsessed with Trey and allows him to control her every move at great risk to her physical and emotional health. How far will she sacrifice herself, so Trey and she can win?

Co-workers, then friends, and now arch competitors, Nina and Carly face off to determine who will be the winner.

Bright, emotive, and told through dual narrators, The Winner examines the costs associated with winning, the internalization of parental ambition, and the effect of gendered roles on and off the dance floor. It’s perfect for readers who will love the old-school elegance of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in a contemporary setting.

Thoughts:  I follow a lot of dance based reality shows on television and often view a lot of live dance performances. Most of the times I am in awe looking at the dancers swirl, like a poetry in motion. But what we see is the output of their hard work, which often goes unnoticed. I always wondered about what goes into becoming a fine dancer and this book offers exactly that.

‘The Winner’ is a tale of prestigious ballroom dance competition based in the United States. We have two protagonists in the book who desperately have to win this competition. It’s more than just getting a medal. But only one will succeed…

We follow two vivid dancers Nina and Carly in the story. Nina is in the final years of dancing at the Nationals. She is advised to retire gracefully by her well wishers and even her husband who happens to be her dance partner. But she knows she has to do this for herself and her mother’s sacrifices to fulfill the “American Dream”. Carly is a girl next door who takes up a summer job at a dance studio. She is in her prime years of dancing and soon realizes her potential and decides to compete with her former partner/lover at the Nationals. And the story begins…

I loved the characterization. Both Nina and Carly are affable and relatable. I could feel their joys and sorrows while reading the book. All the characters in the book are very well carved, well described and are kept real, making it easier for the reader to connect.

The book is a little longer than usual but it doesn’t feel dragged. There is not a single point in the book where I felt bored. I actually enjoyed reading the constant developments in the plot. The narration was captivating and well structured. It had a steady flow to it.

The book does offer a lot of interesting insights about ball room dancing, what goes on in the green room before the performances, what goes into being a fine dance. But apart from this it also explores other dimensions of romance, relationships, sacrifices, family, etc.

This cover is a perfect choice for a book like this. If you are interested in ballroom dancing or not, this book makes a perfect read for an afternoon curled up in bed with a cup of tea.

Ratings: 4/5

Erin Bomboy Head Shot.jpgAbout the Author: A native of Richmond, Virginia, Erin Bomboy trained as a classical ballet dancer before spending a decade as a professional competitive ballroom dancer. She holds an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter where she works as a writer, editor, and teacher in the dance field. In her free time, Erin enjoys bacon, books, cats, and wine.
She is the author of The Piece: A Contemporary Ballet Novel and The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel. Her next novel, tentatively titled The Pas de Deux: A Classical Ballet Novel, will explore the relationship between a ballerina at the end of her career and the much-younger dancer with whom she falls in love. Taking the shape of a traditional pas de deux, it will premiere in 2018. Connect with the author:  Website  ~ Twitter  

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PS: Thanks to the author and iRead Book Tours for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Book Review: 13 Dates

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Title: 13 Dates

Author: Matt Dunn

Page: 334 pages

Plot: When Noah Wilson first encounters the quirky, opinionated and very beautiful Angel Fallon, his world is turned upside down. It’s clear she’s not his normal type, but Noah can’t stop thinking about her—which doesn’t bode well for the blind date he’s already late for.

Convinced by his friend (and self-professed dating expert) Marlon that thirteen dates is all you need to fall in love, Noah decides to give it a try with Angel. They should be incompatible: she’s impulsive and he’s a planner; he wants to settle down and she doesn’t ‘do’ relationships—or anything, for that matter—the way Noah is used to. But there’s something about Angel, and Noah can’t shake the idea that all they need is twelve more dates.

Despite some near-disasters involving rock climbing, saddle sores and jellied eels, it seems his plan may actually work. But even if they do reach the magic number, can that really mean they’ll just fall into their happily-ever-after?

Thoughts:  I would like to start the review by explaining the book title. Noah’s friend, Marlon had once read a theory in a Cosmopolitan magazine that it takes 13 dates to know if you really love somebody and are not just infatuated by them. Hence the title.

Noah is the male lead in the book. He showcases artist in his gallery. He is sweet, corny, socially awkward and sometime’s irritating. He is looking for a companion in life and wants to settle down. His friend, Marlon sets him up on a blind date. Noah decides to make a quick stop at Starbuck right before his blind date and bangs into Angel.

Angel, our female lead is a strong, independent, adventurous, unconventional woman who believes in living life one day at a time. Their first encounter scene is really comically narrated. Noah realizes that Angel is the one for him, but Angel has her own baggage. The question is will Noah be able to convince her to overcome her baggage? Will Angel let herself commit to Noah?

The plot is very light hearted, sweet and romantic. The writing in most places is causal and easy going. The punctuations are a little haywire.  I liked the lead characters and their chemistry. The plot will make you believe in love at first sight and in the power of love.  The book does have a very predictable course but there is a feel good factor about reading the book.

I liked that Noah, who otherwise seems to be unsure about things knows the minute he sees, rather hears Angel’s voice that she is the one for him. Inspite of Noah and Angel being poles apart, they find a way to make things work. Plus Mary, Noah’s land lady adds her own flavor to the story.

The book is a light-hearted romantic comedy which can be read in one sitting. It gives you a feel good factor in the end.

Ratings: 3/5

PS: Thanks to author and Netgalley for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Summer of Impossible Things

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Title: The Summer of Impossible Things

Author: Rowan Coleman

Page: 432 pages

Plot: If you could change the past, would you?

Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.

Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.

At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?

Favorite Quote: “Stories are the only things that can ever really change the world. The stories that people believe in are the only ones that matter. Those are the stories that have the power to change everything we think we understand.”

Thoughts:  This book is a sci-fi, time travel fiction about a girl named Luna who is grieving the loss of her mother. She and her sister visit their mother’s birthplace to clear matters only to find themselves in more ambiguity than ever.

After landing in Brooklyn, Luna is magically able to travel through time and encounters her young mother in 1977. The story takes us through Luna’s struggle to firstly understand that she is not a lunatic but is able to travel through time and secondly to undo the course of actions that had taken place in 1977 to change the traumatic future. Will she make sacrifice for love?

The plot is very thought provoking. It makes you think about your past and how acting a little differently could have impacted your future. It is a book that will make you think hard even after finishing it. The writing is fantastic and truly magical. The book is a little long buy worth the read.

If you are a cynic give this book a shot and you might just start thinking differently.

Rating: 4/5

PS: Thanks to author for sending me a copy of the book via Netgalley.

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Book Review: Chanakya in Daily Life

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Title: Chanakya in Daily Life

Author: Radhakrishnan Pillai

Pages: 290 pages

Plot: Life is unpredictable and full of challenges. One wrong step and everything can come crashing down. In such a scenario, one often wishes for a roadmap of life, but how is that possible?

Bestselling author Radhakrishnan Pillai’s much-anticipated book, Chanakya in Daily Life, will help you navigate the rough seas of life and stay on course. Covering all aspects of life from the personal to the professional, it will tell you everything from how to begin your day to how to end it, how to choose the right job, stay financially secure, have a happy married life, raise your children the right way, achieve the perfect work-life balance and much more. Like always, Pillai decodes and simplifies the visionary king-maker Chanakya’s teachings from the Arthashastra and Chanakya Niti to provide solutions for any problem that might crop up in any aspect of your life.

Thus, Chanakya in Daily Life is the perfect guru who expects only one thing from the shishya—a willingness to learn.

Thoughts: ‘Chanakya in Daily Life’ is a non-fiction, self help book inspired by the teachings of the great Guru Chanakya’s book ‘Arthshastra’. Mr Pillai has simplified his teachings for a lay man to understand and incorporate in his life.

The book is sectioned into three parts: Personal Life, Professional Life and Family Life. These sections are further distributed in smaller chapters, explaining various aspects and activities one can undertake to improve his life.

The writing is simple and direct. The language is kept simple to be well understood by anyone. The matter is crisp and the book is not dragged with unwanted examples making it a quick read.

We know most of the things that are highlighted in the book but we never tend to incorporate these things thinking for it to be too trivial and petty.  What I liked the most about the book is the fact how small things can make a big difference in our productivity and overall craft our lives.

This book simplifies the knowledge derived from the king maker himself making it easy for a common man to discipline his life and achieve his overall goals.I would recommend this self help book to all those who are looking for a road map to better their personal, professional and family life in tandem.

Ratings: 3.5/5

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Book Review: It Ends with Us

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Title:  It Ends with Us

Author:  Colleen Hoover

Pages: 367 pages

Plot: SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

Favorite Quote: “Just because we didn’t end up on the same wave, doesn’t mean we aren’t still a part of the same ocean.”

Thoughts: This book had been on my TRB list for a long time and this book winning the Goodreads Best Romance Novel award made me leave all the other books and read this one on priority.  I have read many Colleen Hoover books in the past and loved them. I had to read this one especially because the story stems from deep personal experience of the author. This book is quite different from her previous books and even more intense.

Lily, our protagonist has never had it easy but she manages to stride through all the adversities and comes across as a stronger person each time. Lily graduates in business from the Boston University and after working in marketing she decides to take her childhood hobby of gardening as a way of living and commences her floral business. Lily meets Ryle, a neurosurgeon and hits it of right away. They confess the darkest secrets as they call it the ‘naked truths’ about themselves. There are sparks in their very first meeting but the entire thing is to good to be true. As they start dating, Lily’s past, Atlas comes into picture. Atlas and Lily met in their teens and their bond runs beyond explanation. They have faced major turmoil in the past together before both of them part ways as Atlas leaves the town. Ryle has his own set of problems. Ryle had a traumatic experience as a kid which makes him violent at times and Lily is the one to bear the brunt of it.  All these factors make Lily’s and Ryle’s relationship an emotional roller coaster.

The story is narrated from Lily’s point of view. I love the bits where Lily writes her journal and addresses it to Ellen from ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’. I simply love the characterization. Lily is strong, passionate, caring and warm. She is a perfect lady. Ryle on the other hand is assertive, stubborn and a little self centered. I love his multi dimensional character.

Different aspects of domestic violence are portrayed with brilliance in this book. I loved the reasoning, the self conflict, the guilt, the willingness to forgive and yet not forget going in the heads of the victim as well as the victimizer. This was a totally different angel which I had never thought of before.  I simply loved this book and would recommend it to every reader.

Ratings: 5/5

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Book Review: The Paris Effect

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Title:  The Paris Effect

Author:  K.S.R. Burns

 Pages: 264 pages

Plot: Friendship, loss and a tantalizing trip to Paris in this highly praised #1 Amazon Best Seller!

Amy and Kat had planned a secret trip to Paris. Even Amy’s husband wouldn’t know about it. But when Amy loses Kat to cancer, she knows the plan is gone forever. Or is it?

Guided by memories of her friend and dissatisfaction with her own calorie-counting life in Phoenix, Amy sneaks off to Paris while her husband is away on a business trip. Once there, she’s robbed, stalked, arrested and almost kidnapped. Worse, she finds that all her problems have come right along with her.

Through her adventures, laced with luscious descriptions of food and Paris, Amy learns that often in life, love and friendship, nothing is exactly as it seems. Grab a croissant and settle in for a decidedly non-touristy trip to the City of Light.

‘The Paris Effect’ is a story of self discovery and second chances. The story is narrated from our protagonist Amy’s point of view. The book starts of when Amy is home from her best friend, Kat’s funeral and all she wants to do is eat to her heart’s content but is reminded of her self-made diet rules. She is in her late twenties, with eating disorders, married to William who is obsessed with numbers. Amy had always been fascinated with Paris. It is like her wonderland. Kat and Amy make a plan to visit Paris secretly without anyone’s knowledge, even Amy’s husbands. Demises of Kat due to a prolonged illness, leaves Amy heartbroken and after quite a lot of resistance, Amy decides to visit the city of lights by herself.

Amy at first is very skeptical and conscious about spending time alone in Paris, she even contemplates this to be a bad idea until she meets certain Parisians and decides to be spontaneous and live life for once. Amy’s character seems very timid and skeptical at the beginning but various experiences in Paris change her life. She discovers a lot about herself and her close ones. Shocking revelations are made which prove to be a turning point in Amy’s life.

A lot of French was used in the book, some phrases explained in English and few were to be self explained or assumed by the actions. For someone like me who doesn’t know anything apart from ‘Bonjour’ in French, I felt like I missed out on a few things. Inspite of that I liked the narration and was able to connect with Amy, most of the times. But I found her and even Willam to be very selfish and I am even surprised that they managed to remain married for so long. There was no particular character I really liked but the story as a whole is quite interesting.

Ratings: 3/5

PS: – Thanks to the author for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.
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