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: The Spy

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Title: The Spy

Author: Paulo Coelho

Page: 208 pages

Plot: In his new novel, Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist and Adultery, brings to life one of history’s most enigmatic women: Mata Hari.

HER ONLY CRIME WAS TO BE AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN

When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city.

As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men.

But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage.

Told in Mata Hari’s voice through her final letter, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to defy convention and who paid the ultimate price.

Thoughts:   The Spy is based on the life of Margaretha Zelle, famously known as Mata Hari an exotic dancer who bewitched the most influential men of her time. The book is a historical fiction based during the World War 1.

As a child, Margaretha Zelle was abused by her school principal. She got married to an Indonesian solider and escaped from her home town. Soon she realized that her husband was an abusive man and she tried to put up with it for a few years but after a point she left him and their daughter behind to find solitude in Paris. In Paris she started a life as an exotic oriental dancer and in no time gained popularity amongst the Parisans for both wrong and the right reasons. Soon her lifestyle brought her into suspicion and she was charged of being a double agent and arrested by the French in 1917.

The opening of the book is with a bang on a very crucial note where Mata Hari is being executed by a firing squad and she refuses to wear a mask and faces her death in the eye. Mata Hari is a tale of a woman who dared to defy the conventional norms of the society and had to pay the price for it. There are many books written on Mata Hari but what sets this book apart is the format of the writing. It is written as a letter from Mata Hari to her lawyer and a reply from her lawyer to her. We feel Mata Hari’s pain, enthusiasm, passion, shame, courage, numbness all of it. The author has taken creative leverage and added his own version of fiction to the real story to make the book interesting.

If you like Paulo Coelho’s book and historical fiction do give this book a shot!

Ratings: 3.5/5

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Book Review: Sita: Warrior of Mithila

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Title: Sita: Warrior of Mithila

Author: Amish Tripathi

Plot: India, 3400 BCE.

India is beset with divisions, resentment and poverty. The people hate their rulers. They despise their corrupt and selfish elite. Chaos is just one spark away. Outsiders exploit these divisions. Raavan, the demon king of Lanka, grows increasingly powerful, sinking his fangs deeper into the hapless Sapt Sindhu.

Two powerful tribes, the protectors of the divine land of India, decide that enough is enough. A saviour is needed. They begin their search.

An abandoned baby is found in a field. Protected by a vulture from a pack of murderous wolves. She is adopted by the ruler of Mithila, a powerless kingdom, ignored by all. Nobody believes this child will amount to much. But they are wrong.

For she is no ordinary girl. She is Sita.

Continue the epic journey with Amish’s latest: A thrilling adventure that chronicles the rise of an orphan, who became the prime minister. And then, a Goddess.

This is the second book in the Ram Chandra Series. A sequel that takes you back. Back before the beginning.

Thoughts:   I have read all of Amish Tripathi’s novels. He redefines mythological epics in a way that it interests the youth of today. I have waited ‘TWO YEARS’ for the release of this book and it’s finally here. It was a great opportunity to be present at a book store where the author visited for the promotion of this book. Sita: The Warrior of Mithila is the second installment in the Ramchandra series, Scion of Ikshvaku being the first one.

The book plot needs no introduction. It is inspired from the age old epic Ramayana revisited from Sita’s point of view, giving more power to her and celebrating her as a warrior rather than an obedient wife. The book highlights Sita’s life right from when she was rescued by Queen Sunaina to the time she was abducted by Raavan.

I love reading mythological tales narrated from a female point of view I simply loved the way Sita was portrayed in an unorthodox way. I have always imagined Sita as a damsel in distress until I read this novel where she has a warrior spirit and a will to bring India out of turmoil. The female characters of Queen Sunaina and Samichi are also portrayed as powerful women. The writing flows seamlessly and the manner is mesmerizing.

What makes this series interesting is firstly the fabrication of the epic in a way that it appeals to today’s generation and the fact that each book is narrated from a different point of view. The third book in this series will flow from Raavan’s point of view and I can’t wait to read it. I hope the author doesn’t make us wait this long again.

More power to Sita!!!

Ratings: 5/5

PS: I loved the cover!

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Book Review: The Corner Office

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Title: The Corner Office

Author: Katerina Baker

Page: 180 pages

Plot: Tara Johnson’s sacrifices are about to pay off: a senior executive at thirty-five at a Fortune 500 company, she’s one of the two finalists in line for a Managing Director position. Unfortunately, her rival of fifteen years, the charming, infuriating Richard Boyd, is just as qualified, and unlike her, he’s willing to cross pretty much every line to get what he wants.

Of all the things Tara stored in the attic to make it to the top, it’s her personal life she misses the most. That is, until she starts a steamy affair with sex god Aidan, her direct report. Interoffice relationships with a subordinate can mean the end of a career, and when Richard finds out, it’s the perfect opportunity to take his high-heeled nemesis out, especially since he’s still nursing a grudge against Tara for rejecting him years ago.

But Tara’s increasingly domineering lover has his own dark secrets, endangering more than just her career. As her liaison spirals out of control, salvation will come from the man she always thought she hated, and perhaps the only one to truly understand

Thoughts:  ‘Corner Office’ is a contemporary romance novel revolving mainly around Tara Johnson, a thirty five year old, ambitious senior executive, running for the position of a Managing Director at a Fortune 500 company. She has given it her all, ignored her personal life and relationships to reach where she is. But she is not the only one aspiring to be the Managing Director. Richard Boyd, a fellow senior executive, a rival of Tara’s since fifteen years is ready to give it all to become the MD. He is a charmer and he pretty much gets whoever, whatever he wants with much ease. The rivalry and the constant bickering between Tara and Richard is quite a lot of fun to read. Tara has always been a rule abider until the day Adian, joins her team and she gets into a steamy affair with him. This is against the office policy and the story picks up from here on.

Tara’s character is much likable from the beginning itself. I like her go getter spirit, the way she is focused yet when it comes to her mother she leaves everything behind and attends to her needs, even the tiniest ones and the way she inspires her fellow women employees at Women’s Network. Richard’s character is the one that you will strongly dislike at the beginning but fall in love with towards the end. Adian’s behavior was a bit ambiguous and hence the course of his actions was not justified well. His character seemed to change drastically in a short time. I really didn’t understand why such a strong person like Tara did not put him in his place sooner. Towards the end I really wanted to know who gets the corner office and how. Hopefully there will be sequel.

The story is narrated from Tara’s point of view. The writing is smooth and apart from the romance, the premise also offers a lot of corporate politics, stalking, blackmailing, etc. I quite liked the book. It was a quick read. I wish the author good luck for her book release and I definitely look forward to reading more books from her.

Ratings: 3.5/5

PS: The book releases on 23rd June, 2017.  I would like to thank the author and the publication for sending me the ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Finding the Angel

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Title:  Finding the Angel

Author: Rubina Ramesh

Pages: 139 pages

Plot: All She wanted was love…
Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artifacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…
All He wanted was to trust…
Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…
All They need is to find The Angel…
Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft.
Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?

Thoughts:  “Finding the Angel” is a novel by Rubina Ramesh, the founding member of The Book Club. And there was no chance that I would miss reading this book.

‘The Angel’ mentioned in the title is a rare artifact that goes missing from the Ranuat Dynasty home and the entire plot revolves around finding it, with a passionate love story between a love stuck art curator and an arrogant prince running parallel. Shefali is an art curator by profession who has lost her parents at an early age. She is a person driven by love. A modern day prince, Aryan Ranuat is a charming, womanizer who is arrogant and has major trust issues due to his father. Both are damaged in their own ways. The flames spark between them from the minute they meet but as fate has it they can’t be together, neither can they be apart.

The passion shared between the leads clearly comes across to the reader. I loved how courageous and bold Shefali’s character was. More than the suspense the love story made an impact on me. The book was correctly paced with no pointless descriptions. It was crisp and to the point. The narration manoeuvred between past and the present. I wouldn’t say that the transition was seamless. It was confusing at few points but after reading a bit more the time of incidence taking place became clear.

I loved the story and I personally think that it would make a great Bollywood movie. Once I started the book, it was very difficult to put it aside. I would recommend this book those on the watch out for a royal love story with a suspense angle to it.

Ratings: 4/5

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

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Book Review: A Way Back Into Love

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TitleA Way Back Into Love (Love, #1)

Author:  Veronica Thatcher

Pages: 372 pages

Plot: Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home…to the man she left behind?

Thoughts: I picked this book up since I wanted to read something very light and breezy. This book was definitely that. The story revolves around Emily Stevens and Derek Thrope who are best friends since the first day of school. With time their bond blossoms and so does their feelings for each other. But they dread to confess their feelings for each other in order to preserve their friendship. With one drunken night and lots of misunderstandings Emily moves out of town and Derek ends up with Emily’s mean half sister, Emma. But this is all in the past. Emily is back in Frenso for her surgical internship and she has to face Derek again.

The story is quite predictable but is still fun to read it. The plot was based in present with constant flashbacks from the past. A lot of incidences in the hospital reminded me of the series Grey’s Anatomy. But maybe it’s just me.

The narration is from a third person’s perspective throughout the book. I felt that the narration from both Emily’s and Derek’s POV would have added a flavor, making it easy for the reader to sympathize with the duo. For me the highlight was the relationship that Emily and Derek shared. I loved how they rebounded immediately after Emily’s return inspite of so much hurt and history.

This is a love story that clearly states that confessions at the right time are very important and life may not offer second chances to everybody. This is the first book in the series and I will recommend this book to whoever is looking to read a light, quick love story.

Ratings: 3/5

Buy links: Paperback – http://www.amazon.in/Way-Back- Into-Love/dp/1946641170/
eBooks – https://www.amazon.in/dp/B06WRR5FN3

PS: – Thanks to b00k r3vi3w Tours for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.

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Book review: Maybe Someday

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Title:  Maybe Someday

Author:  Colleen Hoover

 Pages: 385 pages

Plot: Contains exclusive content: songs from Griffin Peterson
Sydney is living in an idyllic bubble—she’s a dedicated student with a steady job on the side. She lives with her best friend, has a great boyfriend, and the music coming from the balcony opposite hers is fast becoming the soundtrack to her life. But when Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, the bubble bursts. The mysterious and attractive man behind the music, Ridge, gives Sydney hope that she can move on and they begin to write songs together. But moving on is harder than she expects, Sydney can only hope….

Maybe someday…

Colleen Hoover draws you in to this passionate tale of music, love and betrayal…

Favorite Quote: “Sometimes in life, we need a few bad days in order to keep the good ones in perspective.”

Thoughts:  Maybe Someday is a refreshing tale of loving, loosing and betrayals. I have become a huge Colleen Hoover fan and with each book I fall more and more in love with her writing. Her characterization is so relatable and well carved that anyone can easily empathize with the protagonists. I specially love the books where the story is being narrated from two different perspectives. I just feel it is easier to understand both the characters well.

This book’s narration switched between Sydney and Ridge’s POV. Sydney is a twenty-four year old music student, with dreams. Her character is very likeable from the beginning. She has very strong morals and I love the way she lives by what she believes in. Ridge is a guy who anyone can fall for easily. He has a big heart and is immensely loyal. I love the way they connect so easily over music and more in spite of all the backlogs they carry. My favorite parts of the book are when Sydney and Ridge are working on music together and their conversations after. Their romance is unordinary, slow build but very intense. My heart went out for both of them every time they had heartache.

The narration is compelling and the story sucked me in, right from the first word. This is one book that will make you want to devour the entire story in one go and make you regret reading it so quickly. I would also like to mention that a special album is curated by Griffin Peterson for all the songs mentioned in the book. I am soon going to download it and I am sure I am going to love them.

I would recommend this book to those looking for an unusually intense tale of love.

Ratings: 4.5/5

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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: Norwegian Wood

 

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Title:  Norwegian Wood

Author: Haruki Murakami

Pages: 389 pages

Plot: Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.

Favorite Quote: Letters are just pieces of paper, burn them and what stays in your heart will stay; keep them, and what vanishes will vanish.

I had heard a lot about this book and I finally picked it up. Let me start by telling you that this is one of the most melancholic book I have every read in my life. The story is nothing extraordinary infact it is quite predictable. But what really makes it interesting is the writing. It just flows like poetry.

Toru, is the protagonist and the book is narrated from his point of view. He is a sensitive guy who understands people and sees them for who they really are. But he can’t open up about his personal life to anyone. At times I felt he is not ready to accept his problems himself.  Naoko is a beautiful, fragile, depressed girl, who is trying to recover after witnessing suicide of her childhood boyfriend/ best friend and her elder sister.  She has never been normal ever since. Reiko, wise, broken woman who is scared to step out in the outside world and is happy in her world created at the sanatorium. And finally Midori who has seen more hurt than she deserves at her age. She is a survivor, fiercely independent and outspoken.

The ending was left to interpretation. Spoiler Alert: – I would have assumed that Toru committed suicide too and he is reaching out to Midori to rescue him if it was not for the beginning where the story is narrated by him 20 years from that time. I believe in happy endings and I chose to believe that the cycle of action of committing suicide and people reacting to it by being depressed and committing suicide themselves was finally broken.

The best part about the book is that the experiences and the journey of life that we see from Toru’s view. I would recommend this book to whoever is up for an emotionally traumatic read.

Ratings: 3.5/5

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