Book Review: Degrees of Love

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach

Author: Lisa Slabach

Pages: 344 pages

Plot: At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She’s just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style.

Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt’s work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.

Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Working and traveling together, she and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time—maybe ever—Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is. Certain she would never allow their friendship to cross the line, Susan lets herself stray dangerously close to the edge.

A moment of weakness changes everything. Now, unable to stomach the façade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream.

Thoughts: In ‘Degrees of Love’ we follow Susan a Silicon Valley, soccer mom who is dedicated to her two boys, her husband and her career. Susan just got a promotion as the vice president in her company and a hike in her salary. She has it all from a lovely family, to a promising career, but things that look perfect from outside really aren’t so perfect.

Her husband, Matt is not exactly what she needs in a husband. Over the years he has become indifferent and distant. She craves to connect with him at all levels. Matt had already made her quit acting which she loved, after they were married and now, he is unhappy with the time Susan has to dedicate to her job. There is unspoken discontent between the couple but they are determined to stick together for the boys, until Reese comes into the picture. Reese is Susan’s boss who soon becomes Susan’s friend and more. They have a spark and an understanding that Matt and Susan never had. Susan tries to distant herself from him as much as she can but all her efforts are down the drain. They are drawn to each other like a moth to fire.

This is the first time I have read a book where adultery is the key plot. I in no way support or accept cheating in a relationship, but the way Lisa has narrated the story and explained Susan’s plight in a way that I felt empathetic towards her. I could understand why she was doing what she did. The characters are as real as it gets. May it be Susan, Resee or Matt; each character’s actions were justified.  There was no right no wrong everyone was right on their part.

The narration was seamless and was moving at a steady pace throughout. The story picked up towards the end since the three quarters of the book was plot and character building. I am glad that the book ended in the way that I was hoping for. 🙂

About the Author: Degrees of Love is Lisa Slabach’s debut novel. She is currently working on her third full-length manuscript and a collection of short stories inspired by her experiences growing up in a small farm community in Washington’s Yakima Valley. In addition to writing, Lisa works for a Fortune 500 Company, leading a sales team in the financial industry. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and has two daughters, who are both pursuing careers in film. In her free time, she enjoys drinking wine with friends and cooking in her pink kitchen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Book Review: Without Merit

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Title: Without Merit

Author: Colleen Hoover

Pages: 384 pages

Plot: Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Favorite Quote: “It annoys me when people try to convince other people that their anger or stress isn’t warranted if someone else in the world is worse off than them. It’s bullshit. Your emotions and reactions are valid, Merit. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. You’re the only one who feels them.”

Thoughts: It’s not a secret that I am a huge fan of Colleen Hoover’s work. ‘Without Merit’ won the Goodreads Readers Choice Awards 2017 in Romance category this year. She is the queen of contemporary love stories and this is the third consecutive year she has nailed this award.

This book revolves around a house, (not a home as Merit says) Dollar Voss where the Voss family resides. The family is dysfunctional in ways beyond it appears. We follow Merit Voss, through the book who is obsessed with buying trophies for every crisis she bypasses. Bigger the crises better the trophy. Her mother is a cancer patient living in the basement inspite of being divorced to her father. Her father is married to her mother’s former nurse Victoria.

Oh, did I mention Merit has an identical twin? Honor and Merit only look alike but they are starkly different in their personalities and don’t really get along anymore. She has one brother Utah and a half brother, Moby. And then comes Sagan, the only man who catches Merit’s eye from the first time they meet, which soon turns into a disaster. We also meet Luck who is Victoria’s half brother and quite a colorful character. These are the characters we encounter in the book.

Firstly for me this didn’t strike as a romance novel. It was more of a book about self discovery and family drama. A sweet romantic tale between Merit and Sagan was unfolding side by side. The book unfolds from Merit’s point of view. She is living with a lot of buried secrets and hurt within her. She is in complete denial that she is in depression to the extent that she becomes suicidal. Each character is thoughtfully carved.

I love the narration and the flow of the book. I like that the issues like depression are addressed in the book. There is always something about the authors writing that is so addictive, intruding and thoroughly entertaining. I would strongly recommend this book to everybody who likea Hoover’s book and otherwise.

Ratings: 4/5

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Book Review: Asura: Tale Of The Vanquished

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Title: Asura: Tale Of The Vanquished

Author: Anand Neelakantan

Pages: 504 pages

Plot: The epic tale of victory and defeat… The story of the Ramayana had been told innumerable times. The enthralling story of Rama, the incarnation of God, who slew Ravana, the evil demon of darkness, is known to every Indian. And in the pages of history, as always, it is the version told by the victors that lives on. The voice of the vanquished remains lost in silence.

But what if Ravana and his people had a different story to tell? The story of the Ravanayana has never been told. Asura is the epic tale of the vanquished Asura people, a story that has been cherished by the oppressed castes of India for 3000 years. Until now, no Asura has dared to tell the tale. But perhaps the time has come for the dead and the defeated to speak.

“For thousands of years, I have been vilified and my death is celebrated year after year in every corner of India. Why? Was it because I challenged the Gods for the sake of my daughter? Was it because I freed a race from the yoke of caste-based Deva rule? You have heard the victor’s tale, the Ramayana. Now hear the Ravanayana, for I am Ravana, the Asura, and my story is the tale of the vanquished.”

“I am a non-entity – invisible, powerless and negligible. No epics will ever be written about me. I have suffered both Ravana and Rama – the hero and the villain or the villain and the hero. When the stories of great men are told, my voice maybe too feeble to be heard. Yet, spare me a moment and hear my story, for I am Bhadra, the Asura, and my life is the tale of the loser.”

The ancient Asura empire lay shattered into many warring petty kingdoms reeling under the heel of the Devas. In desperation, the Asuras look up to a young saviour – Ravana. Believing that a better world awaits them under Ravana, common men like Bhadra decide to follow the young leader. With a will of iron and a fiery ambition to succeed, Ravana leads his people from victory to victory and carves out a vast empire from the Devas. But even when Ravana succeeds spectacularly, the poor Asuras find that nothing much has changed from them. It is then that Ravana, by one action, changes the history of the world.

Favorite Quote: “I had lived as Ravana and I would die as Ravana. I did not intend to become Rama, the perfect man and God. There was no dearth of gods in my country. It only lacked men.”

Thoughts: This book has been on my TBR for a long time. I love reading retellings of old age epics from different perspectives. It is always intruding to read a story from the voice other than the one popularly heard. ‘Asura’ is a retelling of Ramayana from Ravana’s point of view. I was sold by reading the premise itself. I had to read it.

In this book we follow two protagonists, Ravana, the great evil king, savior of Asura race and Bhadra, a loyal servant of Ravana. The book is narrated from both their perspectives. We follow Ravana from the time he was an angry child to the time after his death. We follow Bhadra from the time his village was attacked by the Deva warriors until the end of the book. The story is something that every Indian has been hearing since the childhood. But what sets it apart is the perception and a little twist added by the author.

The book justifies Ravana’s action and treating Asuras as the oppressed and Deva’s as the oppressors. I must say the author to quite an extent achieved this. There were parts where the plot of original epic is really challenged so brilliantly that it is almost believable. I am talking about the part where Ravana’s and Sita’s relationship is concerned. (I don’t want to give out spoilers so this is all I will mention) It is well narrated with an explanation that actually makes sense.

I literally had a love-hate relationship with this book. There are parts that I absolutely loved reading and parts that I didn’t. My favourite part of the book is where Ravana having ten heads is explained and the part which proves that Ravana is more human than Rama. I thought the book was too lengthy and at times the dialogues and descriptions too. I had to read this book taking a lot of breaks because it was difficult to read it at a stretch. The flow of the book was patchy and writing inconsistent.

Overall, I would say the premise was well carved but the writing could have been better. I would suggest you to read this book in breaks and only if you love reading retellings where villain is portrayed the hero and his actions are justified.

PS: I loved the cover!

Ratings: 3/5

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Book Review & Giveaway: Ghost Owl

Title: Ghost Owl

Author: Nancy Schoellkopf

Pages: 187

Plot: Ghost Owl is a magical story of discovery, as a young woman seeks to understand her potential and confront her own shadow. Mariah Easter wakes up in the middle of the night to discover the world is as bright as noon—but for her eyes only. Urged by her godfather, she embarks on a mission to peer into the dark spaces normally hidden from view, leading her to confront the sinister nature of power, the vulnerability of the ill, and the hidden life of a homeless man: a journey that will bring healing to herself and the man she loves.

This compelling and inspirational tale, the third installment of the Avian Series, invites the reader to ponder the extraordinary treasures hidden in the ordinary events of daily life.

Thoughts: Ghost Owl is a third installment in the Avian series, but it can be read as a standalone book too. I haven’t read the first two parts and I read Ghost Owl directly. It is not absolutely necessary to read the first two parts but I would recommend reading it for better understanding of the magical concepts and the characters’ relationships.

The book starts of with our protagonist, Mariah having a strange recurring dream. She realizes that it is just not a dream but much more. She starts to see things as bright as noon even at night. Mariah consults her God father and decides to explore the possibilities.  She has different adventures night after night and decides to keep a journal about her experiences.

One day Mariah suddenly goes missing. Everyone is worried for her in the meanwhile Rafa, her roommate discovers her journal and carefully reads it just to find out where she could be. He and Mariah’s half brother, Dale visit places mentioned in Mariah’s journal with a hope of finding her.

The book is divided in twenty seven chapters. Most of the chapters are journal entries from Mariah and from Mariah’s perspective which are narrated from the first person POV. The remaining chapters are from the third person POV of the other characters. The flow of the book is easygoing and the edit seems crisp.

I found the dynamics of the relationship that Mariah and Rafa shared to be complex for my understanding. Since I haven’t read the first two books, it took me a while to latch on to the concept of Ghost Owl and its powers. But soon I understood the concept and started to enjoy my read. What I enjoyed were the parts with magical revelations and the idea of alternate dimensions which exposed the diverse possibilities.  It sort of created a metaphor for the readers to think of altering their lifestyles and decisions to lead a life that they actually wish for.

Meet the Author: Nancy Schoellkopf is the author of the Avian Series of novels including Yellow-Billed Magpie and Red-Tailed Hawk, as well as the short story collection Rover and Other Magical Tales. She has been telling stories and writing poems for many lifetimes. It goes without saying that she’s needed a second income, so this time around she happily taught amazing children in special education classes in two urban school districts in Sacramento, California. A full time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden and her intriguing circle of family and friends.

Ratings: 3/5

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

 
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Book Review: The Rose and the Dagger

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Title:  The Rose and the Dagger

Author:  Renne Ahdieh

Page: 416 pages

Plot: The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

Favourite Quote: “It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”

Thoughts:   This is the second and final part in ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’ Series. You can checkout my review for part one here. As you know I loved the part one and was eager to read the final book. I am so glad that book two didn’t disappoint me.

This book picks up right where the book one concluded.  After the stormy night in Rey, the city is a shattered. Shazi leaves Khalid and goes to live with her family and Tariq in the camps. Khalid and Shazi are separated with a longing to be reunited. After Shazi comes to know the curse bestowed upon Khalid and the kingdom of Khorasan, she is determined to set both the king and kingdom free from its spell.

She soon discovers that she is more powerful than she thought. She has innate magical skills which she needs to master. Jointly they find a way to dissolve the spell, save the kingdom and be together. Their path is filled with thorns. But as the book mentions, the best essence of the rose is the thorn.

The book is filled with a lot of twists and turns that are jaw dropping. The writing like the previous book is majestic. My favorite character is Shazi and I continue to remain a fan of her wit and courage in this book too. Sharzad is fiercer than before as our heroine. In the first book her heart was torn between revenge for her friend and love for Khalid. In this book she was determined and surely knew her heart’s desire. Khalid’s character changed from an evil being, a perceived emotionless husband to a protective, loving one. Their relationship moved from young love torn between love and hate to a matured, secured one. The other characters are also well constructed. This book has more magic, love, betrayals and action scenes compared to the previous one. The plot that was erected in book one was beautifully taken forward in book two. The plot is evocative and I was absorbed in the book from the start till the end.

Over all the book is beautifully written, with well constructed characters and an exciting plot which keeps you gripped throughout.

Rating: 4/5

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Book Review: The Art of Hiding

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Title: The Art of Hiding

Author:  Amanda Prowse

Page: 290 pages

Plot: What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.

Thoughts:  Nina McCarrick our lead is a housewife in her mid thirties living in a posh estate in England. She leads a luxurious life with her husband and two sons. One day her husband is meets with a car accident and dies. She finds herself in turmoil when she finds out that her husband hadn’t told her that they are nose deep in debt. She loses everything, their business, property, wealth and even her house. All she is left with is her two children to take care of. She has no money, no skills to carry on her life and yet she is determined to make it. Once again she finds herself in the modest house she spent her time as a child.

We follow the story from Nina’s perspective with a third person’s point of view. The story mostly revolves around Nina’s struggle to find her feet and nurture her boys after her husband dies. Her journey of transformation from a domesticated house wife to a strong independent woman is what makes this book thought provoking inspite of a common plot. What I didn’t like about this book are the parts where Nina’s relationship with other apart from her family did seem superficial.

I read a kindle copy of the book. The book is divided in 15 chapters. The language is quite simple and easy to understand. Over all the book has a common plot but Nina and her boys journey of starting from a scratch after losing everything is quite heart-warming.

Rating: 4/5

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

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Book Review: Soulmate: A Novel of Eternal Love

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Title:  Soulmate: A Novel of Eternal Love

Author:  Deepak Chopra

Page: 290 pages

Plot: One of the world’s foremost leaders in the field of mind-body medicine turns his talents and vision to fiction with an absorbing, mystical tale of a love that conquers death itself…

Gifted young doctor Raj Rabban is about to have his whole world turned upside down-when a chance encounter on a subway introduces him to the kind of happiness he never thought possible.

But life with his true soulmate is cut short by tragedy, and Raj must undertake a courageous journey beyond the scope of his five senses to regain it.

Favourite Quote: “Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment, are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution.”

Thoughts:   I have enjoy watching speeches and video by Deepak Chopra and also reading non-fiction books by him. I quite like his philosophy and ideologies about mind, body and spirit. I was totally unaware that the author also wrote fiction until I came across this book at a library. I was immediately intrigued by the title and the author and had to pick it up.

In the book we follow Dr Raj Rabban who treats mentally ill patients. He is engaged to a self confident woman Maya and is soon going to marry her. One day Raj meets a gorgeous theatre artist, Molly on a train ride and is immediately drawn towards her. They end up spending a lot of time together to the extent that he starts cheating on Maya with her. He does feel guilty about it and comes clean to Maya eventually. Soon Maya and Raj call it an off. An unfortunate accident takes place and Molly is no more. But Raj can still see her, feel her and talk to her. She guides him, because she lives within him, as a soulmate.

I quite believe in the concept of souls travelling and evolving together over lifetimes. When I picked this book up I thought some new avenues will open up in this area and I will learn something more.  Sadly, I was met with disappointment.

Firstly the plot took a lot of time to build up. The way the story unveiled was quite slow and dialogues rather awkward. I honestly didn’t connect with any of the characters. Their portrayed personalities and the way they acted were quite off. Maybe the author wanted to point out that one breaks free on encountering one’s soul mate, but it didn’t come across convincingly.

I understand that the author wanted to convey a love that is beyond the worldly measures that is why Raj seeing Molly while was engaged to Maya was narrated so lightly but it didn’t sit well with me. Also, Maya inspite of being portrayed as a strong woman forgave Raj so easily and accepted him.  I didn’t like the unfaithfulness and dishonestly being justified by the author.

What I liked about the book were a few philosophies which were very thoughtful and it made me think. Book highlights for me were the parts where Raj started treating his patients with Molly’s help and his spiritual evolution, using unusual techniques.

The takeaway from the book was quite less compared to the efforts one has to take to read the entire book. By the end of the book I was left with confusing feelings about the book. I was trying to like it because of my fondness for the other but I simply couldn’t. Overall the book didn’t meet what was expected out of it. I would prefer to stick with reading the non-fiction books by this author.

Rating: 3/5

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Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

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Title:  The Wrath and the Dawn

Author:  Renne Ahdieh

Page: 395 pages

Plot: One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Favourite Quote: “Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”

Thoughts:   There was so much hype created around this series that I had to read it. This is a fantasy fiction based in the kingdom of Khorasan. The Caliph of Khorasan, an eighteen year old king is considered a monster. He takes in a new bride every night and has her executed the next morning. Sharzad our female lead has lost her dear friend to this inhumanity and decides to take revenge for her death. Sharzad volunteers to be the next Calipha of Khorasan. The night after they are married, Sharzad narrates an enticing story to the Caliph and decides to reveal the end only on the next night. This is how she manages to survive night after night.

But nothing is what it seems like to Sharzad. She decides to get to the bottom of the truth of why the women are being murdered at dawn. The relationship between Khalid and Shazi builds, from hatred to empathy to love. Their love story is weaved by creating beautiful situations,with beautiful words. There were few phrases where reading once was just not enough.

Apart from the main leads I loved Despina’s character. She is Shazi’s hand maiden and so witty and quick. The other important character was of Tariq, an old friend/lover of Shrazad is determined to kill the Caliph and set Sharzad free. But the question was if Shrazad really wanted to be set free?

The plot reminded me of the Arabian nights. But there is much more to it. More than the plot I loved the way the story unfolded. The writing is what I liked the most about the book. Some people might be of an opinion that it was too flowery and over written but for me the writing is what made this book beautiful. I loved Sharzad’s character. She is so self empowered, determined and fearless. When her heart and mind were conflicted about Khalid, I struggled too. I was basically transported to Khoransan every time I was reading the book. Towards the end there is a little magic that comes into picture. Hopefully we will see more of it in the next book.

I am almost done with ‘The Rose and the Dagger’. Will be reviewing it soon.

Rating: 4/5

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Book Review: The Sialkot Saga

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Title: The Sialkot Saga

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Page: 588 pages

Plot: ‘When it’s a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.’

The trajectories of Arvind and Arbaaz, both ‘businessmen’ of a kind whose lives are unwillingly intertwined, ricochet off one another while they play out their sinister and murderous plots of personal and professional one-upmanship, all the while breaking every rule in the book.

Both are unaware that what they seek and fight over is the very obstacle in realising an ancient secret that dates back to a time long forgotten.

And yet, at the heart of it all, there lies tenderness… and pathos… and blood… and rare moments of an almost exalted happiness. So, can it be that a man is both sinner and saint, victor and victim, black and white?

Ashwin Sanghi, master storyteller and spinner of yarns, weaves together threads of the past and present, fact and fiction, history and mythology, business and politics, love and hatred while dangling you ceaselessly over the cliff with this chilling multi-layered narrative, keeping you guessing till a totally unguessable end.

And you’re left wondering whether it’s a matter of faith… or fate?

Favourite Quote: “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you,”

Thoughts:  I have wanted to read this book since its release and finally I did. I am a big fan of Ashwin Sangi’s books. Inspite of his books being fictional, his research is through. I admire his style of seamlessly blending fiction with history.

Like all his books, this one too is based in different eras. The historic era mentioned in the book starts from Ashoka’s empire, proceeding to the other kings and their kingdoms. The second era starts from the times of the India-Pakistan partition and progresses across the lives of our two lead protagonists, Arvind and Arbaaz, between the year1947 to 2010.

The plot revolves around overly ambitious and power hungry Arving and Arbaaz. Arvind is brought up in a Marwari business family in Calcutta. He has a knack of business since a young age. He rises with his risky and instinctive buying and selling businesses and becomes one of the most renowned businessmen in the country. On the other hand Arbaaz has seen struggle since childhood, being from a under privileged family. He joins the underworld under the guidance of Abdul dada and a few friends and finds his way up to the pinnacle. Both their personal and professional lives are intertwined.

Majority of the book is focused on the lives of these two characters who carve their different paths to make their mark on the world. The plot has a lot of twists and turns, some unbelievable coincidence (a little more than one can fathom) the one mentioned in the epilogue being the most coincidental.  The characters are very well developed. Each character’s actions were justified and were in sync with the events. The partition period was narrated descriptively giving a proper understanding of the flow of events. But in my opinion the historic era lacks it’s due and it could have been elaborated a little more. The writing and the story line as usual was very captivating. The book is almost 600 pages but I did not mind it at all.

Over all, the book is a historical fiction with a quest to uncover a secret, towards the end.

Rating: 4/5

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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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