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: Our Souls at Night

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Title: Our Souls at Night

Author: Kent Haruf

Page: 179 pages

Plot: In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Favorite Quote: “Who would have thought at this time in our lives that we’d still have something like this. That it turns out we’re not finished with changes and excitements. And not all dried up in body and spirit.”

Thoughts:  This book was written by the author on his death bed. It is an unconventional tale of two old people trying to find comfort in each other and facing resistance from the society and their children. Addie Moore and Louis Water are neighbors in the small town of Holt, Colorado.  Both of them have lost their spouses and their children are away living their own lives. Both in their seventies live alone and crave companionship.

Days still pass by with chores to do but nights are the toughest. Addie and Louis make an arrangement where at night Louis visits Addie’s home. They talk about their lives, their wishes, etc and find solace in each other’s company. Soon in the small town the rumors spread and Addie and Louis have to deal with the people and even their children.

This book is nothing like what I have read before. The plot is different from what I usually read and also the age bracket of the protagonists especially being portrayed in this light. The characters are well carved and easy to sympathize with. The narration is seamless and poetic at times, though I don’t know why the quotations before the speech are completely edited. It got a while for me to get use to reading like this.

Overall, the book is about two old people trying to make the last leg of their lives finding comfort in companionship. The story is beautiful, tender and heart touching.

Rating: 3.5/5

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Book Review: Let it Snow

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Title: Let it Snow

Author:  Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle

Page: 365 pages

Plot: Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

Favorite Quote: “I always had this idea that you should never give up a happy middle in the hopes of a happy ending, because there is no such thing as a happy ending. Do you know what I mean? There is so much to lose.”

Thoughts:   The book has three stories written by the three best selling YA authors. The plot is based around the time of Christmas. All three love stories are interconnected in some way and towards the end we see all the three couples brought together. Let’s see each story one by one.

The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson: We follow Jubliee here. She has her Christmas planned with her “perfect” boyfriend Noah. Until her parents are put behind bars and she has to leave for Florida immediately. It’s snowing heavily and her train cannot go further and she is stuck in Gracetown where she meets Stuart, a sweet boy whose family offers Jubliee shelter until the storm ends. Her encounter with Stuart makes her realize a lot of things about herself.  It is a very cute tale of meeting a stranger who helps Jubliee with self realization and turns a nightmarish Christmas into the best one.

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A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green: Tobin, Angie (famously known as Duke) and JP are watching a James Bond movie while it is snowing outside. Tobin gets an unexpected call from a friend working at the Waffle House that a Christmas miracle has taken place and the otherwise dull Waffle House is filled with Cheerleaders. He commands Tobin and his friend to come there immediately with Twister. Considering this as a once in a life event all three of them struggle their way through the snow and finally reach the Waffle House only to realize that Tobin and Angie have always liked each other.  It is a very sweet story about two friends liking each other but not realizing it. I felt that the story was a little dragged but the end made up for it.

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The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle:  Addie and Jeb are having relationship troubles and they break up right before Christmas. She emails him to meet her at Starbucks and his not turning up means only one thing. He is not interested in patching up. On top of it Addie impulsively colored her naturally beautiful blond hair ‘Pink’. Plus her best friends think she is self obsessed and she doesn’t think about others as much. On the day of Christmas Addie has an early morning shift at Starbucks. In between she has to pick up a teacup pig for her best friend. She has so much going within her and experiences a major moment of self discovery. There are lots of ups and downs in their relationship but they still stick together through it all. I kind of like this tale the most.  Plus angels and teacup pigs add a flavor to it.

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All three tales are sweet, funny at times, mushy, cute and hilarious. This is a light hearted book, perfect to read on a lazy, cozy afternoon, curled by in a blanket with a cup of coffee.

Rating: 3.5/5

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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: Mary Poser

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Title: Mary Poser: Butterflies and white lies as Bollywood Comes to Nashville

Author: Angel A.

Pages: 478 pages

Plot: The recipe for a warm and humorous story…

In a modest bowl of Nashville, gently place a girl who is Country music, Bible belt, and a Steakhouse foodie.

Then add a surprise portion of exotic and handsome Anglo Indian, who is a passionate Bollywood director, vegetarian and Hindu.

Stir vigorously on a bed of intense attraction.

At first, the ingredients will seem to clash and separate.

Keep stirring…

Include a dollop of jealous boyfriend and a meddling mother.

Splash in a serving of fun and mischievous friends. Keep stirring…

Add a dash of crazy aunt and a minister father to keep the flavors working together.

Sprinkle in even more complicated family members to taste.

Cook on high emotions.

The secret ingredient that cuts through the sweetness is a final layer of shocking revelation that adds a surprising depth of flavor.

Finish with a twist of ‘Oh My God! Is she really going to do that?’.

Serve as tasty bite-size chapters in a novel dish of mayhem and madness with a side of Country music and Bollywood dancing.

Thoughts:  This book had me at the mention of Bollywood. I had to pick it up and find out an American’s perception about it. Mary Poser is plotted in Nashville, also known as the Bible belt.

Mary’s family is a traditional Christan family, making her an ideal daughter even if she has to let go off her dreams. Mary attends a Film Festival with her friends one night and meets this dashing Indian film director, Simha. Both are drawn towards each other and connect instantaneously. Bam! Mary’s conscious reminds her that she cannot fall in love with a non Christian man but her heart says otherwise. And the turmoil begins… With on and off communication and a lot of drama, Mary and Simha try to find their way in and out of this situation.

The plot seemed promising but the writing failed to live up to the mark. The characterization demanded more strength. The religiousness and at times racism came across more strongly than the love story. I couldn’t connect with Mary’s character since it didn’t seem realistic. Her choices in life were appalling and seemed too extreme. I enjoyed Mary’s and Simha’s love story in bits and pieces. The fact that for most of the book Mary was dating another guy she wasn’t in love with, diluted the love story.  What I really liked was Rumi’s quote references made at the beginning of each chapter. I loved the end with the butterflies in it.  To wrap it up, this was a mediocre book with mediocre plot and weak characterization.

Ratings: 2.5/5

PS: – Thanks to author for sending me a copy of this book via Netgalley 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: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

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Title:  By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Author:  Paulo Coelho

Pages: 208 pages

Plot: Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader. She has learned well how to bury her feelings . . . and he has turned to religion as a refuge from his raging inner conflicts.

Now they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties, as long-buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after more than a decade. But in a small village in the French Pyrenees, by the waters of the River Piedra, a most special relationship will be reexamined in the dazzling light of some of life’s biggest questions.

Favorite Quote: “Life takes us by surprise and orders us to move toward the unknown -even when we don’t want to and when we think we don’t need to.”

Thoughts:  By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept is a tale of spiritual journey of love, sufferings and relationships. Just like most of the Paulo Coelho books, this book too projects things which have a greater meaning in life.

Pilar our protagonist is an independent woman whose expectations from life are getting a job, marrying having kids and living a normal life. Until she meets her childhood love who is a spiritual leader, who sees the world with a different perspective. He has the power to heal the pain and his destiny is to serve the world.

The narration of the book is very poetic and dreamy; the words pierce right through your soul making it a surreal reading experience. The story is average but the mystical narration makes up for it. I love that God is believed to be a female figure. I did miss out on a lot of Catholic references made in the book since I don’t understand Catholicism much but I could quite connect with the explanation of accepting, loving, surrendering, suffering and losing.

I would recommend this book to all those who are firstly Paulo Coelho fans and secondly interested in a well narrated story.

Ratings: 3.5/5

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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: Hello, Agnieszka! (Between Two Worlds #2)

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Title:  Hello, Agnieszka! (Between Two Worlds #2)

Author:  E. Journey

 Pages: 275 pages

Plot: A raw tale of early love, rivalry and betrayal.
A passion for music. Her oldest son’s suicide attempt forces Agnieszka to reveal a past she has kept from her children. A young Agnieszka discovers a passion for music upon hearing her grand-aunt Jola, a concert pianist in Poland, give a recital. Jola hones her talent and feeds her dreams of becoming a concert pianist.
Shattered dreams. But real-world problems, thorny relations with a mother tied to her roots and betrayal by lusty Aunt Jola a shatter her dreams.
A 70s love story. Young Agnieszka finds love that renews her hopes for happiness. Sadly, it ends, cut short by forces outside anyone’s control. Sustained by music and memories of her first love, Agnieszka grows and gets a second chance at happiness.

What happens when you have to disclose the past that you were trying to bury to protect your children? Hello, Agnieska the second book in Between Two Worlds series is all about the buried past re-routing itself into the present. In the last book, Hello, My love we see the ups and downs in Elise & Gerg’s relationship. The second book picks up from where we left, but the difference is that the protagonist of this book is Elise’s mother, Agnieska.

Agnieska is forced to reveal her past to her children when her eldest son, Peter tries to commit suicide out of depression and is diagnosed with a genetic disease.   The book takes us through Agniseka’s rough childhood, her tough relationship with her mother. She finds herself drawn to becoming a pianist when she hears her aunt Jola play and playing the piano becomes her only comfort through her rough days.

The story is poignant and churns a lot of emotions in the reader. Agnieska comes across as a very strong character, making her and inspiration for turning around things in life. She is an epitome of strength and determination. The narration is evocative and I loved this book much more than the first one.

This book is a tale about heartbreaks, rough childhood, loving and losing, hitting the rock bottom and learning to rise again.

Rating: 4.5/5

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

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