Book Review: 13 Dates

13 Dates

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: 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: 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: 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: Out of the Box Awakening

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Title:  Out of the Box Awakening

Author:  Jennifer Theriot

Pages: 366 pages

Plot: Olivia is a good woman, a good mother, a good wife. She’s got it made. She doesn’t want anything to change.

Of course, it does…
Swept from her perfect paper-doll life in Houston, Olivia finds herself in Chicago, alone, betrayed, and far from home. Soon everything she thought she knew about herself and her life will be challenged. She has only courage, love, and her passion for music to carry her through the maelstrom—or draw her further in.

Ash is the man who has everything—everything except healing from the losses of a lifetime. His only peace lies in the sweet flow of music pouring from his guitar
What happens when the married woman and the handsome widower are thrown together by fate?

Out of the Box Awakening is a story of shared passion and shared joy. Jennifer Theriot has written a compelling book about what happens when two people find new life and new love for themselves and for those around them.

Out of the Box Awakening is the first book in this series. The main purpose of these books is to make women realize that in order to find happiness, sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone. Never be afraid to express your feelings and never, for one minute, think that the right man— your knight in shining armor— won’t come along.

Our protagonist Olivia is in her fifties looking at starting a new life with Ash Harper. Both Olivia and Ash have had a bad marriage and finally find each other to be their soul mates. But this is just the beginning. They have issues of the past to deal with.

Unlike most of the romance novels I have read, this one has a matured elderly couple as the lead. For me this book is more of a power packed family drama with lots of ups and downs, highs and lows, laughter and cries. The friendship bit of it is well highlighted with Todd and Olivia. The book emphasizes on the fact that the unresolved issues of the past can cause trouble in your present life. That is exactly what happens to Olivia and Ash. The story is about how they overcome these issues and have the will to keep moving forward.

Spoiler Alert: It would have been more appealing if the thriller segment towards the end would not be a mere dream, or it should have been completely eliminated.

Never the less, the romance was refreshing and the novel was an enjoyable read.

Ratings: 3/5

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

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Book Review: Inspiring Anusha

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Title:  Inspiring Anusha

Author:  M.L. Sawyer

Pages: 79 pages

Plot: Mara Loughlin is a depressed and struggling songwriter. After being abandoned by her boyfriend and receiving scathing reviews on her latest work, she embarks on a soul-searching journey to India for inspiration.

On a train tour through the Indian countryside, she meets Nirav, a kind and charismatic India native who teaches Mara, whom he affectionately calls Anusha, about culture, passion, and love.

Inspiring Anusha is an Indian/American romance novel. Our protagonist Mara is a depressed soul, a struggling songwriter and has been recently dumped by her boyfriend. She is deeply moved by the music of an Indian sitar player and decides to undertake a soul searching trip to India.  Little did she know that she will meet her soul- mate, Nirav on this journey.

I liked the plot of the book where a depressed soul is trying to find herself and embarks a journey towards inspiration. The plot reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love.  The reuniting of soul mates was quite evident but the inspiration bit didn’t come across very well. I was expecting a little more emphasis to be given to the ‘seeking inspiration from India’ bit. The plot had great potential but the weaving of the story could have been better. I didn’t feel emotionally connected to the characters since the story was just touched upon.I understand that it was meant to be a quick read but an addition for a few pages focusing on the inspiration would have built a connect with the reader and taken it to another level.

I would recommend this book to those who are looking for a romance novel that can be read it one sitting.

Ratings: 3/5

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

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Book Review: The One

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Title:  The One (The Selection #3)

Author: Kiera Cass

Pages: 323 pages

Plot: The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

Favorite Quote: “Leave it to you to find beauty in something others would say ruins a day.”

This is the final (third book) in the Selection trilogy. You can read my reviews for The Selection here and for The Elite here. This book carries on the story right where the previous book ended. ‘The One’ embarks the growth in America’s character. She holds on to her beliefs and values even though she goofs up majorly. No mistakes made by her can overshadow the strength of her character. She shines through the book for the stand she takes. Maxon finally learns to trust. He lets down his guard, opens up like never before and starts sharing his thoughts and feelings. The development of America’s and Maxon’s characters was the highlight for me. Their relationship matures and deepens with passing time, and it becomes evidently visible that they are made for each other.

Rebels had been a part of the plot since the beginning. The earlier two books did mention the rebels, but this book throws a better insight at their purpose. The twist of the rebels makes the book interesting and breaks the monotony of the selection.

The flow of the story is quite unsurprising but as far as the series finale is concerned, I am quite content with the way things turn out in the end. I would defiantly recommend this book to those who have read the first two parts and are contemplating on reading the third one.

Ratings: 3.5/5

PS: I loved the covers of all the books. They were one of the reasons why I choose to read this series in the first place. 😉

 

 

Book Review: The Elite

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Title:  The Elite (The Selection #2)

Author: Kiera Cass

Pages: 336 pages

Plot: The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Favorite Quote: “Sometimes I feel like we’re a knot, too tangled to be taken apart.”

This is the second book in the Selection series. Read my review for the first book The Selection here. The Elite starts of exactly where the previous book ended. The girls have been reduced from thirty five to six. Maxon has to pick a queen and America has to choose between Maxon and Aspen.

This book like earlier one is high on drama, bitchiness, jealousy, revelation of dark secrets and cut throat competition. There is a very interesting love triangle between America, Maxon and Aspen. There are many heart touching moments between America and Maxon. Those are easily the highlights of the book for me. I honestly wanted America to take a decision but I think I will have to wait until the next book.

I don’t know why I am so into reading this series but I am definitely going to read third book ‘The One’. Over all, the book is a very quick and a fast read just like the previous one. It can be easily devoured in two to three hours. If you are looking for some romance and love triangles with a lot of drama and jealousy, this book is for you.

Ratings: 3/5

 

Book Review: The Selection

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Title:  The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Pages: 336 pages

Plot: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Favorite Quote: “True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.”

I had contemplated a lot before picking up this series. I am kind of done with these sorts of books but the series became so popular that I had to read and find out what the hype is all about.  This is the first book in The Selection Series.

The book is plotted in the fictitious world of Illea where the humans are divided by their caste number from one to eight, eight being the lowest. Their jobs and lifestyles are also determined according to the caste they belong too. America Singer our protagonist belongs to caste five which consists of artists, musicians, singers, etc. The country of Illea determines the next queen who is to marry Prince Maxon by a process of selection. While participating in Selection is a dream come true for most of the girls, it is a nightmare for America Singer, but she does it anyway. As it turns out America manages to strike a deal with the Prince and starts to like the palace after all.

The process of Selection and the rounds of elimination are filled with excitement, bitchiness, competition, etc.The plot is quite predictable but still a delightful read. I loved the relationship America and Maxon shared. There is not much substance in this book; it is not going to enrich your life in anyway. But it will definitely entertain you. I will be reviewing the other books in this series, so stay tuned! J

Ratings: 3/5