Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A twist of date by Susan Hatler #5

Genre: Romance
Language: English
Pages: 138
Publisher: Hatco. Inc. (29th July, 2013)

Malanie Porter has been dumped, again. When others accuse her of 'being in love with being in love', she agrees to let her best friend, Patti, step in and direct her dating life.

Patti charts out a few rules and calls them 'the boyfriend bylaws'. Malanie has to adhere to 'em if she doesn't want to lose her Betty, the shiny convertible Beetle, and wants her love life to pep up.

Previously titled as 'The boyfriend Bylaws', A twist of date is the fifth book in 'better date than never' series. Though a part of a series, it can be read as a standalone novella.

Main character/narrator is an adorable and beautiful Malanie who happens to be in love with the idea of being in love. She seems to make a prince out of every guy she meets, expecting long term commitment from them within a week. Idolizing a guy only blinds her from seeing his flaws and she ends with her heart broken each time.

The reason behind her desperate attempts to find true, everlasting love is she has had too many failed relationships and she has only ever loved one guy, Matt who is seemingly unattainable. Matt is that charming, player man who can't stick around with one woman for long. And at 27, Malanie can't afford casual flings.
So to suppress her true feelings for Matt, she looks to invest those overwhelming emotions into other guys. She also has a compulsive desire to prove she is nothing like her mother who loved and left.

I enjoyed the book a lot. The writing flows with ease from scene to scene and dialogues are crisp. Those roller coaster emotions the narrator feels are well painted with words.

Climax of the story was predictable but not dull. Ending could have been a little more elaborate.

The thing that prodded me was the sisters mended the bridges too abruptly. From the start, we are made to believe Malanie's step sister is an epitome of perfection and that they both don't get along too well.
But at the end with sharing one secret they suddenly cry in each others arms and profess their sisterly love.

Matt's character is easily likable. Malanie feels real and has our sympathy till the end.

Random thoughts:I downloaded this book on Kindle primarily because it was free and I wanted to read a quick, light chic lit. But Susan Hatler, must i say, was a pleasant discovery and I'm planning to buy other books by her in the series.

Overall: A perfect lunch break read.

Stars: 4/5

Sunday, 20 April 2014

To all the boys I've loved before by Jenny Han #1

Genre: Young Adult
Language: English
Pages: 368
Publisher: Simon and Schuster books (April 15, 2014)

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letter in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letter that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved- five in all. When she writes, she pours her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

The whole point of the book is not if all the guys she likes fall to her feet when they receive her letters or not. Or if she ends up with four options to choose from.

It’s more about her growing up, judging people right, not hiding away from her emotions and her sisters and taking responsibility for her actions. She has to do a lot of things on her own when her elder sister takes off to Scotland for further studies. The responsibility to care for a sister seven years younger, drive around, make sure there’s breakfast, lunch, dinner every day on the table, do laundry, be strong and ideal older sister whilst handling her personal chaotic life falls upon her.

The bond between the Song sisters is what stands out in the entire book. Every sister has a distinct personality.

Kitty (Katherine, the youngest sister) is more of a brat, who doesn’t like when someone orders her around and will bite if you rub her the wrong way. She’s an eye for an eye kind of a person. I could almost picture her growing up to be a strong, dignified woman with a successful career and good fashion sense. It might turn to arrogance or rudeness if she doesn’t watch it though.

Margot (eldest) is more of a mother figure. She ensures everybody in the family is well fed and happy yet maintaining her own personality. At work, she’ll be sincere, helping and indispensable kind. She’s that person whose absence is felt more than her presence.

Lara Jean (I always found this name weird. And weirder when nobody ever abbreviated it to, say, Lara or Jeany) is the narrator. She is sixteen years old and feels most real and close to a girl that age than most sixteen year olds portrayed in many other novels. She is more on the goofier, naive side. She can’t get everything right, but she tries her best. It’s hilarious to watch her hide and run when the letters are sent out and one by one the boys approach her with confused looks demanding explanation.

Even though the letter gets sent to five boys, only two of them play a major role in her life.

There are a lot of incidences where I couldn’t help laugh out real loud. Her reactions when she learns the letters got sent out and how she tries to tackle the situation. Or when she drives to grocery store with Kitty on passenger seat being her ‘another pair of eyes’, I pitied her driving skills.

At the end, I was left wanting for more. Not only because the book is good, which it is, but also because the ending was abrupt. I wanted to know what happens to Lara Jean when school starts, how people react to the whole scene, what happens to Gen and Peter, Margot and Josh. Lara Jean and Josh. Lara Jean and Peter.

It ends with Lara Jean starting to write yet another letter.

And then I Google a bit and learn there's a sequel after all called 'Ps. I still love you' . *sigh of relief*

...Coming out in 2015 *cries*

Random Thoughts:
The book  vaguely reminded me of Taylor Swift at one point. Her diary is open for all to see and (sadly) judge. The only difference is Taylor chose to come clean, while our heroine just stumbled into the whole thing.

Also, it reminds me of ‘Can you keep a secret’ by Sophie Kinsella which walks on the same lines of accidental spilled beans and open secrets. Though the stories are both different and addictive.

And Jenny Han is a great writer. Reading her is like watching a movie. Imagining is as effortless as breathing.

And the cover. *sigh*

Suitable for: All teenagers and girls. And boys if they want a sneak peek into a sixteen year old girl's mind.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

Genre: Romance
Language: English
Pages: 352
Publisher: Jove (in 1998, first publisher)

A rich dead father, who has three young daughters— all born to different mothers and each unknown of the other— writes an unusual will. The will states that if they each want one-third of his multi-million dollar fortune, they’ll have to live together for a year on the Montana Ranch.

The book takes us through their journey through that year.

Review:The three sisters have distinct personalities. It’s almost as if by the end of the book, you can tell how each one of them will react in varied, real situation.

Willa is the sister who’s lived on Ranch all her life and knows how to run it. Lily is the timid divorcee who has escaped from an abusive marriage. Tess, the scriptwriter of Hollywood, is the woman on a mission which is to get her fair share and get the hell out.

Forced to live together they slowly but surely, with heaps of clashes, bond together. But just as they think the stay might be good after all, a murderer is set loose who apparently not only likes playing with their mind, but also with innocent lives.

While reading, it wasn’t difficult to guess the culprit. For a dozen times. Each one turning out wrong. And I’m glad I couldn’t figure that killer out until the end. That made it all worth it.
Writing is typically Nora-like, with lots of description of beautiful landscape, meticulous characterization, irresistible love interests and crisp dialogues. I almost felt the presence of the characters around me. I lived with them on the Ranch and saw the action as  it happened.

It was fun to read how they cope with the situations and with each other, how they survive a brutal killer with underlying intentions and how everything typically ends in the Nora style. Happily ever after.

Suitable for: 
Mostly female readers, but no age bar. Like Nora puts it, her books are a bond between generations. Anyone can enjoy them.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Last Song by Nicholas Spark

Genre: Romance, Fiction
Language: English
Pages: 390
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

A seventeen year old Veronica is angry with her father who divorces her mother and moves out. Three years later, her mother decides that Veronica and her little brother need to spend their summer time with their father. Veronica sulks but has no other choice. But a few turn of events and some revelations changes her life forever.

The story starts with Veronica preparing to return back to her home after spending the summer with her father. She narrates the stay to her mother who's come to pick her up in a flashback.

Review:Veronica's transformation from being a passive aggressive, ignorant teenager to a mature girl was what stood out in the novel. There were many shocking, some pleasant some not so, revelations that kept me turning the pages. The book didn't give away all its secret at once and I admire Nicholas Spark for that.

The relationship between Veronica and her father as it developed was heart-warming to read. The romantic side of story was portrayed in a believable, sweet way with family, friends and petty issues posing as hindrances. I especially liked the way Veronica's love life and family problem collided in a most unexpected way.

Movie Comparison: (Starring Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth).
I imagined Veronica as a more mature girl than Miley's portrayal of her in the movie. It was a tad bit disappointing, but overall a treat to eyes because of the wonderful picturization. And amazing music.

The best was the song 'When I look at you' which was actually the 'last song' Veronica played for her father in the book.

Random Thoughts:I picked it up because I learnt Nicholas Sparks wrote this book especially keeping Miley Cyrus in mind, a pop star cum actress I adore. And needless to mention, I'm a huge fan of both of them.

Overall: High on emotions, well written with sad, but apt ending.

Ratings: 5/5