Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Rating: 3.5 Stars

POPSUGAR Challenge Update: A book that’s under 150 pages

So this is one of those books in whose case the debate of better movie or a better book never ends and I’m very much inclined in favour of the latter. I watched the movie some time back (and fell in love with Audrey Hepburn) and decided to read the book as soon as I could. I knew it was different from the book but I did not know anything of the drastic contrast between the two and I couldn’t be any more happier for the changes.
Breakfast-at-Tiffany-sThe story starts with an author meeting an old acquaintance and the only thing common between them? Their mutual infatuation with a lady called Holly Golightly, our protagonist. From there he goes on (somewhat bitterly) to remember his time spent with her. All of nineteen, one can say Holly is naive, flighty, mercurial, flighty, a wannabe and did I say flighty?? Just trying to make my point clear. If not for her age one would assume her to be at least in her mid-twenties for all her wit and worldliness, her lies and sharp tongue. At the same time she can be stupidly naive, who still believes that no person can be mean/ bad and that Tiffany’s the safest place on Earth (without even setting a foot in the said place within the premise of the book).
Quite frankly, I did not know how to place her and where to place her. I just did not like the character AT ALL. But I believe that’s what the author was aiming for. Therefore, I’d rather say that I don’t think Truman actually knew what he was about. The book is a jumble of varying human tendencies and all that in one person. And the ending was the worst part for me. I cannot say more or I’d be giving away too much.

Coming to plus points and the reason why I’m giving Breakfast at Tiffany’s 3.5 stars is the magnificent writing style. Oh yes I’d read all kind of crap happily only if it’s written this beautifully! There’s one specific paragraph that tugged at my heartstrings and I guess just for this, the book deserves the said rating!

On days when the sun was strong, she would wash her hair, and together with the cat, a red tiger-striped tom, sit out on the fire escape thumbing a guitar while her hair dried. Whenever I heard the music, I would go stand quietly by my window. She played very well, and sometimes sang too. Sang in the hoarse, breaking tones of a boy’s adolescent voice. She knew all the show hits, Cole Porter and Kurt Weill; especially she liked the songs from Oklahoma!, which were new that summer and everywhere. But there were moments when she played songs that made you wonder where she learned them, where indeed she came from. Harsh-tender wandering tunes with words that smacked of pineywoods or prairie. One went: Don’t wanna sleep, Don’t wanna die, Just wanna go a-travelin’ through the pastures of the sky; and this one seemed to gratify her the most, for often she continued it long after her hair had dried, after the sun had gone and there were lighted windows in the dusk.

Until the next time lovely people! 🙂 Love,

Shivalika-Swar

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/ J K Rowling | Review

Rating: 5 Stars

Even while reading Harry Potter series I knew Jo would make a great mystery/ crime fiction writer. But I never really expected her to actually start writing one. So when the news came out that Robert Galbraith, the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling was none other that our very own Queen of Magic and Words – J. K. Rowling – I obviously wanted to read it. But I had such high expectations for her that I was too afraid to pick the book up until this year. But ofcourse I should have known how awesome it would be.

Book one of the Cormoran Strike series introduces us to the series’ titular character, Cormoran Strike the private detective, a war veteran minus a leg, with a troubled life and even more difficult love life. In his mid thirties when other men have secured their lives, Strike’s is falling apart, with no home and no future prospects. Then comes his temporary secretary (or so they think), Robin Ellacot. Freshly engaged to a douchebag of a guy and new to London, she is in a happy place. Their circumstances when they met itself were quite striking. And that was the moment I knew I’m gonna love this book.

the-cuckoo-s-callingAs it happens with detective stories, almost everything has been explored. The only difference is how you deliver it and without doubt Jo did not fail me on that aspect. I loved all the detailing and explanations and the view of contemporary London through her eyes. Coming to the case, although Lula Landry was dead before the book started, the way she is fleshed out is quite amazing. We can see her conflicting personality and her distrust of the people around her and I felt very bad for her. A lot many people found the ending very drastic but I actually saw something like that coming (I’ve read a bit too many Fear Street books).

But the best part, the one that I loved the most is Cormoran and Robin’s relationship. First of all, they are both are strong characters in their own way. Robin’s efficient in a way that Cormoran will never be and he has seen enough of the world to be cynic enough for both of them. They are so compatible together and not only in their work relationship. I’m shipping them so hard!

Drawbacks? I don’t see any so far. But, if too much details turn you off then this is not the perfect book for you. And the only thing I don’t like about Strike is his distrust of women drivers! The men who think so irk me so much! But he’s a sweetheart so I’ll let him be. In all, I enjoyed it A LOT and it definitely deserves five stars. I look forward to more Strike and Robin adventures.

Until the next time! 🙂 Love,

Shivalika-Swar

Trip to Choco-Land | Choco Vault Review

I happily give the place five yummiest stars! ♥♥♥♥♥

This weekend when I went shopping with my friends we decided to have a little detour and go to Hauz Khas Village. A friend of mine wanted to check out this place called Choco Vault because he’d heard great things about it. And since chocolate is involved, who in their right mind would say no?

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So in we went oblivious to the blast of chocolate we were going to get and everyone of us was blown away! OH MY GOD!!!! If you love chocolates even a bit you NEED to visit that little gem of a place! As soon as you enter, the heady scent of chocolate will make your brain go fuzzy and all you’ll see is dripping chocolate and muffins. Quite literally. Look at the cutest seat in the world!

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Coming to the sweets, we ordered a Choco Nuke, a Caramel Fusion Tart and a Ferrero Rocher Elixir and just talk about heaven. I wish I had clicked a picture of the Choco Nuke in it’s original state before hot chocolate was poured over it and the shell melted to reveal the creamy treat inside. Caramel tart was just the thing of my dreams. And I’m not teasing you at all. Also I’d suggest you have your shake before the Choco Nuke as it’s sweetness might dull the former’s.

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Another thing, the decor. It was so lovely, quite and quaintish (my favourite kind) and chocolaty. I SO need to go there again!!

TIP: Be ready for the sugar rush in case you over indulge!

Until the next time. Have a great day all! 🙂 Love,

Shivalika-Swar

Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt | Review

Rating: 5 Stars

POPSUGAR Challenge Update: A book you can finish in a day

This, the ninth book of the ever interesting Maiden Lane series brings together Asa Makepeace and Eve Dinwoody in a most unexpected coupling! It’s actually the third book to join my favourites of the series after Scandalous Desires and The Duke of Midnight.

Asa Makepeace, the crude and broad shouldered owner of Harte’s Folly, a pleasure garden, is in dire need of funds in order to get his garden in working conditions again. But unfortunately for him, Eve Dinwoody, the plain illegitimate sister of the Duke of Napier holds the purse strings. The book opens with a very funny argument, and through a series of misfortunes and a number of steamy scenes the couple finally gets closer and better. I say better because before I started reading I did not like Asa very much and there wasn’t much about Eve in the earlier books either. She just popped out from nowhere so it took me a while to like her.

Sweetest-ScoundrelEve went through something horrible as a child which has left her wary of men. Especially a super masculine man like Asa makes her feel vulnerable but she cannot help being attracted to him. Asa, on the other hand, is a hot headed man who has faced a lot of hurdles all alone in order to get to his current status but he finds himself enthralled by the tall and thin semi aristocrat. They are as similar as chalk and cheese but the way they gel together is beautiful. If I’d have to give one reason for liking this book so much it’d have to be their banter. Yes they argue and sparks definitely fly but even then there’s such warmth that neither has experienced before.

Another MAJOR reason is the intimate scenes! Oh I have read a lot many books but this one truly takes the cake for building up the tension. Each and every encounter is more tender and steamier than the last and they all left me quite breathless! Moving on, another great thing is the backstage experience. Usually the most we know of the stage and opera is the singer who is a mistress of some or the other but here we get to see the people who give the acts the finishing touches.

The super plus point? We get to see many of the previous characters! We meet the entire Makepeace family- all brothers and sisters along with their spouses. It was so good to catch up with them. Another engaging character was of Jean Marie, Eve’s bodyguard of ten years. He’s the only family that Eve has had apart from her brother and he takes such good care of her. Then of course there’s Valentine Napier, the Duke. Even his name sounds ominous to me! I just cannot wait to see how Miss Hoyt is going to redeem this villainous guy.

I sincerely cannot think of even a single drawback of Sweetest Scoundrel. Therefore, I’ll highly recommend it. A perfect read for those who love from enemies to lovers trope and for all those who love a happily ever after! 🙂

Shivalika-Swar

The Stolen Mackenzie Bride by Jennifer Ashley | Review

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Rating : 5 Super Sexy Stars

If you thought you loved the Mackenzie brothers then please hold your breath for the Mackenzies ancestors in this prequel. Malcolm and co. might give Ian and co. a run for all their money! The story is heart meltingly poignant and Jennifer Ashley had me crying at the most unexpected places. Knowing what I knew from the previous books my heart was literally racing most of the time! Set in the time of Jacobean uprising, the Scots are pitted against the English. Malcolm Mackenzie and Mary Lennox, who couldn’t care less about taking sides, find themselves in the midst of a war and it’s a pleasure to see how they overcome every obstacle put in their way.

Malcolm is the youngest of five brothers, with a duke for a father. Even being the runt of the family he wasn’t coddled but hardened to stand up on his own feet. But it usually falls on him to take care of his family. He’s a hardworking and headstrong man who can be generous and equally ruthless with a claymore. (My mind conjures up a very sexy image of the latter). Mary starts as a meek obedient daughter, but after a clandestine meeting with Malcolm she realises what she had been missing all this time. Stubborn yet graceful, Mary is a fitting piece for the jigsaw puzzle that Mal is. She’s never fazed by anything and faces everything head on like a Mackenzie would.

I love how historically rich the book is. And not just the background, we see the battles first hand and that too from the Scottish point of view. There was another book I read of this era but it just did not entice me as this one did. Although I must say this one is a bit dark and deep for a historical romance but I’m not complaining one bit! Another obvious reason I loved The Stolen Mackenzie Bride is our leading Scottish braw!! Add three four brothers and it’s a complete worth of my money! And unlike our usual male protagonists, the fact that Malcolm wasn’t afraid to admit his love for Mary from the beginning just won me over!

“You’ll ruin me,” she whispered.

Malcolm studied her, his amber-colored gaze intense. “Marry me, lass, and I’ll ruin ye every day.”

I got goose bumps reading those lines! Apart from the leads, each character left a lasting impression on me. Especially Mal’s brothers, I never thought I would come to love them as much as I knew I would like Mal. Alec, Mal’s favourite brother. William, the drunk one who knows almost everything that goes around. Angus, Alec’s twin who took care of the Duke. And Duncan, the future Duke and the Jacobean. The Duke and Mary’s father, the Earl of Wilfort, both were very similar although hated each other. They both loved their children deeply but were not good at showing. And then there’s Ewan, the sergeant and my favourite character!

A lot of history might put some people off but I enjoyed it thoroughly. The only thing that did not go well with me was the instalove! I mean yeah, love at first sight does happen but a building chemistry between the characters might have been more amazing. But regardless of that, I would give this book a super sexy five stars! Super-hot, sexy dark and deeply emotional, The Stolen Mackenzie Bride is a complete package! I hope Ashley’s planning to bring out more books in this series. 🙂

Love,

Shivalika-Swar

Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer | Review

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Hello everyone! I know I’m reviewing a book after a very long time. I sometimes find it very difficult to pen down my thoughts because as I finish reading a book I’m overwhelmed because of the happy feels or I’m too agitated. But since reading is an unquenchable thirst I quickly start with another book and so the process goes on! It’s pathetic I know.

Coming back to the review, Devil’s Cub is the second book of the Alastair series by Georgette Heyer. The titular cub is the arrogant Marquis of Vidal, Dominic Alastair. He’s one hell of a rake that couldn’t care less for consequences of his actions. So when the list of his duelling victims gets a bit longer than wise, his father, none other than the awesome Duke of Avon, exiles him to France. But no, instead of going away like a good son that he is, he decides to take a mistress with him. Sensible Mary Challoner knows very well what the Marquis wants from her sister. In order to save the hare brained Sophia, she switches place with her and lands up in Paris all alone with Dominic. What follows is a truly madcap journey!

I..am..completely..blown away!! I might be hideously late to join Heyer’s bandwagon but I’m glad to have finally come around. This book was an unexpectedly funny read. I do not know whether it was intentional or not on Heyer’s part, but the book is exceedingly hilarious from starting to end. Another thing that tickled me was Dominic’s cynicism, especially his reaction to the dead body of a highway man. Apart from that the romance quotient is just perfect! The insecurities, the jealousies and nursing all sit perfectly well with the haters to lovers trope which I absolutely love.

As for the characters, I found Mary very likable. Although she appears to be very much straight laced she also has a deep buried wild streak else she wouldn’t have taken Sophia’s place. Dominic started as a mean jackass but became better in my eyes as the book progressed. But first and foremost I love Justin Alastair! And I’m sorry but his son doesn’t hold a candle to him. His cutting wit and all that charm was enough to make me love this book. Then there’s Rupert, whose sole purpose was to bring the comic effect and he succeeded efficiently. I definitely feel bad for the poor guy. Especially after the way Leonie, Dominic’s mum kept browbeating him. She kept on calling him stupid and useless throughout the book when he was only helping her. Just give him a break Leon! The woman sounds like a teenager for God’s sake.

I’d give Devil’s Cub five fully deserved stars. And I highly suggest this for those who like a ‘clean’ historical romance, that is, without any sexual undertones. If you do not like the Georgian era setting or anything before the French revolution then you can skip it. Also if you don’t like overbearing jealous men, this book is not for you. But honesty, if you ask me that’s one of the reason I love historical romances. And since it’s the eighteenth century, men are supposed to be overbearing and the women timid so don’t take it to your hearts and enjoy the ride! 🙂

Brown Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

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Rating: 3.5-4/ 5

He had a lazy, easy way of talking, as if every word had been simmered for hours over a low flame.

Finally! The book we have all been waiting for years! I cannot begin to tell you all the sleepless nights I suffered in anticipation of this book. Coming out six years after its predecessor, Brown Eyed Girl is the fourth and the last instalment in the Travises series by Lisa Kleypas. It follows the story of Joe Travis and Avery Crosslin through latter’s perspective.

Being a Travis, Joe is just as delectable and laidback as the rest of the Travis brothers. The story unfolds with our charming hero saving the damsel from a scorpion. Avery Crosslin, a headstrong perfectionist, is the last person on earth who needs saving, especially from a man like Joe. Although vary of alpha men like Joe, Avery ends up having a one night stand with him. She’s under the impression that that’s the end of them but little does she know that it’s just the beginning. Joe pursues her in such an ardent gentleman like manner that it becomes difficult for Avery be the second to not to let go of her past demons and become ensnared by him.

Avery being in the wedding planning business with her sister Sofia, the story has a beautiful backdrop of weddings/ parties or preparations of the same. This made reading all the more fun for me and gave the book a dreamy quality; I mean, who doesn’t love weddings? However that being said, the author throws light on the bitter fact that all weddings are not always as great and lovey-dovey as we think them to be.

He looked down at me, our noses early touching. “Good.” The word was scratchy-soft, like a cat’s tongue.

For those who haven’t read Lisa Kleypas before, you are going to enjoy the book immensely. Her writings are absolute magic! And she has woven the same kind of magic in this book too. You can actually feel the words she writes. But having read most of her work I obviously expected a lot more from the book.

To begin with, apart from her looks, I couldn’t fathom what attracted Joe to Avery in the first place. Yes I know she’s sexy and all, but she cribs about her full figure the entire span of the book. And yes she had her heart broken in the past and I feel for her but her indecisiveness about Joe just made me plain mad. Also I hate to say it but the zing that makes a Kleypas couple unforgettable is missing from their chemistry. It’s too straightforward. Usually you find some kind of catch in her books and that is sadly lacking in this one. But it doesn’t make the book any less fun. Just more light hearted and less teary.

Apart from Joe and Avery, there’s more romance going on in the story. And unfortunately the suspensive nature of Sofia’s love life had me more invested in the book. We also see the rest of the Travis clan and I loved every second I got to read of them. I say clan because despite being practically the Texan royalty they are a proper family who love and care about each other deeply. And we get to see that in the book as they come together for the good as well as the hard times.

In all, I would say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a light, fun and romantic read but equally difficult to rate. So I’m going to go ahead and give Brown Eyed Girl 3.5 to 4 stars.