Book Reviews: The Henna Artist, Instructions for Dancing and Just Like in the Movies

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

Goodreads blurb: Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own… Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

My take: 5 out of 5 stars. This is a wonderful book, one of the best I’ve read this year. It mixed a bit of everything I love in literature: history, family drama, romance, female stories and wonderful locales. The characters are so well written and so real. The story is beautiful and surprising and it tugs at your heart when you least expect it. I listened to this in audiobook and I have to say, there was a very uncomfortable moment when i was reading to the book in a public space and tears were coming down my eyes – people must have thought i was having some serious issues. I am so exciting that there is a follow up book coming out on the 22nd because i cant wait to continue the story, and can’t believe it took me this long to delve into this book.

Just Like in the Movies by Heidi Rice

Goodreads blurb: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Ruby Graham’s verdict: I want to live in Oz, where danger is defeated by friendship, your dreams are always in glowing Technicolor and you can get a pair of absolutely gorgeous ruby slippers simply by landing a house on a hag!
Luke Devlin’s verdict: Flying monkeys? Seriously?
The late Matty Devlin was so much more than Ruby Graham’s boss. He was her best friend, her father-figure, and she is showcasing a series of his favourite classic movies at the independent cinema in Notting Hill which was his life’s work … and of which she is now part owner.
Matty left the other half of The Royale to his nephew, Luke,the elusive Manhattan property developer and rumoured son of a Hollywood icon.
It’s all beginning to sound like the plot of one of Ruby’s beloved films until it becomes clear Luke is no more interested in swooping in to save the crumbling Royale than he is in talking about his famous father. He’s bad-tempered, cynical, and he couldn’t care less about the cinema!
But saving The Royale is about far more than just Matty’s legacy. The Royale is the only place where Ruby gets to live in a world of dreams and happy endings, a place where there are no lost causes, and where falling in love is just like in the movies … or is Luke about to change all that? 
( This in an ARC review of a gifted copy, thanks to a gift from the publisher, book is out now)

My take: 3 out of 5. Its a cute and predictable story, and one that I enjoyed getting immersed into. It was like a sweet Hallmark Movie that always soothes my soul. A very easy read and quite engaging. I loved the characters and as a movie/ theater obsessed person myself i loved how everything was tied up to the movies. Its not the most amazing book I’ve read but i thoroughly enjoyed it and there were some tears in my eyes by the end.

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Goodreads blurb: Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually. As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met. Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? ( This in an ARC review of a gifted copy, thanks to a gift from the publisher, book is out now)

My take: 4.25 out of 5 I adored this book! I had very little expectations for this book, it appealed to me because I am currently obsessed with dancing, so I thought it would be a cute YA to sink my teeth into. However, it is a really strong book for which i totally fell for. The characters are adorable, the story is heart wrenching and moving and of course I loved all the dancing. But more than that it was unpredictable and clever in its handling of her visions and what could be a gimmick that is weird to understand is quite beautiful. Totally my type of book and would definitely recommend you read it.

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