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Welcome to the book blog tour for R.S.V.P. A Novel, written by Ruchira Khana. Below I will be discussing the details of the book, give you a sneak peak into the book, tell you my thoughts, and give you the details to getting yourself one of two $5.00 Amazon gift cards that are up for grabs.
- R.S.V.P. A Novel
- Ruchira Khanna
- Contemporary Fiction
- August 2018
Jay Sethi, an Indian-born American, has lived with the consequences of a torn family since a teenager. After facing the effects of unrequited love and unpaid credit card bills, he settles in a small town in California from where he embarks on a cruise with his canine best friend, Yogi. Jay is shipwrecked and washed ashore on an island. It is there he realizes the importance of love and the salvation in letting go. Will Jay be able to make up for the time he has lost? Will the broken bridges and the seemingly permanent goodbyes remain that way? RSVP: A novel explores the lines between reality and illusion and the significance of family.
Ruchira Kanna is a A Biochemist turned writer who gathers inspiration from the society where she writes about issues that stalk the mind of the man via tales of fiction. She projects the mental growth of her characters thus, making her readers tag her work as, “Books that make you ponder!”She blogs at Abracadabra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for three years. Many of her write-ups have been published on Life Hack, Hub Pages to name a few.
Excerpt from R.S.V.P. A Novel
Before I delve into my thoughts on the book, I wanted to show you the excerpt so that you may form your own. The excerpt below is right from the first chapter, so you should get a feel for the book after reading it!
There is a strange tranquility as I realize I am surrounded by endless blue fluid. I try to talk, but no voice comes out. I frantically try looking around but except for the infinite azure, I cannot see anything.
With clenched fists, eyes wide open, and mouth shut tightly, I’m trying hard to understand where I am. I faintly remember having wished to be unborn, floating aimlessly in Ma’s womb. Has that wish come true?
That’s when I briefly catch a glimpse of Yogi. Oh no! We’re drowning. I begin flapping my hands to stay afloat. I rise, only to be sucked inside again. My hands are now paining. I cannot do it anymore.
Jay woke up with a jerk, breathing hard, sweaty with his hands flayed up mid-air. The nightmare felt real, and he thought he was going to die. His hands went to his throat inadvertently remembering that choking feeling. Recollecting his psychologist, Susan’s suggestion, he tried taking deep breaths. His sudden action made Yogi also rise with a woof, making him quickly jump from his sofa dog bed and get cozy next to his master.
Jay was quick to hug him, all the while taking deep breaths to return to normalcy. His eyes were twitching with droplets of sweat forming around his forehead. Licking his dry lips, he gulped imaginary spittle to moisten his parched throat, the image of him drowning simply refusing to leave his mind. “Susan mentioned this would go away. Alas! When? Why does this same nightmare haunt me? And whose voice is this?” Jay mumbled.
He paused for a breather, wiping the sweat off his forehead with the back of his arm while continuously patting his pet in a futile attempt to console himself. “Why? Why?” he moaned, trying to blink his moist, heavy eyes while attempting to reason out but no luck. The night-light was flashing various colors. He kept glancing at it for a sign, but no clarification came to him. His bedroom wore a scanty look equipped with just a queen-size bed and a table on each side that stood empty with no pictures.
He glanced at the clock that was beaming three in the morning on his side table. “Gosh! Another two hours of sleep, and slumber now refuses to take over,” he moaned. As if on the cue, Yogi began to lick his cheeks trying to relax his master.
Jay lay with the dog over him, allowing Yogi to soothe his fraying nerves, and soon he drifted off to la-la land. A couple of hours later, the alarm woke Yogi and him up with a startle. They stared at each other. Jay was embarrassed at first to see Yogi by his side as he remembered his nightmare. Sitting up on the bed with a jolt, he kept pressing the temples of his forehead while walking toward the bathroom, leaving Yogi puzzled since he hadn’t received any cuddles from his master yet.
“Atta boy!” he ordered, stepping out of the room dressed and wearing his running shoes. Jay leashed his pup, and the duo was out to catch some fresh air. Once back home, he was deep in thought while working monotonously. In a state of daze after crushing the coffee beans, he plugged in the coffee maker. Yogi was quick to break his chain of thoughts with a woof.
Jay acknowledged Yogi’s woof with a nod and smile, but that did not deter him. Finally, he bent down to stroke his fur which brought satisfaction to this small, compact, and hardy beagle as his hazel eyes and soft pleading expression made Jay melt with guilt over his earlier actions. A chuckle by Jay broke the silence, and Yogi’s tactics went berserk. “How can I ever be thankful enough to you?” he admitted while stroking both his ears playfully. “You are gentle, sweet, and so friendly that it has brought me out of the funk I was in!”
He poured Yogi’s dry food in his bowl and went for a quick shower. Yogi could not be disturbed. He was busy gobbling up his first meal of the day. While dressing, Jay remembered his three o’clock dream and paused while pressing his fingers on the teeth of his comb. He stared into the mirror with his gullible, deep-set eyes that were the window to all the memories he has made for the last twenty-seven years which provided those deep, visible lines on his forehead.
The mirror was rewinding the dream.
Sleepless nights, headaches, muscle cramps, and low back pain were a norm until he met Susan, his therapist. Thankfully, the pain was gone, but the occasional sleepless nights tormented him every time he delved into his past. It would bring back those memories he still could not triumph over, and he was adamant to keep the past in the past. Anyone who would try to bring those memories to the forefront would be chastised.
That sound made him come out of his reverie.
“Yes… yes… I’m coming.”
Jay was appreciative of Yogi since his pet could always feel his emotions whenever he was lost, upset, or low. He quickly combed his hair before bending down to stroke Yogi’s smooth white and tan fur. “Atta boy!” Walking toward the kitchen, he opened the door to the backyard so that his pet could relieve himself while he grabbed his freshly brewed cup of coffee.
As he sat on a chair, he noticed the empty bowl and eyed his puppy. Bladder empty, the pet was quick to place his two front paws on his leg and began his ritual of licking his face.
“No! Not the face, Yogi,” Jay objected as he pulled his face away, then paused to contemplate and gushed with embarrassment. “I am an opportunist, right?” Yogi paused and twisted his head sideways as if trying to decipher that word. For him, Jay was his dad, his caretaker, and he was obliged to take care of him whenever any opportunity arose. The word opportunist was a vague unit of language for him.
“Come on, buddy. Let’s go earn some money, so we can fulfill that bucket list of ours,” said Jay, opening the door for his pet.
Not a bad start right? I didn’t think so, but as you know I did rate this a 3/5 stars. Hopefully I can add some clarity as to why below. I was shocked to see the Amazon rating which is at 4.4/5 stars currently. Compared to my rating, the two numbers obviously do not match up.But that’s okay! You know why? I think it comes down to a difference of opinion and what you get from reading R.S.V.P. A Novel.
What I liked
When giving good and bad news I often opt for the good news first so that is often what I do when I write my book reviews. When I looked at the Amazon reviews giving 4 and 5 star ratings, I found it interesting that I agreed with them despite the rating difference. The people giving these ratings stuck mainly to the theme of this book. It is one of finding happiness, letting go of the past, and appreciating what is in front of you. To those reviewers I say I agree wholeheartedly, I found this aspect of the book to be the most important.
Once I finished the book, it was very easy to pinpoint the theme of this novel. The past haunts many of us but we must learn to move on, accept it and embrace what is our present. The author made this very clear. Crystal in fact. She made good use of putting everyday struggles into the main characters. Jay struggles with abandonment and in turn finds it difficult to let go of materialistic and financial gains and. He also seems to find difficulty in getting attached to other people. His cousin with whom he grew up with; Gina, lost her parents when she was young. In turn she has a particular attachment to watching the sun set at the end of everyday. She also seems to be afraid of love.
Jays story really takes a turn after a shipwreck leaving him on an island somewhere in the Pacific ocean. Little did he know that living on this island with its inhabitants would force him to reveal and overcome his past.
I think every single person that does or ever will read R.S.V.P. A Novel can gain something from it. There is a short story called The Invisible Nurse that I reviewed a while back that I rated similarly and it too had a great meaning behind the story (check out my review of The Invisible Nurse!). Learning to resolve your past can help you to truly appreciate your present. It took a shipwreck for Jay to understand this but hopefully for some of you out there it won’t take such drastic measures!
My Favorite Character
In addition to the general theme of finding peace, I also enjoyed some of the characters. In particular, I liked a character named Mack. He is a native to the island that Jay ends up on after the shipwreck. He just seemed so knowledgable and aware. Mack has spent time on and off the island which is what gives him so much knowledge. He is able to speak with Jay about both ways of life while also providing a good bit of advice that any of us could easily take ourselves.
He was also able to read body language really well and knew when Jay needed to talk about something. Mack was really great about knowing when to speak and when to listen. I found this to be a very likable trait of Macks.
Other Characters that I liked
I enjoyed reading about the other characters as well but Mack was by far my favorite. Some other characters I liked were Yogi, the dog, Jay, and Gina.
Yogi is the constant companion of Jay from beginning to end and, well, who doesn’t like dogs or any animal in a book? I liked that Yogi’s point of view was expressed. I was surprised by this because it isn’t easy to present the point of view of an animal. But, I would say the author did a fairly good job with it given that no one really knows what it’s like to be a dog.
Jay is the main character of R.S.V.P. A Novel so I think it would be a really bad sign if he wasn’t a likeable character. He wasn’t my favorite but I liked being able to know what he was thinking. If the author had only described what his facial expressions and comments were, I think I would have like him less.
Gina is Jay’s cousin as I had mentioned earlier and I would also consider her to be a main character. To be honest, I didn’t know how I felt about her at first. She kind of just bombards herself into Jay’s life and I fund her to be a little upity. But, as the story wore on, I found myself liking her more and more.
What I Didn’t Like
With most books there is good and bad to a story. While I liked the theme and quite a few of the characters, what I had trouble with was the writing style and overall pace to the story. Let’s break that down a little bit shall we?
If I had to describe the author’s writing style to this book in one word, I would say it is rough. I know, that sounds really harsh and I promise I don’t mean for it to sound that way!
The more that I read the more I find myself finding errors in books. No matter how big or how small they may be. The author was very narrative which I didn’t have a problem with. It was more so the way it was written.
The language did not flow easily. For example, there was an overuse of the word “Aha” which to me was used incorrectly several times given the context of the conversations in the novel.
I will however give credit where credit is due. I was able to follow along and the more I read the easier it became as I got used to the writing style.
Another issue I had with the story was its overall pace. I felt it was rather slow to start taking several several chapters to get to the point where Jay goes on a cruise. It seemed like a rather long introduction. While the introduction was not bad, I couldn’t help but wonder when the story was actually going to start.
Once Jay was on the island in the Pacific ocean, the story began to pick up its pace. The story was a little boring and dull because of the beginning. As you can see from the excerpt, it isn’t a bad start, but nothing much seems to happen for a good chunk of the book causing me to feel like the pace was slow.
Overall, once I mix the good with the bad, I have to give R.S.V.P. A Novel a total of 3/5 stars. I quite enjoyed the overall meaning of the novel. I think that if either the pace or writing style had been improved, I wold have given this book a higher rating.
You can either get the book now via the button below or you can try and win one of two $5.00 Amazon gift cards which would help you to pay for the book at a significant discount!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Let’s Talk About It!
That concludes this book blog tour on my end but I’m not the only one! Check below to follow along the tour and see what other great book bloggers have to say!
Now, on to what you have to say. What do you think of the book based on the excerpt above? Were you ever haunted by your past? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!
Mini Tour Schedule
The Purple Shelf Club (Review) https://www.purpleshelfclub.com/
Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com
Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
The Journey (Review) https://joshwhitworth.com/`
I want to give a special thanks to R&R Book Tours for organizing this book tour.
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