Metro Diaries by Namrata

efb80-indexMetro Diaries by Namrata is a book of twenty short romantic stories that I received as a review copy from Bookr3vi3ws. Thank you Debdatta for the book. What I love to do with short stories is to read them one at a time, savour them and then write an individual review. That makes the exercise easy and all the stories get their due. I thought I would do the same with this book too but the daily humdrum did not allow me to do it. So here I am writing a line or two about the stories I liked and what I liked in them. Here goes….

  1. Once in a lifetime:This is the story of Nitya, an editorial assistant in a leading publishing house, who falls in love with Ansh, who works in the marketing department. Deeply in love with her, he manages to break the walls she has erected around herself. This is my favourite story.
  2. Then, Now and Forever: In this story a grandmother opens her grandson’s eyes by telling him her own love story and the letter which kept her going.
  3. Love thy dreams: is the story of a boy, Abhi who comes back home to talk to his parents about the girl who has been with him through thick and thin since schooldays.
  4. A promise of a lifetime: This is the story of Ranjit and Tamanna, who meet each other after four years at a common friend’s wedding and post-wedding, he proposes to her.
  5. A thing called love:This the story of Chaitanya who is so ambitious in life that he does not even realize that someone loves him and is always there for him.
  6. The Sole Soul mate:Saahil, 28, does not believe in love, has a string of break-ups behind him and after each one of then, he confides in Nishaani, his bestest friend, his neighbor, who is the only person he knows who believes in love. Until he asks her one day, after yet another break-up, to tell him about soul mates, and he wants to meet his.
  7. The Yellowed Diary:This is the story of a girl who has loved and lost and makes entries in her diary. Three years after her break-up, she takes out her diary to read the entries only to wrap it up and put it back again.
  8. You, me and love:A story of a couple who seems to be on their honeymoon is actually celebrating their fifth anniversary.
  9. Unlocked:This story is about Salil who realizes that he wants Maya to be a part of his life when she is leaving him.
  10. Memories:A story which made me cry.
  11. A message of love:A story in which the realization dawns while reading a letter.
  12. Her:A story where the hero starts missing the heroine as soon as she leaves home.
  13. Love Revisited:A beautiful story of a girl whose parents treat her like a princess, and after she is married, she becomes a victim at her husband’s hands. And then her best friend stands with her through thick and thin.
  14. Last Letter:This story is about Sarayudevi whose husband goes to war and the only contact between them is through letters till one day they stop coming and she waits for him to come back.
  15. You & I:A story depicting the relationship between Zahir Khan and Radhika.

My take:

Each story is about love, some have a happy ending and for some the ending is not so happy. But all of them are nice. There is a page with poetry before the start of each story. There is a lot of poetry in the story as well as quotes. The storyline of each story is different from the other.

 Book Source: BookR3vi3ws

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Crossed and Knotted: India’s first composite novel

51dRDlYIFpL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I received India’s first composite novel, Crossed & Knotted edited by Sutapa Basu. The book has been written by fourteen authors, yes you read it right, fourteen authors, in close collaboration with each other. They are Sutapa Basu, Ayan PalSanchita Sen DasArvind PasseyMithun MukherjeeAvanti Sopory, Bhaswar MukherjeeDeepti MenonAmrit Sinha, Monika NairAmar Lakshya PawarBhuvaneshwari Shankar and Arpita Banerjee. When asked by the Book Club whether I wanted to review the book, I replied in affirmative because I was very curious to know what a composite novel would be like.

The definition of a composite novel states “The composite novel is a literary work composed of shorter texts that— though individually complete and autonomous—are interrelated in a coherent whole according to one or more organizing principles.”

From the blurb:

The chapters, each a story in itself, are knotted with one another through characters, events, settings and emotions. The result is a read that criss-crosses through a multitude of emotions bringing out deep rooted human desires. They narrate tales of love and betrayal, suspense and mystery, courage and dilemma, along with hope and resilience. Read it for a taste so tantalizing, that your mind will surely be craving for more!

The book:

The book starts with the story of Sudip Roy, a young boy who comes to Delhi to study and ends up staying in Delhi and getting married, waiting outside the ICU of a hospital where his wife was brought in an unconscious state. She passes away leaving him with his daughter, Shivi, and his parents. The second story starts when Shivi is studying in a college in Delhi. She loves to read diaries and one such diary is the diary of Joseph Varughese. This story has another character introduced, the character of Siya, Shivi’s best friend. The third story connects Siya and Joseph Varughese and introduces us to Varu, an Indian boy who comes in search of Iliana but dies in a plane crash. The fourth story is of Iliana and Varu and Varu’s book, The diary of Joseph Varugese.  The next story is about Iliana meeting Catherine in Kerala. Then the book moves to newer characters like Rukhsana whom Catherine meets in Afghanistan, Poorni, Pankaj, Binoy, Meena and Pragya. And then the story comes back to Sudip.

I shall not write more and spoil the suspense of the book.

My take:

I first read the book as a novel and found it to be complete in itself. Then I randomly read one short story and realized that it is a standalone. All credit goes to the writers who made such a work possible. Each story has a different central character and is different as an individual story but when put together they all gel well together just like rice and pulses and Khichdi. All the possible themes have been incorporated in the book like love, betrayal, courage, suspense and friendship. The sequence of the stories help maintains the flow of the book.

Overall, a beautifully written book, one that stays with the reader for a long time.

Highly recommended.

Book Source: The Book Club Group

Publisher: Readomaia

Interview with Vani: Author of The Recession Groom

11130161_861370673923046_2604415643263821511_nVani was born in Garian, Libya, in a traditional Hindu Punjabi family. Her parents prized good education above all else and while she was still small, they decided to move base to Chandigarh, India. As a child, she loved reading, but writing stories of her own never occurred to her, much like everything else. Becoming a doctor wasn’t an option, for the very sight of blood made her retch and Mathematics and Excel sheets bored her, leaving Humanities as a last resort. She could easily compete for the civil services, her parents reasoned, although, sitting for an exam with a million potential candidates vying for one job didn’t make much sense to her. Fortunately, life took a better turn and it was a Master’s degree in Economics alongside a programme in Mass Communications that set her foundation for a career in business journalism. Luckily, she got to work in some of the best organizations in India, like ‘The Times of India’ and ‘The Financial Express’. In 2004, she was hit with the desire to write a novel. However, a few drafts and several ideas later, she gave it all up to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University in London. Of course, she dreamt about MNC firms coveting her, the Deloittes and the McKinseys of the world chasing her with multiple job offers, the likes of Accenture begging her to work for them. The reality was quite different. The completion of her course coincided with the start of global recession and her dreams could never be realized. Her situation, nevertheless, prompted her to write her first novel. So, it was all okay in the end.

Thanks Vani for agreeing for this interview.

It’s my pleasure!

From a business journalist to a fiction writer, could you please tell the readers more about yourself?

Journalism nurtured my creativity. It was exciting to meet new people, absorb their ideas, conceptualise and write stories. However, I did not want to limit myself to writing just business articles and started work on a chick lit novel, only to abandon it a little later. It was while working in London that I got back to writing again, this time to pen my first fiction novel, ‘The Recession Groom’.

How did you think of writing a book? Who/ What inspired you?

I left the comfort of a full time job in India to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University in London. The year was 2008 and coincided with the start of global recession. I witnessed mass redundancies, bankruptcies, foreclosures in the western world and often thought how it’d affect the life of an average middle class Indian and his chances of happiness. That’s what prompted me to write my novel. The story tracks the journey of a young Indian IT professional across the period of global credit crisis and his adventures to find his ‘perfect partner’.

What were the challenges faced while writing the book?

I was working full time when I started writing my book. Initially, everything was a challenge, from writing a few pages every day to completing the final draft. The next stage was to look for a publisher, which was equally daunting. However, nothing comes close to marketing and promoting the book. Guess what, you just don’t need to be a good writer but a good marketer as well.

I know it is difficult for an author to choose between her books, but which is closest to your heart?

Thank you for such a lovely question. I have written a sequel, but still find myself attached to my first book, ‘The Recession Groom’.

 How do you find time to write blogs for The Huffington Post?

I started writing for The Huffington Post in December 2014. My blog is called: ‘My Writing Journey: 101 Lessons I Learnt From My Mistakes’. I wanted to reach out to other writers like me and share my stories with them, help them in any way possible. Some mistakes I have shared with my readers are: Don’t write the way you speak, Verbosity doesn’t make you a good writer, Never underestimate an idea. (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/vani-kaushal/) I was never an avid blogger, to be honest, but the response I received from readers on platforms like Goodreads and The Huffington Post helped fuel my passion.

 When you pick up books to read, what is your favourite genre? Who is your favourite author?

I love good fiction and read across genres. If I’m not reading, I’m writing. My friends and I believe in having long reading lists. I love so many authors, it is difficult to name a few. Jane Austen, J R R Tolkien, John Green, Ray Bradbury, George R R Martin, Stephen King, John Grisham, J K Rowling, Dan Brown, Ashwin Sanghi, Amitav Ghosh. Alice Walker is also a favourite and I simply love her book, ‘The Colour Purple’.

 Which book are you currently reading?

Mightier than Sword by Jeffrey Archer.

What is the next project that you are working on? When is the next book scheduled for release?

I am working on a sequel to my first book (can’t reveal the name) and there is a third one that wraps up the series.

 Any word of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Be honest. Write every day. Write first, revise later. Discipline helps, patience helps much more.

 Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with your readers.

Social Media links of for people to find/follow/like:

Name of the book: The Recession Groomthe-recession-groom-400x400-imaefqdaze6rthfq

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing

Twitter handle: @Vani_Author

Website: http://www.vaniauthor.com

Facebook page Vani: www.facebook.com/Vani.Author

Facebook page The Recession Groom: http://goo.gl/29YaBN

Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomVani

Get this novel today:

Available at Crossword, Landmark, Oxford Bookstore

Amazon.in: http://goo.gl/vM6jeN

Flipkart.com: http://goo.gl/gGQBWJ
Infibeam.com: http://goo.gl/A5reUX

Amazon Kindle: http://goo.gl/fhcvh6

Amazon.com: http://goo.gl/59Rud5

Guilty by Choice by Shanti Paramashivean

23852185I received the book Guilty by Choice by Shanti Paramashivean as a review copy from the publisher and would like to thank them for the same. It is the story of Kiana Shetty, a girl who wants to do everything for her family.

The Blurb:

Kiana Shetty is a young, dynamic and beautiful girl who lives in Mumbai with her mother and a younger brother. Like every recent graduate, she dreams of making it big and making it big quickly. But fate may have other plans for her in the form of her own brother: meet Viraj, Kiana’s younger brother, who works at a call center but wants to open his own tattoo studio some day and he will do anything to make that happen.

Mumbai is known as the city of dreams and they say if you’re brave enough to shoot for the moon, you’ll at least land up among the stars. Viraj sets out to do just that, but he may have taken the help of some very different means to achieve his dreams. While Kiana deals with Viraaj’s dreadful secrets, she also has to put up with Abhit, Viraaj’s best friend, who won’t stop professing his love for her at every opportunity he gets. It looks like the only person she can trust in all this hullaballoo is Sarthak, her best friend and collegue. But for how long?

Will Kiana be able to get out of the mess that she actually has nothing to do with? Or has Viraj already gone too far that Kiana can’t help but be collateral damage?

‘Guilty By Choice’ is a story about dreams, about love, about friendship, and above all, family. Because in the end, you do it all for the family, right?

The story:

Kiana Shetty, 21, lives with her mother and brother, Viraaj, in a rented accommodation in Mumbai. She has just finished her graduation and is in search for a job because she wants to get her house and her father’s factory back after paying off the debt. Their father left them seven years ago when Kiana was fourteen because he blamed her mother for the debts.

Viraaj works in a call centre and Kiana also ends up getting a sales job.  Viraaj wants to open a tattoo studio and can stoop to any level to do it. Kiana and her mother blame Viraj’s friend, Abhit Singh, for all of Viraaj’s vices. To top it all, Abhit is in love with Kiana even though she does not reciprocate. Sarthak is a work colleague and he is also Abhit’s friend. Then there are the Pillais whose children are also friends with them. The story revolves around their day to day life and also their troubles.

My take:

A book well written. The story has been written in a good flow and the language is simple. Kiana has been portrayed to be a mature girl taking responsibility for Viraaj and even talking to his friends for his betterment. But the end could have been better.

Book Source: Publisher

Publisher: Become Shakespeare

The Guitar Girl by Aniesha Brahma

The Guitar Girl_Cover_KindleI received the book The Guitar Girl by Aniesha Brahma as a review copy from BookR3vi3ws and would like to than Debdatta for the same. This is Aniesha’s second book and has been written in a very different way. The story moves forward by way of Facebook chats and text chats also other than entries in the protagonist’s journal. The book is the story of a sixteen going on seventeen girl, Rhea Shah.

The story:

Rhea Shah, 16, studies in the tenth standard. Arjav and Sophie Ghosh are her best friends and the three of them keep getting punished for passing notes in the class. Out of school also, they keep in touch via facebook or text chats. So, one day she is really upset that her elder brother, Robbie, is coming home from college with his band, and mentions it to Sophie during her chats. Along with Robbie comes Joy Fernandez, his best friend, who now is very handsome, unlike the dork he was in school, and she feels that she has died and gone to heaven. She discusses this with Sophie and Arjav. Sophie tells her to communicate in a way that he understands. Rhea starts learning to play the guitar and starts her blog, Guitar Girl. And Joy starts following her blog. Unknown to Joy, she makes way into their band by way of being the lyricist and does not reveal her identity. Arjav and Sophie tell Rhea to confess her feelings or they will tell Joy who Guitar Girl is.

What happens next???

My take:

I loved the story and the style of writing. The author has described the tech savvy new generation well. The characters are real and likable. I loved Rhea and Sophie’s relationship. The story moves by the way of journal entries, Facebook chats and text chats. The text chats have been given different fonts for different persons, making it easy for the rader to understand who said what.

Liked the book a lot. Its short and sweet, perfect read for a lazy afternoon.

Book Source: BookR3vi3ws

The Accidental wife by Simi K Rao

25085276I received the book The Accidental wife by Simi K Rao as a review copy from BookR3vi3ws and would like to thank Debdatta for the same. This is my first book by the author and I was simply drawn into it. The cover is beautiful and so is the story.

The blurb:

If you enjoyed Inconvenient Relations, you’ll love The Accidental Wife, a new contemporary romance from Simi K. Rao.

Some accidents are meant to happen…

Dr. Rihaan Mehta is a brilliant young neurosurgeon who has no inclination for love or marriage. According to him wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets out in search of a bride who would fit his ‘requirements’. But can Rihaan deal with what he gets instead?

The story:

Dr Rihaan Mehta, the only son of his parents, is a confirmed bachelor with no inclination to get married. He does not feel the need for female company nor is he bowled over by any girl’s charms. He enjoys his work as a neurosurgeon at Manhattan Clinic of Central Neurological Associates and his freedom. His mother wants him to get married and he tries to stay away from being tied down and visits his parents’ home only when it is absolutely required. And then his mother gives him the ultimatum in a typical Bollywood style: “Get married or see me dead” and he walks out of the family home back to his bachelor’s pad in New York. One day, out of the blue, he tells his mother that he would get married if and only if he could choose the girl entirely on his own, only to regret the decision.

In comes Rudra Jaiswal, Rudy, a stockbroker, and Rihaan’s childhood friend. Rihaan tells him that he wants to marry a girl who stays out of his way and minds her business and lets him mind his own and that he can find such a girl only in India. Rudy suggests the World Wide Web and the search begins. He finds the girl meeting all his requirements, Deepika, only to find Naina in his room on the night of the wedding. To top it all she says that she has done her duty to her friend and is now going away. He feels duped, hoodwinked, ripped off and two-timed and demands an explanation and compensation from her. His parents are arriving the next day and he now has to find Naina and convince her to play the part.

Thus, starts the story of confirmed bachelor Rihaan and his accidental wife, Naina with its ups and downs.

My take:

The book starts with a prologue when Rihaan Mehta has just got married and goes to his bedroom only to address his wife as Deepika, and she tells him that she is Naina and that she is leaving. The rest of the story moves in a flashback till we come to know who Naina is and why is she in place of Deepika and why does she want to go away.

The hindi dialogues make the book more interesting and the author has translated them into English making it easy for non hindi readers too. The plot is not unique but the author has presented it in a very refreshing way. The characters are very real and true to life. I was unable to keep the book down and kept on reading it late into the night.

A must read. Highly recommended.

Book Source: BookR3vi3ws

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The path is the Way by Mohit Badoni

unnamedI received the book The path is the Way by Mohit Badoni as a review copy from the publisher, Become Shakespeare and would like to thank them for the same. This book is the story of Captain Vijay Amrit Raj Sharma of the Rajputana Rifles.

The Blurb:

Vijay Amrit Raj Sharma, a young Indian Army Officer is critically injured in a cordon and search operation, Struggling between life and death, he recalls the lessons that life and his grandfather have taught him. The young officer survives his gunshot wound only to find out that he has survived to pay back for his sins.

Embarking on a journey to find a way to wash away his sins, Vijay discovers love, friendship, passion, greed, despair and finally, hope.

Like a flowing river, The path itself becomes the way with an invisible world manifesting itself in the visible world to grasp the mysteries of human morality and the quest of redemption.

The story:

The books starts with Vijay travelling in an ambulance to the nearest hospital. He has been injured in an ambush by the terrorist’s bullet despite wearing a bulletproof jacket and is struggling for life. The doctor tells him that if he wants to live, he needs to stay awake and for that he needs to keep talking. And Vijay starts talking about himself.

Brought up by his grandfather, a poor temple priest, after the death of his parents, Vijay has been educated in the best schools in Mussoorie. He talks about his friend in school and the lessons he learnt from his grandfather and his friends in college, Philip and Radha. They are permanent fixtures of his life until he loses his grandfather and then Philip and Radha. He appears for various entrances and gets selected in the Indian Military Academy and then joins the Indian Army. Then the book comes back to the present, after he survives the gun-shot, he decides to quit. Then the books revolves around his conscious pinching him.

My take:

The story has been told in a very simple language. The book has been divided in two parts. The first part is the flashback when he starts relating the story of his life to the doctor and the second part is post recovery. The story has been written in first person from Vijay’s point of view. I felt that the editing is faulty at times like a few spelling mistakes, Radha’s description popping up in the middle without any reference and some punctuation.

Overall, an introspective book.

Book Source: Publisher

Publisher: Become Shakespeare