Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spotlight : The Guitar Girl by Aniesha Brahma

About the Book:
Sixteen year old Rhea Shah never thought that she would find herself falling for her brother’s best friend, Joy Fernandez, when they come home from college. Because she never thought that the dork who used to go to school with them would suddenly reinvent himself in college.
The only people she’s able to talk to about her absurd crush, are her best friends, Sophie and Arjav. Both of whom at first encourage, and then almost blackmail, Rhea to confess her feelings, which leaves the poor girl more muddled than ever!
Plagued with upcoming Board Examinations along with her friends’ suggestions, Rhea finds it difficult to concentrate, because she’s fallen for Joy, hook, line and sinker. In an attempt to vent to her feelings, she begins a blog, where she publishes all her songs and poems, dedicated to Joy, keeping her identity a secret.
But things do not go quite how she planned when a certain blogger named J. Fern begins to read her blog, and wishes to work with her…
Will Rhea ever confess her feelings to Joy? And will Joy find out the real identity of The Guitar Girl?

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Meet the Characters of The Guitar Girl

Rhea Shah: 16-year-old Rhea Shah develops a crush on her brother, Robbie's, best friend, Joy Fernandez. She adopts the alias The Guitar Girl in a misguided way to keep a hold on her feelings. Rhea cares about her two best friends, Sophie and Arjav, although the latter knows how to push her buttons. She is pretty awful at hiding her feelings.

Joy Fernandez: 18-year-old Joy is Rhea's brother's best friend, as well as Arjav's cousin. He takes on Rhea as his student, teaching her how to play the guitar, unaware that she harbours feelings for him. He can be pretty dense at times - refusing to see what is really happening right in front of his eyes. He dates a rather crazy girl in college, Rosetta, who later becomes Robbie's girlfriend.

Sophie Ghosh: Rhea's best friend in school, who discovers her secret at the beginning of the novel and keeps encouraging her to confess to Joy about it. Initially united with Rhea on the front by finding Arjav, she begins liking him more than a friend. Both she and Arjav believe in meddling with 'destiny'. 

Robbie Shah: Rhea's older brother who has no idea has his sister has fallen for his best friend. He is too preoccupied with his band and his girlfriend, Rosetta, who Joy had dated before him. 

Arjav: Rhea's oldest friend, who knows her secret and wants her to tell Joy as well. He and Sophie like each other and likes to meddle with 'Fate'. 

About the Author:
Aniesha Brahma has loved writing since the age of six. She was schooled in Dolna Day School, and then pursued BA honors in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, where she went on to complete her MA in the same. Currently, she’s pursuing MPhil in Comparative Literature from the same place. Her hobbies include reading, writing, playing with her favorite pet, Pippo the cat, (and other kittens too), traveling and blogging.She has written innumerable short stories and poems, most of which can be found on her blog and in various magazines and newsletters. Her debut novel was, The Secret Proposal, published by General Press in September 2012. She won the Editor’s Pick for Romance genre in the IndiReads Second Short Story Competition, and her story The Difference, was subsequently published in the anthology, Voices, Old & New. She has interned with and, as their content writer. She has volunteered at Hope Foundation, Kolkata, teaching the children who attend the Chetla Lock Gate Coaching Center. Aniesha also had a brief stint as a writer for the Kolkata-based travel magazine, Touriosity.

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The Guitar Girl By Aniesha Brahma : A Review

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BOOK TITLE: The Guitar Girl
AUTHOR: Aneisha Brahma
GENRE: Fiction – Chic Lit
FORMAT: Digital
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of B00k  r3iv3iws tour.
Rhea, our protagonist is your typical 16 year old high school girl who falls for her brother’s best friend Joy, the Mr.Nerd turned Mr.Hottie. What follows is an account of her life and her attempts to gain his love. She takes the tried and tested method of going anonymous which ends her in quite a soup.
The story is a typical high school romantic drama narrated in the form of notes, diary entries and online chats. The format initially was refreshing but as the plot progressed the format seemed to be the biggest drawback.  I felt quite lost and confused.
Characterisation wasn’t extraordinary either, but the writer did good justice to that particular age group of characters. Normally in such high school Chic Lits, writers tend to follow the ‘opposites attract’ rule while framing the character. Our writer decided to have similar characters. That is a risky move but it paid quite well!  Writing about a high school girl gives a huge space to manoeuvre as far as plot line is concerned. There could be a 100 ways that a teenage girl could react to a particular situation. The writer choose the best possible reaction thereby leading to a cohesive plot.
The writing was simple and quite refreshing when compared to the heavy literature works that I have been reading of late.
The plot line is a string of events that has been woven perfectly into a story. Though predictable, it kept me hooked. I was able to finish off the book in a couple of hours or so.
In short, this book is a light one time read providing a perfect masala-ish entertainment.
VERDICT: Read if you prefer Indian Drama.
RATING: 3 on 5
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Metro Diaries by Namrata : Spotlight and Review!

          Love is one of the most amazing feelings on this earth, one that makes you the most powerful person or the most helpless person in a split second. These stories capture those feelings of despair, longing, love, lust, desire, want, dejection and admiration to create deja vu. Hold onto your hearts as you flip through these pages and take a walk down the memory lane as "Metro Diaries" will revive your innermost feelings and imbibe in you the magic of love. Touching, amusing and deeply moving, Metro Diaries - Love Classics are tales that will hold you from start till end.

          (Read these before you read the book.)
1.    All the stories in the book are real. Name of places and people have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

2.    Metro Diaries is a segment on my blog which consists of stories across genres though this book has only got the romance collection.

3.    One of the characters in the book is me and NO I am not telling you which one ;) If you think you have the right answer do write to me and I will let you know how close or far you are.

4.    All the stories in the book have not been "ended”, they have been brought to conclusion in a manner that there can always be a next part to it and the story can go on with the same characters.

5.    If observed closely you will notice the stories are not technically love stories where boy meets girl and they fall in love to live happily ever after for I believe love stories are also about what doesn't happen between the lovers.

          Metro Diaries – a collection of short stories that I am going to review with a twist. Instead of the usual long drawn professional review that gave in depth comments about the plotline, I am going to give my comments about each story in a line or two.
Once in a Lifetime:
          The best part was Ansh's proposal - the beauty of those words can be described in just one word - magical.
          The story had powerful dialogues. For a story filled with bits of conversation and metaphors, with scenes flashing like memories, the completeness is amazing.
Then, Now and Forever:
          That Verse before the story - amazing!
          The first word of the story - the character's name - for Harry Potter fans, this quickly brings a smile upon their faces. The potter fandom sees references everywhere. If we don’t understand this, then there is something seriously Ron with us!
          The letter from Ron's grandfather is moving – it is a well written, thoughtful piece.
Love Thy Dreams:
          Love the dreams you have - let your memories aid you. And achieve those dreams - even if it means the dream is a person! Okay, enough ambiguity!
The Wait:
          The whole story changes with one word - or rather, one phrase. It is amazing how the human mind perceives things with omission and inclusion. Thoughts are the most easily manipulated feature of humans. Go on and read this more than once to understand what is wrong or right here.
A Secret Revealed:
          A story with a powerful theme. It takes a bit of in depth reading to understand the crux of the story. If you do understand the references, this story might garner good marks.
A Promise of a Lifetime:
          A commercial, happy ending story which makes the ordinary into extraordinary and makes the dialogues speak where the crux doesn't.
Will You?:
          A dialogue style story that quickly turns into the most essentially simple check list of lovers. If you find yourself making mental notes to check this with your love interest, you are well on your way to a lifetime supply of… No, no… That was not what I was about to say. Love. Yeah, that’s it.
Love Beyond Words:
          How much emotion could you put into a diary entry? What about the truly physical explanation of love? Beyond words - speechless. This story owns the lovelorn readers starting from the first sentence. Cynics, give this a skip.
Imperfectly Perfect:
          Had to go through this one twice to grasp the real plot of the story. Good try. Parallel worlds in a single short story (both existing in the same physical world) are usually difficult to bring about. Kudos to the author for trying this.
A Thing Called Love:
          A bittersweet tale with too many references of famous lines. A clichéd, repetitive tale but the prose is well-written.
The Sole Soul Mate:
          A story of realization and finally coming to terms with what was already evident to the subconscious mind. Filled with mind numbingly powerful dialogues.
The Yellowed Diary:
          A sadly penned diary entry that speaks of memories and of unrequited love – yet again.
You, Me and Love:
          The definition of soul mates at the end in this first person narrative stands out… That is the only thing that is memorable.
          Friends with Benefits? Abridged.
          Love lost? Photos remain the same as memories even when the people in them change or move away? Okay, I will stop with the clichés and picture quotes right now.
A Message of Love:
          A reflective story that ends in abrupt sweetness. Thank god I didn’t substitute the ‘e’ with an ‘a’ in the title – typos can be really awkward especially when they alter the meanings of phrases.
          For the love of God! Totally unexpected last paragraph. Well written! Yes, that is a sincere compliment. I was actually beaming after the ending of the story. I personally related to this story and this is my pick from the lot!
Love Revisited:
          A story about second chances in life. Well phrased dialogues and strong concept. Much needed.
The Last Letter:
          The story that describes the saying that 'the people who really love us never leave us'. Clean writing.
You & I:
A cheeky, beautiful story. A bit more emphasis on dialogue (like in the rest of the book) would have done wonders. The dialogues were good, but considering the setting of the story, a more speechless approach was what the author has aimed for and absolutely achieved. A fitting end to this anthology.
          The stories are short, and to the point. The power of each story lies in the dialogues and the emphasis is lesser on the plotline. (Fun Fact about the reviewer: I did NOT have access to the ‘facts’ – included at the start of this review – before I began this book. But now things are clearer. The reason these stories lack a conclusion is revealed in a few short sentences. I had to rewrite my whole review considering I had commented on the lack of effective conclusions in every story – but it was worth it to know that there was logic behind this.)
          The language (save a few obvious typos) is fairly pleasant to read and the elaborate discussions between characters in each story must have taken a lot of work – because the most difficult job of all authors is to bring out human emotions in proper words. Thankfully, Namrata has concentrated upon it very well, even if it has, inadvertently translated into lack of focus in certain crucial areas. But overall, no major complaints.
          Usually when an author sits down to write a book, they draw inspiration and influence from a lot of authors. Some authors try to avoid it consciously and some authors proclaim it proudly. This book belongs to the latter category and the famed authors who are a silent inspiration are Paulo Coelho and Pablo Neruda. They have been mentioned more than once in a creative license that always beautifies the common run of the mill stories. The characters might not have read Coelho to spout those script friendly lines, but the author has a way with words that is an ointment to any soul that has been tarnished by the pangs of unattainable (or broken, or unrequited, or selfish, or… you get the picture) love.
          This book might be your make or break. Based on your temperament and patience and usual genre preference, you will either love it so much that you will open and read the dialogues again and again, if only to soothe your wounded soul. Or you will roll your eyes at the questionable expressions of the most sacred emotions humans can feel. There are stories here that suit every type of love. As the author has very rightly said, this is not your usual book of feel-good, happy- ending love stories between men and women. You might be a romantic, or a skeptic, or you might be a cynic, read this book for it caters to every type of person – if not for being a fan, at least for being a critic!

          Namrata is a prolific blogger known by the name Privy Trifles in the blogosphere who romances life through her writings and aspires to make love the universal language. She dons various hats between that of a contributing author to 7 anthologies a reviewer for leading publishing houses an editor to various books and a columnist. Apart from that she is also the editor for an online magazine called Writer's Ezine. Having mastered the nuances of finance till recently she also held the title of an investment banker closely to let it go to embrace her love for writing fully.
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Bridges of Paris : A Promo

Book Description:

Bridges of Paris is a large-format coffee-table book, with over 350 original color photographs, which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you’ve experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again.

Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.

Author's Bio:

Michael Saint James’ artistic pursuits include award-winning book design, film editing, and sound recording, as well as his first love, photography. Saint James is a world traveler, having visited more than 50 countries - doing everything from photographing penguins in Antarctica to trekking the Himalayas.

As an educator with California teaching credentials, he has taught media production and technology arts as well as photography, art history and visual storytelling. He is an expert speaker on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Indeed, he walked in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in order to immerse himself in that troubled master’s vision.

The father of two grown children, Saint James once owned a café in Berkeley, California. He has bicycled from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. and is rumored to play a mean blues harmonica.

Connect with Michael:  Website Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Book Trailer:

Where to buy the book:


​Prizes: ​ 
Win one of 15 print copies of Bridges of Paris. (Open Internationally) Ends May 16

Bridges of Paris : A glimpse