HiFi in Bollywood

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Blurb: Rayhan Arora’s long cherished dream is to be a filmmaker in the Hindi Film Industry but his formidable father has other plans… a successful financial career in Corporate America, and a marriage of convenience with Vanita, a medical student in the US. In a final act of desperation, Rayhan abandons his promising life in California and secretly returns to Mumbai to work as an Assistant Director in Bollywood. The characters he encounters along the way become part of his journey of self-discovery – a self-proclaimed local goon with a penchant for acting; a powerful local politician who wants to marry Rayhan’s part-time domestic help, who in turn covets stardom; an angst-ridden, homosexual film director; ego-ridden film stars with twisted agendas; and the mysterious Viola who captures his heart. HiFi in Bollywood takes the reader from the streets of Berkeley to the film studios of Mumbai; from red-light areas to police stations, and from reality to dreams and back to reality again!

About the author: Rishi Vohra relocated back to Mumbai after completing a Green MBA from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law, prior to which he had an extensive career in the Indian Entertainment Industry. His debut novel Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai was a bestseller and awarded a special mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. His short story, The Mysterious Couple, was selected by Sudha Murty for her anthology Something Happened on the Way to Heaven, published by Penguin Books. HiFi in Bollywood is his second novel. He writes for delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW).

Review: A special thanks to Rishi Vohra (author) for providing me a signed copy of the book. HiFi in Bollywood is a tale of a wannabe filmmaker, trying to make it big in Bollywood along with dealing with a tensed relationship with his father. The story is of Rayhan Arora, a 23 year old, who has a penchant for directing films in bollywood. He pursues his dreams without telling his father that he has returned from Berkeley for Mumbai.  When Rahyan comes back, little does he know that it is the beginning of his journey of self-discovery? The various people that Rahyan meets during this journey take him on a rollercoaster before commencing back in the world of reality. Rayhan’s plan is different from the path his father has set for him and that leads to them falling out. Do they ever repair their damaged relationship? That part forms a major crux of this compelling story. It has a mysterious woman who confused yet entices you, who captures Rayhan’s heart and he can’t do anything about it! What happens between these two? It cannot be missed. Salman Khan makes a special appearance in the book and which person in the world wouldn’t want to read it. The book offered handy information into the struggles that newcomers face in the path of realizing their dreams in the Indian film industry. While reading the book I felt it gave the voice to the growing undercurrents of friction and rebellion within families between the people of older and younger generations. At the same time it provided an important lesson to the readers that irrespective of the circumstances, people who never quit trying ultimately realize their dreams! The book stores on the melancholy of life and serves it with humor and some serious outlook. There’s an element which keeps the entire book going and let us draw comparisons from the real cover-up. The career dilemma is good up to a certain point but the familiar tone to it brings nothing new. The book does a honest job in narrating one of those failure-success stories. It gives you grave insight as to what one has to do achieve the heights and conquer the odds but on the other hand as a reader the wishful thinking cap falls down time and again to churn out newer ideas to do so.

Maharaja in Denims

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About the book: Have you ever thought about who, where or what you were in your past life? Maharaja in Denims is all about a young teenager whose life changes after he discovers that he has had more than one past lives.  Hari, a teenager believes that he is the reincarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who is also known as the Lion of Punjab. Suzzane, Hari’s girlfriend tries to find out more about his past life using the practice of regression and discovers that he has had more than one past lives. The book gives the readers an understanding of Punjab’s history and the after-effects of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Furthermore, the book talks about Ranjit Singh’s life, love and conquests. The plot is gripping and makes you not want to put the book down.

About the author: Born in a leading farming family of Punjab, Khushwant Singh developed writing as an alternate career at the age of twenty-four. He is the author of best-selling Sikhs Unlimited, a travelogue from UK to USA featuring extraordinary Sikhs and Turbaned Tornado, biography of Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest marathon runner. He has also penned down books like ‘The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories’, ‘The History of Sikhs’ and ‘Train to Pakistan’. An alumnus of St. John’s High School, Chandigarh and Department of Mass Communication, Punjab University, Khushwant Singh has also written for the Times of India, The Tribune, BBC Online and India Today. His work on the Punjabis and Sikh diaspora abroad is used extensively as research material by western universities, thus earning him the title of being a chronichler of the Sikhs of the new century.

Review: ‘Maharaja in Denims’ by Khushwant Singh is a perfect book for history lovers. It is a tale of history and suspense. I liked the title very much. The author made me travel from present to the past giving me a feel that I have witnessed few of these incidents personally.  The book is about – Hari, a 19 year old college student who suddenly discovers that he is a reincarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire. He gets flashes of information about the life and times of the Sikh ruler without ever knowing anything about him. His girlfriend, Suzanne who is a student of Psychology helps him recover memories of his past life or reincarnations through regression technique. Maharaja in Denims connects the past and the present with the story of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s life, loves, rule, battles and times along with the current love story of Hari. The story also deals with the Sikhs of now generation – with shorn hair, affluent kids with SUVs and expensive motorbikes, the skewed male-female ratio in the state, preference of weekend get-aways in Himachal, dollar dreams of the youth, UK-based second generation NRIs, deaths of farmers due to pesticides, drug addiction along with the killing of the Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the politics of votes and the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. The writer has very efficiently dispersed the chapters in such a way that any reader can’t hold back the instant urge to read the next chapter. The very well described theories of re-embodiment, acts as the cherry on the cake. The writer has chosen his words wisely, which added to the glamour of the book. The surprise elements and the unforeseen end makes this book a must read for all book lovers. The writing style is quick and racy with high doses of sentiment, politics and sex. In the end the book leaves you with a definite sense of history being an ineradicable part of the present.

White Swans A Regency World

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About the author:  Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the States, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish. Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.

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You can visit Annamaria at:

blog http://annamariabazzi.com

website http://www.annamariasbooks.com

facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Author.annamariabazzi

email annamariascorner@yahoo.com

twitter https://twitter.com/AMBazzi

goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6890526.Annamaria_Bazzi

pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/annamariabazzi/

Check in on Kendíka’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kendika.burkeshire

Blurb: Kendíka’s second chance at life begins as a nightmare. Will the eerie eyes always looking down from the sky reveal themselves? Kendíka challenges the aliens no one has ever seen to bring about a better life for the humans trapped in the surreal Regency world she wakes up in. While getting to know her alien owner, she discovers the aliens aren’t so perfect and have much to learn about humans. Will Kendíka survive or perish, attempting to make life better for the people living on Regency?

Excerpt: Startled by the lack of movement, Kendíka sat up in bed, scanning the shadows in the moonlit room. Perspiration beaded her forehead while her heart pounded against her ribs. The last thing she remembered was sitting in the limousine next to Mr. Vetrano, arguing about her future. He insisted the will mandated her future, not him. Did the pill knock her out? How dare he drug me! 

She blinked and, holding her breath, glanced around the unfamiliar room. When her lungs screamed for air, she exhaled then took another deep inhale. What the hell? What happened to the limousine?

Butterflies unsettled her stomach. Her back stiffened. Her heart drummed. Oh, my God! When did I get out of the car or come to this room? Why would Mr. Vetrano bring me to such a freaky place? Fear and the thought of her parents’ death brought fresh tears to her eyes.

She slid out of bed and shuffled her bare feet along the stone floor, hands held out to make sure she didn’t bump into anything hidden by the shadows.

At the opposite end of the room, she could make out a dark blob, which she hoped might be the door. Somewhere along the wall near it, she would find a light switch. She advanced slowly, making sure not to stub her toes. Her fingertips ran along the smooth wood. The handle felt cold. She pulled on the knob, but it didn’t budge. Strange! Her heart missed a beat. Why is the door locked?

With all her strength, she pounded on the door. “Mr. Vetrano?” She paused. “Is anyone out there?” She beat her fists on it a few more times, but when no one came to investigate the commotion, she slid to the floor and buried her face in her hands. Think, girl, think. Standing again, she moved her hands along the smooth walls at the edge of the molding, feeling for a light switch. Why can’t I find it? She tried again…nothing but wall. Why is no one coming?

FunFacts: White Swans A Regency World (book 1) is a fantasy/sci-fi young adult novel filled with adventure and a pinch of romance. Some interesting facts:

  1. One of the more challenging items I researched was how to address people. I had been under the impression that I could refer to a duke as ‘My Lord.’ Boy was I wrong! To do so is quite degrading. A duke is addressed as ‘Your Grace’, and he’s introduced as, for example, ‘Charles Emory, the Duke of Deverow.’ Yes, he is one of the leading characters in my book.
  2. What about the funny little hat maids wore that looked like a shower cap? Well, that’s called a mob hat, and no, it has nothing to do with mobsters and gangsters. It was an essential part of a maid’s uniform.
  3. Speaking of servants, I had to understand what a footman does versus a butler. A footman did a variety of indoor and outdoor jobs. Important to me were the indoor jobs. Learning that a footman laid out the table, served the meal and tea, and assisted the butler helped me determine what Wordsworth’s duties had to be in the book.
  4. During this research, I learned that the butler was responsible for household security and most important, the wine cellar. The butler didn’t wear a uniform, but he wore a black cravat instead of a white one so he would not be mistaken for a gentleman.

Review: White Swans was originally designed as a short story series in the hopes many young adults who complain books are just too long, would enjoy reading the novel in bits and pieces. The novel is a magical world filled with misplaced righteousness and lots of evil for those who enjoy the struggle of good and evil. The story is also about friendship, and learning what the real meaning of friendship is all about. In the first book, the main character of Kendíka is introduced together with the new world she wakes up in.  I am persuaded that you cannot write well for young adults if you have decorated the mantel of maturity, without leaving a gap in your shield in order to memorize your youth. I like the fantasies children see. Children find magic and joy in everything they do, and their eagerness and inquisitiveness is something we should cling to and learn from as we hide bottom our mortgage, our fast cars and our rational chit chat. Why do we do anything at all if it is not for them? The present book is one of these adult-children and it was an awesome read. Author has embraces the vigour and curiosity of her own children plus the children she works with, and this shines brightly through as you read her novels. Buy White Swans – A Regency World and you will see! I sincerely recommend that you do!

 

Tears me apart

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Once I was a bright child, with dreams of becoming someone big, I was social and bubbly, loved and cherished, everyone enjoyed my company, and wanted to be around me, then acne decided to breakout on my face when I was 15, and turned me into the ugliest thing that my eyes ever saw, destroyed my self confidence, made me so lonely, turned me into a secluded, quiet and awkward dark kid, pushed everyone away from me, took my dreams away from me, occupied my mind with one thought only, the thought of how disgusting I am, Acne ruined my teenage years, I have no memories of anything interesting to tell anyone. I can’t look people straight in the eye, I move away if they’re too close, and I just envy my friends and their flawless skin. It really makes me want to cry when I see myself in the mirror. It’s like I’m an alien. For once I just want to feel my face without any bumps. Not only has acne screwed up my face but it’s screwed up my back my chest and my shoulders. It’s disgusting. Makeup can only do so much and you worry about once the makeup comes off, how people are going to judge your face. Part of the reason my anxiety has gotten so bad.

The treatment people give you is just inhumane. I mean they see a person with acne and they say and think stuff like he/she has bad hygiene. I’m the only person in my family with acne so nobody really understands how I feel. I’ve tried everything from acne treatments, dermatologists and diet. People often say that having acne is no big deal, but that’s far from true. I hate my face so much, constantly having pimples, and with all the acne scars that I have on my face doesn’t make me any better. I think having cancer or living with tuberculosis is good than this. I hate going out in public because I know I have acne. When I’m in the mall girls roll their eyes at me as if to say “DIRT BAG”. What’s worse is that every time I talk to someone it feels like they’re staring at my acne and I can’t focus on the conversation anymore and it makes me not want to interact with anyone. It is really humiliating to feel like I have no control over my acne. I feel so embarrassed and frustrating.

People that say “Oh hey, you have acne! Hahaha wash your face more, and eww, it looks disgusting and gross.” It actually kills me to hear this. People do not understand that it hurts because you can’t get it away. It stabs in my heart. It’s infuriating to know that people judge you so automatically because of your skin; and it’s not even my fault that I wanted acne or even acne scars. The words such as “beautiful”, “gorgeous”, “amazing”, “sexy”, “good-looking” have no place in my life.

And not just ruining your confidence, acne/pimples can also wreck your love life and marriage too. It’s quite practical that men desire for a girlfriend/wife who is beautiful and most important has flawless fair skin.  She has to be stunningly attractive. Having a girlfriend/wife with acne is no less traumatizing for the man. Many people take acne as a disease which would definitely prevent the consummating of the marriage. One of the worst moments of a married life is facing the reality of the situation that your husband hates you because you look awful, you break out with acne, you have scars, you don’t look nice and he is not proud of you as his wife. It doesn’t get more hurting and painful to your emotions and feelings than this. I know with acne and its presence all over the body being all sickening and it won’t go away and the doctors are useless, they only make it worse, it’s obvious to get into a loveless and sexless marriage.

I am not married but somewhere I am scared of getting married because of my acne/and the scars which are all over my face, back, shoulders. Just like women even men have their desires/qualities which they expect in their wives and I don’t set in for a single quality. I think I have no right to disappoint anyone. It is really scary to get rejected or being hated. I am 31, I still get acne, controlling them is not in my hand, they pain a lot, I turn pale, dark and patchy, nothing (medication) works on them, they come back again and again. I’ve accepted that these are my part of my life till I die and I need to live with them.

The Recession Groom

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Blurb: Parshuraman Joshi, 27, handsome, Hindu-Brahmin, IT Professional, settled in Canada, earns a high-figure salary. These are credentials that would make any young man hot on the Indian wedding market, so it’s no wonder that Parshuraman’s family is inundated with matrimonial proposals. While so far all attempts to ‘settle’ him have gone kaput, he has bigger issues vexing him – such as Jennifer, his ‘fireball’ of a colleague, and their efforts to save Project Infinite. To top it all, as the credit crisis grips the global economy, the little world he’s created for himself begins to fall apart. Will he be able to pull himself together to face the challenges posed by a tough economy? More importantly, will this Recession Groom be able to find his ‘perfect partner’?

About the author: I, was born in Garian, Libya in a traditional Hindu Punjabi family. My parents prized ‘good’ education above all else, and when I was still small, they decided to move base to Chandigarh, a modern city in the North of India, famed for its educational institutions. As a child, I loved reading, but writing stories of my own never occurred to me, much like everything else. Becoming a doctor wasn’t an option, for the very sight of blood made me retch. Mathematics and Excel sheets bored me no end, leaving Humanities as a last resort. I could easily compete for the civil services, my parents reasoned, although, sitting for an exam with a million potential candidates vying for one job didn’t make much sense to me. Fortunately, life took a better turn and it was a Masters degree in Economics alongside a programme in Mass Communications that set my foundation for a career in business journalism. Luckily, I got to work in some of the best organisations in India, like ‘The Times of India’ and ‘The Financial Express’. In 2004, I was hit with the desire to write a novel. However, a few drafts and several ideas later, I gave it all up to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University in London. Of course, I dreamt about MNC firms coveting me, the Deloittes and the McKinseys of the world chasing me down with multiple job offers, the likes of Accenture begging me to work for them. The reality was quite different. The completion of my course coincided with the start of global recession and my dreams could never be realized. My situation, nevertheless, prompted me to write my first full novel. So, as it happens, ‘it was all okay in the end.’

Review: This is author Vani’s debut novel and it is just difficult to believe that because I felt her writing very professional as she has been trained to write so well. All appreciation to you. A big welcome to the world of writing. The book is about Parshuraman Joshi, Chandigarh based Punjabi Brahmin working in Canada. He is 27, eligible for marriage along with good pay and he is controlled by a bossy aunt, Parvati. Aunt along with his sister Ragini tries every way to select a bride for Parshuraman which makes him feel like a “thing” in the market than a man for wedding. The book has some good funny situations which rise due to this but author Vani has balance the story by including misfortune which Parshuraman experiences at work which makes me jinxed about making few important decisions relating to his work and personal life when recession hits him and he loses his job. All the characters in the story – Aunt Parvati, Tia and Ana, Ragini, Parshuraman, Bill, Jennifer, Tara, Uncle Ravi and Parshuraman’s ‘s Nani are portrayed so real that we can relate to them personally. They did not looked like made for this story. It is as if you really are witnessing a part of someone’s life. The language used by Vani’s is refined and perfect. From the very first page, I was grasped into the heart of the story. The author has kept things interesting with some unexpected twists in the book, especially the climax, that one I didn’t expect. The Nani, unfair to call her an old lady, the coolest grandma every written in any story who fancies Robert Pattinson and watches Hollywood movies. Wish we all had a Nani like her. Even though the story is crafted in an amusing way, I felt lack of emotions here and there. But I was laughing like crazy at those Aunt Parvati’s moments and many other. Vani’s funny tone kept me hooked to the book till the very end. The plot is really unique and real in sync with the characters. The situations in and around a software company as mentioned in the story is systematically intuitive and the author had done her research well enough to bring alive the period of recession in our history. I would definitely recommend this book please read it to find out about Parshuraman’s journey on the road to marriage and employment.

“This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and BlogTours.  To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com.”

When she smiled

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Blurb: Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla. While his family is completely academically oriented, he wants something more.  Finally he meets Akanksha in school, who turns his world upside down with her gorgeous looks and mind boggling smile. As fate would have it, she joins his tuition, and thus begins the torrid year of puppy love, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and self discovery.
Set among the scenic Shivalik hills of Shimla when mobile phones and internet were non-existent, this is a story of how an average young teenager comes to terms with his destiny.

About the author: Ritoban Chakrabarti is an entrepreneur who ran an internet marketing company for five years, before trying his hand at writing. His first novel, When She Smiled, a coming-of-age fiction released in 2014. He is an avid traveller, and believes in a life without boundaries.

Review: When she smiled takes the reader to the hilly beauty of Shimla narrating the story of 15 year old Mrityunjoy Roy attracted to girl named Akanksha.  The scenic beauty and natural landscape Shimla matches exactly to the romantic and childhood adventurous spirit of the story. The romantic narrations and the descriptions of feelings of both antagonists and protagonists kept me attached to the book until it finishes. There is this question in my mind- what will happen next? But as destiny wins, Mrityunjoy understands the reality of life and its importance. He shifts his attraction to his studies from the memories of childhood romance. The friendship, attraction, love and heart break, studies and career growth are all described analytically that it seems that the same experience is being occurring in the real life and can be visualized by the reader too. The writing style of the author is expressive, articulate and easy. I liked the way he has described Shimla and the life of people there. However, at times, I felt my interest fading in few chapters of the story. The author needs to polish his writing to make it brusquer. But he successfully could give the message he wanted to give through his book though he could have cut down on some of the enraged paragraphs/references which I felt were pointless. The characterization is very well done but somehow I could not connect with the characters. I felt Mrityunjay was inexperienced that he felt foolish to me. However, at times I felt myself understanding with him and rooting for his good future. Akansha was confusing; she seemed to be a nice girl at first but then suddenly turned negative. Roy’s father angered me to no end to that the teacher added another layer of disgust and anger. Such teachers have no right to be near children, let alone teach anything to them. Don’t give up is what you will get from this story. I know everyone has had some moment where things just get bad and it never seems to get better. You will read about things like that in this book. You can either feel worse about it and things will go to crap. Or you can stand up and work to make things better and end up on top of the world. I like the idea, but it’s not the first book I’ve read with it. There were a few Bollywood touches throughout the book which reminded me of few movies of 1990’s, but it is normal be when reading books by authors who are hugely influenced by Bollywood from a  young age, but these points did not make me lost my connection with the characters and story. I would like to conclude that all in all, it’s a fresh and enchanting love story. Old school love narrated at its best.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers.Participate now to get free books!

 

 

A Style Of My Own

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“This post is my expression of style for the ‘A Style Of My Own’ blogger contest by Women’s Web and Trishla emart

“Wear something you feel gorgeous in and don’t try too hard; it’s much sexier when it appears effortless. Clothes that don’t fit, or don’t fit the wearer’s personality, don’t help.” – Heidi Klum.

I don’t follow any fashion herds. I have no rules. I don’t go by any season when it comes to style, for me it is my personal.  My style comes from within, from knowing who you are and who you want to be; not from wanting to be somebody else, or wanting to be thinner, shorter, taller, prettier. My wardrobe has some amazing choices – it is much easier for me to see 5-6 incredible pieces than when there 20-25 pieces ordinary and most of them are not even worn by me. If everyone is wearing blue colored dresses, but I feel I don’t look good in it, why buy one? I wear what suits me and what makes me comfortable. Comfortable doesn’t have to mean boring.

I have few staples that go with almost anything and never go out of style and those are SHIRTS , let it be my white shirt which has a crisp straightforwardness making it realistic and natural or the plain, embroidery, mannish, hedgier pinstripe, animal print, I love shirts. They are such clean and fuss free clothing which goes with jeans/trousers/skirts.

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Jeans is the most flexible item. Simple, sexy and perfect, rebellious and elegant, they can dress anything down and make even the most uptight items look relaxed. I’ve owned no more than one pair of jeans, at a time for the past 6years. And somehow, the world hasn’t ended. It’s interesting to note how people respond when I tell them I own only one pair of jeans. Usually they inform me that owning just one pair is completely impractical. Then I remind them that, despite seeing me in those same jeans dozens of times, they never took any notice. Even the people I’ve been closest to didn’t seem to realize until I brought it up.

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For driving, mad dashes for flights, the first day of the sales, or any occasion when I have to give my heels the boot in the name of practicality, my flats/flipflops are my saviours.

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Sometimes I want to be outrageous, impractical and bold. But sometimes, a reliable classic brown/tan high-heeled pump that won’t clash with my dress, or prospective family, is what’s required.  Stylish, yet sophisticated enough to make me look endlessly elegant.

I have stopped counting how many of them I have, yes the statement bags are great, I do use the classics: a tote or shoulder bag for day which carries almost everything; a clutch for night and a medium-sized day shopper handbag, let it be a Lavie, Caprese, Mango, Hidesign, you name it I own it.

My rose gold watch is timeless and looks great on my wrist. It makes a statement and breaks the rules in an unexpected but subtle way. Perfect for day or night, casual or dressy, winter or summer, with other jewels, diamonds in my ears, my pendent and my ring are always a part of me. Best of all, it makes me instantly mystifying.

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Every girl ought to have an accessory she can wear day in and day out. For me, it’s my favourite bangles. I almost always wear them (I’m actually wearing it in now while writing this piece), the way I see it, accessories help personalize an outfit. Bangles are my personal preference. They make any outfit look fabulous to say the least and they’re super possible throughout the day!

I mix and match but prefer to keep things classic as it is timeless, or give it a more contemporary twist by paying attention to patterns, colours & accessories. So, I believe in being in vogue, making style-statements and turn into an eye-catcher by just being a little comfortable to myself.

He Fixed The Match, She Fixed Him

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Blurb: Shreya – I’m a highly qualified Delhi girl earning an enviable salary. My parents are having a tough time finding a suitable groom for me. However, recently they have a proposal from this very interesting guy from Mumbai. I almost get mesmerised when he starts talking to me. I think I like him very much.

Kunal – I’m owner of a textile company in Mumbai. My Mom wants me to get married. Again. She has recently suggested a suitable girl from Delhi. What my Mom doesn’t know is that I’ve met Shreya before once in my life and I’ve been looking for her ever since. I have a vendetta to settle.
The author takes you along on a journey via roads of revenge, agony, remorse, attraction, titillation, tantalisation and romance. Do Shreya and Kunal make it, or do they fall prey to their past?

About the author: Shikha Kumar has a B-Tech degree in Computer Science from Bharati Vidyapeeth, Delhi. Professionally she’s as a Manager with Tata Consultancy Services. She has travelled to, and worked in different countries. She enjoys travelling, reading, writing and watching movies. This is her first attempt to present her writing abilities to the world.

Review: This is Shikha Kumar’s debut novel and after reading it I must say that she has done justice to the romantic genre and I did not feel it was her debut. The way she has unfolded the story has given a sense of satisfaction that what happened in the novel was the right. This is an interesting romantic tale of a married couple, who are forced into marriage almost reluctantly. Shreya is a working independent professional; Kunal on the other hand is being pushed for marriage who has a bitter past. Kunal’s mother finds Shreya’s match unaware that Kunal already knows Shreya, she is happy that Kunal has agreed to marry Shreya. They get married where Shreya doesn’t get a chance to see Kunal’s personally and all she knows is by his voice. Shreya feels helpless when she sees Kunal on the wedding day and she determines to fix her husband and their marriage, deciding not to give up. Managing home and office efficiently, she woos Kunal off his feet. It is a story of romantic genre where intense hatred accompanied with revenge completely transforms into love that is indefinable and selfless. The characters avoid love due to their pasts and this avoidance is the reason for Shreya and Kunal coming as close to each other as if they were born one. The characters in the novel are portrayed in a simple manner and understanding of the story is a cakewalk. I appreciate the use of language in the novel; reader will hook to this novel till it ends because of the plainness of the language used along with the use of some Hindi phrases.  Author Shikha has put in elements of a block buster novel – strong story with strong characters, twists running a thrilling chill, sweet smile, and a plot that you will easily relate, a guiding instinct that keeps the characters going without causing any boredom. I recommend this story to all. I finished in one day and night’s reading.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve

Antique Forgery

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Blurb: Magic, forgery, betrayal, and fabulous jewels surround Alicia as she struggles to find the reason for her friend’s death.

Spotlight:  This second book in the series takes the reader further into the life of Alicia Trent and her friends. Magic, forgery, betrayal, and fabulous jewels surround Alicia as she struggles to find the reason for her friend’s death.

Buy Links:

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Excerpt:

We were nearly halfway up the stairs when I heard Lawrence groan. I turned to see what had happened. He was deathly white, and while I watched, he sank down on the closest step. He was sweating heavily and clutching his stomach. He didn’t seem coherent enough to answer any questions, so I ducked into my room and called for an ambulance. They only took about ten minutes to arrive, but it was horrible to wait. Lawrence was obviously in great pain, but couldn’t tell me what was wrong.

The ride to the hospital took an eternity. They wouldn’t let me ride in the ambulance, and I was so afraid of what would happen before he arrived. I was shaking and behind the wheel of a car was the last place I should have been, but as the ambulance tore through the streets with the siren blaring, I was right behind them.

I ran from the parking lot into the emergency room just in time to see them take Lawrence through a set of swinging doors where I couldn’t follow. I slumped into a chair, and for the next two hours I sat in a waiting room with dull green walls and hard metal chairs. I never moved while I waited. My mind was busy begging Lawrence to hold on.

Since I was the only one waiting, when I saw an exhausted-looking man dressed in scrubs walk into the room, I took a deep breath and hurried to his side.

He said, “Are you the relative who brought Lawrence Hall in tonight?”

Afraid they wouldn’t tell me anything if I confessed to not being a relative, I just nodded.

“Mr. Hall is a very sick man. He’s been poisoned, and we think he must have eaten poisonous mushrooms. Our tests indicate they were probably green-sporedlepiota.”

At this point I wanted to scream at him to just tell me his condition. He could explain the details after I knew how Lawrence was.

However, he wasn’t finished explaining. “This particular mushroom doesn’t normally cause death, but among its other symptoms it can dangerously lower blood pressure. Mr. Hall must be on some type of medication that has the same effect, or at least exacerbated the effect of the mushroom, because we nearly lost him. It’s a good thing you got him here when you did. We have him stabilized now, and he should make a full recovery.”

I barely heard anything the man said except the last statement. Lawrence was going to be all right! My knees weakened with relief and I sank into the nearest chair.

He continued, “He’s awake, and we need to monitor him closely for a while. We want to keep him tonight and tomorrow for observation, but he can probably go home after that. If you want to see him, you can visit for a short time, but first, can you tell me what type of medication he’s taking? He was still pretty confused when I talked to him and wasn’t able to tell me.”

“I don’t know the exact medication. Lawrence is bi-polar, so it has to be something for that. I’ll see if I can find out the name for you.”

I got the room number and was practically running in my need to see for myself that he was alive and recovering. I burst into the room, nearly knocking over a nurse on her way out. She cautioned me the patient needed rest and, with a frown in my direction, left the room. I pulled a chair up next to the bed and took Lawrence’s hand. “You look so much better already. You have some color back.”

He said, “You look terrible. You can relax. I’m going to be fine. I was a little worried in the beginning because the confusion felt the way some of my episodes used to begin. The confusion is gone now, and I really am fine. It’s left me very tired, but they don’t want me to sleep yet. Tell me exactly what happened. I’m sure the gory details will help keep me awake. The last thing I remember is starting up the stairs, and then brief moments in the ambulance.”

I wanted to answer in the same matter-of-fact way he’d asked the question. I tried, but before I could begin, tears were running down my face and I couldn’t find my voice. I didn’t sob or howl. Strangely, I didn’t make any noise at all. I just stared at Lawrence, horrified because he might have died trying to help me. All the while the silent tears kept coming.

He said, “Ali, we can’t have this. I’ve seen you go through some horrible times, but I’ve never seen you cry. There’s no need for you to be so upset. I promise you I will be out of here tomorrow, and all will be well. Even the doctor says so.”

I gulped a few times trying to find my voice. It didn’t sound good, but I managed to say, “I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to you. When you get out of here, you’re going right back to Scottsdale! I should never have involved you in any of this.”

“Whoa there, girl! In the first place, I’m a grown man and you can’t involve me in anything I don’t choose to be involved in. In the second place, you and your crazy mixed-up life are the main thing keeping me from getting old and bored. Bad things happen sometimes, but none of this is your fault. Now dry those tears and tell me how I got here.”

I hiccuped a few times but got myself under control. “Okay, I’m not trying to take the blame for what happened, but I was so scared. It seems you were poisoned. I wasn’t in much shape to listen to the doctor, but it was some kind of mushroom. There were mushrooms in the food we ate at supper, but we both ate those. Someone targeted you specifically. At the moment, I have no idea why they did it, but I don’t think whoever did this was trying to kill you. The doctor said the symptoms were severe but not normally fatal. The problem seemed to be a reaction between the poison and your medication. Whoever did this couldn’t have known that you take anything, or at least not that your medicine would react with the mushrooms. The doctor asked me to find out the name of your prescription.”

“I vaguely remember him asking me, but I was pretty confused then and couldn’t remember. It’s Geodon. They tried dozens before, but nothing worked until this came along. I’m one of the lucky ones, because it not only keeps the problem in check, but I don’t suffer from any severe side effects. This reaction with poison mushrooms is something I certainly never expected. I should have told you ages ago in case of a relapse or some bizarre circumstances like these.”

“I’ll let the doctor know the name of the medicine. I don’t know if your medication lowers your blood pressure, but it dropped dangerously low. That’s what had the doctors worried.”

“I don’t know either, but the doctors will figure it out. I understand I have to be in here until tomorrow evening, even though I tried to talk them into letting me go sooner. You need to promise me you won’t do anything the least bit dangerous until I get back. One day isn’t going to make any difference. Whoever did this may have planned it to separate us for some reason. So promise me you’ll be careful and not spend time alone.”

The frowning nurse came back and warned me I needed to leave. Visiting hours were over and the patient needed rest.

I said, “Don’t worry about me. I promise I will take every precaution until you’re out of here. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon and will drive you to the house when they release you. Just get well!”

Outside the room, Detective Wilton was waiting for me.

About the Author:


From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane : Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.

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Review: This is the Second book in the Alicia Trent Mystery Series. I completely cherished the first book, Antique Magic and so I was totally pushed up to read this second episode. I am glad that Antique Forgery has handled to live up to my prospects just like the first book. The writing style of the author has remained the simple yet likeable in this book too. It’s with the everyday common language that Eileen Harris writes and this book is no exception. I felt comfortable right from the beginning. The mystery in this book is so simple and certainly did not see the twist coming. In the first book Antique Magic, a prediction was made by the clock that Alicia would be the one to discover her friend’s dead body. So, Antique forgery takes off with Alicia worried about the forecast while preparing to go assess the jewellery collection that Janice and Arthur Darnell had inherited. Janice, a friend of her mother, has been a constant in Alicia’s life while growing up – one who has been there for her and her mother through thick and thin. So, when Alicia discovers her friend, Kendra’s lifeless body in the Darnell’s living room, her worst fears came right. Aiming to get justice for her friend’s death and she tries to piece together the clues that she can find, while more bodies are dropping around her and secrets are unveiled. In this instalment, Alicia stands the chance to lose those who are closest to her as she continues on to find out the truth. The characters are sensible and credible. The author’s concentration to detail helps the reader sense the ambience of looming hazard and the feeling that something in that old mansion is not on the up and up. From the staff to the relatives of the deceased, no one is beyond doubt as events are exposed. Difficult relations are defined as the story unfurled and there are plenty of secrets to keep readers guessing as to who is behind the strange advances.
 

Antique Magic

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Blurb: How did the deceased owner of the old house know so much about Ali Trent, the antique dealer hired to appraise her hoarded treasures? And can she stay alive long enough to solve the mysteries of murder and magic before becoming the next victim?

About the author: From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane: Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.

Review: The story is about, Alicia Trent a co-owner of an antique store that specializes in high-end items of all kinds who was made to order after the death of a wealthy widow to sort through a disorderly compilation gathered over the years. Alicia agrees to stay at the mansion organizing the collection and entertaining bids from collectors. After few eccentric episodes she determines to find out whether the widow was actually murdered, if so, why, and who may want her dead as well. Eileen’s story-telling capability is fine. She manages to draw you in and feel involved with the characters. Alicia is a modern girl who believes in science, rather than in magic. Thus, reading about it through Alicia’s narration makes it much easier to believe in the magic represented in the story. Also, Alicia is such a strong and practical girl that it makes you feel like cheering for her all the way through. Antique Magic by Eileen Harris, is one of the most enjoyable mysteries I’ve read in quite a while. All the characters are interesting and believable, intriguing plot, and the story a page-turner with twists and turns. If you like vagueness and are zealous about antiques, you’ll probably enjoy this book, even though there aren’t enough details about the antiques, details that a collector would have certainly enjoyed. I liked reading this book, a lot of manoeuvre and an interesting spread of characters that left me question who was good and who was bad. I was astonished by “bad guy” of this book. It was definitely not someone I was expected but did guess the “why” or how this person was attached in to the relations as more information was given away. I think this is going to be an exhilarating series. I can’t wait to find out what circumstances Alicia gets into subsequently.

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The proposal

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I saw myself in the mirror and found him seeing me romantically. I looked into his eyes deeply.  Do you love me? We have been friends since school and more than 10years have passed on knowing each other.  I agree I was more of a tomboy and it was fun during those days but now I realise I want to be treated as a woman. He remained silent. I woke up to understand it was a dream. I looked at my diary, just one more day.  I strongly decided if it’s not today, it is never going to be again.

We stay in touch with each other. We hang out every week. Shop, watch movies and eat out together. Our friendship has remained the same. Not once but many a times I tried expressing my mind to him but he doesn’t seem to get it. He still thinks I am that tomboy friend of him. I want him to be my valentine this year and for the rest of the years.

“Hey is our weekend dinner still on?” he asked me.

“Yes, at the same place and are you changing the plan?”

“No! 8, at same place”.

It’s decided; tonight I am going to express my feelings to him. It was difficult hearing my own screams from my heart.

The moment the cab stopped at the destination, I felt my heart racing very fast and I turned panicky. I told myself to be calm and composed but I just could not listen to myself. The vibes of the restaurant looked new and fresh, as if it has been remade for me.

I saw him standing at the entrance. As always he looked perfect, clean shaved, hair gelled wearing his best black suit. He walked me inside.

We sat down at our customary table and I started to talk.

“Listen I need to tell you something very important”.

He looked at my face and touched my hands, they turned cold and all my apprehensions were on my face.

“Is everything alright?” he asked.

I continued, “I have something to tell you.  I think……I think”.

“Excuse me Madam, there is someone waiting for you and she says it’s vital to meet you now” the waiter brought in the news till me.

I excused myself and went out but there was no one.

I walked back inside when I suddenly heard music and the lights got off.

There was a banner that read “PLEASE MARRY ME?” I could not utter a word I was totally wonder-struck.

I turned around and saw him on his knees and he said “I know what’s on your mind as I had the exact same thing in my mind too. Will you be my wife? I love you”.

I cried out of my heart out of happiness. He put the ring on my finger and I seized upon on him. And he said to me “This is what love is, you cannot see or hear it. You can only feel it”.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Oh my dream husband

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As a teenager, I use to dream of the man for whom I’d be his life, his wife. I wondered, ‘How will he look? How will he treat me? Will he be able to make me laugh?’ Believe me, I am the last person any man wants to be with for the rest of his life.  I am not the kind of person who tolerates everything, but this doesn’t make me egoistic. I believe it is wrong if a man and woman commit to marriage for reasons other than love. It is really important for my dream husband and me to be madly in love with each other. A man who understands and carries out his duties as a husband and father is one I desire. Though I don’t expect you to be super-rich, you need to be financially smart and capable of paying. Trust me, money can’t buy love, but love can’t buy you money either. A secret ruin marriages, and sadly, so does money. Knowing and applying sexual intimacy in marriage is one of the best qualities in a husband. Good husband strives to make his wife happy in bed which beefs-up wife’s emotional and physical attraction to him. No woman wants to see or even hear from the grapevine that her husband is going out with another woman. Faithfulness is what I desire so much. A man who is a husband always remembers his marital vows, whom I can trust, any day, any time.

Where are you? I am ready to walk down the aisle towards you in front of the whole world.  Wherever you are right now, thank you for loving me the way I know you do. Know always that I wouldn’t marry you if I didn’t love you more than anything in the world. I promise to stand by your forever. I’m sure you are sweet and gentle. I’ll spend my day writing while you work diligently doing the job you love. And when you return home to me at night we will make passionate love for all of our lives. I never want to grow apart from you. If we ever grow bored of our day-to-day life, promise we’ll acknowledge it and take the time away we need.

I would love writing love letters about you, for you, and to you. I will make you dinner when you get home from work despite not being an amazing cook like mothers are. I will take care of you when you’re sick. And I’ll take care of you when you’re not sick. I’ll make you laugh. Support your dreams and goals. I will give you space when you need it. I am a person who talks a lot so there is no way that you cannot know things about me. I want to be an open book for you. The key to a good marriage is conversation. I want to keep talking to you, to keep sharing and teasing. I want us to discuss our problems and not keep them locked up inside. If we know what is going wrong, only then we can sort it out, right? I cannot wait to wake up to you every morning; to make breakfast for you and to hand you your towel when you forget it before you shower; remind you of your wallet, money, car keys, hanky, lunchbox, and your bag. I cannot wait to travel with you; I cannot wait to tell you the stories that I’ve read; I cannot wait to have our child. It’s going to be fun when the two of us clean our house and do the laundry and eat ice cream on the sofa, dressed in our tracks and go to bed together. I want us to be an old couple who are so crazy about each other that they do not need any other sort of entertainment. I want to be your person. I want to grow old with you. My dream husband please find me quickly and propose me for I want to get married and become your wife. A very happy valentine’s day to you, we are not jointly this year but I hope next year we would be celebrating it together.

Love is … getting the answers to all these 36 questions right

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The 36 questions that can make you “fall in love with anyone” were first published in 1997, in an academic paper by psychologist Arthur Aron – The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings. The questions appeared in the appendix, along with the instructions that the team had given each pair, which began “This is a study of interpersonal closeness, and your task, which we think will be quite enjoyable, is simply to get close to your partner.” Participants were told to work their way through the questions in order, each answering all 36 questions, over a period of about an hour. Six months later, two of the participants were married to each other. Your mileage may vary, however. I am answering those 36 questions right now and my significant other (I am sure) is/will read this and check with his answers. So my dear significant other down the lane 6months from today will be married as that’s the result of this test though conditions apply?

  1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? (Answer: Mr. Narendra Modi)
  2.  Would you like to be famous? In what way? (Yes, as a published author)
  3.  Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why? (No, Never, I believe in spur-of-the-moment talk)
  4.  What would constitute a “perfect” day for you? (A day where I do all my work on time and get good results out it)
  5.  When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? (Just last night to my significant other, but he did not get to hear it)
  6.  If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want? (My Teens)
  7.  Do you have a secret guess about how you will die? (A natural death, I don’t want to die in sickness)
  8.  Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common. (Music, Books and Travelling)
  9.  For what in your life do you feel most grateful? (To have been born as a human being)
  10.  If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? (Wish I was trusted more)
  11.  Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible. (Will have to do it in person)
  12.  If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? (To search solutions to all the problems)
  13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know? (My Future)
  14.  Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it? (To get married, but it is not just happening)
  15.  What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? (Not just one I’ve many from my childhood till date such as winning Ms Intellectual title twice)
  16.  What do you value most in a friendship? (Trust)
  17.  What is your most treasured memory? (Meeting my significant other for the first time as my friend)
  18.  What is your most terrible memory? (27days in the end of year 2014, where I was alone, helpless, dumbstruck, failed)
  19.  If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why? (No)
  20.  What does friendship mean to you? (Friendship means having a bond like no other. It goes beyond a family bond. I should be able to tell my friend everything about myself without feeling judge or uncomfortable. Friendship means honesty and integrity. Someone that will have your back no matter what. Someone that will be honest with you even though it hurts.)
  21.  What roles do love and affection play in your life? (They are the main roles that keep me alive without love and affection I feel no purpose, I feel empty, a shell with no feelings.)
  22.  Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items. (He is caring, affectionate, lovable, mature and intelligent)
  23.  How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s? (Family is just cordial and no, my childhood was not happier compared to other people)
  24.  How do you feel about your relationship with your mother? (Oh, great relationship)
  25. Make three true “we” statements each. ( We both think alike and are devils in love made for each other.We love sleeping, next to each other and We adore holding our hands)
  26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share my agonies and worries” and this implies to my late soul sister, she was the one I shared everything and anything under the sun.
  27.  If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know. (My past life, my childhood, my relationship with my parents, my studies, my extended family, financial status)
  28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met. (I like his hands, I really love them)
  29.  Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life. (I do have a moment which happened on 9th, with my outfit, but I would share in personal with him as I have not told him about it)
  30.  When did you last cry in front of another person? (It was on phone way back in October 2014, I cried while talking to another person, though not directly)
  31.  Tell your partner something that you like about them already. (I love his saver smile, his hands, the manner he sees me, he doesn’t get angry on me despite my stupidity and over smartness, and the way he treats me)
  32.  What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about? (Trust issues)
  33.  If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet? ( I would regret not telling my significant other about that I would be to die soon and I would not tell him because he would not take it and it will affect him badly, I would prefer moving off from his life silently)
  34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why? (My wallet which has all my cards, money is important)
  35.  Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why? (In family, my mother’s death because she is the most closest person of my life)
  36.  Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seems to be feeling about the problem you have chosen. (Will have to do it in person)