About Wander Girl Life

I have an inclination towards creativity. I am an MBA graduate, a Marketing professional in lifestyle & fashion industry, aspiring to live life to the fullest & in the end claiming to have had a hell of a ride. In my opinion the ultimate purpose of whatever we do is to stay happy. Hence I find immense pleasure in small things. I am a hardcore dreamer, a self obsessed self- critic. This blog is mostly documenting my thoughts on the books I read, with a peak into my life from time to time. I love to read and grab every opportunity, in between meetings, ad breaks while watching a TV show, while travelling and of course before I go to bed. I believe books have an ability to take us beyond time and place altogether and this appeals to me the most about reading. The other things I love besides books are shopping, eating and watching sitcoms. I am a fashion enthusiast, a big time foodie and a movie buff (especially bollywood).

Book Review: Prem Purana: Mythological Love Stories

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Title: Prem Purana: Mythological Love Stories

Author: Usha Narayanan

Pages: 272 pages

Plot: Stories of love and extraordinary devotion

No one is untouched by love, not even devas and asuras, kings and nymphs. And when they face life’s unexpected tribulations, their love also undergoes trials. Read how Ganesha took myriad forms to please Riddhi, Siddhi and Buddhi, how Ravana shared an unbreakable bond with his true love, Mandodari and how Nala and Damayanti’s relationship was tested till almost nothing remained.

Tormented by passion, wracked by betrayal, torn by the agony of separation, love in its many splendored forms is the origin of these incredibly endearing stories of Prem Purana.

Thoughts:  As the name suggests, ‘Prem Purana’ is a book that comprises of three mythological love stories. This book portrays Gods and Deva’s in a different light, highlighting the tale of their passion, love, longing, wooing and betrayals, making them almost human. The theme of the book was quite intruding and I dived into reading it right away.

The first story is about the beloved elephant God Ganesha and his quest to marry Riddhi, Siddhi and Buddhi. The story is not only limited to their love story but also includes various other interesting stories from the treasures of mythology. The second story is about demon kind Ravana and Mandodari. There is a lot of twist in this story when compared to the Ramayana we know, it might not sit very well with fanatics, but I kind of liked the correlation portrayed between Sita, Ravana and Mandodari. The third story is about Damyanti and King Nala’s love story, a story that was completely new to me. The story is both heartwarming and heart breaking.

The title is apt and the book cover is quite appealing. Over all, the book is well synchronized, well written and intruding. If you like reading mythological tales and love stories, this one is definitely for you.

Ratings: 3/5

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Book Review & Giveway: Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies

Author: Evy Journey

Pages:  181 pages

Plot: Cooking a wonderful meal is an art. An act of love. An act of grace. A gift that affirms and gives life—not only does it nurture those who partake of the meal; it also feeds the soul of the creator. These are lessons Gina learns from her mother, daughter of an unfortunate French chef.

Gina is a young woman born to poor parents, a nobody keen to taste life outside the world she was born into. A world that exposes her to fascinating people gripped by dark motives. Her passion for cooking is all she has to help her navigate it.

She gets lucky when she’s chosen to cook at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area where customers belong to a privileged class with money to spare for a dinner of inventive dishes costing hundreds of dollars. In this heady, scintillating atmosphere, she meets new friends and new challenges—pastry chef Marcia, filthy rich client Leon, and Brent, a brooding homicide detective. This new world, it turns out, is also one of unexpected danger.

Can the lessons Gina learned from her mother about cooking and life help her survive and thrive in this other world of privilege, pleasure, and menace?

Thoughts: First of all, a very Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you.  I hope you are celebrating love and life with your loved ones not just today but every day. Today I have chosen to review a contemporary romance novel which is little sweet and a little spicy.

We follow Gina an aspiring chef who is a cook at one of the best restaurants in the Bay Area. She has had a very modest upbringing. But what she has received the art of cooking from her mother. She is passionate about her work and is focused on making things work for her.

The restaurant Gina works at is often visited by the elite of the town. One fine day Leone arrives on a date, who happens to be Gina’s childhood friend, Christi at her restaurant. Gina’s dish and Gina herself catches Leone’s fancy. After dumping Gina’s friend, he peruses Gina endlessly in various ways to go out with him. A crazy argument between Gina and her friend leads to involvement of a police officer and the story picks up from there.

What I liked about the book was the pace and the concise narration. I felt the characterization was a bit loose and I didn’t connect to any of the characters much. Gina’s character had great potential of connecting with the readers and it did at the start of the book but as the book progressed her character became a bit vague. The story was quite predictable but the good prose made the book a good read.

Overall, the book was an easy breezy read with some crazy fights, torn love, revenge, jealousy, romance and lots of food.

Ratings: 3/5

Buy the Book:
 
About the Author:
 

Evy Journey, writer, wannabe artist, and flâneuse (feminine of flâneur), wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. Armed with a Ph.D., she used to research and help develop mental health programs.

She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her despite such preoccupations having gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen to spin tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest
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Spotlight & Giveaway: SNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 Days

Book Details:

Book Title: SNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 Days

Authors: Gary Small, MD, Director UCLA Longevity Center and Gigi Vorgan

Category: Adult Nonfiction, 224 pages

Genre: Self-Help / Personality / Health, Mind & Body

Publisher: Humanix Books

Release date: January 9, 2018

Tour dates: Feb 5 to 23, 2018

Content Rating: G

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Small’s breakthrough plan to improve your personality for a better life!

Experts in psychiatry and psychology have long believed that our personalities are essentially set from early childhood and remain consistent throughout life. However, the latest scientific research contradicts this long-held assumption. New compelling evidence indicates that we can change our personalities – either on our own, with the help of a therapist, or a combination of the two – and meaningful personality change can be achieved in a snap! – as quickly as 30 days. These groundbreaking findings have shattered the false belief that we are locked into our negative personality traits – no matter how much they hinder our potential happiness and success.

As you read SNAP! you will gain a better understanding of who you are now, how others see you, and which aspects of yourself you’d like to change. You will acquire the tools you need to change your personality in just one month – it won’t take years of psychotherapy, self-exploration or re-hashing every single bad thing that’s ever happened to you. If you are committed to change, this book will provide a roadmap to achieving your goals and becoming a better you.

From New York Times bestselling author, head of the UCLA Longevity Center, and expert in neuroscience and human behavior, Dr. Gary Small, a practical look at the key components of personality development and tools and techniques for bringing the positive aspects of your personality to the forefront so you can become more successful, attractive, happier, and psychologically healthier.

Buy the Book:

 


 

 

About the Authors: 

 

Gary Small:

Dr. Gary Small, (Los Angeles, CA) is a professor of psychiatry and director of the UCLA Longevity Center* at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior. His research, supported by the NIH, has made headlines in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Scientific American magazine named him one of the world’s leading innovators in science and technology. Dr. Small lectures internationally and frequently appears on the Today Show, Good Morning America, PBS, and CNN. He has written six books, including the New York Times best seller, The Memory Bible.


Gigi Vorgan:

Gigi Vorgan (Los Angeles, CA) has written, produced, and appeared in numerous feature films and television projects before teaming up with her husband, Dr. Gary Small, to co-write The Memory Bible, The Memory Prescription,The Longevity Bible, iBrain, The Other Side of the Couch, and The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program. She lives in Los Angeles with Dr. Small and their two children.



Connect with the authors: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Youtube

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Book Review: Degrees of Love

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach

Author: Lisa Slabach

Pages: 344 pages

Plot: At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She’s just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style.

Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt’s work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.

Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Working and traveling together, she and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time—maybe ever—Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is. Certain she would never allow their friendship to cross the line, Susan lets herself stray dangerously close to the edge.

A moment of weakness changes everything. Now, unable to stomach the façade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream.

Thoughts: In ‘Degrees of Love’ we follow Susan a Silicon Valley, soccer mom who is dedicated to her two boys, her husband and her career. Susan just got a promotion as the vice president in her company and a hike in her salary. She has it all from a lovely family, to a promising career, but things that look perfect from outside really aren’t so perfect.

Her husband, Matt is not exactly what she needs in a husband. Over the years he has become indifferent and distant. She craves to connect with him at all levels. Matt had already made her quit acting which she loved, after they were married and now, he is unhappy with the time Susan has to dedicate to her job. There is unspoken discontent between the couple but they are determined to stick together for the boys, until Reese comes into the picture. Reese is Susan’s boss who soon becomes Susan’s friend and more. They have a spark and an understanding that Matt and Susan never had. Susan tries to distant herself from him as much as she can but all her efforts are down the drain. They are drawn to each other like a moth to fire.

This is the first time I have read a book where adultery is the key plot. I in no way support or accept cheating in a relationship, but the way Lisa has narrated the story and explained Susan’s plight in a way that I felt empathetic towards her. I could understand why she was doing what she did. The characters are as real as it gets. May it be Susan, Resee or Matt; each character’s actions were justified.  There was no right no wrong everyone was right on their part.

The narration was seamless and was moving at a steady pace throughout. The story picked up towards the end since the three quarters of the book was plot and character building. I am glad that the book ended in the way that I was hoping for. 🙂

About the Author: Degrees of Love is Lisa Slabach’s debut novel. She is currently working on her third full-length manuscript and a collection of short stories inspired by her experiences growing up in a small farm community in Washington’s Yakima Valley. In addition to writing, Lisa works for a Fortune 500 Company, leading a sales team in the financial industry. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and has two daughters, who are both pursuing careers in film. In her free time, she enjoys drinking wine with friends and cooking in her pink kitchen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Book Review: Without Merit

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Title: Without Merit

Author: Colleen Hoover

Pages: 384 pages

Plot: Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Favorite Quote: “It annoys me when people try to convince other people that their anger or stress isn’t warranted if someone else in the world is worse off than them. It’s bullshit. Your emotions and reactions are valid, Merit. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. You’re the only one who feels them.”

Thoughts: It’s not a secret that I am a huge fan of Colleen Hoover’s work. ‘Without Merit’ won the Goodreads Readers Choice Awards 2017 in Romance category this year. She is the queen of contemporary love stories and this is the third consecutive year she has nailed this award.

This book revolves around a house, (not a home as Merit says) Dollar Voss where the Voss family resides. The family is dysfunctional in ways beyond it appears. We follow Merit Voss, through the book who is obsessed with buying trophies for every crisis she bypasses. Bigger the crises better the trophy. Her mother is a cancer patient living in the basement inspite of being divorced to her father. Her father is married to her mother’s former nurse Victoria.

Oh, did I mention Merit has an identical twin? Honor and Merit only look alike but they are starkly different in their personalities and don’t really get along anymore. She has one brother Utah and a half brother, Moby. And then comes Sagan, the only man who catches Merit’s eye from the first time they meet, which soon turns into a disaster. We also meet Luck who is Victoria’s half brother and quite a colorful character. These are the characters we encounter in the book.

Firstly for me this didn’t strike as a romance novel. It was more of a book about self discovery and family drama. A sweet romantic tale between Merit and Sagan was unfolding side by side. The book unfolds from Merit’s point of view. She is living with a lot of buried secrets and hurt within her. She is in complete denial that she is in depression to the extent that she becomes suicidal. Each character is thoughtfully carved.

I love the narration and the flow of the book. I like that the issues like depression are addressed in the book. There is always something about the authors writing that is so addictive, intruding and thoroughly entertaining. I would strongly recommend this book to everybody who likea Hoover’s book and otherwise.

Ratings: 4/5

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Unboxing- ‘Blend the Beauty’ Fab Bag Dec’17

Hey wanderers, how is the weather treating you? Well, in Mumbai it finally feels like winter and we have got some rest from the scorching heat. Can’t believe it is end of 2017 already. With this I have received my final Fab bag for the year. The theme for this month is ‘Blend the Beauty’.  I received this bag on 5th of the month. I received a copper bag along with five products. Let’s see them one by one.

The bag is metallic copper in color. It is an envelope textured bag, making it perfect for this party season.  This is one of the best bags I have received from Fab bag this year. Let’s see what’s in the bag.

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SUGAR Blend the Rules Eyeshadow Quad – 15 BOOTYLICIOUS- Rs.599/- (Full size):  This is my favorite product in the Dec Fab bag. It is from the newly launched eyeshadow range ‘Blend the Rules’ by Sugar. I assume the theme of the Dec Fab bag is also inspired by this product. I received an email from Fab bag to choose the color palate of my preference and I went ahead with ‘Bootylicious’. This color palate is a collection of cream, subtle mauve, metallic smokey teal and light coral. I simply loved the way the packaging is done. The product is well pigmented and the application is easy. It comes with a small sponge applicator. Here is a swatch of the shades.

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Alanna Desicated Coconut and Saffron Skin Brightening Scrub- Rs. 340/- for 20 gms: This is my first time trying the Alanna product. It is a natural and organic skincare brand. This particular scrub primarily contains coconut and saffron. It aims at reducing wrinkles, dark spots and sagging skin. It also protects the skin from the UV rays. The size sent to me was a deluxe sized sample.

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Bella Voste Premium Nail Enamel- Rs. 249/- (full size): I have tried a few products from Bella Voste and I quite like them. This particular nail paint is a shimmery shade of brown. The enamel is easy to apply and it spreads well. But it is absolutely necessary to top the this nail enamel with a transparent coat to intact the shimmer effect against any friction.

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Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Body Cream- Rs.26/- for 10 gms:  I use a lot of cocoa butter, especially in winters. It keeps the skin nourished and smells like a bliss. I was happy to receive this product in my Fab bag but so disappointed with the size. I mean 10gms is barely anything. I will just use this product as a hand cream.

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Bliscent Peppermint Foot Soak- Rs. 200/- (full size):  This product came in the box outside of the bag since the size was quite generous.         This product contains baking soda, Epsom salts, essential oils and peppermint. All these sound quite rejuvenating. I am just waiting to go home and soak my feet in warm water with this foot soak.

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Over all, the bag is quite good and the total cost for this bag is Rs 1414.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Asura: Tale Of The Vanquished

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Title: Asura: Tale Of The Vanquished

Author: Anand Neelakantan

Pages: 504 pages

Plot: The epic tale of victory and defeat… The story of the Ramayana had been told innumerable times. The enthralling story of Rama, the incarnation of God, who slew Ravana, the evil demon of darkness, is known to every Indian. And in the pages of history, as always, it is the version told by the victors that lives on. The voice of the vanquished remains lost in silence.

But what if Ravana and his people had a different story to tell? The story of the Ravanayana has never been told. Asura is the epic tale of the vanquished Asura people, a story that has been cherished by the oppressed castes of India for 3000 years. Until now, no Asura has dared to tell the tale. But perhaps the time has come for the dead and the defeated to speak.

“For thousands of years, I have been vilified and my death is celebrated year after year in every corner of India. Why? Was it because I challenged the Gods for the sake of my daughter? Was it because I freed a race from the yoke of caste-based Deva rule? You have heard the victor’s tale, the Ramayana. Now hear the Ravanayana, for I am Ravana, the Asura, and my story is the tale of the vanquished.”

“I am a non-entity – invisible, powerless and negligible. No epics will ever be written about me. I have suffered both Ravana and Rama – the hero and the villain or the villain and the hero. When the stories of great men are told, my voice maybe too feeble to be heard. Yet, spare me a moment and hear my story, for I am Bhadra, the Asura, and my life is the tale of the loser.”

The ancient Asura empire lay shattered into many warring petty kingdoms reeling under the heel of the Devas. In desperation, the Asuras look up to a young saviour – Ravana. Believing that a better world awaits them under Ravana, common men like Bhadra decide to follow the young leader. With a will of iron and a fiery ambition to succeed, Ravana leads his people from victory to victory and carves out a vast empire from the Devas. But even when Ravana succeeds spectacularly, the poor Asuras find that nothing much has changed from them. It is then that Ravana, by one action, changes the history of the world.

Favorite Quote: “I had lived as Ravana and I would die as Ravana. I did not intend to become Rama, the perfect man and God. There was no dearth of gods in my country. It only lacked men.”

Thoughts: This book has been on my TBR for a long time. I love reading retellings of old age epics from different perspectives. It is always intruding to read a story from the voice other than the one popularly heard. ‘Asura’ is a retelling of Ramayana from Ravana’s point of view. I was sold by reading the premise itself. I had to read it.

In this book we follow two protagonists, Ravana, the great evil king, savior of Asura race and Bhadra, a loyal servant of Ravana. The book is narrated from both their perspectives. We follow Ravana from the time he was an angry child to the time after his death. We follow Bhadra from the time his village was attacked by the Deva warriors until the end of the book. The story is something that every Indian has been hearing since the childhood. But what sets it apart is the perception and a little twist added by the author.

The book justifies Ravana’s action and treating Asuras as the oppressed and Deva’s as the oppressors. I must say the author to quite an extent achieved this. There were parts where the plot of original epic is really challenged so brilliantly that it is almost believable. I am talking about the part where Ravana’s and Sita’s relationship is concerned. (I don’t want to give out spoilers so this is all I will mention) It is well narrated with an explanation that actually makes sense.

I literally had a love-hate relationship with this book. There are parts that I absolutely loved reading and parts that I didn’t. My favourite part of the book is where Ravana having ten heads is explained and the part which proves that Ravana is more human than Rama. I thought the book was too lengthy and at times the dialogues and descriptions too. I had to read this book taking a lot of breaks because it was difficult to read it at a stretch. The flow of the book was patchy and writing inconsistent.

Overall, I would say the premise was well carved but the writing could have been better. I would suggest you to read this book in breaks and only if you love reading retellings where villain is portrayed the hero and his actions are justified.

PS: I loved the cover!

Ratings: 3/5

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Book Review & Giveaway: 21 Days to Happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: 21 Days to Happiness: Increase Your Happiness, Productivity and Happiness

Author: Ingrid Kelada

Pages: 230 pages

Plot: Struggling to find work-life balance? Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated or just want to increase your happiness, you can learn how in just 10 minutes a day!

For some of us, feeling busy or stressed has become the new normal. Others feel okay, but just want a boost to productivity, energy and motivation.

Instead of hoping for happiness, what if happiness is something you DO, something you CHOOSE every day? The good news: it is and the solutions are simple.

Psychologist and happiness expert Ingrid Kelada provides a practical, step-by-step guide to help you increase your personal happiness and feel more motivated. You can learn how with simple 10-minute strategies. Each day of the 21-day journey focuses on one key area of your life, including:

Time: how to break the cycle of chaos and manage your time effectively.

Body Language: exploring the surprising links between body language and happiness.

Relationships: how to make the most of the number one predictor of happiness.

Work: how to use your strengths and talents so that you are engaged and motivated.

Money: what you should spend your money on to feel most satisfied.

The book is interactive. Each chapter features resources like apps to try, videos to watch for deeper understanding, or tools to help you master these new habits. At the end of three weeks, along with increased happiness, you’ll find you’ve become more:

• productive

• focused

• patient

• energetic

• healthy

• motivated

• positive

Happiness is a choice. A daily decision to choose happy can be easy, fun and rewarding. With this book, in just a few minutes per day, you can practice one new happiness habit, add resources to your arsenal, and jot down your notes in the journal section.

Thoughts: With our over whelming life, we often tend to feel frustrated, angry and stressed. These feelings lead to a lack of happiness in our daily lives. What if we choose ‘Happy’ as a lifestyle? What if we make it something that we actively ‘Do’? 21 Days of Happiness is one such book which guides you step by step, undertaking each activity a day to improve your happiness quotient.At the start of the book the author recommends to read one chapter a day and implement it on daily basis. At the end of each chapter there are 5 questions to analysis how a particular activity worked for you and made you feel. There are 21 happiness tips to undertake for 21 days in a row, till the time that happiness becomes a habit.

The book is well divided in chapters further divided into sections. I prefer reading non-fiction books with subdivision since it makes it easy for the reader to process information easily and understand the information in the best possible way.

The author has often referenced a lot of tips, techniques and examples from the best selling non-fiction books while explaining her concepts. Hence, this book becomes a plethora of all the best tips mentioned in these bestselling books.  Anyone who is a non reader or someone like me who is not into reading much non-fiction can just read this book and reap the benefits of reading all the non-fiction books mentioned in this book.

Apart from the ease of reading and well divided chapter, I also liked the way the author has given her own examples of undertaking these techniques. It makes it easy for the readers to relate to. I read one chapter each day for 21 days and it made a huge difference in my lifestyle. The book give practical tips and suggestions which don’t require a major reform in the way one lives but has a huge impact.

I haven’t been able to inculcate everything the book has to offer but I have made a start and it is already showing results. I would recommend this book to everybody who realizes the need of choosing happiness as a habit.

Ratings: 4/5

Watch the trailer:

Meet the Author: Ms. Ingrid Kelada is an experienced psychologist and happiness expert. She is a speaker and has facilitated over 1000 workshops all over the world. People find her to be pragmatic, inspiring and funny! She has an online personality questionnaire store to help people identify their talents and interests. With over 25 years experience, she offers her expertise to a wide range of clients. She is bilingual and a member of the professional association of Psychologists of Quebec. Visit her online at http://www.keladacc.ca

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ LinkedIn ~ Instagram

 

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Book Review & Giveaway: Ghost Owl

Title: Ghost Owl

Author: Nancy Schoellkopf

Pages: 187

Plot: Ghost Owl is a magical story of discovery, as a young woman seeks to understand her potential and confront her own shadow. Mariah Easter wakes up in the middle of the night to discover the world is as bright as noon—but for her eyes only. Urged by her godfather, she embarks on a mission to peer into the dark spaces normally hidden from view, leading her to confront the sinister nature of power, the vulnerability of the ill, and the hidden life of a homeless man: a journey that will bring healing to herself and the man she loves.

This compelling and inspirational tale, the third installment of the Avian Series, invites the reader to ponder the extraordinary treasures hidden in the ordinary events of daily life.

Thoughts: Ghost Owl is a third installment in the Avian series, but it can be read as a standalone book too. I haven’t read the first two parts and I read Ghost Owl directly. It is not absolutely necessary to read the first two parts but I would recommend reading it for better understanding of the magical concepts and the characters’ relationships.

The book starts of with our protagonist, Mariah having a strange recurring dream. She realizes that it is just not a dream but much more. She starts to see things as bright as noon even at night. Mariah consults her God father and decides to explore the possibilities.  She has different adventures night after night and decides to keep a journal about her experiences.

One day Mariah suddenly goes missing. Everyone is worried for her in the meanwhile Rafa, her roommate discovers her journal and carefully reads it just to find out where she could be. He and Mariah’s half brother, Dale visit places mentioned in Mariah’s journal with a hope of finding her.

The book is divided in twenty seven chapters. Most of the chapters are journal entries from Mariah and from Mariah’s perspective which are narrated from the first person POV. The remaining chapters are from the third person POV of the other characters. The flow of the book is easygoing and the edit seems crisp.

I found the dynamics of the relationship that Mariah and Rafa shared to be complex for my understanding. Since I haven’t read the first two books, it took me a while to latch on to the concept of Ghost Owl and its powers. But soon I understood the concept and started to enjoy my read. What I enjoyed were the parts with magical revelations and the idea of alternate dimensions which exposed the diverse possibilities.  It sort of created a metaphor for the readers to think of altering their lifestyles and decisions to lead a life that they actually wish for.

Meet the Author: Nancy Schoellkopf is the author of the Avian Series of novels including Yellow-Billed Magpie and Red-Tailed Hawk, as well as the short story collection Rover and Other Magical Tales. She has been telling stories and writing poems for many lifetimes. It goes without saying that she’s needed a second income, so this time around she happily taught amazing children in special education classes in two urban school districts in Sacramento, California. A full time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden and her intriguing circle of family and friends.

Ratings: 3/5

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

 
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Book Review: The Rose and the Dagger

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Title:  The Rose and the Dagger

Author:  Renne Ahdieh

Page: 416 pages

Plot: The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

Favourite Quote: “It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”

Thoughts:   This is the second and final part in ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’ Series. You can checkout my review for part one here. As you know I loved the part one and was eager to read the final book. I am so glad that book two didn’t disappoint me.

This book picks up right where the book one concluded.  After the stormy night in Rey, the city is a shattered. Shazi leaves Khalid and goes to live with her family and Tariq in the camps. Khalid and Shazi are separated with a longing to be reunited. After Shazi comes to know the curse bestowed upon Khalid and the kingdom of Khorasan, she is determined to set both the king and kingdom free from its spell.

She soon discovers that she is more powerful than she thought. She has innate magical skills which she needs to master. Jointly they find a way to dissolve the spell, save the kingdom and be together. Their path is filled with thorns. But as the book mentions, the best essence of the rose is the thorn.

The book is filled with a lot of twists and turns that are jaw dropping. The writing like the previous book is majestic. My favorite character is Shazi and I continue to remain a fan of her wit and courage in this book too. Sharzad is fiercer than before as our heroine. In the first book her heart was torn between revenge for her friend and love for Khalid. In this book she was determined and surely knew her heart’s desire. Khalid’s character changed from an evil being, a perceived emotionless husband to a protective, loving one. Their relationship moved from young love torn between love and hate to a matured, secured one. The other characters are also well constructed. This book has more magic, love, betrayals and action scenes compared to the previous one. The plot that was erected in book one was beautifully taken forward in book two. The plot is evocative and I was absorbed in the book from the start till the end.

Over all the book is beautifully written, with well constructed characters and an exciting plot which keeps you gripped throughout.

Rating: 4/5

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