Monday, March 29, 2021

Decorating Your Favourite Books!

 Inspirational Ways to Decorate with Books

As readers, we love to surround ourselves with loads of books. The novels we keep on our shelves and display on our coffee tables are often important parts of our home decor. They demonstrate our hobbies, make our spaces more interesting, and show guests that we’re avid readers. However, as your collection grows over time with more literature, you may be in search of more creative ways to show off your favorite stories. 

Here are some tips for spicing up your book decor, along with inspirational mood boards from 1stDibs. With fun and beautiful photographs of home libraries and book displays, these pointers are sure to spark a new arrangement idea or two. 

First, bookshelves. How do you choose the best shelves for your home and style? 

Review- A Man from Mandu by Manoj V Jain


Is he the New Age Guru that we have all been waiting for?
Is he a fraudster?
How does he know the story of your life?
In his latest book, Manoj Jain delves into the world of Godmen and devotees, of faith and money. A Man from Mandu is a book of deception, transformation and growth. Read about Dhawal and his metamorphosis into Avishkar Baba, the Sadhu of Stories, and about Tarini who is promoting him so successfully. But what does the scheming Tarini have to gain?

Release date: May 30th 2019
Published by: Notion Press
Page numbers: 168


Another enjoyable and insightful read by author Manoj V Jain, A Man from Mandu, although quite similar to other books of his that I have read as it all comes down to the same point, provided an excellent glimpse into the ways of gurus and Godmen. Not a believer in them at all, I see how important such figures are for so many people, which made the story somewhat relatable, because I see people dedicate their entire life to someone who appears Godsend but in reality, is just like you and me.

Anyway, the story of Dhawal, a man from the village of Mandu, was quite an interesting one. When Tarini, an extremely well thought of, well written and impeccably developed character, comes across him, she sees in him someone who could potentially change the course of life for many people and she makes sure that their invention “Avishkar Baba” becomes a hit with all the hard work they put it. A beautiful insight into the busy world of social media, marketing, event planning and then into the peaceful world of self discovery, personal journey and growth, the juxtaposition was amazing.

This book leaves a lot for the reader to think about after finishing the book rather than while reading it, in terms of the way it ends, the many wonderful and deep stories told by Avishkar Baba, the entire concept of Godmen, concepts like faith and trust, and so much more. A quick and engrossing read, I liked how this book really, really opens your mind and makes you think, serving the purpose of books in the first place.

If you have read the author’s works before, you will enjoy this one and if you haven’t read any book of this, this would be a good way to start.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Book Tour: Review- Rivals by Jennifer Lane

Title: Rivals
Author: Jennifer Lane
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: March 19, 2021
Cover Design: Dan Irons, Designs by Irons

“I embrace my rival. But only to strangle him.”
~Jean Racine

After landing her dream job as head volleyball coach at Ohio State University, Lauren Chase’s career has become a nightmare. Her only hope of saving her job is to recruit a star player to her team. Too bad the player’s twin has signed a football scholarship for OSU’s chief rival, Michigan. And too bad Michigan coach, Jeremy Trent, sends sparks through Lauren every time they cross paths. But no way will she pursue an attraction to a man who represents the university she hates.

Jeremy detests his boss, and he hopes that signing the nation’s #1 recruit is the ticket he needs to become a head coach himself one day. Lauren Chase is already a head coach, and Jeremy has to admit that she intrigues the hell out of him. He wants to know why her performance has tanked after winning a national championship. He wants to see beneath Lauren’s fast pace and dirty mouth. But he can’t get with a Buckeye, right?

Maybe rivals don’t have to remain enemies. Maybe they can learn to appreciate their opponent’s strengths. And, if they’re lucky—if they excel at the game—maybe rivals can bring out the very best in each other.

"Absolutely loved this book. The rivalry was spot on. This book has it all, humor, love and sports." ~Michelle from Besties & Books
"The uncanny portrayal of recruiting high-profile athletes in Rivals completely transported me into the story. I became so invested in Lauren Chase's success! When Coach Chase met Coach Trent, the chance of finding love on the recruiting trail turned into such a charming contest--a game more meaningful than they could ever imagine on the court or field." ~Gwynn Harrison, Head Swim Coach, Bridgewater College
"Fun read that captures the best of the greatest sports rivalry in the midst of a smoldering romance."~Kevin Kropf


When I had the opportunity to read an ARC of author Jennifer Lane’s book, Rivals, I had to grab it because she’s one writer who does romances really well, mixed with sports and psychology- two of her fields of interests, and I’ve previously read and loved her sports romances Streamline and the Blocked series. Besides, I trust her fully and blindly to write and share the most awesome stories. I knew Rivals would show a newer, better and more brilliant side of Jen as it’s an adult romance (the others were young adult), and it didn’t disappoint even one bit.

While not the most well versed (in fact, not all all) with American sports, I found myself having a great time trying to understand how the system of college sports works when coaches of rival teams, Lauren and Jeremy who, while on a mission to recruit student-athletes, start to fall in love. From the twins Emma and Evan, they each get one and it was adorable and amusing to read about their journey with the students. As a teacher myself, I really loved the student teacher bond which was portrayed in the most astounding and relatable manner.

For someone like me who isn’t into reading about it, reading the sports scenes was fun and I never once felt lost or disinterested in knowing what was going on. The highlight of the book, however, was the romance was sizzling, saccharine and super fun. I found myself enjoying the banter between our two main characters. Jeremy’s firm, calm and understanding personality was the perfect match for Lauren’s feisty, fun and strong one- a perfect couple whose romance was enjoyable, hot and sweet.

Rivals is another great read by Jen Lane. While I do find it difficult to read e-books, this one had me wanting to read more and more, to the point where I hope Jen is considering writing a sequel (hint, hint) as I’d love to know more about the excellent couple that’s Lauren and Jeremy.

I did some makeup inspired by the state sports team colours mentioned in the book! Here's the look: 

Psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane invites you to her world of sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist!

Jen fell in love with sports at a young age and competed in swimming and volleyball in college. She went on to become the Honda Award Winner for Division III Athlete of the Year. She still gets high from the smell of chlorine and the satisfaction of smashing a beautiful volleyball set.

Jen’s latest novel is Rivals, a romance between coaches from rival universities. Her Blocked trilogy also explores the transformation from hate to love. Particularly in this time of division, Jen’s favorite theme is finding common ground.

A romantic suspense trilogy (The Conduct Series) and a psychological thriller (Twin Sacrifice) complete Jen’s collection of stories. She calls Ohio home and shares writing space with her two trusted feline collaborators: Tuxedo and Tessa.

Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time, she likes to exercise and visit her amazing sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Review- The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran


Khalil Gibran is one of the most celebrated writers of all time. His work is believed to enlighten and transform lives. The Prophet and Other Works is a collection of Gibran's notable works that execute positivity and inspire to live. The Prophet contains musings of Gibran in twenty-six lessons, as narrated by a wise man named Al Mustafa. It holds in its pages timeless wisdom on life, love, family, money and death. The Broken Wings is a poetic story of tragic love, set in 20th century Beirut. Selma is stuck in a loveless marriage despite having found love. This is a captivating story of love and longing, with various social issues brought to light. A Tear and a Smile is a collection of verses and poems, which will make you think about life, human conditions and the wonders of being alive. His inspiring and romantic style of writing gives new meaning to everyday living.

Release date: November 10th 2020
Published by: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Page numbers: 210


When I was a teenager, I had downloaded a free copy of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, but like the many books I have lying on my TBR, I never read it. I have never said anything like this before, but I am glad I didn’t read it then. I firmly believe that like the wand chooses the wizard, sometimes, the book chooses the reader. Some books just come to you at the right time. The Prophet is one of those books for me. I don’t know what I would have understood had I read it as a teenager, but when I read it now, I could connect to the book.

One of the most beautifully written and lyrical works, reading The Prophet is like meeting a part of yourself that you seem to have lost somewhere. Gibran, although a Christian, was influenced by Islam because of his fellow countrymen, which worked wonderfully for me, because I am quite inclined towards reading and understanding Islam in general. Not a religious book by any means, The Prophet in more spiritual in its essence, in that it gives the reader a deeper understanding of something simple, but it has so much clarity, meaning and truth to it that your perspective towards a bunch of things is bound to take a leap.

Considering where I am on my personal journey right now, The Prophet is a book I will henceforth hold dear and might even refer to here and there. The other works are just as amazing- if not more. Some of the lines from the poems and stories are going to stay with me for a long time to come. I am glad I waited to read Kahlil Gibran and I’m even more glad that the marvel has lived up to the expectations and hype surrounding it. I would definitely recommend this edition published by @srishtipub as you get a lot more than just The Prophet, it is easy to read and full of significance, it’s easily available in India and you’re bound to learn something new for sure.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Srishti Publishers in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Review: Balraj by Manoj V Jain


Do you have the strength (or folly?) to give up everything in a quest to find happiness?

Inder, age 47, a family man and a successful financial consultant decides to walk away from everything he knows and loves.

He travels through the heart of India in search of himself, meeting new people, learning lessons and giving himself up to serendipity.

Balraj is thought-provoking, troubling and even uplifting at times.

Manoj Jain weaves a simple tale that explores the evolution of a soul-searcher through the travels of a man on a quest to find the answers he set out for.

Release date: 3rd May 2017
Published by: Notion Press
Page numbers: 150


Over the course of five books, I have become an ardent admirer of author Manoj V Jain. His books are simply brilliant- ordinary stories of ordinary people told in the most ordinary way and although they all come back to the same point, each story is special and unique in its own way. His latest book I read, titled Balraj, is the story of Inder, who, after getting all possible signs from the universe to go his own way and find himself, bravely takes up the mission of leaving it all behind to embark on his journey of self discovery.

In every Manoj V Jain book- and I consider myself capable of saying this because I have read many of the author’s works by now- he takes up topics like psychology and philosophy which are two fields I am deeply interested in. So for me, it’s like a more in-depth and realistic understanding of them in fiction that is relatable and believable. The author’s crisp and simple writing coupled with Inder’s wonderful journey make Balraj a very interesting and beautiful read.

I read the sequel of this book, Ramona, before I read Balraj but except for one or two instances here and there where I could connect the dots, the two books were refreshing and outstanding in their own ways and there was no overlapping or confusion in spite of me not reading them in order. Then again, the author himself has said that both books could be read as a stand-alone.

Overall, Balraj was an amazing read that had me smiling at the beauty of life all around us. It instilled in me, an urge to travel, but I don't see how the route Balraj took would work for a woman, so that was the only sad part.

                            *Note: A copy of this book was gifted by Manoj V Jain. We thank them.

Review: Ramona by Manoj V Jain


Sitting on an armchair near the window, Ramona—separated, mother of a son and a cookery teacher—muses on the events that have happened in her life in the recent past. A letter from her husband, not even nearly justifying his mysterious disappearance, shocks her and topples her world upside down. Bombarded by a thousand questions, accusations, a tumult of emotions and confusion, she begins to untie the knots one at a time with help from her family. But what she wasn’t able to do over months, a stranger does within a matter of minutes. 

Release date: October 3rd 2017
Published by: Notion Press
Page numbers: 112


Author Manoj V Jain’s novella Romona, is a sequel to his novel, Balraj. While I do have the latter as well and I could have picked that up before getting to Romona, the author himself asserts that Ramona could be read as a stand-alone and it’s what I did because I’m a rebel like that. A novella of 100 pages, it was exactly what I was looking for on a Sunday when I all I wanted to do was immerse myself in a book that would keep reality away.

Ramona is the story of Ramona, a woman who is just like you and me. I could see her in so many women that I know and what impressed me most was the way in which a male writer not just took up but executed a woman’s point of view in the most relatable, justifiable and stunning manner. When Ramona’s husband leaves everything behind to go look for himself, she is forced to go through more downs than ups in life and emerges as an exemplary person that any reader could look up to and learn from.

I am really admiring and appreciating Manoj V Jain’s books, so it wasn’t surprising at all that I liked Ramona as well. His crisp yet simple writing and engrossing and realistic storytelling were exactly what I was looking for, and he delivered, that too from a female perspective that was not just well done, but totally remarkable. While not the most unique book out there, the realness and simplicity of it make Ramona a very interesting, engrossing and splendid read.

*Note: A copy of this book was gifted by Manoj V Jain. We thank them.