Moments of Joy by Sister Jina van Hengel – Book Review

Moments of Joy is the first ever collection of poems written by Buddhist nun Sister Jina van Hengel. The book is divided into four seasons – Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Each part has poems describing the awareness of moments in the respective seasons.

The poems beautifully tell us how to enjoy everyday life and the little things. This book sheds whole new light on the art of gratitude. The poems are very refreshing and simple. The subjects of the poems are the tiny little things we experience in our day to day life, like sun, rain, breeze, clouds, etc. Sister Hengel succeeded in capturing many simple observations in these poems, thus, composing raw and beautiful poems.

The poems remind us of the importance of living in the present, because that is the only moment that we have. Embracing life and being here and now is the secret of mindfulness. In the current world, achieving mindfulness is greatly difficult. We always get carried away by concerns about various things and we fail to experience the present.

A poem says, 

“The village cemetery
A garden of wild flowers
Pink! Yellow! Purple!”

I’ve never read a comparison like this in my life. It gave me immense peace of mind to think of a cemetery and see a garden of wild flowers. Isn’t it amazing? There are many incredible poems like this in the book which make you see the world in an entirely different manner. Reading this book was a meditation in itself, for me.  

Sister Jina van Hengel, a direct monastic student of Thich Nhat Hanh, is famous for her Zen poetry. Zen emphasizes strict self-restraint, meditation-practice and insight into the nature of mind. I believe the essence of it all can be seen in each gem of the poem in this book. 

The book is releasing on October 27th, 2020. I feel absolutely privileged for the opportunity to read this book before the world does. My utmost gratitude to Parallax Press and Penguin Publishing Group for sharing the advance reviewer’s copy with me. 

The Wolf by Jade Marshall – Book Review

The Wolf by Jade Marshall is a MC Romance. This is the first book from the series Gypsy Bastards. This is an impressive debut by the author Jade Marshall. She did a good job for a debut author. 

Hadley faced many hardships in life from her childhood. She came out stronger than ever from all those bad times and learnt not to depend on anyone but herself. She has too many bad memories and she had trust issues. When she met Wolf in a club, she was not planning on falling for him. Wolf on the other hand also has a bad past where he loses his wife and child. Wolf and Hadley find instant connection between them but because of their trust issues, they ignore the spark for some time. 

When the other group member, Viper kidnaps Hadley, Wolf saves her just in time. From then on, all that Wolf wants is to protect Hadley. Wolf and Hadley have too much attraction between them and they can’t ignore it anymore. It’s the turn of the very strong and super independent Hadley to save Wolf. Can she do that? Can she save Wolf from the dangerous situation he is in? 

There are some hot scenes in the book. The female lead is incredible and I love Wolf, too. The Wolf is one of the entertaining Motorcycle Club romance I have read in the recent times. I like second chances myself. Who doesn’t, right?

The Tree of Life by Nick Blackburn – Book Review

The Tree of Life is a beautiful book written by Nick Blackburn and illustrated by Julianne Vermilion. While the writer writes beautiful poem about life, the illustrator wonderfully presents the visual of the poem in incredible illustrations. I could not believe that the illustrator is hardly 20 years old. She added great beauty to the book.

The Tree of Life is a short book, I completed reading it in just one sitting. The author talks about subjects like life, soul, universe, etc. He depicts the fact that we all are part of this huge universe who keep coming back in one form or another to fulfil the purpose of our lives. The eternal spark, its journey and destination are written well in the poem. The poem also teaches us that we can learn our lessons even from children and young ones and that age is just a number. Though this poem is small, it makes great sense in a larger perspective.

The book also includes the story of the author and how his student inspired him to come up with this meaningful visual poem. Every page has illustrations that have deep meaning. I must say, this is the most colourful book I read in the recent times. 

The book is very different and refreshing. I received the advance reviewer copy of the book from LibraryThing for an honest review. I enjoyed reading it.

Singing Back To The Sirens by Margaret DeRitter – Book Review

Singing Back To The Sirens by Margaret DeRitter is a beautiful book with poems that talk about the life of a woman. Each poem is an amazing representation of her desire, love, loss and grief. 

The book has two parts with wonderful poems. Poems talk about different forms of love, the kind between mother and child, two best friends, and a lot more. The exploration of sexuality at an early age, falling for a friend and accepting herself are written beautifully by the author. 

I liked how the author presented the frustrations of a lesbian woman when she falls for a straight woman. And that really made my heart clench. The struggles she faces from the moment she identifies her sexuality to finding her love, losing it and going through the grief are very well written in the form of poems and it is kind of incredible. 

Each poem is a song sung back to the many wonderful women in her life. After all, they shaped the way she sees desire, love, pain, strength and many more emotions, thus helping her define life and evolve.

Margaret DeRitter is a promising author. She crafted the poems very well. I look forward to reading more of her works. I received this book from Librarything for an honest review.

Charleston Green by Stephanie Alexander – Book Review

Charleston Green by Stephanie Alexander is one of the wonderful books I read in the recent times. I can only imagine how beautiful this new color Charleston Green is after reading this book.

Tipsy Collins is a beautiful soul, an artist and strong and independent at heart. Tipsy arrives at her new home with her three kids to live at a new house after going through a rough divorce. She manages her work at her best friend’s art gallery, paints and also takes care of her kids all by herself. 
Tipsy gets to put her supernatural skill to use to help two new ghost friends that she found at the new house. Jane and Henry who have been stuck at that home for a long time find answers to the questions that have been hanging between them since their deaths. 

The climax twist was unexpected. The pace is excellent. The story is witty, lovely, romantic and awesome. I must admit this is the funniest ghost story, didn’t terrify me at all and made me think I might need a ghost friend for myself. 

I don’t want to mention Tipsy’s ex-husband Ayers whom I thoroughly hated while reading the story. I also liked how the author used the divorce law in North Carolina and certain other states to explain the troubles faced by many women who tolerate emotional and physical abuse. I’m sure this story definitely gives hope to many a women to stay strong and do what their heart encourages them to do. Just stand up for yourselves! Author has smartly put the marital issues from a century ago and the present day in one story and takes the reader on a wonderful fictional ride.

I received the copy of Charleston Green from NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you BooksGoSocial for sharing the copy with me. The book is going to be published on 14th of April, 2020. I know you all are stuck at homes quarantining. Don’t miss a fun ride to Charleston through this book. You can buy the book here