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 Benefits of Breathing by Christopher Meeks – Book Review

The Benefits of Breathing a collection of short stories written by Christopher Meeks. The stories are incredibly wise and mostly talk about human relationships. 

I love how the author brings out amazing endings to each story with simple and wise thoughts. Every story is a masterpiece. The simplicity of these stories is amazing. The reader will connect to at least one of these stories while reading this book. There are stories of a father and a daughter, a broken marriage, a fragile relationship between girlfriend and boyfriend, an online dating experience, and a few more. Love is so important for us that we crave for it in any relationship and that love is the key in each story of this book.

Though this is the first book I have read penned by this author, I immediately fell in love with his writing style. There is a subtle bluntness in the stories that hit hard and make us relate to the realities of life. The title of this book made me pick it and it was totally worth it. All in all, this book is beautiful and intense in a funny way. Now, I want to read the other works of this author.

The book is available on all platforms and the audiobook is also available if you would prefer to listen to it.

What She Left Behind by Author Rebecca Caswell – Book Blitz




In life we are blessed to have those who we love. Those we depend on. Those whose very existence proved to help to shape and form us into the very person we are. But what happens when you lose someone whose light, love, and strength brought so much significance and guidance to your life? How do families navigate through the pain of losing a mentor, mother, wife, and friend? What happens as the family dynamics begin to change and shift? After our lives are turned upside down do we ever find ourselves back to a new normal? What She Left Behind is a deep emotional journey that takes you into the abyss of love and loss. It is a memoir of a fight with grief. It takes you down a winding personal account of tragic events and one woman’s struggle to find who she really is without the love and strength of her mother. Caught between holding on and letting go, she attempts to weed through the pain and trails that the family faces. This is a story about finding our way out of the depths of heartache and the redemptive way we find ourselves back home.

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Rebecca Caswell is a writer living in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. She is a joy-filled wife and mother of three. When Rebecca is not writing, she runs a salon and furniture renovating business called Teal House Beauty Lounge.


What She Left Behind is Rebecca’s first book. She wrote it hoping to help others cope with the profound losses that we all must face.  









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Snippet:

All seemed well. Holding the mug of coffee between my hands, I brought it closer. I felt the steam of freshly brewed coffee travel to my senses. Watching the steam rise, I blew softly and took in that first glorious sip, always delighting in the sweetness. I drink my coffee with one drop of milk and five scoops of sugar. Don’t judge me. I am a bit of a sugar addict. Setting it down, I lit a cigarette and scrolled through my messages. I needed to call Dad back, I think. So I clicked on his voicemail. I never did this. I usually skipped the voicemail and just went straight to calling back. But something urged me to listen to it first. I’m sure it’s of no urgency, convinced that you only needed a haircut. But still, I felt the need to hear it first.



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