Words – are all that matter

Reading and reviewing books for ReedsyDiscovery has become an integral part of my daily schedule. I don’t give it a thought and yet my reading game seems to be spot on. I get the Reedsy Discovery top book reviewers for the month badge when I am least accepting it. I do not count the books I read in a month or compete to get this badge. I just pick up a book that draws me in – be it the book cover or the back cover blurb.

I read parts of a book throughout the day. Each weekend, I carve out a good 3-4 hours to write and publish book reviews. I always have a read and review task on my to-do list. Honestly, it requires discipline, dedication, time, and effort. Yet, it comes effortlessly because it is a cherished interest. It has helped me grow in so many ways.

I have read some brilliant books this year and the stories have stayed with me. I often ponder over the stories or the lessons I garnered from the non-fiction book I consumed.

The most endearing part is that the authors are also thinking about my review of their work. I receive comments and emails from authors and it warms my heart. Many request me to read another of their work or contact me with advanced review copies (ARC) when their new work is ready to be unveiled. It’s a symbiotic author-reader relationship – unique because we only know each other through words.

We build bridges across the world with our words. I can only stand in awe of all the brilliant talent out there and gaze with greedy eyes wanting to consume the brilliance of these works of art and creativity.

How to write

I want to write but how do I
In the cacophony of turmoil
The daily grind refuses to end
In lost tranquility, amidst anxiety
Thoughts are tangled, jumbled
Words lie shattered, untended
Unspoken, crushed, defeated
At the bottom of the vessel
Crumbling like sand, alluring,
Yearning, yet to be embraced
By the ocean waves, encased
Lingering for a chance to blaze
As treasures that can only elate

Book Review: The Marigold Chemise

The Marigold Chemise – book cover

Book: The Marigold Chemise

Author: Sheryl Westergreen (@SDWeste) / Twitter

Genre: Historical fiction, business

Review copy: Reedsy Discovery

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read

“The seduction had begun.” I could not resist picking up The Marigold Chemise by Sheryl Westergreen as it gave vibes similar to one of my favorite historical fiction featuring a painting – The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. The stunning book cover with yellow-orange hues was instantly attractive. I deep-dived into this book with much anticipation and undivided attention.

When young Lucida of the conservative Glavani family agrees to model the marigold silk chemise for portraits by her friend Alessia, the reader can relate to her eagerness. How can one not revel in the beauty of silken wonder almost as bright as the sun? The book does justice to these sentiments – both of the protagonist and the reader as it brings forth a mesmerizing story.

A fine lesson in history, architecture, food, decor, art, and the culture of Roman society, the author’s research features in an impactful narration. Some of the prose is poetic. The dreamy color of the marigold occurs more than once. The romantic tale thrills and the historical fiction enthralls. Halfway through the book, a nefarious element builds up and keeps the reader glued. The whispering of clandestine dealings with scandalous consequences creates further curiosity about how the characters will handle the brewing storm.

This is a young, bashful story – of two women trying to fulfill dreams and desires. As always, the base conflict is between aspirations and how to keep them alive in the face of societal bindings. The characters are well-fleshed out. Even the male characters are tender and understanding, wanting the best for their women. The story moves at a breathtaking speed with twists and turns like the cobbled streets of Rome. This book is a tribute to the artistic spirit.

Eventually, how do events transpire in the lives of a talented female painter and her gorgeous female model, wrapped in the magic of a marigold chemise? They have the same dream, but can they stand for themselves in a world that would rather have them relegated to lavish living rooms and busy kitchens? How does the marigold chemise inspire a business venture? Read this alluring tale with an artistic and feministic theme, just as I did. I have added this book to my beloved historical fiction list. It brims with the fire and the glow of the marigold. Make it yours.

Read the author’s interviews:

https://www.newswire.com/news/sheryl-westergreens-new-book-the-marigold-chemise-is-an-intriguing-21716448

Book Review: Don’t Feed the Elephants!

Don’t Feed the Elephants! – Sarah Noll Wilson – Book Cover

Book: Don’t Feed the Elephants!: Overcoming the Art of Avoidance to Build Powerful Partnerships

Author: Sarah Noll Wilson (@sarahnollwilson) · Twitter

Genre: Non-fiction, business

Review copy: Reedsy Discovery

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read

Don’t Feed the Elephants! by Sarah Noll Wilson is a handbook for personal and professional life. With an appealing cover and text embellished with relevant drawings, the content of the book is engrossing. Building on the proverbial elephant in the room, Wilson, a leadership coach with a doctorate in Adaptive Leadership, reflects on common behavioral issues that create barriers at work and home. Feigning ignorance, harboring avoidance, seething in silence, or telling problems to people other than those who can resolve them, are some hallmarks of “feeding peanuts” to the elephant in the room.

Sarah Wilson writes on the subject from a place of knowledge and experience. By sharing her life scenarios and professional case studies, she expounds on concepts of vulnerability, courage, mindfulness, powerful conversations, and even curiosity. The subject will resonate with many, including those who walk out of meeting rooms knowing too well, “If there is more truth in the hallways than in meetings, you have a problem.

The book has nuggets needed for good leadership and relationship management, including references from other writers. As Wilson observes, “… a productive relationship is one where all parties can disagree openly, effectively, and respectfully.” After establishing the book’s premise, including explaining the science behind a triggered Amygdala, Wilson names the elephants that we nourish at the expense of our mental peace and spiritual growth. She provides cheat sheets to not only identify each but also how to tackle them out of your life.

The questions toolkit is handy, and one can create their own each time one faces an elephant. The book has relevance for leaders with information on unconscious bias, feedback, intentions, team dynamics, and conflicts. Wilson explains the significance of learning to identify and stop feeding elephants in corporate setups. She also advises how to introduce the concept of elephants to a team.

Elephants belong in the vast expanse, not the shallow confines of insecure minds. Use Sarah Wilson’s book to set them free and liberate yourself from mind games and self-manipulations. I relished this book and will refer to it often. The anecdotes were enlightening and relatable. The writing is crisp, and the book is well-organized. This truly enjoyable and informative book deserves to be on your bookshelf.

Night

Consume me whole
Like the ocean gulps down
That flamboyant orb
Easing its pain
The lavish burn from within
Letting it settle
Amongst corals and pearls
In a soothing embrace
The ashes submerge
Then slowly emerge
In a million starlights
Flickering silica spreads
Across a sleeping world

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