Reading List

Who is not impressed by a rocket scientist?
I certainly am, and I’ve also had the privilege to meet a couple retired ones in real life!

But I did not think there was any process to emulate their ability to think about solving problems with no known solutions. So the description of this book captivated me completely.

  • Title – Think Like a Rocket Scientist
  • Subtitle – Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life
  • Author – Ozan Varol

Review Score = 5/5 *****

Compared to bestselling author, Nassem Taleb’s book “Black Swan” is the unlikely event that disrupts industries and bankrupts businesses, like a pandemic or housing bust. This book is the answer to avoid getting hurt badly when such situations, and they will happen at some point or the other, no doubt about it.

Whether you are a student, entrepreneur or mid level executive, this book will help you improve your critical thinking skills. You will emerge with new ways to innovate, see patterns and a fresh burst of creativity. The best way to describe it is as a crash course equivalent to an MBA business strategy class.

Nine brilliant thinking processes that you can use to boost your career.

Side note, the cover and title were so compelling, I only read the recommendations AFTER I put in my #NetGalley advance review request.

Did you know? This book comes recommended by:

a] bestselling authors like Adam Grant (Wharton professor and author of “Originals”) and Daniel Pink (“Drive”) ,
b] Tech titans I follow, like Satya Nadella and Bill Gates.

Honestly, did not think the request would be accepted, but being a Top Reviewer (see badge on right) seemed to help my case. So I figured I would get to the book ASAP, and also add a review.

In all fairness, my 5* review is 100% honest, and not at all swayed by the amazing other people who have praised this book. My review after all, is for regular readers like you and me, who read for entertainment or learning. Plus, I have read so many non-fiction books in the past that I can decipher (or so I like to believe!) when books are simply rehashing generic concepts or regurgitating content from a hundred other books.

In this book, I was looking for practical strategies to hone my critical thinking skills, and possibly ideas to accelerate my career. The book delivered everything that I expected and a little more! I got some wacky ideas for my website promotion, and early testing seems to show more positive response than I expected.

Brilliant book. 100% recommend to readers in all industries and stages of their career.

Read more

Fun read just perfect for a rainy day, a beach vacation or a lazy weekend (me!) I’ve been to Key West islands, where this story is set. Hence, I totally agree that this gorgeous location is the perfect backdrop for a sudden romance! The story was amazing too, presenting a family drama without making it too sordid or glum. The primary characters were believable, and even the secondary plots between the heroine and her siblings were interesting enough (something I don’t often see in romance novels), that I read the book from cover to cover.

  • Title – Island Affair
  • Author – Priscilla Olivers

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

This is another ARC thanks to #NetGalley. I requested the book because the cover just called to me, and who doesn’t love an exotic island? Here are some pix from my trip to KeyWest. With such gorgeous vistas, romance is simply humming in the air! ?

Raw, natural pix – the stunning views in KeyWest.

Beaches, greenery and poetic sunrises! Glad the author mentions all these in her book! 🙂

Again, the story was marvelous, and I like that the author put in topics like food disorders, parental pressure and sibling rivalry in the mix. Some books feel like there are too many subplots, but this book had just the right balance and happy endings for all the loose ends.

Lastly, with all the fears and uncertainty from the corona virus pandemic, honestly, we need more books like this which allow readers to escape from our real-life chaos.

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Head over High Heels” by Lila monroe. “The Stylist takes Manhattan” by Rosie Nixon, “Blitzed” by Alexa Martin. Any Betty Neels book.
  • Movies – Legally blonde, Beautician and the Beast, Nights at Rodanthe, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle.
  • Genres – Contemporary Romance, Multicultural Romance, Beach Reads, Holiday Romance.

Until next time, Happy Reading! 🙂

Read more

Timeframe:

  • Contest Duration: Apr 15th to May 18th. Sign up here before April 25th.
  • Results: May 25th at 7 pm EST.

Benefits to Participants:

  • Read more books and review them.
  • Mingle with other book bloggers and book lovers.
  • Earn backlinks to your review site or personal blog.

Prizes:

  • Winner – $50 Amazon e-Gift card & Digital certificate.
  • Runner up – $20 Amazon e-Gift card & Digital certificate.
  • Honorary Mentions – Digital Certificate.

Rules:

  • STEP 1: Sign up here before April 25th midnight EST. (Eastern Standard Time) Allowing few days after the challenge officially starts.
  • STEP 2: Comment on the Welcome post (to be added on April 15th) with your blog link page, also before April 25th midnight EST. A dedicated post saying you are participating in the challenge will be nice, but not mandatory!
  • STEP 3:
    • There will be 8 “themes” or “prompts” posts during the challenge, excluding the welcome log. These will be posted every Wednesday and Saturday at 7 am EST (Eastern Standard Time). In response, please review a book which fits the theme. For example, if the prompt is “flowers” then the cover must include flowers. Or author name or protagonist name must be the name of a flower. Books on gardening or horticulture will also suffice, but since such relations are not always directly obvious, please mention why you chose the book in the review.
    • Each book review must be at least 100 words long, include an image of the book, our website link as well as the challenge tag #BookReviewBlogChallenge.
    • Post the book review on your blog with a link to our blog prompt, so we can match your posts and award points correctly. Post back your blog url as a comment to the under the appropriate day’s post on this site.
    • Do NOT post your full review here on this blog – we only want the blog post link.
    • Each book review must feature an image of the book. You are free to use your imagination to edit the cover image as you like. (This is for all the creative bookstagrammers I know! )
    • Book reviews must be posted on at least 3 consecutive days before the final deadline, May 18th midnight. This is to ensure you are not churning out all the responses on the last day!
  • STEP 4: All book review posts MUST be posted before May 18th at 10 pm EST. However, there must be responses on at least 3 distinct days to qualify for the prizes. So you can comment once on May 16th and once on 17th and all the other posts on 18th, to qualify for the challenge prize.

Evaluation Rubric:

  • 30 points: [One time only] Sign up and welcome log before April 25th.
  • 10 points: [Per post] Comment on each book prompt with the link to your response post. Total possible points = 80.
  • 50 points: [One time only] Bonus points to anyone who completes all the blog prompts.
  • 05 points: [Per post] If you add your blog link on this site within 2 days of the prompt being posted. This means if you can respond by Friday midnight for Wednesday prompts and respond by Monday midnight for the Saturday prompts. Total points = 40.
  • 200 points: Maximum possible score.
  • Winner will be the person with the highest score.

Terms & Conditions:

  • Open to book review bloggers worldwide. However, you must be willing to share your email address so we can send the e-card. Winners will be asked to share a short bio and pic after results are announced.
  • The book can be physical, ebook or audiobook. Magazines are NOT allowed.
  • Both fiction and non-fiction books are allowed. If reviewing a fiction book, please try not to add spoilers! 🙂
  • An individual participant cannot repeat the same book for more than one prompt. However, if another participant has chosen the same book for the current prompt or used the book in an earlier post, then there are no penalties. If you have reviewed the book in an earlier blogpost (unrelated to this challenge), then please create a new post, stating why you chose this book for that day’s prompt and one thing you liked best about the book.
  • You do not need to own your blog domain. Hence blogs on WordPress or other domains are allowed, for example – https://nirupamaprv.wordpress.com/ .
  • Ideally blogs are preferred. However, Instagram, Medium.com and Facebook posts are also allowed, but it must follow the rules in step 3, and links must be to individual review posts, NOT to your profile page. At this time we will not allow Twitter or LinkedIn articles.
  • You are NOT allowed to combine two prompts in the same post, even if you are reviewing separate books.
  • Your blog need not be dedicated only to book reviews, but the responses to this challenge can only be book reviews.
  • All timelines are in Eastern Standard Time.
  • The owners of this site have the final judgement on all decisions about the winning entries.
  • Once results are announced, all winners have 3 days to respond to claim their reward, i.e. until May 28th 10 pm EST. Delayed responses will result in forfeiture of the prize and a new winner will be chosen.
  • In case of ties, additional points will be awarded on participants who commented first on this blog, not when the book review was published on the home site.

Happy Blogging!

Read more

This is the third book in the Cynster sisters trilogy and in my personal opinion, the best of them! It helps (a few scattered references) if you have read the other two, but no way diminishes the reading experience if you are a total newbie to the Cynster family tree.

Like all books by Stephanie Laurens, the heroine is a strong-willed character, smart resourceful and beautiful. In this story, the heroine Angela is only 21, yet thankfully not portrayed as dumb, naive or starry eyed idealist. I myself was stubborn, ambitious and super-focused at 18, so I totally related to the heroine! Cheeky disclaimer, I married a large, dark-haired hunk and knew he was Mr.Right the moment I saw him, so I might be a little biased in my judgement! 😛

  • Title – Capture of the Earl of Glencrae
  • Author – Stephanie Laurens
  • Series – Cynster family series, Cynster sisters trilogy

REVIEW SCORE = 4.5/5 *****

Some reasons why I loved this book:

1] Set in the gorgeous mountains of Scotland (Woohoo!)

2] Hero = Kidnapper! Definitely, not the usual romance plot. When I read the blurb, I had so many Qs – Why? What!!!! that doesn’t sound right? How does the situation change? Is this a case of Stockholm syndrome? Read the book to find out. I will say the author uses these questions to build up the suspense (and chemistry). Most of her stories involve some sort of drama or mystery, but this was the most intriguing among all.

3] The usual charm of Victorian romance – balls, gowns, castles and a villain.

4] The love scenes were tasteful, but she does tend to get repetitive. If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. Won’t recommend this author to anyone under 16, but I admit I am a bit orthodox in many ways!

Overall, a great read, especially on winter days when you just want to curl up in bed with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and an exciting book.

Similar Works

  • Books – Other books by Stephanie Laurens. Similar authors with historical romance series include Elizabeth Rolls, Emma Leech & Julia Quinn.
  • Movies – Pride & Prejudice.
  • TV Series – The Tudors without the extreme violence
  • Genres – Historical Romance
Read more

An excellent book that teaches you about how to promote yourself, your product or your business in a noisy world, without spending millions. The author calls herself “anti PR” and handholds you through the entire process, complete with checklists and templates. I received this book as a professional reader on the site NetGalley .

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

Truth be told, the book includes a lot of exercises and templates (FREE) that entrepreneurs (or readers) will need to complete. But if you don’t want to spend large amounts of money, you must spend time. Also, even if you do have money to outsource your marketing or PR, chances are that most paid “experts” will make you answer the same type of Qs and exercises. So, do yourself a favor, and read this book! ?

The entire book can be read in a day, but the action items will take a lot more time to complete. Worth every minute spent if you are a solopreneur or small business owner trying to build a buzz around your products or increase sales. Please do go through the steps in sequence – it works and will help you exponentially improve your odds of success.

In a way, I really wish I had found this book years earlier during my stint as a freelancer, and initial days as a blogger. Many of the methods listed in the book are techniques I gathered after multiple rounds of trial and error, and devouring dozens of books. Luckily, I also had a SCORE mentor who took one look at my clueless face and asked me if I was running a business or a hobby. Then he proceeded to make me go through a list of Qs and action items, comparable to those listed in this book. This book, however, is far more detailed and covers a lot more of digital marketing, social media and tons of FREE resources.

Who will benefit from reading this book?

  • Solopreneurs and small business owners who want to increase awareness about their products, increase sales.
  • Bloggers looking to increase website traffic and/or conversions.
  • Individuals who want to establish themselves as an authority in their niche, and all the happy perks of being a subject matter expert like paid speaking gigs, job promotions, articles in prestigious magazines, etc.
  • Freelancers who want to land more clients, or higher paying clients.
  • Debut authors who want to launch their book as a smashing success, or self-published authors who want to boost lagging sales.
  • Newbies to the PR world.
  • Any business with a tiny (read non-existent) marketing/PR budget.  

In short, almost every person will benefit from reading this book! 100% thumbs up!

Similar Works

  • Books – Alchemy by David Sutherland. The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Scott. Influence by Robert Cialdini. Contagious by Jonas Benger.
  • Movies – The Candidate
  • TV Series – Mad Men
  • Genres – Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Small Business Marketing, Advertising, Business & Finance, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Women & Business.

Happy Reading and Promoting Yourself!

#HypeYourself #NetGalley

Read more