Review – Love & Happiness | Yasmin Mogahed

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  • Title: Love & Happiness
  • Author: Yasmin Mogahed
  • Publisher: FB Publishing
  • Release Date: May 1st 2017
  • Pages: 124

Blurb

Pain is real. And so is loss. Sometimes it’s hard not to let the weight of what we carry–or the memory of what we’ve lost–take over. Many of us know the reality of struggle, and so many people suffer in silence. It’s hard. It’s hard not to give up when we face the repeated disappointments of life. Like some of you, I’ve known loneliness. I’ve known defeat. I’ve fallen many times chasing mirages, and broken many bones making castles in life’s fading sands. Sometimes, all it took was one solid wave to destroy what I had spent years building.

So I decided to give it a voice. All of it: the tears, the pain. And the lessons. The things I saw and learned and gained along my life path needed a voice. I wanted to give back, in hopes of helping myself and others survive. But then it wasn’t just about surviving. I didn’t just want people to survive inside their storms. I wanted people to thrive inside their storms. And so I wrote, as I walked through my own.

The words found in this book became my voice and my letter to the world. They became my deepest attempt to, not just pick myself up, but others along the way. I wrote because, just as we will fall in life, so will we rise. That’s the thing about this world. It never gives us only one kind of path. There is pain. Yes. And loss. And even darkness. But there is also light. There is hope. There is beauty.

And there is also love and happiness.


Love & Happiness was an extremely quick read – I read it in one sitting! It is a compilation of reminders and quotes for everyday struggles and challenges. Having read and reviewed Yasmin Mogahed’s first book – Reclaim Your Heart, I would say that this second one is more like a summary of important messages from her previous book and her videos published online.

You spent your life looking for love. But one day you will realize that it was in those moments of giving – not receiving – that you found happiness.

The  book is filled with colourful pages of calming photos/graphics which makes it a very pleasant read. I strongly feel is not meant to be read just once. You should pick it up whenever you feel down or when you’re being put to a test. Its simple and straightforward advice can lift your spirits and make you feel more composed to think through your challenging situations.

We spend so much time asking God to cure us of our hardships. But we never stop to consider that our hardships are curing us.

I would highly recommend Love & Happiness for those who do not have time to spare on Reclaim Your Heart. The previous book is definitely much, much better in terms of content depth and explanation. I personally prefer it as there is a lot more to learn and it will leave you feeling whole. But having said that, I still feel Love & Happiness is a gem of its own and we can still benefit from it.

Good as a gift too – get it for your family members and friends! I’m sure they would appreciate this little piece of treasure to dive into when they need it the most. May we all find comfort in Yasmin’s words, and may we grow stronger and more focused in our life goals in every challenge we face. 🙂

When you’re real, God surrounds you with real.

And nothing less. That’s why He will remove people from your life, sometimes. That’s why He will close doors. That’s why He will put up impenetrable walls. Don’t ever think it’s to deprive you.

It isn’t.

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Review – Reclaim Your Heart | Yasmin Mogahed

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  • Title: Reclaim Your Heart
  • Author: Yasmin Mogahed
  • Publisher: FB Publishing
  • Release Date: August 2012
  • Pages: 168

Blurb

Reclaim Your Heart is not just a self-help book. It is a manual about the journey of the heart in and out of the ocean of this life. It is a book about how to keep your heart from sinking to the depths of that ocean, and what to do when it does. It is a book about redemption, about hope, about renewal. Every heart can heal, and each moment is created to bring us closer to that transformative return. Reclaim Your Heart is about finding that moment when everything stops and suddenly looks different. It is about finding your own awakening. And then returning to the better, truer, and freer version of yourself.

Many of us live our lives, entrapped by the same repeated patterns of heartbreak and disappointment. Many of us have no idea why this happens. Reclaim Your Heart is about freeing the heart from this slavery. It is about the journey in an out of life’s most deceptive traps.

This book was written to awaken the heart and provide a new perspective on love, loss, happiness, and pain. Providing a manual of sorts, Reclaim Your Heart will teach readers how to live in this life without allowing life to own you. It is a manual of how to protect your most prized possession: the heart.


Yasmin Mogahed has a way of putting messages across extremely well – both through her written work and her speeches. She breaks down life’s most pressing issues into small bits for ease of understanding and reflection; and this very magic she brings has the power to make you think – think about your life, your struggles and your relationships with both God and the people you love and interact with every day.

Reclaim Your Heart was written based on her own personal experiences and insights. Yasmin has gone through a great deal of challenges which shaped her into who she is today – a firm believer of the power of love. However, she feels strongly that there are very specific ways on how we should address love to save ourselves from getting our heart broken over and over again. As she mentions –

Real love, as Allah intended it, is not a sickness or an addiction. It is affection and mercy. Allah says in His book: “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for people who give thought.” (Qur’an, 30:21)

This book is for those who are longing for answers. For those desperate to find a way out from daily struggles concerning matters of the heart. From attachments, to hardships, to love and relationships with our Creator, the coverage is immense and engaging. With a stack of colourful sticky tabs in one hand and a tissue box at the side, you are sure to dive into these heartfelt pages with great longing for comfort and leave with good vibes in your heart. So much to learn and relate to – this is honestly how I feel about the book.

I must mention that there is a chapter specially dedicated to women’s status in Islam as well; a very important topic of conversation but in my opinion, not discussed enough among us.

So you are honored. But it is not by your relationship to men – either being them, or pleasing them. Your value as a woman is not measured by the size of your waist or the number of men who like you. Your worth as a human being is measured on a higher scale: a scale of righteousness and piety. And your purpose in life – despite what the fashion magazines say – is something more sublime than just looking good for men.

There is so much beauty in this book to discover. The language and explanations used are also very simple. At the end of the book, you will be greeted with a collection of poems by the author herself – a nice touch to end the reading experience.

If I let go, will You take me higher?

Above grief, want, loss.

Above all that I’ve ever known.

Take me higher. Unbind me from the earth.

Like a vaccine, it sickens, to make you stronger.

The stab is temporary. The freedom, eternal.

If you would like to get a snippet of what the book is all about, do watch Yasmin’s sharing entitled “What is Love?“. I’ve watched it twice and it has changed my view of love and life in general. I am looking forward to read Yasmin’s second book – Love and Happiness. 

Thank you Yasmin for this well-thought guide for life! 🙂

Rating: 

Review – Milk and Honey | Rupi Kaur

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  • Title: Milk and Honey
  • Author: Rupi Kaur
  • Publisher: Createspace
  • Release Date: November 4th 2014
  • Pages: 204

Blurb

Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.


Rupi Kaur is well-loved for her poetry and illustrations. Milk and Honey is her first published book, a rather difficult one to write as she recollects her past experiences of rape and heartbreak.

if the hurt comes

so will the happiness

– be patient

Her story has four main parts – the hurting, the loving, the breaking & the healing. I picked up this book at a time when I really needed some good poetry to dive into. This, coupled with the fact that I have enjoyed reading some of the excerpts on social media, my expectations were high. I heard so many good things about the book too. (Don’t get too excited yet, finish reading my review!)

I must admit – the pain, trauma and recovery she went through were penned with truth and an edge of rawness I enjoyed. Unfortunately, her writing was not up to the standards I was hoping for from a poetry book. There were holes, too many to make you feel whole.

i need someone

who knows struggle

as well as i do

someone

willing to hold my feet in their lap

on days it is too difficult to stand

Her interpretation of love is very physical as well. I was longing for more emotional depth. I progressed but could not find it and this really disappointed me.

if you were born with

the weakness to fall

you were born with

the strength to rise

Having said that, there were a few poems I really enjoyed as you can see by my choice of excerpts for this review. Rupi’s second book, The Sun and her Flowers, will be released on the 3rd of October. Will I still give it a go? Yes of course; surprise me Rupi. Good surprise.

In the meantime, let’s appreciate this beautiful prose, my favourite one from Milk and Honey:

you are the faint line

between faith and

blindly waiting

– letter to my future lover

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Review – Letters to Home

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  • Title: Letters to Home
  • Editors: Ooi Kok Hin, Aish Kumar, Nik Mohamed Rashid Nik Zurin
  • Featuring letters by: Azalia Zaharuddin, Fikri Fisal, Ng Jung Kian, Aish Kumar, Zaryff Razali, Tan Heang Lee, Billy Hoo, Nurul Ismawi, Ooi Kok Hin, David Lim, Rexy Prakash, Tharmelinggem Pillai, Abdul Rahman Shah, Shamil Norshidi, Shahir Shukor, Benedict Weerasena, Nik Mohamed Rashid Nik Zurin, Achmad Bakhtiar M Yuni, Justin Lim Jia Tian, Sarah Syahirah binti Abdullah, Nizhan Faraz Rizal and Eddy Arief Zulkifly, Asyraf Muiz Roslan, Hasbullah Faudzi, Ian Chew, Izzat Adha, Puteri Eleni Megat Osman, Mohamad Syazwan Abdul Rahman and Mohd Izzuddin Ramli.
  • Publisher: Matahari Books (an imprint of Buku Fixi)
  • Release date: December 3rd 2016
  • Pages:234

Blurb

24 universities. 7 countries. 1 hope.
These are the voices of young Malaysians all over the world–penning down our dreams, fears, concerns, aspirations, and hope to our nation, our home.


If you know me well enough, you would have realised how much I love reading books written by local authors. It gives me a great sense of pride to see my fellow Malaysians contributing to the writing and reading community. What’s more, I feel responsible to share these great books to more readers – hence why I was more than happy to read and review this book.

Letters to Home is a collection of stories and thoughts penned by 30 young Malaysians who all have one major thing in common – hope for our beloved country, Malaysia. As you read these letters, you will come across them making a stand on topics close to heart, formulating their views and sharing their aspirations for the greater good of our community. Coupled with some bahasa rojak and light Malaysian humour, this was an enjoyable read!

If Malaysia was a Pokemon, Canada is what it might evolve into – Nizhan Faraz Rizal & Eddy Arief Zulkifly

The letters written are very distinct from one another, making it very refreshing to progress and dive into. From Malaysian politics, to education, to freedom of speech, to people disabilities etc. – there’s something in this book for everyone. Oh and may I add that I made it a point to read this book in public – just to give it some coverage it deserves. It was very promising to see Malaysians looking over curiously at the cover, and several even approached me to know more!

While our child law currently upholds the general rights of children in Malaysia, more reforms are needed to protect specific groups of children, including the children living in orphanages. – Puteri Eleni Megat Osman

Overall, I am extremely happy with the selection of topics included and have high hopes for more to be published in a similar manner – part two please! There’s so much to learn from the book and it is indeed an insightful source to kickstart healthy discussions with family and friends. Read it with an open mind and form your own opinions. Connect with the authors and immerse yourself with conversation. We Malaysian youths have so much more to do, learn and explore. Let’s keep on going.

Together, we can make a difference. – Rexy Prakash 

Rating: 

I would like to thank Buku Fixi and Matahari Books for this review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Review – A Sticky Note Guide to Life | Chaz Hutton

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  • Title: A Sticky Note Guide to Life
  • Author: Chaz Hutton
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • Release date: October 13th 2016
  • Pages: 194

Blurb

LIFE! What does it all mean?

Chaz Hutton, the world’s first sticky note lifestyle guru, has taken it upon himself to figure it all out so we don’t have to. He covers all the important things: dating, working, eating, fighting gorillas, the impossible physics of toothpaste, the family history of a sock drawer, and so much more.

Basically, all the big life questions that you didn’t realise needed answering.


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The first reaction I had when I flipped through this book was – omg, sticky notes! Printed sticky notes on each page, literally! I then proceeded to parading the book to all my family and friends (victims?) who would listen to my many ramblings on it. Haha! This book is one of a kind and the author, Chaz, knows very well of it.

A Sticky Note Guide to Life is a collection of sticky notes illustrating observations of different parts of one’s life – work, home, entertainment, dating, technology and well — assorted nonsense that will make you laugh, smile and have those ah-hah! moments.

I find this book extremely engaging and fun to read. Your life will be analysed and represented in the form of pie charts, flow charts, line graphs etc. in the most thoughtful way possible. I love the captions that accompany each sticky note – Chaz has a colourful characters, and it shows.

Each of us lead different lives and sometimes even, very unique from the rest. As such, not every situation in the book may be relatable to you but it does give you a glimpse on what goes around another person’s life – no matter how exaggerated or true it may be. You may also not understand everything that is represented – which makes it fun when you start deciphering the messages with friends and family, or get everyone confused along the way.

Certainly a unique book you could read with your loved ones to have a good laugh. I look forward to more interesting outlooks from Chaz.  You can check out more of his work on his instagram account – @instachaaz.

Here’s to a wonderful 2017!

Rating: 

I would like to thank HarperCollins for this review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Review – Let Me Fly Free | Mary Fan

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  • Title: Let Me Fly Free
  • Author: Mary Fan
  • Publisher: Glass House Press
  • Publication Date: July 5th 2016
  • Pages: 60

Blurb

Fire fears nothing. And Elaia is about to show her world that she doesn’t, either.

Like the rest of her kind, fire nymph Elaia is bound to her homeland, a forest whose borders were closed centuries earlier in a peace agreement between the humans and the enchanted creatures of the Terrestrial Realm.

But her heart is as restless as the flames she casts, and she secretly yearns to defy that order.

When a mysterious threat creeps into the forest, an invisible beast that leaves a trail of death in its wake, Elaia is determined to fight back and protect her people. Before she can, however, she must learn what the beast is … and the answers lie beyond the borders of her land.

Defeating this evil means she’ll have to go outside the rules, but she’ll do anything to find the answers she seeks—even if leaving her homeland means not only breaking the law, but risking her own life.


Let Me Fly Free is a story of Elaia, a fire nymph, and her tireless journey in protecting her homeland from evil.

This is my first time reading Fantasy in novella form so I do appreciate Mary Fan’s work in the world building which must have been a challenging task. It was really easy to follow and the descriptions did justice in painting the magical world in my mind. I loved the main character, Elaia, as it reminded me of my favourite childhood character, Tinker Bell, from Peter Pan. She had an elegant yet strong attitude to her, which was a winner.

Unfortunately, the plot to me was very plain as there was nothing particularly special about it. The beginning was fine but as I progressed in my reading, I wasn’t drawn to the story and just when I was looking forward to the climax, I was extremely disappointed as it was too rushed for my liking – that’s it? 😦 

Despite not enjoying the book, I must credit the author for gifting us with Elaia’s heroic voice. She showed very strong will and determination as the heroine, which I adored.

Thank you Glass House Press for sending me a copy of this book to review!

 Rating: 

Review – Leaving Microsoft to Change the World | John Wood

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  • Title: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World
  • Author: John Wood
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • Publication Year: 2006
  • Pages: 278

Blurb

John Wood discovered his passion, his greatest success, and his life’s work not at business school or his high-flying job at Microsoft but on a chance visit to a school library in Nepal. He walked away from his lucrative career to create Room to Read, a nonprofit organization that promotes education across the developing world, giving more than one million children the lifelong gift of education. If you have ever pondered abandoning your desk job for an adventure and an opportunity to give back, you will love Wood’s vivid, emotional, and absorbing tale on how to take the lessons learned in big business and apply them to the world’s most pressing social problems. 


I bought this book exactly two years ago, while I was still interning at Microsoft Malaysia. Well I must say that even though I was enjoying my time there (had no intention of leaving), it certainly caught my eye and I was genuinely curious on what it had to offer. Plus, I was actively involved in a non-profit organization, Enactus, that very same time so an outlook on an entrepreneur’s odyssey to educate the world’s children was one I was excited to dive into. Unfortunately, life got into the way so it is not surprising that I only got into reading this last month. (Whoops!)

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World is a feel-good, inspiring book written by John Wood, the founder of Room to Read.  It starts off with Wood’s share of experiences on his life in the corporate world – the challenges he faced, the dissatisfaction he experienced and his continuous yearning to do something better with his life. During his travels to Nepal, he learned on how scarce books were in remote parts of the country. With some help from the locals and his close family and friends, he set off to collect books and funds to improve education and knowledge accessibility in the area he visited. Consistent little steps kept the dream alive and soon, Room to Read became an important part of communities not only in Nepal, but all over the world.

The highlight of this book for me would be the opportunity to learn on the non-profit organization’s business model. I love how Wood emphasized the importance of his experiences and knowledge gained at Microsoft in adding value and bringing Room to Read together. His focus on networking, management, quantitative results and sustainability made this organization a success and this book, an eye-opening read.

Each chapter of his journey was written with much thought, care and simplicity. It is easy to follow and very engaging. If you’re a fan of memoirs and in need of a jab of inspiration, this book is for you. Not only will it give you a peek into Wood’s journey, it will encourage you to take the next course of action to make a sustainable difference in this world.

 Rating: