Book Review: Bean to Bar Chocolate by Megan Giller



There’s always been something beautifully mysterious about chocolates. They taste so wonderful and delicious you’d think it’s not natural. But it’s just a bean from a plant. How on earth did us humans think up the idea of making chocolate? What made them look at the beans and go “I’m going to roast this and make the most delicious food on earth!”. We know it was the Mayans who were responsible for this wonderful goodness. They believed it was the food of the Gods and were so crazy about it that they used it as a form of currency. It was like money growing on trees!

So, it’s no wonder that most of us are, to say the least, a bit too much into chocolate. For me, chocolate has always been a favourite. That was the reason why I took think books for review. I wanted to know how the chocolate came into being, how it’s made and the deep dark secrets about it. I have to say this book certainly surprised me. It was thoroughly enjoyable. There was a detailed description of the history of chocolates, and how it’s made. I like the way the book was written, with illustrations that can help anyone new to chocolates understand the process of how it’s made. There was also a lot about the different ways and types of chocolate making. I clearly understood everything about chocolates. (I understood so much, that now I can give a class on chocolates now.) I really recommend this book for anyone interested in chocolates.

Rating: 5/5

(Disclaimer: I got this book in exchange for an honest review.)


The Magical Stones of Destiny

So, I thought it would be nice to share a story I wrote. Hope you like it!

There once was a boy who wanted to be great. He wanted to grow up and become a successful businessman. As he sat in his room looking out, he would dream of the day he would be great at trade, the day he would come back to his place a successful businessman. The King himself would want to talk to him and be awed by him. One day he told of his dream to his friends. But they laughed and teased him, for how who a boy as poor and uneducated as he, become a businessman? Rather sad at his friends’ laughing he went by and sat near the river. Overwhelmed by feelings, he began crying. He knew his friends were right. He was poor and uneducated, and he knew nothing about how to be successful, so how was he ever going to even start a business? Suddenly he heard a noise. As though something fell into the water. He looked around and saw a man standing a bit far away near the river. He could see a bag moving through the water. It seemed man has lost his bag. The boy immediately jumped into the river and fished the bag out. He gave it back to the man, who seemed relieved.

“Thank you so much, dear boy. That bag had precious materials.” he said, as the boy came back to the bank and tried to dry himself.

“You’re welcome, sir.” the boy said.

The man finished inspecting the bag for any damage and looked back at the boy. But as he watched the boy’s face his expression changed.

“What’s the matter, my dear boy? You seem rather sad? ” he asked.

“Nothing, sir.” he said, not wanting to talk about his problems with practically a stranger.

“Sit down, son. As you have helped me with my problem, let me see if I can help you with yours?” he asked.

Reluctantly the boy narrated his tale. How his dreams were too big and how his friends laughed at him for that.

“I suppose now the whole village will laugh at me, now.” the boy said, dejectedly.

“Yes, they may. For it’s the job of idle minds to laugh at those who dream. But as the person who is being laughed at, it is your job to make that dream to a reality.” the man said.

“But they are right, how can I become a great business with no money or education? What if I’m just meant to be a poor person my whole life?” he asked.

“Well, I think I can help you out in this.” the old man said.

“How?” asked the boy.

The man took out a bag and opened it. He held out the bag for the boy to see the contents.

“Look into the bag, what do you see?” he asked.

“A blue stone, and a red stone,” replied the boy.

“Yes, these are the stones of destiny. Whenever you feel doubtful of your dream, ask yourself: Will I be able to complete this dream?. Then take out one of the stones without looking in the bag. If you have taken out the blue stone, it means your dreams will work out if you take out the red stone it means it will not work.” the man said.

“But sir, will it really work? How can two stones tell me about my dreams?” the boy asked.

“Well, it’s up to you whether you believe in it or not. But I myself am a very successful merchant, and all my life these stones have helped me see if my dreams work out. The stones never lie.” he said.

Nodding, the boy took the bag.

“Thank you, sir.” he said.

“Consider it a thank you for your help. But you must follow one rule while using the stones.” the man said smiling.

“What is that?” the boy asked.

“Do not take out both the stones at once. Take only one out of the bag, with your eyes closed. If you take both out of the bag, they lose their power.” he said.

“Yes, sir.” said the boy. Nodding, the man went on his journey.

And so, the boy went back home and said as the man had said. As his friends laughed at him, he would do as the man said and take out a stone. Getting a blue stone, he would smile and work on his dream. Soon, he learned not to listen to others, when they tried to dissuade him. He quietly went about, working on his dream. He grew to believe in the stones’ power, each time it said he would get through and he did.  Soon, as the man said, the boy grew to become a great businessman. He was so great that even the King himself wanted to see him. He was welcomed by the King with immense pride. All the friends who had laughed at him now admired him. His whole village was proud of him. Once as he sat in his house looking out the window as he did when he a boy, he remembered the old man he had met and how he had changed his life. He decided he wanted to see the man again. He sent out people to search for him.

After a long search, they soon discovered the man. As he had told the boy, he himself was a successful merchant. Being glad at finally discovering the old man, our hero, met him. Smiling at his old friend, he thanked him for the stones and told him how it had helped him realise his dreams.

The old man smiled and laughed.

“My dear boy, if you think it was the stones that helped you, then you are wrong. It was your hard work and your belief in your dream. Nothing more. The stones merely gave you confidence.” said the old man.

“But it was their magical powers that convinced me that my dream would come true. ” he replied.

“The stones have no magical powers. Take out the stones together from the bag.” said the old man.

“But you said that would make them lose their powers. ” he said.

“Just do it.” the old man said, smiling.

He took out the bag and took out the stones from it. They were both blue now.

“But one of them was red. What happened to them?” he asked.

“Yes now put them back in the bag. ” he said.

As he did, one stone turned back to red.

“What are these stones?” he asked.

“You see, one stone is blue,  while the other turns blue when you touch it. So whenever you took out a stone from the bag, you always got a blue one. And each time you got a blue stone you knew you were going to be successful, so you kept working on your dreams. It is your work that made you successful, the stones merely helped you believe you could.” the old man said.

Now he understood the true meaning behind the stones. It was now that he truly knew the secret to success is to believe in oneself and one’s dreams. Thanking the old man, he went back to his home, now a wiser man.


Hope you liked the story!!!!

Time travel through books

If you’re here thinking I just discovered a new way of time travel using books, then my answer would be yes and no. No, because clearly, I haven’t discovered how to manipulate time (If I did, I would be doing cool time travel stuff instead of writing this post). But yes, I’m going to talk about the time travel we do in our heads with specific books in our hands. The kind of travel we do when we read books from our childhood. The time travel back to our childhood. It may be different books to each person, but nevertheless, we have our favourite childhood books. We may even have a copy of the book with us, with memories that can still make you smile. With tears and maybe dog-ears, and old paper bits you used as a bookmark, while you were too lazy to get a real bookmark. With stains, you don’t even remember, probably from the time you were reading it while munching on cookies and drinking cold milk. Yes, that is the sort of time travel I’m speaking about. Just one opening of the books and you are already years back, to a time when you read with no cares. We may have a different book. For some, it maybe books like Oliver Twist or Tale of Two Cities. Some others may have Harry Potter or Twilight as theirs, yet some other may have things like Disney fairy tales which remind of their childhood. For me, it’s Enid Blyton’s books that give such a feel. I practically started my reading love with the Famous Five series. Then I read the secret seven, and the mystery series. Now, when I look at these series I still smile and go back in time. I would read these books all through the days during my holidays, while eating something or simply enjoy the adventures they went on. I even crave the foods in the books while I read these books. Foods like cake, scones are constantly seen in her books and even though i’m not even British, I still feel like eating them when I read these books.

So, if you ever feel like going back to a time when things were slow, and there were no phones to distract you every hour, when you could read all day, then take an old childhood read and just flip through it, you’ll find yourself being a child again, travelling back in time.

What are your favourite childhood reads? Comment below and tell me!

Book Review: Deep Work by Cal Newport

So, today instead of writing about fiction books that I usually write about I thought I’d review a non-fiction one. Now, I don’t usually read many productivity related books as I don’t feel like they do me much good. I like self-help books, but not as much as other genres. They mostly seem to give the same advice. But this book was really great. I learned a lot of new things which is why I’m reviewing it.



I heard about this book from a youtube video on good books for studies. I just bought it wondering what it could be about. I mean I knew it was about the need for deep work, but what about the whole thing called multitasking. Wasn’t that supposed to be more productive? I was a bit confused. This book was mainly about how multitasking was actually taking away your productivity. This book explains as to why you can be more productive if you are doing just one task at a time. I must say the arguments are great. It shows instances that the author himself and many people he met had gone through. For example, there is this one instance where the author talks about a professor who does research for six months, during which he stays cooped up in his office no having any distractions. The next six months he teaches the students, and during this time he doesn’t do any research work. With this schedule, he has released more research papers that most professors have and has become a great professor. I think that makes sense because if you’re doing research having students coming and going with doubts can be very distracting and can actually affect your research. The book has many such examples and ideas.

One thing I didn’t agree with in the book is that he said you need to have many hours dedicated to a task before you can bee deep in work and have great ideas. Perhaps it’s true about research or maybe it’s good for brainstorming (maybe those are the fields he meant this for). But I doubt that idea is good for things like studying because we can hardly concentrate for 45 minutes. There are even techniques like Pomodoro which says that we must take a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes of studying for maximum understanding.

Overall, I loved the book and give it a 4.5/5 stars.


A look into the times before the internet.

So, the other day my internet got cut and I was sitting there wondering what to do. Usually I spend my day either watching Youtube videos or reading something on the internet. But with the internet gone I wondered what to do. Suddenly, as I sat there thinking of stuff to do (I should have been studying, but you can’t just start studying cause the internet went off, that’s silly.), I suddenly realised that whatever I thought of required the internet, if I had to listen to music I needed internet, if I wanted to make a dish I needed the internet for the recipe, if I wanted to do some craft I needed to watch an instruction video on the internet, it was crazy. Then I realised that I had become so inside the internet that I had forgotten what to do without it. It was like waking up from a dream and suddenly realising I was caught in a web (literally!). So I thought back to the times when there was no internet. I mean internet came in the mid 2000s where I live. We had internet way before that in India but where I live, personal computers came only around 2002 and we got the internet a few years after that. So, my childhood was internet free. So, I began wondering what I used to do in those times. Clearly I was still procrastinating. But what was I doing while I was procrastinating. It was then that a whole world of fascinating things I used to do came back to me. I used to read a lot (I still read a lot, but not as much as I used to.). I used to write poems, stories, randomly stare into space and get lost in the magical worlds that I had read about in books. Those seemed a lot magical. At those times I feel like I had lived more, like I had done something rather than stare at the screen all day. My point is, that most of us get so lost in the online world what we sometimes forget to do stuff. Rather than reading about someone having a vacation we should go and take one ourselves. The internet may seem like such a wonderful place, it is, you can get so much information, catch up with your friends, read about how to do stuff, but despite all of that, spending all the time online is no good either. I think we should take a break from the internet from time to time, catch up with friends offline rather than online. Go read books in the library. In that endeavour I would like to suggest some things to do while you take your time off internet (or if your internet gets broken 😉 ).

  1. Go out for a coffee
  2. Go to the library: Really, just ordering books online isn’t the best reading experience. I know you can get reviews online and buy books based on it, but I have found some of my favourite books just from wandering the library and getting books.
  3. Meet your friends: Like offline.
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Contemplate:  Yes, just contemplate on anything. Or just do nothing and stare into space, I tell you it is a fascinating hobby.

Or basically maybe you can just shut off your phone for sometime and enjoy the day like you used to.


Book Review: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

So, some people may not consider cookbooks to be “real” books. I don’t know why, but maybe cause it’s filled with recipes and not stories. But hey, who are we to judge. I love cooking and books. So, cookbooks satiates both my loves. That is why i’ll be reviewing cookbooks too!


Now, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is a book for those who love breads. It really helps you understand bread making. You actually feel like you are a Bread Baker’s Apprentice. There is the basics of bread making and how the entire bread making process works. I used to bake breads before but this books has explored in depth the process and has a detailed techniques. Even though the general process for all breads are the same, there are differences especially in the yeast used. This books explained each of the process and how one can know when each step is done. It explains how we can know when the dough has been kneaded properly and so on. There is also a lot of stories on the authors travels in search of bread. It was fun to read about the different bread makers and how the made bread. I don’t get many kinds of breads here because we have rice as staple diet. So we just usually get the basic sandwich breads and some other varieties. But this books showed me how, in countries like France and US how much importance each bread maker gives to the process of bread making and how much the people care about bread. It was an eye opener in the sense that I understood how important bread was in those cultures. I absolutely loved the writing style and how the book was presented. I tried out a few recipes and they turned out great. A bit of a problem I encountered with it was that I couldn’t change the recipes according to my country’s climate. Like, in the sourdough breads they require a cool climate but I felt that the author could explain the temperature influence in the bread a bit better. Like what we should do in the case of a tropical climate. So that was a bit of a downer. But otherwise I really enjoyed the book and how it presented the bread making process in great detail.

Rating: 4.5/5

Amazon Link: The Bread Maker’s Apprentice: 15th Anniversary Edition.

Harry Potter and the time I decided to talk about it!

Now, Harry Potter doesn’t need a review, or an introduction. Every kid knows about the boy wizard. A good chunk of people (including me) know are obsessed with it. Then why am I doing a review of it? The answer’s simple, because I can. What? Do I need a reason to read Harry Potter? So, yeah, I thought I’d talk of it, since I’m reading anyway.

So I decided to start with the first book (obviously).

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

You know, the thing I like most about the first book is that it starts out like it’s written for children. With little Harry worrying about whether he’s really a wizard and all. You know, how he’s all scared that he’d be sent back from Hogwarts any moment or the sorting hat will say it’s all a mistake. I think it’s rather cute, because he’s a powerful wizard and he doesn’t know it. It makes me want to say to him “You’re fine, kiddo. Give it a few years and you’ll be running all over the place doing awesome spells.”. In a way, it says how people are prone to doubt themselves despite being talented. It’s kind of an inspiration to how you should stop doubting yourself and give yourself a chance. If Harry had run away from Hogwarts doubtful of being a wizard would he have known how powerful a wizard he was? No. So, don’t give up on yourself.

Ok, let me come back to the post before you runaway from this article. With Harry starting out as a wizard the book tells us about the wizarding world. It’s like we’re with him entering this magical place. The thing I liked about Harry Potter’s wizarding world is how well she organised it. I haven’t seen such well organised fantasy world in any other book. The stores, Gringotts, the different things in each shop, the magical things, all make up wish had we had been there. Then, there’s Hogwarts. The first books the one that makes me so excited about Hogwarts. I mean the other books are nice, but the first one still gives a fascination for Hogwarts. Like it’s still being explored.

There’s no need for me to go into the story because everyone knows it. And if you don’t, then, what on earth have you been doing this whole time? Go read the book and get the magical adventure for yourself. Oh, and watch the Starkid’s version too! I’ll be back with another Harry Potter themed post!