About

Who is Sahar?

I’m an organized, tongue-in-cheek, big-word-user nerd who loves books, chocolate, coffee, and style. Bring on the office supplies (notebooks, sticky notes, and Sharpies, oh my!), dictionaries, chocolate chip cookies, and mochas, and don’t skimp on the volume when watching The X-Files or Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel.

Editorial Calendar

As promised in December 2015, the Editorial Calendar is being updated slightly to reflect the stuff I’ve learned over the last three months, as well as to make space for a brand new feature.  The editorial calendar starting 1 April 2017 for the next three months is:

Tuesday: Thought on Personal and Community Development
Friday: Thoughts on Family Life from the perspective of new parents (my husband and I!) (new feature; includes parent-centric product reviews)

ON HOLD Monday: Music Reviews
ON HOLD Wednesday: Product Reviews (when available)
ON HOLD Thursday: Writing and Writers (including Book Reviews, Author Spotlights, and the Ask an Author feature)
ON HOLD Saturday: Blog Reviews and Weekly Top Reads
Featured Posts by Borna, Maeve, Max, and The M0vie Blog
ON HOLD Sunday: Book Recommendation, Recipe Recommendation, and Planner and Planning related tips and reviews

Needless to say, I am quite excited to see where this is going to take my blog–stay tuned for another update at the latest in July 2017!

Please note that there will be no posts uploaded
on any of the nine Baha’i Holy Days,

Why Blog?

Are you satisfied with the way things are in the world?  I’m willing to bet you aren’t and that like most, you would love to contribute to bringing more joy into this world.

So would I.

I believe that we have the potential to create a world filled with joy, a vibrant planet on which every individual is happily working hard, becoming better people and making their communities better every day.  The main obstacle standing in the way of our happiness is the lack of universal participation, and blogs are a powerful tool that can be used to expanding the circle of those involved.

It’s been over 12 years since I made my first mark on the internet with these thoughts in mind.  The long-gone Red Dawn website, which featured my short stories, made way in 2008 for Sahar’s Blog.  My primary interests lie in the spiritual and material development of the individual and the community and the intricate relationship between the latter two.

If you are here looking for answers, I do not have them, sorry!  My objective is to share with you the fruits of conversations I have in the hopes of generating more conversations.  Each post is based on countless conversations with a myriad of people, and not just offering my own opinion.

Some of the topics that pop up the most include: how to create and sustain justice; how to use family life as a lab to experiment global solutions; what is a strong marriage; what makes for good parenting; etc.  I also regularly look back on older posts to build on or even completely change ideas, based on my continued study of the Bahá’í Writings and learning gleaned from participating in community-building activities.

One of my fondest wishes is for Sahar’s Blog to go from a monologue to a dialog, through the contribution of an ever-expanding pool of readers who themselves are concerned about the betterment of their communities. However, since I created this blog to create yet another fun, safe space on the internet, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are callous attacks only intended on insulting me, and not bringing anything positive to the conversation. For the same reason, I also edit out swear words from constructive comments.

What Does Reviewing Have to Do With Improving the World?

Long term readers also know that, for years, television, movies, and books provided my family, friends, and I with fodder for discussions which have led to increased understanding.

When I first started blogging, I naturally started sharing these thoughts in a one off post here and there.  But I got increasingly hooked on reviewing, as putting on paper my thoughts required refining them to an extent I never had done before.  I also fell in love with the challenge of writing reviews that go beyond a mere summary or a plain commentary, but that delve into sometimes quite complex concepts.

Who can blame us reviewers? You yourself probably have a television show you can’t stop talking about, a movie that defined your childhood, or a book so often you reread that it resides permanently on your bedside table.  Whatever the form they are shared in, stories have the power to stay with us for a long time.  They can move us, shake up, inspire us, and in some cases, change the course of our lives.  Because of their omnipresence, they play an important role in our personal development.  They also provide a lot of information about the interests and concerns of the society that creates them.

Today, my reviews are featured not just here, but also on Blogcritics, Amazon, Tumblr, and Goodreads.  I never thought of myself as a “reviewer”, but with more than 500 reviews in January 2017, I guess the name just might fit.  So seem to think the hundreds of people who contact me every year, requesting a review of their work.  I’m honoured that they trust me enough to request these things.  If you are also interested in doing so, please take a look at the list below to get an idea of what you are potentially signing up for.

Nine Things to Keep in Mind before asking me to Review Your Book

I am honoured by the hundreds of review requests received from authors, illustrators, publishers, publicists, and agents, reflecting your faith in me as a reviewer and, hopefully, your support of my blogs. I would love to help every single author who contacts me by writing a long review for each of the 50 or so review requests I get every week. But simple maths demonstrates that I would not be able to sustain a lifestyle that would enable me to help everyone, quite unfortunately.

So here are a couple of things for you to keep in mind before you reach out to me requesting a review of your work

– 1 –

I have actually read every book I have reviewed cover to cover. It’s part of the reason why it takes me longer than some others to post reviews.

– 2 –

I have written every review on this website without the use of a rigid, formulaic template, yet another reason why it takes me longer than some to post reviews.

– 3 –

Many of the books I review have been received free from authors, publishers, blogger review programs, or book giveaway contests. I participate in three blogger review book giveaway programs: iRead Books, NetGalley, and Edelweiss. I sometimes receive a print galley, a digital galley, or a final print copy. But in all cases, I agree only to write an honest review. I never agree to write a positive review in exchange for a copy of a book.

– 4 –

I very seldom can promise to post a review by a certain date because I am lucky enough to be involved in a lot of community-building activities that will always take priority on my writing. If I accept to review your book, it will be added at the end of my “to review” list and I will get to it as soon as I can.

– 5 –

I post my reviews on Blogcritics, on this blog, on Amazon, on Goodreads, and/or on Tumblr. A link to the review will be posted on Pinterest, Twitter, and/or on my Facebook page. I am quite happy to help you increase your visibility and in return expect your support in the form of Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Facebook page likes, as well as sharing the link to my review as posted on this blog.

– 6 –

I do not read books with graphic violence, graphic sex, or vulgar language.  Sorry, no exceptions.

 – 7 –

I only review print or Kindle copies.  Some exceptions apply, but only very, very rarely.  Such as a request from Jennifer Weiner.

– 8 –

I cannot and will not promise positive reviews. I will however be fair; if I do not like a book because of personal reasons, I will state it in my review.

– 9 –

If you would like me to consider your work for review, please email your request to saharsblog (at) gmail (dot) com. I do hope to be able to help you and wish you good luck promoting your book!

Seven Things to Keep in Mind When Reading or Requesting A Product Review

For reasons covered in this post, I decided to launch, at the beginning of the year 2016, a product review feature.  Please keep the following seven things in mind when reading or requesting a product review.

– 1 –

All reviews are written keeping in mind those who want to live a refined but simple life.   This means for example have clean, good quality clothes but in a limited number, or a clean, welcoming home that isn’t luxurious.

– 2 –

All reviews are written keeping in mind those who constantly and consistently try to better themselves spiritually and materially

– 3 –

All reviews are written keeping in mind those who constantly and consistently try to contribute to the development of their community

– 4 –

Products in the following categories will be reviewed: fashion, beauty, lifestyle, health, and nutrition.

– 5 –

I will only review things that I would consider integrating into my life.

– 6 –

I will include an honest review of how the product was on its own as well as a reflection on if/when it is needed in one’s life

– 7 –

I will not review anything obviously harmful, like cigarettes.  I don’t think I use anything harmful in my personal life so this should be an easy one.  And if not, it will come as quite a shock 😉

Disclaimer

I use affiliate links and accept sponsored post on this blog; this information will be clearly provided when needs be.

Comments policy

Discussions I have, including discussions in the comments section, inspire many of my posts.  I reserve the right to use a comment made on my blog as inspiration for a post using my usual technique of referring to a a comment made by a reader rather than a specific person.

24 thoughts on “About

  1. Ha ha ha ha – I promise, not a lot of hockey, only near and during play-offs! And even then, I promise, not more than 25% of the posts will be about hockey 😉

    You might want to give Ugly Betty a try, it’s a great show – and dare I assume you watch Heroes?

  2. You might have noticed that some of the comments don’t make much sense – but they do, since they were posted in response to an earlier version of this post 🙂

  3. Great blog, Sahar, I just linked to you from http://bahai-library.com/links . May I give your last name too, or do you prefer to remain semi-anonymous?

    I was inspired to write you because of your X-Files posts. I started watching it in Season 2, fell in love with the series, and have seen every episode (yup, even including season 9) probably 5 times. But the best part was when we moved to Vancouver, where the series was filmed, and could start picking out most of the locations. We even saw our own street in a couple!

  4. Thank you Jonah! I greatly appreciate the link 🙂 If it’s OK, I would rather leave it simple, i.e. at Sahar’s Blog – thank you!

    And how exciting! I would love to see some of the locations that were in the series – something tells me that I would probably giggle a lot if/when I do! Sometimes, when I am watching Fringe or Supernatural, both filmed in Vancouver, I look for both locations and extras that might be familiar to any self-respecting X-Phile 🙂

    Have you seen my X-Files Facebook Project posts on my Review blog?

  5. No, I’ll check out your FB X-files project now.

    One of my favorite episodes for seeing Vancouver locations is “Ascension,” which takes place on the fictional http://x-files.wikia.com/wiki/Skyland_Mountain . The gondola scene is from Grouse Mountain, and you can see the night lights of the city in the background. To create Skyland Mtn for the film, they actually filmed at what looked like three or four other locations – different mountains and forest places — and spliced them together to make the fictional location of one large mountain. It was very creative editing. (Grouse Mountain has a great view, but isn’t very high.) Another great locations story is how they created a scene in New Mexico by painting a huge quarry red-orange: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anasazi_%28The_X-Files%29#Production . I guess 1600 gallons of paint and a hundred hours of labor was cheaper than filming on location!

  6. Oh wow, you really know your X-Files Locations! Kudos to you 🙂 I knew about the painting of the quarry – I hope they used environmentally friendly paint 😛 And thank you for the link, it’s lovely!

    1. Thanks for the heads up! I’m going to take a look but also leaving this comment right here in case someone else is in need of this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *