REVIEW: Stargazer

Poetry collection number 3 of my little poetry reading challenge is Stargazer by Rachel M. Patterson. I’ve finished this before going on a short hiatus to focus on my finals but now I’m on a semester break until July. Hopefully, I’m able to read a bit more now.

I’ve received quite a lot of poetry collections to review in the past few months and a lot more since I’ve started this poetry reading challenge so it’s definitely gonna take me some time to get to it, especially since I’m juggling some other books too at this moment. There’s gonna be more reviews heading your way soon!


Stargazer

Stargazer
by Rachel M. Patterson (Patreon)

buy it here

BOOK SUMMARY

A series of unique and emotionally charged poems, paired with sketches from the author.

BOOK REVIEW

3 STARS

Stargazer is a poetry collection that could be read in one sitting. There are 17 poems altogether, accompanied with illustrations from the author.

There were poems about love, depression, hopelessness and hope. Some of the poems were completely heartbreaking and relatable, and some just felt magical. There isn’t a theme that could describe the whole book since it’s about different topics but don’t let that discourage you from giving this a read.

All the poems follows a structure with rhymes so melodious, it easily rolls off the tongue. It was a pleasant read, even if some of the poems were dark. Those were my favourites, actually. I enjoyed how Patterson uses beautiful metaphors and I’m absolutely blown away by each line.

My favourites were “Jagged Pit”, “Chronic”, “Spiral” and “Lunatic”. The way each line was written conveyed the feelings accurately. You are able to experience the emptiness and hopelessness in “Jagged Pit”, “Chronic” and “Spiral” but feel the curiosity and thrill in “Lunatic”. It was enjoyable and not many poems I’ve read was able to make me feel like I’ve been brought to a different dimension.

Filled with illustrations made with a pen. I’ve always admired art like that. It’s simple yet with the many strokes and shading, it looks complex and also beautiful. A good complement to the poems.

REVIEW: An Ocean of Grey

It’s National Poetry Month in the United States and though I may not be from there, I would still love to celebrate. For this month and the next, I hope to finish reading the many poetry collections that I have. Hopefully, I’m able to make a dent in my TBR list and to increase the number of books I’ve read for my reading challenge.

This is the 3rd poetry collection that I’ve read this month. I managed to read it on Meraki Press’ Instagram as it was free to read until the 26th of April. I’m glad I remembered as this collection of poems left me at loss for words but full of emotions.


38725838._SY475_An Ocean of Grey
by Kamalia Hasni

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY
I could find peace
in an ocean
of all the shades
of the colour grey

An Ocean of Grey by Kamalia Hasni explores the pain and aftermath of a love that was promised a forever but had ended too soon. The collection of poetry and prose also includes beautiful illustrations by the author’s friends who had helped her through her healing.

BOOK REVIEW
4 STARS

I think the most beautiful part of poetry is that one way or another, it means something to us, even if it isn’t our story.

The first few poems were a little difficult to get into. I didn’t check out the blurb, I just dived into it, not knowing what it was about. A few poems in, I realised it was about heartbreak. It was difficult to read it since I didn’t understand it myself.

As I turned the pages, I was reminded of what happened to a close friend of mine recently and can’t help but to imagine her feel all this. It brought light to me that this is what she is feeling and though I may have not felt this way before, it helps me to understand what she is going through. Perhaps I may not be the suitable target audience for this book. But it makes me want to send this book to a friend, tell them it’s the best thing to read after a terrible breakup and perhaps somewhere in the poet’s words, they can find comfort that they’re not alone too.

The poems were inspired by songs, each poem with a different song title at the end, creating the ultimate breakup playlist. Most I didn’t know, but could only respect that these songs will constantly remind the author of what she went through. For a handful of those which I’ve heard, I understood and admired the way the lyrics in the song has inspired a beautifully written poem.

The illustrations in this collection were a collaborative work of different artists. Everyone had a different style but it all fit together quite well. I do have some favourites though, and those are absolutely unforgettable.

I enjoyed this poetry collection a lot. It’s very raw, very real. It shares the truth of being in a breakup and how it damages someone terribly, how a relationship can change overnight and the awful way it tears someone into bits and pieces. The words stringed together to form perfect sentences, explaining the very graphic details of what pain her heart felt.

I absolutely recommend this book to those who had recently gone through a breakup or is still in the process of healing. Perhaps you might find words of comfort through this, knowing that someone knows exactly how you feel.

REVIEW: Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose and Pictures

I really enjoy reading poetry since it is an opportunity to think and reflect, the way the sentence flows always makes me feel joyous and the carefully chosen words make it a work of art that never fails to brighten my day. It’s also a good way for me to reach my goal of 24 books this year. Not a very big goal, since I felt unmotivated due to my reading slump that hit in the middle of last year but I’m back and feeling more better!

Often I see my book blog buddies having a little introduction part to their book review. I’ve been trying to adopt that if you can’t tell. I’m also considering changing some things about the blog, maybe even making a new logo for myself since I’m studying a design course and wanted a more unique one.


BookCoverLines by Leon
by Leon Stevens

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY
Lines by Leon is a selection of poems, prose, and short stories that address the subjects of loss, struggle, and reflection. Inside these thoughtful contemplations are original observations about ego, behaviour, human relations, places, and the environment. Many of the pieces feature a lighthearted and even humorous take on a subject, and the author invites his readers to laugh, think, cry, and meditate on the wide variety of thoughts.
Scattered throughout the book are sketches of various subjects, many that relate to the poems and stories they illustrate; others speak for themselves.

BOOK REVIEW
*A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

3 STARS

I enjoyed the illustrations that Stevens made. It was enjoyable to see and it makes it the story feel a bit more personal since the author made the illustration himself.

The poems are split into 11 sections, possibly the most I’ve seen so far in my very few years of reading poetry. Poems about human behaviour, the environment, struggles and a short story. It was a very quick read.

My favourite has to be the whole of People and Places. I believed that it was because most of the places mentioned and poems were about things that I knew, and perhaps if I didn’t, I may not have enjoyed it that much. Some other poems that I really enjoyed were Cycle, The Tendency to Cluster, Ego (Part IV), If (The Refugee). These were poems that I related to and some that I felt were artistically written.

I would describe this book as balanced. There were some poems that I thought were amazing and there was a handful that I really loved, however, there were also some that I didn’t enjoy reading. This poetry collection contains many observations, I guess I prefer poems that invoke deeper feelings, more intense and causes me to think more. It’s my personal preference and not many may feel the same.

From a design perspective, the cover is simple and stunning. The watercolour paper texture – absolutely brilliant! However the font for the text may not be the best font for this book, though the intention may be to have a handwriting sort of font, I believe there were probably better fonts out there that suited this book more. Some of the sketches were a little too light when compared to the text, and it may be difficult to see. I believe it shouldn’t be so since the drawings were beautifully drawn.

Overall, I have neutral feelings about this poetry collection. Not many poems stood out to me but it still was a pleasant read and the drawings were such a great complement to the poems. Perhaps it just wasn’t for me.

REVIEW: Express Pursuit

It has been 2 months since my last review and I’m glad to be out of my reading slump. I believe my biggest motivator was the Restricted Movement Order and my friends on Twitter who, somehow in the past 14 days read 8 books, whereas it has been almost 3 months and I’ve only read 3.

Today I’m reviewing Express Pursuit, a romantic thriller that takes place following Mara Ellington’s trip across Europe riding the Orient Express where she suddenly gets entangled in a complicated terrorist attack threat.

Express Pursuit will be launching on the 3rd of April, so do get yourself a copy of it!


vseopursuit_ebook copy copy copy (1)Express Pursuit
by Caroline Beauregard

BOOK SUMMARY
As she rushed down London’s Victoria Station, feisty Air Traffic Controller Mara Ellington fought her apprehensions about this journey. It was no longer the trip of a lifetime she had dreamed about with her best friend. Instead, fate had turned this exciting adventure into a lonely voyage to honour her deathbed’s wish. After arriving at the train’s platform, a strange incident will leave her baffled but not as much as her unexpected confrontation with Counter-Terrorist Agent Drake Steinfield who has also boarded the legendary Orient-Express, on a mission to thwart a terrorist threat.

The sexy and tenacious agent is on the tail of an elusive Al-Qaeda Extremist leader who has planned a string of massive explosions along the train’s route. Additionally, he may be using the tourist as a pawn in his schemes and according to the CT agent, this makes her his best lead to stop him. Mara and Steinfield will need to join their forces and race against the terrorist’s deadline to prevent these massive tragedies, if they can put aside their clashing personalities and growing attraction. What destiny awaits them down the line of this Express Pursuit?

BOOK REVIEW
*A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 STARS

*book t/w: terrorism, religion, 9/11 attacks

It has been a while since I’ve read romance novels so this was definitely a change of pace. It’s refreshing to read something different once and a while and this was in between my comfort space (thriller/crime) as well as something new.

I can’t deny that the mention of the Orient Express made me interested in the story. I read it last year and absolutely loved it and it helped me picture the setting better. Being a fan of the book, I can’t help but also feel as if I’m one of the other passengers on the trip, enjoying the Orient Express themed journey.

Beauregard’s detailed descriptions of the scenes give the illusion that I’m travelling along with Mara across Europe, especially since there’s a Restricted Movement Order from the government and I’m trying to compensate for not being able to go outside. It felt nice to be able to pretend that I’m with them on this journey, well, the tourism part, not the ‘I’m-in-terrible-danger’ part.

The story was predictable. There were a few clues here and there so it all made sense when it was explained in the end. Maybe it could have been a little bit more complex but overall it’s quite tame. Then again, if I would be an innocent civilian being entangled in a situation where thousands of lives will be lost, I’d say otherwise.

I liked how the love story blossomed. It’s cheesy, expected but still very enjoyable. The two of them complemented each other. I liked how Mara was able to think under pressure which is probably a skill that she developed from her Air Traffic job. I liked that she wasn’t a damsel in distress and was able to take care of herself. Agent Drake Steinfield’s character on the hand provided a light-hearted feeling with his teasing as Mara’s character felt a little dry. I enjoyed the scenes where they interact with one another as it felt sincere despite Agent Steinfield was just an agent going about on his job. There were also many times where I squealed in delight while reading from his point of view. I can’t help but be invested in their love.

Occasionally, the point of view will switch between Mara and Drake. It’s a little confusing though since there’s no clear division so I’ll have to reread it. Overall, it’s an easy and enjoyable read.

MINI REVIEWS (#1): A potential new series

Like most reviewers, I read more (and faster) than I review. With school work piling up and life spiralling out of hand, I feel less motivated to put my thoughts and feelings into words that make sense. This makes me feel a little guilty though since I feel inclined to review every book I read but I don’t have much to say about it. Most often than not, I drag it out for months and months until I lose the motivation and delete the draft, trying to forget it ever happened.

In a recent chat with a fellow reviewer that I deeply admire, Xueh Wei (check out her blog!) brought up the idea of mini-reviews – a place where I can give a short review for the books I’ve read but don’t have much to say in order to make it a fleshed-out review.

Don’t worry! These mini-reviews are for the books that are on my bookshelf and just books that I read for fun.


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
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“Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes” – Ray Bradbury

4 STARS

I’ve searched high and low for a copy of this book ever since hearing about it. I loved the idea of a dystopian world surrounding the idea of books. Especially when it’s a banned book!

It was surprising to me that this book was banned, but now when I think of it, it’s more ironic instead.

I went into this book knowing the main events that happened but still really enjoyed it. With this one, it feels like the themes and messages were the core rather than the storytelling itself.


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
9780007527526

 

“Oh! Money! All the troubles in the world can be put down to money—or the lack of it.”
― Agatha Christie

5 STARS

Incredibly brilliant.

After reading my first Christie mystery, Murder on the Orient Express, I went into this with the intention to try to solve the case as I was reading the book, carefully taking note of the characters, their alibis and the events that were happening. I wanted to solve it.

But oh this was brilliant. The ending caught me by surprise and instantly made this into a 5 star read, one of the best of last year. It was nothing that I can even imagine and I screamed out of delight in how amazed I was at the ending.


The Four by Scott Galloway
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“Don’t follow your passion, follow your talent. Determine what you are good at (early), and commit to becoming great at it. You don’t have to love it, just don’t hate it. If practice takes you from good to great, the recognition and compensation you will command will make you start to love it.”
– Scott Galloway

4 STARS

I’ve been interested in hearing about what goes on in the inside of these big companies. Galloway describes them in a way where it makes you question how much power they have over society. He views these companies in a negative light, which is what makes a lot of the reviews on this book quite negative too.

In this book, he shares some essential skills in order to make a business grow, which I admire as I feel these are good for all of us to learn even if we aren’t interested in starting our own business and can even help us become a better employee and co-worker.

As for me, I do understand both the positive and negative reviews that this book gets. It shows a negative side of the four companies and Galloway’s humour may not rub people the right way. All I have to say is to read this book with a grain of salt.

My reasons for liking it so highly is that, though I do not entirely agree with Galloway, he may not be wrong. I had a pleasant time reading this and understanding things from his point of view. My only issue is that it gets a little boring towards the last few chapters but that’s all I can say.


This marks the end of my first mini-review series. I believe these will appear once in a while on the blog, where I do not have incredibly in-depth thoughts on a book but do have a little to say before one spends their money on it.

I hope you enjoy it still!

-J

 

REVIEW: Stumptown

*Last time, I shared how the year is almost ending and I am nowhere near my goal of 45 books. For the month of October, I believe I’ll be reading more poetry collections as well as graphic novels to increase the number. That, and a lot more books that don’t require me to focus so much energy and thought into it.

I’m now writing this in January. To be very transparent, I’ve been in a reading slump for the past few months and even more so in the blogging slump where though I had opinions on a book, it was difficult for me to put it into words. I sincerely respect and applaud those who are able to write reviews weekly and even monthly!


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Stumptown (#1, The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo)
by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY
Dex is the proprietor of Stumptown Investigations, and a fairly talented P.I. Unfortunately, she’s less adept at throwing dice than solving cases. Her recent streak has left her beyond broke – she’s into the Confederated Tribes of the Wind Coast for 18 large. But maybe Dex’s luck is about to change. Sue-Lynne, head of the Wind Coast’s casino operation, will clear Dex’ debt if she can locate Sue-Lynne’s missing granddaughter. But is this job Dex’s way out of the hole or a shove down one much much deeper?

BOOK REVIEW

*A copy of this book was given by Netgalley in return for an honest review.

4.5 stars

“I gamble, I drink, I smoke, and I’ve got a car that runs half the time. I just took out my second mortgage, half my bills are past due, and my mentally retarded brother pulls a steadier income than me [….] My word is all I have.”

It opens in a strange way, with Dex getting into so much trouble I wondered if I had been given the wrong volume. It starts with flashbacks, 24 hours, 8 hours, then it only becomes chronological. I didn’t hate it, but I was very confused.

Dex is around 30, gambled a number close to 5 digits, reckless, flirtatious, and has close to nothing going well in her life. When she receives a mission from Sue-Lynne to find her missing granddaughter in return to pay back her debts, she is left with close to no choice. The chase results in hitmen, bad luck for Dex, family drama, more bad luck for Dex and elements that hold a lot more depth than I expected this graphic novel to have.

The protagonist, Dex, has made some questionable life decisions however she is incredibly brilliant. She isn’t Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot, instead, she is more of a mess however her misfortune and personality pays off. Despite her tough exterior, she has a caring side that she shows towards her brother. I hope to understand their relationship more in the next few volumes of the series as it did strike me as odd how her brother reacts to Dex coming back all bloodied and beaten up from time to time.

I believe the best part of the book is the second half of it. The first half was rocky, it was difficult to understand what was happening due to the time jumps, it was difficult to differentiate some characters but the second half becomes raw. You’re able to see things from the other characters’ perspective and it makes you (well, me) feel sorry for them and try to understand them in a way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’m still blown away by the ending despite it being a few months since I read it.

9 Books I’m Excited to Read in 2020 + Updates

Hello there. It’s 2020 and for my first blog post, I’d like to share some of my bookish plans for the year ahead!

Before that, I’d like to sincerely apologize for my unannounced hiatus. I fell into a slump. It was expected, finishing my foundations, starting an internship, starting my first year of degree, all this happened in 2019 and it was difficult for me to balance my work and make time for reading. Instead, I spent a lot more time on YouTube and Netflix, which I really didn’t mind but need to find a balance between the three this year.

Note: I’m still on a hiatus and will be back after the 10th of January, as I am still in my college semester. I’m only here now to greet you guys with a Happy New Year and share about some books I’m interested in reading.


Last year, my goal for my Goodreads Reading Challenge was 45. Although I thought it was doable (since I was able to achieve 42 in 2018), I overestimated myself.

This year, I will be making time for some side projects, possibly trying to see if I can build up my portfolio, spend time to learn new things as well as not procrastinate for my assignments. Hence, with this in mind, I’d like to read 24 books.

It’s a rather low amount, however, I’d like to be more carefree and not feel forced to read or achieve my target. Instead, I am trying to achieve many things this year and this is only one aspect. I’ve hit a reading slump quite badly in 2019, so why not take baby steps and rekindle my love and habit for reading again.


Some Books I’m Excited to Read in 2020

ON THE BLOG.png

As I’m typing about this right now while having Big Bang Theory playing in the background, my assignment tab open, the dread of week 14 nearing and the thought of failing my Advertising class in mind, I’m itching to pick up The Architect of Flowers.

This sparked the beginning of this post.

Some of these books are re-reads, some are half-read from 2019 (a terrible habit that I definitely need to stop), some of these are also sent by authors for a review. Others I’ve had on my shelf for a long time or may be newly bought from Big Bad Wolf last month. Either way, I’ve been excited for these books for a while and I cannot wait for my semester to be over so I can start reading!

Have you heard of any of these? Have you read them? Let me know down in the comments below!

I’ll see you next time!
-J