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

BLOG UPDATES: Wrap-Up and TBR

We are getting extremely close to the end of 2019 and time has passed so fast. I started my second semester of university two weeks ago and am trying to make time to read daily. I have much more time this semester compared to the last since my coursework is more spread out than having to produce an A2 drawing every week.


Tokyo City

In the past month, I was able to attend my first book launch! A friend of mine, Carol, launched her book, The World is a Dark and Lovely Place during MyWritersFest2019. It was my first time attending a book launch and there were over 10 authors gathered that day to share on their newest brainchild.

In the past month, I had 3 weeks of holidays before starting my second semester. In that short amount of time, I spent my days meeting up with friends before they leave for their studies, watching Youtube videos, catching up on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Netflix and trying to get myself ready mentally for semester 2.

I didn’t do much reading but here’s a short summary of what I’ve read:

1. The Four by Scott Galloway

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I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now and had my eye on it for a long time. It was only during the Popular Bookfest back in June where it was on sale and I had to buy it.

I’ve enjoyed learning about the companies and how they’ve differentiated and made a name for themselves. Galloway’s side commentary definitely made it more interesting and I really liked his style of writing and his constant salt for these companies. Nonetheless, I felt like he went out of topic and lost his point towards the last chapter.

 

2. A Field Guide to Color by Lisa Solomon

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A Field Guide to Color was a title I requested from NetGalley after reading Anywhere, Anytime: Art. I’ve learnt more from Lisa Solomon than I had in my art classes.

I felt really motivated to do the exercises as Lisa instructed and had fun with them. This is definitely a good guide to have if you’re learning water-based colours.

Check out my review of it here.

 

3. Minus by Lisa Naffziger

44075549It felt long since I’ve read my last graphic novel so I decided to read this one. It was also a mystery which I really liked however, Minus felt lacking.

I didn’t really enjoy it. I thought it was okay, nothing much, but really appreciated the values and the underlying meanings within the story.

Check out my review of it here.

 

 

4. Third Year at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

third-year-at-malory-towers

This one was a reread for me. Malory Towers is my favourite children’s series and it was pleasant to read it again as an adult and still felt the same way I did as when I was 14.

I have another 3 more books to the end of Malory Towers. I might check out St.Claire’s since it has the same gist. Either way, a wholesome story never fails to make me feel warm and happy inside.


Tokyo City (1)

Another 3 months until the end of 2019 and I have another 14 books to read before reaching my target of 45 books. With my bookshelf right at the foot of my bed, I wake up being reminded of the number of books I have yet to read.

This month, I hope to target 4 review copies. Currently, I am halfway through two review copies at the moment and am also halfway through Upper Fourth at Malory Towers.

I also hope to read some poetry books in order to increase my reading count since it isn’t as emotionally and mentally taxing as some other books.

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What are you reading this October?

REVIEW: A Field Guide to Color

When it comes to art, colour plays a big role. However, colour isn’t easy to pick up and understand immediately without the guidance of someone more knowledgable. Lisa Solomon sheds some light on how to use water-based medium and encourages the readers to take it easy, have fun and explore colour.


cover159062-mediumA Field Guide to Colour
by Lisa Solomon

purchase it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Color is one of the most profound ways we have to express our person­alities. In this creative workbook, you’ll discover fresh ways to connect with color in your art and life. Using watercolors, gouache, or any other water-based medium, explore color theory while playing with paint through a balanced blend of color experiments and loose color meditations. Make a personal color wheel while exploring tints and shades. Experiment with color mixing while you make as many of one color as you can. Through playful prompts and artistic examples—with lots of room for painting—this inspiring workbook will change the way you relate to color.

BOOK REVIEW

4.5 stars
*An e-copy was given to me through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I learnt more through about colours through this book than I had in my last two semesters learning art in college (just to clarify, I’m not in a school for art but we do learn a little about it, graphite drawing mostly but a little of painting). A lot of this I wish I knew back when I was doing my assignments since it would’ve helped me to understand water-based colours better. I remember for one activity, we had to paint an avocado from reference and it was difficult to match the colours. I didn’t know which colours to mix together hence I mixed a whole bunch of colours together just to find out it wasn’t what I wanted at all and ended up wasting it.

It begins with Solomon reminding that this is just to experiment around with colour. Hence, there were many pages that were left blank for us to test out our paints. She began explaining the different types of paint, the materials needed for the exercises and gave helpful tips all around.

The book was able to clarify what hues, tints and shades are (which I can now confidently say I know) and had exercises where we learn about colour schemes, one of my weak points. Solomon also encouraged the readers to have fun and experiment through the many different exercises like making your own black, paint chart box and mixing your favourite and least favourite colours together to see what colour it makes.

I really liked the exercises since it encourages to explore the paints ourselves and giving us ideas to do so. I would’ve never thought to make as many shades or tints or variations of colour and it would definitely help me understand colour mixing more.

If you are someone who is interested in painting, do pick this up as it is easy for a beginner to understand and a beginner might even be able to understand and use paint easier after reading this. I know I would’ve been making fewer mistakes if I had a book like this to guide me when I first started.

Since I am reviewing a skill-based book, of course I had to try it out!

As for me, since I had an e-copy, my dad ordered some mix-media papers for me online a while ago and I put off testing it. I also bought a set of gouache paint when it was on sale months ago and only used some colours once so I thought this would’ve been a good time to test what I’ve learnt.

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A flat lay of my tools. I ended up using the brush in the middle and changing my paints from watercolour (above) to gouache (in the next picture).

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I bought another palette for my gouache that was slightly different from my watercolour so I wouldn’t mix it up. 

I ended up switching to gouache since I most of my watercolour paints have been mixed. My tube of paint had hardened and I need to find a solution another day. I didn’t want to do gouache since I put off cleaning the new palette to prep for the paints but this definitely was a good chance for me to learn my paints better.

As for the exercises, I chose to do a colour wheel since I learnt a few tips from Solomon and wanted to try it out. I also wanted to make my own black but I already liked the black provided since it was dark enough and had a consistency that was easy to paint. I can’t say the same for the purple (Mauve) though since it had an almost gel-like consistency and the colour wasn’t my thing. So in the end, I mixed a whole bunch of colours and of course, another tip, writing down what paints I used and the ratio.

I’ll definitely be trying out more exercises when I have the time!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Carol Chu Mei Yin

Meet Carol Chu, a poet and a high school teacher who recently published her debut book, The World is a Dark and Lovely Place. Carol is currently holding an international giveaway on her Instagram for a copy of this book! Do enter as it is definitely worth a read!

If you are residing in Selangor, Malaysia, Carol will be attending #MYWritersFest2019 on the 16th of September in Intermark Mall. There will be another 9 authors who will be launching their books alongside Carol! You are also able to purchase a copy of The World is a Dark and Lovely Place during the event.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carol Chu is a high school teacher teaching English in the southern state of Johor, Malaysia which is very near to the island country of Singapore. During her free time, she reads and writes poetry. She is a self-confessed coffee addict who loves rainy days. Sometimes, she does reviews for books, crochets (obsessively) and plays the piano.

For more of her adventures, you can follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/carol_meiyin (writer account) or at www.instagram.com/cmyreads (reader account)


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ABOUT THE BOOK

The World Is A Dark And Lovely Place is a poetry book that describes nature, the fear of drowning, friendship, love and loss in a world that is at times dark but beautiful. My writings here are somewhat influenced by the classic style of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost; but the words, the mood and the settings are entirely my own.

Add to Goodreads

Read my review of it here


INTERVIEW

1. With your book launch coming up very soon, how would you introduce ‘The World is a Dark and Lovely Place’ to the public?

I wanted to write poems that are full of innocence, wonder and beauty. Initially, my writing was about the beauty of nature, then it became the beauty of friendship, love, loss, regret, and pain. If I was to introduce my book as a whole to the public, I would say this is a poetry book that tries utmost to capture beauty in a world that is lovely and yet dark, in that although the world and us as its people are not perfect but yet life on this Earth is beautiful. In essence, this book is about life and the belief that there is God who made all the beauty that surrounds us.

2. What is the inspiration behind ‘The World is a Dark and Lovely Place’ and how did you come up with that title?

My inspiration definitely comes from Robert Frost’s poem Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. The last four lines of his poems intrigued me and so I’ve wanted to write a book based on the feelings I felt invoked in those four lines,

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I came to this book title of mine ‘The World Is A Dark And Lovely Place’ because I was truly inspired by this poem.

3. How did you choose which poems to include?

Basically, I included all my poems I’ve ever written complete, except I did not include my many incomplete bobs and pieces of scraps of poems (countless many, but all those are incomplete) and also 1 complete poem about friendship which I somehow lost. If I ever find it again, I’d see whether I’d include it in my next poetry collection. (Hopefully!)

4. As I read your poetry collection, I kept a list of my favourite poems and the list kept getting longer as I read your work! Do you have a favourite poem? Or is there one that you wanted to include but it didn’t fit the theme?

Awwws, THANK YOU for liking my poems. That means A LOT to me. I have many poems which are favourites of mine so it’s hard to choose. But if I had to choose, I’d say ‘The Old Oak Tree’ because this poem is my very first poem and what started me in poetry writing. I included all poems except many scraps and bits which are not completed as a whole poem, and I lost 1 poem somewhere, hnmmmmmm I got to try to search for it.

5. What was the hardest part of the process of publishing your book?

The hardest part is actually writing the poems, publishing is easy if you have a good publisher. Also, it’s hard waiting for results because I get over-excited and too eager so I pity my publisher sometimes. Nickey Teoh from TheInspiration Hub is a super nice person. I can never find anyone as patient as him. He explained about the publishing process and never once complained when I asked him too many questions. If you want to self-publish, it’s good to consider TheInspiration Hub as your go-to publisher because they deliver on their promises and are entirely honest about the publishing process and what needs to be done on the author’s part.

6. As a teacher by day, how did you find time to write poetry?

Writing poetry, reading books and crocheting are something I do as a passion so there’s definitely time for these 3 activities. Although I agree it’s hard to find time as I’m a teacher and teaching English to PT3 exam classes but I find joy when I’m doing these 3 hobbies of mine, because then I’d be too deeply engrossed i.e. in poetry writing to realise the world around me and in that state I find myself relaxing and in the ‘flow’ as my mind is in a completely deeper engaged level and that brings me immense satisfaction.

7. Currently, students in Malaysia are being exposed to poetry as a part of the school syllabus. As an English teacher as well as a poet, what are your views on it?

I think it’s not enough because students are only exposed to poetry on surface level. Most of my students only read when they have to and for my students, reading poetry other than the ones offered in school syllabus is very rare. I had my classes try writing poems twice this year in groups and all those are little successes but I think it stops there because for them to go into a deeper level and have their own inner motivation to write poems/poetry on their own, it takes more effort than auth I can handle on my own. Ultimately their upbringing as in their love of reading, their environment and the people around them as in family and friends and whatever else they are exposed to, play a bigger part in influencing whether they love writing poetry and whether they will try writing one or not. Or reading one, for that matter. For me, the love of poetry comes from within, and is tied deeply to the love of reading books. I adore books, so reading and writing poetry comes naturally to me.

It was definitely a lot of fun interviewing Carol as I love her work so much! Don’t forget to enter her giveaway! It closes on the 17th of September.


SKAVANSIEUR is now offering author interviews (questions regarding the author) and book interviews (questions regarding your book). Email skavansieur@gmail.com for any inquiries.