REVIEW: Melting

Today we read poems again.

I’ve been getting more poems in my inbox and I’m slowly going through it so there will be a poetry collection review every month. It’s a change of pace from other books and it’s always great to tap into the emotions and reflect once and a while.

Do you have any favourite poems?


Melting
by George Stumpf

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Melting – the ache of the heart, the breath of the soul is a poetry book exposing humanity’s insecurities, regrets, desires and the hope that never fades. The author, George Stumpf has written this over two decades of happiness and despair and, like Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, even uses prose writing to touch the core of the agony and ecstasy many people feel. Each poem will take you on a journey and inspire you to explore your emotional intelligence!

The MELTING poem book is ultimately about hope and is divided into three chapters, each serving a different purpose.

BOOK REVIEW

4 STARS

*A review copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

If you want to be blown away. This is the book for you.

These poems are intense in feeling. Each line was sculptured carefully. It left me speechless, yet also feeling at peace knowing that someone feels this way too. I read it, and admired it, the thoughts, the imagery, the way it slightly rhymes (those are very fun), and I loved it.

It is separated into three sections: Splintered, Struggle, and Rise. ‘Splintered’ featured poems that were about heartbreak, sadness and regret. ‘Struggle’ were poems centered around life and its questions and struggles. ‘Rise’ were poems about feeling at ease and hope.

Most of the poems were easy to understand, but some had to be read a few more times. Reading some of Stumpf’s poems took a lot of thought and focus, and until now, I don’t understand all of it. However, I can’t deny that what I do understand, was written beautifully. So if you’re looking for something to read before bed, maybe try another book and save this one for when you are in the mood for something more mentally challenging.

I noted my favourites in this book, and there were quite a few. I really enjoyed Lonely in New York, Wrenching in my gut, Too Exact, The Elusive, Fulfilled, Hopeless Heap, To Live, Father, I think of you… most of these are from the third part of the book, which is definitely my favourite part. It was definitely a great ending to this emotionally charged book.

REVIEW: Fights

Today’s book is a graphic novel, maybe an emphasis on ‘graphic’ since there’s a ton of trigger warnings and it is far from a lighthearted read. Regardless, I do hope you will pick it up because it is an important read.


Fights
by Joel Christian Gill

BOOK SUMMARY

Fights is the visceral and deeply affecting memoir of artist/author Joel Christian Gill, chronicling his youth and coming of age as a Black child in a chaotic landscape of rough city streets and foreboding backwoods. 

Propelled into a world filled with uncertainty and desperation, young Joel is pushed toward using violence to solve his problems by everything and everyone around him. But fighting doesn’t always yield the best results for a confused and sensitive kid who yearns for a better, more fulfilling life than the one he was born into, as Joel learns in a series of brutal conflicts that eventually lead him to question everything he has learned about what it truly means to fight for one’s life.

BOOK REVIEW

4 STARS
A review copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

t/w: dead animal, death, blood, physical violence, profanity, abuse, sexual assault, racism

This is a memoir written in the form of a graphic novel about a light-skinned black man from a poor family, raised with violence all around him.

Nothing about this book is light. If you’re looking for a light, fun and easy read, this is not a book you should pick up now, but I do recommend that you save it to read in the future.

This book sheds light on how trauma affects everyone and how children, especially, absorb the behaviour of their surroundings. It is definitely a wake up call, especially when violence, bullying and abuse cases are going up everywhere in the world.

In this book, the author uses a kindling fire above the characters as a visual representation of anger, of course, but I also understood it as events that eventually add together to cause someone to burst.

From a stylistic point of view, it does a great job in censorship, especially the scenes of sexual assault since it is a graphic novel. It is handled carefully, with a pitch black scene and speech bubbles.

Although this book is a memoir, some characters were not exactly real but a combination of different people in the author’s life. Though the ending was heartbreaking for me, since I really, really appreciated the character. But it also emphasised on the importance of checking up on our friends, especially those who were always the calm, levelheaded one in most situations.

It isn’t a preachy book, but it does make you reflect, especially when you see children bullying one another and picking up abusive and harmful behaviours from their parents. It’s definitely our duty to heal from our traumas so we won’t pass it on to anyone else.

REVIEW: SOLO

When I was younger, I considered becoming a freelancer. It made sense to me, since I was studying graphic design but I knew it was going to be tough, maybe even too tough for me to handle, so I dropped the idea of it. Few years down the road, I’m now a freelance copywriter (since it comes to me more intuitively than design) and this book couldn’t have come at a better time.

The pandemic has made us realise that we are easily dispensable. I’ve heard many stories about people being fired from their jobs without any notice, many companies going bankrupt and severe pay cuts. If you’re considering freelancing, this book will help you out.


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SOLO
by Palle Schmidt

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

If you’re planning to build a freelance career in an artistic industry, SOLO is the perfect field guide for creative entrepreneurs at every level. Whether you’re starting out, or a seasoned professional, this book will give you the tools you need to push forward on your journey to building your brand and becoming a sought-after commodity.

Drawing from his own experiences as a twenty-year professional in the comic book and commercial art industries, author Palle Schmidt guides you through the process of transitioning from amateur to creative professional with an emphasis on longevity, sustainability and happiness in whichever field you’ve chosen. Complete with real-life examples, pre-written forms and psychological business strategy, SOLO will be the book you reference throughout your career for advice and inspiration as you turn your brand into an empire.

SOLO is written for people who believe in creative living on their own terms, who want a sustainable career, mixing freelance work with creating and selling their own art. Diving into the tactics and strategies of this book will help you find a clearer vision to strike out your own path.

BOOK REVIEW

*A review copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

5 STARS

“We are our own worst enemy that way, always looking for stuff to beat ourselves up with.”

– Palle Schmidt, SOLO

As I read this book, all I could think about was how much I didn’t know about the freelancing industry. Yes sure, I know embarrassingly little, and I wouldn’t have thought about it until I read this book.

As a person working in the creatives, SOLO carries a lot of invaluable advice. Schmidt has spent more than 20 years as a freelancer, and he explains the ins and outs of the freelancing industry. I’ve heard again and again about the importance of self-discipline (although I am still lacking), budgeting and time management (once again, I am still lacking) as a freelancer. However, this book made me realize that I had no clue about the entrepreneurial side of it.

Believe me, it was eye-opening to hear that as a freelancer, you have to have a registered company (I feel so ashamed to admit that I didn’t know it), apply for tax-deductible business expenses (which is great because Adobe software isn’t cheap) and the many opportunities for networking and help within the freelancing community. I’ve never heard any of these things when others discuss freelancing!

In SOLO, he not only gives advices, but also shares his experience as a case study, provide many email templates for different situations such as for when you need to pitch your ideas or when you’re looking for a mentor. It’s a gem.

I had to read this book twice. The first time, I’ve yet to begin my freelancing career, but I did wish I took down notes. The second time around, I am taking down notes and trying to apply it wherever I can.

If you’re interested in freelancing, I highly recommend this book. I’ve also found an unabridged version of SOLO on Spotify, read by the author himself, that you can check out! It’s an overall enjoyable read that motivated me to get my life together, and I hope you will enjoy it too.

REVIEW: Aldo

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Aldo
by Yannick Pelegrin

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Aldo has been twenty-eight for three hundred years. Despite his long life, he still hasn’t developed very good social skills. His whole family has been dead now for a long while, and nobody believes he is immortal. As a result, he leads a lonely existence. He is afraid to love anything or anyone, except for his beautiful Alfa Romeo and his little pug Gustav. When he tries to seek professional help, there too the truth seems too absurd for words. But then he spots someone on television and recognizes him from an encounter two hundred years ago. And he decides to visit the to get some answers.

BOOK REVIEW

3 STARS

*A copy of Aldo was provided by Netgalley in return for an honest review.*

Aldo is a book that requires some thought to understand it. It makes a little more sense the second time reading it and some scenes are required to be read more than a couple of times.

In terms of the story line, I like how the writer is able to make the readers relate to Aldo’s confusion of his immortality. The story revolves around Aldo and he is rarely seen having a conversation with someone else which reflects his loneliness really well.  However, it does get confusing at times since the narratives were unclear.

I really like the art style and the colours Pelegrin used. I like the contrast in colour, the red and green tones were very consistent in this work and it highlights which part the readers should focus on. The style also accentuates the sadness and confusion Aldo feels.

REVIEW: The Dark Prophecy

e214399b-4bbe-4d98-9197-93c6dbd89e75The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2)
by Rick Riordan

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

A perilous quest to complete.
I must become a god again.

I, the god Apollo – cast down to earth in the body of a gawky mortal teen – bravely endured a series of dangerous trials at Camp Half-Blood.

Now, accompanied by Leo Valdez and the sorceress Calypso (also mortal, ha!), I must find the most dangerous Oracle from ancient times, who may hold the answers I need to return to Mount Olympus.

To make things worse, the second member of the evil Triumvirate – a Roman emperor with a disturbing love of bloodshed – stands in our way.

Without my powers (and good looks and singing voice), how does Zeus expect me to overcome the greatest challenge I’ve faced in my four thousand years of existence?

BOOK REVIEW

4 STARS

I never liked Apollo until the end of the first book in this series. A once arrogant, selfish and merciless god (human, since he was in the form of Lester Papadopoulos) had a character development and became someone who was more selfless and actually cared for others. He is still, rather full of himself but it is more tolerable now.

I’ve always been a fan of Riordan’s books. I loved Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgards. However, this might be the series that I find the hardest to love. Unlike the aforementioned series, I found it difficult to like the main character. I also couldn’t care less about Meg.

In addition to that, I think this book might be my least favourite by Riordan so far. I am very aware that Riordan loves to include 21st century references into his stories. I am absolutely for it! However, I noticed that it happened way too frequently in this book and instead of finding it amusing or relatable, I felt as if he might be trying way too hard.

On the other hand, I loved that Riordan included the community’s favourite characters as if it was a major throwback to the first two series. Characters like Leo and Calypso, Thalia, Grover and even Coach Hedge were mentioned and it warmed my heart.

Although this book might be my least favourite, I am excited to read the third book in the series, The Burning Maze.

REVIEW: How Black is the Shadow

How Black is the Shadow (The Ashborne Chronicles, #1)
by Andrew Layden

Get it here

BOOK SUMMARY:

When sixteen-year-old Kat’s brother falls through a frozen river, she vows never to return home without a relic to bring her brother back to life. 

Kat leaves her farmhouse in the dead of winter with only a head full of fireside stories to guide her and a horn of her brother’s ashes to keep her company. During her quest for the relic, Kat wanders into royal hunting grounds and saves a prince from getting skewered by a boar. She is invited to live in the castle as a reward and agrees, but only to use the library for research. 

Kat only wants her brother back, however she finds herself caught among the nobles’ destructive ambitions. To get the information she needs to locate the relic, Kat must join in their game of politics. But she isn’t the only one looking for the relic and the other lords will sacrifice Kat to make sure they get the relic for themselves.


BOOK REVIEW: 


4.5 STARS
*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

I need this to be a movie and I can already imagine some of the cast. 

Perhaps I started reading this book at a wrong time. My first impression of this was that it was a slow start and I took a break from reading it, for a few weeks actually. However, the moment I picked it up again, I read over 250 pages in one sitting. I was hooked.

The story began with Kat and her family sharing stories around the fire. Initially it may seem like it has nothing to do with the storyline but it sure plays a large part. Most of the events that happened in the first few chapters seem odd, but after having a general idea of what was happening, the flow of story was incredible. Kat’s character and traits could be easily learnt through her actions, speech and her internal conflict.

I love that the characters were very well developed. All of them were rounded and complex. I liked that some of them may seem a little two-faced and mysterious which adds to the whole appeal of this story. Dark and mysterious. The title however, was a huge enigma to me. Despite being mentioned a few times, I don’t quite understand. Nonetheless, there is no bigger mystery than who can and who can’t Kat trust in the king’s circle of politicians.

While reading the book, I can’t help but to doubt everyone from the king’s group of politicians, the queen and especially Piper. Everyone seems to be hiding something and knowing more than they should. What I can say, without ruining much of the story, is that everyone has their own hidden agenda and Kat’s newfound friends are extremely loyal. 

I’ve grown attached to Kat. She is an amazing female protagonist that can be looked up to. I love her relationship with the other characters and especially, her spirit. Stubborn, tactical and with a goal in mind, she is a protagonist that a strong will, weaknesses and a past that haunts her yet gives her strength. Her character development is remarkable. 

One thing that I didn’t like was the ending. Personally, it felt too rushed. The ending was also confusing. I had to re-read that part again in order to understand it but I can’t really come to a solid conclusion. It was the ending to this book that had me disappointed. It felt like a really sharp drop after the intensity of the events leading up to it. It also made me rethink about how I feel towards some characters. 

This is the first book in the Ashborne Chronicles so I believe it will definitely be revealed more in the next book. However, I do hope that some characters do make a reappearance. 


REVIEW: Emerald Dream

Emerald Dream (Bronze Rebellion, #2)
by L.C. Perry

Get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

After forcibly being taken away from her home, her family, and everything she’s ever known, Princess Irene has no choice but to live alongside her captors. But when a potential bloodbath encourages the rebels to act, Irene is forced to go down a dangerous path. She will have to accompany the rebels she so deeply despises including Asher, the sardonic squad leader with a haunting past and Ebony, the person responsible for her kidnapping. As worlds collide, so do beliefs and neither side will be left unscathed. Irene will have to acknowledge the consequences of her glamorous lifestyle while Ebony realizes the promises she’s made will not always be kept.

Meanwhile, things aren’t as they seem at the castle. Danger is lurking in every corner and it is up to Gavin and Aurora to find out what the king and queen are so diligently trying to hide…

With so many secrets arising and complications unfolding, the line between ally and foe isn’t as clear as it should be. The king and queen’s tyranny is gathering momentum and Irene and Ebony will have to make a decision: kill each other or work together. 

BOOK REVIEW: 


5 STARS


Say goodbye to the ignorant princess of the past and hello to the new queen with a goal.


The plot, first and foremost, was developed amazingly. So many events that happened here co-related with the first book, Emerald Dream and did not seem to be an afterthought. It really shows that the plans and the ideas were already drafted and it was executed extremely well. The first book, Gold Shadow was more focused on Ebony and Princess Irene, the background of the rebellion and the some of the newer recruits of the rebellion. Now, we find out more about Asher’s team and each individual’s past and their relationship with one another. There are also mentions of LGBTQA+ characters in the book and also a little bit of romance. Not forgetting the whole mission, there’s a ton of bloodshed as well.

In the previous book, Irene seemed to be a stuck-up and ignorant princess while Ebony seemed to be a slave who had hardened her heart and had a strong desire to bring down the ones in power. It was extremely frustrating for me to read since I wasn’t fond of the two main characters and things seemed similar to the times of old where slavery was allowed. The reason why I continued reading was that I loved the other characters. In this book, my initial feelings for the two main characters developed and became a strong desire to root for them. Emerald Dream shined a new light on Ebony and Irene, changed them from being bitter about their state to rebels who cared for their friends and wishes to help society. Talk about character development!

It turned out that the king and queen were hiding far more than slaves. They were involved in something more devious, so messed up that the rebels are increasing their pace. More people are involved with putting an end to the harm that the king and queen plan to do, both from inside and outside the castle. Things are getting messier. There are so many secrets being hidden from one another and there’s more than one way to threaten them to tell.

Lastly, there are some mentions of attempted rape, mentions of abuse, and also violence. Tons of violence.  This is a heads up for those who are interesting in reading Emerald Dream but are sensitive towards these issues. Nonetheless, Emerald Dream is extremely enjoyable with absolutely lovely characters who could potentially snap my neck but I (who have no experience in fighting or in self-defence) would love to protect them. It is also exciting to see what happens next!

REVIEW: Now You See Her

Now You See Her
by Mark R. Harris

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY:

15-year-old Luke Gray is in shock—his girlfriend Lonnie is moving, and he can’t follow her. Before she leaves, he gets her to promise to wait for him until they are 18. With Lonnie gone, Luke falls into a whirlpool of depression and fear. He tries to stay afloat via sarcasm, 1970s music, and fantasy. 

And then a new girl appears on the scene, Sherry, who seems perfect. Without giving up on Lonnie, Luke begins dating Sherry, and she keeps him on this side of insanity. His parents, though, notice disturbing changes in his behavior… and eventually Luke realizes that his relationship with Sherry has limits they can’t move beyond. So he befriends Julie, a clever, down-to-earth girl he quickly grows to love. But when Julie finds out that Luke has never let go of Lonnie, he’s forced to either try to find Lonnie or turn his back on her forever.


BOOK REVIEW: 

3.5 STARS

*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

Meet 15-year-old Luke who spiralled into a land of music and talking to the radio after his girlfriend Lonnie had to move away. It was a struggle for him to be without and he was constantly reminded of her every day. Then, came Sherry, a girl from his church, who caught his eye. Perhaps she might be able to take his mind off Lonnie. And there was Julie, who he was interested in too.

I’ve wanted to venture into the land of romance and young puppy love but now I found out that it isn’t for me. I could not relate to the obsession that Luke had over Lonnie and how he needed someone by his side, every day. I also faced culture shock during some parts of the story like when Sherry could stay the night over at Luke’s. It was so foreign to me.

I didn’t like the first half of the book. I’ve had no interest in his love life with Sherry as it just doesn’t feel genuine. They had their love for music in common, they went to the same church, but overall, I wasn’t fond of it. Despite this part of the story being a little dry, it played a role in the story, emphasising how Luke still wasn’t able to get over Lonnie.

The second part of the book became much more interesting. Luke tries to find someone new who can take his mind off Lonnie. He eliminates from a list of girls who he was interested in and then settles on the girl who took notice of him, someone he has a chance with – Julie. She is by far my favourite character in the book. Although, I was disappointed that she changed so much after Luke admitted his feelings to her.

What I do find that was interesting was Luke’s faith in the Lord and how he often relied on signs for his love life. I like how this incorporates relying on the Lord in our lives, especially in choosing a life partner or a girlfriend/boyfriend as it is extremely important.

REVIEW: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY:

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.


BOOK REVIEW: 

4 STARS

I was given this book by a friend who said this was her favourite book. It has become one of my favourites too.

15-year-old Christopher is extremely logical, doesn’t get metaphors and is autistic. He hates being touched, he doesn’t like being around strangers and he does not relate to human emotions. It is interesting to read how people with autism perceive things, and it really opens my eyes and makes me understand more.

This book was written like a diary and instead of chapters, it has numbers that separate each day and incident. It was different from many other books and I really love that. It comes with diagrams and equations and things that you don’t normally see in a book. It was refreshing and new. 

Christopher faces many difficulties in life. The biggest obstacle being his unfamiliarity with people and places hinder him from doing a lot of things. There were many incidents in this book that strongly emphasized how the way Christopher perceived things was so much more different from the way most people do. He hates the colour yellow and carries a bottle of red dye with him and he doesn’t understand what a high-five is, just to name a few.

In this book, Haddon writes of how a dysfunctional family tries to raise an autistic son. It is a book that touches on family feud, social disability and the best part, a murder case. There will be many unexpected twists along the way and how Christopher narrates it in an extremely logical way ties the story together, making it an enjoyable read. 

If there’d be any way that you can understand how a person with autism would perceive the world, this would be a simple start.

REVIEW: Declutter Your Mind Now – 22 Simple Habits To Declutter Your Mind & Live A Happier, Healthier And Stress-Free Life: Easy Ways To Eliminate Worry, Anxiety & Negative Thinking

Declutter Your Mind Now – 22 Simple Habits To Declutter Your Mind  & Live A Happier, Healthier and Stress-Free Life: Easy Ways To Eliminate Worry, Anxiety & Negative Thinking by Vic Carter

get it here


BOOK SUMMARY:

Declutter Your Mind Easily 
Would You Like To ELIMINATE NEGATIVE & STRESSFUL THOUGHTS From Your Mind? 
Do You Want To OVERCOME WORRY & ANXIETY? 
Are You Interested In Feeling MORE RELAXED, HAPPY & HEALTHY? 


In this book, I tell you about how you can get more peace, happiness and clarity into your life just like I did. I have gone through the process of decluttering my mind and practice the habits and techniques outlined in this book. 


I used to often feel overwhelmed, anxious and stressful prior to using the techniques in this book. I remember the days when I used to feel anxious about my work, stressed about different things in my life, and overwhelmed in general. I learned about and started practising the strategies listed in this book to ensure that I feel better and take care of my overall health. 


So, I have filled this book with step-by-step information, practical tips and useful suggestions to help you to declutter your mind, and live a MORE RELAXED, HAPPY & HEALTHY LIFE. 

This book, ‘22 Simple Habits To Declutter Your Mind & Live A Happier, Healthier And Stress-Free Life’ will show you how to: 
· Declutter your mind of negative thoughts and emotions 
· How to be free of worry, anxiety and stress 
· Be happier, more relaxed and stress-free 



BOOK REVIEW:


3 STARS

When I first received a copy of this book, I was thinking to myself “Wow, it is such a short read!”, to which Carter addressed in this book that he does not wish to clutter this book with unnecessary information. It is true, in less than 70 pages, you’re able to learn how to declutter your mind and this time, you will definitely be able to finish this self-help book.

22 Simple habits, all tried, tested and true to be able to help you declutter your mind. Some of them I’ve heard of before, some I’ve tried myself and it works. Some of the suggested ways may be a little bit difficult to start, like exercise or perhaps taking up a new hobby, but there are more ways that can be applied in day to day life. 

I do believe in the content as it has worked for me. In Declutter Your Mind Now, there are simple steps like being in the now, listing 3 positives for 1 negatives and choosing happy thoughts can be easily incorporated into our lives. It may seem difficult at first, but it should be cultivated and then it can come naturally.

Carter has also attached some more reading materials in every chapter for further reading if you wish to understand more. As for his book, only the basics of the ways to declutter your minds and benefits are provided.