REVIEW: Colours and Tears

It is finally 2021! Although the pandemic is still ongoing, I can’t help but to feel excited for the new year and the possibilities of it being a better year than the last. The first book I’ve finished is a poetry collection which I picked up in the middle of reading a much more heavier book (review coming soon!) and I finished it all in one sitting. A poetry collection is a great way to feel encouraged to read again, especially when you can see the Goodreads Reading Challenge bar going up higher!

What’s your reading goal for this year? I’m excited to hear what your goals are! I’ll be writing about mine in another blog post coming soon!


Colours and Tears
by Nay Universe

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Colours and Tears is a writing journey on how Nay Universe portrayed her life in chapters from love, friends to lost.

BOOK REVIEW

3 STARS
*A physical copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This was a short 100 pages poetry collection written by a local Malaysian! I was sent a physical copy last year but only got to it recently when I needed a break from a very lengthy book that I’m currently reading.

Colours and Tears is a poetry collection that is divided into 4 chapters. Most of the poems are surrounding love, heartbreaks and self-love. The themes of each poem was powerful and I really admired the strong feelings behind each poem. You can definitely see the pieces of the author scattered around the book, which I really appreciated.

I had a few poems which I really enjoyed, such as Lost in Shah Alam, A Liar and Maple Syrup, amongst many others. As a Malaysian, I really loved the line ‘Shah Alam has been nothing than utter disappointment’. It brought me so much laughter since I also have my fair memories of that town. However, international readers can enjoy reading it too as there are only a few lines that references Malaysia, so it doesn’t affect the poems.

For me, I think that the ideas were there but sometimes the word choices didn’t really do the poems justice. There were grammatical errors throughout the book which if reduced, could make reading it more enjoyable.

REVIEW: The Bookshop on Lafayette Street

This is a book that was sent to me a year ago. I read it the first time a few months back, only to be a little confused and had to take a break from reading. A few days ago, I picked it up again and although I was a little confused at times, I enjoyed it so much more.

As this is a real place, I am very intrigued and had to search it up! It’s in Trenton, New Jersey and according to Trip Advisor, it’s a highly rated spot for booklovers where you can find books, gifts, games, but most of all, a place that supports local communities.

I doubt that I’d be able to visit Classics Books but The Bookshop on Lafayette Street seems like an accurate representation of what a wonderful place it is.


The Bookshop On Lafayette Street
by Eric Maywar (editor)

get it from Classics Bookstore, Ragged Sky Press or Amazon

BOOK SUMMARY

This collection has everything that you love about used bookstores: books, the sense of wonder and discovery, the cozy clutter, idiosyncratic book lovers, and the feeling that you are in a haven buttressed against the cruelties of the world.

Written by a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, a newspaper columnist, a playwright, a Dodge poet, a graffiti artist, a blogger, a bookstore owner and more!


BOOK REVIEW

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

This is one of those books where I had to read twice. It was difficult to get into the first time, so I had to take a break from reading and try again. The second time, it felt like I was transported into the bookstore and experiencing the events myself.

The Bookshop on Lafayette Street is a collective work of writers and book lovers centered around the love for books and Classics Books. Some of the events in the book intertwines which appealed to me greatly, but my favourite part was the way the writers wrote about what books and bookstores meant to them in the ‘Extracts’ section. It was such a beautiful way to begin the book – having snippets of the stories and poems but also feelings that were so relatable.

As a reader, it felt magical. I felt excited reading about the way people romanticise reading and bookstores, knowing that these people feel the same way I do. It’s a little like I’m reading their thoughts, feelings and experiences with books, but its so familiar. It is such a treat for book lovers.

Despite reading the book twice and having more luck the second time, there were still some stories/poems which I didn’t understand. Hence I couldn’t feel strongly enough about it to give it 5 Stars. Other than that, it was wonderful and I had so many favourites.

My favourites are Wise Silence, Space, The Last Independent Used Bookstore at the Corner of Warren and Lafayette, The Infinite Collection of Unfinished Stories, Elmore and What the Bookseller Knew. Those were the sections I enjoyed reading (aside from the Extract), which shows that this collection of stories and poems are an absolute work of art.

It felt nice to read about something that I love so dearly. It felt great to know that many others share the same feeling, and it is absolutely evident in The Bookshop on Lafayette Street.

REVIEW: Cranium Retaliations (Flags, Broken Bottles and Senses Weeping Due to Exhalations)

I’m currently in my first semester of my second year in college! The first few weeks were tough, I had multiple submissions due around the same time but now there’s 3 weeks left till the end of the semester and I surprisingly *think* that I *might* have everything under control.

I haven’t been finding time to read much, but when I do, I hope to take it at a slow pace, enjoying each book rather than speeding through just to give a review. I have a few books that I’m juggling at the moment which I’d like to share with you guys soon.

Till then, enjoy this review of Cranium Retaliations!


Cranium Retaliations (Flags, Broken Bottles and Senses Weeping Due to Exhalations)

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

The Flags represent some of the icons that made the human history and their values are still alive to this day.

The Broken Bottles represent the misadventures, obstacles and sad facts that can pop during a lifetime.

The image of Senses Weeping represent all kinds of emotions generated by the first two, love on top of all.

Through three symbols, sense of humour and storytelling, the Italian poet Isaak Sank talks about literature, art, history, social injustice, world politics and his roots. Please feel welcomed into the mind of a young artist.

BOOK REVIEW

2.5 STARS

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

“…I don’t say what I read, I never make notes or underline passages.”
“Can I know why?”
“Because that’s where you reveal the most about yourself, it can be a true personal diary.”

Cranium Retaliations – Isaak Sank

This is a book that I (looking at the reviews and ratings before me) wanted so badly to like. It had such high ratings but I didn’t feel the same way about it.

It is important to note that Cranium Retaliations not like most of the poetry and prose collections that I’ve read. There were lengthy text and a heavy usage of imagery, which I would usually enjoy. However, some of the poems/proses were a little difficult to understand.

I believe it was due to language. Some sentences were not grammatically correct, so I would assume it was translated from another language. Then again, my grasp of the English language isn’t that strong either so I could be wrong. The idea behind each prose was solid, however it wasn’t easy to understand. I had to read some a few times over to understand the meaning, some of them I still don’t really know what it meant but there are notes at the end of the poem indicating what it was about.

With that being said, I have mix feelings about this book. Perhaps, I was not the right target audience. There were a lot of events, words, imagery that were significant that I did not know about, causing me to be confused for half of the proses in this book. For a non-spoiler example, in Expositions Part 2, set in what I believe was 1980, it spoke of things which I knew and was familiar about, all because I had an art history lesson about the 80s and the culture of the people of that era. Which made this quite an issue – to be able to fully enjoy this book, it is necessary to be able to have a basic understanding of the eras or subjects mentioned.

However, with a lot of them, when I finally understood the meaning, it felt like a powerful poem – some reflects on humanity, some gives a mystical feeling, shares different perspectives and even challenges to think differently. I had a couple of favourties from this collection, such as Dear Collard, Penmanship, Wi…Fine?. Although I enjoyed those few, I still can’t get over the difficulty of not understand what some poems were about.

REVIEW: Diver and Other Poems

Diver is a collection of poems that I purchased from Lit Books back in 2018. I don’t usually purchase poetry since I’m picky about it but I was curious about this one since it was by a local author. It’s already 2020 so it’s about time that I read this.


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Diver
by Alina Rastam

get it here (from Litbooks, an independent Malaysian bookstore)

BOOK SUMMARY

A self-published poetry collection by writer and social activist Alina Rastam.

BOOK REVIEW

4 STARS

Diver is a thin book with 20 poems. It may be a quick read because of the number of poems it has but it is certainly not easy to read it all in one go.

There’s no theme for this collection but a lot of the poems were addressed to people in the poet’s life. Some felt like love letters or diary entries. I’m not entirely sure how to categorize it really but it seems as if they were letters, written from the deepest part of the heart, that wasn’t meant to meet the surface.

It is one of those poetry collections that need to be put in an art gallery. Every line feels sincere. When I read it, it feels as if the poet was pouring out her inmost thoughts and feelings from within the heart. It felt as if I was creeping and seeing something I wasn’t meant to, like as if I was reading into the poet’s diary and experiencing her feelings.

This might’ve been one of the most beautifully written poetry collection that I’ve read so far. I’ve always been more fascinated in lengthy poetry that takes up pages apiece. There were some poems that I didn’t understand and had to read a few times. Either way, I was still able to enjoy the writing.

With that, there was a handful of poetry that I enjoyed. It left a deep impact because of how raw it felt, and the choice of words amplified the emotions. Some of my favourites were ‘For My Father’, ‘For Chang on Her 50th Birthday’, ‘The Quiescent Rain’, ‘Letter to Jane’, ‘Uncle Bob’ and ‘To A Beloved Student’.

I highly recommend this poetry collection. However, it may be a little difficult to find out of Malaysia.

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: Poetry Dead to Society

cover161014-mediumPoetry Dead to Society
by Cee Jay & Shirley Spring

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

All types of poetry; love, romance, life’s journey, religion, heartbreak, and even hatred and anger that will amaze and stun readers. It’s guaranteed to open your mind’s eye. Poetry Dead to Society written to awaken the life of poetry within our society.

BOOK REVIEW

3.5 STARS
*An e-ARC was given through Netgalley in return for an honest review.*

I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a poetry collection as much as this.

It began with a rocky start – poems about love that made me hydrate my eyes by rolling every few seconds, inconsistent and strange illustrations that ended up somewhat disturbing. However, after the initial 7 (yes I counted), I found a few that I really liked.

After the first chapter, every poem was enjoyable. There were around 8 poems that left me speechless and became instant favourites. A few of those are ‘Today the World Ended’, ‘Quiet What I Wish to Be’, ‘True, Real Life’ and ‘My Only Fear’. I absolutely loved the free-flow verses and the diverse topics in this poetry collection.

However, I had a few issues with this that although I can look past, it is rather disappointing. These issues are more towards the formatting of the poetry collection. I downloaded a kindle version of this, hence I’m not sure if some of the text merged together into a line instead of it being split. Furthermore, the illustrations were inconsistent. The art styles and size constantly changed and towards disappeared completely from Chapter Four onward. I was unable to enjoy some of the earlier poems because of this.

Overall, it was an incredibly enjoyable read that speaks to my heart. If you are dipping your toes into poetry, want to read poems covering different topics and just want to read something that can possibly put your thoughts and feelings into words, this is the book to pick up.

REVIEW: Flock in A Closet

43562409Flock in A Closet
by Tia Wins

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Hey there!
Here’s what you had been searching for since so long.
Well, not merely a poetry book but a piece of my heart I’d love to gift you. Something that you will not just read but that which will leave an impression on you for a lifetime. I mean “a good impression” *laughs*

Flock In A Closet is a profound and intense collection of relatable poems written by Tushnamaity Davierwala,
Tia Wins ( pen name) where each poem has it’s own grace, a unique way of narrating thoughts and feelings.
Having a pleasing aura this book has almost everything enough to serve every reader leaving them content yet craving for more. It contains the experiences and stories of people whoever and whenever entered the poet’s life accompanied by the poet’s deepest thoughts and emotions that’ll touch your heart and treat your soul in just the right measure.

BOOK REVIEW

3.5 STARS

*A copy of Flock in A Closet was sent in exchange for an honest review.*

I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately and I don’t think any of them was as fun as Flock in A Closet. Flock in A Closet is a collection of poems separated into three different parts — Spectrum, His Diary of Love and Valentines Collection. There were themes of love, friendship, feminism, sadness and encouragement, and these were all relatable.

Although there were some punctuation and spelling errors, it does not take away from the poem. The fun rhymes, satisfying structures and carefully arranged words can’t help but bring a smile to your face!

The first few parts may not seem that interesting but I’ve grown a fond liking for some of the poems, especially Bridge, What You Learn, Is What You Earn, Being Woman and Hey Girl, Don’t feel so low! The author could convey her love for poems through her writing and it really shows that she had a fun time writing it!

ARC REVIEW: #TrueBeing

#TrueBeing_Final Cover_6 X 9_376 pages.indd#TrueBeing: 1 Book. 3 Themes. Many Musings.
by Sagar Datta

Get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Let’s live our lives
The way they are designed.
You walk on your path,
I walk on mine.
Let us listen to the truths
That are out there for us.
Let us embrace them all,
With our heart, soul and mind!

BOOK REVIEW

3.5 STARS

*A free ARC was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

#TrueBeing is a collection of poems that aims to be relatable to everyone and helps the reader to reflect upon themselves. The poems are separated by the themes of Love, Life and Relationships however some way overlap on the themes but it is separated to what seemed more fitting. On every page, Sagar Datta writes a wise poem, completed with beautiful illustrations and an explanation that complements the poem.

In his book, he writes about losing someone, caring for them, self-growth, forgiveness and many other relatable issues. Sagar Datta’s collection of poems encourages to self-reflect, learn and grow. It is definitely one that is able to speak to the reader’s heart.

Altogether, there are a large number of poems, more or less around 100. It is difficult to pick a favourite but I really resonated with a few, namely Commitment Concerns,
Fancy My Soul, Life’s Purpose, Hope and a Little Sugar, Negative Feelings, Thank You, God, To Err is Human and Welcome Back. There are very many wise words in there and good advises, to which Sagar Datta would prefer for his readers to read it slowly and to have time to reflect.

I love that there were very beautiful illustrations that worked with the poem however some were a little odd. I do admire the consistency with the art style. Although the poems strive to advise on different topics, I felt that it was a bit too many to engage the interest for long. Overall, I do believe that this may calm and give strength to the readers that others can relate to the way that they feel.

REVIEW: Timeless Tales

Timeless Tales
by John Alexander

Get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

This debut book of poetry by John Alexander offers inspiration. As these lilting verses roll off your tongue, let the words soothe your weary soul. Written especially for you and your inner child, the poems reach into your soul to that child within you. Nurture yourself with rhymes that speak to your heart. You can keep them to yourself, or you can share them with the children in your life.


A rhyme rose within me,
it caused me to smile.
It focused my thoughts,
I escaped for a while.

Be free of the past
filled with trouble and strife.
That child who’s within us
knows much about life.

Rhymes read through the lens
of those innocent eyes
Can challenge our views
on what matters, what’s wise.



BOOK REVIEW

4 STARS

I did not expect this to be a somewhat religious poetry book (think teaching about the way of life and being kind, trusting on God and being thankful religious).

This poetry book is separated into 3 parts. The first part, poems for your inner child, appeals more to the child within you, using characters like mice in order to teach good values. The second part, blessings for you, share the hope for happiness and aid in our daily life where there are troubles and cares. The third part and final part, heart to heart, is where Alexander shares his personal stories. 

All these were written through rhymes. It was an extremely fun read as the words flow so smoothly, yet the rhymes have a deep meaning to it. Some were easy to understand and some needed a little bit of thinking. Either way, it teaches good values and encourages us to not only focus on our busy lives but to reflect on the blessings we have.

I enjoyed the way the book is divided into parts and separated by a short description. It is neat and orderly and adds to the appeal of the book. Overall, there’s a wonderful selection of poems and a good amount, neither too little or too many poems. Each poem either teaches you a life lesson or bring some encouragement and hope to the reader.

REVIEW: Girl Empowernment: Poetry

Girl Empowernment: Poetry
by Hunyah Irfan

Get it here

BOOK  SUMMARY: 

Girl Empowernment Poetry By Hunyah Irfan Girl empowernment poetry is about empowering girls to be strong women 

BOOK REVIEW: 


1 STAR


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

This poetry book is a short read, something you can definitely finish in one sitting.

The poet wrote it in a way where the ideas were direct on how empowerment is vital to young girls and how it would shape them into strong women in the future.

Right off the bat, there were a few spelling errors that were overlooked in the editing process. The poems were also a little too short for my liking. However, there’s a hint of a satirical tone to it if I had to be honest. Some poems mocked the idea of women doing traditional women things, which was how I understood it. Nonetheless, the execution could’ve been improved and more impactful, if this was the way the poet intended for the poem to be interpreted. It was also written in a way that seemed chronological which I found to be interesting.

Personally, I did not enjoy reading this book. It definitely requires you to read it 2 or 3 times, just to figure out if there’s more to it than it meets the eye. One thing I definitely remembered from my literature classes were not to take things at face value, so if I read too deeply into this than it was intended for, my bad!