Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 18 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Another day, another mini-batch of book reviews featuring more poetry πŸ˜€

La Douleur Exquise
By: J.R. Rogue
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

What happens when you meet
your soul mate at the wrong time?
What happens when you meet
your soul mate but you aren’t theirs?

I picked up this book after seeing it listed as a nominee in the GoodReads Choice Awards in 2016. The book cover was lovely and the term “la douleur exquise” is lovely (see meaning). Plus, I was trying to read more contemporary and self-published poetry after reading a string of classic and translated poetry. The collection was good, can’t say I was blown away from start to finish but there were a few poems that did stand out, namely the early part of the book. Maybe my expectations were a little high picking up this book and being swayed solely by the cover and title, but I’m not saying it was a bad collection; it just didn’t connect with me as much as I thought it would.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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So You Want to Read… (Poetry, Part III)

Posted 17 April, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! πŸ™‚

Another month, another edition of “So You Want to Read…”! For this month’s edition, like previous years, I’ve decided to focus on Poets, in conjunction/celebration of National Poetry Month. You can see my previous recommendations here and here. As regular readers of my blog know, I’ve been reading a lot of poetry in the past year so this year’s edition has quite the variety of poets to read from πŸ˜› It was actually quite hard to put together this year’s list as I was trying to make the list both eclectic but also accessible.

So without further ado, here’s five poets I recommend checking out (funnily enough I placed them in a sort of chronological order; also, whilst last year featured all male poets, this year’s list features all female poets):

  • Anna Akhmatova — She’s considered one of the greatest Russian poets of the twentieth century (and as a side note, I actually did study her works a bit when I was in university) and a prominent figure in the Russian cultural intelligentsia scene of the time. The topics of the poems varies from love and loneliess to Russia and her experiences during the Second World War. It’s hard to describe but she elevates even the simplest of objects in our lives to a moving artistic rendition. The Everyday Man’s Pocket Poets compilation (is an excellent starting point to reading her works.
  • Sylvia Plath — I had read The Bell Jar (review) years ago but funnily enough had never read her poems until now. I went with Ariel (review) because I’ve seen it referenced to a lot more, and I’m happy to have read this collection first. In retrospect of course it’s sad reading her works knowing she was going to take her life, and her poems reveal the internal struggles she was going through. Her choice in metaphors and allusions are odd and curious, but they lend a uniqueness to her work and her way to approaching topics.
  • Kate Clanchy (see author tag) — I first encountered one of her poems, “Patagonia”, years ago in an anthology book and it remains a favourite of mine because of the interlink between travel/far-off places and love. Her collection Selected Poems (review) is a good place to start if you’ve never read anything by this poet because it takes selections from her three poetry collections. The themes she tackles in her poems range from relationships to childbirth, and her use of imagery and language is different in a way I can’t truly describe, deftly used, I think.
  • Rupi Kaur — You may have seen her collection milk and honey (review) everywhere last year–I certainly did, which was why I ended up picking it up! And the buzz is certainly well-deserved; her poems are raw, and some of the subject matter she addresses are darker, more revealing, eye-opening, and in the end liberating.
  • Lauren Eden — I forgot how I came across her collection Of Yesteryear (review) but both the title and the book cover caught my attention. Her poems are no more than a few lines (personally I prefer shorter poems) but they’re not only lyrical but hits the point–and the feels–home. It’s different from the other poets mentioned on this list but definitely worth checking out for something different.

And that’s my list of poets to check out! Have you read any of these poets’ works? If so, which ones and did you enjoy them? Which poets or poetry books would you recommend? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚

Review: Of Yesteryear

Posted 13 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Of Yesteryear
By: Lauren Eden
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Of Yesteryear is a collection of poetry that effortlessly transcribes the chaos of the never ending battle between head and heart. In her debut, Lauren Eden’s succinct and beautiful observations of human nature and its gains and losses will lead readers to understand their own journey in love and self discovery – now, and of yesteryear.

I can’t remember how I came across this book but the book cover definitely caught my attention, followed by the title of the collection. After reading a few reviews and reading a few poems on her Instagram, I decided to pick it up πŸ˜›

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Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

Posted 12 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they’ve encountered during the week, etc.).

  1. Without going into details I’ve been busy. I moved units mid-last month and I’m still sort of settling in; it’s one thing to float a few shifts there, it’s another working there altogether. But anyway…
  2. So I’ve sort of starting posting a bit of my poetry on Instagram whilst playing with my fountain pens, lol:

    I was hoping that I’d put a proof draft through before I leave but I don’t think that’s happening as I’m still figuring out how Lulu Press works (I was initially going to go with CreateSpace but apparently if you’re Canadian revenues become something of a hassle to get), as well as licenses like fonts (because I want a pretty font, dammit #itsaseriousissue ).
  3. Okay, so I’ve also become something of a fountain pen enthusiast in the last few months, posting about them also on Instagram. I am now the proud owner of two Pilot and two Lamy fountain pens. Because one isn’t enough and I use each for different things that I’m writing πŸ˜›
  4. Oh yeah, I don’t think I mentioned it here…or have I? That I was offered admission into the nursing programme that I applied for (to bridge to RN). I accepted one of the offers so yeah, I’m kissing my summer goodbye (not that I was planning on having a summer, really; it’s open season for us casuals/part-timers) and going back to school in September. Again πŸ˜›
  5. Pssh, not going to lie, I’ve had this song on repeat for the past week. I like the retro-feeling beat to it:
  6. Haha, this was fun: I recently posted my notebook stash after seeing @guiltlessreading’s post on hers. Suffice to say I’ve accumulated quite a number of notebooks and journals that I’m trying to use now :3
  7. Books I’m currently reading: I’m slowly going through W.B. Yeats’ Collected Poems (forgot how I ended up deciding to pick up his poetry, but here we are πŸ˜› ). I also started reading Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest last week but I haven’t gotten far with it just yet.
  8. I think I’m still in a bit of a reading slump πŸ™ There’d be these moments where I can’t put a book down once I get into it, but then there are stretches where it takes forever for me to settle into a book. What is this new norm and how do I make it stop?! O_O
  9. My reviews of those movies won’t be going live here until June (ahh yes, my scheduled posts continue) but I actually sat down a few weeks ago and watched two movies (Doctor Strange and What Maisie Knew, in case you were wondering).
  10. All in all, trying to survive the next few weeks and then I can relax! *thud*


And that’s about it from me!

Review: Reflections: On the Magic of Writing

Posted 11 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Reflections: On the Magic of Writing
By: Diana Wynne Jones
Format/Source: Hardback; my copy

Diana Wynne Jones is best-known for her novels and stories – of magical fantasy – written mainly for children. She received a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2007, as well as two Mythopoeic Awards and the Guardian Fiction Award for Charmed Life. But she was also a witty, entertaining speaker, a popular guest at science fiction and fantasy conventions and an engaged, scholarly critic of writing that interested her.

This collection of more than twenty-five papers, chosen by Diana herself, includes fascinating literary criticism (such as a study of narrative structure in The Lord of the Rings and a ringing endorsement of the value of learning Anglo Saxon) alongside autobiographical anecdotes about reading tours (including an account of her famous travel jinx), revelations about the origins of her books, and thoughts in general about the life of an author and the value of writing. The longest autobiographical piece, ‘Something About the Author’, details Diana’s extraordinary childhood and is illustrated with family photographs. Reflections is essential reading for anyone interested in Diana’s works, fantasy or creative writing.

The collection features a foreword by Neil Gaiman and an introduction and interview by Charlie Butler, a respected expert on fantasy writing.

As you know, I love her book Howl’s Moving Castle (review). I’ve been meaning to read more of her books, but I also really wanted to read this book and learn more about her approach to writing. So I was delighted when I found a copy at the bookstore months ago and snatched it up immediately.

I don’t know how much I can say about this book. Reflections: On the Magic of Writing is a fantastic collection of lecture notes, essays, and letters from Diana Wynne Jones about writing, about her books, about historical narratives, and about her life. It’s a fascinating look at the author herself as well as, more importantly, her approach to her writing and about writing in itself. It’s quite illuminating, and encouraging in a way, and writers I think will find this book incredly useful in the little gems she talks about when it comes to writing. The pieces written by others–Neil Gaiman, Charlie Butler, and her sons–were also very interesting pieces about the author and the impact of her works. My favourites pieces in this collection were “The Shape and Narrative in The Lord of the Rings“, “Two Kinds of Writing?” (especially interesting), “The Value of Learning Anglo-Saxon”, A Talk About Rules”, “Some Hints on Writing”, “Freedom to Write”, and “Characterization: Advice for Young Writers.”

There’s not much else I can say about this book except that it was an interesting one and that I learned a lot about Diana Wynne Jones the writer and the person. Fans of the author’s works as well as writers will want to check out this book!

Rating: ★★★★★

Visit the author’s official website || Order the book from the Book Depository