Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur


milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. (From Goodreads).

Personal Take: I wasn’t sure what to expect of Kaur’s poetry. I’ve seen a few on the internet, and it was only after multiple people recommended I read did I finally pick it up. At times, the writing was beautiful. The imagery evoked and the emotions etched on paper is simple but profound. The themes are nicely organized and easy to follow. At times, I felt she pushed it too much with some of the sexual themes, but some worked well. I definitely enjoyed her poetry, and might eventually check out her new book.

Audience: Older readers who enjoy poetry.


Other recommendations: Kaur recently published her second poetry collection called The Sun and her Flowers.

Review: Lullabies by Lang Leav

Set to a musical theme, love’s poetic journey in this new, original collection begins with a Duet and travels through Interlude and Finale with an Encore popular piece from the best-selling Love & Misadventure. Lang Leav’s evocative poetry speaks to the soul of anyone who is on this journey.

Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.

Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist. (From Goodreads.)

Personal Take: I’ve read bits and pieces of Leav’s peppered all over the internet, but having a collection in my hands; that just left me breathless. I loved that the themes were connected to music. The poems and stories itself were beautiful; all at once guttural and emotional, but still poised enough to be delivered clearly. Some of her poems can be a bit heavy on the tongue, or too long, but that was just a minor observation. Her stories too, were beautiful one-shot moments.

If anything, this book left me feeling emotionally spent, because it hooked me along its lines throughout. I’m definitely a huge fan, and will continue to collect and learn from her work.

Audience: Touches on sensuality, so I’d say older teens and adults.



Other recommendations: This is the first Lang Leav that I’ve read, but I know I’ll be picking up her other works: Love & Misadventures, Memories, The Universe of Us.

Book Review: Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson


When a young Tyler Knott Gregson found his first typewriter and wrote his first unedited poem, he fell in love. Now, the photographer and poet has garnered much acclaim for his beautiful words that he publishes on Instagram, and now collects them all this visual volume.

Personal Take: I’m a huge fan of Tyler Knott, and his typewriter series on instagram (if you don’t follow him, do it now!). So to have a collection of poetry and writing pieces in my hands is a dream. I love the positive messages, and just the sensual way he writes. The book is also peppered with his photography (which is his profession), and seeing the caption stories against it is beautiful.

I honestly can’t say much about it, but I do have to say– if you haven’t read this yet, you should.

Audience: Because a few of his poetry is sensual, I’d say this is for older teens and adults.


Other Recommendations: As of now, Tyler Knott hasn’t released anything, but will be releasing a haiku book next year, so keep an eye out for that!

Review: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories (Volume 1) by Joseph Gordon Levitt and wirrow

From hitRECord, the immensely popular open collaborative production company, and its founder, Golden Globe-nominated actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, comes The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1.
The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories.
To create The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, known within the hitRECord community as RegularJOE–directed thousands of collaborators to tell tiny stories through words and art. With the help of the entire creative collective, Gordon-Levitt culled, edited and curated over 8,500 contributions into this finely tuned collection of original art from 67 contributors. Reminiscent of the 6-Word Memoir series, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1 brings together art and voices from around the world to unite and tell stories that defy size. (from Goodreads)

Personal Take: I bought this as a gift for a few of my friends: birthdays or as a token to cheer them up, and they’ve raved about it so much that I had to get a copy of it myself. And gosh, did I love the stories. It’s a whole combination of sorrow, happiness, hopefulness, witticism , comedy and more– all the human thoughts and emotions woven together in a string of words and art.
If you love illustrations and and small sentences that pack an emotional punch, this is the book for you. It’s a must.
Audience: There are a few stories that are geared towards adult understanding, so I would definitely say older teens and adults.
Other recommendations: The awesome thing about this book, or series– is that it’s serialized. So I have about two other volumes to get through!

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


At the turn of the century, a mysterious circus arrives at cities and towns without warning to put on the most magical and astounding shows on earth. Beyond the illusions of magic, a secret competition is underway between two magicians, Celia and Marco. But as the two play a strategic game of endurance, their bond, and their attraction to each other, grows stronger, and it is left to their instructors to intervene– with dire consequences.

Personal Take: This was a book after my own heart. I’ll admit it right now that it’s not for everyone. It’s not fast paced, it’s so very whimsical, and there is probably little character growth (which is unlike me), but I loved it. Mostly, I loved the language in the book. It’s so lyrical, and the descriptions are so beautiful and foreboding all at once. Part of me wished there was a circus like Le Cirque des Reves for it to carry me away like it did.

Having said that, I wasn’t completely blind to some annoyances in The Night Circus. At times the descriptions did get repetitive, and there was the issue of insta-love (it was still cute, but I hoped it would build up). And then the vagueness of some characters’ fates towards the end. It wrapped up a few loose threads, but something tangible would have been nice! I still enjoyed the mystery of it though.

Overall, if you want a real escapism book, this is THE one!

Audience: Adult readers, for minor sexual scenes and language.



Other recommendations: As far as I know, this is the only Morgenstern book, but if you want historical fantasy, I recommend Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Review: The Last Queen by C.W Gortner


Princess Juana never thought her fate would take her closer to ruling a country. Being the fourth child, and third daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand, the monarchy that united Spain, her only future was to marry a noble. As a girl ruled by her own heart, Juana finds it a surprise that her arranged marriage with Philip the Fair unexpectedly moves forward– and even more so that it’s filled with passion and love. But when tragedy strikes her family, Juana is dragged into a whirlwind of events that breaks every trust she’s ever forged, and has her fighting to keep her spirit from breaking.

Personal Take: I love history in general. And I love historical fiction, though I haven’t read the genre is SO LONG. But reading The Last Queen reminded me why I loved it.

Gortner’s writing takes credit for most of my love for the book though– it was fantastic. I loved his portrayal of Juana, and how, to the best his abilities, he wrote her as a smart girl, growing into a strong-willed woman. The book also had a good balanced of Juana’s life and the politics happening around her, which had a huge part in her life.

Somewhere in the middle of the book, I resorted to googling Juana’s life, and didn’t like how she was portrayed on the internet, which took me back to Gortner’s book again.

Reading this wasn’t easy, especially knowing how it was going to end. I wouldn’t be surprised if George R. R. Martin used Spain’s history has a source of inspiration to Game of Thrones, because the politics of expanding Europe was so convoluted, crazy, and real. You can’t help but feel compassion for her, but at the same time reprimand her for her choices. Then again, I haven’t lived the life she’s lived.

It’s really an eye-opening read to one of the least known princesses and queens we’ve ever known, and with such beautiful prose. I’d recommend it in a heartbeat.

Audience: I would say older readers, as there are some sexual themes.



Other recommendations: Gortner is a master of historical fiction, and wrote The Queen’s Vow, which is about Isabella (Juana’s mother), and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici (which I think Reign fans will love). He also wrote a historical fiction series The Spymaster Chronicles.

Review: The Essential Neruda – Selected Poems edited by Mark Eisner

This collection of Neruda’s most essential poems will prove indispensable. Selected by a team of poets and prominent Neruda scholars in both Chile and the U.S., this is a definitive selection that draws from the entire breadth and width of Neruda’s various styles and themes.

Personal Take: Whether you’re into poetry or not, Neruda is a must for all lovers of words. His poems are SO beautiful and vivid, with so many emotions. His love poems are especially sigh-inducing and beautiful, while his nationalistic poems are heart wrenching. I can’t explain it, but the more I read, the more I could pick up the emotions and sincerity he put into his words.
As I said, I recommend you pick this up!
Audience: Older readers. His love poems have themes on physical love.
Other recommendations: A few things I want to read after this are: Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, 100 Love Sonnets  and The Book of Questions.