Review – Milk and Honey | Rupi Kaur

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  • Title: Milk and Honey
  • Author: Rupi Kaur
  • Publisher: Createspace
  • Release Date: November 4th 2014
  • Pages: 204

Blurb

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.


Rupi Kaur is well-loved for her poetry and illustrations. Milk and Honey is her first published book, a rather difficult one to write as she recollects her past experiences of rape and heartbreak.

if the hurt comes

so will the happiness

– be patient

Her story has four main parts – the hurting, the loving, the breaking & the healing. I picked up this book at a time when I really needed some good poetry to dive into. This, coupled with the fact that I have enjoyed reading some of the excerpts on social media, my expectations were high. I heard so many good things about the book too. (Don’t get too excited yet, finish reading my review!)

I must admit – the pain, trauma and recovery she went through were penned with truth and an edge of rawness I enjoyed. Unfortunately, her writing was not up to the standards I was hoping for from a poetry book. There were holes, too many to make you feel whole.

i need someone

who knows struggle

as well as i do

someone

willing to hold my feet in their lap

on days it is too difficult to stand

Her interpretation of love is very physical as well. I was longing for more emotional depth. I progressed but could not find it and this really disappointed me.

if you were born with

the weakness to fall

you were born with

the strength to rise

Having said that, there were a few poems I really enjoyed as you can see by my choice of excerpts for this review. Rupi’s second book, The Sun and her Flowers, will be released on the 3rd of October. Will I still give it a go? Yes of course; surprise me Rupi. Good surprise.

In the meantime, let’s appreciate this beautiful prose, my favourite one from Milk and Honey:

you are the faint line

between faith and

blindly waiting

– letter to my future lover

Rating: 

Review – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before | Jenny Han

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  • Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
  • Author: Jenny Han
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Release Date: April 15th 2014
  • Pages: 355

Blurb

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.


Every woman needs a good chick lit every now and then no matter how old they get! After a few challenging months of 2017, I needed just that – to get my reading mojo back on track. Happy to report, this book certainly did the trick in getting me out of my reading slump. Warning: this is a cute and fluffy read. Not for the hard-hearted 😛

Lara Jean is your typical teenager. Having to juggle between her non-existent love life, family, and school – she needed a platform to vent her emotions. She finds comfort in words so for every crush she experienced, she wrote a love letter. Once she writes the letter, she would keep it in her little teal hatbox, hidden from the world. She repeatedly does this along her teen years – 5 times altogether.

“My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore. They’re for good-bye. Because after I write in my letter, I’m not longer consumed by my all-consuming love… My letters set me free. Or at least they’re supposed to.”

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a gem of its own. You will follow how Lara Jean is caught in situations where she has to deal with her previous love interests, and also potentially stumbling upon a few rekindles along the way. *hint hint* 

After her mother passed away, Lara Jean lived with her dad and two sisters – Margot and Kitty. I love the connection they share. The fatherly conversations. The strong sisterhood bond; backing each other up and diving into their many dramas together. There’s also Josh from next door, their childhood friend who is like family. The togetherness, care and love they share is very comforting. It makes you feel at home.

“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.”

You will dive into Lara Jean’s many ups and downs as she goes through her late teenage phase. May even remind you of how you were during that age – a trip down memory lane! We have all gone through this crazy roller coaster ride, haven’t we? One way or another – crush after crush, heartbreak after heartbreak. But the way we handle them plays a part in developing our emotional strength and maturity.

“When I write, I hold nothing back. I write like he’ll never read it. Because he never will. Every secret thought, every careful observation, everything I’ve saved up inside me, I put it all in the letter. When I’m done, I seal it, I address it, and then I put it in my teal hatbox.”

The story of Lara Jean is both entertaining and full of lessons. At times, the young perspectives may come off as rather immature, but please keep on going. I could hardly put down this book once I started reading it. It’s very raw and truthful.

“I wonder what it’s like to have that much power over a boy. I don’t think I’d want it; it’s a lot of responsibility to hold a person’s heart in your hands.”

I love the warm feeling it gives you. It reminds you that yes love is crazy, but it is sure as hell worth it.

The book ends with a cliffhanger so I would suggest you to get the sequel, P.S. I Still Love you, right away. A promising start to the series. Looking forward to see what the sequel has to offer!

Rating: 

Photo Blog Tour – Wing Jones | Katherine Webber

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  • Title: Wing Jones
  • Author: Katherine Webber
  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Release date: January 5th 2017
  • Pages: 384

Blurb

Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.


Hear,  hear! I’m on board another blog tour! This time around, it’s for the AMAZING Katherine Webber with her much anticipated debut novel, Wing Jones, which was published on 5th January 2017 in the UK. That beautiful cover though. 

With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants…

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California but has lived in Atlanta, Hawaii, Hong Kong and now in London. For several years she worked at the reading charity BookTrust, where she worked on projects such as The Letterbox Club which delivers parcels of books to children in care, and YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention. You can find her on Twitter @kwebberwrites.

Throughout January, over 40 bloggers will be participating in the #WJphototour – a photo blog tour documenting Katherine’s path to publishing her debut novel. From childhood memories that inspired her writing to her time living in Atlanta and Asia that influenced the book to authors she’s met over the years right up to receiving her first finished copy of the book, follow along to see Katherine’s author life unfold! Keep an eye on the hashtag to see the latest photos!

Here’s the photo for my tour stop!

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While studying in Hong Kong, I spent a lot of time traveling in China. I loved speaking Mandarin and getting to know Chinese culture and customs. I was also a total tourist—proven her by this picture of me on the Great Wall in Beijing! Wing’s Chinese heritage was partly influenced by the time I spent in China.

Kudos to Katherine for publishing her first ever book. Do keep an eye on the hashtag to see all the other photos in this fun photo blog tour organised by Walker Books. Till my next post, keep reading!

Review – Letters to You | Almaz A

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  • Title: Letters to You
  • Author: Almaz A
  • Publisher: Almaz
  • Release Date: August 1st 2016
  • Pages: 96

Blurb

Some people spend a lifetime looking for someone to call home. I found you.

Letters to You is Almaz’s debut poetry collection that narrates her journey to finding love by experiencing fear, hesitation, courage and ultimately letting herself freefall into the arms of her soulmate.


Sharing your love with someone is daunting, especially for those who have tasted its bitterness. Broken hearts doubt themselves and question the existence of true love. Though no matter how far deep this can swallow one’s self; there is always that longing to find love again. Love that can last. Love that can hold them together. Love that is encapsulated with hope, faith and courage.

And I’m trying, 

Trying so damn hard to unearth all the buried dreams I’ve forgotten about, 

Because I’m sure one of them was to love someone like you. 

Letters to You is a collection of poems written by the author for her lover. Every page draws you in with an array of emotions, peeking into memories of love you may relate to. As you immerse yourself into the book, you will see how beautiful love can unfold itself to, no matter how imperfect it may be.

You will always be that little piece of magic I carry with me wherever I go.

As I went on though, I realised that the poems were rather jumpy and sometimes repetitive; which could be seen as raw yet genuine. However,  I do believe that if there was more cohesion to it, the main message the author was trying to present could have been expressed more convincingly. Nonetheless, I must commend the author for stringing her words with so much heart, soul and honesty.

The book talks on old relationships, newfound love and all the securities and weariness in between. But most importantly, it is about the courage to believe again and experience love at its most fundamental. To allow it to take you through rain and shine; yet always finding a reason to smile at the end of the day.

I loved this book – read it in one sitting and kept on marking my favourite quotes as I progressed. I am definitely looking forward to more from this local author. Do read, and allow it surprise you with gems you may find.

 I fell in love with the way you held my hand and the way your breath whispered across my skin as you told me that 

it was okay to fall,

because our bodies may not have wings, 

but our souls already knew how to fly. 

Rating: 

I would like to thank the author, Almaz A, for this review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Review – Adulthood is a Myth | Sarah Andersen

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  • Title: Adulthood is a Myth
  • Author: Sarah Andersen
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Release Date: March 8th 2016
  • Pages: 109

Blurb

Are you a special snowflake?

Do you enjoy networking to advance your career?

Is adulthood an exciting new challenge for which you feel fully prepared?

Ugh. Please go away.

This book is for the rest of us. These comics document the wasting of entire beautiful weekends on the internet, the unbearable agony of holding hands on the street with a gorgeous guy, dreaming all day of getting home and back into pajamas, and wondering when, exactly, this adulthood thing begins. In other words, the horrors and awkwardnesses of young modern life.


Adulthood is a Myth – do you think so? This book comprises of bite-sized comics suitable for those in their teens and early adulthood. It is such an enjoyable read! Absolutely hilarious, relatable and I read it in one sitting. Currently juggling between work life, study life and book blogging, I experience this a lot when I’m all zoned out after a tiring day –

sacomic

Some of her comics are more focused on women issues in general, so I do hope that in her next book, there’s a nice share of comics on men too! All the more fun when there’s a nice balance to it.

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Oh and have I mentioned how adorable Sarah’s drawings are? You will find yourself screenshot-ting/taking pictures of the comics as you go – excited to share it out with your family and friends – and share a good laugh!

Definitely suitable if you’re looking for a gift for a friend or for some light and fun read on a weekend. Looking forward to more comics from you, Sarah!

 “I’m pretty sure adulthood was a myth all along.”

Rating: 

Review – Barefoot on the Wind | Zoë Marriott

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  • Title: Barefoot on the Wind
  • Author: Zoë Marriott
  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Release Date: September 1st 2016
  • Pages: 313
  • Companion Novel: Shadows on the Moon

Blurb

A companion title to Zoë Marriott’s critically acclaimed Shadows on the Moon, BAREFOOT ON THE WIND is a darkly magical retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” set in fairytale Japan.

There is a monster in the forest…

Everyone in Hana’s remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana’s father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it – or be killed herself.

But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined. And the beast is not at all what she expects…


Let’s face the fact, I love a good retelling. It transports me back to my childhood days. It reminds me of the crazy things I used to do as a kid. It takes me home to this little part of my soul which is forever stuck in Neverland. When I came across Barefoot on the Wind, I knew I just HAD to get my hands on it…. and guess what? I absolutely loved it!

“There is a monster in the forest…”

Set in fairy tale Japan, Hana lives with her parents in a remote village on the mountains. She is on the road of self-discovery, still torn by the death of her older brother, Kyo. Ever since he was taken away by the monster in the forest, her family was never the same again. Hana always tries to be the “son” of the family, doing her very best to impress her parents, especially her father who strongly believes Hana is the reason behind his only son’s death. One night, Hana’s father was captured by the monster too, and the villagers started despising her family, believing they bring bad luck. Not one person wanted to lend in a hand to help her father, not even the bravest of men.

Barefoot on the Wind is a Beauty and the Beast retelling from a feminist perspective – empowering and enthralling. To put it simply – in the traditional fairy tale, innocent Belle did not come to the Beast on her own free will. Yet, even after taking her father as a prisoner, the Beast was lucky enough to have been awarded with her love. In Barefoot on the Wind, dear Hana went into the forest on her own free will to save her father and falling in love is last on her list of priorities. This story is very empowering and you will definitely love Hana’s brave ways.

Be wary if you ask favours of the Moon. She does not grant our wishes. She answers our prayers.

I really enjoyed the Asian twist to it. The characters are Japanese and you will get a fairly good glimpse of their culture and lifestyle. The food they eat, the clothes they wear; the little things which make them who they are. As an Asian myself, I really appreciate Zoë’s research and effort in bringing these characters to life and closer to home.

The writing of the story is simple and very easy to follow. Believe it or not, this is the very same story I told my little 5-year-old cousin when she came over for a sleepover at my place. I told her about Hana, about Itsuki, and about the monster in the forest. She was instantly attached, just like how I was too. The flow is really good and you would find this book difficult to put down. I enjoyed how the chapters were not too long too. The scenes were straight to the point and fast paced, yet perfect in unraveling the mystery – who is the monster in the forest? 

I feel very strongly for the characters. Each and every one of them introduced played a part in bringing everything together. It makes you feel whole. The development of the main characters were very in depth.

The romance was spot on too. It was gentle and kind. Attached and soulful. It is every bit of a mystery you would love in a good romance story. Every bit of sweetness you can find in the relationship between two people. And when they finally hold hands and it sends warmth in your heart, you know the writer did a magnificent job.

And he will kiss me again, I thought, almost dizzy at the wonder of it. He will kiss me a thousand times more, and in a thousand ways.  

Above all, this is a story on relationships and self-discovery. A story of faith restoration, forgiveness and determination. You will find love and comfort in every step and every turn, every chapter of this gripping tale.

“Because you still have work to do. You never needed to tell me that. Your father may have seen you in his dreams, my little flower, but I have always seen you in my heart.”

You will feel drawn to the book, attached to the characters and immersed in their adventures. This is definitely a winner for me. This is one retelling you should not miss!

Rating: 

I can’t thank Walker Books enough for sending me this amazing review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Review – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

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  • Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
  • Publisher: Little, Brown
  • Release Date: July 31st 2016
  • Pages: 328

Blurb

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.


*Warning: minor spoilers ahead*

“Anything from the trolley, dears?” and it hits you right in the heart, I’m home.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is that one book all of us Potterheads have been impatiently waiting for, especially those who didn’t get to watch the play in London! Indeed, this is a great effort to get the celebration of 19 years later going globally though I do hope they will still try to put on the play here in Malaysia. One can dream!

I was instantly transported back to my childhood days; flipping the pages lovingly and immersing myself into the lives of my all-time favourite characters.

“Hermione Granger, I’m being bossed around by Hermione Granger.”

I purposely chose to read this gorgeous script book after the hype died down even though I got my hands on it on the first day of release! Take note that I will not be comparing this book to the previous Harry Potter books in this review. To me, this is more of a little gift for the fans, to answer some of the questions we’ve been having, and a celebration of our magical friends’ lives after the Battle of Hogwarts.

One of the major questions fans have been screaming out for years is the use of the Time Turner, the delicate timepiece for the purpose of time travel. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione used this device to save Buckbeak, a Hippogriff, from being butchered – which then contributed to the unfolding of events later on in the story. Many fans have expressed how the Time Turner could have been used for so many other important events – saving people from dying, preventing the dark side from resurrecting etc.

So this story essentially does that; tapping into the what ifs and maybes, begging the question – can we really change the past with a single spin of a Time Turner?

“It is exceptionally lonely, being Draco Malfoy. I will always be suspected. There is no escaping the past.”

I didn’t mind at all that it was in a script form. It was a rather unique experience for me, and I certainly enjoyed it. The scenes were nicely organized – short and sweet. The writing was easy to follow and the narrations helped to set the mood perfectly.

I personally thought that they got Draco, Ron, Harry and Ginny’s adult characters spot on while Hermione was alright but I wish they had showed more of her intellect and strength that we have all come to love. There was lack of story on the other Weasleys and the Dursleys too, which was disappointing as it would have made the story more complete and well-rounded.

Overall, my favourite takeaway is Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter’s friendship. It is genuine and heartwarming, and will leave you with so much love in your heart. Scorpius is definitely my favourite character in the book! The friendships and family relationship were built up really nicely and you will follow the characters’ journey in understanding each other better, having the confidence and faith to strive together, and getting pass their differences.

There is just nothing much like it. :’)

It wasn’t THE 8th book for me but I still enjoyed the lightness of it and the storyline. Be prepared to be transported right back into our much missed childhood adventure and have your wands at the ready to find out – who exactly is this Cursed Child?

“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”

Rating: