Review: Sea of Strangers

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Rating: ★★★★★

This is my second time reading a poetry collection from Lang Leav. I had previously read Lullabies and loved it. I’ve also read her novel, Sad Girls, and thought that was just okay. 

Basically, I loved this collection. Her poetry is just so beautiful and I love that some of her poems even rhyme (which you don’t get all that often in contemporary poetry). Her poems are a wonderful blend of contemporary and classical poetry which I think makes it very special. There is an effortless quality to them which I love. 

This collection had the theme of water/sea/ocean and I liked that the poems touched upon that without being too much. Not every poem incorporated that theme, but a good chunk of them did. I liked that she didn’t go overboard with that theme, because that sometimes happens in poetry collections and it makes them boring. 

I had so many favorites. I’ll list them below:

  • Where It Hurts
  • Strength
  • Writing
  • A New Day
  • Poetry and Prose
  • The Mermaid
  • More to Me
  • Letter by Letter
  • Crazy Love
  • Who You Love 
  • Love What You Love
  • Misunderstood
  • Writer’s Block
  • A Letter to My Love
  • Love Poetry
  • We the Poets 

As you can see, I connected with a lot of her pieces. 

Overall, this is a beautiful and enchanting poetry collection!

I’m a BookSparks #WRC2019 ambassador!

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about this, but school has kept me busy. So basically, in addition to being a BooksSparks #YAWRC2019 ambassador, I’m also one for #WRC2019!

If you check out their site, you can see the six amazing books that will be featured in this reading challenge.

All six of the books

Are you planning on joining the challenge? Which book are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Review: The Lost Coast

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Rating: ★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Candlewick Press) in exchange for an honest review. 

I had such high hopes for this book, but it ultimately did not live up to my expectations. 

Let’s start with what I did like. 

I liked the diversity. There was a lot of sexual (lesbian, ace, etc.) and racial diversity. One of the girls was Filipino which I was super happy about since I’m Filipino. I love seeing Filipino representation.  

I also liked the aesthetic of the book. The descriptions perfectly captured that foggy, mystical, Northern California vibe. 

Now on to what I didn’t love. 

There were a lot of point of view changes throughout the book which really made it difficult to understand especially in the beginning. Each POV would last for only a few pages so it ended up being a bit jarring and all over the place. 

As for the storyline, it wasn’t exciting. It felt kind of blah to me until the end which is when things finally got interesting. 

I also wished the book focused more on June and Hawthorn. They were my two favorite characters and I wanted to explore more of their backstory. 

Overall, this book had some good moments (Queer POC witches for the win!), but didn’t reach its full potential. 

Life update: Fall grades, spring semester, and summer jobs

Hi everyone! So it’s been a while since my last life update and my life has been pretty crazy to say the least.

Last Friday, we got back our fall grades and I am fairly happy with mine. They’re not super amazing, but given my circumstances (basically: my grandfather’s funeral was literally 2 days before my finals and I was a total mess because of it and law school grades are pretty much all based on your final exam), I think I did pretty well. It’s relief finally having them after waiting for so long.

I am entering week 3 of spring semester and so far it has been good. This is mainly because the undergrads don’t start school yet so campus is so quiet and parking is super easy to find. I’m also loving the fact that my writing class is now in the afternoons on Tuesdays (instead of in the mornings like last semester), which means that I get to sleep in!

Lastly, I’m currently applying to summer jobs. It is customary for law students to work during the summer to gain practical law experience. When I first started law school, I originally wanted to find a summer job in down here in SoCal, but lately, given my turbulent finals experience, I want to go back to the Bay Area for work. So far I have applied to 7 jobs, all of which are companies, not law firms. I really like the idea of working in-house so I am hoping to get an internship at a company.

So that has been my life in a nutshell. How have you been?

xoxo,

P.S. If anyone wants to help out a broke law student and buy me a coffee, I would appreciate it!

Review: Unopened

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. 

This was interesting poetry collection. It’s different than the type of poetry I usually read (I usually read more of the Instagram poet type), but I still enjoyed it. I liked that, unlike a lot of Instagram poems, some the poems were longer (more than a page long). I like it when poems are a bit longer because it allows you to go more in-depth. There was a good mix of both short and longer poems. 

I liked how the book was divided into three sections. All the poems fit well into the section they were in and I could tell the themes (family, nature, music, etc.) of each section without it being overly obvious. It was subtle which is sometimes very hard to do.

Additionally, I loved the story behind the cover. It added a really nice personal touch. 

My one critique is that the book should have been longer. I would have loved to seen at least 20 more poems to really make it more impactful and feel more complete. I felt like I got a small taste of his poetry, but I wanted more. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable and unique poetry collection. 

Review: We Hope for Better Things

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Revell Reads) in exchange for an honest review. 

This was an insightful historical novel about three generations of women from Detroit. It takes place during the civil war, the Detroit riots, and present day. 

Out of the three stories, I found Mary’s (the civil war one) to be the most compelling and interesting. The present day storyline was probably the weakest just because there wasn’t anything super exciting going on and it was more focused on discovering what happened in the past. 

I liked how the three stories intersected and connected. The events were woven together nicely and I liked how the secrets slowly unraveled. I also liked that it took place in Detroit and talked about the riots because that isn’t a topic that is often discussed. 

I also appreciated that the author included a note at the end of the book discussing that any shortcomings or pitfalls are her own fault and acknowledging the fact that she is a white woman writing about people of color. I love that level of awareness and am always happy to see authors admit that. 

The thing that prevented me from giving it 5 stars, was that it took me a while to connect with the story and characters. It wasn’t until I was near the end that I felt that emotional connection with them. 

Overall, I enjoyed this look into the past and found this to be a wonderful debut book. 

Review: Snowed in with the Cowboy (Gold Valley #3.5)

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Rating: ★★★

This story was included at the end of A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas (which I received for free from Harlequin as part of their Bookstagram Christmas mailing). 

Since this was a novella, it was pretty short and that was my main issue with it. The whole romance happened at lightning speed so it felt rushed. This would have been better as an actual novel so that the feelings and emotions could develop more fully.

I was also not the biggest fan of the step-sibling trope. It felt a little weird, given the fact that I didn’t know much about the characters (I never read any of the previous novellas). As I mentioned, the romance happened fast so that made the step-sibling trope even weirder. I do have to say, Chloe and Tanner do make a nice couple minus the step sibling thing. 

But for what it was, it wasn’t that bad. It’s a quick holiday romance that’s short and sweet with a little bit of holiday spice.