The Coffee Book Tag!

So not a book review, but I saw this post on Literary Leisha’s blog and I thought it would be fun to do the Coffee Book Tag! I tag anyone who wants to do it.

Black Coffee: Name a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans.

I think for me this would be the Game of Thrones series, but only because the show turned out badly, and because the books aren’t really finished, I don’t think I could start it and have it meet my standards.

Peppermint Mocha: Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.

I don’t know if there’s a particular book, but I do know that lots of people enjoy reading Harry Potter near Christmas. Now, I am not a Christmas, I am a Chanukah, so I myself will probably just read my usual fare (likely ghost stories).

Hot Chocolate: What is your favorite middle grade book?

I really loved the Percy Jackson series, but I also love these others (couldn’t just pick one):

  • The Book of Three, first book of the Chronicles of Prydain.
  • Pages and Co.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Double Espresso: Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Definitely There’s Someone Inside Your House. Never knew what was in store around the corner for our heroes!

STARBUCKS: Name a book you see everywhere.

A Curse So Dark And Lonely! I keep seeing everyone read and review it, and honestly I kinda want to read it too.

That Hipster Coffee Shop: Give a book by an indie author a shout out.

Gail Wronsky! She is a wonderful poet, and now has at least two long poetry collections out.

OOPS! I accidentally got decaf: Name a book you were expecting more from.

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux has such an interesting premise – a young woman runs away and ends up living in a house full of demon – but the characters were completely unfulfilled.

The Perfect Blend: Name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying.

This is a tough one, but I would have to name Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. This novella deals with really heavy subjects, but the main character has a good ending and the less heavy themes are super interesting.

A Cup of Tea: Your favorite classic.

I mean, knowing myself I’d have to say Lord of the Rings. But I also love anything written by Shirley Jackson.

Flat White: A book that isn’t a novel.

Edith Wharton’s Book of Ghost Stories! These are just the best, chilling, gothic, everything you want in a spooky story.

Book Review – The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tao of Pooh

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff is probably one of the best philosophical works I have read in my life so far. In this book, Hoff teaches us the way and importance of Tao by using examples from Winnie the Pooh, even having the title character and his friends by his writing desk to help him narrate his points. To Hoff, Pooh is the perfect example of someone who follows the way of Tao – an un-carved block, one who sees the reality in front of him, one who appreciates life as it is. Of course, if life is miserable then one doesn’t have to be happy about it, but viewing things by the Tao of Pooh certainly can help change perspectives when circumstances need a change.

Has this book converted me to Taoist philosophy? Kinda yeah! I don’t know that I could follow it wholly (I don’t think any philosophy can be followed to the letter) but there are certain aspects that definitely could improve my life. I will absolutely be reading the Tao Te Ching soon to learn more.

I am giving this book four stars because I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, it has too many issues for me to have it be a five-star read. I felt that Hoff could have made more clear analyses when relating certain scenes from Winnie the Pooh to aspects of Tao. Often the scenes or references felt a bit random, needing analyses after the references rather than just before. And, while I thought that including Pooh himself as a character to speak with the narrator was clever and funny, I do sometimes think it strayed from the main topics at hand.

Overall, this was a delightful and informative book about Taoism, and it makes me fondly remember my childhood days reading Winnie the Pooh. I might even say that I get it now.



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I’ve Published a Book!

So most of you probably know, but if you didn’t know, I am a poet and I just recently published a collection of my poems!

The collection, Loss And Other Landscapes, has poems inspired by nature and the environment, by ancient poets such as Vergil, by mythology, and my own personal experiences.

Please do check it out, whether it is on Amazon (to buy) or on NetGalley (read for free), and if you can, leave a review!

Thank you all very much, and thank you for sticking with me through all my rants and reviews.

Book Review – Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton

Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Margaret the First is a short novel, a novella even, but it feels like a story that goes on forever in the most wonderful way. In this novella, Margaret Cavendish tells us about the early years of her life to when she wrote her poems and philosophical treatises. In the second half of the book, Dutton gives us her own retelling of Margaret’s life. Margaret is portrayed as an ambitious, yet insecure woman – aren’t we all? I relate to Margaret as someone who wants to do and say everything, and yet realizes the obstacles not only in society, but those that are within the self.

What surprised me about Dutton’s telling was that Lord Cavendish, Margaret’s husband, was actually very supportive of her. I very much hope that this was the case in real life. What also surprised me was how disliked she seemed to be by the British public – all of my limited learning of Margaret made her out to be a smart and likable person, though perhaps that was wishful thinking on my part.

Dutton writes such human emotions and thoughts into Margaret’s character, it makes me want to meet her. Since I cannot do that, I am eager to read Margaret’s own works. Dutton’s imagery tells an amazing story that I never wanted to end, and I will have to check out her other works as well.

My only critical comment is this: half the book is told in the first person perspective of Margaret, the second half in third person. This in itself is not a bad thing, only that the transition from one to the other is a bit jarring, and I would have liked a bit of a segue.

I recommend this book to those who love cool women of history, and who want a very human story.



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Book Review – The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a high fantasy tale that I am so fortunate to have found. A wizard woman who commands animals and learns, along with others she loves and who love her, to be a real and genuine person. Sybel the wizard woman is the link between the hidden world of magic and that of men, two of which are fortunate to be able to enter into her world.

McKillip has written a deep and real character that is Sybel, a complicated woman who learns about herself, even in the midst of the worst experiences a woman could have. She writes a mythology that I want to delve deeper into, and I hope that it exists further in her other novels. The writing is slow and contemplative, and, while the lack of action may deter some readers, I found the story to be wonderfully meditative and atmospheric.

McKillip has turned the Arthurian legends upside down, and made women and the legends of nature those that change not only the fate of the world, but also how the world chooses to live. The Arthurian king to Sybel’s Merlin-like character has yet to grow into a fine man, but he has grown with love, and that is what Sybel has had to learn to give and receive.

I’ve felt I can relate very strongly with Sybel, in terms of strength, both in possession and in wanting; of wanting to love and be loved; of wanting to know who I am and why; of learning that being is complicated and yet the most wonderful thing to be.

Readers who loved books like The Chronicles of Prydain and A Wizard in Earthsea will absolutely love The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.



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Book Review – The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This novella is a deep, fantastical read, full of myth and history, which I believe is based on Chinese history and myth. It is also about stories and storytelling; memory; female companionship in all senses of the term; the role women play. The last one is really what makes this novella. The women in this book define their own roles, from the Empress herself, to Rabbit, the Empress’ confidant and teller of her story. In the end it is Rabbit’s listener, Cleric Chih, who will go on to remember and retell the stories.

The book starts off slow, and a bit confusing. The history is the core of the story, though we as readers, as well as Chih, do not understand this until well into the story. That is okay though, as it gives the reader the sense that we are indeed listening to a complicated past unfold itself, and that we are now the storytellers. It reminds us that all is stories, and we must continue such a tradition.

I recommend The Empress of Salt and Fortune to those who love historical high fantasy, similar to books like The Black Tides of Heaven and The Encyclopedia of Early Earth.



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Book Review – There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


There’s Someone Inside Your House has been the most compelling read for me so far this year.
It is full of suspense, romance, and friendship, and I was kept on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The following are what I did and didn’t like about the book – warning: may contain some spoilers.

What I liked:
-Representation: the main character, Makani, is a teenager who is both Hawaiian and black; her grandmother is black; and one of her two best friends, Darby, is a transgender man. There was also a lot of balance gender-wise: good, deep female characters, and male characters that exhibit their own deep feelings.
-The suspense: the serial killer of this novel likes to mess with his victims, so it sent my heart a’thumping whenever someone seemed to be going out of their mind.
-Perkins really tried to make the characters help each other, and I think she did a very good job. One thing I was a bit nervous about at first was that some of the friendships got a bit rocky when the killings started to happen – thankfully friendship wins over murder.
-The romance: I really loved the protagonist and her romantic interest together – I kind of wish we would have seen more of them exploring their romance, but honestly, who could with a serial killer on the loose?

What I didn’t like:
-The ending: honestly even though everything pretty much got wrapped up in the end, we did not get to see the characters go back to some kind of normalcy. While I realize that they can really never lead a normal life again, I would have wanted the characters to get a chance to go back home.
-Friends dropping each other just like that: there is that one part in the story when Makani’s friends don’t support her. Now they do end up friends again shortly after, but it was the reason for such a sudden withdrawal that didn’t sit too well with me.

As you can see, there are more positives than negatives. I truly loved this novel, and I recommend it to everyone!



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Book Review -Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I got this book recommendation from author and Youtuber Jen Campbell’s video about comforting books to read during this time of Coronavirus, social distancing and uncertainty. I of course knew about Hyperbole and a Half comics from the internet, but when I found out there was a WHOLE BOOK, I could not resist.

I did indeed find Hyperbole and a Half comforting, and I could relate to it very much as a human being. Allie Brosh writes about real (and often ridiculous) human experiences, which we can all relate to, and which are quite hilarious (I may have been holding in laughter and tears as I read on the bus). The comics are, of course, hilarious as always, and add so much more to the text, though that was funny too. Brosh told stories from her childhood, about her dogs, and about looking at the bad parts of ourselves and accepting them as they are. My favorites were the stories from childhood, but I related no less to the others. Well, maybe less so with the dog stories, though I do desperately want a dog.

I recommend this book to anyone who needs to feel like a human being in all of this uncertainty at this time.

Also I’d like to mention that I read this book on Scribd, which, I believe, has been listing free books for those who have to stay home. Happy reading!




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Book Review – Death in Dark Blue by Julia Buckley

Death in Dark Blue by Julia Buckley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I am happy to say that I am still very much enjoying the Writer’s Apprentice Mystery novels by Julia Buckley. I will say that I liked the first novel, A Dark and Stormy Murder better, but I still enjoyed this second one, Death in Dark Blue.

The story continues from the first novel, continuing the struggle of Lena London and those who love her to solve the mystery of a disappeared woman. This novel has more romance, and the mystery becomes even more entangled. I won’t say anything more about the plot so as not to give the whole story away.

What I do wish is that this story involved more about books and the library that plays a bit of an integral part in this mystery – hopefully I will see more of that when I dive into the next novel. In any case, Buckley gives us a wonderful cast of characters, and a protagonist with determination and love for all of her friends and family.

I am excited to start reading the next book.



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Reader Problems Book Tag

Hello fellow readers! I just realized I never have done a book tag on here, so I thought today would be a good day to do one! I’ve decided to do the Reader Problems Book Tag, as I am a reader with many, many problems (I jest, but this tag does seem fun!). I got this book tag from The Nameless Book Blog, do check her out!


1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

What I pick is going to depend on the following factors:

  • Easiness: I will probably pick the book that is easiest to read, either because it is shorter, or just not so dense, or the topic is not so heavy. It will likely be a book of short stories cause that’s generally what I go for if I don’t know what to read.
  • Covers: yes, sometimes I judge a book by its cover, and the most interesting (or relevant) cover is going to get picked.
  • Oldest: by oldest I mean the ones that have been sitting on my TBR for a very, very long time. I do try to pick up the older ones after I’ve read a new one.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

Honestly, I’m probably not going to finish it. I’d rather stop and read something I know I’ll love than suffer through a book just to get to the end. I did this with The Secret History – part of me wanted to finish it because everyone was saying it was really interesting, but I just did not get on with that book.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

Eh whatever happens happens. If I can find some shorter books to read I will, and I have done so with short stories and poetry. If I can’t I don’t worry about it, and I know I’ll get to read more books in the next year.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

I’ll live. I do try to get matching covers as much as I can, but I don’t usually get upset if they don’t match.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

Probably my best friend, who generally agrees or at least understands my feelings. Otherwise I will go on the internet (i.e. this blog or twitter) to rant with other bookworms.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

Cry me little heart out!

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

I will probably skim through the first book and read a synopsis and then head right to the sequel. Though I am very blessed with a good memory and this doesn’t happen too often.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

Well this would never happen, I always lend my books. However, I am choosy as to whom I lend them to cause I know who is and isn’t going to be responsible. If someone wants to borrow mine and I don’t want them to, I will try to find them an alternative option.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

At this point it’s just me waiting to find the right book to read. When that happens I stick to it. Or I do my usual and find a book of short stories, which is good if I want different plots.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

My rule at bookstores is that I can only buy two at a time, so probably two (maybe three if I’m feeling like it).

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them? 

It honestly depends. Sometimes I’ll get to one so quickly and then breeze right through it. Other times the books can sit for months at a time (they are so sad!).

Thank you all for reading, and I tag whoever wants to do this tag! Do tag me as well so I can see your answers!