Across The Sea and Further: a Review of Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav

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Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication date: January 9th, 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 224

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Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav picks up from her previous international bestselling books including Love & Misadventure, Lullabies, and The Universe of Us, and sets sail for a grand new adventure.

This completely original collection of poetry and prose will not only delight her avid fans but is sure to capture the imagination of a whole new audience. With the turn of every page, Sea of Strangers invites you to go beyond love and loss to explore themes of self-discovery and empowerment as you navigate your way around the human heart.

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“I don’t think you need to be in love to write. But you had to have been once”

I’ve always found poetry collections so hard to review. Not because they failed in making me feel something, but rather their ability to make me connect with the words will have me at a loss in writing a proper review.

Sea of Strangers was such a pleasure to read. The last poetry collection by Lang Leav I read was Lullabies, which was too depressing that I chose not to read The Universe of Us and Memories. But I’m glad I got the chance to try  her newest collection of poetry. Sea of Strangers has the perfect mix of empowerment, first feelings of love, and the inevitable conundrum of having your heart broken leaving you empty. But Sea of Strangers isn’t as heavy as I thought it would be.

Perfect for a quick read over the weekend, it’ll bring you to sweet memories of true love and what it means to love yourself and all of your being.

I found it was such a nice change from the previous materials by Lang Leav that I’ve tried. Sea of Strangers takes us on a journey to appreciate words more than ever. I’ve dog-eared so many pages and even wrote annotations at the sides for poems that reminded me of my past feelings.

“I wondered who they were and what destiny had in store for them. Will they remain strangers or become friends – perhaps even lovers?”

Overall, a great poetry collection to have on your shelf. I absolutely adored it and highly recommend Sea of Strangers!

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Thank you Times Reads for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review!


Review: All The Words I Should Have Said (Rania Naim)

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Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Thought Catalog
Publication date: December 1st, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Thought Catalog
Page Count: 166

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Rania Naim’s ‘All The Words I Should Have Said’ is a beautiful, limited edition paperback book that poetically explores the thrills of love, the highs and lows of life, and the challenges of new beginnings.

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I was pretty excited to receive this beautiful poetry book by Thought Catalog as a gift. I’ve always loved poetry books. Being a romantic at heart, reading about love always bring this warm, fuzzy feeling in my chest. Despite being super realistic about life and my relationship expectations, I do believe love brings out the best and worst in us, which may or may not be during our best of times.

I included Rania Naim’s All The Words I Should Have Said in my Ramadan TBR since she’s a Muslim Egyptian. It’s always so exciting to find a female poet, and one whose Muslim! So I was looking forward to this. Finished it in 2 train rides, so it’s pretty short.

Her words are quite beautiful in this book. She talks mostly of broken hearts, loneliness and sorrow. It tends to get a bit depressing from all the emotions that’re being poured into the book. And at times I felt I wasn’t really connecting to the poems. But there were some really nice pieces about self-resilience and being strong for no one else but you.

That said, I felt a little on the fence with this one. Some of the poems felt a little cliche when it came to heartbreak. They’re relatable to anyone who has gone through a heartbreak or ever been in love. But overall, nothing special comes to mind when I read this book. It didn’t grip me as much as I wanted to and I wasn’t reminded of the beauty of love, or even heartbreak, whilst reading this. Though there were some nice pieces about knowing what you deserve in love, I felt a little bland towards the other pieces.

That said, I still think it’s worth a try if you like love poems. And I do hope you enjoy more than I did!

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Review: Your Soul is a River (Nikita Gill)

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Publisher: Thought Catalog
Publication date: June 12th, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Thought Catalog NYC
Page Count: 160
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This is a book about the journey of healing from trauma and becoming whole again.

Directions: apply to your soul gently, whilst sitting under the stars.


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“Some things are beautiful, but they are beautiful in the way of the sun. If you fly too close, they will melt your wings and send you plummeting into the sea.”  

I have no idea what did I do to deserve such an amazingly written poetry book such as Your Soul is a River from folks at Thought Catalog. I mean this book blew my mind away. I try to read poetry books with meaning and self reflection because I know the approach to this genre is very unique and not being a person of an arts background, I do sometimes struggle with the depths of meaning behind every poem.

But Your River is a Soul just spoke straight to my heart.

I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful this book is. How well written it is in describing the wonderful journey of love, life, loss and self-acceptance. The book is divided into 8 parts: from being a part of the universe to breaking hearts and healing your own.


Each section talks about the human condition and what it means to be part of something bigger. Bigger than ourselves and our problems. To love and to have lost. To pick back up the pieces and understand that we should always believe in our hopes and believe that we are beautiful.

“When they ask you for your favourite poem,
don’t say it was him, don’t say it was her.
Say it is you.

It is you.

There were so many pieces that spoke to me and I felt pained by how true Nikita’s words are. I could relate on so many levels, thinking back of the friends I’ve gained and lost over the years, the relationships that made me smiled but got lost in the ocean. There were so many feelings and emotions evoked I’m surprised I didn’t burst out crying in public when reading this.

And Nikita was right you know…you should read this beneath the stars and apply it to your soul gently. Because boy can this be such a great therapeutic treatment to the soul. It will do wonders for your soul.

“You have grown so much
because you have quietly realised
you aren’t just teardrops.
You are an ocean.”

This is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful poetry book I have ever read. I highly, highly recommend it. Unfortunately it is super difficult to get in Malaysia. I’ve checked Kinokuniya and they don’t stock it. You can only buy this from Thought Catalog’s website.

If you ever come across this book, do let me know what you think of it!

Thanks Thought Catalog for giving me a copy simply to enjoy the beautiful words of Nikita Gill!

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Review: Grief is a Thing with Feathers (Max Porter) 

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Genre: Short Stories, Poetry
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: September 17, 2015
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
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In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.

In this extraordinary debut – part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter’s compassion and bravura style combine to dazzling effect. Full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth, Grief is the Thing with Feathers marks the arrival of a thrilling new talent.


Grief is the Thing with Feathers is a novella with 3 POVs: Crow, Dad, The Boys. I was drawn into reading this after hearing wonderful reviews about it. I didn’t really know what it was entirely about other than the fact it revolved around the theme of grief and it somehow linked to Ted Hughes’ famous work Crow.

So I picked this up at my local bookstore and immediately I loved the writing style of this book. It consists of short passages from each POV that brings us a new perspective on grief. Crow happens to be the product of the family’s imagination that manifests in helping them cope with the Mother’s death. This book captures the essence of grief and how difficult it is to cope with it. You can’t help but to feel sorrow and heartbroken reading the Boys and Dad’s monologues surrounding the death of the Mother. From little boys to grown up young men, we’re shown how the death of their mom affected their emotional well being as they grew up. The Dad felt like he lost his other half and spent his entire life grieving for his lost partner. And the Crow is there the entire time to make sure this family comes to terms with their grief and learn not to be hopeless anymore in spite of it.

This book had the nice balance of emotional burden, humour and happiness. Some parts of the book had me chuckling, especially the dialogues between Crow and Dad. Though this book was wonderfully written,  I can’t say I loved this book to death. I didn’t, or rather couldn’t, grasp how or why this book blew away everyone’s minds. I have experienced my own grief when my maternal grandmother passed away when I was 12, so my lack of enjoyment is not from the lack of grieving experience. But rather, the book just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t connect with the book emotionally.


I still enjoyed this as a whole, and I believe that if you are looking for an unconventional novella that questions how to cope with grief, this is definitely for you!

Review: Milk and Honey (Rupi Kaur)

Publisher: Createspace
Publication date: November 4, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Personal
Page Count: 204
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The book is divided 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.


This book…Broke. Me. Into. Pieces.

From the first page, the words were so raw and emotional that they took me by surprise. I did not expect Rupi to talk of such things in the first chapter (The Hurting) and found myself furiously flipping the pages to see how it all ends. A warning ahead, it can get quite visual and sexualised, so this book is definitely meant for more matured readers!

“it takes grace
to remain kind
in cruel situations”

Each chapter was a beautiful collection of words which were lyrical and ethereal in the most beautiful way. You find yourself going through the turbulent emotions set forth: pain, heartbreak, acceptance, love, loss, empowerment (not necessarily in that order). I love the chapters about love and heart break. And the healing section was God-sent the way I see it. I’ve been going through some emotional turbulence myself these past 2 weeks and reading about self-acceptance, empowerment and the ability to hold your head high in face of any challenge is very inspiring.

“people go
but how they left
always stays”

I was grateful to have stumbled across this book when I did (thanks Suya!). I rarely find poetry books that I’ve enjoyed entirely. Rupi’s words will bring to you a different sense of surroundings even though she talks about the world we inhabit. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for truthful and meaningful prose questioning the prejudice women of colour face, sexual harassment every woman has been dealt with, and every heartbreak that every human being has experienced.

“your body
is a museum
of natural disasters
can you grasp
how stunning that is”

RATING: ★★★★★

Review: Letters to You (Almaz A.)

Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Independent
Publication date: August 1, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Author in exchange for honest review
Page Count: 96
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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.


“So I’d give up all the pain I’ve kept harbored within me
Forsake all the bitter memories that has kept me from falling
Just to make room for you”

I fell in love with the beautiful prose contained within this small but impactful book. It’s always a pleasure to find a local writer who writes poetry beautifully and Almaz is a wonderful writer. I found myself tabbing so many of her words because they reminded me of my own relationship and the struggle to find someone you’re comfortable with.

This book talks of the journey being heartbroken caused by a past and stumbling across a person who helped you heal and believe in love again. I love how simple and straightforward it was, because that is how I view love. It is meant to be easy, but it doesn’t mean finding it is.

“But there is a difference between being strong on your own and being strong with someone by your side
That is where my need for you comes from
I have tasted loneliness; I have walked my own path of self-discovery
But I have not begun to discover us”

Letters to You is a scrapbook of feelings and emotions into which we pour our hearts into finding our true love. It talks of insecurities and exhaustion that comes in containing these overwhelming emotions. It also talks of comforts, silences, heartbeats and many many sleepless nights surrounding newfound love and the many many dream-filled nights surrounding old ones.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book that I read it in one sitting. I believe everyone can find something to relate to in this book, either you’re in a relationship or looking to fall in love (again).

Give it try, you might find words that break your heart.

RATING: ★★★★

Thank you to the author, @almazspilledink, for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review. Illustrations in this book are created by Zahira Zahari.