The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I remember the hardcover copy of The Night Circus with a worn jacket sitting on one of the shelves in the local library. I was in high school then. The cover was pretty, so I picked it up. This time around, I’ve read the book with so much nostalgia.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - a review on My Little Hawk


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

On Amazon:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

I’ve been captivated by this book, and the beautiful cover, for years, and I had to purchase a copy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the hardcover one, but the story remained magical nonetheless.

About The Night Circus

There are two things I especially liked about this book. First were the parts addressing the reader, the visitor of Le Cirque des Rêves, and presenting the attractions in the circus to him. The second were the time jumps and the chapters focusing on different characters. That helped in creating the mystery and the suspense in the story.

The point in the book that finally explains the intricate ties connecting the circus and the characters was so satisfying to read, and I loved that moment of clarity. That was the focal point and the point at which the story unraveled.

The mystery around all the characters was also gripping. All were there for a reason. They make a peculiar company, but they are all important links in the chain of events that started long ago.

As I said, The Night Circus is a nostalgic read, and it felt good to go back to this story that I thought about so many times since I first read it. Inside the gates of The Night Circus, between the beautiful prose and the intense dance of tricks and illusions, the unassuming details in description, and the words that are murmured in dialogue, but are not that insignificant, I am a loyal rêveur simply admiring the art. 

Getting to the end of The Night Circus really felt like stepping out of the circus and into the real world, with the gates closing behind me. I could almost hear the creaking as they shut. It is the same feeling I had all these years ago when I first read it, and I know the magic will linger until I go back to it again.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - a review on My Little Hawk

Have you visited The Night Circus yet? What is your favorite part? If you haven’t, consider this post an invitation to do it. You will love it!

I hope you liked this post! See you in the next one! 😀

How Can Growing Up in an Abusive Household Affect Your Adult Life?

Growing up in an abusive household can shape your character in such intricate ways that, after years of sustained abuse, it is not easy to untie those knots. The general symptoms are known today, but even after checking all the known boxes, there could still be some things that could catch you off guard or throw you off. Today, I will be talking about some lesser-known aspects of growing up in an abusive household.

growing up in an abusive household
Photo by Pixabay on

Abusive Childhood

No case of abuse will look the same, nor the outcome and the marks it leaves on someone’s behavior. When you grow up in an abusive household, the consequences are innumerable. I will try to break it down, but I am not a professional. This is a personal experience and observation. I write this to help myself and others. It serves to show how it can manifest and what can happen.

I grew up with an abusive parent that I still live with (whenever I don’t travel for uni). Not only is my behavior today affected by the abuse my siblings and I sustained in childhood, but some forms of abuse are still very present in our life. That’s why I’ve decided to speak publicly about it because I’m helpless and tired of hiding the truth and pretending that nothing’s going on.

To be specific, the abuse was physical, verbal, emotional, and financial.

How Can Growing Up in an Abusive Household Affect Your Adult Life?

I didn’t choose any specific order for this. Maybe in the future, I will add more things to it. I am, after all, still discovering and recognizing these traits. I find that it helps to identify them because when you grow awareness about something, it’s easier to address it and try to change it.

One of the major things I’ve noticed is identity. When the abuse starts when you are young, what you might notice and struggle with, is separating yourself from the abuse. What I mean by that is that to defend yourself from the abuse, you will develop certain mechanisms or character traits that will later be hard to detach from your personality.

I noticed that most of my habits, which many people think are my qualities and praise me for them, are not my choice. They are not my personality traits, something I simply grew up to be and have. Now back to separating my personality from my coping mechanisms, I myself still don’t know which is which. I’ve never met me before that to know. That is one thing abusive childhood can do.

One of the things that also happens is that shouting lingers. I will catch myself standing completely still, listening to where the shouting is coming from, and bracing myself for what might happen next, even if I’m in a different country, even if there’s no sound at all.

That can be scary at times. It can trigger your fight-or-flight mode, but that’s okay. After years and years of listening to shouts every day and your brain storing them in your sub-conscience, it’s okay if your body doesn’t let go of it immediately.

This next one is a physical reaction. I mean, it’s anxiety, but with physical manifestations.

For me, my anxiety is in my gut and behind my ears. Aside from that, I also have blood-pressure showers (I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s a full-body reaction.) It ends in shaking, and my hands shake constantly. That is not the only way my anxiety manifests. Anxiety is a complex issue, but this one way is immediately and directly triggered by hearing loud voices and sounds. I just wanted to write this down. It’s not something other people notice, but it’s something that I think will be very hard to heal from.

I am also triggered by violence, feeling nauseous whenever I see or hear any form of violence, for example, in the movies. Certain objects also trigger me, and I won’t ever allow them in my house when I get my place one day.

The general ones, like mistrust and the need for reassurance, I won’t specify, just because I feel like these are known. Also, many specifics about it won’t fit into this post. I focused on the internal, so to call them, aspects.

There are many other things I didn’t write down, but at least scratching the surface is a good start. I started this blog for books and fun, but I also wanted to make it a place where I could let go of things and be unapologetic about what I wanted to say. It helps. It helps to let go and let the truth out.

I hope you find this post helpful. If you stayed until the end, thank you! It means so much to me to be able to speak up about this.

ANIMAL by Lisa Taddeo – dark and powerful


This is the book I find the hardest to sum my thoughts about. It’s not an easy read. Actually, it felt more like punches that never stopped coming. Animal by Lisa Taddeo is to be approached carefully (and not just story-wise. Check the TWs for this book!)

Animal by Lisa Taddeo - a review on My Little Hawk

ANIMAL by Lisa Taddeo


From Amazon:

From Lisa Taddeo, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon Three Women, comes an “intoxicating” (Entertainment Weekly), “fearless” (Los Angeles Times), and “explosive” (People) novel about “what happens when women are pushed beyond the brink, and what comes after the reckoning” (Esquire).

Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruelties of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child—that has haunted her every waking moment—while forging the power to finally strike back.

Animal is a depiction of female rage at its rawest, and a visceral exploration of the fallout from a male-dominated society.

Animal was part of my June read, and it is the first (but it definitely won’t be the last!) book by Lisa Taddeo I’ve read.

TW: drug abuse, sexual assault, rape, murder, abortion, miscarriage, suicide, adultery, violence, car crash, dementia


I honestly don’t know where to start with this one. I know I didn’t expect this when I started reading the book. I first found it on BookTok. I didn’t even look at the description much, I just saw it everywhere and thought: “Okay, I’ll read it.” Please, don’t make the same mistake. I don’t regret reading it, but you must check the trigger warnings beforehand.

I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me.

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

This is the opening line of the book that only gets darker from there. The man who shot himself was someone of importance in Joan’s life. He was Joan’s boss and a married man with kids. Only, there was something else there, too. But that day, Joan is on a date with another married man. She says she wasn’t always like that, but before we hear the rest, she leaves New York.

Joan’s on a quest to track down Alice, and until the end, we don’t know who Alice is or why it’s so important for Joan to find her. Also, Joan often addresses someone, saying: “She was a Pisces, like you.” This direct addressing at random parts in the story would sometimes throw me off because I couldn’t figure out who this “you” was.

That, and playing with the verb tenses, made me make the wrong guesses about what was to happen in the story. But only Joan knows the whole story, and she needs to be the one to tell it. She doesn’t just state the event (that’s almost always traumatic), we get to know about it through how she felt about it. That’s how we see her character.

Her explanation of the events is crucial in understanding Joan’s personality, drive, motivation, reactions, and the effect that different traumas she sustained or witnessed had on her.

The older the man, the more my specialty. I knew that when I met God one day it would go well.

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Animal by Lisa Taddeo - a review on My Little Hawk

Joan says she was observant as a kid, but considering she had a complicated relationship with her parents (the mommy/daddy issues), all those traits she had even then seemed like a form of a trauma response. Then, there are other events, too. Knowing her childhood and the events that transpired, it’s easier to understand her relationship with women and men in her adult life.

“like most of childhood, some darkness is downloaded, but you can’t decode it until later – “

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Rage is the one word that always comes up whenever there’s any talk about Animal. Some of Joan’s doings will seem too sickening, so to say, but I think no woman will ever not share this rage, even if she wants to suppress it and polish it out.

There’s a quote about rage that’s not from the book, and I don’t know where it’s from, but I think it fits well with the topic:

“Men think they’re so angry. They’re not angry. They’re just weak to the false power that aggression gives them. No man will ever understand the sheer, unearthly rage I feel inside when I, or any other woman, is treated lesser than for being a woman. Men do not own rage, it’s not theirs. It’s ours.”

Anyway, this book is something. I don’t even know what to call it (if I say ”beautiful” I mean that women are. Women are beautiful, awe-inspiring, loving, and fierce), but I would 100% recommend it to you.

Hope this post was fun! Have you read Animal already? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments 😀


“If you give me the slightest hint of abandonment and withdrawal, I would outdo you.”

Trust me to disappear easily, master of leaving. I didn’t abandon this blog. I’m struggling with those burning questions I always have more time to think of in this Mediterranean heat.

The Slightest Hint of Abandonment - a blog post on My Little Hawk


If I’m being honest with you, I don’t know what’s going on. My life lately consists of anger, weariness, wasting time on social media, and dissatisfaction. Oh, and dreaming of summer. I’ve never had one. It would be nice to have a glimpse of that vacation, carefree vibe people on the Internet have while they’re in my country. It’s a bit sad to think about how they experience my country more fully than me.

What makes me sad, actually, is how clenched and confined I am. It’s laughable. Somebody superglued my chrysalis, and I cannot get out. I’m running out of space, and the air is thinner, and I would soon suffocate if I didn’t learn to hold my breath.

It’s so easy to abandon myself in the summer. We did glorify the season, after all. It’s too bright outside not the notice the loneliness. Somebody’s words might have been my own: “I was growing less and less attached to life. If I kept going, I thought, I’d disappear completely, then reappear in some new form. This was my hope. This was the dream.”

The Slightest Hint of Abandonment - a blog post on My Little Hawk


I don’t know what I’m saying, dear screen. I’m thinking in sadness. Lately, I’ve been sharing glimpses of that sadness, but I never confronted the source. I’m scared, and it makes me angry. I want a simple life, an okay and quiet summer wearing what I want, going to the beach at least once, maybe going to get pizza with somebody, and not thinking about the bad things.

I’m tired of the support that comes from nowhere, and I have to feed on it because that’s all I’m ever going to get. There’s a story brewing in me, some words I need to spit out. If only I weren’t raised to be too polite to do it.

There’s a scream building in me. I’ve been biting my tongue for so long that my whole world could soon turn into a rage room. I don’t want to be unkind, but I am angry. Can this be considered a cry for help? If so, I’ve been doing it since forever, but I don’t think it’s working.

“I have a very childlike rage, and a very childlike loneliness.”


The things that make me happy make a list in the notebook I no longer use, and the items on the list are hypotheses. I think they would make me happy, but I wouldn’t know. It’s so sad that all that lies in the hands of a singular personified issue.

I’m angry. I’m angry. I’m angry. I’m also superstitious. I don’t like to repeat anything three times lest I invite it upon me. But since this anger’s been sitting on my chest for so long, I feel like that cheats the rule. I need to say it. It’s best to call our emotions for what they are.

I’m dehydrated, and I’ve been reading other people’s art on the Internet. If only I could at least make my problems beautiful. I would at least have something beautiful.

“I cannot bring myself to confess that I am lonely because if I say it out loud, any attention after echoes of false pity. Instead I cower in the quiet of my room and let the unbearable feeling knock the breath from my lungs. I grasp for something that is just out of reach. I’m sick and tired of writing about loneliness but rarely do I identify with anything else.”

Please accept this as my lousy comeback to blogging. I get back once more, never better.

The Slightest Hint of Abandonment - a blog post on My Little Hawk

Lies and Other Love Languages

Lies and Other Love Languages is nothing like what you would expect from the title. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story like this one. How can you even put lies and love in the same box? Well, this book showed me exactly how.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this book. I’m leaving this review voluntarily and all opinions are my own.


Lies and Other Love Languages

My voice feels changed, like everything I will ever say from now on will come out like this, surprised.

Lies and Other Love Languages by Sonali Dev

From Amazon:

From the bestselling author of The Vibrant Years comes an emotional story of three women navigating ugly truths and safe lies with only love to guide them on a journey of motherhood, friendship, and life.

Bestselling advice columnist Vandy Guru built her career teaching others how to live honestly and courageously, but after the loss of her husband, Vandy’s public veneer can barely conceal her grief. When her beloved daughter Mallika suddenly disappears and her estranged childhood best friend Rani returns, stirring up long-buried secrets, Vandy’s carefully crafted life feels at risk.

Aspiring choreographer Mallika Guru is tired of failure. When another audition ends in rejection, she signs up for a genetic study to find out why she’s so different from her accomplished family. But the results reveal her whole life to be a lie, and Rani seems to be the only one who knows the truth.

Rani Parekh sacrificed everything for Vandy once. But to hold on to the life she’s rebuilt, she must confront her troubled history and face Vandy and Mallika. Join these three extraordinary women as they journey from LA to Mumbai on an incredible path of discovery, hope, and love.

The book is out on September 26, 2023.

The story is told from Vandana, Mallika, and Rani’s POV. Vandy and Mallika’s POV gives us a glimpse of their lives in the present, and the story happens in a short time, a few days, but it’s not told chronologically. It takes many detours down various memory lines. Rani is the voice in the past primarily. The author also plays with the first and third-person narration. I think that works nicely with the plot and that lie-part of the love language.

About Lies and Other Love Languages

Lies and Other Love Languages by Sonali Dev

The story starts in a very light tone. The foreshadowing of how lies can be a form of love language is present throughout the book, but it starts on a light and relatable note. In Mallika’s chapters, we can see a fun dynamic within the family and the trust and love they have for each other. Each member has a unique personality, and it’s fun to see how that works together.

The men were great supporting characters, but this story was entirely about women and their relationships, devotion, sacrifice, betrayal and love. From each of our three main women’s POVs, there’s so much uncertainty and anxiety that poured over the paper and onto me. The story is full of grief, fear, and dance. But while the characters practice their wedding dances, they also try to dance around the issues in hopes that they won’t have to face them.

” […] Life is short, beta, and hindsight is a brutal b*tch.”

Lies and Other Love Languages by Sonali Dev

The initial worry, which was almost trivial, turned into a spiral of things that could/did go wrong. Suddenly, we’re no longer worried about where someone is but what they’ll find out there. The characters are drowning in regret so much that it rubs off on us readers, too.

The story is so very real, and that closeness to reality is what gave me mixed feelings by the end of it. The solution to some of the issues in Lies and Other Love Languages, or the descriptive choices made to create some scenes, didn’t work well for me. I probably would’ve taken a different approach to writing some parts of the story.

About the characters, their choices are not what most would agree with, but I loved how the author gave them all a space to develop and follow their beliefs. By doing so, she again brings the characters and the story closer to the reader.

Lies and Other Love Languages by Sonali Dev

This book is a beautiful illustration of the mother-daughter relationship, the mother’s love, and bonds stronger than blood. It’s not at all as light as it seems in the beginning. It gets really dark and complex. The wedding chaos, drunk thoughts, and pursuing different passions just break that darkness a little.

Lies and Other Love Languages was supposed to be my May read, and I’m running a bit late, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to read one of Sonali Dev‘s books. It was my first book from this author, and I would like to read more of her work.

Hope this post was fun, and I hope it convinces you to read this book when it comes out. Have you read any of Sonali Dev’s books before? If you have, how did you like them? Let me know in the comments! 😀

Coin for a Dream – Mae Adams

Coin for a Dream: And Other Korean Tales is a sweet and fun collection of short stories tied to Korean culture and history. The author hears all these stories in her grandparent’s house, where she spends the first years of her life. The stories are short, all have a message of some sort and are diverse in topics. Although the stories mostly have a light theme, especially toward the end, you can also feel the heaviness and a more mature note.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Coin for a Dream: And Other Korean Tales

From Amazon:

Author Mae Adams’ latest book is a fascinating assembly of intriguing tales full of colorful characters such as monks and shamans, kings and queens, ginseng boys, grateful ghosts and magpies, and a host of others to entertain you and experience the wonders of ancient rites and cultures of Korea. While reading it, you will hear lepers sing for their supper, watch goblins wrestle, feel a tiger’s sorrow, taste snake soup, and touch a Taoist Immortal God’s hand. It will take your mind on an emotional roller coaster ride from grief to joy, tears to laughter.

Adams enchants readers with conversational stories with unexpected twists and turns from her perspective as a young girl, collecting tidbits and folklore from her grandparents and her life story. The myths, legends, and folk tales also have great importance and give us moral lessons we can apply in our times.

Coin for a Dream: And Other Korean Tales by Mae Adams - a review

About Coin for a Dream

I was familiar with some of the stories in this collection. Some were entirely new, while some reminded me of the stories in other mythologies, like Blood-Red Serpent Flowers, which has a pandan of sorts in the Greek story about King Aegeus and his son Theseus.

My favorite story is the one called Who Tolled the Temple Bells? I gasped and had to stop reading because of the shock and sadness of that story. It was told in such a simple way, but I think that added to the surprise in the end.

That’s another thing that’s worth mentioning. What I loved about this collection was the voice. The author listened to these stories in her childhood, so the language is simple and toned so a child can understand them. She maintained that childlike level of narrating to make the stories and the atmosphere more authentic.

Toward the end, we see glimpses of the author later in life and finally, as an adult that reflects on her past life. Having introduced us to this life of folklore and stories as a child and then closing that chapter in the present day, after a pause between the two periods, it brings Coin for a Dream full circle. We can really see how her childhood shaped her when we hear her adult voice.

As I mentioned before, even though the stories are mostly light and fun, viewing them as a whole, Coin for a Dream carries a certain heaviness. I felt this brief moment of sadness coming to the end of this book. That is also a result of saying goodbye, with the author, to that life and the people in it.

Korean Folklore in Coin for a Dream

The primary reason why I chose to read this book is because I’m fascinated with Korean culture and folklore. That’s why this book was the perfect match for me. I learned so much from Coin for a Dream. Many tales explain the zodiac, the good and bad omens, and the animals and their symbolism.

If any historical or religious facts are mentioned, the author always offers context and explanations, but in a way that doesn’t dull the stories. None of the information was overbearing toward where it would affect the reading.

If you’re looking for a book that’s a great source to get to know Korean culture and folklore but is also a fun and short read, this is the book for you.

Hope this post was fun! Will you be giving this book a try? Maybe you have some other recommendations for me on Korean culture and folklore? Let me know in the comments! 😀

The Best 6 Books to Read This June

Summer is fast approaching, and we can’t have our hot girl summer without a good book in our tote bags. Plus, these books have been on my TBR for a while now. So, today’s post is about the best 6 books to read this June.

The Best 6 Books to Read this June

Everybody knows what the beach essentials are: a towel, sunscreen, water, and a book. Also, everybody knows that the only beach I’ll be seeing is the one in my dreams, the only sea will be a sea of books and the material for the exams and the stress washing over me. But when’s the best time to read if not when you have absolutely no time to do it?
Anyway, drumrolls, please! Here’s the best 6 books to read this June.

A CERTAIN HUNGER by Chelsea G. Summers

The Best 6 Books To Read This June
- A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers

From the publisher:

Dorothy Daniels has always had a voracious – and adventurous – appetite. From her idyllic farm-to-table childhood (homegrown tomatoes, thick slices of freshly baked bread) to the heights of her career as a food critic (white truffles washed down with Barolo straight from the bottle) Dorothy has never been shy about indulging her exquisite tastes – even when it lead to her plunging an ice pick into her lover’s neck.

There is something inside Dorothy that makes her different from everybody else. Something she’s finally ready to confess. But beware: her story just might make you wonder how your lover would taste sautéed with shallots and mushrooms and deglazed with a little red wine.

Get it on Amazon.

BREASTS AND EGGS by Mieko Kawakami

The Best 6 Books To Read This June
- Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

From the publisher:

Challenging every preconception about storytelling and prose style, mixing wry humor and riveting emotional depth, Kawakami is today one of Japan’s most important and best-selling writers. She exploded onto the cultural scene first as a musician, then as a poet and popular blogger, and is now an award-winning novelist.

Breasts and Eggs paints a portrait of contemporary womanhood in Japan and recounts the intimate journeys of three women as they confront oppressive mores and their own uncertainties on the road to finding peace and futures they can truly call their own. It tells the story of three women: the thirty-year-old Natsu, her older sister, Makiko, and Makiko’s daughter, Midoriko. Makiko has traveled to Tokyo in search of an affordable breast enhancement procedure. She is accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently grown silent, finding herself unable to voice the vague yet overwhelming pressures associated with growing up. Her silence proves a catalyst for each woman to confront her fears and frustrations.

On another hot summer’s day ten years later, Natsu, on a journey back to her native city, struggles with her own indeterminate identity as she confronts anxieties about growing old alone and childless. Kawakami’s first novella My Ego, My Teeth, and the World, published in Japan in 2007, was awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. The following year, she published Breasts and Eggs as a short novella, and won praise from Yoko Ogawa and Haruki Murakami. The newly expanded Breasts and Eggs is her first novel to be published in English.

Get it on Amazon.


The Best 6 Books To Read This June
- Single Bald Female by Laura Price

From the publisher:

Jessica Jackson has hit all her personal milestones for turning thirty – the career, the loving boyfriend and a cosy London flat they share with their cat. But a shock diagnosis of breast cancer turns Jess’s world upside down, and her contented life implodes with it.

Around her, her friends’ lives continue to follow the script, with the big white weddings and the baby scans. With her own future so uncertain, the only thing Jess is sure of is that she’s being left behind.

But then she meets Annabel, an enigmatic twenty-seven year old with incurable cancer. While Annabel may not have long left, she understands much more about living than anyone Jess has ever met. And she’s determined to show Jess how to make every day count…

Get it on Amazon.


The Best 6 Books To Read This June
- Last of the Talons by Sophie Kim

From the publisher:

After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina—the Reaper of Sunpo—is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game…

Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life—if she kills him first.

Now a terrible game of life and death has begun, and even Lina’s swift, precise blade is no match for the magnetic Haneul Rui. Lina will have to use every weapon in her arsenal if she wants to outplay this cunning king and save her sister…all before the final grain of sand leaks out of the hourglass.

Because one way or another, she’ll take Rui’s heart.

Even if it means giving up her own. 

(This one’s a reread for me, and I’m crazy in love with this book! I reviewed it here a while back. The sequel comes out on October 5, 2023)

Get it on Amazon.

ANIMAL by Lisa Taddeo

 The Best 6 Books To Read This June
- Animal by Lisa Taddeo

From the publisher:

Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruelties of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child—that has haunted her every waking moment—while forging the power to finally strike back.

Animal is a depiction of female rage at its rawest, and a visceral exploration of the fallout from a male-dominated society.

Get it on Amazon.


The Best 6 Books To Read This June
- Women Who Run With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.

From the publisher:

Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women. But she is an endangered species. For though the gifts of wildish nature belong to us at birth, society’s attempt to “civilize” us into rigid roles has muffled the deep, life-giving messages of our own souls.

In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, many from her own traditions, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman, and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine.

Dr. Estés has created a new lexicon for describing the female psyche. Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.

Get it on Amazon.

Our list of the best 6 books to read this June stops here, but don’t let that stop you from reading more. Grab a book and go get that tan!

The Best 6 Books To Read This June

Do you have your June TBR pile ready? Are any of these books on the list? Let me know in the comments.

Procrastination as My Worst Enemy

I’ve been delaying doing anything on my to-do list for no good reason. I’m behind on everything. So, in this post, I decided to name the problem. Today, I’m going to be talking about procrastination.

A Preview to Procrastination

A few summers ago, I decided not to get a summer job. Two summers before that, I worked as a waitress, and the jobs were okay. But that third summer, I finished my second year of studies, everything caught up to me, and I needed a break. I think that’s when my procrastination started.

That was the summer I came to my parents asking for help. In hindsight, that was the worst thing I could’ve done. I gave my one vulnerability to someone who mocked it and blamed me for trying to ruin and embarrass the family. Trust me to not know who to trust.

Because that’s what mental health is here. I’ve been pushing this issue for a long time because nobody takes these things seriously where I’m from, even when they prove themselves to be dangerous. But, good thing I’m a fast learner. Everything I know about mental health, I learned through trial and error. I got hurt. And then again and again until I figured it out. And I did figure it out. I have scars to prove it. Anyway, I wanted to talk about one other aspect, or symptom of this problem – procrastination. Why I never used to have this problem, and why it’s my roommate now.

procrastination after burnout
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Procrastination After the Burnout

Leaving one trivial issue without a solution will make it a heavy burden after a while. When the problem is weighty, to begin with, it might crush you. Before realizing what my problem was and figuring out the source (this was harder to find out), I just knew something was wrong. And to escape it, I ran to every side. Books, the forever-proven way to escape reality, were my first and probably the only healthy option.

In the beginning, procrastination wasn’t something I was dealing with. There was no postponing anything, nothing to leave for later because no time was enough time. All of my time had to be occupied, and my mind was constantly busy.

It came later, in a big way, after the burnout. With that came another issue. In all my procrastinating, I still had to keep up my image. I couldn’t admit my defeat. I was always a good student, an obedient daughter, and easy to work with. I couldn’t betray that status. It was easy to lie. Or it became easy after a while. Be general enough, and they’ll never know.

And so I fed my procrastination. I let it unfold. I let anxiety swallow me whole at night when I should be sleeping. I was fighting for breath, trying to bargain with it with empty promises of a more productive tomorrow.

Social media and living alone don’t help this. I’m embarrassed whenever I get the notification about how many hours I’ve spent online. And so it goes, one exam season after another, preparing seminars two days before the deadline, betraying my blog posting schedule and all of my projects forgotten somewhere in the drafts, all because I procrastinate.

I procrastinate on my health, too. On some appointments, I’m years behind. I’m even worse with the little things I could solve myself. There’s always a convincing reason why I can’t do something now. I waste time like it’s promised, never learning.

Procrastination is my worst enemy now, the one I’m looking in the face but never facing. “It’s the one obstacle I need to pass to be able to live fully.” But I guess that’s scary. What if all my efforts serve nothing? I’d sooner deceive myself and blame it on procrastination than admit that it‘s not what controls me and that it’s just a different name I gave to my fear.

That’s why procrastination is my biggest problem, because of how much I need it. It hides the sight of failure that lurks in the next moment.

Thank you for listening to my ramble. I hope this post was fun. Do you deal with this issue? If so, how do you fight it? Let me know down below.

Tables, conversations, and safe spaces

Are we giving some topics a seat at the table, or is our table just a side table for kids so they don’t bother the grown-ups? That’s how I feel when I talk about mental health for example, or women’s status in society. Does that seat count, and how important is it to have it?

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Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

Safe spaces

When we find a nook on the Internet to talk about these topics, we attract like-minded people, and that’s great. But the thing is, we all already know that’s important. We need others to understand it, too. We are not breaking the barriers when we are in this bubble with others like us. That’s a safe space. It’s safe to stay inside, but the bubble is actually a barrier.

Now, what I mean by that is I always feel comfortable talking about mental health, for example. Or rather, I talk about it, comfortable or not. And I’ve surrounded myself with people who understand it, can relate to it, or make me feel safe enough. That means I sometimes fool myself into thinking everyone is like that, and then I meet an “unsafe” person, and it hits me like a wave.

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Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on


For example, recently, I had a conversation with my neighbor that deeply disturbed me. The city I live in is not the safest. We, young women and girls, are sharing messages about predators, the attacks, the places to avoid, and the descriptions of men or cars to be mindful of. That’s how we keep each other safe.

In conversation, I mentioned this to my neighbor. There was also an instance when I got back from classes to find the wall around my doors damaged. I was scared someone might have tried to get it. Turns out, it was the neighbor from upstairs moving something and accidentally scratching the wall. For some reason, that was laughable to this neighbor I was talking to. I am paranoid.

I am paranoid to think that in a city that is dangerous, where justice, especially for women, is slow, where there are predators attacking women in broad daylight, where I feel the gaze of old men on me when I pass them by, someone might have followed me home.

But no, that wasn’t shocking. What disturbed me was that I had to explain to an adult, a mother of two sons, one of which was in the room with us that day, that 15-to-20-year-old girls can’t possibly give 40-50-something-year-old men a reason to approach or attack them. She said to me that this only happens to girls who provoke it.

A few years back, I had to discuss with my uncle that my body is not someone’s political opinion. I was again talking about safety.

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Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on


My attachment issues, my trust issues, and my anxiety attacks are things I’m okay talking about. It’s fine with people I can confide in. Those people are rare. I can’t talk about that in my family. I can’t talk about it with most of my colleagues at the Uni. I can’t talk about it with my neighbors, with grown-ups.

I’ve been holding these conversations for as long as I can remember. And disappointingly, things are exactly the same as they were a decade ago.

They are going to try to isolate you. When you start talking about whatever issue, they’ll try to do that. Make you feel like you’re the only one who believes that. It’s your own little fantasy. Nobody else thinks like that. It’s infuriating, and I don’t know what pushes them to do that. They’ll use everything they’ve got to silence you, to keep their peace. Otherwise, it makes them uncomfortable.

Well, one thing about me, I’ve learned how to make people uncomfortable right back. I’m in the era of understanding things where I’m mature enough to know it’s a difficult question but immature enough to pick every fight. I know it’s uncomfortable. That’s not why we hide it in the cupboards. When the milk starts smelling funny, do you put it back in the fridge and wait for the space to air out? Great, now the whole place stinks.

I’m tired. I’m angry because I’m tired of the change that’s never coming. Why are we repainting the walls when they rot from the inside? I know you want it to look good from the outside, but I don’t care about the aesthetic. It’s not safe to live there.

So, where’s the real table? There’s so much I don’t know about. I want to listen. There are people who can say and contribute more than me. I want to talk because it’s important. But give us the mic this time. To whoever this plea goes, the kids grew up.


On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Beautiful and full of monsters

I judge fantasy books based on their ability to contort reality, making me believe this entirely fictional world is real. What I focus on is the dynamic nature of a fantasy story. In that plot-twist atmosphere, conspiracies, magic, running, and fighting (if it’s all done well), I can sometimes overlook some imperfections in the world-building. That still makes for a great book, and I will praise it when I finish reading it, but the enthusiasm will probably disappear with my next read.

The books that check all the boxes and leave me in awe are rare. Those are the ones where I feel like I’m closing the doors to an entirely new universe when I turn the last page, and I can still see the light of those strange stars shining from it. That light is the magic they spilled on me, showing me a beautiful dream a human has threaded while awake.

This was Strange the Dreamer for me. I read it for the first time a few years back, and since then, it’s been on my shelf glistening and waiting for me to pick it up again. For some reason (and I really don’t know what that reason was – I have no excuse), I never picked up the sequel, and I can’t believe I let that happen.

Strange the Dreamer – a Hero of No Story Ever Told

Every mind is its own world. Most occupy a vast middle ground of ordinary, while others are more distinct: pleasant, even beautiful, or sometimes slippery and unaccountably wrong-feeling.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor’s mind is brilliant. I am so happy that the world has the chance to witness that. There’s not a moment in this book where my focus dropped. Her voice and just general storytelling are so unique.

I love that she used the third-person narration because we’re obviously one step ahead of the characters, and we realize and connect things before them, but I also like how intimately we get to know their thoughts. The third-person narration doesn’t create distance between the character and the reader.

Lazlo couldn’t have belonged at the library more truly if he were a book himself.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Dreamy world of Lazlo Strange

Obviously, a big part of this story is the world of dreams. Dreams are a particular pocket of our conscience that almost have no rules to abide by. That’s why it’s always fun to see them in books. In Strange the Dreamer, we see in such a creative way just how they can be used to thread the story. Laini Taylor used the characteristics of dreams, like no borders, shifting through scenes, and changing shapes, and gave the story a unique flow.

But in the world of dreams also resides the nightmare. Strange the Dreamer perfectly showed how nightmares affect people and what feeds those nightmares, and it was just a great depiction of the process of dreaming. That part, the torment, and the agony were executed fantastically. As I said, the real life of the characters in the book, and their trauma, have a lot to do with what they dream of, and I love how Strange the Dreamer connects those two realities. It makes it so much more terrifying and dreadful.

Strange the Dreamer Come to Life

The motif of dreams ties well with the next point of the book I want to talk about. That is the voice and the narration. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that was this poetic, and it’s what got me the most in Strange the Dreamer. Everything felt like poetry. I got a sense of the full richness of language through this book.

I’m a very visual person, and this book gave me everything. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can always envision everything a book describes except the characters’ faces and then came this book. It’s so vivid. It masters visual presentation like no other, and that’s where its magic lies. I could give so many examples of this, but just Lazlo’s description is enough. I could see him clearly the whole time. Laini Taylor wrote details that keep the book – any aspect of it – so real and alive.

A Dream to a Nightmare

Looking at the story itself, it managed to be dreamy, sweet, magical, infuriating, gut-wrenching, dynamic, terrifying, and exciting all in one. Lazlo was an optimist who saw the light and beauty in everything. He was so innocent in his view of the world. I loved how his character developed throughout the book. Everyone liked him. He was just like that. He was definitely giving golden retriever energy. He dreamed big and made his dream come true.

His actual dreams were a safe space both for him and Sarai to hide in and for us readers to read. It was the one place all of us could escape to, to hide from the nightmare outside.

I loved his relationship with Calixte. Their friendship and humor were a much-needed pause from all the overall terror of the story. They acted like siblings, and I like how it made Lazlo comfortable to hold conversations and show his wit. From the loner librarian, he really blossomed in Weep (which sounds so ironic).

Strange the Dreamer gave us many tragic stories. They were so hard to digest because of how layered they were. Everyone was right in their reasoning, which is the most agonizing part. It showed different ways trauma affects people. It burdens them, guides their choices, and confronts them with each other.

She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

In that aspect, the story of Sarai was incredibly sad. She is the only one who knows both sides of the story and is torn between them. Her hopelessness and the loneliness she feels are so real and present. At times it felt factual, which is the ultimate loss of hope.

Every character deserves their own mention, but the Minya – Eril-Fane link was particularly complex. I feel like they are the two faces of the same coin. They both act the same and have the same determination. They are two different results of the same trauma, so they oppose each other directly.

Minya was the hardest character to understand. The trauma consumed and corrupted her. At times it feels like she’s trapped inside her own mind. I feel like that predestines her character because there’s only one solution for her.

Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares

Moth by moth, the tale of Strange the Dreamer unraveled. And when I turned around, it was dawn, and the sun shined again. But I don’t have to blink the dreams away just yet…

I’ll wrap this review up, so I can go back to reading the sequel – Muse of Nightmares. I have so much more to say about our ever Strange, the Forever Dreamer. There are so many things in this book to discuss, although all the analyses will lead to the same conclusion – I want to memorize every single word, so I always have this book with me. I want it tattooed on me. I love it, and also please read it (or reread it), so we can both gush over it.

Have you read Strange the Dreamer? How did you like it? If you haven’t, go do it. It’s okay, you can thank me later 😉

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