Monday, August 8, 2022

Parts of Me: Lost and Found by Cisel Ozbay – Poetry Book Review

Blog cover feature a book cover of a poetry collection titled Parts of Me: Lost and Found by Cisel Ozbay

Today, I'm featuring one of my really late and overdue book reviews. I first received a copy of Lost and Found from its author Cisel Ozbay in March 2021 and I did read the book a month later. But 2021 was the year of book blogger's block for me and I couldn't write any reviews for months on end. 

So without further ado, here's the book synopsis followed by my review for Cisel Ozbay's Lost and Found, a poetry collection featuring 71 short, free-verse poems.  


Lost and Found is a poetry book which contains a compilation of short philosophical poems. The book attempts to capture the author's personal journey: all the ways she has lost herself and the lessons that she has found in doing so.

The author deploys a simple writing style, as she believes a lot can be expressed by saying little. This is a deeply meaningful book with many ideas relating to the human experience.

Book Review of Parts of Me: Lost and Found


Parts of Me: Lost and Found opens with “Find,” which is something many people talk about today. It's short and Ozbey says a lot in a few words. 

“To be yourself, you need to find yourself.

And that is all life really is –

Finding yourself.”

“All” is one of the longer pieces in the collection but one of the most beautiful. It’s personal and emotional. Similarly, “Heavy” is a long, dark, and personal piece that I enjoyed.

“Futile” hit home for me because it reminds me of someone who doesn’t see the futility of their ‘lack of efforts’ or the they’re going about their work.

The poem “Contrast” is a good read but it didn’t feel poetic to me. And there were a few poems that were vague to me such as “Ash,” “Consciousness,” among others.

Some of the pieces in Lost and Found read like thoughts, ideas, and quotes. Many pieces had ‘big words’ you normally wouldn’t see in a poem, while others had really formal language. It was the first time for me to see ‘Firstly’ and ‘secondly’ in a poem!

Overall rating for Parts of Me: Lost and Found by Cisel Ozbay: 3 stars.

Note: I received a free copy of Parts of Me: Lost and Found from its author Cisel Ozbay in exchange for an honest review. This did not in any way affect my review.

Note 2: The collection is written in British English.

About the Author:

Cisel Ozbay is an author from London who began writing during her time at university in Aberdeen. She was inspired by her own life experiences and the turbulent times in her life.

Acknowledging the benefits of writing on her own self growth she now writes regularly. Her Parts Of Me: From Me to You, and Parts Of Me: Lost of Found books contain poems written during this same period in her life.

Connect with Cisel and read more of her poetry via Instagram.


Friday, August 5, 2022

Stanley Park by Sapphira Olson – Poetry Book Review

Stanley Park by Sapphira Olsen book review with a book cover and black background

Today, I’m featuring a poetry collection book review. This is one of my late book reviews from 2021. I had received a free copy of Stanley Park from its author Sapphira Olson in exchange for an honest book review.

I had originally planned to read and review Stanley Park for National Poetry Month 2021 or 2022, but due to a severe case of book blogger’s block, this didn’t happen.

So here’s the synopsis for Stanley Park:

A sorrow has taken root in my heart, and although it hurts every day I know there is a place where we laugh together under an open sky.

To that sanctuary, I am travelling.

This is that story. 

Stanley Park is a collection of 35 poems from PARABLES author Sapphira Olson charting the story of two lovers through history as they are separated and then reunited all within the island of Stanley Park in Vancouver. Olson weaves a beautiful and poignant narrative through a progression of emotional poetry taking the reader on a journey of hope driven by love.

Incorporating poems inspired by Squamish Nation history & legends, the collection explores themes of immortality, love, loss, the nature of consciousness and culture.

Stanley Park itself is a beautiful 405-hectare public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and is mostly surrounded by waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. The park has a long history and was one of the first areas to be explored in the city.

"What shall it profit you if you turn the whole world into a gasometer and lose your own souls?" Thomas H. Mawson about Stanley Park in his 1912 address to the Canadian Club.

Book Review of Stanley Park

Stanley Park by Sapphira Olson is a poetry collection comprising 35 poems of varying lengths. Sapphira's poems are mostly free verse but they paint a vivid picture and setting.

The collection opens with a few famous quotes. And I liked that 😊

The first poem in Stanley Park is “Arboretum,” a beautiful piece with lots of visual imagery along with some religious and mythological references.

I loved this stanza from “Arboretum”

I also loved the piece titled “Awkward Motion Towards a First Kiss.” I read it twice to let it sink in. The poem starts with long lines and slowly the lines grow shorter as the emotions grow stronger. 

As you read Stanley Park, you’ll notice a few recurring themes such as finding a lost love, connecting and getting back together, and finding the person you love. 

“The Great World of Womanhood” is a long but stunningly beautiful story. I didn’t feel it was poetic, more like prose than poetry but I loved it all the same.

“The Hollow Tree” was another piece that didn’t feel poetic for me. I didn’t understand the story in it but wanted to know more about it. It’s a sad piece.

At the beginning of the book, Olson includes a map of Stanley Park, which Olson clearly has a strong connection with. However, as a reader with no knowledge of the place or background about the author, I felt a bit lost and confused with some pieces, especially those that focused on Stanley Park as a location with memories for Olson.

“The Love of Silent Replies” is a poem that combines reality with mythology. Enjoyable and beautiful.

There were a few pieces in Stanley Park that I didn’t understand. I guess the author had something specific in mind while writing them or that they related to something personal of hers. They weren’t clear to me.

“The Women of Sagalie Tyee” is a beautiful story within a poem that gives this feeling of transcending. Meanwhile, “The Secret of Eternal Flight” is one of those non-poetic pieces, in my opinion. This was made even more so by the use of long and big words like ‘morphological.’

“If Ever a Woman Lost a Throne” is one of the longer but most beautiful pieces in Stanley Park. It celebrates womanhood and offers a stand against the ‘white man’ theme. 

I absolutely loved “When the Whole World Was in Bloom,” which opens with:

“We fashioned ourselves from a treasure house of stories,

When the whole world was in bloom.

A moment of ascension: just the two of us,

A fertile soil over sandstone and shale.”


Other highly recommended poems in Stanley Park:

  • “We Fall in Love with Stanley Park”
  • “The Journey”
  • “The Roses Bloom in June”
  • “The Storm”
  • “A Supernatural Footnote”
  • “A Land of Splendid Beauty”


Overall, I thought Stanley Park by Sapphira Olson was a beautiful and visual poetry collection. Though I found some of the pieces to be confusing, I enjoyed many others (mentioned above). 

Overall rating of Stanley Park by Sapphira Olson: 3 stars

Note: I received a free copy of Stanley Park from its author Sapphira Olson in exchange for an honest review. This did not in any way impact my review.

Add Stanley Park by Sapphira Olson on Goodreads. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

Did you know you could get book blogger’s block?

Did you know you could get book blogger’s block

When I first started blogging about books, I wasn’t familiar with the term ‘book blogger.’ But that was in 2011 or so. Fast forward a decade (wow! All that time has passed!) and I’m a book blogger with an oversized and highly-unlikely-to-finish reading list.

But come 2021 and something rather odd happened to me.

I enjoyed reading books but I just couldn’t sit down and write the reviews. I know my book reviews are detailed. I like to cover many aspects of a book to give it a fair rating and to tell readers what I liked and disliked about a book.

Read: 8 Ways to Write Powerful Book Reviews

I also know that it takes me a while to sift through my notes and write the review. Recently, I’ve added a small task of creating a couple of images on Canva to go with the review.

I’ve gotten faster at this. But still the whole process of writing the review, adding images, uploading both, and ensuring the fonts are the same throughout… all of this takes at least 2 hours. Sometimes longer with non-fiction books.


But last year, I just couldn’t sit down and write. As a poet and writer, I know what writer’s block is. But book blogger’s block? What was that? Did you know you could get book blogger’s block? Did I know that?!

What is book blogger’s block?

Put simply, book blogger’s block is when you are unable to get your words and thoughts about a book on to a page. It’s a lot like writer’s block, but unlike it, book blogger’s block doesn’t need a ton of inspiration.

You write your notes about a certain book – whether as sticky notes or e-notes if you’re using a e-reader like a Kindle or Nook, and then you compile them into something intelligible.

But even with writing a review that involves some copying here and there, it turns out you can get put off or blocked too.

Image via Pexels

There’s another case of book blogger’s block where you’re not in the mood to read books – especially those that land in your inbox as review requests.

Sometimes you want to get back to your own books, the ones collecting dust on the shelves. And sometimes you’re in the mood for binge-watching Netflix or any other streamer’s series. And sometimes life just gets too much and you can’t do anything.

That’s what book blogger’s block is. At least, that’s my personal definition of it. I’d like to hear what other book bloggers have to say.

My book blogger’s block in 2021  

So for the most part, I barely published any reviews – or writing for that matter – in 2021. I didn’t publish a single post between June and December 2021. 

I only started posting reviews again in 2022. Though I was shocked that all that time had passed and I was unaware of my delayed posting.

I do know that one of the reasons I haven’t been able to write reviews as before is that I’d been too focused on my freelance writing business. Which is a good thing because now I have name – more-or-less – in the B2B copywriting sphere.

But at the same time, all my work is about researching and writing. So with book reviews, there’s even more writing. And my reviews are long. I’ve tried to trim them but I’ve not gotten there just yet.


Have you experience book bloggers’ block before? Do you have a different definition you’d like to share (and I’d love to add it).