Women Who Run With The Wolves

women who run with the wolves clarissa pinkola estes book review

I can’t even begin to describe this book in a way that does it justice. It can be intimidating at first, especially since Jungian psychology can be a bit off/weird. I highly suggest you look up who Carl Jung was so you can have a better understanding of the points made by the author. Another suggestion is to keep an open mind while reading this book, as not everything is meant to be taken literally. 

The purpose of the book is to explore fairy tales or stories by breaking them down into parts. Each one of the elements represents a part of a woman’s psyche and Pinkola does a wonderful at analyzing each deeply. 

Just a brief FYI, the term psyche means human soul, mind, or spirit. Therefore, psychology initially was defined as the study of the soul. 

It contains a total of 16 chapters, these are some of the stories that were studied:

  • The Wolf Woman (La Loba)
  • Bluebeard
  • Vasalia the Wise
  • Manawee
  • Skeleton Woman
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • The Red Shoes
  • Sealskin, Soulskin
  • La Llorona
  • The Little Match Girl
  • The Crescent Moon Bear
  • The Handless Maiden
Continue reading Women Who Run With The Wolves

Review: Six Of Crows

Six Of Crows follows the story of a group of teen misfits led by Kaz Brekker, also known as Dirtyhands — because no job is too dirty or too dangerous for him. They embark on an impossible mission that requires breaking into the world’s most secured prison, the reward being a sum of money beyond their craziest dreams. Except that things don’t go as planned.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading it. I was confused during the first few chapters, trying to remember the names of the characters and places. Not to mention, I was completely clueless on what a Grisha is so I had to Google it, even though it’s later explained in the book.

Wow. I was completely mind-blown. This book is action-packed, the plot has so many turns — my heart was racing during the last two sections. I loved how it’s written from the perspective of different characters. Even though it’s in the third person, it felt very close. The backstories are detailed and enable us to learn more about these characters and empathize with them, despite their actions. Oh and let’s not forget the three romantic relationships that are developed through out the story, each different but equally lovely!

My only critique is how everything had a solution. Yes, Kaz is clever and was always a step ahead. But in reality, sometimes things go wrong and there’s no plan to back it up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a negative person wishing for some catastrophe to occur. But if some of the events wouldn’t have been fully solved, it would’ve felt more tangible.

Regardless, I highly recommend this book. And even though I haven’t read Shadow and Bone yet, I’ll start watching the show on Netflix. I will, however, read the rest of the Grishaverse books as soon as I get the chance!

Rating: 4/5

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.” 

Leigh Bardugo, Six Of Crows

Review: Herbarium, Las flores de Gideon

Herbarium, Las flores de Gideon begins with Sarah returning to Oxford following her father’s death. She had moved to Brasilia five years ago after her father told her an unexpected truth about her past, which caused her to run away. During her stay in Oxford, she visits her grandmother, who is now suffering from Alzheimer’s, and staying at a retirement home. Her grandma asks for her help to find Gideon’s flowers that are hidden in copies of Jane Eyre. Sarah doesn’t understand what this means, and while looking for an explanation, she realizes the only person who can help her is Liam, her ex. She didn’t expect the friendliest welcoming on his part, but the distant and cold behavior he shows instead confuses and hurts her more than she had expected. The deeper she digs, the more she realizes that there are parts of her past she can’t run away from and that to make amends, she must stop escaping.

I had a love-hate relationship with this book. I loved it because the plot was very intricate and well-developed. At first, nothing makes sense, but as Sarah begins to learn the correlation between events, it becomes easier to understand what’s going on. Not to mention, I found the analyses of Jane Eyre captivating and how the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester could be seen as an analogy between Sarah and Liam. Also, I love flowers, and since this book discusses flowers and their meaning, I don’t think I have to explain why I enjoyed the story so much.

I would love to give this book five stars, but I can’t. I found the writing style to be rather plain. The first half of the story is written in first person from Sarah’s perspective. The second half is written in third person since it describes Liam’s perspective somewhat more. I did not see the point in doing this. The entire story could have been written in third person, perhaps except for Gideon’s chapters.

Some parts of the novel felt rather cliché, predictable and redundant. I couldn’t relate to the main characters, since almost all of their problems have roots in miscommunication, which made them appear more immature than they were supposed to. The ending was resolved too quickly, like all of a sudden the characters are living happily ever after, but there are no specific details into how that was achieved. Oh, and let’s not forget about the stereotype with the tea. I’ve never visited the UK, though it’s universal knowledge that the British love drinking tea. However, I think the author over-did it a bit.

Even though it did not meet my overall expectations, it was an entertaining read. It had the potential to be five star worthy. I believe it could make an excellent movie or series.

Rating: 3/5

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

I am still in awe, this book left me completely speechless. A Court of Mist and Fury, which is the second in the saga, begins with Feyre back at the Spring Court after surviving Amarantha. But she’s not the same — besides being an immortal, she’s anything but happy at her new home. Feyre is suffering from PTSD, and the most unexpected person (faerie) might be able to help her recover and realize that she can decide how to shape her future. Yes, that unexpected individual is Rhysand.

I know this is a fantasy novel, but the PTSD symptoms were portrayed accurately. The dynamics in the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin are also realistic if you of course remove Tamlin’s supernatural powers. But the red flags are the same, and I’m sure many women can relate to Feyre. I loved seeing the way she matured and transformed, both mentally and physically. I won’t get into details because that would imply sharing spoilers (and I want to keep this spoiler-free). But the plot keeps getting more intertwined and previous events start to make more sense.

It’s everything I would’ve expected and more. I laughed, I cried, got angry, and everything in between. This book made me feel all the feels, and I’m not exaggerating. It felt like being on a roller coaster, which was amazing. The only bad thing is that the book I’ve started after finishing this one feels more like a walk in the park and it’s not as thrilling (though I’m sure if I hadn’t read ACOTAR I would be enjoying it way more). So props to the author for even allowing this to be possible. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this involved with a book.

I even created a playlist inspired by it, you can listen to it here. I’ve ordered the third book in physical because the iPad was starting to strain my eyes a bit. As soon as I get the chance, I’ll buy the entire collection.

Rating: 5/5

“To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys.” Rhys clinked his glass against mine. “To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”

Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury

Review: Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown is a book that discusses connection and vulnerability — and how by allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you’re actually being courageous. Yes, it might sound contradicting and even a bit like nonsense, that’s why you need to read this book. First off, Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure”.

Vulnerability is closely related to shame. Though it’s not one of the six basic human emotions, shame is a universal feeling that all of us have experienced at one point or another. The thing about shame is that people don’t talk about it because it’s uncomfortable, and by simply addressing it makes us feel defenseless. But the key to overcome it is communication. Shame has infiltrated cultures and communities in numerous ways. Many wrong things that happen nowadays at companies and schools have their source in shame.

The main takeaway that I’ll start putting into practice immediately is regarding how we talk to ourselves. Changing that judgemental internal voice makes a huge difference. It’s not the same telling yourself “I’m a failure” vs. “I made a mistake on this occasion”. This is something we learn as kids from the environment we grew up in, but it’s never too late to unlearn and shift the way we see things. We are worthy, we are enough.

All of the information the author shares is based on research. There are plenty of examples from the interviews she’s held with participants, other researchers, and experiences of her own. It was a bit redundant at times, but the writing style was fluid and easy-going; it felt like chatting with a friend.

There is even a small workbook at the end, where all sorts of questions are included to help and guide the reader through a process of introspection.

If you’re still not sure whether this book is for you, I recommend you check out Brené Brown’s TED Talk.

Rating: 4/5

Review: The House on Mango Street

the house on mango street sandra cisneros

The House on Mango Street centers on Esperanza Cordero, a 12-year old Mexican-American girl who lives in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago. It narrates a one-year time span in the life of Esperanza, starting when she and her family move to a house located in Mango Street.

It’s a coming of age story where we witness how Esperanza matures during that year and begins to face the realities surrounding her community. At first, her perspective is innocent and she doesn’t fully comprehend the things she’s describing. Towards the end, she’s changed, no longer a girl but a teenager. Her deepest desire is to move away from Mango Street into a “real home” and begins to write as a medium of escape and self-expression.

Some of the themes covered are male chauvinism, social class, sexual harassment, and racism. However, I still do not see why this novel would get banned from being taught at schools, it is not explicit at all. Some of the events described were harsh, but these things do happen — even after 37 years (date when it was first published).

My main critique is that it did not feel like a novel, hence the rating that I’m giving it. Since it’s written in vignettes, it felt more like a collection of short stories. There’s isn’t much plot development and characters come and go without previous notice. All we see is Esperanza’s point of view on certain occurrences, but there isn’t much depth.

As a Latina who grew up in a south-Florida neighborhood densely populated by other fellow Latinos, some of the stories resonated with experiences of my own or people I know. Whether good or bad, it described events that are not far-fetched from reality.

My favorite vignettes were: Marin, Alice who sees mice, Darius and the clouds, Four skinny trees and Bums in the attic.

I enjoyed it overall, some vignettes were witty and entertaining. It’s been such a long time since I’ve read a coming of age story that contained elements from Hispanic culture. Which has made me realize how I should diversify my reads more, so if you have any recommendations on novels written by lantinx authors, please let me know!

Rating: 3.5 / 5

“I want to be like the waves on the sea, like the clouds in the wind, but I’m me. One day I’ll jump out of my skin. I’ll shake the sky like a hundred violins.”

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street