Woman of the Mountain

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Maria Makiling Philippines

“Nymph guardian spirit of Mt. Makiling in Laguna”

Basic Facts:

  • She is considered a fairy or forest nymph, who is guardian to the mountain and helps the villagers and townspeople who utilize the resources the mountain provides.
  • The reason the guardian of the mountain is a woman and not a man resorts back to what people see when they look at the mountain: a woman’s face and two breasts, with long hair going down her back.
  • When spotted, the woman is seen to be young and doesn’t age. She’s usually surrounded by a white fog and her clothes are radiant.
  • There are a variety of superstitions when it comes to Maria…she’s not exactly pleasant all the time and will steal men to live with her in the mountain. Ladies, you’re safe…for now…
  • Her powers include: immortality, magic, nature control, conjuration, and invisibility.

Foxy Lady

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Gumiho Korea

“Nine-tailed fox that freely transforms into a beguiling woman.”

Basic Facts:

  • How does the fox become the woman? It lives a thousand years.
  • The goal of the gumiho (also called Kumiho in Korea) is to seduce boys and lure them off to eat their organs. They focus on primary organs, such as the liver and heart.
  • Since the legend of the gumiho originated in China and also has a sister legend in Japan, the gumiho is differentiated by the item it carries. The gumiho keeps a marble of knowledge but it’s also used to help drain human energy. If a human steals the marble…they gain knowledge!
  • Even though they can turn into a woman, they maintain fox-like features.
  • Hoping for some good news? If the gumiho doesn’t kill or eat any humans…they’ll become human. Don’t forget…they’re spirits, not actual animals.

Nine Imps

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Dokkaebi Korea

“Impish spirits that transform from inanimate objects.”

Basic Facts:

  • Also called Korean goblins, they like to play tricks on humans (or help them – it can go either way.)
  • Physical descriptions of the dokkaebi can be found on ancient roof tiles but are usually frightening to look at.
  • Into wrestling? So are these spirits! in order to pass them, you should be able to wrestle your way out of their clutches of evil! Their weak spots include their right side and (some of them are one-legged) a simple push will get them down.
  • There are different types of dokkaebi. To be frank, there are nine common types.
  • Sometimes, rituals are hosted to get in the good graces of the dokkaebi but other times.

Another Mermaid?!

As a lover of anything ocean-related, it was bound to happen when we would talk about a sea creature we are all familiar with. Let’s jump right in!


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Ceasg | Scotland

“Mermaid that grants three wishes when captured.”

Basic Facts:

  • The ceasg is a fancy (if you’re not Scottish) word for ‘mermaid.’
  • In Gaelic, they’re known as maighdean mhara or maid of the sea.
  • She’s half-woman and half-salmon. But a little different than the long tail, we’re used to seeing.
  • She can get married but she’ll always go back to her first love: the sea. If she bears a male offspring, they’ll usually become a sailor – a damn good one.
  • Defense is needed. It’s simple: don’t acknowledge them, show them respect, no eye contact, and don’t go with them if they ask you to.

Is It A Bird? A Plane? WHAT IS IT?

It’s Memoir Monday – a self-proclaimed hashtag that isn’t a hashtag, to be honest. In the last two years, I decided to open my mind to memoirs, biographies, and other books by celebrities. To think that they already make a lot of money by appearing in our favorite movies and TV shows, now they write books to bring in more of an income! I wanted to see how much of their lives they actually want to share with their readers.

Now, I haven’t made a dent in the collection of celebrity novels. I’ve only come across three that peaked my interest: The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer (RIP to that beautiful woman), and Yes Please! by Amy Poehler.

Now the reason why you’re looking at Amy Poehler’s face here is because I have this undying love for her but heard mixed reviews on her book. I’m a sucker for needing to know every detail about a person’s life as well as every detail about their book (i.e. who published it, where was it produced, what is the ISBN number). This one definitely threw me for a look when I saw it didn’t have a genre.

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Originally, I found this beautifully crafted book (if you own it or have at least picked it up in your hands, you know what I mean) in the “Humor” section of Barnes and Noble and I was pretty confused because I read that it was a recollection and reflection on Poehler’s life…I understand she’s a funny woman but was the joke on me for looking in the “Biography” section?

I’m a little over halfway done with it and I’m all over the place, but still enjoying, the life of Amy Poehler – both past and present. She’s made me reflect on my own choices in life without actually sitting down and telling me to do so, or maybe there was a chapter in the book that told me to do that…WHO KNOWS! Ultimately, I do enjoy it as a read where I can pick it up even after I finish to revisit some pick-me-up chapters. It’s also really interesting to know the backstory and introduction of comedy changed Poehler’s path (spoiler alert, ha!)

I do want to ask though, has anyone ever picked up a book and had been previously misled to think the book was something else than what it actually was? If so, sound off in the comments, because I need a bit of forewarning before I buy others!

P.S. I have heard the audiobook to this is much better than reading the actual book but I like physical books so do what you will with this information, hehe!

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Concrete Is The Best Foundation

Wislawa Szymborska:

“You’ve managed to squeeze more lofty words into three shorts poems than most poets manage in a lifetime: ‘Fatherland,’ ‘truth,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘justice’: such words don’t come cheap. Real blood flows in them, which can’t be counterfeited with ink.”

Emotion in Writing

Laurie Halse Anderson:

“Write about the emotions you fear the most.”

The Bedtime Book Club

blog reading in bed.jpgThe only free time I get to transport myself to another world within the pages of a book is in bed. Reading the right bedtime book is sometimes hard to do. I enjoy lighthearted reads before bed, but some people enjoy a good thriller to fuel their nightmarish dreams. Some prefer to read an action-packed chapter to tire themselves out. Everyone deserves a bedtime read – and now we have a way to get that book in our hands before resting our eyes at night.

As of 2018, HarperCollins UK has teamed up with the Heart radio station and Dreams, a bed retailer, to begin what will be known as the Bedtime Book Club. With the radio station broadcasting to listeners, the hosts will discuss a variety of HarperCollins novels, different themes, and genres to encourage reading. But just because the station is only broadcasting in the UK, doesn’t mean you can’t find your own nighttime reads.

If having a Bedtime Book Club isn’t reason enough to read before bed, maybe I should tell you why it can be important to get your nose in a book while under the sheets. It’s simple – if you want better sleep, read. You read me right. Sleep better. It’ll help reduce stress by distracting your brain from the life stresses that can get the best of you. I’m guilty of blaring my TV to help me fall asleep but it’s actually a good idea to read rather than watch. It’ll reassure your brain that you are at peace. And if you’re also like me, scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (whatever social media platform you choose), reading can help you concentrate better. In the long run, reading before bed can improve two other things: your empathy and your creativity. In a good way!

Reading is a powerful tool, so why not start your own Bedtime Book Club and start curling up with a good book to help rest your eyes and your brain.

The Feminist Romance

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As an author of romance herself, Alisha Rai spoke in an interview about her experiences incorporating feminism into her writing. In her novels, her lead female is the one in power, such as being a billionaire with a huge company in the palm of her hands. Matter of fact, most of her female leads take on some form of dominant position (and no, I’m not talking about in the bedroom!) where she is “overpowering” her male counterpart. That’s the not the usual trope you see. From reading many of the romance novels on the market today, one would think that  women like to be controlled and compliant. But, authors like Rai are telling us that’s not always the case and why it shouldn’t always be that way.

In a way, romance novels can be feminist works even without Rai’s juicy switch. Romance is a special genre already. But, we can revolutionize the genre even more by adding in more feminist elements to the stories and characters. This is important if we want to keep the genre evolving and relatable. It will also keep the genre ‘special,’ for more than one reason. One writer points out why romance is special, in 7 ways:

  1. Just like Rai’s protagonists, other authors choose to include strong female protagonists.
  2. Romance is a genre filled with female/women’s voices.
  3. Women’s needs are placed first. Inside the bedroom and out.
  4. The genre allows women to explore their fantasies.
  5. Regardless of how she is in real life, a romance novel allows a woman to take control of her sexuality.
  6. Romance allows topics that have been outcast as “taboo” to be explored in depth.
  7. And finally, it is a genre which allows many voices to get their foot in the door.

Seeing women that have it all may be refreshing and encouraging to read, but if none of that appeals to you, there will always be authors writing about the classic romance between two individuals- which we definitely don’t want to lose either.