Reviews: The Day Is Ready For You and This is the Journey by Alison Malee

thedayisreadyforyouThe Day Is Ready For You by Alison Malee

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Series

Date Published: May 15th, 2018

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 144 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

Synopsis: I will tell you
again and again:
in some small way,
everything matters.

The Day Is Ready for You is a prose and poetry collection weaving together the fractured, gritty pieces of the past, and the light that can break through an open window if you let it.

This is the first book of a two-book series about grace, heartbreak, and breathing freely.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is the first collection of poetry by Malee that I have read and I really enjoyed it a lot. It was such an inspiring and enlightening work, and I found myself completely captivated by her words. There tends to be a lot of repetition in modern poetry in terms of subject matter, and I believe it takes a special writer to truly distinguish their writing from the rest. Malee does this with such ease—she has a remarkable talent for expressing her thoughts and feelings both on her own experience and on society as whole. Her poems tackle very important subjects, such as feminism, that are especially topical right now.

Malee’s writing and imagery is beautiful and vivid, and the messages she wishes to convey shine through clearly. Her depiction of raw human emotion—happiness, love, grief, pain, strength—is incredibly relatable and will pull the reader into her words. Personally, I felt a deep connection with every theme within this collection. She puts into words that which feels so complex and challenging to grasp. She spells these feelings out in a creative way that makes every thought even more powerful.

4.0 TARDISes

thisisthejourneyThis Is The Journey by Alison Malee

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Series

Date Published: April 2nd, 2019

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 144 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: This Is The Journey is a stillness. A clean slate. A step back. An open window. 

The counterpart to The Day Is Ready For YouThis Is The Journey is a collection of poetry and prose to help bridge the space between wanting, waiting, and possibility.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is the Journey is a follow-up to her previous collection, The Day is Ready For You. As the title would imply, she takes the reader on a journey throughout the work. This is both about her own personal journey as well as the reader’s. Not only does she write on very relatable emotions in general, the inclusion of actual events in her life adds that extra bit of humanity and realism into them. One of the main messages to take away from this collection is that we are not alone on our journey—we are bound together by similar feelings as we travel through life’s ups and downs.

Like the last collection, I found her writing to be equally as beautiful and powerful. She has a talent for really engaging a reader in each poem and pulling them into her words.  I was completely hook just on the gorgeous writing alone, but there are so many other ways that Malee’s words moved me. I felt a deep connection with the vivid emotions and imagery she uses to convey the meaning of each piece. In my opinion, her poems are complex and sometimes abstract and it works perfectly for the equally complex emotional journey she is writing about. I would highly recommend giving her work a try and I definitely plan to read more of it in the future.

4.0 TARDISes

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Reviews: DROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker and Planting Gardens in Graves II by r.h. Sin

dropkickromanceDROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: March 6th, 2018

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 176 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: “dropkick this broken heart and make it feel again.”

From pro-wrestler-turned-poet Cyrus Parker comes a poetic memoir that tells the tale of two relationships. The first half of DROPKICKromance focuses on a toxic, long-distance relationship the author was involved in for several years, while the second half focuses on Parker’s current relationship with poet Amanda Lovelace, who penned a beautiful foreword for the book. This collection takes you by hand and brings you on a journey through first love, heartbreak, and learning to love again.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This collection ended up being a really lovely read. It is split into two parts. The first part deals with a relationship Parker had that was quite harmful and toxic. The second part focuses on his current relationship with fellow poet Amanda Lovelace—a much healthier and loving relationship. His story is a fascinating one to hear and this format works very well to convey the deepest emotions he experiences during these events. His words are raw and powerful as he gives his readers a very personal look at his life.

It is incredibly brave when a poet delves this deeply into such personal matters and I commend the fact that he went and put himself out there like this. I believe his words will inspire and benefit many readers. The messages within each poem are not solely autobiographical—they serve to remind us that we are all human and that, thought we may feel alone in our journey through life, we are not. I am definitely a fan of Cyrus Parker’s work and I look forward to reading plenty more of it in the future.

4.0 TARDISes

plantinggardensingravesIIPlanting Gardens in Graves II by r.h. Sin

My Rating: 1/5 TARDISes

Series: Planting Gardens in Graves #2

Date Published: July 10th, 2018

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 224 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: From the beloved author of Whiskey, Words, and a Shovel comes the second volume in his newest series.

r.h. Sin continues his bestselling series with Planting Gardens in Graves IIanother powerful collection of poetry that hones in on the themes dearest to his readers. This series celebrates connection, mourns heartbreak, and above all, empowers its readers to seek the love they deserve.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I think this is going to be the end of my journey through r.h. Sin’s work. It really is just not for me. I enjoyed the first few collections I read by him and was quite hopeful, but as I read the others, things went downhill. To be honest, I feel as though I am reading the exact same collection of poetry over and over again when it comes to his books. Not only are the topics repetitive, I swear there are some poems that are the same but worded slightly differently. That is the overall feeling that this collection gives.

It is very clear that Sin definitely has a talent for writing as his words tend to be quite beautiful. But the style he writes in pulls one’s attention away from that. His poetry can be hard to get into because they are quite choppy. It is not entirely clear why he cuts off lines where he does as there is no real powerful, emotional effect that comes from it. This causes me to become disconnected from the words and meaning, therefore taking away a lot of the desired impact.

As I have said in the past, it is nice to see a man writing poetry that speaks on the strength and beauty of women and does make an attempt at promoting equality. However, what bothers me is that there is still this feeling I get with some of his poems that he is portraying us more as an object or possession rather than as a human. That slight arrogance also remains, as he writes about how terrible all other men are and implies he is the only one worthy of being with a woman. I apologize if this review sounds like I am ranting in any way—it is absolutely not intended to offend or to criticize the author as a person. Both his writing and his treatment of subject matter just really rub me the wrong way.

1.0 TARDIS

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Reviews: Whispers From the Moon by Lee Broda and The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Whispers From the Moon by Lee Broda

My Rating: 2/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: November 22nd, 2018

Publisher: LB Entertainment LLC

Pages: 128 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Whispers From The Moon is a collection of poetry about
love
loss
grief
heartache
and the empowering of oneself, triumphing over all to celebrate the beauty of life.

It is divided into four chapters corresponding to the phases of the moon: full, waning, eclipse, waxing.

Lee Broda’s poetry is raw and evoking, sometimes dark and painful, while always searching to understand.

With her poetry having already touched thousands, Lee wishes for the reader to know she is never alone in her suffering or in joy. Her wish for him is that he explores the deep, hidden edges of his heart between the wandering words of her soul.

Whispers From The Moon is a companion to all of us in our life’s journeys, encouraging us to live authentically with passion, acceptance, forgiveness, and ultimately, love. 

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Broda’s collection of poetry displays a wide range of very relatable emotions centering around both the joy and pain that makes up the fabric of love. The collection is broken up into four different phases of the moon: full, waning, eclipse, and waxing. It is very obvious that she delved quite deeply into her own heart and life experience in order to produce these poems. Unfortunately, this collection just did not appeal to me. One of the main issues I had with it was the fact that I completely failed to connect to much of it. There were many times where I was unable to understand her imagery and what she was going for with a poem’s meaning.

Another issue was that I could not understand why certain poems were connected with the name of the section they fell under, or how they related to any of the other poems within that section. Though she made a big point of breaking the collection up into four phases of the moon, I personally could not find any correlation among the poems within each section. I came away not knowing why exactly she had done this, due to the fact that there did not seem to be a specific theme that linked the poems together.

To me, things felt jumbled and unorganized so it was challenging to follow along. This pulled me out of the reading experience and tore away any connection to the words for me. Overall, it is not a poorly written collection by any means. It was just simply not for me and I’m sure many other readers will take away much more than I did. I applaud Broda for writing down such personal details and emotions and putting them out there for others to read.

2.0 TARDISes

themermaidsvoicereturnsinthisoneThe Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Women Are Some Kind of Magic #3

Date Published: March 5th, 2019

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 208 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet and USA TODAY bestselling author Amanda Lovelace presents the mermaid’s voice returns in this one — the third and final installment in her “women are some kind of magic” series, featuring a foreword from Lang Leav and 13 guest poems from leading voices in poetry such as Nikita Gill, KY Robinson, and Orion Carloto.

The mermaid is known for her siren song, luring bedroom-eyed sailors to their demise. However, beneath these misguided myths are tales of escapism and healing, which Lovelace weaves throughout this empowering collection of poetry, taking you on a journey from the sea to the stars. They tried to silence her once and for all, but the mermaid’s voice returns in this one.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This collection is the third and final installment in a series of poetry collections. Each one tells a story of the strength and resilience of women in a world that does not allow them the equality they deserve. Lovelace uses her own life experience and her personal story throughout the course of the collection. She truly weaves her words and themes together into a tale that is captivating and threaded with raw emotion. Out of the three collections, this one fell in the middle for me in terms of my enjoyment of it.

I absolutely adored the first one and felt such a deep connection to it. She primarily focused on her own life journey, which I found fascinating to read. In the second one, she strayed away from this and, while she did include personal stories, is felt much more general. It was a bit more difficult to connect to on a personal level. This one is a great blend of the two, mixing poems about her experiences with poems that give a broader look at women’s rights and their strength. In all three, she does a beautiful job of demonstrating these themes in a passionate and inspiring way. I really enjoy her work and I cannot wait to read more in the future.

4.0 TARDISes

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Mini Review: The Longest Night by Ranata Suzuki

thelongestnightThe Longest Night by Ranata Suzuki

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: August 24th, 2018

Publisher: Ranata Suzuki

Pages: 184 pages

Source: Author

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Heartbreak and grief touch every soul at least once in a lifetime and Ranata Suzuki translates those raw emotions into words. The Longest Night combines strikingly poignant quotations, powerfully emotive poetry and captivating silhouette imagery to form a mournful lover’s journal that explores a side of love that is deep, dark and hauntingly beautiful.

Each of the book’s elements are skilfully woven together to reveal fragments of thoughts and feelings that seem almost to belong to the reader as years of painful longing are condensed into the context of a single night. 

The journal begins with ‘Sunset’, in which poems convey the initial feelings of shock and loss first felt when a relationship with a loved one ends. As the poetry descends into an emotional downward spiral, the book progresses into its next chapter, ‘Darkness’, in which emptiness, jealousy, sorrow and despair are passionately portrayed.

The concluding chapter, ‘First Light’, sees the gradual dawning of a new outlook. The final poems express a gratitude for what once was, an acceptance of what now is, and come to the uplifting conclusion that even though a relationship can be fated to end tragically, the memories gained and lessons learned from it are, in their own way, treasured gifts that will last a lifetime.

A book for anyone who has found themselves separated from someone they love no matter the circumstance, The Longest Night is a companion for the broken heart on the painful emotional journey that is losing someone you love from your life. Its words serve as a comforting reminder, whether you are travelling this road or have recently completed this journey yourself, that despite the loneliness you may sometimes feel along the way none of us walk this path alone.

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*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

I read so many poetry collections these days and have found that my tastes have become a lot pickier. It takes quite a lot for poems, as well as an author’s view and writing style, to truly stand out to me. The Longest Night definitely emerges from the mix, with Suzuki’s writing being very strong and attention-grabbing, showing that she is very skilled in her craft. Her work touches on relatable topics and emotions in her own unique and eloquent way. This was a beautiful and very poignant collection that really resonated with me and exceeded my already high expectations.

The poems in this collection focus on the heartbreak that comes when we are forced to be separated from those we love. They are not only meant to reach readers who have specifically suffered the crumbling of a romantic relationship, as I find so many poetry collections concentrate very heavily on. Suzuki’s writing covers the emotional journey that comes with any type of loss, producing a message that will bridge any gap that one might find within during these painful circumstances. Through her words, we are taken on a universally understandable trip through the complexities of both human grief and healing.

Suzuki tells a story in small snapshots. Starting with “Sunset” and resolving at “First Light”, we are carried through the night we are suddenly and often unexpectedly plunged into—a seemingly endless one that stretches out for miles before us. It is here that we can feel the most intense loneliness we have ever felt, but Suzuki strives to remind us how this is not actually the case. It is true that no one person will ever understand every part of another’s personal grief but, as humans, we all love, lose, and grieve. It is the general scope of emotion that unites all of us. These poems serve as a light to move toward, as a hand to hold along the way, and as a glance back at how far we have come and how strong we are.

In regard to my own personal experience reading this collection, I happened to be drawn to pick this up at a time when I desperately needed these words and this message. I read this entire collection mere days after the greatest period of loss that I have ever suffered in my life thus far. There is no way to fully express what these poems did for me or how they touched my life—it was a very powerful and private journey. However, I learned firsthand the comfort that emanates from each one. I was able to have a wholly intimate relationship with it, which is quite rare to go through to this degree when reading poetry at any given time. Whether you are in the midst of this long night or you have emerged into the day, I very highly recommend reading this collection.

4.0 TARDISes

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Reviews: The Heart is Improvisational by Various and Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

theheartisimprovisationalThe Heart is Improvisational by Various

My Rating: 3/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: September 1st, 2017

Publisher: Guernica Editions

Pages: 130 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Poets attribute an array of roles and capacities to the involuntary muscle. The heart becomes a repository of erotic and familial love, and a sanctuary for memory. The poets explore the flux of the heart’s responses and instigations: the heart’s tender overtures, its joyous pulse, its mating call for the other, its changeable temperament, its final tick in freeze-frame. Among the poets featured: Kenneth Sherman, Lorna Crozier, Marilyn Bowering, Roo Borson, Patrick Lane, Charles Bukowski, Eugénio de Andrade, John Barton, Robyn Sarah, and Mary di Michele.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a poetry collection featuring works from a wide variety of authors, all giving their unique perspectives on the most important part of human life—the heart. It was an extremely hit or miss collection for me, and I found it very hard to get into. In general, I tended to prefer the poems that focused on the less tangible, more emotional views of the heart, rather than the technical and clinical depictions. To me, the poems that spoke from essentially a medical perspective felt like reading a biology textbook—albeit a lyrical one—rather than a poetry collection.

All of the writers who contributed are extremely talented; all of the writing was strong and skilled. In my opinion, however, the flow of the writing—both individually and as a whole—was definitely broken up by the ones that focused more on fact than feeling. Of course, not all poetry needs to be abstract and romantic. The freedom to be whatever the writer wants it to be is one of the reasons why this is such a wonderful vehicle for creativity and expression. But for me, I think I just prefer poems that creatively expand on the emotional rather than the physical.

3.0 TARDISes

depressionandothermagictricksDepression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

My Rating: 3/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: August 22nd, 2017

Publisher: Button Poetry

Pages: 80 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 5,000,000 views.

Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This collection was all right, but I found it to be just a bit disappointing. I had heard a little bit about Sabrina Benaim prior to picking this up, so I was quite eager to experience her work. However, though I did enjoy it to some extent, this collection wasn’t quite as good I was expecting it to be. The poems themselves were quality—Benaim has quite a talent for expressing herself in a vivid way, and speaks intelligently on many subjects that can be difficult to fully comprehend. However, while I did enjoy this collection, it did not click with me in the way I would have liked. Her writing style did not flow overly well for me so I never quite got fully into it.

I thought Benaim’s way of tapping into and clearly conveying her feelings was very good, and it was easy to connect to her and feel her emotions on a deep level. Despite my feelings on the collection overall, I could definitely see how raw and poignant her words were. These poems deal with many of Benaim’s personal experiences in her life so far, and sheds some light on her experience with depression—a great way to help open minds on the subject of mental illness. I wish I had enjoyed it a bit more, but overall, I think this is a beautiful collection that many readers will love and relate to.

3.0 TARDISes

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Mini Review: A Beautiful Composition of Broken by r.h. Sin

abeautifulcompositionofbrokenA Beautiful Composition of Broken by r.h. Sin

My Rating: 3/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: July 25th, 2017

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 480 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: r.h. Sin, bestselling author of the Whiskey, Words & a Shovel series, returns with a collection of poetry and prose meant to remind the wounded that they are, in fact, beautiful in a way society may never comprehend.

A Beautiful Composition of Broken is inspired by some of the events expressed artistically by Samantha King in the bestseller Born to Love, Cursed to Feel. It serves as a poetic documentary of the lives of people who have been mistreated, misunderstood, and wrongfully labeled in a way that limits them in this world. The author’s most personal volume yet, A Beautiful Composition of Broken builds a conceptual bridge between r.h. Sin’s earliest work and his forthcoming series, Planting Gardens in Graves.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I am so conflicted over this collection of poetry. Having enjoyed the previous two collections of r.h. Sin’s work that I’ve read, I really wanted to love this one. And at first, I was once again pulled in by his words. Unfortunately, my expectations were a bit too high, and I ended up feeling very disappointed by this collection as a whole. The quality writing that I have come to expect from Sin is definitely there, but the power and impact of his words is severely lacking.

The biggest issue that I have with this compilation is how incredibly repetitive it is. At the very beginning, the poems are deceptively unique. They are extremely reminiscent of his previous works, but not so much that they are completely uninteresting to read. However, it quickly goes downhill, as each poem begins to feel like the last—variations of the same exact story. Nothing is inherently bad about the poems themselves—they are still well-written—but the ideas and themes in them repeat to the point of monotony.

This collection feels very much like it is made up of cookie cutter poetry instead of many distinct pieces that come together to form a unified work. Everything ties together, but this is due to the fact that each piece comes across like it is the same exact poem articulated in a different way. It sucks out all of the emotion in the message he is trying to convey through his words, and things begin to feel forced. The poems start feeling cheesy rather than meaningful, and they take on an unappealing hollowness.

There are still plenty of redeemable qualities about r.h. Sin’s poetry, particularly the general beauty of his words. With his talent, I feel as though he could easily do so much better than this. If he varied his topics, even staying within the theme of love, betrayal, and eventual empowerment, this would have been a much more interesting and impactful reading experience. This has caused me to lose some enthusiasm about reading Sin’s work, but I will still be giving some of his other collections a try.

3.0 TARDISes

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Mini Review: Rest in the Mourning by r.h. Sin

33275462Rest in the Mourning by r.h. Sin

My Rating: 3.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: December 6th, 2016

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 128 pages

Source: Purchased

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: The calm before and after the storm. Rest in the Mourning is a steady and profound stream of conscious thoughts and emotion. Documenting unhealthy relationships and why the heart ends up in the hands of those deemed unworthy. It speaks to the heart’s ability to hold on to relationships that no longer deserve our energy as well as what happens when we are ready to let go. Rest in the Mourning is about self-care and self-love.

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This is the second collection of Sin’s poetry that I’ve read and, like Algedonic, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It is formatted in the ever more prevalent style of writing very short poems or simple phrases rather than longer, multiple stanza poetry that most people are used to. It is a particularly tricky style to write well, as that type of poetry can come across as disjointed or shallow more easily than longer poems. However, when it is done well, it can be surprisingly powerful and touching. Though it did not captivate me in the way that Algedonic did, I still had a rather positive experience with Rest in the Mourning.

I have spoken in my other review about r.h. Sin’s talent for writing, and that shines through once again in this collection. His main focus is on the strength of women, but this still makes for a universally relatable read due to his beautiful writing and depiction of the common highs and lows of life. Sin knows how to simplify what can be very complex emotions, and the message he conveys is that of affirmation and strength. Just like the first experience I had with his work, I felt that he did a nice job of focusing on every human’s power to heal themselves in the midst or aftermath of hardship.

However, this collection, compared to his last, was not very unique. Every poem focuses either on women—or, less frequently, on himself—finding their true worth, and removing themselves from toxic relationships. There is nothing inherently wrong with the topic, but I feel that there needs to be some sort of variation, however small. You can still connect your topics together in some way to give the collection as a whole one theme, but I found none of that here. So while the way he worded things was beautiful, overall, every poem felt a little repetitive. I am still interested in reading more of his work, so I definitely will continue to do so.

3.5 TARDISes

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