Mini Review: Your Heart Is The Sea by Nikita Gill

yourheartistheseaYour Heart Is The Sea by Nikita Gill

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: January 22nd, 2019

Publisher: Thought Catalog Books

Pages: 196 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Let poetry help you examine the depths of your wounds. Let it remind you that no matter how deep it goes, you will be able to heal it because you have been able to heal every single wound inflicted on your heart and soul before. Let these words show you that you will be able to find the light at the end of the wound because you have always found your way before.

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

This is the first poetry collection by Nikita Gill that I have read and I really enjoyed it. I read so many contemporary poetry collections these days and I have to admit, a lot of them start to run together. Many poets write on the same topics—that’s to be expected—but a select few really put forth work that stands out among the rest. This collection is definitely one of those. She touches on common and timely topics in a way that does not feel unoriginal or repetitive and uses a mixture of both poetry and short essays. Between her writing style, the way she sets up each section of the book, and her own unique way she approaches every topic she covers, Gill’s work makes for a very refreshing read.

This collection is broken up into eight different sections: The Anguish, The Descent, The Acceptance, The Defiance, The Survival, The Worship, The Wonder, and The Beginning. Each one deals with themes that portray the process of going from breaking all the way through to healing. I found this to be a really powerful way to form a sort of narrative that unfolded over the course of the book. Gill achieves a very accurate depiction of the healing process, as we all begin at the point of breaking before we become whole again. Her poems and essays fit each of the categories well, demonstrated progress, and brought the entire collection full circle in the end.

The topic of each section comes together to show the journey we take as we deal with individual aspects of our grief. Her work shows the importance of taking things a step at a time, letting ourselves feel every emotion and not shy away from them, and finally, picking up each piece and putting ourselves back together. One of the biggest messages found here is how we must find the courage to fight through our pain and heal while also allowing those experiences and our flaws to remain part of us. She reminds us that all of those things inside us—whole, flawed, broken, mending—make us who we are and we should never be ashamed of any of it.

Gill’s writing style is quite beautiful and her poems are very impactful. She writes in a way that flows very fluidly and is easy to become swept up in. She uses an even mix of her thoughts and personal experiences, making this work very relatable. I connected well with all of it, even when the topics were not similar to any experience I have dealt with in my life. Every subject is addressed in a way that is universally understandable. There is much value to be found and many things to be learned throughout this entire collection.

She brought out the emotion in every single poem and essay very vividly and made every moment memorable. Her writing is lyrical without becoming too flowery, which strengthens the depth and meaningfulness of each piece. The efficacy of Gill’s words is heightened through their frankness. She is poetic but very raw and honest—her writing is candid, focused, and doesn’t mess about. That kind of fearless writing makes a collection like this powerful and relatable. This is definitely something I can see myself returning to read many times in the future.

4.0 TARDISes

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Mini Review: Pillow Thoughts III by Courtney Peppernell

pillowthoughtsIIIPillow Thoughts III by Courtney Peppernell

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: Pillow Thoughts #3

Date Published: August 6th, 2019

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 224 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: In a voice that is inclusive and open to all, Courtney Peppernell presents a tribute to her readers in the third installment of her bestselling Pillow Thoughts series.

A beautifully raw and poignant collection of poetry and prose, Pillow Thoughts III continues the series from poet Courtney Peppernell. Fix yourself a warm drink and settle into Peppernell’s words as she pens a tribute to her readers who are bravely continuing their journey from hurt to healing.

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

It is difficult to find the words to describe how much I loved this poetry collection. I discovered Courtney Peppernell’s work a couple of years ago when I reviewed the first book in the Pillow Thoughts series and she quickly became one of my favorite authors. Her writing is absolutely beautiful and speaks to me on so many levels, and this collection was no different. Her poetry addresses topics that are highly relatable and always timely, which makes them very easy to connect with.

You can feel all the raw emotion in every word Peppernell writes and the pure passion she puts into creating her poems. This collection is split into five parts, each one dealing with a particular theme. And as a whole, each section ties seamlessly into the next, coming together in a perfect blend that warms the heart and soul. Her poems are a series of meticulously crafted vignettes that comfort, heal, and encourage readers. With vivid imagery, Peppernell takes us on a journey that allows us to better understand, accept, and care for ourselves.

One of the best parts of this collection—as well as Peppernell’s other works—is that it is written in a truly unique voice. It stands out among a sea of modern poetry dealing with similar topics and makes for a very captivating and refreshing read. The heartfelt and genuine nature of these poems is easily recognizable. They are seemingly simple but truthfully so profound and intricate. Peppernell’s words consistently empower the reader and contain a level of sincerity that turns this work into a brilliant gem of a book.

On a more personal note, this collection is something that entered my life at a particularly fitting time. I have experienced a great deal of loss over the past year that has left me feeling very emotionally drained. My mind desperately needed the mending that these words do. I was touched very deeply while reading this book—it helped me to confront many thoughts I was struggling to face. This was a very cathartic and uplifting journey that filled me with the positivity that I have been lacking for a while.

These poems are moving, expressive, inspiring, and utterly beautiful. I know that Peppernell’s words will stick with me for the rest of my life and I will regularly return to her collections. Works like this one are what greatly motivate me in my own writing and remind me why I am so passionate about the written word. I would love to touch one person’s life through my writing in the way she has touched mine with hers—provide someone with that bit of comfort and encouragement at a time where it is so vital. I cannot recommend this collection highly enough.

5.0 TARDISes

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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: Helium by Rudy Francisco

heliumHelium by Rudy Francisco

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: November 28th, 2017

Publisher: Button Poetry

Pages: 98 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Helium is the debut poetry collection by internet phenom Rudy Francisco, whose work has defined poetry for a generation of new readers. Rudy’s poems and quotes have been viewed and shared millions of times as he has traveled the country and the world performing for sell-out crowds. Helium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love poems, self-reflection, and biting cultural critique on class, race and gender into an unforgettable whole. Ultimately, Rudy’s work rises above the chaos to offer a fresh and positive perspective of shared humanity and beauty.

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

I absolutely loved this collection of poetry. Short but sweet, Francisco’s words are beautiful and evoke a myriad of emotions. His writing flows beautifully and depicts each poem’s deepest meanings in vivid detail. It is impossible not to become wrapped up by each phrase and carried through each and every page. He uses his great talent for words—for memorably phrasing his thoughts—to raise awareness about elements of conflict and trouble we currently deal with in society. It is wonderful to see writers attacking these issues and trying to reach a wider audience in such a creative way.

This is one of those collections that truly stands out to me because, while it fits very well with the work we see in the poetry genre these days, it has a little something extra to it. It does focus on common topics such as love and heartbreak, but it defines itself as even more unique and different than that. Francisco does not shy away from discussing social issues and these are the poems where we as readers will feel the most. His words are raw and fearless, upfront and honest, meaningful and utterly powerful. They spoke to me greatly, as I am sure they will to many other readers.

Every poem contains a strong and important message that truly packs a punch and is sure to stick with the reader long after completing the collection. Francisco speaks on topical and significant subjects, such as racism, sexism, and mental health—subjects for which constant discussion is crucial. He brings attention to these things through lyrical and absorbing prose that activates the mind and envelopes the soul. I found these poems to be incredibly impactful, thought-provoking, and a fantastic use of this literary platform. I very highly recommend giving this collection a read and I am personally beyond eager to read more of Francisco’s work in the future.

5.0 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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