Poetry Reviews

I've read a few poetry books on Netgalley this year, so I thought I'd review them all in one post! The first book has been out for a few months now, but the other two are both out in the world today.

She was the whiskey:
a hard hit with a slow burn.
I was the chaser.

Honeybee by Trista Mateer
I've wished for books on Netgalley, but they're usually books that I never thought I had a chance of actually receiving for review, so I was surprised to get the email that my wish had been granted for Honeybee! I went into this book completely blind since I'd requested it because it was poetry and because the name Melissa means honeybee (from the Greek word melia). While I can't say that Honeybee has taken the title of favourite poetry collection of all time, I still really enjoyed this one. The writing was lyrical and beautiful and I loved all the little extras (like pressed flowers) in between the poems that made the book feel so real. I haven't yet seen this one out in the world, but I imagine that it's quite spectacular in hardcover. 

"i wish i could be her friend,"
the girl whispers
down into the
tear-stained pages,
lovingly caressing
the gold-dipped edges.

"no--i'd rather be her."


the mermaid's voice returns in this one by amanda lovelace
I read, and loved, amanda's first collection of poems, but I haven't yet read the second one. After reading this volume, I know that I need to go back and read them all together because they are amanda's story as she gains back the strength that was taken from her. Her writing is so powerful and I absolutely love the way she takes fairy tales and flips them on their end, giving the girls in the stories back the power that the traditional fairy tale has stripped away. Incredible poetry, absolutely incredible.

Every Word You Cannot Say by Iain S. Thomas
Sadly, I didn't enjoy this poetry collection as much as I've enjoyed others. Iain does some creative things with his words, include shape poems, but on the whole the collection fell a bit flat for me. At first, I was intrigued by the fact that he has some words in colour on the page but I kept getting distracted by the coloured words and trying to figure out if there was some meaning behind which words were in colour (if there was, it went over my head).

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I Owe You One - Sophie Kinsella

I've loved some of Sophie Kinsella's books, but others (especially the Shopaholic books) were just too silly for my tastes. But I Owe You One is, by far, the best of Sophie's books that I've read so far. I found Becky in the Shopaholic books to be so immature that she verged on annoying and some of Sophie's other characters were so cringeworthy as I could see their disasters coming a mile away while they just kept puttering along, oblivious to so many things that were SO OBVIOUS.

In I Owe You One, our main character still had a lot of growing up to do, but it was in a completely believable way and I found myself rooting for her growth and self-awareness as the storyline progressed. She still had some silliness that is typical in Sophie's protagonists, but not unbearably so.

Fixie is true to her name by being a person who always has to fix things. After an unexpected moment of heroism, a stranger in a café says he owes her one. This "IOU" forms the basis for how the storyline unfurls, and I won't say anything more for fear of spoilers! It was a whirlwind ride filled with memorable characters, moments that made me giggle and a few "awwww" moments too.

Expect to see this one tucked into more than a few beach bags this summer!

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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February TBR

Hi friends! After spending almost all of January reading Kingdom of Ash, I'm in the mood for shorter, lighter books this month. I'm also feeling a little all over the place and not sure exactly what I'm going to pick up, but here are some ideas...

1. At least one book by Christina Lauren
Ginger @ GReads! is rereading the entire Wild Seasons series this month, and I have the first one and I haven't read it yet. I could also read Josh and Hazel or Love and Other Words. Or the third book in the Beautiful series. Or all of them?

2. A YA contemporary
A few that I'm thinking of Jennifer E. Smith's Windfall or Leila Sales' Tonight the Streets Are Ours. Or Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols.

3. The Huntress by Kate Quinn
Keeping up with my review books and this one comes out at the end of February.

4. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
I've already started this one -- the second book off my 19 books to read in 2019 list!

5. On the Come Up by Angie Brown
I'm going to see her at the end of February! We'll see if I have enough time to read this one between the event and the end of the month, but I'm sooooooo excited!!!

6. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
February's Unread Shelf challenge is to read a book that was gifted to you -- and my husband bought this book for me last Christmas!

How about you? What's on your TBR pile this month?

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Top Ten Books I Didn't Get To In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Today's topic is books that I didn't get to in 2018 ... these are the ones that will be my top priority in 2019!

1. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Ironically enough, this was the book on my 18 books to read in 2018 list that I said I would read, even if I only read one book on the list. I really, really want to watch the mini-series, but I have to read the book first.

2. The Revolution of Marina M by Janet Fitch
White Oleander (Janet's debut novel) is one of my favourite books of all time so I can't BELIEVE I haven't read this yet! The sequel comes out this year and I'd love to read both back-to-back.

3. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
I was going to pick this up during March's All the Short Ones readathon but I got distracted by other books.

4. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Everyone and their dog has read this book by now ... except me.

5. Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
I know, I know ... gotta get on this ASAP.

6. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
I was pleasantly surprised by Renegades so I need to finish this duology while I still remember what happened in the first instalment.

7. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
I borrowed this from the library and didn't read it before it was due back. My TBTB Secret Santa gifted me a copy so I am determined to read this ASAP!

8. A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara
I started this one early in 2018 but I think I had a bit of a big book hangover after The Heart's Invisible Furies, so I set it aside. Then there was a read along happening with some people on Bookstagram, so I jumped on board. And then didn't read it. But I started it the next month and read maybe 200 pages? And then set it down again. I know I'm going to love it ... I don't know why I'm so hesitant to read it!

9. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
My boss recommended this book to me and I borrowed the audiobook from the library to read alongside the print version (I find this helpful with non fiction to keep me focused), but I returned it to the library twice. I know that this book is going to resonate with me and I need to pick it back up.

10. Little Sister by Barbara Gowdy
For Christmas 2017, my book club did its first book exchange. And I haven't read the book that I received yet. We also had the idea of bringing the books back in and exchanging them but, in order to do so, I gotta READ IT.

How about you? Any books that you didn't get to in 2018 that you're dying to pick up? Any suggestions on where I should begin with my list? Let me know in the comments and leave me a link to your post so that I can stop by!

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The Dreamers - Karen Thompson Walker

I requested this book on a whim one evening while browsing through Netgalley and then saw it popping up all over Bookstagram!  I'm so glad that this book is getting so much hype because it deserves it.

I went into the story completely blind and I'm glad I did because I wasn't expecting a Station Eleven-esque story about an epidemic. (The fact that Emily St. John Mandel blurbed the cover should have been a clue, but let's not talk about that). I was immediately swept away by Karen's beautifully lyrical writing and this is what captivated me about the novel. A few college students are the Patient Zeros in this story and they fall asleep and cannot the woken up. They're still alive, but stay asleep and appear to be dreaming. Although the sickness spreads into a full epidemic in what is many people's worst nightmare, the style of the writing is the perfect juxtaposition with the beautiful prose creating a lyrical backdrop to this horrific reality.

If you enjoy beautiful writing, pick this book up. If you like a good story, pick this book up. Even if sci-fi-esque books are not your thing, pick this book up. The storytelling in this book is its strongest feature and even if the plot sounds like it's not really your cup of tea, the storytelling will likely captivate you as it did me.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Top Ten New-to-Me Authors Read in 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's topic is the top ten new-to-me authors that I read in 2018...

1. John Boyne
I read The Heart's Invisible Furies in early 2018 and my heart still has not recovered.

2. Christina Lauren
I read too many of her books to count last year ... and I'm still on a rampage to read everything this amazing duo has ever written. Contemporary GOLD y'all.

3. Helen Hoang
I need The Bride Test NOW *grabby hands*

4. Katherine Center
I liked How to Walk Away, but Happiness for Beginners BLEW ME AWAY.

5. Chloe Benjamin
The Immortalists wasn't a huge hit with my book club, but I loved her writing and I can't wait for whatever she writes next.

6. Erin Lindsay McCabe
I neeeeeeed another book by her!!!

7. Jasmine Guillory
I discovered so many great contemporary authors last year (thanks Ginger!) and to echo statements above ... I need more!

8. Gail Honeyman
I was sceptical about picking up Eleanor Oliphant, but man am I glad I did.

9. Kate Quinn
The Alice Network was incredible and I can't wait to dive into her 2019 release.

10. Josie Silver
One Day in December blew up the blogophere and bookstagram in late 2018 and for good reason -- this book was sweet and perfect and I can't wait for whatever Josie writes next.

How about you? See any authors on my list that you loved too? Let me know in the comments below, leave a link to your post, and I'll stop by to say hello!

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The Unteachables - Gordon Korman

The summer after Grade 7 I went on a week long Girl Guide camping trip. We had an eight hour bus trip to get there and my leader instructed each girl to pack one book and then we could trade books if we needed something else to read. With such a long bus trip up, I think I read the book I packed and one other before we'd arrived at our destination. I borrowed a Gordon Korman book from another girl, The Zucchini Wars, and I was HOOKED on his books. Looking at Goodreads now, this is the fifth book in the MacDonald Hall series -- but the adventures of Bruno and Boots were laugh out loud funny and I enjoyed every instalment.

I was browsing on Edelweiss one evening and noticed The Unteachables and downloaded it without even reading the synopsis because I had such fond memories of his writing. On the plane ride home from Disneyland, my brain was so exhausted from our trip that I wasn't able to focus on Kingdom of Ash, so I decided to give this book a shot. From the first chapter, I was hooked on the story and I finished the book that day, exhaustion and all. Then I promptly ordered a copy for my husband after he expressed an interest in reading it and reminisced about hearing Gordon speak at a writing workshop when he was in middle school. Plus, it's about a teacher and teaching, so I know he's going to like it!

The story centres around Mr. Kermit, a teacher who has one year of teaching left before he qualifies for early retirement, who is given the toughest class to teach, The Unteachables. Each chapters switches the point of view between the children in the class, Mr. Kermit, and other characters. Like most middle grade, the story is an absolute delight to read and had me grinning, laughing, sitting on the edge of my seat and racing through the pages, eager to find out how the story would wrap itself up. I highly, highly recommend this one if you enjoy middle grade, or even if you're not an avid middle grade reader. It has a cast of absolutely delightful characters and the story will keep you hooked right up until the final page.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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