book review

Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: The Poet X

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher:  Hardie Grant Egmont  

Publication Date: March 8th 2018

Format: Paperback

Genre: Verse

Page Count: 361

Summary: “A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.” (Source: Goodreads)

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book review

ARC Review – Goddess of the Hunt by Shelby Eileen

Title: Goddess of the Hunt

Author: Shelby Eileen

Publisher: Self-published

Publication Date: February 20th 2019

Format: E-book

Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 100 (approx)

Summary: “A poetry collection about the mythic life of Artemis, Greek Goddess of the hunt. Told through the perspective of Artemis herself with the contributions of a few other Greek Goddesses. This collection reimagines and follows Artemis navigating her lifelong vow of chastity and, rather than suffering through it, owning it as a facet of her aromanticism and asexuality. Immerse yourself in a cultivated tempest of poems illustrating Artemis as a warrior, whose shoulders have known an excessive weight of responsibility, and who always fights to remain her authentic self among people who would change her.” (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: blood, sexual harassment, body objectification, misogyny, internalised arophobia, naked body imagery, sexual imagery, deliberate use of acephobia, representation of alcohol misuse, issue of lack of consent, drunken behaviour

Rating: ★★★ (3 stars)

I received an ARC of this poetry collection in exchange for a review, thanks to the author.

Hey you! Here’s another ARC review for you. I am a massive fan of Shelby Eileen’s work, so this was an honour to read their work again. If you haven’t read their other work, you dang well should! They have 3 other poetry collections – Soft in the Middle, Sunfish, and Sunshine, Sadness and Other Floridian Effects.

Let’s get into this review then!

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book review

Review – Warcross by Marie Lu

Title: Warcross

Author: Marie Lu

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date:  12th September 2018

Format: Hardback

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Page Count: 353

Summary: “For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game – it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships – only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.” (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: grief, gun usage, injury detail, intimate scenes, manipulation

Rating:  ★★★★★  (5 stars) 

Spoilers in this review? No

I’ve never been so hooked on a book from the beginning than I have with Warcross. Warcross could have been 1,000 pages long and I still would have been hooked.

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book review

Review – The Chaos of Longing by K. Y. Robinson

Title: The Chaos of Longing

Author: K. Y. Robinson

Publisher: Andrew McMeels Publishing

Publication Date: September 26th 2017 (first self-published on May 31st 2016)

Format: Paperback

Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 160

Summary:  “The Chaos of Longing is a brutally honest exploration of desire—physical, emotional, and spiritual. This revised and expanded edition contains over 50 pages of all-new material.

Organized in four sections – Inception, Longing, Chaos, and Epiphany – K.Y. Robinson’s debut poetry collection explores what it is to want in spite of trauma, shame, injustice, and mental illness. It is one survivor’s powerful testimony, and a love letter “to those who lie awake burning.” (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: difficult parental relationship, trauma, body objectification, sexual harassment, sexual assault, manic depression, graphic depiction of sexual assault, abusive relationships, intimacy, suicidal ideation, racism, sexism

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Hello everyone! I’m back at it again with the POETRY. I tend to space out my reading with one fiction book then one poetry book, going back and forth. The Chaos of Longing is kind of a reread? I read the first edition of the collection when it was still self-published, but then the author was given a book deal with Andrew McMeels Publishing! YAY! I first read the self-published edition of The Chaos of Longing back in summer 2017, and I LOVED IT. It was actually one of the first modern poetry books that I read that inspired me to keep going with my self-published author-y thing. And guess what? K. Y. ROBINSON LOVED MY BOOK ALSO??? HECK!!!

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book review

Review – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Title: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication Date: March 8th 2018

Format: Paperback

Genre: YA Fantasy

Page Count: 531

Summary:  Zelie remembers when the soil of Orisha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.  

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zelie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.  

Zelie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zelie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.  

Danger lurks in Orisha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zelie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: childhood trauma, war, violence, death, slavery, racism, xenophobia/ic language, attempted rape, torture, self-harm, abusive parents.

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

This book is an incredible debut. I cannot fault it at all. Tomi Adeyemi is amazing at her craft. Her writing is simply mesmerising. Her ability to create complex characters is astonishing.

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book review

Review – Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley

Title: Nothing is Okay

Author: Rachel Wiley

Publisher: Button Poetry

Publication Date:  February 20th 2018

Format: Paperback

Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 96

Summary:  “Nothing is Okay is the second full-length poetry collection by Rachel Wiley, whose work simultaneously deconstructs the lies that we were taught about our bodies and our beings, and builds new ways of viewing ourselves. As she delves into queerness, feminism, fatness, dating, and race, Wiley molds these topics into a punching critique of culture and a celebration of self. A fat positive activist, Wiley’s work soars and challenges the bounds of bodies and hearts, and the ways we carry them.” (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: fatphobia, sexual language, biracial identity discrimination, queerphobia, racism, sexual assault, historical rape

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars) 

Have you ever picked up a book and been completely overwhelmed by its brilliance and power? This is it, people.

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book review

ARC Review – Lady Saturn by Wanda Deglane

Please note that I received an advanced copy of this book for free by the publisher in exchange for a review. This does not affect the following review.

Title: Lady Saturn

Author: Wanda Deglane

Publisher: Rhythm & Bones Press

Publication Date:  February 2019

Format: E-book

Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 31

Summary:  “Lady Saturn by contemporary poet Wanda Deglane is in itself a navigation through depression and anxiety to find love – the utmost important self-love. 

These personal poems traverse the backdrop of what it means to be born into chaos, to feel unwanted and unloved, to be constantly seeking and attempting self-discovery, to struggle to sleep with a racing mind or to defeat depression and anxiety with the help of a pill that makes her brain like her ‘mother’s old microwave, / constantly short-circuiting and casting the whole room / in darkness.’ 

Take this quest through beautiful, lyrical stanzas and vivid imagery depicting pain, trauma, depression, anxiety, and a deep yearning to land softly at a place on the verge of inner acceptance and love, just the way you are, seeking that happy-go-lucky soul you once inhabited.” (Source: Rhythm & Bones Press)

Content Warnings: medication, vomiting, blackout, self-harm, seasonal affective disorder, death, drowning, dead spider, suicide, sex, objectification of the body, injury detail, blood, sexual abuse, corpse, ableist language used, misogyny

Rating: ★★★★ (4 stars)

This is the first collection of Deglane’s poetry that I’ve read (I’ve actually got Rainlily, Deglane’s self-published chapbook, on my bookshelf), and I wasn’t disappointed. The poet has such a power over her words; she knows how to wound and heal the reader at the same time.

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