Review | The Way Back Home by Courtney Peppernell

When a dark storm settled upon the earth, you lost many things—your hope, your strength, yourself. One day, in the middle of the darkness, you meet a spirit, washed from the ocean onto the shore. The spirit hands you a key.
 
It is time to find the way back home.

Returning with her newest poetry book, beloved poet Courtney Peppernell combines storytelling, poetry, and prose in a uniquely inspirational way. Filled with heartfelt anecdotes and insightful messages, The Way Back Home is a tribute to rebuilding our lives after loss. Divided into sections that draw on themes of courage, resilience, purpose, and hope, the collection has Peppernell once again walking us through a redemptive journey of the heart, mind, and soul.

Discover what it means to continue forward in life, despite all the challenges we face, to find the way back home.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Having read some of Courtney Peppernell’s collections before I knew going in that I would enjoy her style of writing. This collection is a mix of prose and verse, with much of the prose being little stories throughout the collection, some whimsical while others were honest and thoughtful looks at real life. This collection especially seemed to come from the heart, looking at internal feelings of a wide range of emotions as well as external situations. I found a lot of the pieces very poignant and loved when there was a little whimsy or fantasy woven into the poems and prose.

Happy reading!

Review | Where We Come From by John Coy, Shannon Gibney, Sun Yung Shin and Diane Wilson

In this unique collaboration, four authors lyrically explore where they each come from–literally and metaphorically–as well as what unites all of us as humans.

Richly layered illustrations connect past and present, making for an accessible and visually striking look at history, family, and identity.

We come from stardust / our bodies made of ancient elements. / We come from single cells / evolving over billions of years. / We come from place, language, and spirit. / And each of us comes from story.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved the idea of this book, seeming like a long form poem, and am so glad that I picked it up. It really is an exploration of how we are impacted by not only our present lives, but the lives of who came before us and who we came from. Everything that our ancestors struggled through to get us where we are was represented in this book. The art that accompanies the words makes it even more poignant and truly brings the words to life.

Happy reading!

Review | Come Fly With Me: Poetry From A to Z by Shayna Bresnik

In this whimsical book, you will find a treasure chest of twenty-six poems—one for each letter of the alphabet—that illustrate everything about growing up, from the buoyancy of balloons to the nobility of knights.

Much of Come Fly With Me was written and shared by Shayna Bresnick at the age of ten. As a teen, she decided to write about more of life’s adventures and release the entire collection for readers of all ages to enjoy. Come fly through these pages and join her as she explores our world, one special piece at a time.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to cancer research and children’s mental health programs.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This collection of poetry was absolutely adorable and whimsical. I enjoyed the concept of a poem for each letter of the alphabet and found each poem to be varied and fun, but what really made the collection special was the artwork that accompanied each poem. Each image correlated to the poems themselves and give the collection it’s wonderful whimsy. While the poems were simple and to the point, they were a joy to read and very fun in nature.

Happy reading!

Review | Breakable Things by Katie Wismer

Our lives are made up of delicate, fragile pieces. Time, memories, ever-changing versions of ourselves.
Things so easy to break. To waste. To lose.

Breakable Things is an open letter to the small, sometimes seemingly insignificant pieces of our lives that oftentimes turn out to be what’s most important in the end.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Having read all of Katie Wismer’s poetry collections I would definitely say that there is a progression from the first to this one and this one is by far her best in my opinion. All of them deal with different stages in life, or different situations. While all of them have resonated with me, this one was the easiest for me to identify with. The different sections of the collection tied together well, while obviously being different stages of not only life, but a transition and adjustment to changes in life.

Happy reading!

Review | Unlock Your Storybook Heart by Amanda Lovelace

“life is not something that can be experienced on a deadline.”

amanda lovelace, the bestselling & award-winning author of the “women are some kind of magic” poetry series, presents unlock your storybook heart, the third & final installment in her feminist poetry series, “you are your own fairy tale.” this is a collection about being so caught up in the fable that is perfectionism that you miss out on your own life. be honest: when was the last time you stopped to take in the everyday enchantment all around you?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve enjoyed most of Amanda Lovelace’s other book and this one was no exception, but with this one especially I found myself identifying with a lot of the messages. This collection was perhaps a calmer or quieter theme than some of the others, but no less impactful. There are strong themes of learning to love yourself, grief of or loss of a parent and not letting what other people think affect you. Overall this is definitely up there among her collections for me and might be fighting for my favorite.

Happy reading!

Review | Things I Learned in the Night by Emily Byrnes

Things I Learned in the Night is a beautifully illustrated tribute to young love in a society that so often tries to invalidate it. Many of the poems in this book are exquisitely woven with nature imagery; a subtle reminder that through our struggles and joys we must all remember to take deep breaths and run in the rain every now and then.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I did enjoy this poetry collection as it was in the same vein as some that I have recently liked, but a lot of it felt too similar to other poets that I read from. There were a few poems that definitely felt poignant and new, but many were very similar to those using the same subjects. The language used is definitely beautiful and there is a good development of imagery in the poems themselves. For a poetry collection it was good and enjoyable, but again was too similar to other collections I have read to be a stand out for me personally.

Happy reading!

Review | to drink coffee with a ghost by Amanda Lovelace

From the bestselling & award-winning poetess, amanda lovelace, comes the finale of her illustrated duology, “things that h(a)unt.” In the first installment, to make monsters out of girls,  lovelace explored the memory of being in a toxic romantic relationship. In to drink coffee with a ghost, lovelace unravels the memory of the complicated relationship she had with her now-deceased mother.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was perhaps my least favorite of Amanda Lovelace’s poetry collections, but only because there weren’t as many poems that I could identify with, so I didn’t feel the same kindship with them. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, just that I didn’t feel it the same way I’ve felt with her other collections. Definite trigger warnings for toxic parental relationships, death of a parent, self harm and more. The images that accompanied the poems were also beautiful and suited the poetry and theme of the collection. As always the writing and progression of the collection was stellar and kept me engaged throughout the read.

Happy reading!

Review | Flower Crowns and Fearsome Things by Amanda Lovelace

In her new standalone poetry collection, flower crowns & fearsome things, bestselling & award-winning poetess Amanda Lovelace explores the complexity of femininity through alternating wildflower & wildfire poems.

Within these pages, you will find that each of us has the ability to be both soft & fierce at the same time. there is no need to choose one or the other.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was excited when I saw that Amanda Lovelace was coming out with a new collection, and seeing the theme of it – the duality of Persephone/women, really got me interested. I really enjoyed the back and forth play between the two voices as the collection progressed. The illustrated pages of the two perspectives also had an impact. There are definitely trigger warnings for domestic abuse, rape, sexism and more, but there is a page in the beginning that gives a list. All in all this is another solid collection to add to your library if you are a fan of Amanda Lovelace’s poetry.

Happy reading!

Review | Watering the Soul by Courtney Peppernell

Poetry and prose to encourage us to grow. Watering the Soul is a timeless reminder that everyone needs time, love, and forgiveness.

In the deepest, most enchanting part of the forest, a creature hands you a seed. Within the seed is your soul, ready to be grown again.

From internationally bestselling author Courtney Peppernell comes her new book of poetry and prose, Watering the Soul. In true Peppernell style, the book is divided into sections, this time following a step-by-step recipe, to heal your soul. Filled with themes that focus on forgiveness, gratitude, togetherness, and equality, Peppernell takes you on a journey to find a precious yet profound understanding; that a seed is not grown with haste and nor is becoming whole, that in each and every step, we find the meaning of watering the soul.

This is the story of your soul and how it can be grown again.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Having read something of Courtney’s before I was excited to pick up another of her collections. This one especially spoke to me, especially in the times we are in right now. Also, I absolutely loved the little artwork within the collection, which added to the overall theme of the collection. I really liked the way this was formatted and the subjects discussed – it’s definitely a collection about self care and healing, which is important for everyone. All in all I really enjoyed the collection and will read more from Courtney in the future.

Happy reading!

Review | Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien

Cthulhu meets hip-hop in this book of horror poems that flips the eldritch genre upside down. Lovecraftian-inspired nightmares are reversed as O’Brien asks readers to see Blackness as radically significant. Can You Sign My Tentacle? explores the monsters we know and the ones that hide behind racism, sexism, and violence, resulting in poems that are both comic and cosmic.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I wasn’t sure what to think about this one but the title and cover was enough for me to give it a try. While it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I still enjoyed the concept of it and the inspiration that was used to create it. If someone is looking for dark humor inspired by Lovecreaftian monsters and concepts, then this would likely be up their alley. I did definitely appreciate the theming and creativity that went into this.

Happy reading!