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!

Review | Where Hope Comes From by Nikita Gill

In Where Hope Comes From: poems for a broken world, Instagram superstar and poet Nikita Gill returns to her roots with her most personal collection yet. Sharing a number of poems that she wrote when the world went into lockdown, this collection will include the phenomenal Love in the Time of Coronavirus which was shared across social media over 20,000 times, as well as her poems of strength and hope How to Be Strong and Silver Linings. This collection will be fully illustrated by Nikita with beautiful line-drawings, and moves her into an exciting new space in the market as she tackles themes such as mental health and loneliness.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Nikita Gill is pretty much my favorite modern poet, so it was no surprise that I pre-ordered this as soon as I heard it was coming out. As someone who was also deemed high risk who has stayed home for the last 15 months to protect myself, this one hit especially close to home for me. This collection hit on so many things I thought, felt and went through in the last 15 months. It highlights not just depression, anxiety, loss of loved ones and more, but also the loneliness and isolation many people have felt. I loves the language she used and the range in poems, as well as the wonderful watercolor illustrations. This is a very hard hitting collection, so it talks of the subjects I mentioned are triggering for you I would proceed with caution, but it’s a wonderful read.

Happy reading!

Review | The Sweetest Kind of Poison by Katie Wismer

The Sweetest Kind of Poison is a collection of poetry about toxic relationships and letting go of what no longer serves you. It takes you through the fall, the collapse, the withdrawal, the recovery, and the now, chronicling a journey of abuse, heartache, confidence, self-love, letting go, and growing up. Because sometimes only our darkest experiences can bring out our raw strength and help us find the people we are meant to be.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After reading Katie Wismer’s other poetry collection, I knew I wanted to pick this one up as well. This collection did have some of the same themes, such as toxic relationships, abuse and being able to heal from those experiences. Her poems are very emotional and packed with beautiful language that get her points across no matter the length of the poem itself. After enjoying both collections I will definitely pick up any further collections she publishes.

Happy reading!

Review | Soft Thorns II by bridgett devoue

Bestselling poet Bridgett Devoue shares insight and advice into the powerful world of unrequited love and abuse.  

Soft Thorns Vol. II is a continuation of the deep and emotional journey author Bridgett Devoue started with her debut poetry collection Soft Thorns. Similar to her first book, Devoue’s lyrical and comforting writing is perfectly complemented by gorgeous illustrations.  Focusing on themes of online bullying, abusive relationships, and unrequited love, Devoue’s topics resonate.  As she explores and elaborates on these issues over eight chapters of poems, the reader will discover all the knowledge and power to be gained from facing hardships head on. Soft Thorns Vol. II is for those who are struggling to reckon with their past, apprehensive of what is to come, and a little nervous about everything in between.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This poetry collection was absolutely beautiful, but also heart wrenching. Part of this may be that a lot of the subject matter and emotion woven into it really resonated with me and I could empathize since I’ve had similar feelings and experiences. Keep in mind before going in that there are definite trigger warnings for trauma, rape, rape culture and toxic relationships. I loved the language used and the imagery that was woven not only in words, but also in the illustrations that were peppered throughout the collection. This one really spoke to be and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a poetry collection that will make you sit with it and absorb as well as just power through it depending on your mood.

Review | Small Cures by Della Hicks-Wilson

From the much-loved viral poet Della Hicks-Wilson, comes a powerful first dose of small interconnected poems about the heart, letting go and a healing love readers can carry and quote for a lifetime.

‘darling,
you feel heavy
because you are
too full of truth.

open your mouth more.
let the truth exist
somewhere other than
inside your body.’

In this beautifully tender and ambitious debut collection, Della Hicks-Wilson weaves together more than one hundred and fifty poems written over the course of seven years into a single one — to form a stirring and intimate meditation on love and recovery after heartbreak. Using the stages of pathology as an extended metaphor, this book-length poem skilfully takes the reader on a persuasively healing journey in three parts. In what reads like an effortlessly honest and lyrical conversation, Hicks-Wilson works through the complexities of pain, love, loss, self-love, acceptance, growth and repair with both sensitivity and confidence.

Featuring never-before-seen poems and follower favourites, Small Cures is the transformative and soothing bite-sized prescription every person craving to fall in love after love with themselves has been waiting for.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First and foremost, I really enjoyed the format of this collection as the poems were all interconnected and clearly portrayed a journey. While some of the poems were the super short tumblr style poetry that I don’t always love, the fact that there was variety made me not mind these types of poems interspersed in the collection. There were some poems that were really standouts, whether because of the emotion they portrayed or the imagery in them. While the collection dealt with some heavy topics it was an enjoyable and quick read.

Happy reading!

Review | Poems for the End of the World by Katie Wismer

If you are underwhelmed by me
please just let me go

Poems for the End of the World is a coming of age collection and exploration of the confusing and disillusioning trek through young adulthood in a broken world. Divided into four chapters—waking up, growing pains, crushing realities, and disappointing beginnings—this collection covers everything from self-discovery and heartbreak to chronic illness and fresh starts.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve been eager to get this collection since it came out and I finally got a chance. This poetry collection hit me pretty hard as I could identify with a lot of the themes that were featured. While Katie has full trigger warnings on her website I would definitely point out content warnings for sexual abuse, chronic illness and anxiety. She perfectly described some of the feelings and situations that went along with these topics, but also filled her words with impact and emotions. The language used was beautiful and succinct in getting the message across. There are poems that were hard to read because of the emotional impact, but others that I would love to read multiple times for the same reason. It’s a really strong collection that hits you hard and makes you think.

Happy readinig!

Review | The Gravity Inside Us by Chloe Frayne

Gathering inspiration from a life of travel, hope, long-distance relationships, healing, and adventure, Frayne invites readers into her world. The Gravity Inside Us is an ode to whatever it is we carry that pulls us in and out of place, and speaks so insistently of fate. Through writing about her own experiences, this book is a reach into that space.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one, but the description I read had me thinking it would be the type of poetry that I usually enjoy, and I was right. Frayne uses beautiful language and imagery in each piece, some varying from a simple few lines to full prose. Most of the pieces were centered on love, both finding and losing love – with special emphasis on long distance relationships. I really enjoyed the flow and progression throughout the collection and how the themes shifted over time as the author discussed the wide range of emotions that are twisted into any relationship.

Happy reading!