Poetry Review: Scarlet Shadows (2019)

Scarlet Shadows by Scylla Grand

‘the woman fed us wine and bread
and hungry, I should eat my fill
but food so fine could not be mine
I ate, but I was starving still.’

All I could think about whilst reading this collection was John Keats and ‘Bright Star’, haha. Good poetry makes me think of good poetry, what can I say?

Like, I am absolutely in awe of Scylla Grand’s poetry. I mean:

‘I shudder and rip
the skin off my flesh –
illusory mesh
decided by script.’

How amazing are these quotes? I wanted to post more, but I think you should just get a copy and be as pleasantly surprised as I was! Honestly, I am blown away by this collection of poetry. It’s quite short, but the poems are positively exquisite. I’m a bit of a poetry fangirl anyways, but goodness, these are great. Definitely worth checking out!!

Thank you to the author for a review copy.

Poetry Review: Golden Threads (2021)

Golden Threads: Collection of Poetry by Stjepan Varesevac Cobets

Someone forgot about us,
And we spread like weeds


I’m a huge fan of poetry, in all its wonderful forms and rhythms and it is a truth universally acknowledged that I must try as much poetry as I can.

I had Stjepan Varesevac Cobets’ science fiction added to my reading list already, but I only realised today that he has poetry, too! So I was really curious to check out his poems and dove right in. They’re fantastic! Like, freaking awesome. So many lines grabbed me!

There were a lot of great themes and strong descriptions. Cobets’ poems really remind me of Sean Stevens’ poetry, actually, which I whole heartedly recommend as well! It’s so great stumbling across new awesome poets. \o/

A few of my favourite lines in this collection are:

On the other side of the echo
One woman is standing upright
And watching the sea,
Waiting


And,

And what would a wish be without silk, lace and scarlet?

And,

For in sorrow, no one should be alone.

Can’t wait to read Cobets’ other poetry! The Flaming Horses: Collection of Poetry is one I’m hoping to check out soon! 

Book Review: Trail Markers (2021)

Trail Markers by Cym Aros

He would lay down his life, though, before he would let Hell have his brother.

I really should read Westerns more than I do. I love Western films and shows, especially space Westerns i.e. Firefly, but for some reason I just haven’t read many. The first thing I’ll say is that I should have bought the paperback because this is a large tome and for larger books, I tend to sink into them faster in paperback. So, I will definitely be rereading this one once I get my hands on the paperback! And as this is a whole trilogy, I’ll for sure be picking up book two in paperback as well, haha 😉

Now, despite the lack of Westerns in my repertoire, what I do adore more than anything is a story about close siblings. And boy oh boy, was this a story about brotherhood. One of the things I loved from minute one is the relationship Aros develops between the siblings.

He was avoiding their eyes. He did not want to see their worry, did not want to see his battered, messed-up self reflected in their eyes. He could feel their gaze like an unwelcome hand moving over his skin.

The detail and focus on the characters is excellent, visceral and most assuredly intense. Certainly not a tale for the faint of heart, with Aros putting her characters through it all, bless their hearts. Aros really spends a lot of time developing the characters, their relationships, their predicaments and conflicting emotions, building the story towards an exciting finish. And, as a reader, it’s impossible not to care about Cole, Jesse and Jacob.

“You can’t outlast me, boy. I will keep on, and keep on, until I crush you. I will make your brother watch. And then I will crush him.”

Rather than being a typical Western with characters as bank robbers and bandits, this book is more a long form character study, with lots of conversations and musings from different points of view. Salinger-esque, if you get me. The time switches back over about a decade or so, flashing from the 1860s to the 1870s. This story really reminded me of Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, actually, which I absolutely adored and is probably the only other Western I have read (surely I’ve read more?? Goodness, must rectify soon).

Overall, Trail Markers is character and dialogue driven, and moves along at a brisk pace, flashing forwards and back in time to detail how the brothers ended up as they are and taking the reader on a journey alongside them. This book definitely gets dark and twisty, fitting right in with the genre!

If you like Westerns, or stories about brothers who would do anything for each other, then be sure to check this one out! Series: Trail Markers // Thanksgiving // Nox.

On to book 2!

Book Review Roundup

The Tap-Dancing Pigeon of Covent Garden by Serena Hassan

Oh my goodness, this book is just the cutest. A pigeon, just out of the nest, learns what life is like in the big city and discovers that his passion and joy rests with dancing and song. This book is filled with gorgeous art and fun prose, definitely worth a read!

The Gift Of Life II: Darkness Follows by Sean Stevens

As I embark,
upon this lesson,
left or right,
adverse progression

POETRY IS JUST FREAKING GROOVY OKAY?

It would be really hard to pick out my favourite poems from this collection because there were numerous ones that just impacted me, yanno? But I pulled out some of the quotes that really hit me.

Had we known
What time was left
Would our values still be pride?

And,

A writer for history
For whom I’ve become,
Eternal battles: What’s living?
To those who have none

There’s some truly fantastic writing in here, along with some lovely photography! Sean Stevens is definitely a poet worth checking out! I can’t wait to read more of his poems.

Thank you to the author for the review copy.

New Release: Go For Broke

Go For Broke by Daisy Knox

Cady Blackwell is a victim of her own bad judgment: dating the biggest losers, attracting a stalker, and unknowingly accepting a job that’s gotta be illegal. She can’t quit until she finds a way to protect herself from being framed for her bosses’ crimes, plus she wants to stay alive and out of prison. But nothing’s easy when she’s distracted by a charming financier and a f-boy detective. She’s in way over her head, and she’s fighting for her life. Her only chance for survival is to put her faith in the instincts she stopped trusting long ago. It’s time to go for broke, which will either save her or cost her everything.

Connect with Daisy
Website | https://daisyknox.com/
Goodreads | https://bit.ly/3DgIJdV
Amazon | https://amzn.to/2XVeyZt
Facebook | http://www.facebook.com/DaisyKnoxauthor
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Twitter | http://twitter.com/DaisyKnoxauthor

Book Review: I Love You S’more (2021)

I Love You S’more by Wendy Dalrymple

She wanted to remember this moment forever, no matter what happened after the weekend. The sound of the night. The scent of the pine logs burning in the fire. His gorgeous, fun, friendly smile, still perfect and imperfect all at once after all these years. Even the way that their sons had become fast friends in the same way that she and Julian had. She didn’t want it to end.

What a sweet, wholesome, perfect-for-the-summer romance! I Love You S’More is my first read by Wendy Dalrymple and I’m definitely going to be devouring the rest of her books! This is filled with summer camp fun, second chance romance and more descriptions of s’mores than my hungry self could handle. I’m now so hungry it’s ridiculous. Must find s’mores!

Book Review: Along for the Ride (2021)

Along for the Ride by Rachel Bowdler

“Are you sure you want tae do this, Stripes? I’m not bringing you back if you get cold feet halfway to Dover.”

Oh my gosh, this is the perfect summer romance read. Fancy a day at the beach? Bring this book. Going on a hike? Bring this book. Going to the café? Yup, this book is perfect with your iced coffee! If you want escapism, sunshine, romance and sweet joy, this the book to read!

I really loved Rachel Bowdler’s Paint Me Yours, and I’m so happy that Along for the Ride is just as much fun. The story begins when Emmy, a young photographer seeking candid subjects on the streets, runs into Lachlan, a motorcyclist on the run from a grumpy landlord. On a whim, the pair become unintended buddies on a multi-country tour across Europe. As the days pass, their friendship grows, each realising that they are happy to be themselves around the other.

“My mum used to call me Plain Jane because I never really had an interesting face. I take pictures of all these different people, but I never feel like one of them.”

I really liked getting both perspectives and seeing how the romance was developing for both sides. Emmy and Lachlan are such lovely, relatable characters. Bowdler’s descriptions make the characters easy to like and you fall into their lives without effort. I was rooting hard for these two crazy kids from the get go.

He had no answer, no way to evade or deny or explain. Because it was true. He didn’t have a home; hadn’t for a while now. He just kept running, hiding, always looking for something better, something that didn’t exist. A better job. A better city.

Emmy was wonderful, but I do wish Lachlan had said something about his destination choice earlier in the story. He was so clearly smitten with her haha. Still, I thought the resolution was wonderful and original, and I really liked how Bowdler wrapped everything up.

Overall this is a fun, wholesome, sweet book that is definitely worth a read. And now on to my next book by Bowdler (here’s looking at you Partners in Crime)! [I swear, I’m gonna end up reading her entire library before the year is through at this rate. 😉]

Book Review: Hoglets’ Christmas Magic (2021)

Hoglets’ Christmas Magic by Lynette Creswell

Prickles and Primrose left the safety of their home in search of a new star.

This is a great little Christmas book for kids! The illustrations in this lovely little book are just so precious. The Hedgehog family are truly the cutest! I also liked that there was a good amount of storytelling and prose in the book despite being only 32 pages. It reminded me of older stories for kids, like The Wind in the Willows and Frog and Toad.

The author spins a detailed, wholesome little story of the Hedgehog family trying to save Christmas. When the Hedgehog siblings encounter Santa, who has misplaced a toy, they instantly offer their help. Adventure and hijinks follow!

Thank you to the author for a review copy.

Poetry Review: Black Movie (2015)

Black Movie by Danez Smith

‘why does it always have to be about race?’ Because you made it that way! Because you put an asterisk on my sister’s gorgeous face! Because you call her pretty (for a black girl)! Because black girls go missing without so much as a whisper of where?! Because there is no Amber Alert for the Amber Skinned Girls! Because we didn’t invent the bullet! Because crack was not our recipe! Because Jordan boomed. Because Emmitt whistled. Because Huey P. spoke. Because Martin preached. Because black boys can always be too loud to live. Because it’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brother’s & my sister’s time, my niece’s & my nephew’s time… how much time do you want for your progress?

If I could quote this whole collection of poetry and prose, I would. Each one tugged at my heart and filled me with emotion. I read it pretty much start to finish, only pausing once. The words in here are achingly raw, poignant and beautiful. The prose is exquisite and painful and brutal. A must read for sure.

I thoroughly recommend everyone give this their time.

Book Review: Gathering of the Four (2021)

Gathering of the Four (The Serrulata Saga #1) by A.E. Bennett

Gathering of the Four is the first book in A.E. Bennett’s Serrulata Sage and is set in the Realm, a futuristic place where Xanthcraft, a sort of magic, exists. Those who wield Xanthcraft have different skills and abilities that are natural to them. This is a big book, coming in at over 400 pages, and I really wish I’d read it in paperback! I handle big, fantastical books better in paperback, so this is definitely going on my will-be-reread list for sure! ebooks are great, but for big fantasy, it takes me a long time to sink in to the story and I have trouble doing that without a paperback. ANYWAYS, I digress …

“But outside of the Realm, if they follow the calendar of the Ancients, it’s 4385.”

I really appreciated this line, as it gives you a sense of how far into the future the Realm is and how much things have changed. When Leora learns that her stepmother and her father plan to sell her into ‘servantry’, she runs away. She soon meets Roland Shallowbrook and the pair become fast friends.

“Before New Market, I thought—and I know this is so silly but—I thought I was the only one. I knew it wasn’t true, but I’d never seen anyone else with eyes like mine. And then I saw Xanthi in New Market, and now I’ve met you and, well…it’s been very nice.”

We get other characters and POVs as well. I really enjoyed the relationships Bennett develops between the characters and the world-building of the Realm. Each character comes from a very different place and you get to spend time with the characters before their paths and storylines start to collide. One of the romances took me by surprise in the best way, too. BUT I SHAN’T SPOIL! 😉

Each chapter also begins with an excerpt that adds to the worldbuilding and I seriously loved them. You start to get proverbs from the Realm towards the end of the book that were wicked cool.

The Capitol is not an easy building to navigate. Different wings were constructed at very different times throughout the Realm’s history, and it doesn’t take one long to figure out that each new wing was built without a care for what already existed. I do not recommend wandering around alone.

The setting reminded me of The Hunger Games and the Shannara Chronicles in the sense that it feels both new and old. This is only book one and I’m so curious to see where Bennett takes the storyline!