Where the Butterflies Pray
by Susie Clevenger
Susie Clevenger has done it again. I read her collection over several months, though highs and lows. The light and comfort in her words found me. Nature, truth, freedom with a hint of salvation became themes of a spiritual journey. I think the author took me to a place beyond religion, where beauty and complexity thrive and everyone is thankful for its presence. Add to this the cover art, which could not be more beautiful. Where the Butterflies Pray is somewhere to discover and awaken sleeping portions of your mind; somewhere to find questions and begin the path toward answers.
Within the Heart of Silence
by James William Peercy and Jacqueline E. Smith
Within the Heart of Silence is great ekphrastic poetry, blending images with words that often read like music. I enjoyed the touch of agelessness presented by Smith’s photography and Peercy’s verse. The rhyming did not always work for me, but I appreciated its structure. Definitely a great book to read outside in the woods.
Cinderelleper: A Fairytale Satire
by Ford Forkum
I’ve always liked fairy tales and this humorous adaptation of Cinderella is no exception. The protagonist falling apart (from leprosy) was somehow both intriguing and at times emotional. I laughed a great deal at the subtle surprises thrown into the traditional narrative; especially the fate of the wicked stepmother!
Milk and Honey
by Rupi Kaur
I admire poetry and the strength it takes to sell books in the genre. Therefore, when I heard Milk and Honey was a bestseller, I had to read it. But my mind was cynical of anything so popular – until I saw the strength of Kaur’s words. The raw energy of her pain and passion; pessimism and belief, floored me in ways few other books have. It is a journey and a manifesto connecting not only the struggles of women but people everywhere. Her illustrations opened my mind as much as her poetry and brought the shorter poems more meaning. The only weak part of the book was the cover, yet it served as mask for the power within; an anticlimax almost before a pivotal rise. And I thoroughly enjoyed the pause with black pages between poems. I can emphatically say you will regret missing this collection.
I’ve spent over a week thinking of this book and how to quantify the next chapter in a saga that defined my childhood. I think it would be too easy to say it isn’t “canon” or merely “fan fiction”. Maybe because it’s hard to move on, or accept that Harry grew up like the rest of us? Or perhaps that he grew into a world that no longer finds him special or the chosen one? I had trouble accepting this, but it did not make me doubt Rowling’s authenticity. She gave us the characters after all and she ultimately decides their fates. Tolkien knew this better than anyone when he wrote his appendages and detailed the ultimate ends of his fellowship. But for me what makes this book indispensable as part of the original story is where it leaves us: in a world of magic and wonders, where essential truths persist into adulthood. I think the world and those who grew up reading Harry’s novels needed reminded that love conquers the overwhelming pain of tragedy, division within us, and even time itself.
Waking the Wild: a poetry collection
by Nadia Hasan
Nadia Hasan has been a favorite poet of mine for some time. I thoroughly enjoyed her first collection, From the Cafe and Beyond. She has also been featured on my blog series where authors share their favorite writing spaces. Waking the Wild, her most recent collection, is as astonishing as it is heartfelt. The cover, the formatting and design flow flawlessly into words of unparalleled emotion. Error takes us through the turmoil of pain in an emergency room; When the Body Betrays, a battle between the body and finding love; and Decipher, has some of my favorite words yet: “I am cracked/ I am broken/ and all my words come out wrong but/ there are no words”. I highly recommend this story of life and survival. Her words will leave you reeling and alive.
The Night is My Own
by Freya Holloway
The debut collection from Freya Holloway is a powerful stream of consciousness. Her heart pours onto the page “like smoke forever gracing fingertips.” These borrowed lines from her poem, My Beautiful Illusion, speak volumes. Each page is a smoke of new emotion, inhaled. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her classical and modern styles converge through prose, free-verse, and haiku. Occasionally, I might have wished the prose to be broken-up into smaller stanzas, but I imagine it came to the author in such a way. Please, do yourself a favor and buy this book.
Flashes of Emotion
by Augustine Sam
Flashes of Emotion by Augustine Sam has a classical edge, yet feels current in its raw energy. Poetry simply put is not like this anymore, which makes it all together unique and refreshing. I enjoyed the deep description and rhythm as they are quite different from my own writing. You won’t find words or thoughts like these at slams, or online, therefore it is well worth your time.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
by Jacqueline E. Smith
I’m easily distracted, but I could not put Backstage down. There were times when the narration could have been subtler and the antagonist more realistic, yet I loved the story. Much like in other books by Smith, the main characters have remarkable chemistry. Whether it is the adorable lead couple Sam and Mel or the hi-jinks of young boy band, Backstage left me wanting more. I can’t wait to see what drama (and new song lyrics) the next book has in store.
Cuts & Collected Poems 1989 – 2015
by Maria Haskins
There is something about a poetry collection that spans the entire length of your life. Maria Haskins has been writing as long as I have been alive and her talent is beyond seasoned. The passion, words, and emotion behind every poem are astonishing and mesmerizing. But perhaps her own words describe it best:
take me with you
take me even farther
away from the fire.