Friday, 19 October 2018

Poetry I've Read Recently

It's been a while since I've been able to include poetry in a top ten or similar list and I've been posting reviews of some poetry books I've read recently over on my IGTV so if you're not already following me on Instagram, you should head on over there.

So here are five poetry books I've read and loved recently and which have fuelled my desire to read more contemporary poetry. 

A new Amanda Lovelace poetry collection is always a must-buy for me. I'm going to share a full review of this one with you soon and I talk about it on my IGTV channel but I wanted to highlight it here too. This book is broken into three section; Monster Boy, Monster Girl and Sun Heart so it almost reads like the arc of a novel. It highlights the damage past relationships can have on us then, now and always. It has some beautiful illustration and even made me cry. I share some of the specific poems that spoke to me in that video. 

I have a full review of this collection of short stories and poems which you can find here

I'm not bundling these two together because I feel that they are the same story but because I loved them both equally and read them virtually back to back. Wild embers is a great collection of poetry and I highlighted so many poems which I talk about in my IGTV video. Some of my favourites were those that concern fairy tales and princesses from those tales. So naturally I rushed out to get fierce fairy tales the day it was released and I have the very beautiful UK hardback edition sitting on my shelves, also show in an IGTV video. I think I definitely preferred the poems to the short stories in this collection but I loved the way it made me look at fairy tales and the princes and princesses found within them. 

First of all, I loved the design of this book of poetry so I could do just as it said and take it with me. I actually borrowed this one from my library but I have it on my wish list so I will try and obtain a copy so that I can read it again. I loved the way this book spoke to me directly as a reader. I loved the way it highlighted the ups and downs of a relationship both inside and outside of one and I loved the structure of the book and the fact that it included illustrations. 

This book really is for everyone, another one where it does exactly what it says on the cover. This is the shortest of the books mentioned in the post and so possibly the most accessible if you are new to contemporary poetry. These poems are really beautiful and really do make you see the things in your life in a new light. The colours used throughout the book are lovely too and make for a very three dimensional reading experience. The thing that I loved most about it was the fact that inside the cover you have a section where you can fill in your name (if you own the book, I got mine from the library) and then pass it on to someone else so it is like a library borrowing system but to leave and pass on to everyone. 

Please let me know in the comments if you have enjoyed any similar collections of poetry recently or have any recommendations for me based on the books I have shared here. 

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Review: Fashion Victim by Amina Akhtar

A thrilling take on the fashion world, #FashionVictim is Dexter meets The Devil Wears Prada.

Fashion editor Anya St. Clair is on the verge of greatness. Her wardrobe is to die for. Her social media is killer. And her career path is littered with the bodies of anyone who got in her way. She’s worked hard to get where she is, but she doesn’t have everything.

Not like Sarah Taft. Anya’s obsession sits one desk away. Beautiful, stylish, and rich, she was born to be a fashion world icon. From her beach-wave blonde hair to her on-trend nail art, she’s a walking editorial spread. And Anya wants to be her friend. Her best friend. Her only friend.

But when Sarah becomes her top competition for a promotion, Anya’s plan to win her friendship goes into overdrive. In order to beat Sarah…she’ll have to become her. Friendly competition may turn fatal, but as they say in fashion: One day you’re in, and the next day you’re dead.

Review: Wow this novel is dark. If you don't like a lot of death or violence in your novels then this will definitely not be one for you, but if you do, then you're in the right place. This novel is twisty and unexpected and yet funny and snarky and kind of relatable all at the same time. 

This novel is set in the fashion world of New York, one of my very favourite settings and although we don't get a lot of description of the city, we get a lot of description of New York Fashion Week and just what a cut throat (literally) environment the world of fashion really is. 

I loved the fact that we see this whole story through Anya's eyes, we get her take on everything that goes and and we really get into her mind, which is a very unique place indeed. Anya definitely isn't a character you're going to like but she is one of the most intriguing character I have read recently. She is also quite easy to sympathise with in some ways and so you can see where she is coming from in some of the actions that she takes. 

It is very hard to talk about the plot without giving any spoilers away but there is fashion gossip and bitching, police procedure, weight loss, relationships and friendships covered within the pages amongst other things. One of the great things about the plot is that incidents occur very much in the passive voice and it might be a few pages before we, as readers, get to see what actually happened in the active voice. 

Very twisty, very snarky, full of intrigue and surprise. A thriller with themes of mental health and friendship, truly one of the most unique reading experiences I have had in a long time. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Guest Review: A Gift From the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.

But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindess at the Comfort Food CafĂ©.

This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

Review: This is the fifth book in the series about The Comfort Food Cafe, the amazing venue in the seaside village of Bunbury, Dorset, that is so much more than just an eating establishment. As readers of previous books in the series know, the Cafe is a place where the perfect dish to soothe your soul appears as if by magic in front of you, served up by proprietor Cherie Moon, or chef Laura. I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed, all of the titles in this series, and was looking forward to this Christmassy story.

As the series has progressed, we have met the regulars at the cafe and a procession of characters who have discovered its healing powers.  In this story, we learn more about Katie and young son Saul, who have been present from the start, but with Katie always keeping herself to herself. As the pages turn, Katie's background and reason for relocating to Budbury emerge. Cherie and Laura are, as usual, matchmaking and hoping to get Katie together with local man, Van, but can she overcome her misgivings about entering into a relationship at all? While this is the central story in the book, there are, of course, other things happening with the cafe's clientele, making for an entertaining read. 

This book contains the wonderful blend of comedy, romance and drama I have come to expect from Debbie Johnson. I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Each story can be read as a standalone, but it would be a shame not to read them in order. They are full of strong, believable characters, each with interesting back stories. Each time I read about the Comfort Food Cafe, I have a longing to visit and sit there watching the sea, with a plate of their delicious food in front of me. I'm sure other readers would join me. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookstores/Libraries I've always wanted to visit 16/10/18

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Again I've been very lucky when it comes to bookstore and libraries, I always make a point of seeking them out when I travel, however there are definitely some that I haven't managed to get to yet!

Books are Magic, Brooklyn, USA

El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy

Honesty Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye, UK

Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France

Seattle Public Library, USA

Copenhagen University Library, Denmark

Bodleian Library, Oxford, UK

Admont Abbey’s Library, Austria

Vienna National Library, Austria

Monday, 15 October 2018

Review: Short and Skinny by Mark Tatulli

New from syndicated comic strip artist Mark Tatulli comes a full-color middle grade graphic novel that centers on Mark's own experience in the summer after seventh grade.

As a middle schooler, Mark finds himself on the smaller side of the physical spectrum--being short AND skinny has really wreaked havoc on his confidence. So to end his bullying woes and get the girl--or at least the confidence to talk to the girl--he starts to explore bulking up by way of the miracle cures in the backs of his comics. But his obsession with beefing up is soon derailed by a new obsession: Star Wars, the hottest thing to hit the summer of 1977. As he explores his creative outlets as well as his cures to body image woes, Mark sets out to make his own stamp on the film that he loves.

Mark Tatulli's graphic novel debut is a humorous and heartfelt take on body-image, finding a creative outlet, and spending a summer in the 70's.

Review: this was the first graphic novel I have read all of, I normally struggle with them and so I think a graphic memoir was a great place for me to start. I was endeared to the setting, time wise, straight away and loved the fact that not only is this a memoir but takes place when Mark is in middle school in the 70s, what a great period in recent history. 

I also loved the illustrations in this novel. I actually liked the black and white that was used, especially for the more dramatic pages when there is a lot of dark in the story and on the page, as well as the illustrations of the Star Wars parody, they looked great in black and white so I am VERY curious to see how this one looks when it is out in full colour. 

I really liked Mark's story, being short and skinny but finding something he loved to do and was good at. He goes through everything we all do as teenagers, but this is also a fab example of male body positivity in a novel-so great to see. I love the fact that he calls himself short and skinny and we see what that does to him and the reaction of his classmates and yet he doesn't let that stop him from winning friends and trying something a lot of people wouldn't go to the effort to. 

I will definitely be seeking out more from this author and publisher because I really enjoyed this and will certainly be looking for more graphic memoirs in the future!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Movie Reviews: October 7th-13th

As always, if you would like longer, more comprehensive reviews of the movies I saw this week, you can check out the weekly review video over on my YouTube channel, I will always try and link this at the bottom of the post as well. There will be no movie review post next week just because I am away from Tuesday to Sunday and so won't be watching as many movies this week and also won't be able to film and post next weekend. They'll be back in 2 weeks though!

This film was good. This lighting and the camera angles were great. I also loved the fact that we got to see the impact these NASA mission had on the wives and families left behind. This film was very long though and really felt that way. I thought the actors were good as well, I thought they obviously embodied the characters enough to make me believe in them and make me cry. I could definitely see this getting some Oscar nominations. 

This film definitely has some care warnings where sexual assault, physical assault and rape are concerned. But this film is perfect for the climate that we have right now of women coming forward about the assault or abuse they have suffered in the past/present. It is a film that is a good survivor story. It is also a film where marginalised groups are well-represented so it has that going for it. This film is about a stand up comedian so it has some really funny moments too and all of us in the cinema were laughing out loud despite the dark content and subject matter. 

I'd been wanting to see this one for ages and waiting for it to come out. Obviously everyone else had been waiting for it to come out too since the screen I saw it in was full! It was more of a thriller even though I feel like the trailer paint it to be a horror film. It plays out like a really good thriller novel and its structured so that each of the characters get their own back story played out by the room in the hotel they are staying in. These stories overlap and then obviously all come together at the end. The ending isn't tied with a neat bow which I liked and this film has some amazing actors in it. It is also long but doesn't feel that way-definitely recommend if you love a good thriller!

What movies have you seen recently?

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Guest Review: Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove by Sarah Bennett

A second chance by the sea?

When Kiki Jackson’s marriage falls to pieces, there’s only one place that she knows she can escape to – her sister’s little guesthouse in Butterfly Cove.
But she’s worried that turning up on bride-to-be Mia’s doorstep, especially with her two adorable children in tow, will spoil her sister’s imminent wedding plans!
Luckily, handsome neighbour Aaron Spenser offers to share his new cottage with Kiki until she’s back on her feet. And as the wedding draws closer, Kiki realises that Butterfly Cove may be offering her little family more than just a new home…
Maybe this is where her new life begins…?
Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove: A heartwarming romantic read from bestselling author Sarah Bennett (Butterfly Cove, Book 2) by [Bennett, Sarah]

Review: This is the second book in the Butterfly Cove series from Sarah Bennett. I recently finished the first in the series and was keen to find out what would happen next with the central characters, their friends and family. I think the title gives a clue to the main event, but there is a little more than that going on in the story. Once again, I found this an easy read and an entertaining way of spending a few hours. Although this is part of a series, it can definitely be read as a standalone, but whets the appetite to find out what transpired before. 

The first book in the series saw Mia renovating a guest house in the beautiful seaside setting of Butterfly Cove with the help of new friend artist Daniel, his best friends Aaron and Luke, and neighbours Madeline and Richard. Although Mia and Daniel's friendship has moved on, this story centres more on Mia's sister, Kiki, who arrives at Mia's guest house with her two young children after finally giving up on her marriage to controlling and abusive Neil. Kiki and the children end up sharing Aaron's cottage since Mia has no room, and she begins to see a chink of light at the end of the tunnel of despair she has become stuck in as these idyllic surroundings work their magic. Everyone is surprised when the third, and youngest, sister, Nee, shows up for the wedding with a shock revelation. 

I have really enjoyed this sequel to Sunrise at Butterfly Cove and would recommend it to other readers. It was good to revisit the characters I met in the first book and to find them all moving on with their lives. As before, I found them likeable (with the exception of Kiki's husband of course) and so eager to help one another that it makes Butterfly Cove a place you would want to visit, if not to live. I am looking forward to catching up with everybody in the next part of the series. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US