BOOK REVIEW: Love, & You – by Gretchen Gomez

Title: Love, & You
Author: Gretchen Gomez

Genre: Poetry, Non Fiction, Romance
First published: April 4th 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Finished reading: June 4th 2017
Pages: 142

“addiction
comes
in
different
forms

i was the addict.
he was the drug.

and every time i tried
to go into detox, he kept
coming back to me
with pretty hello’s.”


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I normally don’t tend to review the poetry I read, but I just HAD to make an exception for Love, & You, a poetry bundle written by fellow book blogger Gretchen Gomez (chicnerdreads). I’m sure most have already heard about her blog and wonderful poetry posts, but make sure to visit her if you haven’t! ❤

I remember adding Love, & You to my wishlist as soon as I first heard about it and my interest increased steadily as I read glowing after glowing review. But I have to give credit when it’s due and say it was actually Amanda’s wonderful review that sealed the deal for me, confirming just how much I would be able to relate to the poems. And she was 100% right. It’s been days since I devoured Love, & You in record time, and I still haven’t recovered from the emotion overload. Because to say it crudely: damn, that girl can write powerful poetry! Wonderful, emotional, raw, beautiful, powerful, strong, exceptional… Trust me, I can keep the adjectives going for a long time if you let me. This poetry bundle is all about her experience with a toxic relationship and her slow recovery from it. The poems are highly personal and it really feels you get to know her a lot better through her poems. I truly admire her courage first talking about such a personal topic and then going ahead and publishing the poems afterwards!

It’s not widely known, but I was unfortunate enough to have a quite similar experience with a toxic relationship in the past. The details don’t really matter right now, but it did mean that the poems in Love, & You made an even bigger impact on me than they would to others who haven’t had such an experience. Trust me, she doesn’t exaggerate the effects of such a relationship and its looong and difficult road to recovery. Writing (both poems and other forms) can be a very important form of self-therapy and I loved learning more about her journey through her writing. I wrote some poems myself after my experience that helped me learn about the past and accept what happened, but those just seemed like silly scribblings compared to those shared in Love, & You. I loved both the writing style, form and the way the different emotions are voiced. It’s not often that I’m left speechless, but I found myself lost for words after finishing this bundle. Thank you for describing my own feelings and memories so much better than I could ever done!

It’s easy to say I can highly recommend Love, & You.


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ARC REVIEW: Bull – by David Elliott

Title: Bull
Author: David Elliott

Genre: YA, Poetry, Mythology
First published: March 28th 2017
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: March 16th 2017
Pages: 200

“Minos says I’m nothing more than Nothing.

Can Nothing take a form and call it me?

But Nothing is ever what it seems.

Watch Nothing laugh.

See Nothing cry.

Hear Nothing scream.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and HMH Books For Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I have a weak spot for (Greek) mythology retellings, so I knew I had to request a copy of Bull as soon as I saw it mentioned last year. Like the title already suggests, this story written by David Elliott is a mythology retelling of the classic Greek Minotaur story I’m sure most have at least heard about. I actually translated part of it during high school so I was looking forward to revisiting the story! One thing is for sure: Bull definitely wasn’t the mythology retelling I was expecting. I’m still not sure what to make of it all, but there is no doubt it was at least both an entertaining and very original retelling. Why? Bull is a story full written in verse and each character in the story has its own unique style; very creative indeed. The writing style made me laugh more than once, although the humor might be a bit unorthodox and I’m still not sure the tone was actually appropriate. To get an idea what I mean, here’s how the story started:

“POSEIDON

Whaddup, bitches?

Am I right or am I right?
That bum Minos deserved what he got.”

Not exactly what you would expect when starting a Theseus and the minotaur retelling, right?! Still, I would recommend this story to anyone searching for an original and slightly bizarre story and to those who enjoy reading in verse and don’t mind a swearword or two.

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A story completely told in verse… Minos wanted to be king and asked for the help of Poseidon, only to deny the God his sacrifice when Minos gets what he wants. Poseidon is furious and decides to punish Minos, but the best revenge is one that’s properly planned and needs time. Minos doesn’t know it yet, but his future will change forever… Because instead of a little boy, Minos’ wife and queen will give birth to the Minotaur. And that sure is something else!

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It personally took me some time to get used to the original and unorthodox way Bull narrates the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, but I can also really appreciate the direction the author decided to take with this retelling. There is no doubt that teenagers will find it easier to connect to Bull than the original story and it has without doubt a high entertainment factor. It’s not for everyone, but the right person will definitely have a blast reading this Minotaur retelling told in verse!


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ARC REVIEW: The Universe Of Us – by Lang Leav

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Title: The Universe Of Us
Author: Lang Leav

Genre: Poetry, Contemporary, Romance
First published: October 4th 2016
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Finished reading: August 12th 2016
Pages: 184
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“I know there is a terrible distance between us. But our bodies are made of stardust, and we are hurtling through space and time, toward the most beautiful collision.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I admit I normally don’t read a lot of poetry, but I like trying out different genres out of my comfort zone every once in a while. I read Lang Leav‘s other poetry bundle Memories last year and I enjoyed her writing style, so when I saw this new collection at Netgalley I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did, because I ended up enjoying The Universe Of Us even better than the collection I’ve read last year. It might just be because it was a lot easier to connect to the love-inspired poetry, especially since I’m very much in love myself… But what I can say is that I now have a lot of highlights with beautiful quotes stored on my phone. The poetry is beautifully written and both easy to read and easy to relate to. And yes, that is the case even if you’re not an hopeless romantic… Trust me, I’m talking out of experience. If you are looking for a great contemporary romance poetry collection, make sure you give The Universe Of Us a go. You won’t regret it.

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This completely new collection of poetry talks about love and loss, hope and hurt and being lost and found, all inspired by the wonders of the universe. Planets, stars and constellations are all featured throughout the bundle and the poems bring forth powerful emotions and personal experiences that seem to evoke universal feelings.

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If you are looking for a beautifully written and accessible poetry collection, The Universe Of Us is the perfect option. The poetry is both easy to read and relate to since the poems are mostly about universal emotions and personal experiences. Even if you are not a big fan of romantic poems, this bundle might still be interesting to give a go. Especially since Lang Leav will most likely be able to convince you anyway with her powerful writing.

BOOK REVIEW: Apple And Rain – by Sarah Crossan

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Title: Apple And Rain
Author: Sarah Crossan
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction, Romance
First published: August 14th 2014
Finished reading: March 29th 2016
Pages: 330Rating 3qqq

“Poetry can teach us about ourselves. It can comfort us when we are in despair. It can bring joy. But not only that…it can open us up. It can make our worlds bigger and brighter and clearer. It can *transform* us.”

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I read Sarah Crossan‘s One not that long ago and I was really impressed by both the prose (the whole book is written in verse) and the story itself. So when I was looking for something good after a few disappointing reads, I remembered I had a copy of Apple And Rain waiting for me on my shelves. I started reading it expecting it to be similar to One, and that is probably part of the reason why I didn’t enjoy it that much. Rather than a full story written in verse, Apple And Rain is a story about poetry with only a few poems incorporated in the text. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I wasn’t particularly impressed by the story itself. I did like the poems, but the plot, prose and characters are not exactly inspiring. I understand the main character Apple is quite young and that explains part of the ‘childish feel’ of the book, but I can’t say I liked her and most of the plot is a bit farfetched. Rain with her doll, Apple’s mother, Apple herself… I just didn’t feel it. I know other people seemed to enjoy Apple And Rain though, so don’t let this review discourage you if you think you would enjoy it.

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When Apple was still a little girl, her mother decided to leave her on a stormy Christmas Eve because she just couldn’t take it anymore. Apple has been living with her grandmother ever since, always secretly hoping her mother would return one day. Her grandmother is quite strict and doesn’t stop treating her as a child even as Apple grows up, somehow afraid Apple will turn out as her mother… Only pushing Apple right back into her mother’s arms when she suddenly returns after eleven years away without a word. Apple’s love for her mother makes her blind and she doesn’t see the signs for trouble… And soon she will meet someone who is even more lost than she is.

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The general idea behind Apple And Rain is interesting even though it’s not that original, and I really liked the poetry bits. Those parts would have gotten 4 stars, but unfortunately I wasn’t blown away by the rest of it. The plot, prose and characters didn’t manage to convince me and most of it just didn’t feel credible. It is a really fast read though and has some interesting insights on poetry, so don’t discard it if you think you might like it. Still, I would definitely recommend reading One first if you haven’t already.

BOOK REVIEW: One – by Sarah Crossan

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Title: One
Author: Sarah Crossan
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Poetry
First published: August 27th 2015
Finished reading: March 4th 2016
Pages: 400
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“‘No one is whole,’ I told him.
‘Everybody is missing pieces.'”

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I was browsing my TBR pile for a book featuring strong familial relationships the other day and this novel by Sarah Crossan sounded like the perfect match. What I didn’t know or expect was that the whole story is written in verse! I don’t read or know a lot about poetry, but that doesn’t take away that I can really appreciate it when it’s done in the right way. The free verse used in One made me fly through the pages and really connect to the main characters. The plot itself is interesting and tells us the story of two girls, Grace and Tippi, who were born joined at the waist. Through the voice of Grace, Sarah Crossan is able to address a lot of prejudices about conjoined twins. It is interesting to see how other people react to Grace and Tippi and how both twins are fighting to have their own identity. If you are looking for a good contemporary realistic fiction read and don’t mind reading it in free verse, One is without doubt a very good choice.

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Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins who are joined at the waist. When they were little, they were told they wouldn’t be able to live for long, but the two sisters are now sixteen and still going strong. They share everything, but both girls have different dreams and wishes as well. When you’re a conjoined twin, you don’t exactly have privacy, but still Grace and Tippi would never want to be apart either. Unfortunately, something seems to be wrong with Grace even though she doesn’t want to admit it… She doesn’t tell even Tippi, but how long can she hide the truth? There might be a choice waiting for them in the future neither of them wants to make…

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This novel by Sarah Crossan surprised me, but in a really good way. I was expecting just another contemporary/realistic fiction read, but when I opened One to the first page I was confronted by free verse. I don’t read a lot of poetry, but I enjoy reading it in general especially when it’s well written like in this case. The prose made me fly through the pages and both the characters and the plot are really interesting. If you are looking for an interesting and original read, make sure to consider One!

BOOK REVIEW: Memories – by Lang Leav

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Title: Memories
Author: Lang Leav
Genre: Poetry, Romance, Contemporary
First published: October 6th 2015
Finished reading: December 19th 2015
Pages: 256
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“I have always thought of memories as fragments, like colored glass shards in a kaleidoscope. It is the source of great beauty in our lives, yet the cause of such heartache.”

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It had been too long since I last read poetry anyway, so when I needed to read a book of poetry to help complete a challenge I didn’t mind picking up Memories at all. I have written my share of poetry in the past and I really enjoy reading it in general as well. The poems and thoughts written by Lang Leav are without doubt interesting and some even have the same feel about them as those poems I wrote myself a few years back… But somehow these sad broken relationship poems couldn’t keep my attention right now. It might be the fact that I have been happily in love for the last three years, but the poems and thoughts started to feel melancholic and repetitive as I advanced in the book. This collection might be perfect for those who feel a little heartsick or a hopeless romantic, but I almost felt like I was ruining my reading experience by disagreeing and feeling that true love does exist (even if it sounds corny). It’s a well written collection though, so if you like the genre you might enjoy it a lot better than I did!

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Memories is a collection that consists of a mix of the best of Lang Leav’s previous work Lullabies and Love & Misadventure and quite a few new poems. This collection is illustrated by the author and all poems and thoughts have the same general theme: love. Lang Leav explores love and broken relationships in poems and thoughts full of emotion that will sound familiar to most of us.

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Lang Leav is able to describe situations and emotions most of us have felt at some point in our lives (unless you’re lucky enough to have happily married your first love). Her prose is both simple, emotional and beautiful and the only reason I couldn’t really connect to them because it’s simply hard for me to identify myself with sad/broken relationship poems right now. Memories is a treat though for those who enjoy the genre and don’t mind reading about bad relationship experiences and negative feelings!