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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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25 09, 2016

Review: Grabbing the Apple

By | September 25th, 2016|Categories: Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Poetry|Tags: |0 Comments

Rating:

grabbing the apple book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Grabbing the Apple is an anthology of poems by women poets of New York City, with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as the central theme. The anthology takes up 84 pages, with biographies of the poets at the end. I love poetry anthologies. Look closely at the titles to give a hint of where each poem will gently or turbulently twist you. Some poems were good, but I was unable to latch onto many of them. That said, poems are a personal experience so others may feel differently.

In the poem “In Morocco,” by Iris Schwartz, the author takes us back to an ancient time, when hope kept women going, and their solidarity gave them confidence in a chaotic world. I liked this poem and could relate to it on a few levels.

16 06, 2014

Review: Divine Comedy, translated by Clive James

By | June 16th, 2014|Categories: Classics, Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Poetry|Tags: , |2 Comments

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9780871404480_custom-e5e60fab00723d840e72b72d975e2ee2baefd8eb-s6-c30Reviewed by Rebecca Donatelli

My desire to read this translation of the The Divine Comedy came from another series of books that I recently finished–the Gabriel’s Inferno trilogy. The premise of these trilogies was of Dante and Beatrice’s unrequited love and it inspired me to find out more about what really happened between them. This translation is written in poem form and although I found it to be natural and flow easily from one verse to the next, I believe that reading it one time through will give it no justice. It is still difficult to comprehend, in terms of taking Italian and transferring it to English, but I feel that with age, time and re-reading, the full meaning will emerge. I have nothing to compare it to seeing that I did not read the Italian version, so whether or not it was

2 11, 2013

Review: Slave Chronicles by Kirk Yancey

By | November 2nd, 2013|Categories: Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Poetry|Tags: |1 Comment

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9781478706908_p0_v1_s260x420Reviewed by Alysia George

When I studied Literature in college I focused on two areas: Creative Writing and Humanities. Within those divisions I narrowed it down to Poetry and African American History. So I must say that I was quite excited to review Slave Chronicles by Kirk Yancey.

Slave Chronicles is a collection of poems that express the struggles, emotionally and physically, that slaves faced in coming to America and surviving (or, most often, not surviving) the plantations. It begins with a lengthy dedication by Kirk Yancey to the African Americans who have inspired him throughout his life. Americans such as Harriett Tubman, Rosa Parks, Oprah Winfrey, Jackie Robinson, Wilt Chamberlain, Langston Hughes, and George Washington Carver, just to name a few of the more well known figures mentioned by Yancey. The dedication itself is worth a good read just to refresh yourself

19 09, 2013

Review: Between Eden and the Open Road by Philip Gaber

By | September 19th, 2013|Categories: Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Poetry, Short Stories|Tags: , |4 Comments

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between-edenReviewed by Krista Castner

Misogynistic, dreary, overtly narcissistic are words that come to mind for me when describing Between Eden and the Open Road, Philip Gaber’s collection of sixty-six poems and bits of prose. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting after reading the book blurb which describes the book in artsy terms like, “surrealist Technicolor”, and a “collection of imperfect art populaire”. In retrospect, I realize that the meaning of these less than precise catch-phrases are open to a wide variety of interpretation.

What I read was a lot of free verse poetry involving plenty of navel gazing. There are a few longer pieces of prose (none of which were more than five pages long), which I didn’t consider to be short stories. The theme of the poems and prose is about alienation, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and experiencing life

10 09, 2013

Review: This Book Needs a Title by Theodore Ficklestein

By | September 10th, 2013|Categories: Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Poetry|Tags: |0 Comments

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Front CoverReviewed by Leigh Adamkiewicz

There’s a certain feeling that comes in a well done book of poetry. But it’s not usually a sturdy feeling.

Most good poetry brings into focus a crisp, savory slice of life. It has the flavor of over passed luxury, with an ethereal quality to it. Like a dandelion growing out of a crack in the sidewalk. Or a whisper suspended in glass.

That isn’t a hard and fast rule, however. There are poems out there that aren’t meant to be handled with curator’s gloves. Most poems made for kids tend to be made of tougher stuff. They can be hauled around, mispronounced, and misused, all without losing any of their brightness. But they tend to be simple. Their simple rhythms have simple concepts and a simple execution.

Yet every so often you get a simple, sturdy poem that even

4 02, 2013

Review: Observations by Gregory Schroeder

By | February 4th, 2013|Categories: Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Poetry|Tags: |2 Comments

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51q--TuuxvLReviewed by Poppy Johnson 

The poems in Observations put the reader outside on the fresh grassy lawn when people are led by the sounds and smells of summer to appreciate each day as it comes. The author personifies various aspects of summer, such as a forgotten shed in the poem “Shed” that morphs into a new structure in the mind of a child, and becomes a child’s castle or dungeon at will. The author’s observations take the reader back to a soft glowing morning or a memorable rain shower; even if you read the poems in winter, you are sent back to your own best memories of the summer season with this poetry collection.

The recurring themes in this poetry collection are loss, purgatory and muted grieving, school violence, looking at years passing by which makes us wiser and more forgiving,

16 12, 2012

Review: Love Calls and Roundelays by Wyn

By | December 16th, 2012|Categories: Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Poetry|Tags: , |4 Comments

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love-calls-and-roundelays-a-potpourri-of-poetry-and-photo-artReviewed by Heather Bryant

At over 95 pages, Love Calls and Roundelays is full of author’s Wyn (pseudonym for Irwin Shishko) poetry about life and the world around him. His is also a photographer so his works are included in this book. Some photos coordinate with the poems while others are included just for the reader’s enjoyment.

There are a few poems that are dedicated to the loved ones in his life, but the ones that really struck a chord with me were the ones that were about everyday life. I had a few favorites that made me chuckle and nod in agreement. The biggest ones were “On the Campaign Trail” and “God On Line”.

Wyn has no problem looking at both the bright and dark sides of life. He is eclectic as well as a bit out there. I had a hard time reading some

7 11, 2012

Review: Nerd Haiku by Robb Pearlman

By | November 7th, 2012|Categories: Comic, Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Poetry|Tags: , |3 Comments

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Reviewed by Jessa Larsen

Nerd Haiku is a collection of nerdiness that will amuse anyone who relates to the stereotypes and truths of the nerd culture. These fun and clever little poems hit upon the core elements of the nerd universe. (Although, there’s such a wide range of nerd, that I got most of them, but had to ask a few nerd friends about the other ones before I could snicker at the joke within the poem.) The haikus cover everything from science fiction and fantasy, to movies/TV, to role-playing games and cosplay. There’s a little bit of everything and any true nerd will enjoy and get a good giggle from this clever little book.

I rather enjoyed this book and assume I would also enjoy anything else by Robb Pearlman. I can really relate to his flavor of nerd and it

28 10, 2012

Review: Traveling Light by Linda Pastan

By | October 28th, 2012|Categories: Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Poetry|Tags: |2 Comments

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Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Traveling Light highlights poems by Linda Pastan and showcases her talent for creating images for the reader. These poems are based on the sorrow and loss of the author and they describe her feelings as well as her fears. Pastan uses metaphors in her poems and her writing works as a way to accentuate her joy and grief – and also allows her to hide from it.

Many of the poems are about the body as a keeper of an individual’s hope or shame, or a place where a person can interact and react to the physical world. The people in these poems are able to either be made whole again with the gift of life, or are made to fall down, broken and undone – where they pass like a vapor from the earth to unknown areas

10 05, 2012

Guest Post: Edward Blaine Livingston, author of Pare My Heart

By | May 10th, 2012|Categories: Authors, Genre Fiction, Guest Posts, Literature & Fiction, Poetry|Tags: , |2 Comments

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Please welcome my friend Edward Blaine Livingston with his new book of poetry, Pare My Heart!

by Edward

I don’t usually go too deeply into why I write something or what it’s about personally for me, just as an artistic principle, but I will share a little.

Pare My Heart is a book of largely metered and entirely rhyming poems, some of them about love, romantic love, some about childhood, some about God/religion, some just about observing the world in a philosophic way. Some of them are referential to a girl I was in love with in childhood and adolescence and others are entirely separate from that. I feel that the whole thing forms a kind of narrative, though it may be deceptive and not grounded in the actual inspiration of the poems (at times).

I think I