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(the) Elegy

When poetry is written well, the reader is left feeling emotions so profoundly that words are often not enough to express the joy, love, sorrow, and pain that stays after turning the page. When moving through the poems in (the) Elegy, readers are taken on a journey into the author’s snapshot of life, one of darkness, despair, and brutal honesty. Each section in this collection has a unique feel, yet they flow together to tell a complete story. The themes of loss, suffering, and pain are felt from start to finish in this collection and will leave readers raw as they absorb the words that Derek King has given them.

Some of the poems focus on physical death, others on the emotional decline, and some on mental illness as the mind slowly dies, and the world watches from afar. Some of the hardest-hitting poems are the ones on the death of society and how as humans, we have let the modern and commercial world strip us piece by piece of the things that gave us life, and we welcome this self-destruction, not realizing that we are harming ourselves. For example, the poem ‘Dark Day In Glasgow’ shares a scene where people are frantically shopping and spending money on the holiday season, but a crime is committed, a nativity is vandalized, and baby Jesus has been replaced by a rolled-up bill of money. What a potent reminder of how humanity has lost the meaning of Christmas and the holiday season. This is only one example of the many situations that King gives his readers to remind them of how far humanity has drifted from actually being humane.

Each section of this collection starts with a haunting black-and-white image and foreshadows the sentiments about to be churned up through King’s words. I say churned because the poems move in a way that can and will cause the reader some discomfort. The honesty and directness, even in allegory, will leave readers contemplating the world around them and how they perceive it.

(the) Elegy is a gripping anthology of poetry that will take readers through war, depression, death, and self-realization. This is not a collection of love poetry or happy thoughts. Instead, it is primal and ruthless in its depiction of humanity and the direction we are headed. This is an eye-opening collection of poems that will give readers a pause and make them consider what they value in life and in themselves.

Pages: 146 | ASIN : B0B8WLNB8T

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Violet

Violet by Sabrina Simon is a collection of emotionally riveting poems about love, especially unrequited love and the relationships that come after that pain. This thought-provoking collection contains poems from throughout Simon’s life, starting from the time she was 14 to the present. It follows the great loves of her life and explores the experiences of young love, unrequited love, and healing love.

Although the book itself is not divided into sections, a breakdown of the time periods in which the poems were written is given, along with a preface outlining Ms. Simon’s inspiration and frame of mind during the different periods. This allows readers to be taken on an engaging journey both through Ms. Simon’s growth as a writer and through the trials and rewards of love and relationships.

Author Simon gifts the reader with really powerful pieces, and the author has such a connective style of describing her experiences that I was completely mesmerized by her words. The author is very direct about her feelings, her struggles, and the journey she has been on, making these poems relatable to the reader.

I found myself getting lost in her poetry as she vividly described her experiences and emotions. I was emotionally invested and connected to each poem, and I was disappointed when it ended. Simon’s poems will connect with many readers who understand the thought of loving someone and dreaming about a life with them that you won’t get to have and the impact that has on future relationships. This doesn’t just negatively affect us, but there is also the beauty in looking forward to future relationships and when you finally feel the love you have is returned.

I highly recommend this collection of poems for its sheer relatability, honesty, and raw emotions that the author brings to us. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Pages: 66 | ASIN : B0B6D95JZK

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No Unpaid Passengers

No Unpaid Passengers is an emotionally riveting collection of poems written by author Pam R. Johnson Davis. The collection is organized into six sections: I: Unpaid Pain, II: The Next Stop, III: Alone on the Night Train, IV: Love on the Ride, V: End of the Line, and VI: Afterword: Anybody Can Write a Poem (Or How Rejection Turned into a TED Talk). Serious themes such as racism, assault, divorce, and religion intermingle with themes of love, friendship, joy, home, and beauty to take readers on an incredibly raw and relatable journey.

Author Pam Johnson Davis does an incredible job of telling a story that touches everyone in some way. Davis plays into expectations with her use of slang and familiar language, using those devices to bring to life personal experiences and paint clear pictures of real-life situations that readers can relate to. Through those grounding narratives, Davis can so effectively tackle less tangible themes of love, loss, betrayal, grief, hope, and joy. Through her own experiences with marriage and divorce, Davis leads readers to question their ideas of relationships, commitment, and love. Through her experiences as a black person, a woman, and a member of the church, Davis brings up ideas about religion, trauma, sexism, racism, determination, optimism, and acceptance, both of self and others. Following this pattern, No Unpaid Passengers is able to operate as a book of revelation, showing readers the pervasive connectivity of the human experience: what you go through, someone else has gone through, and what you feel, someone else has felt.

I highly recommend this collection of raw beauty and vulnerability, in which Davis depicts her experiences. She writes not as an individual but as a representative of the human experience, providing an opportunity to connect both with the unfamiliar outside of ourselves and that which hides within.

No Unpaid Passengers is an emotional collection of poetry that takes readers on a journey through human experiences in a way that will stay with them long after they put the book down. These poems will leave readers feeling everything from one end of the spectrum to the other, a true representation of life, the joys, and the sorrows.

Pages: 90 | ASIN : B0BC5NXXXS

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Giant Banana Over Texas

Giant Banana Over Texas by Mark Nutter is a collection of short stories that will make you stop in your track and reread it. With straightforward and short stories, the author has tried to capture the absurdity of human life in weird circumstances. All these instances that are mentioned in the book are plausible situations. They have the full potential to be true, but this is something that is generally not heard of. It might sound confusing, but this is exactly what the stories are: confusing and chaotic.

The author’s writing style is the common thread that binds these 31 stories together in this book. All of them are weirdly thought-provoking and will leave you with a deep sense of discomfort. Of course, I knew that stories are simply stories, but there is something in those stories that make them very near to reality despite being in the vein of impossibility.

The stories have sensible beginnings, a possible flow of action, but an unsettling end. These endings are connected to the problems at the beginning. The weird endings suddenly turn the flow of the stories and take them away from the realistic relatability that we feel with the stories. It is weird, but curiosity makes it interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed being stumped by this Giant Banana over Texas.

The author uses absurdity to bring out the problems of the contemporary world. Even though the endings are not what lies in the wake of realistic action, it brings out discomfort in the readers. The readers feel relatable yet away from the characters. The discomfort of the stories seeps within the reader’s conscience and itches at the mind.

Giant Banana Over Texas is a collection of short dark-humor stories. The language used is very easy to read and understand. Anyone will enjoy the Absurd twists and turns that the stories take while the characters are left hanging on the edge of uncertainty.

Pages: 237 | ASIN : B09S6T5FM4

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Love Helps Them Heal

Patricia Leavy Author Interview

Celestial Bodies is the romantic saga of two people who are used to putting others first. When they meet, they discover more about themselves than they could imagine. What was the inspiration for this epic love story collection?

There’s a saying that ‘hurt people hurt people.’ However, sometimes that isn’t the case. Sometimes people in deep pain are able to love others in extraordinary ways without widening the circle of trauma. That’s what Tess and Jack’s love story shows us. These are two innately good people who have suffered trauma and grief. They have given tirelessly to others, but they’ve been unable to find personal happiness until they meet each other. At the core, it’s a story about people with visible and invisible wounds and how love helps them heal. Their love is so strong that I hope it runs off the pages and lives inside readers too. It has certainly done that for me.

What were some of the emotional and moral guidelines you followed when developing your characters?

These are genuinely good people trying to do good in the world. I tried to show this with how they treat others. There’s a gentleness or grace with which the primary characters—friends, lovers, chosen family—treat one another. I was also mindful that these characters have suffered various traumas in their lives and thus are always engaged in the lifelong healing process. So, there’s a balance with their strength and vulnerability, with how they treat others and with how they must learn to treat themselves.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Each novel in the collection explores love and another theme: healing, doubt, intimacy, trust, commitment, and faith. Together, it is an exploration of love in all its forms and textures. Some people have called the collection a love letter to love. Others have called it a prayer.

Were you able to achieve everything you wanted with the characters in the novel collection?

Originally, I had only intended to write one novel, Shooting Stars, which itself came to me in a burst. When I was done, I felt like there was so much more to explore with the characters, so Twinkle followed, then Constellations, Supernova, North Star, and finally, Stardust. So as a whole, in Celestial Bodies I was able to take the characters on quite a journey and where they end is very far from where they begin. That said, I love, love, love these characters so much and there’s always more to tell, so who knows, maybe someday I’ll return to them.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Celestial Bodies is a series of six novels that follow the epic romance of Tess and Jack: Shooting StarsTwinkleConstellationsSupernovaNorth Star, and Stardust. An exploration of the power of love, each novel focuses on love at the intersection of another topic: healing, doubt, intimacy, trust, commitment, and faith. While external threats occur in each book, this is ultimately a story about internal threats—the audio playing in our own heads.

Tess Lee is a world-famous novelist. Her inspirational books explore people’s innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Despite her extraordinary success, she’s been unable to find happiness in her personal life. Jack Miller is a federal agent who specializes in counterterrorism. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. He’s dedicated everything to his job, leaving nothing for himself. The night Tess and Jack meet, their connection is palpable. She examines the scars on his body and says, “I’ve never seen anyone whose outsides match my insides.” The two embark on a beautiful love story that asks the questions: What happens when people truly see each other? Can unconditional love change the way we see ourselves? Their friends are along for the ride: Omar, Tess’s sarcastic best friend who calls her Butterfly; Joe, Jack’s friend from the Bureau who understands the sacrifices he’s made; and Bobby and Gina, Jack’s younger friends who never fail to lighten the mood. Along the way, others join their journey: the female president of the United States, with whom Tess bakes cookies and talks politics; the Millers, Jack’s childhood family; and many others. Celestial Bodies is about walking through our past traumas, moving from darkness to light, learning to live in color, and the ways in which love—from lovers, friends, or the art we experience—can heal us. Written as unfolding action, this collection moves fluidly between melancholy, humor, and joy. It can be read for pleasure or selected for book clubs.

Celestial Bodies

Celestial Bodies is a beautifully written collection of six novels following the two main characters, Tess and Jack, and their love for each other. Written by Patricia Leavy, she details different aspects of their relationship with the different novels in the series. Together they must face different struggles: healing, doubt, intimacy, trust, commitment, and faith. These stories are more about internal dialogue that stresses the relationship rather than an external force that no one can control. Tess and Jack both have trouble putting their careers aside and finding their own happiness. However, this internal struggle leads them to an understanding and bond. Between the two characters, this understanding blossoms into an epic love story.

This captivating collection of novels combined into one book creates many parallels between the lives of Jack and Tess. Their similarities in life allow their love to come across as believable and likable. Leavy is extremely good at starting her story off strong and hooking readers in from the opening pages. Her ability to have the characters and their interactions feel authentic gives readers a feeling like they are part of the story.

When Jack and Tess first meet in the bar, it demonstrates much about the characters. It shows that Jack is protective and chivalrous while Tess is entirely able to handle herself but appreciates the gesture. Both characters have a painful past, making their stories interweave and mirror each other perfectly. When the two get intimate with each other and Tess first sees Jack’s scars, she is not taken aback or disgusted. She is instead intrigued and tells him something she hasn’t told anyone else. Leavy is showing that both characters are comfortable with being vulnerable with each other despite having just met and, on the surface, having little in common.

Leavy is also very good at explaining little metaphors and simple meanings that are believable to what people would say in real life. For example, Omar calling Tess a butterfly and her not knowing or asking what it means is credible. When the meaning is relieved, it adds depth to the secondary characters, making their presence in the storyline essential, even if they are not the main focus.

Celestial Bodies is an anthology of six contemporary romance novels that tell the love story of Tess and Jack. Each story builds upon the last, giving readers a cohesive and complete saga that focuses more on emotional bonds and self-improvement than physical intimacy and surface-level emotions.

Pages: 802 | ASIN : B09WZGRGML

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Sway

Sway by Tricia Johnson is a collection of poems about the changing seasons and embracing nature from the author’s perspective. Johnson has written this second book of poems; readers who liked her first book, Whirl Away Girl, will enjoy her newest edition.

Johnson’s poems are written almost like a coded diary that is full of emotion and feelings that are deep and guttural and evoke emotions in the reader. The poems are easy to read, but I feel like the poems are open to interpretation. I found one poem blended into another, and without the strong theme of summer, fall, winter, and spring (in that order, I believe), I couldn’t tell one poem from another.

My favorite poem in this book would be Shadows Bold, as it holds a steady rhythm and is easily interpretable. Depicting the snow melting and spring coming alive. I liked how the author began and ended the poem with similar lines, “Sun makes shadows bold… As sun keeps shadows bold.”

I enjoyed the inconsistency of the poems, and it was a pleasant surprise that accompanied each poem. Most of the poems do not rhyme or form a particular structure.

For example, on page 17, the poem does not start with a rhythm; however, if you continue to read, there are two lines that start a rhyme “Nighttime haze/ Your eyes glaze…” Only these two lines, and then the rhythm is dropped. But the author then picks up the rhythm again in a chunk at the end. “Silent prick to eye/Unstoppable weather drifting by/Pop-up storm of emotion/Clouded by such devotion…” And the rhyme is dropped again. This does not follow any structure that I’m familiar with, and I find it interesting.

Sway is a pleasant and light read for those who enjoy poems about nature and enjoy the reflective nature of poetry.

Page: 108 | ISBN : 1639884203

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Unite My Readers and Offer Hope For the Future

MD,Lori Schneider Author Interview

A Brighter TOMORROW is a collection of poetry and artwork that inspires hope for the future. What motivates you to write poetry?

Thank you so much for the kind review of my book! I discovered my love of writing poetry during the pandemic. I have been a neurologist in private practice since 1994, and in the past, I did not have time for creative writing. It was not until the lockdown that I discovered the catharsis of writing. I initially found myself drawn into contentious debates on Facebook and started writing daily blogs regarding the pandemic and politics. After many heated discussions, I felt great sorrow that the world was so divided and despondent. This dark time in history spurred me to write inspirational poetry to unite my readers and offer hope for the future.

I created a Facebook Poetry page and posted new poems weekly. Suddenly, the same people who disagreed with my political views were thanking me for brightening their day and motivating me to keep writing. As my poetry collection grew, many of my readers encouraged me to publish my work, and the idea for A Brighter TOMORROW was born. My former medical school colleague, Dr. Mark Salevitz, is an accomplished artist. I felt his beautiful, brightly colored impressionist artwork perfectly complemented my uplifting poetry and helped create a unique coffee table book.

My favorite poem from this collection is ‘No Regrets’. Do you have a favorite poem in this book?

“We Are the Same, You and Me” is my favorite poem in the book. Michael Beschloss’s thought-provoking book Presidents of War sparked the idea for this poem. So many wars have been waged without just cause by impulsive, arrogant, misguided, and, at times, evil leaders. This poem eerily foreshadowed the war in Ukraine and was published in the anthology “War Against Peace” to promote peace and solidarity for Ukraine across the globe.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in your poetry?

The goal of my book was to explore critical issues that became more magnified during the pandemic, including racism, loneliness, mental illness, loss, etc., and then have the book evolve to celebrate human resourcefulness with the themes of courage, love, and hope. I was particularly impressed by all the brave frontline workers who sacrificed so much for the well-being of others. My poems also go back in time to illustrate prior hardships such as World War II, the Spanish flu, and natural disasters, highlighting the human will to persevere.

Do you have plans to write and publish more works of poetry?

I am currently working on an inspirational poetry book for children, The Inspiring World of Ella Rose La Fleur, to be published next year. My YouTube Channel, The Adventures of Ella Rose La Fleur, contains animated videos inspired by these poems. These videos are helping to raise awareness and money for The Pinky Swear Foundation, a wonderful charity supporting children battling cancer.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook-Book | Facebook-Author | YouTube | YouTube – EllaRose

No one could have truly predicted the mass devastation of the pandemic of 2020. Everyone in the world has been affected and forever changed in some way by the pandemic. Hopefully, most people will emerge as better human beings, with a greater level of understanding and support for their fellow man.

During this tumultuous time, I was overwhelmed with emotions regarding COVID-19, politics, racial injustice, love, and courage. I turned to pen and paper to express my feelings and discovered poetry as an extremely cathartic form of writing.

Through poetry, I found great insight and solace during a very dark time in history. I believe poetry is the window to the soul that can help illuminate the darkness.

I hope the reader finds great comfort and hope for the future through the poetry and beautiful artwork contained in this book. Together we can have a brighter tomorrow!
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