Blooming in the Dark is a beautiful poetry book by Jennifer LeBlanc and Kristen McNeill. The poems contained within it are relatable and tug at the heartstrings. At their core, they are representations of different aspects of the human condition. They address issues such as love, friendship, identity, and healing.
They particularly delve into the intricacies of love – the intensity of it, the toxicity that can be created when this emotion is manipulated and the damage it can do when provoked. It tells of the depression of those left by loved ones, the loss of identity by those that were manipulated by lovers, and the healing required to reach a semblance of peace.
Interestingly, this book also thoroughly explores the love between friends and how a toxic friendship can leave someone withered and low. However, not everything is sad and depressing in this book. Some poems talk about overcoming imposter syndrome and the need to be perfect.
They talk of embracing the present and moving into new chapters of our lives without regret or remorse, of fighting our demons and winning, and of forgiving and letting go. In many ways, this book celebrates healing and the realization of the authentic self. It makes you remember your pain, your joy, and how they interweave – it feels like a love letter to your soul. It makes you feel seen, all of you – the intense and the laid back. Clearly, the authors poured their heart and soul into this project, ensuring that it was an accurate description of what it means to be alive.
They do a good job of weaving emotion into the poems without making the language feel heavy – it almost feels like you are reading the words of someone who has lived what you have lived. It also helps that while the authors do some symbolism, it is clear what they are talking about. They manage to create a beautiful balance between veiling and message execution, making this book easy to read, even for poetry beginners.
Once you start reading it you can barely put it down – it could take just a couple of hours to finish. As long as you like deep emotional poetry, Blooming in the Dark will be a breathtaking read for you.
Pages: 181 | ASIN: B08W4P1Q2C
Tags: author, Blooming in the Dark (Poetry Collections Book 2), book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, jennifer leblanc, kindle, Kirsten McNeill, kobo, literature, love, nature, nook, novel, poem, poems, poet, poetry, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
In Who Okayed This?! The Riveting Life of Grant Davis, Philip E. Barrington tells us the story of Grant, a man that experienced various interesting and intriguing things during his life. The book serves as Grant’s diary, through which he tells the reader his thoughts and the many life changing events that he experienced since he was a young boy.
Grant’s life is far from boring. In the book we follow him as he travels around different cities and countries, trying to make something of his life. He meets intriguing new people all the time, some of them become friends and helped him grow, some of them become terrible enemies that almost succeeded in ruining his life. Grant endures many betrayals, yet never gives up, always looking to find something better for himself to enjoy life to the fullest. Family, friendship, love, travel and the search of a career, are aspects that are deeply involved in most people’s lives and that are explored and shown in this book through Grant’s riveting life.
It was interesting following the different events that Grant had to go through in his life, there are so many things that are talked about in the book. Relationships, health issues, problems with the police and the law, corruption and family life. The author shares the many adventures that Grant had that would change him forever, from meeting new people to traveling to new places to discovering secrets of the universe, a set of fascinating events that allowed Grant Davis to find his life purpose.
I enjoyed reading about Grant’s story and finding out gradually the varying life changing events that he went through where he met interesting, odd and even threatening people that made him explore new things all the time: his life was truly riveting. However, I wanted these things to be explored more, and explained further, in the book. The book reads like a diary, which means that we don’t get too many details about the events and the people that were described in the book. Nevertheless, the book was still enjoyable and it was stimulating reading. In particular, I was intrigued by the themes that were explored near the end of the book, a series of mystical, soul-searching events that Grant came in contact with to possibly change his future, and other people’s futures, for the better.
Is it fully fiction or are there real life events mixed in the story? Who knows, it is up to the reader to figure out how much is fictional and how much is the author’s real story, so if you want to try to find out, you must read the book first. Who Okayed This?! The Riveting Life of Grant Davis is an interesting and easy read that illustrates the good and the bad that can be found all the time in every person’s life path.
Pages: 241 | ASIN: B08VKSQT36
Sudden Widow shares your emotional true story of losing someone deeply connected to you and your journey through grief. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I wrote the book for many reasons. My own process and hoping to help other widows/widowers feel understood. I wanted to write something raw and authentic. A book that did not say ‘your life is definitely going to be great again.’ I wrote a book that says, ‘your life is tremendously different than the life you thought you would have and yes, it may be less colorful, but you still have to attempt to make the best of your life now.’
What is a common misconception you feel people have about loss and grief?
The most common misperception is that grief ends after a loved one passes away. Grief changes over time and you learn to manage it differently, but it does not end.
I appreciated all the great advice and experiences you share in this book? What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
I hope anyone that lost a spouse or partner feels understood, validated, and a bit of solace from reading the book. I hope people close to a widow or widower gain a better understanding of what their surviving loved ones may experience.
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you lost your spouse?
Don’t expect people to understand what you’re going through, just hold on to your process and try everyday.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, Bella Lynn Thompson, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, family, goodreads, grief, inspirational, kindle, kobo, literature, love, memoir, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, self help, story, Sudden Widow, writer, writing
Dead Mom Disease, by Lucy Layne, is a memoir of a teenager who talks about a rather uncomfortable topic for most people – Death, especially the death of a mother. In this book, she narrates her experience witnessing her mother die, of living without a mother after her death, of how grief makes people uncomfortable so they offer you advice to be happy when you don’t want to be happy, and the never-ending process of grieving. She tells us about the gut-wrenching moment of losing a loved one and of life, all through her own thought-provoking words. It also talks about the all-encompassing maternal love and how the balance of life can never be restored after the death of a mother.
Lucy Layne writes honestly and unapologetically about a topic that makes people leave the table when it is brought up. The death of a loved one is a dark topic and people are afraid of the dark. It takes courage to introspect on one’s dark feelings and then write about them with openness and humility.
The author was very realistic in narrating a painful death experience. She moves through the book while capturing the lasting process of grief very aptly. She takes you through the various emotions of anger, denial, depression, deep sadness, and finally acceptance and how these emotions are a necessary part of experiencing the death of a loved one. The book provides a glimpse into a terrifying reality but also reassures you that even after such an abysmal moment in life, you will still survive.
Another critical aspect of the book is how important it is to let the bereaved grieve. Grief is unavoidable in such a circumstance and to take that moment of sadness away from the bereaved can be very damaging on both a mental and physical level. While society fixates on being happy, a person with a great loss must go through grief slowly to provide a channel for emotions to flow out. This is important to get back into the routine of life.
Lucy Layne’s narration feels personal, like you are not alone in this grief. This book makes you cry and laugh as well. It’s not a depressing tale, but rather an uplifting and insightful one. It gives you honest details of what the death of a loved one feels like and brings you solace through shared human experiences of tragedy, joy, tenderness, fear, and love.
Pages: 146 | ASIN: B07KVHMYDN
Tags: author, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Dead Mom Disease, death, ebook, goodreads, grief, kindle, kobo, literature, loss, love, Lucy Layne, memoir, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
Patricia Bossano’s Love and Homegrown Magic is a coming of age novel that encompasses the life of Maggie, a woman caught between the folk magic she was raised with and the Catholic teachings instilled in her during her formative teenage years. The story is told in chronological order, beginning with Maggie’s rustic youth years in Ecuador, continuing with her journey into marriage and motherhood, and culminating with her golden years as a matriarch.
The character development is strong from the onset. Maggie is depicted as a determined and ambitious woman driven by her values. These characteristics make her a natural matriarch once she enters marriage and motherhood. Even when confronted with life-altering changes, she has a knack for making the best out of any circumstance. Her three daughters, Kelly, Lizzy, and Marie, have distinct personalities that are apparent from the time they are young girls. Their individuality is best reflected in the unique floral symbols that both define and connect all three women with their mother – and with the magic that serves as a fixture in the lives.
Bossano does an incredible job at using these floral symbols to depict the strong bond between Maggie and her daughters. This connection is both ethereal and dynamic, changing as each of the four women age and enter different stages in their lives. The floral symbols continue to remind them of not only their love for each other, but their ties to Mother Superior.
Alonzo’s role in the story – and Maggie’s reaction to the idea of him – is particularly interesting. He ultimately serves as a litmus test for her readiness to reconcile with the past. Her persistent decision to lock his letters away and ignore the thought of him is driven by her Catholicism-fueled devotion to her husband, Angelo. Only with Angelo’s passing and her daughters’ persistence that she let happiness in is Maggie able to come face-to-face with the man she left behind for so many years. It is at this crucial point that the story also comes full circle.
Overall, I enjoyed this read. A text does not need to be long to be impactful, magical or give readers a sense of completion. Love & Homegrown Magic is a page-turning tale that blends love, magic, family, womanhood, and purpose.
Pages: 322 | ASIN: B08HYDMDXV
An emotional memoir by a mother who shares the harrowing experience of losing her son to suicide. Brian was her first baby boy: from the very beginning, he was a quick learner who readily made friends. As a teenager and young adult, he grew into a talented artist and musician, who also had a facility for languages, loved food and travel. He lived life. In this emotional memoir, Brian’s mother tries to understand the sudden mental illness that took over Brian’s life and led to his suicide. She describes the failures of the systems that could have helped him. And she shares her efforts to heal—a difficult path that other grieving families know all too well.
Key to my Heart is a collection of love poems that I thought were thought-provoking and stirring. What serves as your inspiration when writing poetry?
I am inspired by places, events, people, and my poetry reflects the things I love or in my vision at that time. This collection was written as individual pieces and my most recent poetry. I will be revising this and making the book into a bigger collection with additional artwork.
I have an interest and inspired by world mythology, history, astrology, archaeology, photography, art, poetry, and music. I come up with a variation on my poetry from these influences. I have written over 200 poems and some are still unpublished because they do not fit into any category to put into a collection. I am working on publishing more books in the future.
What are some themes you find yourself often moving towards when writing?
I have a strong link towards mythology and the wonderful world of faery. I find the stories fascinating and feel inspired to write poetry after reading up on the subject. I have done a lot of research in the past on Irish mythology which is a subject close to my heart. I have been inspired to write a complete book on this subject with my favourite tales and original poetry to accompany the stories. I also like to create writing with a moral to the story which inspired by children’s book, “Princess Sweetness & Light”
My favorite poem from the collection was An Element Of The Horoscope. Do you have a favorite poem from this collection?
The Ghosts of Wuthering Heights is my favourite poem, based on the book by Emily Bronte published in 1847. The first time I read this book was on our school syllabus and I loved the story so much it has stayed with me all through the years.
Do you plan on publishing more books of poetry?
I am working on a new book of poetry, but this will not be ready until next year.
I spent all the lockdown writing and rearranging some works I had previously written and I have already independently published the following books which are available on Amazon worldwide:
Mythos Early Ireland (formally A Celtic Moment in Time) – based on my favourite Irish mythological stories with original art.
Princess Sweetness and Light – Illustrated children’s book with the moral of the story, “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”
The Faery Tree – Earth Queen of Faery – Illustrated children’s-young adult story with adventures to faery.
Eire West – Poetry based on the West of Ireland – Mayo and Galway (original homeland)
Lockdown 2020 – Short read collection containing thinking time poetry/verse with my own photography.
Silent Screams by Zachary Ryan follows the lives of four high school friends forced to grow up due to a school shooting. Lane struggles with whether or not to come out to his friends while mourning the loss of his lover. Cass struggles to find someone to save her from her home life. Zachary deals with losing what she thinks makes her special. Ben finds his life of luxury torn away and struggles to figure out who he is without it. Being friends with the shooter, these four students battle with their own demons while attempting to cope with the guilt and responsibility they feel for their friend’s actions.
The raw emotion and authenticity of the characters is something that is outstanding in this book. I applaud Zachary Ryan for creating such imperfect characters that are so relatable. Each character deals with something different and grieves in a unique way. Each character, even background ones, go through so much character development and really grow up and learn how to trust and depend on each other. We get to see through each character’s eyes through point of view changes that happen each chapter. It’s refreshing in a way because you get to see into the heart of each of the four main characters and see their innermost secrets and insecurities. Silent Screams is a story about friendship, love, insecurities, trust, and the dangers of keeping secrets in for too long.
I enjoyed this book, but there were some times I had to reread a line because of a typo. There was also one background character who’s name was inconsistent, being Violet in some places and Valerie in others. However, this book is still thoroughly enjoyable.
Silent Screams was a roller-coaster of emotions from beginning to end. I am not ashamed to admit I cried a couple of times. This is the sort of book you pick up and can’t set down until you finished it. I’m not sure that I would class this as a feel good story but it ultimately leaves you feeling satisfied and rejuvenated.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B08BK4DPN5
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, coming of age, crime fiction, drama, ebook, fantasy, fiction, friends, goodreads, kindle, kobo, lgbt, literature, love, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, Silent Screams, story, suspense, teen, teen fiction, writer, writing, ya fantasy, young adult, Zachary Ryan