Posted in reviews

Palm Lines by Jonathan Koven Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author and poet Jonathan Koven explores the transformative journey that is life in his short book of poetry, “Palm Lines”.

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The Synopsis

These heartfelt poems speak to a transformative journey “to rediscover love as both a question and an answer.” Seeking hope, honoring family, finding love, accepting time’s passage, and understanding gratitude are all major themes explored in this dreamlike collection. 

The Review

This was quite a powerful and emotionally-driven collection of poetry. The author and poet has done an amazing job of balancing the imagery used to conjure up memories of the past, present, and things yet to come with the more in-depth and personal emotional journey that is embedded into those memories. The way the author utilizes a more metaphysical narrative to explore the emotions of these poems really stood out from the rest of the other poetry books I’ve read, splitting up each section of the book into the Heart, Head, and Life Lines that goes typically into reading palms. 

The poems themselves came across beautifully, perfectly capturing the raw emotions that the author poured into each verse. The poetry often read like a haunting melody or song, captivating the reader to live these memories for themselves and take on the feelings that they often invoked, as well as bringing to mind the shared experiences that people could relate with within this narrative, metaphysical poetry.

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The Verdict

A breathtaking, heartfelt, and memorable read, author and poet Jonathan Koven’s “Palm Lines” is a must-read book of poetry. The way the author blends nature and metaphysical themes into the more personal narratives of the poems themselves really stood out in a positive way, making this book shine. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jonathan Koven grew up on Long Island, NY, embraced by tree-speak, tide’s rush, and the love and support of his family. He holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from American University, works as a technical writer, and is Toho Journal’s head fiction editor and workshop coordinator. He lives in Philadelphia with his best friend and future wife Delana, and cats Peanut Butter and Keebler. Read Jonathan’s debut chapbook Palm Lines, now available from Toho Publishing. His award-winning novella Below Torrential Hill is expected winter 2021 from Electric Eclectic. Find more of his short fiction and poetry in:

• American Literary [2012; spring 2013]

• Toho Journal [vol. 1, issue 2]

• Cathexis Northwest [May 2020]

• The Lindenwood Review [issue 10]

• Pub House Books’ Gravitas [vol. 19, issue 1]

• 25 Servings of SOOP [vol.1]

• Paragon Press’ Echo [issue 8]

• Night Picnic Press [June 2020]

• Assure Press’ Iris Literary [fall 2020]

• Black Mountain Press’ Halcyone Literary [vol. 3, issue 3]

• The Dewdrop [April 2021]

• The Dillydoun Review [April 2021]

• 300 Days of Sun [summer 2021]

• Grattan Street Press [fall 2021]

• Head & The Hand Press’ Hindsight is 2020 [fall 2021] 

https://jonathanadamkoven.wixsite.com/portfolio

Posted in reviews

Swan Songs of Cygnus: The Weight of Black Holes by Vincent Hollow Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An astronaut yearns to reunite with the ghost of his lost love even at the cost of his own life as he hurtles through space in author and poet Vincent Hollow’s unique story-driven book of poetry, “Swan Songs of Cygnus: The Weight of Black Holes”. 

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The Synopsis

Side A: horizon

Mourning the death of his love. A bereaved astronaut signs up for a deep – space mission to reunite with her ghost.

Even if it means becoming a ghost himself. Traveling at the speed of light. The astronaut jettisons through the solar system. Pausing only to gaze at its celestial splendor.

Cast under the grandeur of the planetarium. Seeing her apparition in every sphere…

The Review

A truly haunting and beautiful read, author and poet Vincent Hollow has crafted a one of a kind narrative-driven book of poetry that readers will instantly connect with. The overall story of a man suffering from loss who gives up everything to pursue a chance to find his love once more is something many readers will identify with, while the imagery and visual cues the author places throughout the book feel as if they are witnessing the journey of this astronaut themselves. 

The emotional struggle of this volunteer astronaut and writer really is the heart of the narrative. Reader’s hearts will break as they witness the emotional toll that the narrator’s loss takes on them as the journey progresses, and the tragic beauty that comes from having a connection that strong and powerful with another person. 

The Verdict

Breathtaking, heartfelt, and incredibly written, author and poet Vincent Hollow’s “Swan Songs of Cygnus: The Weight of Black Holes” is one of the most unique, creative, emotional, and memorable books of poetry I’ve read in years. A great story with lots of powerful imagery connects readers with the poet and the book’s protagonist in a whole new way and makes for one of the best poetry reads of 2020. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

VINCENT HOLLOW is an astro-poet and interstellar storyteller living aboard the space vessel, Aquarius. Shooting from the star system to star system. Vincent spends his time gazing out into the universal abyss and the depths of himself where he hopes to find his place in the cosmos through the words he weaves in the fabric of spacetime.

https://www.facebook.com/Vincent-Hollow-105005078127184/

https://www.instagram.com/vncenthollow/

Posted in reviews

O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss And A Year Of Mourning by Lee and Andrew Fernside Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

An emotional and reflective collection of essays, poetry and more bring the lives of celebrities lost in 2018 to the forefront in authors Lee and Andrew Fernside’s “O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and a Year of Mourning”. 

The Synopsis

O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and Mourning is an artists book created by siblings Andrew and Lee Fearnside. This book mourns celebrities who died in 2016: David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Gwen Ifill, Alan Rickman and 11 more. Relief print portraits are paired with personal narratives by 23 writers from around the country, including poet laureates, journalists, community organizers, professors and activists. Winner of the 2018 IPPY Independent Voice Award.

The Review

This was a beautifully written collection. The illustrations and personal connection felt between the authors and those the world lost in 2018 was felt immensely. Showcasing the way these celebrities and influential people impacted the authors highlights how those in the public eye have more influence and connections to the world at large than anyone truly realizes. 

Normally these reviews are focused solely on the book itself, but in order to perfectly capture the book’s emotional connection with readers, it’s only fitting to mention the personal connection I had as a reader with the book. 

The two chapters that spoke to me the most involved Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. This year, as many of you know, I lost my grandmother on my mom’s side, whom I was really close to. Six years or so before that we lost my grandfather on my mom’s side, and so it has been a heartbreaking year personally. However one thing that always makes me feel close to them is Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

My father was a carpet installer for his entire life, and one of the clients he worked for was Debbie Reynolds. As he was working, Carrie Fisher as a young child jumped onto his shoulders and asked for a piggy-back ride. Debbie Reynolds apologized but he laughed and obliged, and the young Carrie Fisher got her wish. Personal stories like that have always made me feel connected to my wonderful grandparents, and these two chapters opened up those emotions wholeheartedly, showcasing the author’s powerful approach to the topics as a whole.

The Verdict

This is a must read novel of 2019. While these celebrities hail from 2018, the message and impact of those losses resonates still as 2019 comes to a close. An emotional journey to discover how people as a whole impact our lives and the journey to come to terms with their loss. A beautiful way to honor and keep these memories in our hearts, be sure to grab “O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and a Year of Mourning” by Lee and Andrew Fernside today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.chimeraprojects.art/

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Dear Nobody: a poetry collection by Robin Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: THESE POEMS IN THIS BOOK DEAL WITH THEMES OF ABUSE, SELF-HARM, MENTAL HEALTH AND OTHER STRUGGLES. READ WITH CAUTION IF THESE THEMES TRIGGER YOU.

Author and poet Robin Williams returns with a beautiful and heartbreaking collection of poetry that touches the soul and lays it bare for all to see in her book “Dear Nobody: a poetry collection”. Here’s the synopsis.

The Synopsis

From the letters addressed to no one, comes a strong collection of poetry. With themes of heartbreak and love, to the far less tread upon mental health and trauma, is a work of art you won’t want to put down. Take the road less traveled and read a broken girls words to the world.

The Review

Poet Robin Williams has a beautiful and clear way of showing the world a visual representation of the pain and anguish many struggling with mental health and traumatic experiences have to undergo on a daily basis. From toxic relationships and abusive situations, to feelings of loss and desperation, the author does a marvelous job conveying these strong emotions in a way that elicits both an emotional response and wakes the reader up to the hidden struggles many face in isolation.

The poems in this book will speak to everyone. Whether you are looking for a poem that speaks to the pain you are feeling from a breakup or the powerful and overwhelming feeling of love, to the seemingly hopeless feeling that overwhelms us at times and the need for hope in an all too often hopeless world, these poems are sure to bring a tear to your eye and capture the emotional essence that only true poets can do.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fantastic poetry collection. A story of one woman’s struggles laid bare for all to see, this novel showcases some of life’s toughest challenges, especially in this modern world where issues of online bullying, self-harm and hopelessness are far too common. The author is a master poet and world class writer that everyone should pay attention to, so if you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Dear Nobody: a poetry collection by Robin Williams today. 

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Rating: 10/10

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About Robin Williams

My name is Robin Williams. I am an 18-year-old introverted author living in southern Pennsylvania.

I’m an activist for equality between men and women, a fighter against global warming, a member of the lgbt+ commmunity, and a privileged voice for the minority.

I write for myself and for others about things I have gone through, and about things the people around me have gone through. My most highly praised piece is titled “Racism is Over” and tells stories of the racism POC still face today. As I interviewed those for the poem, my heart stung as I saw how blind I was to the discrimination, and I made it a priority to use my voice when they cannot.

I’m a survivor, and so are you. Keep fighting.

Posted in reviews

The Book of FU by Benjamin Davis Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One author’s life story blends into a magical realism setting in one of the most creative poetry books I’ve read this year. I’m talking to you guys today about author and poet Benjamin Davis and his book, “The King of FU”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The King of FU is a magically realistic poetic memoir about growing up in America in the nineties on the cusp of the age of the internet. It is a voyage that navigates through family tribalism, supervisors, white-gloved Sheriffs, bullies, sex, suicide, dead prisoners, drugs, porn, middle school, and Jesus; all in search of answering one of life’s greatest mysteries: what is the point of adults? This artistic masterpiece comes from the mind of author Benjamin Davis with illustrations by Russian artist Nikita Klimov.

The Review

This was a truly fun, compelling, humorous and engaging read. A healthy blend of the abstract with magical realism and a beautifully told poetic memoir, author Benjamin Davis has painted a often chilling, funny and realistic image of what the 90’s were like for kids growing up in the United States. 

You can feel the author’s struggle through some of life’s deepest challenges as he touches on themes of religion, death, family, abuse and so much more. The incredible illustrations by Nikita Klilmov help to bring the powerful themes and fantasy elements of the poetry to life. 

The Verdict

Overall this was a phenomenal read. The passion, creativity and often hilarious contrast between the view of the world through the eyes of a child versus that of an adult brought this one of a kind novel to a whole new level. The book itself was a fast and easy read, which worked well as it’s poetry was so engaging that putting it down was impossible. If you haven’t yet grab your copy of Benjamin Davis’s novel “The King of FU” today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

My name is Benjamin Davis. I am an American writer and Journalist living in St. Petersburg. I grew up in a no-name town in Massachusetts where I was more likely to hear horse sex or a pack of wolves eating a rabbit than cars driving by or drunks fighting, as I do now. I work as a freelance editor, tech-journalist, native-speaking-content-monkey, and social media manager for English speaking markets. To cope with the sterility of corporate writing, my fiction sometimes gets a little out of hand.

From 2016-2017, I wrote one story every day for a year for the project Flash-365, creating a community of people who appreciate the short-winded and the weird. To me it is where I found my voice and where most of my stories found their home.

May of 2018 my first book The King of FU was published: a magically realistic poetic memoir about growing up in America in the nineties on the cusp of the age of the internet. It is a voyage that navigates through family tribalism, supervisors, white-gloved Sheriffs, bullies, sex, suicide, dead prisoners, drugs, porn, middle school, and Jesus; all in search of answering one of life’s greatest mysteries: what is the point of adults? An artistic masterpiece with illustrations by Russian artist Nikita Klimov.

Instagram: instagram.com/davis.benjamin.s

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/benjamindavis

Personal website: benjamindaviswriter.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/benjamindaviswriter

Also, here is a landing page for the book, if you wouldn’t mind including that as well:

Posted in reviews

We All Need Therapy by Lamar Neal Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This book of poetry deals with themes and elements of abuse, self-harm and suicide. If these themes are triggering to you, be advised and prepared.

An emotional story of one man’s journey of defining himself and struggling with the world he was born into takes center stage in poet and author Lamar Neal’s poetry book, We All Need Therapy. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

This is a collection of poetry of how a boy, who started whole, encountered the world, which caused some painful cracks to appear in his vessel. He soon learned that when we do not hide your imperfections, a cracked vessel is the one, which lets the light shine through.

The Review

I was taken aback by the beauty and tragedy and pure emotion of this poetry book. The poems spoke to me in a way that touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye. You can feel the poet’s pain and heartbreak in each line, such as this passage from the poem Morning/Mourning:

“Living in the ruins of dreams
I was never supposed to have. Tomorrow we might lose everything Before our hearts can prepare.”

The author does an amazing job weaving themes and issues that plague our world to this day. Challenging the toxic masculinity that haunts young boys who dare to live outside of societal norms, fighting back against racial injustice and dealing with themes of love, loss and the pain of not fitting into the mold set out by our elders/peers, this book brings the causes of both inner turmoil and societal upheaval in our world currently into the spotlight like no other book of poetry out there right now. It also does a great job of addressing mental health overall, challenging this need to label anyone with a mental health condition as “crazy” when they are far from it. It was refreshing to see a poet and author expose their mental health struggles to the world in such an open and honest way, and showcase the need to fight against the stigma of mental health overall.

The Verdict

This is a must read book of poems. Due out on January 25th, 2019, these poems will touch on the struggle to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to fit you into a mold you don’t feel comfortable in. Full of heart, pure emotion and a message of hope and struggle that will help highlight the very healthy need for everyone to get therapy and face that inner turmoil head on. If you love beautiful poetry and raw emotional story telling, then pre-order your copy of We All Need Therapy by Lamar Neal today.

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/All-Need-Therapy-Lamar-Neal-ebook/dp/B07JQYYKCL/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&ref_=dbs_s_def_awm_dirs_l_2&storeType=ebooks

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Twitter-@Ghostcharades

Facebook– /lamarKeonNeal

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