New Dolls to Play With (Seeds of Yesterday – A Book Review)

Seeds of Yesterday
Author: V.C. Andrews
Published: 1984

On Goodreads

SOY

 

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

They escaped their mother’s hellish trap years ago, but a cruel history of lies and deceit has come full circle…

The secrets of the attic are brought forth to the next generation of Dollangangers. Bart invites his parents, Cathy and Chris, to stay at his home to which he’s had renovated to look nearly identical to the original Foxworth Hall the kept them captive for years, to celebrate his twenty-fifth birthday. Even though all of the children are fully grown and Cathy and Chris have taken on brand new last names, the beautiful and spacious place plays with Cathy’s nightmarish memories. With Bart turning viler towards his family, the dark secrets of Foxworth come full circle as the Dollangangers try to get past them and the tragedies that keep them imprisoned.

 

Real quick, I’m so sorry with how late this review is. I usually always try to get one up every one to two days, but work has been an energy sucker. Love you, booknerds. You’re truly awesome. I’m happy you’re here. Now on with the review!

 

This is the fourth book to The Dollangangers and V.C. Andrews is still keeping me twisted up. This series has really flung me around. I’ve never been more disturbed, though I must say, this one was much less twisted compared to the previous books. The focus during this book is for The Dolls to heal and the journey to finally achieve that after everything they’ve been through: getting locked up in an attic for their childhood and get abused by their grandmother, seeking revenge for that loss of innocence, The Dolls nearly losing their children to their mother and a psychotic butler. And that’s just the shortened bits. Trust me, if you haven’t read the books, I haven’t really given any spoilers away.

Reviews of the other Dollanganger books:

Flowers in the Attic

Petals on the Wind

If There Be Thorns

 The next generation of the Dolls are grown up. Jory is a famous ballet dancer, just like his mother once was. Cindy is in private school and well on her way to being an actress. Bart is just waiting impatiently to inherit what is rightfully his, the fortune left to him by his grandmother.

One of my favorite things about this is that I’m a big fan of going into a new generation. It’s so fun to watch characters grow up and see where they go. It’s one of my favorite ways to see a story pushed forward. In this case, it was more nerve-wracking because this isn’t your typical book. Happiness is always short-lived and the secrets creep and slither like vines or snakes, leaving me really uneasy because I’m never sure when more nastiness is about to happen. The whole point, making this another great entry to the series.

Thumbs Up

The suffering of each Doll child is greatly expressed and really broke my heart. Granted, after reading If There Be Thorns, I expected the damage to be more apparent. The development of the psychological damage within Jory, Bart, and Cindy, and how it shaped them later on was spectacular. What a way to reach out to some real human issues like manipulation and self-esteem and bullying. Long term consequences, people.

The imagery is still wonderful, always capturing my brain. Seeing Foxworth Hall all over again was chilling! I was half expecting the ghost of the grandmother (Freaking evil Olivia.) to be floating around. Cathy once again takes the story by the wheel, steering me with her trembling fears. Seeing her more in touch with her emotions than ever before was gutting me. At this point, she’s barely hanging on. She’s not bent on revenge anymore, but desperate to help her family. And with all of that I’m just like,

SOY

But then there’s, her beyond disturbed son, Bart and he is just…well…the guy is a jerk! WORSE THAN THAT! And well, grrrr. A devil in human skin. Some of the things he said were just downright evil and disgusting, especially about women, leaving me like this after every single time he opened his mouth.

BS

I will say this. Bart is not the antagonist. Not really. Like the rest of the Dolls, he too is tied up in the dark secrets of Foxworth, and possibly is the worst effected. I still don’t like him.

I’m still drawn in and hypnotized by the language. It’s beautiful and makes the characters truly stand out as individuals. The story is vivid and strong. I can’t say often that language stands out to me the most in a book, but it really did for me this time. Very beautiful in a haunting story.

 

Do I recommend this book? Of course! The whole series is a great read. It’s filled with toil and darkness and some seriously effed up shit. It’s nothing you’d expect. Having known a lot about the series before reading it, I was still shocked. I can’t wait to read more of Andrews’s works, though not so much the stuff after her passing. I read The Mirror Sisters trilogy and while it wasn’t terrible, it didn’t really compare to this.

 

Quotables:

“I no longer believed in fairytales.” (Cathy, p.3)

“If I am so unlucky as to lose you first, I’ll sit day by day before a window staring out and remembering how it used to be with you.” (Cathy to Chris, p. 84)

“Foxworth Hall had trapped us again.” (Cathy, p. 135)

“Don’t you feel it? Can’t you hear it? Do you sense this house is breathing, like it has a life of its own?” (Melodie to Cathy, p. 158)

“Hope…in this house of dark misery we were always clinging to hope we colored yellow—like the sun we seldom seen.” (Cathy, p. 203)

“To have blind faith in anyone but God is idiotic.” (Bart to Cathy, p. 334)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers.

 

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Self-Punishment is Still Punishment (Crime and Punishment – A Book Review)

Crime and Punishment
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published: 1866

On Goodreads

Crime and Punishment

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Well, of course, everything is in a man’s own hands, and if he lets everything slip through his fingers, it is through sheer cowardice. That’s an axiom. I wonder, though what people fear most. It seems to me that what they are afraid of most is of taking a new step or uttering a new word…

Living in St. Petersburg, a poor student, Raskolnikov, lives in a tight apartment and suddenly believes that he has been fated to kill money-lender & pawn-broker, Alyona Ivanovna and her half-sister Lisaveta. Managing to steal whatever he can grab after the act, he flees. Quickly he falls ill physically and mentally. He worries and begins to obsess about the possibilities of people knowing of what he’s done yet he manages to escape suspicion.

In the midst of his delusions, his sister, Dunya, and his mother come to visit with news that Dunya is to be wed soon. Her previous employer follows her to St. Petersburg after the death of his wife as well. And the attorney investigating the murder may be on to Raskolnikov, though many have come forward and confessed already. Raskolnikov hangs by the smallest of threads.

 

I love classics. I do. They’re the spine to great storytelling, really. That being said, they do take a while to read. The language is dense sometimes. The great depth of detail is sometimes tiring and feels drawn out, but at the same time it’s beautiful. Makes how I feel about them complicated sometimes. LOL.

The story takes place in Petersburg in multiple homes, though mostly in Raskolnikov’s, the main character. Though when ill, he goes to many places, even the police station. A good portion of this book also takes place within Raskolnikov’s mind as he deals with the treachery he committed.

The detail to the settings were very specific down the very wallpaper and lamp and I really liked that. It gives me a clear vision of everything. I enjoy being able to see clearly since my brain turns words into pictures more often than not.

Guilt, poverty, and death are the more common themes I picked up on throughout the story. Raskolnikov is always at odds with himself. While he wants to help other people, he can barely help himself. And he certainly doesn’t like others trying to help him, as it makes him feel inferior and helpless. He also tries his best to avoid talking about what’s caused him to get so uptight and ill. The tone goes hand-in-hand with this. You can feel that as Raskolnikov observes the cruelty of people around him, a few people beating an old horse to horse to death, for example.

One of the biggest questions posed in this book is: Is crime justifiable?

It’s picked up in conversation often as Raskolnikov often hints at what he’s done. Several scenarios are presented in which people argue which is right and which is wrong. It brings s about a very good question. When would crime be acceptable if ever?

I found this to be very interesting because there are many variables to think about when answering a question like this.

 

I enjoy Russian literature, as I’m sure I’ve told you dozens of times. This wasn’t a particular favorite of mine. It felt a bit drawn out, though there was quite a bit going on. It also reminds me quite a bit of the Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe with how haunted the main character is throughout the story. This one is certainly an acquired taste and does pose a valuable question.

If you love classic literature, a good debate, and watching a person lose their sanity then this one’s for you.

 

Quotables:

“Gradually he had arrived at all sorts of interesting conclusions, and, in his opinion, the main reason for it lay not so much in the physical impossibility of concealing a crime as in the criminal itself; the criminal himself, at least almost every criminal, is subject at the moment of the crime to a kind of breakdown of his reasoning faculties and of his will-power, which are replaced by an amazingly childish carelessness.” (Raskolnikov, p. 90)

“Let him have his laugh—let him! I don’t mind. What I want is strength—strength!” (Raskolnikov, p. 208)

“It’s the moon that makes everything so still. It must be asking a riddle.” (Raskolnikov, p. 294)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Coming to Terms by Carolina Liar.

 

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Vengeance Becomes Her (Arcana Rising – A Book Review)

Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles #4)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: 2016

Arcana Rising

My Rating:Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

He’d asked me what I would sacrifice. I hadn’t been able to answer then, but I could now.

Not Jack.

After Richter, The Emperor, wreaks utter destruction, annihilating an entire army and more, Circe, The Priestess, strikes back with a force just as strong of . Evie, giving up after such a heavy loss, nearly lets her win, lets her kill her. Only one thing keeps her going. Vengeance. She will have it.

The remaining Arcana on the board have chosen their sides and the main battle can begin. Evie struggles to fight and keep going. Evie finds herself going darker and darker after finally getting to her Gran and learning of The Empress’s chronicles. Can Evie repress the red witch inside or will she let her loose to avenge all that she’s lost, becoming what Jack helped to suppress? The true Empress.

Could it be enough to take on Richter and his allies? Evie reunites with Aric and other fellow Arcana to build up a mighty force to fight back. It may prove difficult though after the bond between her and Death has been shaken and nearly destroyed by her choices. Can she and her allies rise to the heat of battle or will they fall like those who have already been swallowed up by Richter’s fires.

When the battle is done…And all hope is lost…Vengeance becomes everything.

 

Reviews for previous books in the series can be found below.

Poison Princess

Poison Princesshere

Endless Knight

Endless Knighthere

Dead of Winter - SR

Dead of Winterhere

Day Zero

Day Zerohere

 

So…Okay.

Yes.

I’m struggling to find words. Why you ask? Because this series is completely beautiful and also very destructive on my poor heart. I’ve said it once, twice, a bazillion times. I’m completely obsessed. The aftermath of Dead of Winter lingers over this entire book.

Evie Greene is struggling with heavy losses after a brutal attack from Richter (The Emperor of the major Arcana) has left nothing but destruction its wake. Her heart completely closed off, Aric (Death) helps her to recover from her mortal wounds, promising to help her avenge those that have been taken from her. The big showdown begins now (which makes me an even bigger wreck). I’m still working on my feelings at the moment. They’re everywhere and are hard to collect.

Arcana Rising

To keep up with the basics. The tone has been completely steady and keeping me on the edge of my seat. I’m very shocked, but somehow I’m still hanging on-not in the bad sense I mean. I mean that it’s a complete roller coaster that will leave you breathless. You’re holding on for dear life while. I read this book during my whole day off last week while watching Grace and Frankie (completely amazing show and also had me on the edge of my seat). It’s been a loooong time since I’ve done that, but I just couldn’t put it down. The book was glued to my fingers. The pacing was still moving fast and with a hyper awareness, but when you’re wondering each day if it’s your last day then it’s understandable.

Unlike the previous books, except for Day Zero, this book followed multiple POVs instead of only following Evie Greene. This was really awesome because it really spread the story out and allowed me to get a look at a few other characters that I really love. Each new POV was just as intense as it’s been with Evie throughout the series. There hasn’t been a single character that I’ve hated. Well, more specifically, there hasn’t been a character that I’ve hated because it’s a terrible character that makes now sense whatsoever. I have hated a character because from person to fictional person, I just don’t like them and hope they perish. Yes, Aric, I mean you. LOL. I swear, this series is giving me the Twilight PTSD (Team Edward or Team Jacob?). I’m still Team Jack. Freaking love that human and am crying an ocean of tears for him.

Buffy - Once More with Extreme Prejudice

Of course characters that we learned about in the previous volume (Day Zero) finally make an entrance and this deadly game of thunderdome is in full swing with all of the Arcana on the board. More! Evie’s Gran is actually alive and she’s also a little (A LOT) psycho. After reading her own chronicles on The Empress, Evie comes across unsettling discoveries about her friends and past games, and is deeply unsettled and unsure about who to trust. Her friends might not be her friends. With Gran’s ill condition worsening, she isn’t even sure she can trust her. She keeps telling her to release the red witch, which is the last thing Evie wants to do. But, with Jack…missing (queue my denial)…she may not be able to keep her at bay much longer.

Also, it turns out that the major Arcana are not the only ones on the battle board. The minor Arcana are floating around as well! Those like: ten of swords and queen of cups. I’ve been wondering for the last few books if they were a part of this and I’m so giddy to know that they are. They apparently aren’t people you want to walk up and expect a buddy-buddy moment to happen. They want this game to end just like them, possibly more than them.

Did I mention that my heart is utterly destroyed? It’s been ripped out, or at least it I wish is was. It would be much better than this pain I’m in over all of the emotional dread and heartache I feel. Kresley has truly messed with my emotions.

The twists! There are so many. There were several times I turned a nasty shade of red, teared up, and cried out “NOOO!”. I was losing it, utterly upset. And no, it wasn’t because this book was terrible. Not. At. All. It was because I felt like I was being torn apart by what was happening. You know the feeling. These characters you fall in love with that have great passion and intensity go and do all of these stupid things you disagree with. They go and stomp on your heart.  But the story is so great you can’t stop, so in the end you let them. That’s Evie Greene.

Arcana Rising

Like those previous, this book was amazing. I’ve already pre-ordered the next in the series that’s due out on February 13, 2018. Usually I’m pretty patient, but not about this book. I WANT IT RIGHT FREAKING NOW. I have no idea what will be coming and I’m not entirely sure that I’m emotionally prepared either, but I can’t wait.

 

Quotables:

“The Empress’s screams had awakened the dark in me. Reverse, perverse…The Dark Calling.” (Mathew, p. 59)

“Twist, tighten, constrict.” (Evie, p. 104)

“The gods decreed this game. They set events into motion eons ago. Someone has to win. No matter what, someone will win.” (Lark, p.116)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Eyes Closed by Halsey.

 

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The Seven Stages of Grieving (the thing about jellyfish – A Book Review)

the thing about jellyfish
Author: Ali Benjamin
Published: 2015

The Thing About Jellyfish

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

2/25

 

A jellyfish, if you watch it long enough, begins to look like a heart beating.

Suzy “Zu” Swanson knows a lot of things. A lot of things that most people don’t. Like there are 150 million jellyfish stings a year. That’s 411,000 stings a day. 17,000 stings every hour. She also knows that on some technical level, everybody is made of stardust. What she doesn’t know, doesn’t understand, is how Franny Jackson’s life was cut so short before she could make up for that bad thing she did to her. It doesn’t make sense that her best friend is gone.

To make things right, Zu is determined to figure out how this could’ve happen and who the villain is. To do that she forms a plan to travel across the world to figure out the truth about how she died. But, maybe all of the answers are closer than she realizes…

Sometimes when we feel most alone, the world can open up in mysterious ways.

 

This book marks 2 out of 25 authors, from my New’s Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I was very excited, too. This is actually Ali’s debut novel and she has a few more on the way and I’m looking forward to them.

the thing about jellyfish

I can’t express enough how much this book made me feel. I was incredibly moved to tears, both happy and sad. So much happened on Zu’s journey of grieving the loss of her friend. This story was so spectacularly moving. My heart was deeply moved. The style, the setting, the characters, all of it was perfect.

It’s been a long while since I’ve been in the mind of a kid. So long that I forgot how inquisitive and determined they can be and that’s exactly what Zu is. She’s strong-headed and deeply intelligent. She’s motivated by facts, particularly science. Her way of going about grieving was so interesting because it wasn’t ordinary. I learned so much from her and was greatly reminded how straightforward kids can be.

the thing about jellyfish

The setting of this book does follow Zu to school and other places, but mostly we’re in her head. We’re drawn back to flashbacks of important events between her and Frankie as they were growing up, moving to the present. Each flashback clears up the fog of this mystery about how Zu feels so guilty and why she must find a villain to blame. It was incredibly heartwarming and wrenching. Her entire mind is based on facts that she learns more than emotion because she doesn’t understand this kind of loss and it’s experienced it with her firsthand, through her eyes. The entire style of the novel follows the scientific method, which emphasizes how Zu’s thought process works.

During this journey of Zu’s, she meets two others who, unlike everybody else in her class, find her to be very interesting and try to break through her thick exteriors, which was entirely sweet. I seriously could stop the “AWWWWWE!!” that came spewing out of my mouth so loudly. They helped make the story even more relatable. For those who remember how hellish it was in middle school, remember what it was like to feel completely on the outside and understand how special it was to have those couple of friends that could and would sit on the outside with you and be all weird like you, too. It’s how you found your crew, the people who going to be with you through thick and thin and make school bearable.

the thing about jellyfish - Giphy

This book struck me on such a personal level. Like Zu, when I was in seventh grade there was a boy who died. I remember he was in my science class. We weren’t close friends, but the feeling that Zu has throughout the book was the exact same. He was a nice person so I was confused when I found out about his death.  It was a complete disillusionment. How can someone so small and young be there one day and not the next? I still think about him from time to time and wonder what it would be like if he were still here.

 

I couldn’t get enough of this book. I cried, laughed, and was even jumping around with the giggles as I read. I have to say, I truly hope this book comes to the big screen. It’s so special and I really believe that it delivers such a moving message about grieving; that it isn’t easy to understand how a child works through it. Sometimes it takes the Scientific Method.

 

Quotables:

“During the first three weeks of seventh grade, I’d learned one thing above all else: A person can become invisible simply by staying quiet.” (Zu, p. 7)

“The stars themselves were inside up. We were made of stardust.” (Zu, p. 228)

“Who knows. Maybe everybody’s end isn’t the day they actually die, but the last time anyone speaks to them. Maybe when you die you don’t really disappear, but you fade into a shadow, dark and featureless, only you outlines visible.” (Zu, 278)

“Humans may be newcomers to the planet. We may be plenty fragile. But we’re also the only ones who can decide to change.” (Zu, p. 312)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Fireflies by Owl City.

 

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Darkest Before the Dark Knight (Gotham: Dawn of Darkness – A Book Review)

Gotham: Dawn of Darkness
Author: Jason Starr
Published: 2017

Gotham

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Before the twisted city of Gotham came to know James Gordon, Bruce Wayne, and its greatest foes there was Thomas Wayne: a great man with dark secrets, Harvey Bullock: a hard drinking, dirty cop, and Alfred who was still adjusting to life as a butler.

A break-in at Wayne Manor stirs up trouble in Gotham. Thomas is afraid that it’s connected to his old colleague, Hugo Strange, but Harvey isn’t so sure and he doesn’t really care. Lazily, he chases after the case sure that Thomas should just give it up. The deeper the two of them delve into the crime, the more danger there is. There are criminals lurking on every corner of Gotham and there’s more at risk than their own lives.

Gotham

While this book was on the shelf with those quick-fix romances and animal themed mysteries, I was extremely thrilled to read it. For fans of Gotham, this is the ultimate prequel before James Gordon came onto the scene of the dark city of Gotham. This is the look at Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father, that I’ve been waiting for. And to discover that he has a part of his past that he’s not proud of much like most of Gotham? That truly put him on an equal playing field with the city, as dark and dangerous secrets are a part of what makes Gotham.

Also, there were new details and stories about each of the characters that were focused on here that I didn’t learn about from the show, which was really cool. It gave me a stronger appreciation for all of it, characters, setting, and the show in its entirety.

Not Bad

The tone of the novel changed with each character’s POV and that was a major reason why I loved it. Each character on the page was true to the one on the TV screen. I swear I could hear their voices, like they were sitting on my shoulder, as I read. Very strong and enticing. Having a powerful voice is very important to me when I read. If you can carry me with that then I’m sucked in.

To see what life was like with the Wayne parents alive was intriguing and it grew even more so to see how they took care of Bruce and how they handled their affairs. They weren’t the perfect parents. Even they had disagreements. Seeing their day to day life and how they, for lack of a better term, survived in the twisted, Gothic city of Gotham was like getting a peek behind the curtain of the great wizard of Oz.

The book is action and tense from start to finish. Though a casual mass market, I enjoyed it very much. If you love Batman and/or Gotham then give this a read.

 

Quotables:

“…Any two people can read the same book and have vastly different views of it. But science and math are precise—there’s only one answer, and if you search hard enough, you can always find it.” (Bruce, 43)

“…if you want to be a cop in Gotham, you gotta know how to play the game. People who don’t know how to play the game end up with worms in their brains.” (Harvey to Amanda, p. 90)

“Wake up. This is Gotham. There are no good guys.” (Harvey to Amanda, p. 91)

“It’s never right to take joy from someone else’s suffering.” (Alfred to Bruce, p. 157)

“…I think the ability to fight and not kill is what separates us from animals.” (Bruce to Alfred, p. 302)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark by Fall Out Boy.

Gnomes and Yellow Stars (Friedrich – A Book Review)

Friedrich
Author: Hans Peter Richter
Published: 1961

Friedrich

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

“If today, or tomorrow, you should see Jews being mistreated, reflect on one thing—Jews are human beings, human beings like us!” (Herr Neurdorf, p. 63)

During the 1930s, employment was down, but Friedrich and his family seemed to be doing well. His father had a good job and he had a brand new bike. Adolf Hitler comes to power and suddenly he’s expelled from school, he’s blamed for things that aren’t his fault, forced to wear a yellow star of David, and he can’t go out to movies. Then his father is fired from his job and his mother dies. Amid the war that breaks out, Friedrich is trying to survive and nobody tries to help him nor wants to because he is Jewish.

 

This book was difficult to read. The further I got, and it is a small book, the more I felt myself crumbling, feeling helpless and nearly breaking down. Unlike The Diary of Anne Frank, this novel brings you up close with a Jewish family that experienced the Holocaust firsthand from discrimination to being collected up and deported rather than the diary of a young girl hiding with her family and another family in a small space. It was scary and I was gasping in horror more than once during the novel. Little by little I read as this family had everything taken away and it felt as if I were right there witnessing it. Anne Frank is compelling and Friedrich stands right beside it, telling a strong tale of another child during one of the darkest times in history.

You truly see this tragedy from the perspective of children growing up. The innocence and perversion of that innocence by what Hitler did scared me. These were two children, just two out of millions, that were affected by this. It was utterly heart wrenching to witness through our nameless narrator’s eyes.

You start the book with a garden gnome named Polycarp that is seemingly happy and end with the same Gnome, destroyed by terror. Each chapter follows a memory for the narrator and Friedrich, and a chronological point during the Holocaust in which Adolf Hitler took action against the Jewish and others. I can pinpoint exactly when it all began too. It was when the narrator said he was allowed to sit next to Friedrich, as if he needed permission to sit next to his friend. More dreadful “laws” followed and the boys even went to a Nazi meeting not knowing what it was, that it was just what all the cool boys were doing.

The story was real and deep and eye-opening. The horrors of what happened during the Holocaust are given an up-close and innocent perspective from confused children as Hitler came to power and the Nazi group grew. This is a book that I wasn’t prepared for, but was definitely a great read. I don’t think anybody can prepare themselves for something like this.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

n o-d a m s e l-h e r e (the princess saves herself – A Book Review)

the princess save herself in this one
Author: amanda lovelace
Published: 2016

Princess Saves Herself in This One

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Follow Amanda Lovelace as she lets you in on her life journey and what’s made her who she is today. Through her four-part book of poetry she discusses loss, abuse, imperfections and being able to come out on top after all of it. This book holds nothing back about the dark parts that haunted her, which not only makes this a book of poetry but also a memoir.

At the same time, she strives to empower people with her words and encourage bravery in the face of fears that society brings down on a person, like the standards of beauty for example.

princess saves herself

One of the beautiful things about poetry is that it doesn’t have to rhyme. It doesn’t have to be a super long piece or even more than a word. It’s a work of art that is to be felt and pondered and explored. You put a personal part of yourself in it and then share it with others. It’s a reason I can’t discriminate against any poetry piece. The most I can say if a poem doesn’t reach out to me is that I don’t get it. I can even say I don’t like it. But I’ll never go as far as to say it isn’t poetry.

 

The language of the book is very simple, but it’s easily buffered by the waves of emotions that are in each word or lack thereof. Even more was the way the words took shape on the page, emphasizing what Amanda was getting across to me. Some words were spaced, some vertical. There wasn’t a single word that was upper case, which created a sense of equality among it all. In some cases the poetry was scattered to show give off that she felt that way. So there was a very nice balance. Everything had its place and really reached out to me.

 

The book is a quick read if all you’re doing is reading. However, it’s a long one if you’re taking a moment to allow the words to sink, allowing yourself to imagine what Amanda has been through. So I definitely found myself rereading a few and also losing myself in them.

 

Below are a couple of the poems that really reached out to me.

 

where
do all the
memories go,
the ones we
hide away
with
lock &
key yet
continue
to shape
us all the
s a m e?

did it really happen if i can’t remember it?

(p. 13)

This poem really posed an important and personal question to me. A lot of bad things happened to me when I was younger and so I repressed it. So much so that I don’t really remember anything from ten years old and back. I rely on what my mom tells me and my gut feeling on what to believe. So when I read this, there was one nasty pang in a both my heart and gut because I don’t want to remember what’s lost, but I know that alone shapes me and it’s been for the best. Sure, I’m excitable, nervous, and super awkward, not to mention I can have a short temper, but if anything, not remembering things has made my life better.

 

his talent:
he never
once
had to use
his hands
to touch
each & every
part of
me.

-he could touch me across highways

(p. 120)

This is one I think is relatable in one way or another. We’ve all been hurt by someone that didn’t even need to raise a hand. Words are twisty that way. After reading this one, I only had silence and a nod that said-I get it, I know. It’s okay.

 

 

i am
a tigress
who has earned
her softer-than-velvet
stripes

-ode to my stretch marks

(p. 152)

This one made me smile so much. There are times to accept your beauty and thrive in the imperfections of life. I started getting stretch marks in the tenth grade. I also weighed 80 lbs. and approached the final height of 5’2’’. I know, 80 lbs. and stretch marks? How!? Well, it happened and at the hips. For years they bother me and it wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I started accepting it because at that point they’d trickled halfway down the back of my thighs and I only came out to 107-112 lbs. Today, I’m only 110 lbs. and haven’t grown another inch taller. My skin only does what it can and so I have stripes. Reading this poem made me so fuzzy and warm inside because I totally get it! There are just some things you say ‘to hell with it’ and laugh because you have no control. In fact, I found this amazing tattoo idea for stretch marks!

 

 

trees
have words
the wind
cannot carry,
so we must
write
on them
their stories
until there are
none left
for them
to tell.

write the story

(p. 161)

Reading this one, I can still hear the breeze in the summer twilight as it rustles the leaves. It’s dropped to 70 degrees and a small shiver falls over my shoulders, making smile as I sit on the stoop with my bare feet in the cool grass. Looking up, the stars are peeking out one by one. Fireflies are on the edge of the woods, twinkling, searching for their other half. They look like the stars themselves that have decided to visit us little humans down here. I have this moment every summer. It’s my favorite one and when I hear the breeze ruffling the leaves I swear it’s the trees talking. Maybe that’s cheesy, but it’s so beautiful. It’s a moment when I can just be. And that’s important. Having moments like that means my head isn’t clogged with stress. And to write stories is my passion. It’s why I went to college. I’m not out give underlying motivations or understandings. Readers will find that on their own. I just want to give someone the opportunity to lose themselves because every once in a while we need that. Having a place to go in books helped me survive high school. So when I read this poem, it was really drawing back to all of and reminding what I’m working toward and keeping me tethered to a moment that I want to always have.

 

Obviously, this book really spoke to me. So I’ve decided to be brave. Below are a couple of the poetry pieces that I’ve worked on.

 

Fruit:Human

Rigid teeth drag over the soft and fuzzy surface
Scratching until bitter juice trickles down my arm
A nasty shutter

Another bite
There’s no taste

Another bite
There’s no satisfaction
No feeling of fulfillment to be had
But the teeth marks remain.

So does the shame

 

 

First Cup

The cranes stand tall
I can’t help but imagine the smaller birds,
The ones I can’t see so well in the early hours,
As seagulls
I can only guess it’s my mind missing the ocean
I’m not an early morning kind of woman

The stone is chill as I lean against it,
Standing on my tippy toes
The graffiti on the other side of the river is as vibrant as I feel the day will be soon

The building behind us still block out the sun
But not its ever reaching rays that touch the river sands with its golden fingers
I contemplate jumping over so I can squish my toes in those grains
It’s an early morning thought
Which isn’t really a thought at all

As the city awakens, so do I
Or at least I try.
The sound of the rushing water could put me back into a slumber
I lay my head down on the bridge wall

I don’t drink coffee
I don’t see the appeal
However, I thought that this momentous occasion called for such circumstance
Like drinking champagne for an anniversary
Or shots for a special birthday

This place all on its own is no longer in the depths of my imagination
It now lingers in the vault of my memory
A peaceful place
Where the water rushes
The birds sing like seagulls
And that first ever cup of coffee tastes like water

 

 

Fireflies in the Garden

Some cup them in their hands
Making small wishes and release them to the sky
Others swing at them with rackets and fly swatters
Angry about the wishes that never came

From the porch,
With my chin in my hands
Watching
Waiting
Anticipating

Only for a moment
They fly around like stars
I am one of them
But only for a moment
It’s freedom

In a wisp
A swish
A buzz
A glowing ember returning to the sky
It’s gone and so am I

As I sit here on the porch

 

This was a phenomenal read for me. I will more than likely find myself coming back to it at some point. I recommend that if you haven’t read it that you consider it.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Safe by Britt Nicole.