Book Review Roundup. Poetry, Sci-Fi & Fiction.

All of Me by Shannon O’Connor

‘isn’t it ironic how time changes memories what we do remember and what was once important fades away like it was nothing’

Loved the poems in this collection, I found them really easy to connect with. Solid, well written poetry.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

On a Scale of 1 to 10 by Ceylan Scott

I had been looking forward to reading this for a while, and I finished reading it in one afternoon. I liked the story, I liked the characters (well, apart from Dr. Flores) and I loved the descriptions of a few of the characters and there were phrases or sentences in the writing that were so poetic and exciting to read (does that make sense?)
There were parts that could potentially be triggering for people. I’ve read a fair few books set in psychiatric hospitals and On a Scale of 1 to 10 ranks highly among them.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Doctor Who At Childhood’s End by Sophie Aldred

I enjoyed reading this. At Childhood’s End was a nostalgic ride through space, Perivale, and an alien planet. The 7th Doctor made an appearance, with his umbrella!
I do think the Doctor traveling with 3 people is a bit much. In this story, Graham and Ryan are great, but Yaz might as well not been there. Especially as the writers went down the path of there being jealousy between Ace and Yaz, which was briefly explored and then dropped. I loved this story asked questions about life after traveling with the Doctor, and how it might change you.
Ace is the main focus of this story and her character arc just never ends, does it?
She pinched an alien pod before UNIT could get their hands on it! The Squidget. Adorable.
I want more Ace stories like this.

‘Three suns sat like cigarette burns in the filthy tarpaulin of the sky’

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

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Book Review. Queer Intentions by Amelia Abraham.

I did not know what to expect from this book. I borrowed it from the e-library and the blurb didn’t load because the WI-FI was being silly, but I chose to borrow it anyway because a journey from LGBTQ+ culture sounded good to me. The personal experience comes from the author’s relationship breakup and exploring marriage, and what that can signify for LGBTQ+ people. Then we went from that to Pride parades, voguing, and trans rep in mainstream media. The book spoke about LGBTQ+ rights, appropriation and tokenism. The author travelled to New York, Serbia and Turkey to hear the stories of LGBTQ+ people.

I learnt a lot from this book. There were a few things I was not aware of, or only knew vaguely about, and this book made me look them up after reading about them. There were points made in Queer Intentions which opened my eyes.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Queer Intentions.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Combining intrepid journalism with her own personal experience, in Queer Intentions, Amelia Abraham searches for the answers to these urgent challenges, as well as the broader question of what it means to be queer right now. With curiosity, good humour and disarming openness, Amelia takes the reader on a thought-provoking and entertaining journey. Join her as she cries at the first same-sex marriage in Britain, loses herself in the world’s biggest drag convention in L.A., marches at Pride parades across Europe, visits both a transgender model agency and the Anti-Violence Project in New York to understand the extremes of trans life today, parties in the clubs of Turkey’s underground LGBTQ+ scene, and meets a genderless family in progressive Stockholm.

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Book Review. Poetry Collection – The Sea Refuses no River. Bethany Rivers.

This is a vast collection of poetry on grief, loss and place. I don’t think I have read anything like it. I did struggle to connect emotionally with the poems, but I didn’t dislike them. The way the poems were written, and the images in the poems were stunning. I love how poets can take one idea and run with it. This seemed evident in The Sea Refuses no River. For example, in poem It’s not about the Broccoli. The Gate at Shrewsbury was one of my favourite poems in this collection.

In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journeys. To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck’, and in this collection, Bethany discovers how, ‘The words are purposes. The words are maps.’

She had fallen in love once. It had cost her

She spent years befriending the river:

It was her only escape

The Sea Refuses no River – Bethany Rivers

I would certainly want to read more from Bethany Rivers. I was so intrigued after reading The Sea Refuses no River.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Book Review. Persona Non Grata Edited by Isabelle Kenyon

I love reading anthologies for 2 reasons.

1. Sampling poems from writers who are not familiar to me and 2. Anthologies, not all, but some raise money for charities.

The proceeds from Persona Non Grata go to Crisis Aid and Shelter. 2 very important causes.

Persona Non Grata has a number of quality poems from an outsider view of people in our society, encompassing disability, age, family, mental illness, homelessness, refugees and LGBTQ+ people. Hopefully it can encourage the reader to reflect on the reality of other people’s lives and their struggles.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Persona Non Grata is packed with exceptional poets writing on the theme of social exclusion.

With interpretations exploring our refugee crises globally, physical and mental illness, homelessness, addiction and family estrangement, the anthology will fundraise for two important and vital charities: ‘Shelter’ and ‘Crisis Aid UK’.

“We are delighted that ‘Fly on the Wall Poetry Press publishes charity anthologies- and anthology ‘Persona Non Grata’ is packed with poetry inspired by the concept of social exclusion. Without support such as this, we would not be able to support the people who reach out to us for help with housing issues and homelessness. Thank you so much to everyone involved.”

– Lindsay Tilston Jones, Regional Community Fundraiser: Manchester

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Book Review. Poetry Collection – Bittersweet by Wanda Deglane.

Book Review

Bittersweet

By Wanda Deglane

Wanda Deglane is one of my favourite writers and the poems in this book show why. The poems in Bittersweet are written about the experiences of being female, which include our bodies, periods, sex and boys. The subjects all intersect, and it demonstrates their knock-on effect on each other.

I think sometimes you can feel as if you are going mad – is what I am experiencing been experienced by other people? I rarely read poems that mention periods and it feels like a taboo subject to write about. In poem Training Bras Wanda Deglane writes ‘we hardly remember the day our bodies start changing, the slippery moment of bones and organs shifting and expanding from tiny slender girl to this soft, fleshy thing,’ I remember when my body began to change, I hated it. Puberty made me feel suicidal. It has been a relief to peel back layers of shame while reading Bittersweet. To that end Bittersweet has immeasurable worth to me.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
book cover image Bittersweet by Wanda Deglane
photo credit Kate

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