#BookReview: You’ll Come Back To Yourself by Michaela Angemeer (Contest)

I happened upon Michaela’s poetry on Instagram and was immediately drawn by the way she wielded words, and how her words wielded me.

To be completely honest, I was a little somber when the collection ended as it really resonated with me.

The poems were short but exhilaratingly deep, and so perfectly poignant.

The poems discuss themes i am all too familiar with as a near-thirty writer who must have quicksand in her soul because every man I’ve ever loved fell right through and out some hidden trap door. No kidding there:

Loving someone who is meant for someone else.
Having toxic types that you are always drawn to like red flags are for fun and amusement, and how self-love is the key to true freedom, and attracting a love that loves you back.

You can win a copy of You’ll Come Back To Yourself by Michaela Angemeer. All you need to do is enter at this link and subscribe to my Youtube channel.

If you enter through the Rafflecopter and subscribe to Youtube, I will send you a paperback copy of the book.

This review is 186 words and took me 2 hours to compile. I was given no compensation in exchange for this review but you are free to Buy Me a Coffee.

#BookReview: His Green Eyes by @cheyennebluett

Cheyenne Bluett’t bright light lit up my Instagram feed. Her content is curated to encourage and inspire just about everyone.

Opening His Green Eyes, I was taken on a poetic journey of the depths of true love, something that writers have a fondness for attempting to understand by giving it a rhyme or a reason.

Yet, poets know love is unique to its counterparts and soulmates are real. Love knows no gender, no age, or no reason.

Love just is.

Reading His Green Eyes the reader is taken deep into the heart of the love and admiration for Bluett’s real life husband Robbie.

My favorite poems in the book appear below but the loving you in every color and loving you in my favorite places were by far so outside the box and refreshing, not to mention sweetly written and heartfelt, full of personal memories and momentos with her lover.

Whether you’ve always felt unworthy of lasting love or you just became a newlywed, these poems defy space and time to share sunshine into the darkest corners of any heart who cynically considers love something only of cinema screens and novel pages.

Bluett’s poetry will make a believer out of you. She made one out of me.

This review is 207 words and took me 1 hour and 23 minutes to compile. I received no compensation for this review. You can get a review just like this for $40. Order yours here.

#BookReview I am Restored:How I Lost My Religion But Found My Faith by @lecrae

When I heard Lecrae was putting out a book about his struggle with trauma wounds and mental health, I knew I had to read it because I also just went through similar circumstances, and like Lecrae, dealt with a heavy season where the wounds, the trauma, the unhealthy binge behavior could no longer be swept away or shooken off.

Although there were parts of this book I strongly disagreed with or lack the understanding to totally comprehended, I’ve always admired Lecrae because from the first time I listened to After The Music Stops in 2010 until now with his recent work, he is someone who never sugar-coated hard truths.

From being a 116 clique fan and reading his first memoir, I was aware of parts of his story but just like myself, I knew several paragraphs don’t make a chapter, a story is comprised of a beginning, middle, and an end. Rising action -> Conflict–> Resolve.

In fiction, most stories can come to a place of true resolve. The character begins a happy ending with someone they love. Their long-lost parent didn’t die. The princess wears armor and fights one last battle for the crown and the kingdom. A human marries a Vampire, and they give birth to a child. You get the idea. Yet, unlike in fiction, real life is more harsh, traumatic, and sometimes the only resolve we find is in our place or season of true healing.

So is the case with Lecrae. His words reminded me of my own hard pressed journey to self-acceptance, and the beginnings of true healing.

He also talks about how the entertainment industry is filled with illusions. Later on in the book, he mentions how through counseling, he became aware of how debilitating social media can be mental health with “it’s comparison and an abyss of arguments.”

Overall, anyone who wants to grow in faith and expand your mind as a spiritual person should read the book because God’s masterpieces are unfinished products.

You are still his masterpiece even if all your pieces or parts still look and feel weak, unusable, and broken. God has a habit of using people who make mistakes.

This review is 359 words and took 1 hour and 17 minutes to produce here. I received no compensation for this review but if you enjoy this review or any content produced by The Smart Cookie Philes consider buying me a coffee.

#HolidayShopping: Gift Guide 2020

Bookish and Music Based Gifts for The Smart Cookie in your Life!

It’s the time of the year (although I know 2020 has been one of those years) when you put yourself and all you want out of your mind for a whole month, and think about the people you love and how you could possibly make their lives better with a gift that screams them. Well, I’m not an expert on the best gifts for people who like fashion, home goods or even monster trucks. I am an expert on all things books and music and I have the perfect list of gifts for the Smart Cookie in your life.

Books

  1. Living Lightly: Bring Happiness and Calm to your Everyday by Dale Curd and Kimberly Alexander

In the beginning of the year I began reading this book and found it helped me have something positive and meaningful to reflect on each day. No matter your creed or color, this book is a helpful devotional style book which helps anyone feel lighter and more focused on what they bring to the table instead of what they lack.

2. Of Whelter and Whim by Mike Mac

This was my 2020 introduction to National Poetry Month and it definitely started the month off on the right note. I found it to be incredibly simple yet so telling which is my favorite reason for reading poetry. Perfect for non-poetry readers and poetry readers alike. My favorite poem would have to be this one right here although more are included in my review piece at the link above.

3. Beyond Worthy by Jaqueline Whitney

Sometimes you read a book of poetry and it absolutely hits you right at the center of your pain but instead of placing a band-aid over it, it was salve for the wounds I suffered following a season of double trauma. It was everything I didn’t know I needed post-trauma. And I thank Jaqueline Whitney for putting her words, her heart, her story out into the world because they helped me heal even more.

4. Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

By far, this was one of my favorite books I read this year. Not only because I am friends with the author but because her writing is so lyrically brilliant. I can’t tell you how powerful this story was. It’s crazy to me that this book took twenty years to come to fruition but wow, it’s absolutely worth all the work that went into writing it, and even more so, worthy of every ounce of buzz and nomination it has gotten since it’s release.

5. Good Brave People by Nicholas Trandahl

Sometimes you read a novel at the exact right time and it makes you nostalgic when you didn’t have to excuse you actually enjoying Fitzgerald or Murakami or even Garcia Marquez back in high school. If you like any of those writers, please consider Good Brave People as it reads with poetic prose but has the mystique and literary stamina of all three writers combined. It’s hard to believe this is his debut novel.

6. The Haunting by Melissa Combs

In preparation for putting out my own book, I began posting some poetry of mine to gain exposure for my collection as any writer does on social media. I connected with this writer and it was apparent right away we both were heartbroken and haunted by our twin flames. A twin flame is a spiritual concept where two people are actually two halves of the same soul so they complete each other, and sometimes the connection can span many lifetimes. They don’t always achieve union every lifetime but every lifetime causes them to cycle karmic cleansings and self-healing to achieve their highest selves until they achieve union or entirely mirror one another.

7. When My Mind Winds Up by Jennifer Ervig

Opening up the discussion about mental health by sharing her own personal story about her struggles with anxiety, it’s written in a devotional style so it is an easy read and helps people who suffer with anxiety through to defeating it once and for all.

8. Sticks and Stones by Chelsea DeVries

Shameless plug but my brand new poetry book is now available in paperback and ebook format. It’s already gotten 4.6 stars on Goodreads and even resonated with a Bookstagrammer in India. Overall, I hope that by me writing this to heal, it offers you the same no matter what you are going through or have gone through.

9 and 10. Cookies For A Cause: Bookish Merch That Deliciously Gives Back

Launched in 2018, we now have over 14 products and 7 charities that we support. The newest designs are the mask that helps Save the Children and the ESPRESSO YOURSELF fanny pack that helps end hunger.

Coming in 2021: a pet friendly design that celebrates that our furry friendships are fur-ever.

Music

  1. Tangerine EP by Hot Chelle Rae

2020 was the year my favorite band came back with new music and it gave me purpose yet again. Their Tangerine EP was a blessed fruit in the desolate year that was 2020 but it’s worth a listen and it’s less than $5.

2. Calm by 5SOS

Dare I say it but when I sat down to listen to their third studio album, I actually thought it was going to be sub-par but instead like their two previous works, not one bad song on it. So much strong lyricism and inventive musicality that again changes their sound as a band. Watch out 5SOS are always evolving. Try to stay CALM about it.

3.Folklore by Taylor Swift

If 2020 ever needed a savior it would have to be T. Swift. She showed up with a folk pop album written entirely in 3rd person and it was exactly what our quarantine playlist needed, and our souls needed too.

4. Out of Body by NeedToBreathe

You ever been given an opportunity just when you were about to give up and you literally wondered why you were picked. Well, the chance to review this album came like to me this year and it’s a wonderful body of work. My favorite song is probably Who I Am? on this album but the entire work takes you back to a youthful viewpoint and you all know how much I love being nostalgic.

5. Restoration by Lecrae

Lecrae is my favorite rapper so when I heard he was releasing new music in the year of all years I was restored that God truly is watching over us and is walking with us, no matter how much we wrestle with the Holy Ghost.

6. Thank U Next by Ariana Grande

You ever fall in love with someone and their potential of being with you was all in your head? Well, if not, if you’ve ever seen the good in goodbye, Thank U Next is Ariana’s most powerful work to date. It shares struggles with mental health, heartbreak, grief, and feeling too needy.

7. Colour Vision by MAX

Max’s second major label studio album is a colorful work full of strong musiciality and lyricism and you will not be able to stop yourself from dancing to the jam Working for The Weekend.

8. Smile by Katy Perry

While this one wasn’t my favorite, it definitely will get you dancing, jamming out, and it will make you smile. My unexpected favorite on this one is Champagne Problems.

9. Inspired by True Events by Tori Kelly

Musical Notes episode for this one coming soon but I was surprised by the fact that this charted so low for a Tori Kelly album. My favorite song on this one would have to be Coffee.

10. What You See Is What You Get by Luke Combs

Fine, I’ll admit it. I’m secretly in love with Luke Combs solely because he has a beard, drinks beer, and wears crocs. Haha. Well he’s newly married to the prettiest girl but his artistry sure has stolen my heart. He writes amazing songs. His song Beautiful Crazy stopped me in my tracks and I am still not over it.

Wishing you all an espressive Holiday season! Cheers to 2021!

#BookishThoughts: The Haunting by Melissa M. Combs will have you healing from all those skeletons in your closet

We love, we lose, but does what we love ever let us go?

This is the beckoning question that readers must ask themselves as they experience the chapbook “The Haunting.”

Combs writes of a dead lover who’s ghost-like presence reminds you that love is force far beyond death and the grave.

Heartbreak comes in phases: it hurts, it heals, and it haunts.

The Haunting by Melissa M. Combs seeks to spook the loss of love right out of you and remind you that first comes the unfinished business of heartbreak and then comes the healing. This chapbook will quite literally eat you alive and help you survive the pain, the sting, the lost feeling of being left for dead by an ex-lover. Combs’s words will leave you in chills and help you heal.

Her full length poetry collection is due out November 17. You can check out a sneak peek of Love in Other Realms on her Instagram and buy poetry based merch inspired by the poetry featured in her collection at her website.

I look forward to being haunted by the words of this poet long after I finish reading any of her books.

#BookishMuses: Unfettered Journey is a futuristic and philosophical romantic adventure perfect for 2020

I was given an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

Opening with the phrase:

the reader is instantly taken on a journey with the perfect mix of romance, science fiction, adventure, and a philosophical curiosity of free will and the existence of God.

Bengier’s writing is futuristic yet relatable with it’s discussions of protests and social equality, and very captivating.

For more on the book and the author who created this metaphysical world, check out https://garyfbengier.com/

#BookReview and Giveaway: The Chosen Ones by @lisaluciano888

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

To be honest, I was very excited to read this book because of the romantic mystery aspect. As a sixteen year fan of street skateboarding, I very much support books that accurately represent the sport they are based on.

Luciano’s book is well-written, figure skating is accurately represented, and full of overtly detailed writing from start to finish.

My favorite line in the book:

My favorite scene in the book was relatable and I finally found myself within the novel.

It’s a scene where a dedicated fan finally gets to meet her favorite professional figure skater after months of writing him letters. I never felt more represented and into the book than I did reading that scene.

Now, the book wasn’t for me, per say but anyone who is a true fan of figure skating would most likely find this book that reads like a fictional creative nonfiction novel to be full of great imagery, believable characters, and true to form plot driven by real-like truths based on the author’s work as a New York Times reporter covering figure skating.

Because I believe this book deserves to be read and relished by a fan of figure skating, I’m holding a giveaway.

In order to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY, you MUST enter through the Rafflecopter link HERE.

You can connect with the author via Instagram and Twitter and on her website lisalucianobooks.com

#PoeticMuses: Cosmosis by Stefanie Briar proves love comes and goes in an expansive universal truth

As most of you know, my favorite month of the year is National Poetry month. I celebrate it every year both here and on my personal social media pages. Why? Well, poets are just underrated but they say things we wish more people would just come out with. I love how immediate and succint writing poetry feels and when someone reads it if they feel the power in your words, the entire poem speaks volumes and all the feelings come full circle. So powerful and as with all writing both brave and vulnerable as well.

The thing I love about writing poetry is that there are less rules. You can format it however you want, and even make grammatical errors part of the poem as well.

When reading poetry, I find solace in the short but staggered rhythm of lyrics and words that leave me feeling lifted, understood, and less alone.

I found Stefanie Briar’s work during one of my curiousity sprees (when I am venturing down the many rabbit holes of Instagram) where I search online for salve for the wounds of my human frailty.

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Cosmosis uses the metaphor that our universe grows and expands with each act of love even if lost or toxic.

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It is brilliantly organized in four sections:

  • Solar Flare
  • Supernova
  • Black Hole
  • Eclipse

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The poetry in each centers from the gravitational pull of its theme my two favorites were Solar Flare and Black Hole because like this poet, I have loved, and I have felt the blackest hole of love lost.

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20200822_184838This one is probably my favorite if I had to pick one…although every poem here is so powerfully poignant and original.

 

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You can join the conversation and find new poetry shared often via her Instagram pagewhich impressively has over 20,000 followers in the six months since she joined the platform (Stefanie, please sprinkle some of your magic voodoo dust on my Instagram, please).

And it’s easy to see why she has so many fans. Her words are sharp and spoil-proof. Yet, if you message her, she will message you back within hours. She’s genuinely super supportive of other poets and writers, and she’s also got amazing taste in music.

According to her author bio on the back of her debut poetry book, she lives in New Jersey with her husband, young daughter, python, and cat-sized rabbit. She teaches 10th grade English and coaches cheerleading.

You can purchase a copy of the Barnes & Noble Press poetry bestseller Cosmosis here. 

Her second book of poetry is due out on New Year’s Day 2021. 2021 is already looking promising if you ask me.

 

#BookishThoughts: The Rose Contract by Scottie Kaye Book Review

Magic meets romantic suspense in this first installment of the Sleeping Lotus series. Raena Barren has magic power, and she’s the only person in the kingdom who can hide it.

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She survives on the streets of Soma using the magic until she comes face to face with Jorr Potent, and she must save his life.

After he gives her a job in the castle, Raena spends ten years falling in love with him.

Overall, I found McKaye’s writing to be poignant and page turning but at the same time I felt the story lacked something.

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