#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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#BookishMuses: It Came From The Sky! by Chelsea Sedoti Book Review

I was thrilled when I got a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Imagine how you would react if everyone in your small town suddenly believed there was aliens in your midst? I would be excited because a believer in all things paranormal and a resident of a similar small town I would love the possibility of knowing we aren’t alone.

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A fan of Sedoti’s charming and easy to read writing style and how she always features life-like characters that reside in small towns, and usually are aiming for greatness.

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The main characters Gideon and Ishmael are brothers who balance each other out. Ishmael is a practical joker and prank war champion, and Gideon is the scientist who understands the how and why behind extraterrestrials.

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As per usual, I couldn’t put it down just like Sedoti’s other books and eerily Sodie always slips stuff in her books that makes me think we may in fact be twins.

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Super Pods are here!

It Came From The Sky! will be released on my birthday August 4, 2020 from SourceBooks, and will be available wherever books are sold. You can connect with the YA author at her website.

#BookishMuses: Book Review: Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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As with most stories about families, you know you are in for some heavy blows. Despite our ethnicity or the number of members, no human family is immune to tragedy or oppressive authority, racist, neighbors and classmates, and the aftershocks of untreated or suppressed mental illness.

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From the first phrase, McDaniel takes you on a multifaceted journey of the Carpenter family. You gather that they are Native American and people who feel at one with nature but human nature is not immune no matter the family to sad and tragic occurrences.

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The reader witnesses everything through the eyes of our early feminist icon and hero Betty Carpenter which lends to the emotions of how deep family ties really go.

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Anyone who read McDaniel’s other works will fall in love once again with her poetic and lyrical writing style despite the melancholy content. And those who have yet to read a work by McDaniel will find themselves enraptured by the way she tells a story.

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Betty is timeless yet timely masterpiece and perfect for a world full of cries for injustice and plagued by an ongoing global pandemic.

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Betty Carpenter is no weak woman and her story is not for weak stomached readers. In order to fully see Betty in all her anti-heroine glory, you must seek to step into the shoes of the underdog,  the footprints of those who don’t blindly follow the crowd, and upon paths only previously seen as uncharted by those crazy enough to see them beneath the shadows of history and the bright red blood of ancestral heritage.

Shop anti-racism books on RedShelf today and a portion will go towards an important cause!

You can preorder Betty here and at your local retailer as it will be released by Random House on August 18, 2020. You can also keep up to date with the author’s events and other works by visiting her website.

#BookishThoughts: Good Brave People by Nicholas Trandahl book review

As a writer of both fiction and poetry, I love reading novels with poetic soul within their core. As a reader, I love novels that instantly feel like they will be classics or remind you of some of the literary greats.

Trandahl gives mention to legendary writers in their own right Hemingway and Chekhov. Jasper Augustine stares you down with the intensity of a writer who’s all about the experience from the first page.

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Primarily set in Basque County, a mountainous and agricultural area of Spain, this novel follows Augustine who sets out to write a novel, and who happens upon life’s greatest muse: an ordinary person in their home country being extraordinary at what they do, and it in turn makes you want to learn everything about them.

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Upon arriving in San Sebastian, Augustine meets Oihana and begins writing his novel with fervish inspiration.

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What’s crazy to me is how effortless this novel reads which makes it a bit of a shock that this is his debut novel.

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Filled with intrigue, Spanish mystique, and a romantic story for the ages, Good Brave People is a classic for this age, and for ages to come.

Click this graphic (below) to enter to win a paperback or ebook copy of Good Brave People!

Win!

Get your own copy of Good Brave People Now!

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#BookishThoughts: Stop Missing Your Life by Cory Muscara helps you learn what it means to be truly present in a distracting world

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Released at the end of 2019, I was eager to walk into 2020 more present than I had in previous years.

I got the book in January from the publisher and thought it would be a quick and easy read.

After all, it was a book walking me through how to be deeply present.

Now, five months later (I finished the book in May 2020), I’ve finished the book and see how very un-present not to mention irresponsible I’ve been.

In itself, reading a book is an act of being present. Present and actively engaged with the materials covered (if non-fiction) or in the story itself (with fiction, poetry, and memoir).

What does it mean to be deeply present?

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And it was during those five months from when I began reading this book to now, that I sought justice for evil. I had witnessed and experienced, sought healing and wholeness after heartbreak, betrayal, and utter rejection, and I began to speak from a place of true honesty and authenticity which I’ve never truly had in the twenty-seven years of my life prior.

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Muscara’s book takes the reader through personal anecdotes and mindfulness practices down a journey of true presence and intimacy with ourselves, and relates that back to the intimacy and connection we have with others.

Now, at 28, I feel more self-aware, authentic, and unapologetic about who I am than I ever have, and I will never allow myself to suppress the ‘shadow parts’ that need loving, too.

Once I sat down to being more present, and committed to finishing this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and believe anyone could benefit from reading it.

As far as my own journey into being present, I will start by being more adamant and dedicated toward being present while reading books I review, and music albums as well.

Overall, I want this to be me telling the world, I promise to stop not showing up for myself and all the Smart Cookie Philes is to people everywhere.

Meaning whether with my clients or books or music I promise to review, I will aim to get it done or offer a “thanks but no thanks.”

It’s this small but simple thing I believe will make the most difference.

#PoeticMuses: Under The Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao

I was asked to read this book of poetry and some prose for an honest review. Once received, I was unsure of what I would find under this tree of metaphorical significance but I am happy to share not only did I find myself lost in the midst of some of these poems…that share bits of truth about self-confidence, sefl-esteem, and one that cleverly tells the story of a seed of doubt.

My favorite of all Rao’s words shared within the pages of this collection is called Love is.

I also enjoyed the excerpt from Inconvenient Relations, Rao’s novel.

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Enter Giveaway Here. Ends May 10, 2020

Read some of my favorites below.

i purge my mind with music I rejoice in the space until the creatures cruise back in on roller skates

I am Abnormal Unconventional Abominable Unafraid Aberrant Unapologetic

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Words are bland unless spiced with emotion Prayer means less unless said with devotion Love is an empty pot unless filled with trust

Spontaneous Instantaneous No instruction required When it reaches the eyes, it spreads like the flu Contagious Infectious The universal language of a smile.