In the Dark, Soft Earth by Frank Watson/NetGalley Mini Review

In the Dark, Soft Earth by Frank Watson
Publisher: Plum White Press
Genre: Poetry
Format: ebook
Length: 232 pages
Release Date: July 7, 2020

**I received a complimentary copy of ‘In the Dark, Soft Earth’ from NetGalley and Plum White Press, in exchange for an honest review**

My Thoughts

In the Dark, Soft Earth was a lovely collection of poetry. Frank Watson manages to create thoughtful imagery with his phrases, centering on life’s precious moments. The chapters (labeled as Books), categorizes the purity and essence of the human spirit. Watson’s poetry manages to capture raw emotions such as desire, longing and frustration. These are human emotions that everyone endures throughout life, and his poetry reflects such a vast array of feelings.

Along with reading stories, poetry is my usual go-to when guiding people people through their situations. A poem paints a picture of a given emotion and thought process. I feel that Watson’s work provides such a selection of prescriptive imagery in helping people identify with their experiences. I would definitely recommend In a Dark, Soft Earth to those searching to assist people through the written word!

Rating: 4/5 Stars


Synopsis

Dig into this delectable journey through the dark, sensual, and ravishing poetry of Frank Watson. Ruminate the searing to the sultry as you absorb this haunting lilt of burning carnality. The poems ignite rapid and surprising shifts in focus and perspective as they twist and turn your preconceptions, allowing the implications to linger in your thoughts.

Vignette verses explore the workings of love, nature, spirituality, and dreams with sprinklings of tarot symbolism and jazzy blues. Together these verses contemplate the subtle underpinnings of a soft earth.

What do you think of In the Dark, Soft Earth? Would you put this book in your TBR? Feel free to share in the comments!

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Friday Reads: May 29

Currently Reading

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

So far I’m really liking this carefree story! The romance between Pablo and Lee is very endearing, and also complicated!

Planning to Read

Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann

I received ‘Never Turn Back’ through NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books. I can’t wait to start reading this book!

What books are you currently reading? What are you planning to read this weekend?

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NetGalley Mini Review: International Day of the Girl

The International Day of the Girl by Jessica Dee Humphreys
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Acquired through NetGalley
Release Date: September 1, 2020

**I received The International Day of the Girl through NetGalley and Kids Can Press, in exchange for an honest review**

The International Day of the Girl is a thoughtful compilation of inspirational stories of girls situated around the world. There are amazing tales of girls learning in underground schools, as well as other young women achieving the skills of carpentry and astronomy thanks to progressive-thinking families. These stories were equal parts emotional and heartwarming, each girl’s personal portrait described in rich detail.

Towards the back, this book offers a thorough timeline of events leading up to the 2011 declaration of, International Day of the Girl (October 11). I loved this brief yet concise history lesson as to how this important day came to be. This education book is suitable for children of all elementary grade levels,, since it offers age-appropriate account of the importance of equal rights. This is valuable reading material for educators everywhere!

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NetGalley Mini Reviews: May 9

I’m excited to share my thoughts on these digital reads!

I have two digital review copies to share with you. I received these books from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Thank You, Miyuki by Roxane Marie Galliez
Illustrated by Seng Soun Ratanavanh
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Release Date: September 1, 2020

My Thoughts

I adored this story about a child and her grandfather bonding through mindfulness and meditation. Miyuki is fascinated with her grandfather’s morning meditation ritual, so he guides her through the process. Using real life experiences, Miyuki’s grandfather teaches her how to stay mindful while staying aware of her surroundings.
The bond between Miyuki and her grandfather is simply precious! I also enjoyed the eye-catching illustrations on every page. This would be a very useful book for children to marvel at the beauty of a spring and summer day during moments of calm!



Until I Find You by Rea Frey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: August 11, 2020

My Thoughts

Rebecca’s journey in proving her son’s absence was truly intense! As a young mother handling a degenerative eye condition, Rebecca already has the odds stacked against her. The journey in finding her son adds another arduous task to an already stacked list of challenges!

Rebecca’s life turns like a tide as her condition slowly threatens to take over her life, which adds to the tension in this tale. Until I Find You had me constantly wondering what would happen next in Rebecca’s plight. It will definitely leave readers on edge!

What are your thoughts about these books? Feel free to share below!

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Friday Reads: May 8

I’m currently reading two books:

A Woman’s Place: Inside the Fight for a Feminist Future by Kylie Cheung

A huge thank you to Edelweiss and North Atlantic Books for providing me this digital copy! Kylie Cheung shares her experiences as a feminist at the forefront of the Fourth Wave. She brings to light the strong presence social media possesses to promote women’s issues, as well as the hurtful effects of mysogyny and miscommunication.

Until I Find You by Rea Frey

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martins Press for this digital copy! Rea Frey’s third novel centers on a young widow searching for her son after he mysteriously vanishes. The fact that this person is also suffering from a degenerative eye condition makes things even more interesting!

What reads do you have today? Feel free to share below!

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NetGalley ARCs/Mini Reviews: April 23

I received four ARCs from NetGalley this week!



Mara the Space Traveler by An Leysen (Clavis Publishing)
Release Date: June 20, 2020
4/5 Stars
This is a lovely story about a young girl helping out some creatures in another realm. The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and the creatures in Mara’s tale are so adorable!



A Journey Toward Hope by Victor Hinojosa Coort Voorhees
Six Foot Press
Release Date: July 7, 2020

5/5 Stars

A Journey Toward Hope tells the story of four children migrating to America, leaving their homes and surroundings in order to live a more peaceful life. The children’s stories are fictional, yet the authors provide an accurate account of the harrowing conditions migrant children experience while making the journey to North America.



The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen (North South Books)
Release Date: September 1, 2020

4/5 Stars

An emotional account of The Little Mermaid, filled with raw emotion and harsh conditons. Hans Christian Andersen is never known for lighthearted accounts of fairy tales, and this story is no exception!



Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown’s Most Stylish Seniors by Andria Lo & Valerie Luu (Chronicle Books)
Release Date: September 22, 2020

5/5 Stars

I loved looking through the images of Chinatown’s older generation! Andria Lo & Valerie Luu set out to reconnect with their heritage through this project by making contact with their older peers. I feel like we can all learn something from this experience!





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‘Story Magic’ by Laurel Gale/Mini Review

Story Magic by Laurel Gale
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy
Acquired through NetGalley
Release Date: August 4, 2020

My Thoughts

**I received ‘Story Magic’ through NetGalley and Jolly Fish Press, in exchange for an honest review**

‘Story Magic’ is a tale that proposes what could happen when superstition takes the place of reason. Story Magic is not permitted for women to use, but that doesn’t stop 12 year old Kaya in using it to search for her brother. Along the way she confronts scenes of cruelty and compassion as she learns the deeper meaning of where Story Magic originated.

I found this book to be quite entertaining. The book was written in Kaya’s perspective, and she’s exposed to many revelations on her quest. For someone whose entire life consisted of her older brother and his input, this introduction to the outside world can be quite surprising!

‘Story Magic’ kept me reading from beginning to end. It was a fun fantasy tale!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

A feminist-tinged middle grade fantasy about finding your voice and the magical power that exist in storytelling.

Girls are forbidden to practice story magic. Only bad things happen when they do. Everyone knows this, but that doesn’t stop twelve-year-old Kaya A’Dor from learning the basics from her older brother Hob. The trick is to sense a listener, one of the magical beings that inhabit the world, and tell it a story. If the listener is pleased and likes the story, it will allow the storyteller to work magic.

Although Kaya knows the risks, she attempts a little story magic to impress Hob. When Hob is taken prisoner in Prima, the faraway capital city, Kaya is convinced it’s her fault, either because someone discovered what she was doing or because the bad luck has found her.

Desperate to save her brother, Kaya will do anything to make it to Prima, including story magic. With each story she tells her ability to wield story magic grows and she soon begins to wonder if her brother’s imprisonment was really her fault or something else entirely. Each story brings her one step closer to finding Hob and leaving everything she’s ever known behind.

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‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber/Mini Book Review

Lobizona by Romina Garber
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 4, 2020

My Thoughts

**I received ‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber through NetGalley and Wednesday Books, in exchange for an honest review**

When I first read the synopsis for ‘Lobizona’, I was immediately intrigued. A story that blends in urban fantasy and folklore, while bringing the issues of immigration/family separation in America to the forefront! Romina Garber brings attention to these conflicts beautifully, painting Manuela (Manu) as a girl who longs to be part of society, yet her undocumented status forces her into hiding.

I loved how Manu explores both worlds (her family life in Miami, and her school life within El Labriento (The Labyrinth) with the urgency to belong, yet her status in both of these realms make this desire risky. Manu learns many lessons about her lineage along the journey, one that bends the line of gender and social norms!

‘Lobizona’ is a novel that highlights a girl becoming aware of her strengths while seeking her true lineage, while encountering obstacles and valuable connections. It’s a book that addresses the crisis of family separation through a young woman quest to discover her truth. I can’t wait for this book to come out in August!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

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Friday Reads: April 10

I’m about halfway through Lobizona by Romina Garber. I’m just swept away by the reality of the Miami, Florida setting and the Argentinian folklore woven into the story. I’m sure it’s going to be quite a ride once things pick up!

I did discover one thing that I’m not too thrilled about…nothing story related, but the face that the publication date is pushed back to August. I should have expected it, considering the pandemic we’re all experiencing has caused delays and postponements all around. I was surprised about the news, but I can wait. It will just build up the excitement!

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Reading Blog: April 9

Today I began reading ‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber. It’s a YA novel handling the relevant issues of immigration and family separation intensely. Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing me a digital copy!

I’m about 30% through, and it’s revealed quite a lot about Manu and her existence. She’s lost so much and gained so much knowledge within a 24 hour span. I’m curious to see what happens next as the book progresses!

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