Book Review: Rise of the Phoenix by Jamie McLachlan

Rise of the Phoenix (The Memory Collector Series, #3)Rise of the Phoenix by Jamie McLachlan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rise of the Phoenix is the third and final book in the Memory Collector Series. It follows where we left off with Moira, the empath, and Keenan, the detective, trying to solve the twisted games of the serial killer The Phoenix before another person is killed—or forced to commit suicide. Right away we are thrown into this fantastical world where people can alter emotions, read minds, and even “play” in the landscape of the minds of others (seriously, how cool is this? What would YOUR mind look like inside?).

There’s plenty of sexual heat, suspense, and so many twists I did NOT see coming. I was so connected to the characters by this point I was devastated when certain things happened to certain people. No spoilers but I kept thinking I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING??! It was a roller-coaster of emotions for me, which is the mark of a great suspenseful read, I think. I messaged the author (my pal Jamie) to ask how she could do this to me? lol. My nerves were shot at a few spots.

This is a spectacular series, and a great ending to a story that I thoroughly enjoyed. 4 solid stars. Fans of dark fantasy, sexy romance, independent bad ass heroines, and more will love this. I received an advance copy of ROTP in exchange for an honest review. I very much enjoyed this book, and the way it concludes the trilogy.

Pre-order your copy now, and if you haven’t already please check out #1 & #2 in the series. You can also purchase the 3 e-book set for $11!

Visit Jamie’s website for a free excerpt of the story, and to keep informed of all her upcoming projects! Trust me, you don’t want to miss what she’s cooking up next.

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Book Review: The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace

The Princess Saves Herself in this OneThe Princess Saves Herself in this One by amanda lovelace

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve had this book for months now, and it’s been staring at me from my TBR pile (stack?) for awhile. It took me some time to clear my mind of the buzz & reviews around such a popular book and pick it up. What can I say? I’m a rebel, and sometimes I am wary of bestsellers 😉

In any case, I follow Amanda Lovelace on Instagram and I like the snippets she posts from her book, so I finally dove in. I’m glad I did. The Princess Saves Herself In This One is a story, one I read as a poetic memoir, about someone who struggles and eventually comes out the other side stronger. I enjoyed the narrative, and I always lose myself more in poetry books with a storyline, rather than just poems with no connection. At times, it was so deeply personal that the rawness struck me. Some of the poems were stronger than others, and I’m still not a fan of poetry without titles, or with the titles on the end (personal preference). Also, I wish there’d been some more fantasy-ish ones, but I’d give it 4 stars for an overall powerful collection, with empowerment woven throughout. Plenty of people will relate to so many of these poems (and I know readers are really responding), myself included. I especially enjoyed at least a dozen, which I marked. Two of my favorites:

i was the one
who found your body
(you were nowhere
to be found)
mouth opened
wide enough
to suck all the oxygen
from the room,
wide enough
to plant lilies in,
wide enough to have
been calling my name—
that is, if only you
remembered it.

-i want to forget, forget, forget

and-
he
opened me up
like a book
& poured the
poetry back into
me.

-my personal pen & paper

It was a sensitive, and at times gut-punching book, and I look forward to more from the author! I’ll definitely be checking out her next book.

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Bookloot Unboxing August 

Yay! I received my second subscription box from BookLoot the other day. 

Without further ado…

In the box was:

-Lord of the Rings inspired bookmarks 

-Aslan-inspired soap. Kid used this, and liked it. 

-Loose leaf tea. I’m not a tea-drinker, but I will pass it to a family member 

-Seeds to plant my own tree- love this! 

-A short story, Protecting Neverland, by C.A. Perkins. Sounds interesting.

-insert card

-and the book of the month, The Wood, by Chelsea Bobulski, including a letter from the author, which was neat 🙂 I haven’t heard of the book, but I am excited to read! Sounds very cool. 

There was also some gummy bears, which again, my rugrats ate. It was a fun box, and I plan to order again!

Thanks for checking out my post! I’ll be back with another unboxing in October, and the theme is Horror Remixed..oooooo.. 

Book Birthday! 

Hi, everyone. Today is release day for Like Waves: Poetry! Can you believe it? I can’t. It seems like a whirlwind, especially looking back and realizing how much I’ve accomplished this year, what with publishing 3 books, getting individual things published, and everything else. Phew! 

I am happy for these milestones, and hope you’ll share your support of my newest release. About the book:

A collection of poetry by Amanda Linsmeier, Like Waves dives into the author’s complex relationship with her body, told in three sections: Before, During, and After/Still. The first part centers around her struggle with low self-esteem and depression, the second throws the reader deep into the years of recurrent miscarriage, and the third, with the acceptance of her own imperfections. 

These poems evoke emotion and offer a deeper understanding of not only the author’s experience within her own skin, but her connection to the bodies and minds of others. This book is a labor of love, blood, and tears, the story of one writer’s journey from girlhood to motherhood, from resentment to gratitude.

Like Waves is available here. Thank you for the likes, follows across social media, and for supporting my work. ♡ 

Have a beautiful day! 

Book Review: Magic With Skin On by Morgan Nikola-Wren

Magic with Skin OnMagic with Skin On by Morgan Nikola-Wren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The cover drew me in first. How could it not? Once I opened the book I was quickly drawn in to the words Morgan Nikola-Wren created. Not just the words, but the world. As a reader, I loved it. As a writer (and poet) I was humbled. The word choices throughout are strong, beautiful, gut-punching. There’s strong imagery and metaphors in some, but it’s really the way the words are put together that create such beauty.
The poems are told in in Acts (7, to be exact), and there’s prose in between, so that it reads like a story, which I loved. The poems center around a relationship (somewhat toxic or damaging) and move forward through heartbreak, pain, and then healing. Themes of love—passionate and unrequited—are strung throughout, and there are several poems that touch on words/voice/power. I related to so much to it, I had to take a step back and breathe.
Sadly—or shamefully—I do not use bookmarks, and so I have a habit of dog-earring (?) pages that speak to me. I have over 20 pages of this book bent at the corners, I loved the poems on them so much. In fact, I plan to get a tattoo of one of them. Which one remains to be seen. But still, wow. Two of my favorites:
IX.
it’s nights like this, when
your grief goes smashing
into the walls that i think of
those moments that curled your hand
so sea-shell perfectly into mine
my memory skips
at the velvet shock of your skin
and i wonder
how i ever managed to fit
so much rage into my fists

and
XIII.

the next time you come at me,
with charm in your eyes
and a throat full of
“would never hurt you,”
i’ll remember that i’m just
a mistake your memory
couldn’t carry, and you’re
just an apology i’ll never
hear the air explode into,
a double-joined voice
and a snake oil smile—
so, scrub your shadow
from my front door
don’t sell me
a knock-off
love i don’t need

My only wish is that the poems had named titles instead of Roman numerals. I don’t even KNOW what those numbers are, ha, and it would be nice to put a title to each poem so I could say my favorites instead of “on page whatever”.
Gorgeous book of poetry, and a talented poetess. 5 stars. I hope to be this good someday.
If you love poetry that is rich, sensual, and powerful, get yourself this book. I’m already gleefully awaiting her next.

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Bookloot July Unboxing! 

Hi! The excitement is real, people. I got my first book subscription box from BookLoot yesterday and was NOT disappointed! Scroll down for a full reveal of July’s box, themed “What Fate Awaits”… 

And….ta-dah! 

How gorgeous! I recieved:

-The Library of Fates, a book by Aditi Khorana, which was already on my TBR list and I cannot wait to read it!

-Blossom of Ash, a short story by Kennedy Vega– a Hades/Persephone retelling which sounds awesome. 

-A Cloud Atlas candle, very clean/soap scent

-A Raven Boys temporary tattoo 

-coloring pages and pencils

-A pretty Ink & Wonder wooden bookmark

-2 pieces of candy, already gobbled up by my monsters

-Insert card art and a button 

I am already signed up to receive next months box and my Bookish Box should arrive any day as well. I may have a new addiction, guys…

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 

When Dimple Met RishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I struggled with this rating, and here’s why: Dimple is not my fav. Rishi is adorable. How to marry the love/hate I have with the book, when actually, it’s more like like/dislike.
Liked:
-The premise. Two Indian teenagers with very different plans for life, and outlooks on tradition. Dimple hates make-up and has no interest in getting married. Rishi is a dutiful son who respects his parents, and just wants to get married. To Dimple. Though they’ve never met. But their parents have, and it’s they who plant the idea in Rishi’s head to get together with Dimple during Insomnia Con—some kind of coding/ap convention. Too bad Dimple has no idea this goofy stranger has already planned their lives together…
-Rishi. Like I said, he is adorable. It’s sweet to see a young man not be obsessed with sex, or be the same, tired old cliché. He was sensitive, romantic, gentle. Honey-colored eyes. And artistic. Hello? Yes, please.
-The little snippets we get of Rishi’s art and the comic convention was neat. Wish there’d been more of it. I’m not a comic-lover (mostly because I’m clueless about it all) so it would have been nice to learn more here.
-the Indian culture, in large doses, in small doses, just throughout the book. I have always admired Indian culture, food, clothing, dance, etc so it was wonderful to learn more and have it be from the main characters POV.
Disliked:
-Dimple? I don’t know. She’s kind of meh for me. Yes, I liked that she was smart, geeky, and wore glasses. Liked that she was a good friend to Celia. Liked that she got over herself and got her head out of her ass to be with Rishi. But. Why. Was. She. So. Rude. She’s just abrasive in general. And the whole “domestic” meltdown at the end didn’t feel realistic.
-Stop punching Rishi. Stop thinking you’d like to bite his nose? Ew. If this was a boy hitting a girl would it be cute?
-A little draggy in parts. I also felt like the structure was off in the plot, or the pacing. Like, they are hooked up very early in the book. Where’s the conflict exactly?
-Ending was super rushed. Also contest and all that done in like, two seconds. When did they have time to work on this project?
-Rich kid hate. Yawn.
-Did not buy the hook-up between C & A. At all.
-The dual POV. Yes, I like a dual POV in general. But why every other paragraph practically? It was distracting and kept me head-hopping the whole book. I wish the author had done every other chapter instead.

Despite the issues I found, I would read it again. It was enjoyable overall and a quick, easy read. I’d definitely read more work by this author.

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Book Review: Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann 

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My PrettyPoisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the description for this book (not to mention the cover) and read it quickly straight through, then went back to savor some of the poems again. I dog-eared my favorite pages (yes, I do that), and I have two that really stood out to me “The Never Ending Story” which was heart-breaking in its description of anorexia, and “To My Sheep, Wherever You Are” because I work at a library and it made me laugh. There were several that I loved, and only a few that were just meh to me; overall a really solid collection. Some poems were quite clever, spun in a way I’d never have imagined, such as the magazine retelling or the “If Tampons Were For Guys”. I enjoyed the comparison between modern day beauty standards and fairytales, between young women and these fantastical beings, although I wish there’d been even more of a fairytale aspect to some of them. I’d recommend this to lovers of poetry OR fairytales. I think it’s a sharp, lovely combination of the two, told in subtly powerful way, both funny and tragic. I’m definitely a fan of Christine Heppermann after reading this book. Oh, and did I mention the amazing photographs and artwork inside? Gorgeous, haunting book I will definitely read again.

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