Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Poetry Review – the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

December 16, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2016 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Poetry Review – the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelacethe princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on February 14th 2017
Pages: 208
Genres: Poetry
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


one-star

the princess saves herself in this one is a collection of poetry about resilience. It is about writing your own ending.

From Amanda Lovelace, a poetry collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. The first three sections piece together the life of the author while the final section serves as a note to the reader. This moving book explores love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration.

the princess saves herself in this one first caught my eye when it popped up on the Goodreads Choice Awards as a nominee for Poetry. It has a catchy title, the summary describes it as exploring “life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations”, and a bunch of people were tagging it as feminism. And then it won! Honestly, I was just glad that Leav didn’t win with her bullshit excuse for poetry and Lovelace beat her by a landslide.

I was a bit skeptical though. 22 thousand votes… there aren’t even 4 thousand ratings for it on Goodreads. Clearly the majority of people were voting for it based on the title alone, because as I’ve admitted… it’s catchy. Plus, Poetry seems to be a dying art in this day and age. Because Lovelace and Leav both beat out Neruda, and come on… Neruda is a poetry god. Regardless, I was readying myself to shell out the $7.59 to get this on Kindle but halle-fucking-lujah it popped up on Netgalley as a Read Now and I didn’t have to later rage about wasted money. There is clearly an intended audience for this title, most likely individuals that don’t often read poetry, but this was not my cup of tea.

There is unmistakable emotion behind each of these… vignettes (as I feel they’re more appropriately termed) the problem is that from a readers perspective it lacks the intended emotional punch. They’re simple and direct but are lacking a much needed refinement and read overly angsty, much like how I feel about Leav’s collections that I’ve read (Love & Misadventure and The Universe of Us). Honestly though, is this an Andrews McMeel Publishing thing? There was the occasional one that wasn’t too awful, however, the majority of these seemed to rely on fancy formatting and excessive use of the enter key.

I’m sorry… but that is not a poem. It’s a fragment, a snippet, a random thought. This was undoubtedly the result of an outpouring of emotion from Lovelace and as much as I hate to bash something that someone has poured their heart and soul into, this was just not good.

Regardless of what is being written about, poetry should evoke emotion and leave you reveling in the beauty of language. If you love your angst, then this is for you but I’m going to go read some Cummings now.

On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea by Pablo Neruda
Selected Poems by E.E. Cummings
Crush by Richard Siken

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Poetry Review – The Universe of Us by Lang Leav

September 3, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2016 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Poetry Review – The Universe of Us by Lang LeavThe Universe of Us by Lang Leav
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on October 4th 2016
Pages: 240
Genres: Romance, Poetry
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Love & Misadventure

two-stars

International best-selling author of Love & Misadventure, Lullabies (Goodreads Readers Choice Award), and Memories Lang Leav presents a completely new collection of poetry with a celestial theme in The Universe of Us.

Planets, stars, and constellations feature prominently in this beautiful, original poetry collection from Lang Leav. Inspired by the wonders of the universe, the best-selling poetess writes about love and loss, hope and hurt, being lost and found. Lang's poetry encompasses the breadth of emotions we all experience and evokes universal feelings with her skillfully crafted words.

style-3 review

Lang Leav has become extremely popular with her poetry collections ever since her debut collection Love & Misadventure. Misadventure was voted second in the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2013 (beat out by Tolkien), Lullabies, her second poetry collection, actually won the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards, and her third collection, Memories, was once again second place in the 2015 Awards. Clearly, she’s popular and she’s consistently hitting the mark with her targeted audience. Unfortunately, I am not a part of that audience, and I definitely do not see how her words manage to provoke such a euphoric state. I have admittedly only read Leav’s debut poetry collection, Love & Misadventure. The poems rhymed to an excessive degree, they weren’t particularly moving, and there was even one about flossing. FLOSSING. Yet, as I already stated, her popularity never faltered. I saw the upcoming release of The Universe of Us and thought that I really should give her another shot because I kept thinking it possible that she had gotten better and her writing could be something I’d be able to appreciate along with the masses.

Despite my preconceived notions, I still tried to go into this with an open mind. And at first, I think I was actually enjoying myself. Naturally, I thought I had a fever, but I figured there could be a possibility that it was a more evolved collection and that I wouldn’t have to read anything about flossing. The flossing one really bothered me, folks.

There were also several pieces of her artwork included for an added flair, except I really have no clue what the fuck is going on in this one. I think she’s setting the boat on fire with a magnifying glass? Honestly, I have no fucking clue. Regardless of the “meaning”, she does have some lovely pieces to admire. And there are actually some lovely poems as well, the only problem is they are few and far between. Leav consistently falls back on her excessive rhyming in order to drive the point that this is a poem, people, bask in its glory. Okay, she doesn’t actually say that but rhyming is not a prerequisite of poetry but it’s a common trend in her work. And then there are the ones that aren’t poetry, some are just declarative statements, and others are nothing more than a simple conversation.

To me, this just doesn’t strike me as anything unique or requiring any sort of special skill. It felt like nothing more than filler. While there were a few that even I could appreciate, the vast majority of these still failed to impress me and didn’t help me understand the reason for her ongoing popularity. I feel these poems are targeted to the type of individuals that have always said they don’t like poetry. Reading this and loving it won’t make you a fan of poetry though because while Leav may have some grasp on how to combine words to make something sound beautiful, there really isn’t any sort of depth. There’s nothing particularly profound or complex and if that manages to work for you, great, but I’m going to go read some Plath now.

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Poetry Review – Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav

January 19, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 7 Comments

Poetry Review – Love & Misadventure by Lang LeavLove & Misadventure by Lang Leav
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on August 20th 2013
Pages: 178
Genres: Contemporary, Poetry, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Universe of Us

two-stars

Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist. Awarded a coveted Churchill Fellowship, her work expresses the intricacies of love and loss. Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully conceived, Love and Misadventure will take you on a rollercoaster ride through an ill-fated love affair- from the initial butterflies to the soaring heights- through to the devastating plunge. Lang Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.

This poetry collection was brought to my attention when it popped up as a Nominee for the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Poetry. I was intrigued. Then it placed 2nd, getting beat out by J.R.R. Tolkien, and I was eager to get this. Thankfully my library had a copy because $9.99 for the kindle version and it’s only 78 pages? No thanks. But I wanted this very much after seeing it beat out Mary Oliver, which means Love & Misadventure HAS to be impressive, right? Except this was like sappy teenage love poems. Emo love poems. If the Lifetime channel started producing poetry collections. Really bad, rejected Hallmark cards. My single favorite of the bunch?

‘Do you know what it is like,
to lie in bed awake;
with thoughts to haunt
you every night,
of all your past mistakes.

Knowing sleep will set it right –
if you were not to wake.’

That is not a bad poem at all.

‘He makes me turn
he makes me toss;
his words mean mine
are at a loss.

He makes me blush!

He makes me want
to brush and floss.’

 And that one is not. Sign of a good love? If he inspires me to keep up on my dental hygiene would not be a personal sign for me.

All of the poems in this collection are simplistic (and excessively rhyme-y) but while only a couple were beautifully written, I found the rest of them to be juvenile, immature and lacking any sort of emotional depth which is exactly what I would expect with a collection of love poetry. I found the author’s personal artwork to be a lovely addition to the overall whimsical feel of the book though.

Love & Misadventure is going to be the perfect collection for those that aren’t typically interested in poetry. Because this isn’t poetry. It’s a collection of childish rhymes. Or maybe childish poetry. Either way, I failed to fully appreciate this because I like my poetry with some depth and complexity that leaves me pondering and this collection was completely lacking in that regards.

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Early Review – Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed: (and Other Heartwarming Letters from Kitty) by Jeremy Greenberg

February 22, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed: (and Other Heartwarming Letters from Kitty) by Jeremy GreenbergSorry I Barfed on Your Bed (and Other Heartwarming Letters from Kitty) by Jeremy Greenberg
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on April 2nd 2013
Pages: 64
Genres: Funny-ha-ha
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

The cat's answer to Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe, Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed is a hilarious collection of full-color photos and letters of excuses and suggestions from cats to the people who love them—no matter what bad thing they’ve done!Inside Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed, writer and comedian Jeremy Greenberg presents a collection of laugh-out-loud letters and photographs that offer a cat's eye view on common feline vs. human cohabitation conundrums. It's the perfect gift for crazy cat lovers and anyone who appreciates hilarious (and so true!) insights into cat—and human—nature, including:

Your cat sits on your laptop not just for warmth or attention, but to prevent you from interacting with the outside world. After all, isn’t the main reason to have a cat so you don’t have to waste time developing normal human relationships? If you spent a third of your life licking yourself, you too would occasionally forget to stick your tongue back in your face. Eating grass has medicinal purposes, and most cats believe grass should be legalized. The cat feels bad about barfing on your bed…because now it must get to up to go sleep on your clean laundry instead.

Oh, cat books. As hard as I try and stay away from your infinite silliness, it’s forever a losing battle. Like air boxing.

But their cuteness cannot be denied. Admit it. Cats can be crazy cute.

But… of course they have their moments. Moments where one can only stare in horror and wonder what monster you brought home to live with you.

They’re basically just a furry paper weight that lacks any true purpose.

But what would do you think your cat would say to you if it could speak? Or if it could even write you a letter? Well, this book is the answer to all your questions! Why they need 12+ hours of sleep, why they have such a strange love for grass, and it even discusses their dislike for our perfume. Yes, all the questions we’ve always wanted to ask are now answered. Cute kitty letters with even cuter kitty pictures… what more could you ask for.

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Cookbook Review – Allergy-Friendly Food for Families

March 12, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cookbook Review – Allergy-Friendly Food for FamiliesAllergy-Friendly Food for Families by Editors of Kiwi Magazine
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on April 10th 2012
Pages: 256
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Feeding a family with food allergies doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless. Kiwi, the premier magazine about raising families the natural and organic way, presents 120 great recipes to keep your family happy, healthy and sane.

Allergy-Friendly Food for Families is the most trustworthy, comprehensive, practical, and kid-friendly collection of recipes that exists for the important and growing audience of allergy-aware families. Unlike other allergy cookbooks, this book covers not one or two allergens, but the five most common allergens in kids: wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy. Each of the 120 recipes is free of at least three of these allergens; most are free of all five.

When parents are desperate for ideas for what to make for dinner (or lunch, or snack time), they want recipes from someone they trust, for food that tastes good, that doesn't require a lot of fancy ingredients, and that the whole family can eat. Allergy-Friendly Food for Families is the ultimate resource. From the three crucial mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, dinner) to the "fun" foods families can't live without (desserts, snacks, parties), parents are completely covered. Perhaps most importantly, all of these recipes are simple for parents to make.

Recipes such as Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies, Pear Yogurt Dunkers, Good-for-you Nachos, Polenta Mini Pizzas, Giant Cookie Cake, Veggie Bite Soup, and Cool Zucchini Noodles will make kids forget they have allergies. Parents will love the additional informational sections on spotting food allergies, stocking an allergy-free pantry, deciphering labels, and other frequently asked questions.

Food should be delicious; family time should be fun. This book reflects those values.

I was extremely interested in taking a look at this cookbook as I’m plagued by several food allergies and it can be downright difficult for me to find a recipe I can follow to a T without having to replace this and that. When I read ‘120 Gluten-Free Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, and Soy-Free Recipes Everyone Will Love’ I thought I had found the cookbook of all cookbooks; however, it ended up being just like any other cookbook I’ve picked up. My interpretation of the SubTitle was that ALL of their recipes were gluten-freen, dairy-free, etc, when in reality it was a gluten free recipe and then a dairy free recipe; there were few recipes that were actually free of all the common allergens. This brought nothing new and I still found myself replacing ingredients in order for me to be able to eat it.

Another thing that I love from a good cookbook is the pictures that correspond with the recipes and I found pictures weren’t provided for all recipes. There were some interesting recipes that I did try and (after substituting) did actually enjoy, but as I said above this really didn’t bring anything new to the cookbooks I already own.

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