As discussed in part one of my February reading round-up, because I read so many books last month I decided to break up my book reviews into two posts. In part one I discussed my fiction pick and four of the poetry books I read, and in this post I will be discussing my classic pick and the remaining five poetry books.
Because I read so much this month, I decided to break up this post into two parts. In this one, I'll cover my fiction pick and four poetry books. In part two, I'll cover my classic pick and five poetry books. Advanced copies or copies I received in exchange for a fair review will be noted.
TENDER IS THE NIGHT BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
I'm a huge fan of Fitzgerald, and while I genuinely enjoyed this story I felt it simply dragged too slowly along.
The characters are wonderful and vivacious. The world is painted in true Fitzgerald fashion- with glitz and glamour and some dark secrets underneath. It's a captivating story; I just felt, too often, that I was being weight down with too many details. The same amount of story could have been told with about 100 less pages. That said, I was fascinated by these characters and the world in which Fitzgerald dropped them in. I appreciated the back-and-forth between time periods, giving readers a deeper understanding of who each of these characters were and where they all came from. The amount of drama, tension, and the weight of a very prominent love triangle makes the book read like a riveting 1920s soap opera. It's a wonderful story. I'm just not sure it's one I'll be re-reading over and over again, a la The Great Gatbsy.
PLEASE HEAR WHAT I'M NOT SAYING EDITED BY ISABELLE KENYON
I have a poem in this anthology and was able to get an early contributor's copy. Please Hear What I'm Not Saying was released on February 8, 2018. Proceeds from the anthology benefit the UK-based mental health charity MIND.
I'm so grateful to have a piece in this beautiful collection. Every poet who contributed offered up pieces of themselves in poetry, and it truly shines through. From start to finish, I could barely put this book down. Every voice is so unique and distinct. It's wonderful to have a chance to see so many different perspectives of mental illness. Seeing people lay their hearts out so honestly is humbling. There is so much gorgeous talent in this book, and it was but together for an incredible cause. I'm honored to have been a part of it!
MAROON DAYDREAMS BY CHEYENNE RAINE
I adore Cheyenne, and I adore her poetry just as much. Her work here is as sweet and dreamy as ever. There is something positively ethereal about this little book. It is calming and comforting in its relatability, and sparks a hopeful tone for new adventures ahead. This book made me want to run outside and be with nature; to talk to the moon and sail away on the sea, make friends with the stars and come back with songs in my heart. That's the kind of feeling Cheyenne leaves you with- wanderlust and serenity. She's truly a special poet, and one I will keep in my heart for a long, long time.
LOVE, AND YOU BY GRETCHEN GOMEZ
Gretchen does not hold back. Every emotion pours through with clarity and an exceptional rawness through this collection. She is an open book in her poetry; I felt each pang of heartache, each stepping stone of strength, and each and every triumph she expressed as if they were my own. It takes a special kind of writer to translate such intense emotion into clear poetry. Her honesty is humbling and beautiful. I adore this collection, and absolutely cannot wait to read more from Gretchen.
IT STARTS LIKE THIS BY SHELBY LEIGH
My only qualm with this collection is its brevity. The poetry's simplicity lent itself to the clarity of its themes, and the whole book was beautiful because of it. I can see why Shelby chose each piece as a favorite. They all fit and floated together, but were each different enough in their tone to bring emotions up and then down and then up again with every turn of the page. The rhythm of the book never once faltered. This is a relatable, beautiful book of poetry that's left me wanting more.
PRIVATE POEMS MOSTLY BY CHRISTOPHER MAHAN
This is truly a unique little book.
I always enjoy getting a glimpse into people's lives, even through the smallest of windows, and that is what this felt like. The poems were indeed personal, most of them speaking to or about specific people, and each left me wondering what the Mahan's relationship with these people are. They sound truly special and remarkable to have such lovely words written about them. I also enjoyed that Mahan documented where some of the poems came from- Twitter DMs, etc. It gave me a feeling of sitting beside him and being told stories about all these wonderful people who had become so special to him. It's very sweet, and very touching. My interest is definitely piqued and I can't wait to delve into even more Mahan's work.