Poetry Review | Honeybee by Trista Mateer

36206132In this poetry collection, Trista Mateer explores heartbreak, love, loss, and walking away. Honeybee is a memoir in verse, collecting snapshots from a time of ripples in one poet’s life. 

I really liked the style of Mateer’s poetry, and I think that for that reason, Honeybee and I resonated fairly well together.

The topic of heartbreak has been one that poets have written about for centuries, but Mateer’s situation was entirely unique, because she was the one who walked away. This book explores how her own experience with leaving still affected the heartbreak that both sides of the relationship experienced, and I think it’s a side I don’t often read about in poetry, because normally the one who is left is the one who writes the sad poems.

I feel like I wasn’t in quite the emotional state to connect to anything truly (probably didn’t help I read like 75% of this in the doctors’ waiting room), but I did feel it. Mateer pours her whole heart into these poems about her ex and I think that for her, it was probably a really cathartic exercise to do.

A lot of time was really spent writing about her ex, though, and it was quite overwhelming. Obviously a poet should be separated from their poetry in terms of autobiographicalness unless they say it’s an autobiography, but some of what Mateer said surprised me. Even though she was in a new relationship (both sides of the couple), Mateer was still writing very emotive poetry which, if I were reading it as this girl, I would find it a little…. close? maybe? is that the right word? Whichever word, I hope you get the gist – even after one year, two years, Mateer still seemed to be pining for this girl despite being in a new relationship.

I kind of get it, I do, having gone through a difficult break up a year and a half or so ago, but I don’t think I could write this type of poetry about that person now. I miss them sometimes, yes, but I think to write this deeply about them… that’s a whole other level, and despite the fact I was thoroughly enjoying the beautiful phrases Mateer strung together, I was still slightly reserved from the poems, trying to remove myself from how I was feeling at the back of my head the entire time.

Honeybee is a poem about breakup, but not all breakups. Whilst I didn’t -connect-, I could feel the pain that was poured into these poems. From a stylistic point of view, these poems were 100% my cup of tea. I loved Mateer’s writing style, and will definitely be looking to read more of her books in the future. I especially enjoyed how the titles of the poems seemed to almost be another line. Mateer didn’t put a word down without a reason for doing it.

Overall, I think that this was a book Mateer needed to write, but not necessarily one I felt needed to be published. I think that her writing is, honestly, stunning and engrossing, but I felt a little uncomfortable reading it, as I was looking at it from both perspectives: Mateer’s, and the person she left. It’s unfortunate that I had this ticking voice in the back of my mind, otherwise I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. However, I still gave this book a fairly good rating, because I feel like the writing truly deserves it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads
Personal source: sent as an eARC from NetGalley. As always, opinions are entirely my own.


If you liked this, you might also enjoy… milk and honey by Rupi Kaur 

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Book Review | To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

34499221With the hearts of seventeen princes underneath her bed, Princess Lira is known as the Princes’ Bane. She’s the most ruthless siren of them all, but when all begins to go wrong, Lira is transformed into the thing she hates most of all: a human. With one goal in mind, Lira finds Prince Elian – in order to steal his heart.

Prince Elian prefers to be known as Captain Elian, the Siren Killer. He and his band of loyal misfits roam the seas, killing sirens and searching for the power to win the war against land and sea. But just how many deals will he have to make to succeed at his task? When Lira asks to join his expedition, Elian knows something isn’t quite right about her, but just how much can he really trust her? 

The blurb of this book kept begging me to read it, and I was so excited when I finally got around to picking it up. A siren murderess and a prince on one ship? Who doesn’t want to read that?!

I frickin’ loved the sirens, to start with. Most of my experience with sirens (hah) comes from Homer and classical mythology, so I loved how they were reworked in this really dark turn of a story. They were ruthless and barbaric, and just absolutely fascinating how they worked. I think the connection they had with the hearts was written really well, how important they were made out to be.

I just absolutely love it when mythology and world building is done well. Christo’s world building was done brilliantly (although I wish there had been a map!), and she really made me believe that this was a world that could exist somewhere. I loved that each country/state had its own kind of trait – like being the centre of invention, or war, or romance. It kind of reminded me of the factions in Divergent a little, but with less fighting between them.

The war against land and sea has long been one that people have written about, but Christo really put a great turn on it. Also, the Sea Queen was a fantastically murderous character. She was so frickin’ ruthless! (And I don’t know about anyone else, but I was getting major Disney’s The Little Mermaid Ursula vibes.)

The whole structure of this book was really well put together and Lira and Elian were both such great characters. Where can I find me an Elian? (But seriously, though.) Their romance was done so well that I didn’t even realise they were changing towards each other at first! This is enemies-to-lovers done at its best, my friends.

I feel like the only let down, for me, was the plot. This was a book very much propelled by characters, and although I was of course interested in their quests, I just loved “being” around the characters and reading their conversations and interactions. That’s not saying that the plot wasn’t good – I think it was, and it featured just about everything I love about plots – but the characters were for me the main focus, and I think that Chriso loved her characters a lot and it kind of showed. The plot was good, but it didn’t get me as excited as just reading Elian and Lira and Kye and Madrid banter with each other.

Overall though this was a great read – the characters were absolutely fantastic, and the idea of the whole book was a brilliant new spin on the Little Mermaid. I never really liked the Disney film as a kid, but I couldn’t help but borrow some of the cartoon’s imagery to help bring the characters to life in my own head.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Source: borrowed from the library. Thank you for NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I actually read this book from the library because it was easier for me at the time. As always, though, my opinions are my own! 


If you liked this, you might also enjoy… Labyrinth Lost by Zoradia Cordova [review coming soon]

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Book Review | The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

36628816Rumour has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumours start to spiral out of control. But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself. – edited from Goodreads

I was super excited to read this book, as although it’s Jennifer Mathieu’s debut novel, it has been reprinted following the success of Moxie (which I absolutely loved, although for some reason didn’t review – that will be coming soon!). However, The Truth About Alice, for me, fell flat.

I enjoyed reading only some of the POVs from which this story was told, and there were about 4 or 5 of them. Some were engaging, like Josh, and some just weren’t really that interesting at all. I also thought the differing POVs may not have lent themselves brilliantly to this novel – I would have preferred maybe only 2 or 3 if there were differing POVs at all.

The idea of course interested me because it’s about feminism and it’s also YA. I think it’s a novel about looking beyond what you believe a person to be to what they actually are, and for that reason I think it’s really important.

Alice was an interesting, complex character to whom terrible things happened, and I think it really shows how society today turns against someone if they make just one mistake. Alice was shunned because of a rumour, not even truth in the matter, and it was heartbreaking to watch all of her friends turn against her.

Mathieu writes about feminism in a way that no one else does – raw, and from a teenage perspective. Moxie was just incredible, and I will definitely be reading anything else she brings out. So overall, this book fell flatly compared to her most recent novel, but for a debut, it really explores new territory (it was published in 2014) and although the way it was told didn’t meld well with me, the ideas behind it, and of course Mathieu’s writing, were really brilliant to read.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads
Source: eARC from NetGalley


~*NEW SECTION*~

I’ve decided to add a “if you liked this…” section to each of my reviews, so if you enjoyed the book I reviewed, another one by a different author is listed below (and along with my review, if I’ve written one!).

If you liked this, you might also enjoy… The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed [review]

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Review | The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Image result for the one memory of flora banks review

img: goodreads

Be brave.

With only those two words inked on her hand, Flora loses her short term memory each day. The removal of a tumour took some of her memory with it. Until the day she kisses Drake; the first memory to remain in her mind since she lost it. 

Determined to try and regain her memory, and convinced that Drake is the key, Flora travels across the globe to follow him – and her memories. 

So, Flora forgets everything that she is told. It kind of reminds me of the Silence from Doctor Who; she writes things on her hands, has a journal that she reads when she forgets, and yet. And yet. She goes on a trip across the world because of a BOY. *sigh* Continue reading

Book Review | Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

34200289Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live. She leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine? – Goodreads

This book was… interesting.

The writing style put me off at first. It was quite staccato-ed, and although I guess that was the point of it, it was difficult to understand. However, it definitely grew on me. It really gave Eleanor such a unique voice, that eventually I was thinking in that way of talking too.

The plot was difficult, because there were many subplots all combining into an almost coming-of-age/discovering yourself story. It was, actually, really quite nice to read and I liked that there was a mystery of what was happening, what Eleanor’s past had been about.

I also liked that Eleanor was different, but still appreciated. It was, I suppose, a bit wish-fulfilling, because of course if you’re not liked, you’re not liked – people aren’t secretly harbouring a friendship with you (sorry, but it’s true). So, whilst I did like this plot point, of Eleanor discovering that ~she does fit in after all~, it was really tricky to actually believe in it.

That is what is so strange about this, I guess; it is so unbelievable, overall. I figure that the book was really good. I was gripped the entire way through, I really loved it and was thinking about it for days afterwards, but overall? It was so unbelievable. Well, not all of it; just some of it, I guess. It was just difficult for me to understand, perhaps, especially because this was definitely an adult novel and despite the fact I am legally an adult, in actual fact, I definitely am not.

I think that this book will become a new best seller, because it is wholly unique and wonderful in its own right. I really loved reading it, and it was the right book for me at the right time in which I was reading it, but all in all I don’t think that it’s a new favourite of mine, in the grand scheme of things. However? Overall, I would definitely recommend it, partly because of just how different it is.


TITLE: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
AUTHOR: Gail Honeyman
GENRE: Adult
PUBLISHER//YEAR OF PUBLICATION: HarperCollins // 2017
NUMBER OF PAGES: 299
ISBN: 9780008172114
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: ARC sent by NetGalley
RATING: 3.5/5

Book Review | Countless by Karen Gregory

DSC_0253When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she knows that the numbers just can’t add up. An eating disorder, which she has called Nia, just simply won’t allow it. But as the days continue to count themselves along, Hedda comes to a decision. She and Nia will call a truce; just until the baby is born. She can do it, surely, if she takes it one day at a time… [Adapted from the back of the book]

I really enjoyed this new YA novel. It was a fascinating story, and it seemed to be Own Voices too, from what I could infer from the acknowledgements. I think reading a book where the author has had a similar experience helps to cement the reality of what you’re reading.  Continue reading

Book Review | Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

32048554Alice doesn’t believe in luck – at least, not the good kind. But she does believe that she is in love; with her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday, she buys him a lottery ticket as a joke – but to their astonishment, he wins $140 million and changes everything. 

At first it seems like a dream come true, but it quickly spirals into more of a curse than a windfall and Alice begins to wish she could take the ticket back. But she knows that you can’t change time, better than anyone. Will she and Teddy ever find their way back to each other? 

I really enjoyed this novel. I think it’s a really feel-good YA, and I got through it so quickly which was an added bonus. It’s a real dreamy book – both in the way of winning the lottery, and the way it was written! I felt so relaxed reading it, although I was completely unable to put it down. Continue reading

Book Review | Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland – the infamous Queen of Hearts – she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favourite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

51ndyq0sydl-sx316 Continue reading

Book Review | The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

25546710A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn’t mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life. That includes taking her job… and her boyfriend. It’s a huge risk — but it’s just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.  – blurb from GoodReads Continue reading

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

y648From Goodreads: Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death. Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything. But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.  The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear. Continue reading