#Poetry to Check Out: Depression and Other Magic Tricks, by @badass_sab

Most of you know me as the guy who sporadically posts here on the blog. A blogger. A reader. But I’m also a writer. A poet most specifically. It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything new to share with you. Too long. Maybe 2018 will be different. Let’s hope.

Part of what I’m doing to try and break this deep rut filled with writer’s block is to read more poetry. I don’t read enough. I always want to read more, but I never read enough. I’m making a conscious effort to change that.

Here, I’m sharing a collection I started out my 2018 reading: Depression and Other Magic Tricks, by Sabrina Benaim. It’s her debut, and it’s worth checking out. I’ll be rereading it for sure. (There. That’s my review. I’m horrible at reviewing poetry.)

I hope you do check it out. And if you enjoy it, please tell others about this collection. I found out about it from a friend’s tweet. Every little mention helps to spread poetry and who doesn’t want to read more poetry?

Lastly: following that, if there’s any poetry you think I should check out, let me know in the comments or get a hold of me another way. I want to discover all I can.
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Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 5,000,000 views.

Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Button Poetry | Amazon | B&N | Kobo  | iBooks

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About the Author:

Sabrina Benaim is a writer, performance & teaching artist, whose home base is Toronto. She was a member of the Canadian championship-winning 2014 Toronto Poetry Slam team, & in 2015, she represented Toronto at the Women Of The World Poetry Slam. She is currently the coach of the 2016 TPS team.

Sabrina has written poems for ESPNW, The Government of Canada, & most recently, made her Canadian television debut with Sport Chek, writing & voicing the third instalment of their #WhatItTakes Olympic Manifesto video series.

Sabrina enjoys breaking down stigma, women who help women, & the Toronto Blue Jays. She will accept any invitation to dance.

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Review: Pixie Tamer, by @MeganPHaskell

Title: Pixie Tamer (Sanyare Chronicles #0.5) Author: Megan Haskel
Rating: 5/5 stars

“A Short Story Prequel to Sanyare: The Last Descendant

It’s Nuriel “Rie” Lhethannien’s twenty-fifth nameday. She should be celebrating her rise to maturity, not sweating in the training hall. But life isn’t fair, and humans aren’t equal to the elves, at least not in the High Court.

After losing a practice bout to the one man she wants to trust, Rie is thrown into the most challenging test of her life. Will the rewards outweigh the risks? (description from Goodreads)

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I bought a copy of book one of the Sanyare Chronicles thinking it looked like something I’d enjoy. When I got home, I discovered that there was this prequel, Pixie Tamer, and decided to read it first.

I’m glad I read this quick short story. It’s not very long, but it felt like a good introduction to the world I’ll soon dive into in The Last Descendant. In its few pages I got a feel for who Rie is. I also got a feel for the world in which she lives. It’s a world I now want to explore more. I also think the characters will be even more interesting as the series does on.

This prequel story is just a taste of what I’m sure will be a series worth reading. I can’t wait to read more.

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Want to grab a copy now? You can find it over on

Amazon

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About the Author:

Legend has it, I was born with a book in my hands. When I was a kid, my mom would ground me from reading in order to get me to do my chores. To this day, I can readily ignore the real world in favor of the imaginary one lurking between the pages of my current addiction. My dad — also an avid reader — introduced me to Tolkien in my late elementary years, and I never looked back. I love escaping to worlds where magic and monsters are real, especially stories with kick-butt heroines and dangerously attractive heroes.

Despite my voracious book appetite, I didn’t start creative writing until I was working as a number cruncher in a big accounting firm. With an hour plus commute by train every day, and a demanding left-brain occupation, I needed a mobile creative outlet. A pen and paper are about as mobile as it gets! As the pages began to fill, I quickly moved onto a tiny laptop, and a writer was born. Now I get to create my own fantasies!

I currently live in Southern California with my wonderfully supportive husband, two daughters, and a ridiculously energetic dog.

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HRM – Broken Resolutions, by @OliviaWrites

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We made it! 2017 ends tonight. To welcome in the 2018, today’s Holiday Romance feature takes place on New Year’s Eve. I read this one back in May and you may have caught my review back then. It was one of many I shared that involve libraries.

Do you have any New Year romances you’ve enjoyed? Any you want to read? Christmas seems to have a monopoly on holiday romance, with Hanukkah slowly building it’s ranks. The new year seems to be lacking a little as well (unless I’m missing them all, which it totally possible). If you know any books you’d recommend to me or my readers to start the new year, let us all know in the comments.

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LOVE BETWEEN THE LINES

Romance has never had a happy ending for librarian Penny Callahan, who could write the book on cheating, heartbreaking liars. So she’s made a resolution: no men for the next twelve months. If she can just get through the library’s New Year’s Eve singles night, she can return home to her pajamas and a good book. But when she finds herself checking out a hot hunk with an irresistible smile, an evening in the stacks becomes a lot more tempting…

Reclusive author Jack Williamson never should have trusted his mother. Even though he’s trying to avoid being recognized, she guilts him into attending a dating meet-and-greet—where an adorable librarian makes him question his lonely lifestyle. Is this just a fleeting, flirty scene? Or could love be the next chapter for them both?

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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About the Author:

While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet. She told me I couldn’t read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them. Those books raised quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a “manhood”? 4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing in the hero’s manhood?

Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers. 1) Because my mom apparently fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. I have a similar reaction to romances involving spinsters, governesses, and librarians. 2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood. 3) It’s his “hard length,” sometimes compared in terms of rigidity to iron. I prefer to use other names for it in my own writing. However, I am not picky when it comes to descriptions of iron-hard lengths. 4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year’s Eve at Cancun.

During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet–it didn’t matter. I loved them all.

Now I’m writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and daughter. I have my own stack of books in my closet that I’d rather my daughter not read, at least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths.

So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.

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HRM – Wrapped Together, by @AnnabethAlbert

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We’re almost out of days in December. I hope you’ve found a few books to read this month from these posts. And if you’re still wanting more, there are still some holiday romances to lead you into the new year.

And if you enjoy today’s, it’s part of Annabeth Albert’s Portland Heat series. You’ll have much more reading ahead of you if needed.

In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Find out more:

HRM – Christmas in Tahoe, by @ebarrettwrites

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Silicon Valley actuary Ann Smith is an expert at calculating probabilities, but lately the odds haven’t been in her favor. Two years ago her fiancé died a week before their planned Christmas wedding, leaving Ann heartbroken and alone. When a friend suggests heading up to Lake Tahoe for a long Christmas weekend of skiing, wine, and relaxation, Ann thinks it might be just the thing to help get her life back on track. But Ann’s plans go awry when her friend cancels at the last minute, and Ann ends up driving to Tahoe with Chase Deckert, a sexy snowboarder who pushes all her buttons.

Chase Deckert is a man who lives by his own rules. A few years ago his business partner betrayed him by selling out their biomedical research for a quick profit. Chase left science far behind, and now spends his days snowboarding in Tahoe, wanting nothing to do with the dog-eat-dog world of Silicon Valley. Chase has closed his mind and his heart and only believes in one thing: fate. But fate seems to be in a giving mood, because joining him for Christmas is a brave, beautiful woman who shows him the true meaning of the season and helps him rediscover a part of himself he’d long forgotten.

Fueled by the mountain scenery, the season, and their unbelievable chemistry, Ann and Chase end up learning more about each other—and themselves—than they ever imagined possible. Can one long, steamy Christmas help them realize they’re meant to be together? Or when the holiday is over will they be right back where they started?

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Elisabeth Barrett lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and spends her days teaching, editing, writing sexy contemporary romance, and enjoying time with her sometimes-bearded husband and three spirited children. She is constantly perfecting her home-work-writing juggling act, but in her free time she loves to hike open space preserves, grow orchids, bake sweet things her husband won’t eat, and sing in grand choruses.

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HRM – A Christmas Promise, by Mary Balogh

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A love that cannot be bought or sold proves to be the greatest gift of all, in this heartwarming classic that demonstrates once again why New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh is among the most celebrated authors of historical romance.

Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions—especially when a couple seems as well matched as Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden, and his bride-to-be, Eleanor Transome. Ellie brings to the marriage a vast dowry, while Falloden, though distant, is handsome, tremendously desirable, and possessed of a title most young ladies can only dream of sharing.

Yet Ellie is not most young ladies. She knows that she must honor her dear father’s dying wish for her to wed the proud earl, but she dreads a lifetime in a union without love—and how can Falloden claim to love her when he married her only for her fortune? As Christmas descends upon the Falloden manor, the warmth of the season may yet melt away the trappings of duty and wealth, leaving behind only a man and a woman destined for each other’s arms.

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Mary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling ‘Slightly’ sextet and ‘Simply’ quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.

Find out more:

HRM – Tinsel My Heart, by @Christi_Barth

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Becca Huntley’s produced the Lyndale Park Players’ over-the-top Christmas show for ten years. It’s a beloved Minneapolis tradition, and the theater’s main fundraiser. But this year’s production is in danger of being canceled when their director disappears into rehab. Good thing his directing partner steps in to save the day. Except for the minor fact that he hates everything about Christmas.

Jack Whittaker wiped this town off his shoe with his graduation tassel and never looked back. But duty compels him to fulfill Tyler’s promise to direct the show. Even though it means working with Becca, the girl he always wanted, lost to Ty, but never forgot.

It’ll take more than a few handfuls of tinsel to soften Jack’s heart toward Becca’s favorite holiday. Steamy kisses that melt the snow right off his boots are a step in the right direction. They’ll both discover that Christmas is about making each other’s dreams come true. But will it require sacrificing their chance at a happily-ever-after together?

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

USA TODAY bestselling author Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series.

Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.

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