#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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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.

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New Release: Wish You Were Mine, by @TaraSivec

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From the USA Today bestselling author of The Story of Us and Fisher’s Light comes a new, standalone novel—a heartwrenching story about first loves and second chances that will make you fall in love all over again….

Five years. I would’ve stayed away longer if I hadn’t received the letter. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about her, haven’t missed her smile, haven’t wished that things were different.

The last time I saw my two best friends, I vowed to not stand in the way of their happiness, even if that meant I couldn’t be a part of their lives. Cameron James and her emerald-green eyes were too much of a temptation and I couldn’t stay and watch them together. Cameron deserved better than me. She deserved him.

But now that I am back, things are different. I’m not going to stand by and watch the woman I’ve always loved slip away again. I’m done living my life with regrets and I’m ready to tell her the truth. And I’ll do whatever it takes to show her that I always wished she was mine.

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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:

Image 7Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author, wife, mother, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, baby-sitter, and sarcasm expert. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and looks forward to the day when they all three of them become adults and move out.

After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, Tara decided to pick up a pen and write instead of shoving it in her eye out of boredom. She is the author of the Playing with Fire series and the Chocolate Lovers series. Her novel Seduction and Snacks won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book.

In her spare time, Tara loves to dream about all of the baking she’ll do and naps she’ll take when she ever gets spare time.

Tara also writes under the pen name T.E. Sivec.

Find out more:

Website | Twitter  | Facebook
Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

New Release: Rogue Affair, a romance anthology

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When all else fails, find passion…

Ten all-new resistance romances for readers who take their happily ever afters with love, hate, and all the dirty bits in between.

Dedication of a Lifetime by Tamsen ParkerSchool counselor Sean wants to fix the world. No social justice slouch himself, Sean’s chemist husband Isaiah is exhausted. Their world crumbling, their marriage in trouble, Isaiah suggests they run away, but Sean balks. Will they honor their vows or will their relationship be a casualty of the country gone mad?

Personal Proposal by Ainsley Booth
Brianne can’t afford a crush on her boss. Thanks to a storm of media attention, she’s fled her old life and needs to please the demanding Astrid. So she ignores the zing every time they touch, and the ache inside as she tumbles into a lonely bed. But as their work gets harder, and their days longer, boundaries crumble and Astrid puts forth an unexpected proposal.

Work of Heart by Olivia Dade
Artist Jenny Meyers may need money, but when a politician tries to pay for his portrait with charity funds, she balks…and contacts David Redi, the most trusted investigative reporter around. David knows a romance with his source would wreck his credibility, but Jenny is one lead he can’t refuse to follow. Soon it’s not only truth, justice, and liberty at stake–it’s love.

The President’s Protector by Kris Ripper
Miriam West is a good president–though she’d say she’s never good enough. Ram Ruiz is a Secret Service agent who garners some side-eye because he’s trans, but in this administration, that doesn’t stop him from being part of the president’s protective detail. She’s the president. He’s her bodyguard. Nothing can happen between them. Until it does.

Fallacies and Flirtations by Amy Jo Cousins
She’s an ex-chain mail bikini-wearing actress-turned-mayor of a major city, and I’m a speechwriter still paying off student loans. She’s my boss, nothing can happen. But somehow it’s always Anna and me in the office at 2 a.m., and I’m starting to think I’m not imagining the heat between us…

The Fourth Estate by Emma Barry
Reporter Drew Orlov wants to write about the corrupt president, but readers only care about the bombshells penned by his rival Brynn Allen. But when he goes after Brynn’s source, he finds himself snagged on more complicated feelings. Brynn doesn’t have time for Drew, even if he’s sexy when he smolders, and they’re soon tussling over the truth with their hearts on the line.

Such Great Heights by Adriana Anders
Reporter O’Neal Jones is a sucker for a good story. Which is why she can’t resist following high school crush Kurt Anderson on his trip up a North Cascades peak. But when it’s time to come down, she’s not sure she can go back to real life. Could one night with a man on a mountain change everything?

Dissent and Desire by Kelly Maher
With her future crumbling, Frankie focuses on one thing she can do: help fight in the war against science. PhD candidate Rafe is unsure about continuing his career with the EPA. Neither expects to see their crush at a meeting, but networking turns into dinner, which turns into more. Hope in the future may be possible after all.

Mr. Klein Goes to Albany by Stacey Agdern
When the Canadian government–via hockey player-turned-diplomat Adam Klein–proposes a work around to the president, legislative aide Tamara Schneider knows she needs to set them straight. She arranges a trip to show Adam the state, tricky business given their history. Can she give Adam a second chance?

Take a Knee by Jane Lee Blair
After police kill her cousin, Rochelle Morris turns to her high-school crush turned NFL player Jack Murphy to bring attention to the cause. Jack just wants to play football, so he refuses. But as Rochelle’s passion continues to affect him, he realizes justice and the heart of the woman he loves are worth the struggle.

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Grab your copy of this book over on:

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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Find more about the authors here:

New Release: Constant Craving, by @TamaraLush

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Let go of the past to have any chance at a future…

I’m shocked when Rafael Menendez de Aviles — my first love, my one downfall — appears at my business, offering to save it from bankruptcy. I’m even more stunned when Rafael, looking hotter than ever, makes a proposition: spend the next month together, allowing him to do anything he desires with me.

And make no mistake: he will demand everything, and make me submit.

If I agree to his indecent proposal, my business gets everything it needs — and I get almost everything I desire. But is Rafael only back in my life to show me what I’ve missed all these years? Is he out for revenge? Or something more dangerous — like love? I’m not sure, but I know this: I’m powerless against his touch, his kisses, his body.

Opening our hearts and giving our bodies to each other a second time may destroy us forever…especially when the pain of the past and difficult choices for the future collide.

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Grab your copy of this book over on:

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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About the Author:

Tamara Lush was born in California and raised in Vermont. She graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a degree in journalism. For her entire adult life, she’s worked as a reporter and is currently an award-winning correspondent in Florida with The Associated Press. She lives with her Italian husband and two bad dogs near the beach.

She was recently chosen as one of 24 writers for the Amtrak Residency program, and in 2017, she’ll be riding trains and writing romance novels.

Her most recent novel, a five-episode serial called TELL ME A STORY, has “an engaging voice, sexy heroes and heroines and a wry sense of humor,” according to New York Times bestselling author Beth Kery.

Tamara is a fan of vintage pulp fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, 1980s fashion, tropical chill, kombucha, gin, tonic, beaches, iPhone photography, Art Deco, telenovelas, coloring books, street art, coconut anything, strong coffee and newspapers.

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Review: 180 Seconds, by @jessicapark24

180 SecondsTitle: 180 Seconds
Author: Jessica Park
Rating: 5/5 stars

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love. (description from Goodreads)

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I’ve read most of Jessica Park’s work and have been blown away by her writing. With her latest novel, 180 Seconds, this hasn’t changed. I’m not sure this author has a bad book in her.

It’s hard to come up with just one reason why this book made me want to keep reading and reading (even though, because of life, I couldn’t do that). The characters were great. They probably top the list of reasons. They were so real, relatable, and knew they were flawed. I think that last part was what made me like them even more. They knew they weren’t perfect, and that worked into their actions.

I also thought Park, like always, was able to work current trends and culture into the story, while still being able to keep the interest of a reader (me) who might not be up on what characters in college might be into and using the internet for. 

This book isn’t all fun and games, though much of it is. Neither Allison nor Esben doesn’t have a great past. Their present has obstacles. But it’s how they get through them and build on where they came from that makes this book a necessary addition to my top reads list.

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

Amazon

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About the Author:

Jessica Park is the author of LEFT DROWNING, FLAT-OUT LOVE, the FOL companion novella, FLAT-OUT MATT., FLAT-OUT CELESTE (new!), and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. Jessica grew up in the Boston area and attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. After spending four years in the frigid north, including suffering through one memorable Halloween blizzard, Jessica hightailed it back to the east coast. She now lives in (relatively balmy) New Hampshire with her husband, son, bananas dogs named Fritzy and Finn, and a selfish cat. When not writing, Jessica indulges her healthy obsessions with Facebook and complicated coffee beverages.

You can e-mail her HERE. Tell her about your ex-boyfriend who was a font nerd. Or send pictures of awesome Flat People on adventures. (You get bonus points for this. Possibly some sort of award, too.) Stories of online romance. Apartment rental disasters. Skydiving experiences… Whatever you want. And like any normal person, she has an online addiction, so you can find her on FACEBOOK and TWITTER where she updates with much greater regularity than she does on her blog.

Jessica is a huge proponent of self-publishing — after all, it worked well for her! — and has put together some thoughts for other authors on the self-publishing process and its pros and cons on this site.

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New Release: Second Chance, by @Chel_C_Cam

Second Chance Cameron

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Serena Nolan’s summer isn’t going how she planned. Fortunately, her cousin, Anna, is there to rescue her from spending her time off from college with parents who don’t understand (or want to understand) her. Serena’s thrilled to be living with Anna and her girlfriend, Lacey in Lacey’s studio, and working in the Violet Hill Cafe. She’s even adores Lacey’s cat, Murder.

What she definitely didn’t plan was running into her ex, Fiona Davis. They’d been best friends that had turned into something else, but everything had crashed and burned before the end of high school several years ago.

Serena is still smarting from the heartbreak, but she can’t say no to spending some time with Fi. Against her better judgement, old feelings are mixing with new ones, and she doesn’t know what to do. Serena will have to decide if past heartbreak is going to keep her from a potential future with Fiona.

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You can grab a copy of Second Chance from:

Amazon

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About the Author:

Chelsea M Cameron

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

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