#NewRelease: Saving Red, by @SonyaSones

saving-red

b3459-goodreads-badge-add-plus-2d25bb0f32eeac8660c13a521cf00c8e

Molly Rosenberg may only be fourteen, but she’s experienced more hurt and guilt than most adults. With her home life a mess, Molly takes part in a volunteer event tallying the city’s homeless population. There, on a windy Santa Monica bluff, is where Molly meets Red, an enigmatic homeless girl with more zest for life than she’s ever encountered. The two spark an unlikely friendship that pulls Molly out of her sadness. Finally, Molly can open up to someone about her brother’s disappearance that she feels she’s to blame for.

But whenever Molly tries to get Red to open about her family—where they are, why they left her, or if Red left them—Red quickly changes the subject, or starts rambling on about things that just don’t make any sense. Molly knows she can’t change her own past, but she vows to help Red salvage her future. In Sonya Sones’ latest novel, two girls with a unique bond give each other a new perspective on the meaning of family, friendship, and forgiveness.

fancy lineresize

Want to grab a copy? You can find it at:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

fancy lineresize

About the Author:

Sonya Sones is an American poet and author. She has written four young adult novels in verse, as well as a novel in verse for adults and a picture book.

You can find more about Sonya here:

#PoetryMonth – Throwback #Review: Stop Pretending, by @SonyaSones

Poetry Month FB Banner

Line curvy

Books of poetry aren’t always collections. They can come in other forms. One of my favorite forms of poetry in recent years is the verse novel. I’ve read a number of them and continue to discover them. To keep it simple, for those who haven’t heard me talk about them in the past, a verse novel is just what it sounds like: A novel written in verse. The same full arc of a novel is told, but instead of pages filled with words, sentences, ideas, etc (prose), the author uses the shorter, more exact form of poetry to tell the story.

Today, and maybe later in the month, I’d like to share a review of one of my favorite verse novels so far. I read this awhile back, but my opinions of it are still the same. It’s a book by Sonya Sones, called Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy. Sones have a number of other verse novels out, so be sure to take a look at all her work. I’ve read all but one so far and enjoyed them!

fancy lineresize

Title: Stop PretendingStop Pretending
Author: Sonya Sones
Rating: 5/5 stars

“It happens just like that, in the blink of an eye. An older sister has a mental breakdown and has to be hospitalized. A younger sister is left behind to cope with a family torn apart by grief and friends who turn their backs on her. But worst of all is the loss of her big sister, her confidante, her best friend.

In the eloquent tradition of THE BELL JAR and I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN comes this haunting first book, inspired by the true story of the author’s life. It’s an intense and brutally honest story, told in a succession of powerful poems that take us back into the cyclone of the narrator’s emotions: grief, anger, guilt, resentment, horror, and ultimately, acceptance.” (description from Goodreads)

fancy lineresize

Sonya Sones grew to be one of my (recent) favorite authors after I read What My Mother Doesn’t Know, and soon after, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know. I went out and bought all her books after I read those two. But what I didn’t expect is that Stop Pretending, Sones’ first book, is an even better book than those that came after it.

Sones’ free-verse novel, Stop Pretending, does two amazing things that I haven’t witnessed in other free-verse novels so far. A majority of this book’s poems can be read separately from the others. They stand alone as very powerful works of poetry and don’t need the support of the “larger story.” At the same time, they all mesh together into that “larger story” that is hard to step away from, even with it being an emotional read. It’s the combination of these two effects that makes Sones such a great novelist and poet, all in the same work.

Being that this is strongly influenced by the author’s life growing up, I feel that it helped her create the very real main character. The poems bring the reader deep into the mind of this teenager who doesn’t know how to deal with her sister’s hospitalization. This can only come from someone who’s dealt with similar issues in real life. It also allows a reader, and even society in general, to consider all sides of the situation. It’s not just the patient who needs therapy, or just someone to talk to in general. It’s all members of a family, no matter how much they try to hide it.

Sonya Sones’ first book is by far my favorite of hers so far. It’s no wonder her books have gotten the attention they have.

fancy lineresize

You can grab a copy of this book from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Line curvy

About the Author:

Sonya Sones is an American poet and author. She has written four young adult novels in verse, as well as a novel in verse for adults and a picture book.

You can find more about Sonya here:

Novels in Verse

I can’t remember if I’ve brought this to the blog in the past or not, so I’m going to assume it was just on Facebook and/or Twitter. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about VERSE NOVELS!

What’s a verse novel? Maybe you know them as “novels in verse”. There are a few terms to use, but they all boil down to one obvious thing: They are novels written in verse (poetry) instead of prose (what everything else is written in).

Why do I enjoy them so much? That should be somewhat obvious. I’m a poet. I enjoy poetry. And you also know I enjoy novels in general. Once I discovered the magic of joining the two forms, I was hooked.

I first read a verse novel back in grade school. It was Karen Hesse’s OUT OF THE DUST. I remember talking about the fact that it’s written in blank verse, but that fact dissolved in my memory shortly after. I remember enjoying the story, but that was all. That is, until I rediscovered the form a few years back in Sonya Sones’ writing. I found out about her book WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN’T KNOW. I read it. Enjoyed it. Got hooked. I’ve since read all of her books (except one, because I don’t want to be without more of Sones to read) and from there, branches out into other authors work.

I have to admit that I’ve stuck mostly to Young Adult verse novels. It’s not completely by choice, though, partly it is. There seems to be a larger amount of verse novels for YA readers out there, compared to those for “adult” readers. I also think it’s a marketing thing because I’ve discovered a few adult titles are marketed as being poetry, but lacking take about the story aspect. Probably a few reasons for this, but I won’t speculate here. But back to my mention of YA novels. I think most of my recent YA reading has actually been done with verse novels. YA is already a pretty accessible type of book for anyone to get into, but adding in the verse form makes it even more so. And not in a bad way. I think it makes them “easier” to read while opening the story up to having a deeper message, emotional response, etc. Verse forces the author to be limited in word choice (in most cases), and I feel this makes every word used count that much more. The books may be fast reads, but I feel that I’ve gotten more out of them at times than prose novels because of the lack of words and focus on what really needs to be said.

On a less critical, and more fun note, I also like when authors play with the visual form in their verse novels. One author who does this in many different ways in all her novels is Ellen Hopkins. Her text isn’t restricted to the left side of the page. It’ll jump to the right, middle, and everywhere in between. The text placement lends to the reading of the lines and what’s being conveyed. Some of the connection between text and text placement can go over my head, even, but I don’t think her books would be as powerful if they were all left-aligned. That works for other authors, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. But at times, poetry needs to push itself across a page, be different, and stand out.

I hope I’m not alone in my love of verse novels. I do know a few of my readers have experience with them. Maybe some of you haven’t explored that part of the book world yet. I’m here to help. I’d like to close this post out with a list of verse novels I’ve enjoyed. Some of them are as recent as this week…and I’m planning on grabbing a few more from the library soon. They’re addicting!

Story Time Friday: Prose Verse Babel returns for #NationalPoetryMonth

Story Time Friday Banner

fancy lineresizePROSE VERSE BABEL IS BACK! After a very long drought of both interest and material, I’m bringing the old series back. It might be the only time for awhile or it might spark the series to kick itself back into gear. That’s all up to you, my loyal readers.

If you don’t know what PVB is, simply put: It’s book spine poetry. It’s poetry written from the titles on a book’s spine. Some people go word for word, but I like to add a little freedom to it. Adding/removing punctuation or a few words as one sees fit. Just no major changes.

You can find all the old PVB posts HERE and two brand new poems for this week’s STF post below. You’ll find more info on how to submit your own on the PVB page, as well. It used to be a fan favorite with many guest poems. Can be fun or serious. Doesn’t even have to be good. Just a poem and something you’d like to share.

As always, enjoy!

fancy lineresize

Prose Verse Babel Banner

fancy lineresize

Poetry by Robert Zimmermann

fancy lineresize

IMG_3017

Catherine

Catherine,
warrior of the light,
girl at
war:
unleashed the
art of love.

fancy lineresize

IMG_3018

The Prophet

Eleanor Rigby,
the prophet,
inside the Kingdom
of the Angel of Darkness.

Speak.
Eat, pray,
love for one more
day. 700 Sundays.

To be perfectly honest…
the book stops here.

fancy lineresize

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip on in 😛 ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

 

#NationalPoetryMonth Challange!

That’s right: I’m CHALLENGING YOU! As we all know, April is National Poetry Month (international if you want to say. It’s spread pretty far by now.) I like to celebrate it on A Life Among the Pages, and this year is no different. Bringing awareness to poetry and new poetry to readers is always a great goal, even if just one more person gets into poetry. It’ll still be a win. So let’s kick this month off by bringing back a graphic you may remember from last year…

fancy lineresize

Poetry Month FB Banner

fancy lineresize

Remember that? Either way, you’ll be seeing a lot more of it this month.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what I’m challenging everyone reading this to do: Read a book of poetry. Simple enough right?

I challenge each and every one of you to go out and find a book of poetry that you think you’ll enjoy. Then read it. It could be a single poet collection. It could be a multi-poetry anthology. And if that’s a little too much for you, maybe try easing yourself in with some single poems you find online. As long as there’s an attempt to try to read more poetry, that’s all that really matters.

I know many of my readers read poetry even if it’s occasional. But maybe some of you would like a few suggestions. I’m not sure if I’m good at suggestions, but I’ll try by listing some of my favorite collections that I’ve read and some poets, as well.

A few verse novel suggestions might help those not ready to dive right in.

And here is a list of Indie poets you might have seen on the blog in the past. They’re definitely worth checking out. I’ll link a collection into each name.

I don’t really know where to steer anyone looking for an anthology. I own so many and many have overlapping selections. You can’t really go wrong with one. Read a few poems from them and if it seems like it’ll click with you, that’d probably be a great choice.

ALSO, as a little self-promotion and a help for you (maybe), you may notice the prices on my ebooks have dropped. For the month of April, on Amazon (since 99.9999999999% of my five sales each year come from there)…

From Where I Stand is only $1.23

and

Winter’s Homecoming and other Poems is only $0.99

AND, because I want to be generous, if anyone would like to read one of these collections/chapbooks but can’t afford to buy one…let me know. If you’re serious about reading it (and hopefully leaving an honest review when you’re done), send me a message and I’ll hook you up. I can give out Smashwords coupons for you to grab it for free. You can get it in any format through them. I’m here to spread poetry and that’s what I’ll do my best to do!

fancy lineresize

Have I tired your eyes out yet with all this reading? One most big of housekeeping to do and then you can run off.

STORY TIME FRIDAY and PROSE VERSE BABEL…let’s get them going this month! A lot of poetry has been featured on STF so far, but we’ll keep that going if we can this month. PVB hasn’t been alive in a LONG time. Let’s fix that.

So I’m asking for you all to help by contributing. Find out more on how to submit work to each here:

Story Time Friday

Prose Verse Babel

fancy lineresize

Ok folks. That’s all for now. Help spread the poetic word and come back often to the blog for most poetry fun all month!

2014, A Year in Review(s)

Now that it’s 2015, it’s time to take a quick look back at the 2014 reading year. I’ll be the first to admit it was a strange year (for reading and otherwise). The book world has changed a lot since I started blogging, and in the last year the trend continues, sometimes at a rapid increase.

You may have noticed a change in my blogging, as well. I started out the year with a challenge to read 5 short stories a week and post mini-reviews. That series, A Storied Week, was short lived, though it was fun while it lasted. I also wanted to focus more on my writing and less on reviewing. That was only partly accomplished. I didn’t have as many reviews and I wrote a few things. I hope that, even with the change and less frequent posting, you’ve still found pleasure in stopping by and that you’ve found some great books to check out.

In 2015 I think it’ll be much of the same around here, though I hope that with the recent start of Story Time Friday, reading the blog will be a better experience each week. We’ve already had some great work in the first few weeks. I’ll be trying to include my own work more often this year. And don’t worry, even though I don’t plan on opening my doors for review requests any time soon (closing them was the BEST thing I could have done for my reading and my sanity), I’ll still be reviewing much of what I read. I don’t think that’ll ever change.

So, now that I rambled about all that, how about you continue to the rest of the post, to what you’ve all been waiting for. Here are my “best books read in 2014” lists. As always, there’s no specific order to the lists inside the categories. The first isn’t necessarily my favorite. Also, I decided not to do a list for short stories this year. I read too many, but had many duds.I also read many of them early in 2014, so it’d be hard to recall them for a best of at this point.

Line curvy

NOVELS

fancy lineresize

VERSE NOVEL

fancy lineresize

POETRY

fancy lineresize

NON-FICTION

fancy lineresize

GRAPHIC NOVELS/COMICS

fancy lineresize

FAVORITE AUTHORS

  • S.M. Boyce, for her Grimoire Saga which concluded this year with Illusion. I’ve go on and on about Boyce’s writing for years, ever since I read Lichgates in 2012. I was both happy and depressed when her series ended, but it just means I can move onto the next project Boyce has in store for her readers. I’m already clearing space off my shelves for whatever it is.
  • Francesca Lia Block, who first caught my attention years ago with Weetzie Bat. I reacquainted myself with that book and the rest of that series this year. I’ve also ventured into a good chunk of Block’s body of work and 2015 is sure to be a continuation of that journey.
  • Chelsea M. Cameron, one of the authors I met back in September. I’ve known her online early on in this blog’s life in 2012 and have finally begun to read her novels and I’m not sure why I waited so long.
  • Jessica Park will stay on my favorite authors list for some time. Even though she takes her time writing and releasing books (like my other favorite author S.M. Boyce) I know that with my patience I’ll be rewarded with a book worth the wait. This year’s Flat-Out Celeste, a sequel to Flat-Out Love from a few years back, blew me away.
  • Rebecca Makkai, the author of The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House. I read these both this year and have recommended them to many friends since. I’ve also checked out some of the short fiction Makkai has out and it’s just as high up on my list of great work. I’ll be eagerly awaiting this author’s next book. Part of me is hoping it’ll be a collection of short stories.
  • Honorable mentions: Tiffany King (she’ll always be one of my favorites), Tara Sivec (another great author I keep coming back to), Richard Stephenson (his New America series is worth checking out. Book 3 out in the spring), Megan Erickson and Christina Lee (two authors I discovered late in the year but who I know will be filling my “read pile” in 2015).

fancy lineresize

BEST OF:

2012 | 2013

Line curvyPlease feel free to comment on this post with some of your favorite reads and authors of 2014. We should always be about sharing the book love!

 

#Review: To Be Perfectly Honest, by @SonyaSones

To Be Perfectly HonestTitle: To Be Perfectly Honest
Author: Sonya Sones
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Her friends
have a joke about her:
How can you tell if Colette is lying?

Her mouth is open.

Fifteen-year-old Colette is addicted to lying. Her shrink says this is because she’s got a very bad case of Daughter-of-a-famous-movie-star Disorder—so she lies to escape out from under her mother’s massive shadow. But Colette doesn’t see it that way. She says she lies because it’s the most fun she can have with her clothes on. Not that she’s had that much fun with her clothes off. At least not yet, anyway…

When her mother drags her away from Hollywood to spend the entire summer on location in a boring little town in the middle of nowhere, Colette is less than thrilled. But then she meets a sexy biker named Connor. He’s older, gorgeous, funny, and totally into her. So what if she lies to him about her age, and about who her mother is? I mean, she has to keep her mother’s identity a secret from him. If he finds out who she really is, he’ll forget all about Colette, and start panting and drooling and asking her for her mother’s autograph. Just like everyone always does.

But what Colette doesn’t know is that Connor is keeping a secret of his own…” (description from Goodreads)

fancy lineresize

I’ve become a fan of Sonya Sones writing in the last year or so after reading What My Mother Doesn’t Know and following it up with What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know. I’ve read most of Sones’ work, and like the rest of her books, To Be Perfectly Honest takes some time to draw you in, then hits you unexpectedly with something to make it great.

The narrator of this book, Colette, is a minor character in Sones’ other work One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother DiesWe don’t see too much of her in that book, so it was great to see her here with a bigger role. She’s an interesting narrator too; she’s a career liar. With lying being her nature, she’s an unreliable narrator. Lying also plays a big part in the conflict throughout the book. It took me a little bit to warm up to Colette, to be honest, but her personality kept working on me.

What really won me over was the big reveal in this book. At first this was a nice, light teen romance, but at one point it takes on a heavier, more serious tone. It packed a punch, and I like seeing that in a book. It didn’t feel out of place, just unexpected.

Sones’ free verse has all the strength that I’ve come to love in her previous books, and I know I’ll see in the future. I know I’ll be reading whatever Sones has in store for readers in her next book.

fancy lineresize

 You can grab a copy of this book from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

fancy lineresize

About the Author:

Sonya Sones is an American poet and author. She has written four young adult novels in verse, as well as a novel in verse for adults and a picture book.

You can find more about Sonya here: