Tuesday

Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres

Rose Metal Press has done it again! Family Resemblance, edited by Marcela Sulak and Jaqueline Kolosov, is not only an exceptional tool for the craft, but also a vivid example of the craft. In much the same style as their Field Guides to Flash Fiction, the Prose Poem, and Flash Nonfiction, Family Resemblance brings us craft essays from 43 different authors, and then also gives us gorgeous examples of the forms. The hybrid is defined and showcased here, but without any futile attempt to cage or confine it.
The anthology covers 8 hybrid forms–the lyric essay, the epistolary, the poetic memoir, prose poetry (my favorite), performative, short-form nonfiction, flash fiction, and pictures made of words. And whether you want to learn more about the different creative forms, or just enjoy reading them, you’ll find plenty here to love.
I have a huge crush on all things hybrid and experimental because I like the tangible, textural feel of those pieces, and I find myself gravitating toward the edgy kind of journals that publish it–journals like Threadcount, Rivet, theEEL, and DIAGRAM. And Family Resemblance has allowed me to take a closer look at these forms that inspire me. If you like that kind of work as much as I do, you are going to cherish and appreciate Family Resemblance. Go grab a copy now!
Huge thanks to Rose Metal Press for sending me  a review copy of Family Resemblance–I shall hold it close forever!

Thursday

The Dinner by Herman Koch

The DinnerThe Dinner by Herman Koch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know there's been a lot of comparisons between The Dinner and Gone Girl, and the biggest thing that I see in common between the two is that they both seem to have drawn a line in the literary sand: readers who hate it on one side, and readers who love it on the other. I'm on the latter side. I enjoyed the dark mood. Can't say too much more without giving out a lot of spoilers, but I'll just say that if you like the unreliable narrator (yikes, maybe I shouldn't even say that), you'll love it.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Saturday

Your Daily Brain: 24 Hours in the Life of Your Brain

Your Daily Brain: 24 Hours in the Life of Your BrainYour Daily Brain: 24 Hours in the Life of Your Brain by Marbles: The Brain Store
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A really interesting read. I loved the way the author leads the reader through the typical day and all the brain is busy doing. The author has a light, often humorous approach, and I found the book easy to understand. Entertaining, engaging, and informative.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher, and the opinions in this review are my own.

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Thursday

The ecrets of Blood and Bone by Rebecca Alexander

The Secrets of Blood and Bone: A Novel (Jackdaw Hammond #2)The Secrets of Blood and Bone: A Novel by Rebecca Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I honestly did not finish the book. It just didn't grab me and I spent most of the time confused about what was going on. I'll give it four stars because some of this is likely because I didn't read the first book. This is probably not meant to be a stand alone and I would encourage readers to read the first book in the series so you're up to speed with things before starting this one.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions in this review are my own.

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Friday

From Now On: New and Selected Poems 1970-2015 by Clarence Major

From Now On: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2015From Now On: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2015 by Clarence Major
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this collection from Clarence Major. Covering a period of 45 years, the poems differ in mood and theme, but they all share a beautiful and sometimes surprising use of language and form, which is what I like in poetry. I really nice collection.
*I received this book free through the Goodreads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.


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Saturday

Second Street Station: Mary Handley Mystery #1 by Lawrence H. Levy

Second Street Station (Mary Handley Mystery #1)Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really hope there are more Mary Handley stories comging!
I enjoyed the blend of historical fiction and mystery, and Mary Handley is a strong, likeable character that I would enjoy following through a series. I liked too, that the author had a lot of actual real life historical figures and conflicts. Makes the reader feel settled in the time period. It's authentic, and it's a fun read.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.



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Thursday

Go Outside and Come Back Better: Benefits from Nature That Everyone Should Know by Ron Lizzi

Go Outside and Come Back Better: Benefits from Nature That Everyone Should KnowGo Outside and Come Back Better: Benefits from Nature That Everyone Should Know by Ron Lizzi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful book!
Full of gorgeous photos and inspiring quotes. I love the way the author uses nature to show us how good life is meant to be, and how we can learn from nature how to enjoy life. A relaxing and meditative read.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the GoodReads Giveaways and the opinions in this review are my own.

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Life on the Edge by Johnjoe Mcfadden and Jim Al-Khalili

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum BiologyLife on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'll give it four stars for the information and for the obvious hard work the author put into it, but it wasn't really what I expected. The reason I enjoy Quantum Physics is because of the way it makes life seem almost magical, and this book kind of took the magic out of it for me. But that's just me, not anything the author did wrong.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan by Rosie Forrest

Ghost Box Evolution in Cadillac, MichiganGhost Box Evolution in Cadillac, Michigan by Rosie Forrest
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A gorgeous collection!
Rosie Forrest's chapbook won the ninth annual Rose Metal Press short short chapbook contest, and it's easy to see why. I loved the dark tone and mood of the prose, each piece, small in words, but huge in impact. And the beautiful letterpress covers are icing on the cake. I came away from this evocative and gripping collection feeling the way I like to feel when I read fiction, satisfied, but changed somehow. I won't forget these stories. Highly recommend this chapbook.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this chapbook free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.



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Wednesday

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long IslandStillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! This is what a book should do for a reader! This story has all the paranormal elements that fans of the genre (including myself) love, but it's more than that, it's also a journey, from grief to healing. I've been looking for a long time for a story that would make me feel the way I like to feel when I read a book, and this one did it. I was totally engaged in the story, couldn't wait to see what happened next, and the end, well, let's just say, I was bawling like a baby. I would love to read more from this author. I will never forget Stillwell.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Tuesday

Legend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines by Eric Blehm

Legend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy LinesLegend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines by Eric Blehm
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I easily gave this five stars. A profound read, to say the least. I was hooked, read it all the way through in just two sittings, and now I can't get it out of my head. It will stay with me for a long time. I'm honored to have read it.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Thursday

Someone I Used to Know by David Bell

Somebody I Used to KnowSomebody I Used to Know by David J. Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, this was a really engaging book. The story had me hooked and I was pretty much guessing all the way through. Read it in only a day or so. Fantastic read.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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This is the Night by Jonah C. Sirott

This is the NightThis is the Night by Jonah C. Sirott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'll give it four stars because it was an interesting read with some pretty heavy themes. Kept me engaged throughout and there were some unexpected things that happened along the way. All in all, a good read.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Monday

The End of the Trail by Louis Rakovich

The End of the TrailThe End of the Trail by Louis Rakovich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, this was a story I won't soon forget! Lots of grim imagery and an engaging story that will keep you hooked till the end. I love the dark mood the author has created, an intense mix of horror and fantasy. If you like your fantasy dark, you won't be disappointed in The End of the Trail. Keep your eyes on Louis Rakovich; I have a feeling we will be seeing much more from this author, and I'm looking forward to it.


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Saturday

Carl Jung, Hauntings, and Paranormal Coincidences by Doug Dillon

Carl Jung, Hauntings, and Paranormal CoincidencesCarl Jung, Hauntings, and Paranormal Coincidences by Doug Dillon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was great. I took it to bed with me last night and stayed up till I had read it all. As a person who has had many paranormal experiences in my life, I'm always interested in this kind of thing, and I was delighted to win a copy of this book.
There are many different kinds of stories in this collection, from ghosts, to stories of coincidence synchronicity, and even stories of the human spirit traveling outside the body. The author does not attempt to explain, but rather shares these stories and let's the reader decide what to make of them. I like that. And I love the writing style here. It was as if I were sitting with Mr. Dillon and he was telling me these stories.
Intriguing material. Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free through the Goodreads Giveaway and the opinions in this review are my own.

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Wednesday

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

This is an interesting read. Don't go into it expecting sci-fi adventure, because while it has those themes of course, it's more of a literary style, which I happen to enjoy. It's an engaging read, I loved the
mood and the tone, and easily settled into the story. The conflict is more of an internal variety, and it's a character-driven story, which I also love, so for me, it was a satisfying read.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday

The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang

The No More Excuses Diet: A 3 Cycle Program to Get the Body You Want and the Health You DeserveThe No More Excuses Diet: A 3 Cycle Program to Get the Body You Want and the Health You Deserve by Maria Kang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like most others, I've read tons of diet and exercise books through the years, but this one stands out as one of the better ones.
Maria literally takes you through all the steps, and helps you find ways around all the excuses.
It's like having your own personal trainer right there with you.
Great title, because after you read this book you will truly have no more excuses to a fit and healthy body.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Wednesday

The Book of Joan:Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation by Melissa Rivers

The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and ManipulationThe Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation by Melissa Rivers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked it. I think there's a nice balance of humor and sentiment. So, just when you think you're going to have to grab the tissues, you find yourself laughing instead. A merry heart does good like a medicine, and I found this book to have a cathartic effect, and I can imagine that it had the same effect on Melissa as she wrote it.
I personally think where the negative reviews are coming in is because people are expecting this to be in the same style as Joan, but Melissa is her own person, and I think this is both a tribute to Joan and a healing process for Melissa.

*FTC Disclosure: I recieved this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Yoga Therapy for Stress and Anxiety by Robert Butera, Erin Byron, and Steffan Elgelid

I recently had an emergency surgery that left me better physically, but incredibly stressed afterwards. Life went on hold while I recovered, and as an Editor for two online journals, things got behind quickly, which only made me more anxious. This book showed up just in time. The lessons and exercises really helped me to destress.

I like that the material is presented in a down-to-earth, easy to understand and follow, kind of way. And it's flexible, done in such a way that you can focus on the parts that are important to you now, and kind of make your own program. I think anyone could dive right in here and benefit from this book, whether you know anything about yoga or not.

If you're experiencing stress in any area of your life, Yoga Therapy can help.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday

The Fold by Peter Clines

The Fold: A NovelThe Fold: A Novel by Peter Clines
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this straight through in two sessions. A fun, exciting read that grabbed me at the start and kept me hooked all the way through.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this free from the publisher in exhcnage for my honest review.

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Screenwriting for Neurotics by Scott Winfield Sublett

Screenwriting for Neurotics: A Beginner's Guide to Writing a Feature-Length Screenplay from Start to FinishScreenwriting for Neurotics: A Beginner's Guide to Writing a Feature-Length Screenplay from Start to Finish by Scott Winfield Sublett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am telling all my writer friends, you need this book! Even if you're not writing screenplays yet, the information in this book will help you with your fiction. This book has it all- from the idea, to how to do the spine and step outline, to the formatting for a screenplay, and even more. There's tips on character, dialogue, and plot, as well as suggestions for the rewrite and also for selling your screenplay. I have never read one book on screenplays that really covered all the bases the way this one does. This is one of those books that I will keep close by and return to often.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Saturday

Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot by Marcus Katz

Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot: The True Story of the World's Most Popular TarotSecrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot: The True Story of the World's Most Popular Tarot by Marcus Katz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been reading tarot for a long time, and I am very familiar with the Waite-Smith deck, or at least I thought I was. I found lots of information in this book that I did not know. I highly recommend this, whether you are new at tarot or have been at it a while.

*FTC Disclosure: I recieved this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Love by Design by Evie Knight

Love by DesignLove by Design by Evie Knight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great characters, compelling story. Took a little while to get going, but when it did it was good.

*FTC Dicslosure: I recieved this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Exposed by Jessica Love

ExposedExposed by Jessica Love
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hot and steamy, but with an actual story and an intriguing main character, as opposed to the many books in this genre that really have no story at all.

*FTC Disclosure: I recieved this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Friday

Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch

Just Add Watercolor: Inspiration and Painting Techniques from Contemporary ArtistsJust Add Watercolor: Inspiration and Painting Techniques from Contemporary Artists by Helen Birch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The thing that I like most about this book is its size. It's so cute, and it's so small you can carry it with you anywhere, but inside it's huge on information. Artist and curator, Helen Birch, has packed this book full of beautiful work from some really talented watercolor artists, and for each one she shares the techniques that are used. A great resource to study and also just a lovely book to flip through and be inspired.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Thursday

Book Review: The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book: 500 Easy Recipes for Every Machine, Both Stovetop and Electric by Bruce Weinstein

The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book: 500 Easy Recipes for Every Machine, Both Stovetop and ElectricThe Great Big Pressure Cooker Book: 500 Easy Recipes for Every Machine, Both Stovetop and Electric by Bruce Weinstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whether you're an old pro and you love your pressure cooker, or you're just starting out with one, either way this is a great book to have in your kitchen. It's packed full of recipes, and they are all easy to follow. Even I can follow these recipes, and that's saying a lot, as my husband has officially banned me from the kitchen.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Saturday

Cassey Ho's Hot Body Year Round by Cassey Ho

Cassey Ho's Hot Body Year-Round: The POP Pilates Plan to Get Slim, Eat Clean, and Live Happy Through Every SeasonCassey Ho's Hot Body Year-Round: The POP Pilates Plan to Get Slim, Eat Clean, and Live Happy Through Every Season by Cassey Ho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was great.
Cassey has packed so much into this book. The content is divided into the four seasons, complete with gorgeous photos, and each season has its own exercises, as well as recipes with foods that are in season, and also scattered throughout are encouraging letters from Cassey.
I really like that most of the exercises include instructions for beginners, so that if you're new to Pilates you can do the beginner version.
One of the nicest things about the book is that Cassey's passion for the subject really comes shining through. You'll feel motivated when you read this book.
I'm working my way through the exercises, and my core is feeling tighter already.
Definitely time well spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, and the opinions in the review are my own.

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Friday

In the Circus of You: An Illustrated Novel-in-Poems by Nicelle Davis and Cheryl Gross

In the Circus of You: An Illustrated Novel-in-PoemsIn the Circus of You: An Illustrated Novel-in-Poems by Nicelle Davis and Cheryl Gross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a lover of experimental form, I'm always looking for clever and fresh ways to tell a story, and I was thrilled to see how Nicelle Davis does it here. In the Circus of You is a book of poetry, yes, but it's also a complete story. Each poem stands beautifully on its on, but at the same time you can step back and see a story arc, and even more importantly to me, a character arc. These poems engaged me right from the start, connected me to the narrator, I'm invested, and by the end I feel I know this person. And the illustrations by Cheryl Gross are the icing on the cake. It's really a beautiful collaboration between the author and the illustrator.
Like all the books put it out by Rose Metal Press, this one has become a favorite. It's one that I carry with me, and I'm constantly going back to it. Highly recommend this book to all my writer friends, especially those of you who enjoy experimental form.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Thursday

The Room by Jonas Karlsson

The RoomThe Room by Jonas Karlsson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one got my five stars, but it deserves a million!
Seriously, as a reader I'm always looking for a story that I can relax into, a story that I can fall into and lose myself for a little while. This is that story. I literally opened it and didn't put it down till I had finished. And even then I wanted more.
If you like your characters quirky and intriguing, you want to read this. If you enjoy Kafka, you want to read this. If you want something out of the ordinary, you want to read this.
Time luxuriously spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, and the opinions in this review are my own.

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Writing Beat and Other Occasions of Literary Mayhem by John Tytell

Writing Beat and Other Occasions of Literary MayhemWriting Beat and Other Occasions of Literary Mayhem by John Tytell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful and really evocative look at the Beat literary movement of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and more ... the writing in this book is so rich and engaging, and I read straight through, and came out on the other side grateful for and inspired by those who have paved the way for writers like myself to venture forth. Highly recommend this to my writer friends.
Time richly spent.
*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr

The New American HerbalThe New American Herbal by Stephen Orr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, this is a wonderful book. Packed full of information about the different herbs and how to use them, along with beautiful photographs. My husband is a cook and this is one of new favorites.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Handbag Workshop by Anna M. Mazur

Handbag Workshop: Design and Sew the Perfect BagHandbag Workshop: Design and Sew the Perfect Bag by Anna M. Mazur
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lots of beautiful designs and great ideas, but it its beyond the skill level of a beginner. You should definitely know your way around sewing before you attempt these.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the author in exchange for my honest review.


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Visualization for Weight Loss by Jon Gabriel

Visualization for Weight Loss: The Gabriel Method Guide to Using Your Mind to Transform Your BodyVisualization for Weight Loss: The Gabriel Method Guide to Using Your Mind to Transform Your Body by Jon Gabriel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good information, inspiring and encouraging. Most of what's in here is in Jon's first book, but if you're not familiar with Jon or his work this would be a great place to start.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review and the opinions in this review are my own.

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Tuesday

The Blood God: Book One of the Josith Chronicles by Elizabeth Bennett

Okay, guys, I have to admit I am not a huge fan of vampire stuff, but that is all the more reason why you should read The Blood God: it knocked my socks off! Seriously, this is one of the best books I've ever read. It's not just a book about vampires, it's a story about lives that are changing forever, and it's also one of the best examples I know of for how to put together an engaging story. This book is compelling- literally! The author masterfully creates tension and suspense that marches from the first page on, toward a huge climax at the end, and even then there's a promise of more to come. If you're looking for a series to get into at the start, this is the one. Like me, you'll be dying to know what happens to Josith and Jezebel, and begging the author to hurry up and get the next one out. Heads up to any agents who might be reading: You should grab Elizabeth up now before someone else does. She's going to be famous.
Time intensely and richly spent in this story.
Hurry and go get your copy now!