Monday, September 19, 2016

Bridge the Gap

The days get longer
And our patience wears thin
There's never enough hours in a day
I think to myself again

Life is complex
It's gone so far beyond busy
My memories bolster me
Keep me from feeling dizzy

Why do so many other things 
Grab our attention
And pull it in so many other directions
I guess you just got forgot to mention

That there's a lull in every story
A period when the distance grows
Sometimes I wonder 
If we'll ever truly know

What to call this place
I just want to be near you
And smell your sweet smell
Hear you say you love me, too

They say it's not the destination
But the journey that matters
So grab my hand and let's go
Bridge the gap before it shatters

The wings have fallen off
And the wind has died down
But we'll keep holding on
In the heartbeat of this ghost town

*This post was inspired by the weekly writing prompt from The Figment Forum, a writing community for those with words in their heart. Click here to join.*

Friday, September 16, 2016

Blog Tour: Ergon by George HS Singer

Hello, it's me again, back with a new poetry book to review. Do I need to mention again how much I love poetry? No? OK, let's move on. I received the opportunity to review "Ergon" by George HS Singer and I loved it! 

First, here's a little synopsis of the book: 

George Singer’s Ergon is precise, delicate and fierce in its engagement with the world.
George HS Singer, a former Buddhist monk, has written a debut collection of poems about his life as a monk and in the monastery and about his life when he left to marry and have a family. As he tries to balance his spiritual principles with every day life as a husband and father, these poems utilize nature as a backdrop for his quest.

Singer is an absolute genius at incorporating nature and natural imagery into his poems. The phrasing and the tone and the pace of his words were just perfect to me. I also enjoyed his sense of humor, especially in some of the poems about his wife and married life.

One of my favorite poems from the book is "Reprieve" where Singer writes:

mercy resides in the way things vanish,
and grace in not being visited.

In the poem he is referencing his father, but the sentiment speaks to me on a more generalized level about life. Sometimes it's good to forget things (or just not remember them, yes, there's a difference).

So, if you like poems about life, marriage, love, death, childhood, and just about everything else in between, I think this would be a perfect book for you! Go check it out.

About the Author:

George HS Singer, a former Zen Buddhist monk and student of Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett, lives with his wife of forty-two years in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he works as a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara. He was educated at Yale, Southern Oregon University, and the University of Oregon. He wrote poetry in college but took a twenty-year break before taking it up as a regular discipline. He has been a long term student of Molly Peacock and has had the opportunity to work with other marvelous poets through the Frost Place in Franconia, N.H.  He writes about life in and out of a Zen monastery, trying to live mindfully in a busy and troubled world, his love of nature and of his wife. The arts have become more central to his life.  Singer’s poems were published in the Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, and Tar River Poetry.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Paperback: 85 pages
Publisher: WordTech Editions (2016)
Available on: Amazon

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

This review was coordinated by Poetic Book Tours.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

VCRs and Faded Memories

Do you remember those little old TVs that had a VCR built in? I had one of those in my room growing up. And every summer, I'd watch VHS movies every single day. I'd give my mom a list of movies that I wanted to watch and she'd get a few from Blockbuster and bring them back home for me after she got home from work. And I'd spend the next few days glued to the TV. And the cycle would repeat. 

I undoubtedly watched a lot of things that I shouldn't have at the age of 11 or 12. But hey. It was an interesting education, to say the least. Lots of serious dramas, gory horror movies, and inappropriate comedies. It was the BEST time ever. I'd make popcorn and just sit and bask in the movie glory. 

I watched so many movies all the time that we bought one of those special VHS rewinders. You remember those? Be kind, rewind. Ha! I was such a nerd, even back then. 

I read an article that the last VCR manufacturer ceased production in July. So there will be no more VCRs made in the world ever. It's kind of sad in a way. I know that everybody is all about DVDs and Blu-Rays and On-Demand. It's quicker, it's shinier, it's easier. But I kind of miss my VCR and my VHS tapes. That satisfying "thunk" when you push the tape in and press play. The whirring sound as the movie starts up. 

Those devices are obsolete now. Just like those summers I spent watching movies as a kid. Time marches on, folks. Technology evolves. Memories fade. I read that an estimated 50% of VHS movies were never transferred to DVD. That's crazy. If anybody still has a VCR and some VHS tapes, you should totally make a time capsule. Or save it and one day it will be worth a ton of money. All old things become new and in fashion again if you wait long enough, right? :) 

Anyway. That was my trip down memory lane this week. Ciao. 

*This post was inspired by the weekly writing prompt from The Figment Forum, a writing community for the word-lovers out there. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Blackberries On My Mind

I remember the warmth of the sun shining down on us. I remember the sound of the bees buzzing. I remember the taste of the cool, crisp water from the water fountain. Mostly, I remember the sweet, wild blackberries growing on their vines and the joy I felt picking them with my dad. We'd savor our juice-stained fingers with pride. 

I can't think about summer without thinking about blackberries and the memories we made each summer when I was growing up. But it's not really about the berries themselves, as delicious as they were. But more about how safe and comfortable I felt spending time with my favorite person in the whole world. Carefree. 

The way we'd laugh together all day long, making jokes and creating new words for our "language" that nobody understood but us. The way we'd water the blackberry plants each year to make sure they'd come back again. The long, bumpy ride over the gravel road to leave the park. Listening to music in the car and singing along, doing our silly shoulder-shrug dance. The silent thanks we gave to the inventor of air conditioning and whomever it was that thought to put it in automobiles. 

I was in the grocery store a few days ago and noticed that there weren't any blackberries for sale anymore. It made me sad, not only because that means summer is just about over, but also because it reminded me of those summers. 

I miss them. I miss not having a care in the world. I miss the promise of a hot summer day and looking forward to the joy it brought me. 

Blackberries. Little morsels of sweetness, big buckets of memories. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ABC Reads: August 2016

Hi everyone! Welcome back to the ABC Reads link up! We're linking up to share the books we've read in August and the letters we can check off our lists. 

Need a refresher on what the ABC Reads challenge is all about? Never fear, we've got your back: 

What does the challenge entail? Well, I'm glad you asked. There are 26 letters of the alphabet and we challenge you, during the course of 2016, to read a book that starts with each letter. For example, Atonement (A), The Bell Jar (B), Catching Fire (C), and so on. Makes sense, right? You don't need to go in order - if you want to start with S, go for it. We're easy to please around these parts. On the last day of each month, we'll host a link-up for you to share your ABC Reads.  We will award one point for each letter you review AND a bonus point for linking up with us!  At the end of the year (or when the first participant reviews a book beginning with each of the 26 letters), the winner will be awarded a $30 Amazon gift card.  Congratulations to Jessica at Frikken Duckie for completing the challenge and winning the gift card! Go visit her and say congrats! :) 

If you didn't get a chance to link up last month - no worries at all. Feel free to jump in with Andrea and me any time!

OK, so let's get to it. What did you guys read this month? How many letters did you check off? Here's my progress (August books in blue): 

A: (The) Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. Completed March 2016. 
B: Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. Completed February 2016. 
C: (The) City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin. Completed May 2016. 
D:  Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts. Completed April 2016. 
E:  Europe on 5 Wrong Turns A Day, by Doug Mack. Completed April 2016. 
F:  Finders Keepers, by Stephen King. Completed January 2016. 
G: (The) Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown. Completed January 2016. 
H: (The) Hereafter, by Jessica Bucher. Completed April 2016. 
I:  I Will Find You, by Joanna Connors. Completed June 2016. 
J:  Julia, by Peter Straub. Completed July 2016. 
K: Keeping Faith. Completed July 2016. 
L:  (The) Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks. Completed January 2016. 
M: (The) Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom. Completed February 2016.
N:  Night Film, by Marisha Pessl. Completed June 2016. 
O: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Completed January 2016. 
P:  (The) People of Sparks, by Jeanne DuPrau. Completed August 2016. 
R: (The) Revenant, by Michael Punke. Completed March 2016. 
S:  Some Kind of Fairy Tale, by Graham Joyce. Completed June 2016. 
T:  Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed. Completed April 2016. 
W: Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion. Completed February 2016. 
Z:  Zone One, by Colson Whitehead. Completed May 2016. 

"The People of Sparks" is the second book in the Book of Ember series. Here's a brief synopsis: 

When Lina and Doon lead their people up from the underground city of Ember, they discover a surface world of color and life. The people of a small village called Sparks agree to help the Emberites, but the villagers have never had to share their world before. Soon differences between the two groups escalate, and it's up to Lina and Doon to find a way to avoid war!

In the riveting sequel to the highly acclaimed The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau explores the nature of conflict and the strength and courage necessary to overcome it.

I really liked The City of Ember, the first book. But this one was a little disappointing. It was pretty predictable from beginning to end. And any "conflicts" that happened in the book were resolved in like 0.2 seconds with solutions that were way too easy. It was just anti-climactic for the most part. 

But it wasn't all bad. There were some moments, especially from Lina, that I enjoyed reading because of her courage. 

Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. 

So, there you have it! What letters did you check off this month? Come link up and share with us! See you back here next month. Ciao! 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Blog Tour: Saris and a Single Malt by Sweta Vikram

I don't think it's any secret around these parts that I love poetry. It's beautiful to me and it's something that I think everyone should read because it evokes so many emotions. When I received the opportunity to review Saris and a Single Malt by Sweta Vikram, I was thrilled to check it out. 

Here's a brief synopsis of the book: 

Saris and a Single Malt is a moving collection of poems written by a daughter for and about her mother. The book spans the time from when the poet receives a phone call in New York City that her mother is in a hospital in New Delhi, to the time she carries out her mother’s last rites. The poems chronicle the author’s physical and emotional journey as she flies to India, tries to fight the inevitable, and succumbs to the grief of living in a motherless world. Divided into three sections, (Flight, Fire, and Grief), this collection will move you, astound you, and make you hug your loved ones.

This book was hard for me to read emotionally because I have not lost a parent and the thought of it terrifies me. One of our first relationships is that between parent and child and it's disconcerting to think about no longer having that connection. So I read most of the book with tears in my eyes and a frog in my throat. I felt for the author very much because of her grief and sadness.

One of my favorite poems from the book is "It's Not Easy" where Vikram writes:

It's in our silence
that you hear goodbye.
It's in our tears
that you see the marks your absence left behind.

It's beautiful and sad at the same time. And it hurts my heart to think about what she went through. I don't handle difficult situations well, and in trying to put myself in her shoes, I just felt this gaping wound. I appreciated reading her beautiful poetry and I only wish there was more of it. More of her and her mother's backstory, more of their memories together.

About the Poet:

Sweta Srivastava Vikram, featured by Asian Fusion as “one of the most influential Asians of our time,” is an award-winning writer, five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Amazon bestselling author of 11 books, writing coach, columnist, marketing consultant, and wellness practitioner who currently lives in New York City. A graduate of Columbia University, she also teaches the power of yoga, Ayurveda, & mindful living to female trauma survivors, creative types, entrepreneurs, and business professionals. Sweta is also the CEO-Founder of NimmiLife, which helps you attain your goals by elevating your creativity & productivity while paying attention to your wellness.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Modern History Press (2016)
Available on: Amazon
Author's Website:

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

This review was coordinated by Poetic Book Tours.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Don't let life pass you by
Don't let regrets take over
Don't settle
Don't postpone
Don't minimize your self-worth
Don't doubt your abilities
Don't sit on the bench
Don't be afraid of love
Don't shy away from inspiration
Don't worry about eating cookies
Don't let the important people go
Don't live small
Don't dwell in your comfort zone
Don't look back
Don't forget to explore
Don't lose sight of what's important
Don't dull your light
Don't hide from who you are
Don't be afraid or ashamed
Don't listen to the haters
Don't shy away from praise
Don't stand by and do nothing
Don't ever ask is that the best I'll ever be

*This post was inspired by the weekly writing prompt from The Figment Forum, a free Facebook group for writers. Click here to join.