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March Reads

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Two book posts in a row? I guess that means I am really behind on taking photos! Still, I wanted to get my March reads written about while it was as close to March as possible, but this will be a quick one since I just finished up 3 books this past month and 2 were poetry.

The Dogs I Have Kissed by Trista Mateer

I’m a very sporadic Tumblr user, I actually mostly just use it to keep track of quotes I like from books, but every once in awhile another account catches my eye. That’s how I came up to pick up The Dogs I Have Kissed by Trista Mateer, since I had already loved the pieces of Mateer’s poetry I had read on her blog. Her words are lovely, sharp, insightful, and straightforward without being too simplistic like some of the poems I read last month. From “We Both Know What It Is”:

I tried to write poems about your leaving
before you left me
because I was scared;
now I write them because I don’t know what
else to do in your absence.

The poems are emotional and honest with a central focus on breaking up and love lost but not lost. There is some repetitiveness in theme if not word use–there are clearly some images Mateer likes a lot–but it is still raw and lovely to read. The Dogs I Have Kissed is only Mateer’s second collection of poetry, and while it’s not flawless she’s definitely a poet I am interested in reading more from, and to see how her writing matures.

I have a embarrassingly long list of series I want to finish but haven’t yet, so when I had a chance to borrow the audiobook of Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian from the library, I decided to cross one off the list. I’ve actually read quite a few books by Jenny Han before, and while the first two books in this trilogy (Burn for Burn and Fire with Fire) were good if somewhat unexpected, Ashes to Ashes was just unexpected.

I won’t share any spoilers but basically this trilogy is about three girls who get together to plot revenge, and it doesn’t quite go as planned. The books are written from three points-of-view and I really did enjoy the writing and the different perspectives, despite being somebody who generally prefers one voice only. That said, Ashes to Ashes, really focuses on just one of the three, Lillia, and I felt like the other stories got a bit lost.

The books in the Burn for Burn Trilogy take place on Jar Island, a charming little tourist town with beautiful homes hiding something sinister. The sinister becomes most apparent in this final novel and honestly, the story just went somewhere a little too dark for me. Unfortunately, while I am happy to have finished one of my many unfinished series, Ashes to Ashes was just disappointing to me. There’s even a rushed epilogue which actually makes it much worse. Honestly, it was enough to make me unable to recommend this trilogy, or maybe if you read it, just stop after book 2?

I probably should have known not to pick up Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav after reviews I saw of the poetry collection I read last month (but didn’t enjoy), The Last Time I’ll Write About You, drew comparisons to Leav’s writing. But I was also just curious if the original was better.

The poems themselves, I did not enjoy. They are simple and either cutesy or angsty, the kind of stuff I might have enjoyed or even been tempted to write a decade ago but I don’t have patience for now. I mean, they even rhyme at times. That said, there are brief moments of prose that I prefer, like “Lost Things”:

Everyone has one—an inventory of lost things waiting to be found. Yearning to be acknowledged for the worth they once held in your life.

Love & Misadventure also includes drawings from Leav, and I really enjoy those. I’d definitely pick up a collection of just her artwork. In terms of her poetry, I have a second book of hers to try and it’s such a short read I’m tempted, but I know it’s probably not even worth me giving Leav another shot. At least not for another decade.

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In a general life update, I am planning to submit my thesis to my committee this upcoming week so hopefully I’ll be back to more consistent blogging. I do have some pretty things to share with you. Plus, I’ll also have more time for reading, so let me know, have you read anything good lately?

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