Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer

Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer

Published October 1, 2019 by Central Avenue Publishing

I was provided a review copy via Netgalley

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Synopsis:

Bestselling and award-winning author Trista Mateer takes an imaginative approach to self-care in this new poetry and prose collection, Aphrodite Made Me Do It. In this empowering retelling, she uses the mythology of the goddess to weave a common thread through the past and present.By the end of this book, Aphrodite make you believe in the possibility of your own healing.

My Review:

I will make this as quick as possible: Get your hands on this poetry collection the moment it releases. My first read by Mateer was Honeybee which I read last year. Mateer’s poetry style had me hooked from the first page and I have been binging whatever collections of hers I can find ever since. I was super excited to see she had a new release on Netgalley.

I like that this collection has a theme and sticks with it. Mateer crafts her poetry, stitching each poem together with tales of Aphrodite as its backbone.

Aphrodite notes the romance novels piled by my bedside, their tattered covers and their dog-eared pages. She says “I thought you weren’t looking for love.” I say, “That doesn’t meant I’m not hoping it will find me.” I say, “Isn’t everyone looking for love.” She pauses for a long moment before she says, plainly, “No.”

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I think with poetry that comes out now, it either works for you or it doesn’t. I have loved poetry for as long as I can remember and yes, I’m a huge supporter of the work but that doesn’t mean that everything is for me. The different styles poets these days have can go completely over my head. I seek poetry that speaks to me eternally 17 year old soul. The 17 year old girl spirit within me is who I use to judge if a collection works for me. The 17 year old girl with a stack of composition books hidden under her bed with poetry of her own scribbled onto the pages.

What Trista Mateer does, 17 year old Bree is a total fan of. Her poetry hits me in the gut, breaks my heart, stitches everything back together and leaves me completely empowered by the end of it all. This collection has passage upon passage that you should meditate on..

“I treat my greatest loves like seeds. When I’m ready, I put them down and I seldom look back at what has grown behind me. I keep my eyes trained ahead. There is always more ground to cover.”

There is an entire poem on shame that I highlighted the entire thing. It is brilliant and for anyone trying to grapple with shame, I can’t recommend reading this particular poem over and over again, and then some.

Treat yourself. Give it a try. This collection is absolutely worth it. There is something simple about Trista’s writing. Nothing over the top, but she is going to have your emotions all over the place. She is writing the poetry we need in 2019.

xo.

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The Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood

The Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood

Expected Publication Date: August 27, 2019 by Dial Press

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.44 Stars

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis:

i’m a good girl, bad girl, sad girl, dream girl
girl next door sunbathing in the driveway
i wanna be them all at once, i wanna be
all the girls i’ve ever loved

Lauded for the power of her writing and having attracted an online fan base of millions for her extraordinary spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood is a thrilling new voice in contemporary feminist poetry. In Life of the Party, she weaves together her own coming of age with an investigation into our culture’s romanticization of violence against women. In precise, searing language–at times blistering and riotous, at times soulful and exuberant–she explores the boundary between what is real and what is imagined in a life saturated with fear. How does one grow from a girl to a woman in a world wracked by violence? Where is the line between perpetrator and victim? What is the meaning of bravery? Visceral and haunting, this multifaceted collection illustrates that what happens to our bodies makes us who we are.

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My Review:

I remember immediately hauling My American Best Friend when it released. It felt like all of a sudden there were poetry collections being released left and right. I sped through it, devouring Gatwood’s words so quickly and loving it. Of course, I was very excited to see that she had another release coming out and even more excited when approved via Netgalley to read it.

In the beginning of this collection, Gatwood explains herself. She explains how she basically fell down this rabbit hole of consuming tons and tons of true crime. She asked herself one day, what role do poets play in the romanticization of the murdering of young girls and women. This collection was born.

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I’ve always heard that Little Red Riding Hood is this precautionary tale for women to not go out *in the woods* alone, and that’s how I felt as I read Life of the Party. The poetry reflects both what it’s like to come of age as a young woman and just how damn terrifying it is to exist as a woman.

I loved it. Everything from the angsty teenage nostalgia I felt:

“I will assure them over & over that we loved each other, we did, I will say, I used up a whole disposable camera taking photos of him & when I got them developed at the pharmacy, I also bought a single Frame & chose the picture I loved mot & propped it up next to my bed, I will say, isn’t that the most teenager thing? & the listener will relax, comfortable now with this familiar love they too lived once.

To the down right terrifying:

“Everything is tragic. Everything has either already happened or never will. The boy keeps saying it could have been me, as if that concert, that night, was my only shot at dead-girl stardom and now that I’ve just barely missed the grip of some quiet janitor, I’ve got a long life ahead.”

Collections like Gatwood’s, Life of the Party, restores my faith in poetry. I never 100% lost it, but there were a few years where it felt like everything coming out was trash and hard to read. Gatwood showcases that poets are paying attention and as storytellers have a job to not only pay attention but to speak out. I like how hard she is riding for young girls and women in this one. She sees you and she is your biggest cheerleader. She’s been there, done that and got pissed off.

I think whether you’re new to poetry or already a fan this is definitely a collection you should be checking for. If you’re already a poetry lover, you will more than likely speed through this but if this is your first time with Gatwood, I recommend consuming it in bits a pieces. Read a poem or two then set the collection down and let them sink in. It’s a fantastic ride and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on anything.

Until next time, take care of yourselves.

xo.

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Sunday Coffee

Hello loves, Happy Sunday! I hope this past week was a good one for you. Mine wasn’t too bad. It definitely wasn’t as stressful as previous weeks. Grab your Sunday drink of choice and let’s catch up..

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Oh, the feeling when you know you’re off for a couple of days. The straight up joy with no chaser. I took leave the first three days of this upcoming week for an event I am planning to go to, but don’t want to share just yet, out of fear of jinxing it! This will be my first time attending anything like this and I am so excited. I have a blog post I am currently working on that has a lot to do with it, and I can’t wait to share the post with you all. I am so not a fan of what I just did hear..leaving out the details..but trust me on this. I’m excited, but nervous..hoping that it turns out perfectly.

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Spring Reading is starting off with a bang. Although my reading has slowed down a bit, I am enjoying what I’ve been taking my time with. I recently finished my first poetry collection by poet Kat Savage called Redamancy. It is the first poetry collection in a good while that has been on my mind since I finished it. As I sit here and gush, let me share a few passages I highlighted:

“ask me what my favorite time of the day is and I’ll say it again and again-just a little after seven in the morning when I’m late for work and the sky is orange and I’m trading secrets like baseball cards and falling in love for the third time this week.”

“My lover isn’t made of metaphors. He is real and I feel him just as I feel my own heart beating in my chest even when he isn’t here.”

“He makes me feel e v e r y t h i n g after too long of nothing. and that is enough. That is everything.”

“I am breathing you in one mannerism at a time.”

So obviously my eternally 17 year old, angsty love poem loving soul adored this collection. I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrated I was becoming at not being able to track down a collection of love poems.

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Yesterday I tried a new to me coffee shop called Press Coffee. The two baristas working were absolutely sweethearts, I’m obsessed with the vibes in the place and my Vanilla/Lavender latte was delicious. I’m so grateful to live in a city with such an array of coffee shops to choose from. I’m finding I have my favorites, but looking out for a possible new favorite hasn’t gotten old yet.

I’ve been thinking of hauling one of those tbr carts I’ve seen trending. Is that what they’re really called? I for real, have a stack of books on my dresser and no more room only my book shelves. I low key wanted to haul new shelves this year, but can’t bring myself to do  so when mine are still holding up.  So I started really looking into the carts. Once upon a time, being surrounded by so many unread books would’ve overwhelmed me, but not anymore. It excites me when I think of all these new journeys I have awaiting me. At least that’s what I tell myself when I look at these stacks and stacks of unread books.

This weekend felt like another weekend I deserved. I am learning that when you’re in charge of a team, in my case, about 29 people..I won’t always make everyone happy. I am also learning that sometimes the best thing I can do, is to allow the team to figure their stuff out on their own. I find myself getting the most worked up during the week, when I’m being pulled into situations that I honestly should just let them team handle themselves. With me being too involved in their issues, it takes time away from the tasks that are actual priorities for me. Being in a leadership position is all trial and error until I get it figured out. It has taught me so much and yet I feel like I am continuously learning. I just want to get to the point where I’m not bringing work home and to where when I get home, I don’t feel so exhausted from the “mask,” I find myself donning throughout the day.

Let me know how your week went. Did you read anything good? Any book or Podcast recommendations you have are greatly appreciated. Until next time, take care of yourselves. xo.

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Sunday Coffee

“I’m learning to become all the space I need.”- Danez Smith

Hello Friends, and Happy first Sunday of April.  It is Sunday morning and I already know tomorrow I am going to miss is. I need more days of relaxation. Life has been go go go so much lately. Life of a working Mother. Life of a Mother, period. I need a getaway. Just one night, in a hotel room all to myself. Phone cut off, no obligations. I don’t want to kick this off though in my feelings and complaining. Grab your Sunday drink of choice and let’s catch up.

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This past week was a slow reading week for me. My main focus was finishing The Girl He  Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves which released April 2nd. If not reading that, I had the audio version of A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber, which I’m still making my way through. I am really enjoying it, and have missed Debbie Macomber’s writing so much. This story in particular feels so special to me for some reason. I love a good moving on/starting over romance and the friendship between the two main characters and their loyalty to one another and commitment to moving on is written so well.

One I started later in the week is, California Girls by Susan Mallery.

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This is my first Susan Mallery novel, and wow, it is good! In California Girls we follow three sisters who within a matter of days, are all dumped by the men they’ve been seeing. In the beginning I’d convinced myself that something would make this story unbelievable but I was totally wrong. I love that Mallery has us following three different perspectives but it is so easy to keep up with who is who and what they’re going through. I also like how I don’t necessarily prefer one storyline over another. Each perspective holds its own. I know there are some crummy sister relationships out there, but it’s always refreshing and delightful to read sister stories where the women actually get along.

I came home Friday after work to book mail that made my disastrous week totally worth it. My girl Stephanie from Steph’s Romance Book Talk on Youtube sent me a big box of books and bookish swag she hauled at her recent trip to ApollyCon. I need to make attending bookish events a priority and stick with it. I want to go to stuff so bad, meet friends, see authors and pay my respects. The box she sent to me was such a joy and reminder of why I love the romance community.  Stephanie is an O.G. when it comes to romance reading. I get so many recommendations from her and I love how she goes hard for the genre she loves.

This week was kind of weird. A rapper that I honestly didn’t really listen to was killed out in L.A. and it’s one of those situations that surprisingly broke my heart. I love, love. This rapper, Nipsey Hussle was the husband of an actress I’ve followed and admired for a while now, Lauren London. She’s beautiful, with the most adorable dimples, cool girl next door vibes with a slight sass to her while also being sunshine can chill vibes. When the news that he got killed hit the world, my heart broke for her. I can’t imagine getting the phone call that you’ll never see the love of your life alive again. Since his passing I’ve been watching videos and listening to interviews and this guy truly was a Legend. He had touched so many lives in a positive way. He gave back so much to his community. Although I never met the guy, I am grateful for the positive things he was able to accomplish in his short time here in the world. I feel like a lot lately, we are getting reminders that tomorrow isn’t promised. Tell your loved ones that you love them and don’t take a single moment for granted.

“The end isn’t coming soon, just what’s next.”-Neil Hilborn

I’ve been making my way through poetry collections, slowly but surely this month. I finished my first Danez Smith and am making my way through Neil Hilborn’s, The Future. I’d love to get through as many collections in the month of April as I can.

This past week was another overwhelming, chaotic, hot mess. I don’t mind being busy, but I hate being overwhelmed. I don’t like early days which turn into another day of getting in your car 30 minutes after your shift is technically over, still behind. It wouldn’t be so bad if I spent my days doing something I love doing. I’m at the point in my life where I don’t want to waste anymore Time. Keep your fingers crossed for me because your girl might be on the right path..only time will tell.

Anyway, I hope you had a great week and a relaxing weekend. If you’re reading anything that you’d like to suggest, let me know. Take care of yourself and until next time, xo.

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