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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 361 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is the journey of Xiomara Batista, a young teen in Harlem who has secrets. She’s becoming a young woman aware of boys and a longing for acceptance — an acceptance of herself. She must come to terms with her religious mother and restricted upbringing and the reality that she does not fit the spiritual mold her mother had hoped for. The novel is told in verse.

The verse is reminiscent of childhood entries in a journal — rough and raw — full of emotion. Xiomara finds sanctuary in her words and her poems. She struggles with sexism and being a twin to a boy she feels disconnected from. Who is Poet X?

It is a journey of self-discovery. She finds strength from her pastor, despite her religious questions, and from her teacher who inspires her to read her words aloud. But all of this strength can be blown away by one woman who is also unclear about her life and her daughter and how things all went wrong.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is deliciously dramatic but it never loses its poetic center — the exploration of self and the journey toward a stronger self that can stand in the face of chaos.

RATING: Cinquain

Mailbox Monday #546

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

The Institute by Stephen King from Audible.

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’ parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents – telekinesis and telepathy – who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and 10-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from The Institute.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson from Audible.

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be positive all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F*ck positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f*cked, and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is – a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mind-set that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed by both academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited – “not everybody can be extraordinary; there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault”. Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f*ck about, so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins from Audible.

How to enrich your life and destroy doubt in five seconds.

Throughout your life, you’ve had parents, coaches, teachers, friends, and mentors who have pushed you to be better than your excuses and bigger than your fears. What if the secret to having the confidence and courage to enrich your life and work is simply knowing how to push yourself?

Using the science of habits, riveting stories, and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art, and business, Mel Robbins will explain the power of a “push moment”. Then, she’ll give you one simple tool you can use to become your greatest self.

It takes just five seconds to use this tool, and every time you do you’ll be in great company. More than eight million people have watched Mel’s TEDx Talk, and executives inside of the world’s largest brands are using the tool to increase productivity, collaboration, and engagement.

In The 5 Second Rule, you’ll discover it takes just five seconds to:

Become confident
Break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt
Beat fear and uncertainty
Stop worrying and feel happier
Share your ideas with courage

The 5 Second Rule is a simple, one-size-fits-all solution for the one problem we all face – we hold ourselves back.

The secret isn’t knowing what to do – it’s knowing how to make yourself do it.

What did you receive?

Fall Kickoff of DiVerse Gaithersburg

The third year of DiVerse Gaithersburg kicked off with Kristin Kowalski Ferragut and her powerful poems of self-examination and more. Jona Colson treated us to some dialogue poems that were astounding and inspired me to dig out some old ones I’d given up on. Le Hinton wowed us with his poems tied deeply to cotton and its history. His reading of a poem from the point of view of cotton was unique and engaging.

This is fast becoming a reading series that you must attend.

I really enjoyed listening to each poet this month. I skipped the open mic even though I brought a poem. My allergies had blown up my eye and made me cough at the most inopportune times during the featured readers. The open mic had a variety of readers, some who are familiar to those who regularly attend and some who are new.

If you’re in the DMV in October, do not miss out on the reading with Reuben Jackson, Rose Solari, and Jay Hall Carpenter.

Giveaway & Guest Post: A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods by Brigid Huey

Please welcome Brigid Huey today with her debut novel, A Chance Encounter in the Pemberley Woods. First, let’s check out the synopsis of the book before we get to the giveaway and excerpt. A surprise meeting A baby alone in the woods And a second chance at love Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to his beloved Pemberley […]

18 Years Ago; We Never Forget

Excerpt & Giveaway: Letters of the Heart by Kay Bea

Today’s guest is Kay Bea, a debut author in the Jane Austen Fan Fiction universe. She’s eager to share her first book, Letters of the Heart, and I’m eager for you to read this excerpt that will leave you wanting more. Don’t forget to enter the generous giveaway from Quill & Quartos, her publisher. Book […]

Happy birthday!

A big happy birthday to my brother, Aaron, today. I hope this year brings you more good things and hopefully, some new activities. It’s been an adjustment over the last couple of years for you, but I hope you are feeling more settled and happier.

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White

Source: Publisher Paperback, 368 pgs. I am an Amazon Affiliate The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street #5) by Karen White is another page turning mystery with Melanie and her husband, Jack Trenholm, on Tradd Street. Their twins are thriving and growing, but Melanie’s ability to communicate with the dead has been hibernating or intermittent […]