Review: “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur

A review by Amanda

Milk and Honey uses free form poetry to tell the author’s experiences of survival. The book delves into childhood trauma, abuse, heartache, and healing. Divided into four parts, each focusing on a different part of her life, the poems and prose are emotionally raw and brutally open, often uncomfortably so. Rupi Kaur balances her unique perspective of life with the relatability of shared experiences of destructive relationships, misplaced trust, and finding oneself in the aftermath of disaster.

Readers will be drawn in by the author’s vulnerability and honesty. Emotional discomfort with the descriptions of trauma is likely at various points, but readers will be rewarded for following through. The prose is accompanied by simplistic illustrations that perfectly capture the feelings being conveyed. The author does not hold back. Readers will experience her emotions, ranging from fear, rage, shame, and sorrow to her passion, joy, relief, and love.

These are not epic poems that will take up too much of a reader’s time. Some pages have only a few lines, while others may have a paragraph or two. Each should be read with care, however, as every word contributes equally to the story. The lack of capitalization and haphazard grammar may seem careless but actually sets the tone for the author’s frame of mind, and does not in any way detract from the stories being told.

This book does contain descriptions of violence and sexual abuse and may not be suitable for everyone. I would recommend Milk and Honey to readers sixteen and older. Although it tackles heavy topics, it also offers hope for those who are trying to heal and it is absolutely worth reading and discussing.

My rating: 5/5 stars

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Review: “Celtic Moon” and “Summer Moon” by Jan DeLima

Celtic Moon by Jan de LimaA review by Maria.

I would like to thank author Jan DeLima for allowing me to read and review the first two books in her Celtic Wolves series: Celtic Moon and Summer Moon.

The following is my review of Celtic Moon:

Dylan Black is the leader of his pack of werewolves. He is getting them ready to possibly go to war with the Guardians when he hears from the last person he ever expected: his wife. Fifteen years ago Sophie Thibodeau left Dylan and carried their unborn child within her. She fled Dylan after witnessing him shift and having endured cruelty from his people. She’s been on the run from him ever since. However, now their son is starting to exhibit signs of the supernatural and fearing for his safety, she reaches out to Dylan.

Dylan has been alive for hundreds of years. He comes from a Pagan and Celtic origin and has never given his heart fully until he met Sophie. I spent quite a bit of the book feeling terrible for him, even after knowing Sophie’s reasons for leaving him. He was possessive, strong, smart, passionate and a worthy leader. But still he took a chance on love after all those years, only to have her crush him and worse, take his child from him. I admired his passion for his people and strength to keep going after something so terrible happened to him. He also had an amazing capacity for forgiveness, by allowing Sophie to come back to his pack and bring his son home.

Sophie was a strong willful character. I understood why she ran, but I never got over how terrible that was for her to do. So instead, I had to look past that and  appreciate other facets of her character. She was a good mother and cared for her family and others. She turned herself from a weak woman into a one with physical strength and worked to learn survival skills. But what really made me grow to like her as a character were her interactions with her son. They had a great loving banter and also really cared for each other. She was equal parts protector and teacher to him. And  I really liked how brave she was in the knowledge that she, as a human, wasn’t enough for him and that it was time to face Dylan again.

This book was very much a paranormal romance. It was steeped deeply in all things mythological from werewolves to magic, to the Otherworld. And given that Dylan had a long history; Celtic, Pagan, and Egyptian lores were explored. I enjoyed the author’s interpretation of the werewolf myth and that it was a painful shift from man into beast. Having Dylan’s son go through the process for the first time, gave me a great understanding of Dylan’s past and everything he’s had to endure. I would have liked to see a little more interactions with the Guardians in this book. They were supposed to be the big bad of the novel but only made a few, but memorable, appearances.

Another focus of this book was on family. The connections Sophie had to her son, and to her mother were explored. But also Dylan’s long history with his sister Elen and brother Luc. His family and their past were greatly interwoven in the story, which makes me think that the other books in this trilogy will be about them.

Celtic Moon was fairly fast paced and not too long. It was a great urban fantasy/paranormal read.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Summer Moon by Jan DeLimaThe following is my review of Summer Moon:

Summer Moon continues on with the series and features Rosa and Luc.

Rosa finds herself needing allies after her husband was killed by Dylan Black after she had aided him by saving his wife. Because she helped him, she is considered a traitor by her kind. Now she will be at the mercy of 8 other Guardians and they rally to claim and impregnate her unless she can convince the Black family to help her. While seeking their help, Rosa determines her greatest protection would be if she marries again, to Luc Black.

I absolutely adored Rosa’s character. I can’t think of a stronger female character in paranormal romance novels. She’s had to endure hundreds of years of abuse from her husband after marrying him as his child bride. He physically abused her, sometimes sexually, and often mentally, once killing her beloved horse after she disobeyed and making her eat its remains for a week! She was stranded in her home and very seldom allowed to leave. However she did find a few friends among their servants and built up loyalty and rapport through all she endured. All this time, she has planned and prepared for one moment, when she’d be able to break free and revolt against the guardians and her husband.

Luc has always been referred to as the Beast of Merin after being born in wolf form and then shifting to human. But despite being a beast, he has loved before, and still mourns his long dead wife. He understands that his marriage to Rosa won’t be out of love, but she needs help and he can sympathize with her plight. But even though there’s no love, he’s determined to make her his partner in all other ways and to teach her how to feel pleasure out of a marriage and the marriage bed instead of only pain. He was a kind, strong, and stubborn alpha male. He was very swoon-worthy and interesting. He made it his mission to know everything about Rosa physically and emotionally, and to always have her back, even when she pushed him away.

This book continued to delve into mythology but also added quite a bit more action. The Guardians were featured quite a bit more and I came to fully understand how evil most of them were. Thus, the pace picked up in this novel, and I got through it very quickly.

I believe I enjoyed Summer Moon even more than the first book and can’t wait to see where this paranormal romance series continues!

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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