Book Review: Souvenir Boys by David-Matthew Barnes

This collection of previously published and award-winning poems explores the themes of seduction, obsession, lust, desire, and unrequited love.

I’ve read David-Matthew Barnes before and I enjoy his young adult and adult fiction. This is the first poetry I’ve read of his, and I must say I enjoyed it. Each of the poems in this collection is very personal and tells a story. They’re written with different styles, and though they all have similar themes, it’s never redundant.

A few of the poems stood out to me and I highlighted them in the book. “Paper Boy” really resonated with me because I was a paper girl when I was younger, and I felt much the same way. The poem really captures that feeling of being alone and free and contemplating the future. I was twelve when I had my first paper route, and I remember biking along dreaming up what my life would be like, especially since I was “sophisticated” and had a job.

“Souvenir Boy,” where the title I assume comes from, stood out to me because of the last lines “Although we’ve come close, there are more than hot white seconds between us – there lies a lost country or two.”

“Look for Homer” felt so much like a fantasy to me, I wondered if this really happened. I got lost in the poem and placed myself there on Mylopotas Beach, and at the end I was sorry for the poem to end, and sorry for the poet to leave.

“Dear Mr. Sanchez” might be my favorite. I really loved the style this one was written in. As a letter, it’s so effective in getting the meaning across and translating the poets emotions to the readers. I’ve reread it several times and have started my own poem using this form now.

“Celebrity Skin” felt like another fantasy to me, and I wanted to drop the book and email the poet right away and ask if it was real and if it were, who the person in question was. It was deliciously scandalous, like something you’d read in a novel.

This book is currently only available as an ebook and can be purchased on Amazon here. Though I would like it to be known that I would purchase a print copy if this were to become available.

Book Review: Boys of Summer, edited by Steve Berman

Boys of Summer is the perfect collection of short stories for a hot summer day. After reading it – particularly the last story, “Wheat, Barley, Lettuce, Fennel, Salt for Sorry, Blood for Joy,” I had the strongest urge to go swimming in the ocean.

Sadly, a pool had to suffice.

Each story looks at different aspects of summer: vacationing, working, reminiscing on school. You name it. But the one thing they all have in common? Cute gay boys looking for love.

“Bark If You Like Boys” by Sam Cameron features some characters that may be familiar to readers if they have read the authors book Mystery of the Tempest. Denny Anderson, one of the twins, has a short role.

I loved the first story in the collection, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Swamp Thing.” It reminded me of being in Maine with my family. I liked both characters, Shane and Chase, and wish there was a full-length novel with their story. Chase is socially awkward in a way because of his love for amphibians, and Shane desperately wants to fit in. Who doesn’t know that feeling? In the end, as unlikely as it may seem, the two hit it off and discover they have other things in common.

The book is a fast read because of the short nature of the stories. It’s just enough to read one while sitting in the hot summer sun, sip on iced tea, and then go for a dip in the pool or inside to cool off before reading another one. Or you can just read them in one go.

Boys of Summer is available for sale through the Bold Strokes Books website or through Amazon.

Time for an update!

I haven’t logged in for quite some time, so I figure I should do an update!

On the book!: Andy Squared has been back in my hands for some time for another round of editing. It is due back to my editor soon, so I am happy that I get my April vacation to really crack down on tying up the last few strings.

You can now find Andy Squared on the Amazon website! It is available for preorder there. I was so excited to type in the name of the book and watch it pop up! It already has four likes and this time. Can we add more? 🙂 Check it out!

I also now have an author profile on Goodreads. They switched it over today because… Andy Squared is also on Goodreads now! You can check out my profile or take a look at the book and add it to your to-read pile!

On life!: I am a coach for Odyssey of the Mind and I am proud to say that my team took second place in the state finals for their problem and division, and we will be going to Iowa in May for the World Finals! I’m so excited and VERY proud of them! They worked so hard for it, and they’re working even harder now preparing for the big trip! GO TEAM!

Letterboxing, Books, and Counting Down

I don’t have a release date for Andy Squared yet. I’m sure I won’t get that for awhile. However, I decided I would do something fun to countdown, help gain some interest in the book, and also bring to light some interest in other great books! My idea was to combine two of my favorite things (new and old) into one: creating stamps for letterboxes from the covers of some of my favorite books.

Each month I’ll plant a new box to honor one of my favorite books (and I have a lot of them!) and hopefully by the end I will be able to make a stamp for the cover of Andy Squared!

First Finders will get a copy of the book that the stamp is based on (if the book is available to me at a reasonable price, anyway, because some are out of print and hard to find).

For November I did Geography Club by Brent Hartinger. Those interested in finding the stamp can check out the clues on AtlasQuest here. I was really proud of the carve, too. It’s not 100% accurate to the cover, but that’s okay. I added my own little flair to it. What do you think?