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Collins is able to make ordinary struggles emotionally poignant and powerful, reminding us that we all go through more than we think - for even things we may brush off as common or ordinary issues can pack an emotional punch. The chapbook tells a narrative that is at once emotive, uplifting, heartbreaking, and empowering. This poem packs half a life into a poem, capturing the strength, ferocity, sadness and hardship bound up inside the writer. This thread of poems seems to encompass every feeling possible - from humour and empathy, to warmth and sadness. She writes: I dreamed of the priest, who once said, as he flexed his fingers, masturbation causes blindness; making love is for making babies and gays are intrinsically disordered.


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My brain, marinated in doctrine, castigated me for not keeping the eruption underground The narrative arc of this chapbook is beautiful as we are taken through numerous stages of self-acceptance into the realms of anew and exciting love. Indeed, the latter half of the chapbook is romantic, touching, loving and sexual, and the reader becomes bound up in the joy, love and acceptance that grows in each poem.

Self-acceptance is gained and grown throughout the chapbook in poems that are frankly beautiful. These untitled poems, named in the contents after their first lines, flow together in a cohesive manner, whilst never being in the least bit predictable. Littered throughout, within, and in between these poems are some captivating pencil illustrations.

Varying from line drawings outlining two people in an embrace, to a carefully shaded battered leaf, these illustrations certainly add another dimension to the words Matejeva has so carefully chosen. The narrative arc of this collection is itself heartbreaking. The narrator of these poems struggles with loving an abusive man, learning that she no longer needs him, and freeing herself from the cycle of self-loathing the relationship had inspired. However, as the collection progresses, a sense and realisation that this is not okay develops.

There are so many perfectly phrased, stand-out lines of this collection, that selecting just some has been tricky. Matvejeva describes being reborn and her reader is with her every step of the way, as reading these poems feels like reading about someone you know. These poems are a testament to strength and recovery. Elisabeth Horan is a Vermont based poet and an advocate for animals, children, and those suffering alone and in pain - especially those ostracised by disability and mental illness.

In twenty-five poems, Horan takes her reader along a spiralling path that is both introspective and ardently self-aware. Strikingly honest, Horan refuses to shy away from the uncomfortable or socially taboo. In this poem, Horan writes: There is no rest for people like me. There are witch hunts happening all the time for us. This two-part poem flits between a third person character examination of the poet, and a first person response.

In this piece, Horan takes her chance to respond to the judgements thrown her way. Whilst lineated like a prose poem, Horan plays with sound, giving it a more rhythmic tone. Indeed, various poems throughout the chapbook utilise rhyme and rhyme schemes. These poems capture the exhausting battle between self-loathing and determination.

She gets her reader to reconsider our understanding of motherhood, and realise difficulties we may not have encountered in powerful lines that will make you pause and re-read. Through her willingness to examine her own shortcomings, Horan is able to examine the exhausting show of motherhood that society expects and the realities of living through this with a mental illness. With a target audience of year olds, Brooke took the book from school to school and it quickly became a complete sell-out that saw a second print run ordered in record time.

Naturally, we were intrigued to sit down with a copy of the book for ourselves. While the novel may be aimed at a younger audience, early reviews claimed that it had a little something for all age groups - and these reviews were right! Brooke has pulled out all the stops to create a story that surprises and entertains in equal measure and, nevermind passing a copy to the children, it's a book that I'll happily return to time and again.

The novel revolves around Max and Luchia, a brother and sister pairing who design an imagined game, wherein they must overcome certain challenges to progress through the game's levels. Each level is harder than the last and, with the added complication of Max's schoolyard bully hovering on the peripherals, there's a surprising amount of tension in this bite-size book too. In terms of the delivery, Brooke writes with an obvious excitement that breathes life into the plot and indeed the characters.

Max is a charming protagonist who wins the reader over early on, making it exceptionally easy to follow this journey along with him. Furthermore, Brooke's rich imagination does wonders for the game-world itself as we're drawn into an unfolding map of vivid descriptions and wild monsters that live and breathe off the page as well as on, and this vivid quality is aided hugely by the presence of illustrations throughout the book - provided by one Seraphim Bryant a talent worth watching, for sure. Between Brooke and Bryant an entire world appears before your very eyes and you find yourself so drawn in that you simply must continue rooting and wooping for these characters right through to the end.

As children's books go, this is certainly one that I wish I'd had on my bookshelf a few years back.

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It's beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated and, as collaborations go, the Brooke and Bryant dream team is something that I'd love to see more of in the future. A wonderful and exciting tale of good versus evil and good versus vampires, and dragons, and To find out more about the book, you can read our interview with Kevin Brooke over in the Interviews section right now.

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Written by: Charlotte Barnes Published: 7 January Throughout Cutting The Green Ribbon not only does the experimental come through, but so does the exciting new voice of a poet delivering her debut collection - and it's a worthy collection indeed. Wareham Morris moves through this bite-size book adopting voices and animating characters in a way that shows her strong feminist stance, giving a mouthpiece to the likes of Courtney Love 'From Courtney' , Peaches 'From Peaches' , and Hilda Doolittle 'From Hilda' to name but a few.

Alongside these declarations, Wareham Morris also introduces unique turns of phrase throughout, marking these poems as being distinctly hers, and the 'you' she intermittently addresses adds an additional layer of curiosity to her work. While there are many highlights within the book, 'Postcard' stands out to me as a personal favourite for the cutting sentiment: 'Someone told me the names of the plants and flowers to impress you but I don't know why I thought I should impress you. I was lucky. To borrow again from the poem 'Postcards', 'There is beauty, here.


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  7. Deliciously off-beat, Stacey allows her poetry to set the pace through the early stages of adulthood, dripping with cultural references that will resonate strongly with her reading audience; Stacey provides a slice of life that many of us will remember - and some of us will still feel nostalgic for. Another point for commendation must go to Stacey's distinct but beautiful use of imagery, often creating a delicacy in unexpected places; take 'So, You Got Your Rock Star Death in the End' as one such example, with the stunning: 'She is as precious as a robin's egg tucked inside an old kettle.

    Another marvellous collection from a strong and established poet, Stacey has created something special here and, to borrow from her own 'Define Poetry' which features in the book, it seems only right to conclude: 'This is poetry, for sure'. As the title suggests, this micro collection is a perfect pocket-sized dose of twelve distinct poetic voices.

    Taking the prompt Dust , these poets interpret this single word in wonderfully disparate ways. The minute particles of dust become a symbol for something much greater in this pocket collection.

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    As you can see, dust comes to represent all manner of things, including time, space, life, death, people and emotions. Despite having twelve different contributors, the unity of the collection is apparent. Although very different in style in many ways, both these poets have a knack for pushing images into the mind of their readers, where they are likely to stay!

    This entirely free-verse collection also does interesting things with how the words appear on the page. Their carefully chosen layout is an intriguing shift away from our standardised expectations and adds another layer of significance to the many voices, minds, and worlds that are brought to the fore of this collection. Ultimately, these poets take an often mournful and somber tone in their dealing with the word Dust , yet their wonderful craft of language and highly individual writing styles bring something new in every poem, making this bite-sized collection wholly satisfying and thought provoking.

    Garrett weaves so many narratives into such a short span of book but she does so with a control and conviction that allows these works to breathe on their own, as well as as a complete collection. We've also been lucky enough to grab Kate for an author interview, so you can hear her own thoughts about this collection - and maybe grab some details about her upcoming projects too - over in our Interviews section this week.

    The anthology — which is available to purchase here — caused a storm among readers, pulling in compliments up and down the country, and it even bagged the Runner Up position for Best Anthology at the Saboteur Awards.

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    Arriving soon with an online bookseller near you, Persona Non Grata sees Kenyon collect poems around the themes of isolation, exclusion, and the psychological fallout that arises from these experiences. Pulling at mental health, immigration, sexuality and more, the collection as a whole promises to be an emotional journey for anyone who reads it and, after chewing through the whole thing compulsively over the course of an afternoon, I do recommend that you read it.

    I wish, wish, wish that I could devote time and space to every poem in this collection, as they all contribute something brave and worthy of discussion. There are, however, a handful of notes jotted in my review book some of which have underlined hearts scribbled alongside them so it only seems right that I take a moment to thank these particular poems, and their authors. These poems are special not just for their topics but for the crafting and consideration that sit behind them, and I commend those who have taken part in this anthology.

    Figment Music is the most recent publication from Beau Hopkins, which was released as part of the Lighthouse pamphlet series, convened by Gatehouse Press. The bite-size pamphlet is fashioned from a series of sonnets, some interlocking and some fiercely independent from their surrounding pieces, and overall the collection has a classical feel which makes it a distinct piece of work.

    Throughout, Hopkins integrates a wonderful use of sound that emanates up from the page itself, giving the collection a coherent rhythm while also throwing light and shade in terms of how distinct these sounds are to a reader. This sample then, to me, reads as representative of the collection as the whole as Hopkins persists in being witty and clever, while also throwing in something of the experimental. It must be said that Figment Music is not the easiest read; Hopkins is certainly making his reader work for the end gratification but, I hasten to add, that gratification does come.

    From start to finish, this is a well-crafted and highly-polished publication that shows great skill and great promise for whatever this poet will do next. This collection stands as the fourth solo release from Farley and, through the mastery of voice and stellar use of poetic technique throughout, any reader can see how much this poet has honed her skills in recent years. The collection itself is a medley of literary genres making for a rich and varied reading experience from the off.

    Farley doesn't shy away from introducing the magical and mystical - and, it has to be said, sometimes even the surreal - and interweaving these elements with relatively every day life events. There are, for me, some standout moments in this collection such as 'Salome', which shows the speaker demanding the head of the man who scorned her be brought to her on a platter - 'My eyes feast upon the gore at your gaping mouth. This is just to show men that we can.

    She reflects on her parents' first meeting and marriage - 'They met at a tea dance, perfectly matched. Farley is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects but she does so in a way that makes them joyous to read and re-read, to properly appreciate her unique spin on the world. A truly enjoyable collection with a magical edge, it's well worth investing in a copy. It features both poetry and flash fiction and was published with Listen Softly London in The mixture of cynicism, humour and genuinely serious issues is what makes this collection so engaging, as McColl manages to maintain a balance between the lighthearted and the thought-provoking - somehow doing both at the same time!

    McColl takes his reader through a host of unique and interesting scenes throughout the collection.

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    Early on, we begin in a takeaway poetry joint, in which McColl presents a one sided phone conversation of a worker taking a order of poetry, to be delivered by a poet. That said, some poems work on a greater use of the comedic than others. The former is a short prose piece that plays on the idea of nose-picking becoming a criminal offence, and the latter is a poem that imagines a world in which pedestrians are treated like cars, written in the style of a public warning: 'Please note that every pavement, even those along a busy street, will have a speed limit of three miles an hour.

    Any pedestrian caught breaking it will be banned from wearing shoes for a week and have to walk in their bare feet.