Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood Book Review

Book Description

Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project – a literal dream come true – Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.

Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school – archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

But when her equipment starts to go missing and the staff ignore her, Bee could swear she sees Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas… devouring her with those eyes. The possibilities have all her neurons firing.

But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do? 

Review

First things first, let me mention that there is an HP mention in the first chapter of the book and that was quite disappointing. I haven’t seen anyone bring this up and for me, this is a big thing because I would rather that book not be mentioned in any of the things I read.

Thoughts and Themes: I was a bit skeptical going into this book because I had seen people dislike it. I wound up listening to this one on audio because that was how I read The Love Hypothesis so I figured this would be good on audio as well. I did enjoy the narrator of this book and the voices given to both Bee and Levi.

I didn’t love this one as much as The Love Hypothesis but there were definitely portions of this book that I enjoyed. Something that I did enjoy was the awkwardness of all of our characters and how this reminded me of people in STEM that I have interacted with. I also really liked

Someone else mentioned the kiss and the sex scenes and I really should’ve listened to their review and skipped that. The kiss already was just so uncomfortable to listen to that I should’ve just fast-forwarded through any other intimate moments.

Something else that I do like about this book was the relationship that we see between Bee and her sister, as well as her research assistant. I actually liked both of these characters and what they add to the story. I liked how supportive these people are in Bee’s life and how it doesn’t seem like these are forced relationships.

Characters: In this book, you get to meet a few characters through their interactions with our main characters, Bee and Levi. You get to meet their research assistant, Bee’s ex-fiancee and ex-best friend, and a few others briefly.

I was not a big fan of our main character, there were so many moments in which she annoyed me which made it hard to continue listening. There were just so many moments in which she was having a pity party for herself or just way too clueless for an adult her age.

Okay, so our love interest…I really wanted to love Levi as much as I loved Adam but there was just something about him that I was just eh about. I think a lot of it has to do with how the heck he like Bee and how that makes him an awkward mess. What I do like about Levi is his persistence even when Bee keeps insisting that he hates her. I also like the moments in which we get to see Levi with his cat and when Levi talks about Penny and her family. I like getting to see these moments in which Levi is vulnerable and we learn more about him.

This all being said, I was not sold on the relationship between Bee and Levi. I didn’t care about them as a couple and preferred them both as individuals or friends. I actually liked them when they were friends and how supportive Levi was as Bee was dealing with seeing her ex-fiancee and ex-best friend. I liked those small moments of their friendship developing but I think it should’ve stopped there rather than turned into a romance.

Writing Style: This book is written in the first person from the perspective of Bee. This was quite frustrating because it felt like I was reading her journal entries that hadn’t been filtered. If this was going to be the case then it should’ve been written as we stumbled across Bee’s diary because so much of her internal thoughts are just annoying. There were so many times in which I was yelling at her to just speak to people.

The book also includes Twitter posts as well as some Twitter conversations. This part is kind of annoying though as I keep thinking about how Bee and Levi do not know they are talking to each other. I like seeing things through this perspective though but I do think that they should’ve figured things out a lot sooner.

Author Information

I’m Ali, and I write contemporary romcom novels about women in STEM and academia. I love cats, Nutella, and side ponytails. I’m also currently learning to crochet, so as you can tell I’m a super busy gal with an intense and exciting life!

Devil’s Chew Toy by Rob Osler Book Review

Book Description

Seattle teacher and part-time blogger Hayden McCall wakes up in a stranger’s bed alone, half-naked and sporting one hell of a shiner. Then the police come knocking on the door. It seems that Latino dancer Camilo Rodriguez has gone missing and they suspect foul play. What happened the night before? And where is Camilo?

Determined to find answers, Hayden seeks out two of Camilo’s friends–Hollister and Burley–both lesbians and both fiercely devoted to their friend. From them, Hayden learns that Camilo is a “Dreamer” whose parents had been deported years earlier, and whose sister, Daniela, is presumed to have returned to Venezuela with them. Convinced that the cops won’t take a brown boy’s disappearance seriously, the girls join Hayden’s hunt for Camilo.

The first clues turn up at Barkingham Palace, a pet store where Camilo had taken a part-time job. The store’s owner, Della Rupert, claims ignorance, but Hayden knows something is up. And then there’s Camilo’s ex-boyfriend, Ryan, who’s suddenly grown inexplicably wealthy. When Hayden and Hollister follow Ryan to a secure airport warehouse, they make a shocking connection between him and Della–and uncover the twisted scheme that’s made both of them rich.

The trail of clues leads them to the grounds of a magnificent estate on an island in Puget Sound, where they’ll finally learn the truth about Camilo’s disappearance–and the fate of his family.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I was given the chance to read this book I decided I had to read it because I love LGBTQ+ books and this one has a mystery component to it. From the start of this book, I love that it opens with the main plot of the story and doesn’t take long to delve right into the story. I also really enjoyed that each of the chapters vary in length but they are all short and quick.

Something else that I really enjoyed about the book was the balance between dialogue and narration. I like that the majority of this story is told through dialogue between all of our characters and rarely is there narration. I also like that the story doesn’t spend a lot of time in Hayden’s head as things are playing out.

Something else that I liked about this book was how it pointed out why Camillo wouldn’t be the police’s first priority. I liked how it jsut got even more layered as we learn more about Camillo and why his friends believe that the police aren’t really searching for him.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Hayden. You get to meet some of the people who work at the club where Camillo was employed, his best friends, Hollister, and more.

I really liked the friendship that develops between Hayden and Hollister as they are looking for Camillo. I liked the dialogue that occurs between them and how funny moments are slipped in seamlessly.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of our main character, Hayden. Something that I really enjoyed about Hayden telling the story is that he is just as knowledgeable about Camillo as we are. I like that Hayden doesn’t know much and he finds out things as he interacts with the different people that run in Camillo’s circle.

This book also includes snippets from Hayden’s blog which is something that I really enjoyed. I like how we get to learn pieces about Hayden and his feelings about several different topics through these blog pieces. I also like that the blog allows for a different voice than what we get throughout the rest of the story.

Author Information

Rob’s debut mystery DEVIL’S CHEW TOY is the first book in the Hayden & Friends Series–traditional mysteries featuring a rainbow cast of amateur sleuths.

Rob’s debut mystery short story, ANALOGUE, published in 2021 in ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE won the Mystery Writers of America 2022 Robert L Fish Award for best debut short story by an American Author.

After many years of living in Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, he resides in southern California with his long-time partner and a tall, gray cat. Discover more at www.robosler.com 

Let it Rain by Marcela Mariz Book Review

Book Description

The funniest and most charming novel about finding yourself you’ll read this year.

Mandy Olsen lives and breathes the Eighties: an era of great music, questionable fashion choices, and endless possibilities. It was also the only time Mandy was truly happy in her life.

Now working at the school she used to attend, Mandy’s fixation with the past is starting to attract attention. Jessy, the office mean girl, whispers that “Mental Mandy” is going off the deep end. Principal Weber prefers to call her confused. And to make matters worse, the mysterious hot new teacher has developed a knack for popping up at the most embarrassing moments possible.

If Mandy wants to keep her job, she knows she needs to face the grief that turned her world upside down. But can you grasp at a second chance if your best years are behind you?

Perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary and Sophie Kinsella, Let it Rain is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about friendship, rebellion, and finding the courage to love and laugh again.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was so happy when I started reading this book since there were so many parts of this story that I found relatable. There were so many moments in which I saw myself in our main character.

I really like the way this book deals with grief and how it shows grief affecting our main character, Mandy in a unique way. I liked that we get to see Mandy dealing with social anxiety and how we get to see her visit a therapist and how that helps her through different moments of her life.

I like the way certain things unravel in this book as these were things that I wasn’t expecting. I liked how our main character, has to figure out how to navigate the news that she has now after trying to move past this loss. I liked seeing her try to fit this person back into her new life and the way that those around her embrace her.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Mandy . You get to meet her mother and best friend, who are only visible to her, several work colleagues, and her therapist.

I really like the friendship that develops between our main character, Mandy, Zack, and Kim. I like the things that each of them add into her life and how they each help her deal with difficult emotions and trauma. I also really enjoyed the way that the romance develops between Manday and Zack including the twist and turns that they go through.

I also really liked seeing the relationship that Mandy has with her mother and with her best friend, Joshua. I like how we get to see the way she pictures them in her life and the impact she believes they have as ghosts. I like getting a chance to see how she feels about the relationship that she had with both her mother and Joshua prior to their deaths.

Writing Style: This book is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Mandy. I liked that this whole story is told through Mandy’s perspective as we are getting a chance to see how things are like for her. I like that we aren’t seeing how anyone else is feeling throughout this book or how things are playing out for others until Mady finds things out.

Author Information

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Marcela Mariz discovered her passion for storytelling on the stage. She produced her first play at sixteen and went on to complete more than twenty theater-commissioned plays.

The Meg (Movie and Book Comparison)

As soon as I saw The Meg movie and found out that it was a book first I knew I had to get my hands on the copy of the book. I wound up getting a copy and then it set on my shelf for a few years before I got a hold of the audiobook. I am so glad that I listened to the audiobook because now I have to get my hands on the rest of the books in this series.

It has been a while since I have watched this movie but it is one of my favorites and I used to watch it all the time when it came out. This is one in which I couldn’t decide whether the book or movie was better because they were both good in their own ways. I highly recommend reading the book if you have seen the movie, watching the movie if you have read the book, and if you haven’t done either what are you waiting for go watch the movie and read the book.

The pacing of the audiobook matched the pacing of the movie and what I really enjoyed was that you felt like you were watching the movie take place as you listened to the story. I wonder if this would be a similar experience if you were reading the book rather than listening. Something else that was great about this book was that it built up the story about The Meg by giving you history and science but it fit in to the story so it didn’t feel like it was info dumping.

Something else that the movie does really well that I felt the book was lacking in was eliciting emotions in you. I felt that the pacing of the book didn’t allow me to get invested in the characters so I didn’t really care for things that happened to them. The only reason that I cared for some of them was due to understanding from the movie of who was who.

I wanna hear what you all think.

I Let you Fall by Sara Downing Book Review

Book Description

Publisher

On a summer night in London, art teacher Eve Chapman finds herself in a hospital emergency room. She watches surgeons desperately operate on a young woman with a terrible head injury. But when the bandages are removed, Eve is horrified to find her own body on the operating table.

Trapped in a coma, Eve struggles to cope with the fact that no matter how hard she tries, her family and friends cannot see or hear her. But then she meets Luca Diaz, a handsome and comatose lawyer who can see her. He takes Eve under his wing and teaches her how to use her new abilities to help the living.

As the weeks pass, Eve struggles to find a way back to her body and to Nathan, the man she loves. But the more time she spends with Luca, the more she wonders if her old life is worth going back to at all. 

Purchase Here

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was a bit weary when I decided to read this book and provide a review since it was out of my comfort zone. I am glad that I decided to give it a try anyway since I wound up really enjoying this book. It is difficult to talk about this book without giving you all any spoilers so be warned, there may be spoilers in my review.

I really enjoyed the way things come full circle in this book and how it shows that things happen for a reason. I also like how this book shows grief occurring for multiple people throughout different stages. I like how you get to see Eve grieve over different things, her family grieve, people in Luca’s life grieve, and more.

Characters: You are introduced to a few characters throughout this book through their interactions with our main character, Eve. You get to meet someone else who is also in this in-between space with her who is the love interest, Luca. You get to meet her current boyfriend, Nathan, as well as some of her family members. You also get to meet the person that Eve is responsible for watching over, Jimmy, and some students that Eve was working with.

I really enjoyed the relationship that occurs between Eve and Luca and how this slowly develops. I found that even if you go into this knowing that there will be a relationship between the two of them, it still comes surprisingly and is sweet.

Writing Style: This book is told in the third person through the perspective of Eve but it also jumps around and gives us the story from the perspective of Will’s family, and Jimmy. At first, I was quite confused as to how these other people fit into the story so I advise you to pay attention to everyone that is introduced. I really liked how we slowly find out the role that each of these people plays in Eve’s life and how she has impacted each of them.

Author Information

Author’s Site

Sara Downing is the author of the popular Head Over Heels contemporary romance series, plus a further romance, Stage Fright, and a historical novel, Urban Venus.

In 2016, Sara published The Lost Boy, her first foray into the world of the supernatural. Her latest novel, I Let You Fall, is now on pre-order and will be available from June 20, 2022.

Sara lives in rural Worcestershire with her husband, three almost grown-up children, a Labrador and a cat. Before children she was a Chartered Accountant, but always knew her dream career lay elsewhere. She started writing in 2009 and hasn’t since yearned to return to the world of accountancy.

Wake up the Night by Kenneth A. Silver Spotlight Post

Book Description

This is a collection of stories, of words and ideas that flow like a dream, but is there anything less predictable or quite so fickle as a dream? Ken Silver creates narratives that are decidedly daring, and he is never afraid to reach, but never beyond the point at which (with lawyerly precision) he is unable to support his conclusions, scientifically or otherwise. Make no mistake though, it is hardly a tame piece of writing, but a rich harvest of beautifully imagined and thoroughly engrossing tales conceived by an original thinker who refuses to be shackled to curatorial conventions. Accordingly, each and every story, and the novel that follows, has a mind of their own.

The novel itself could only have been written by someone who had actually been there. It took more than research. It took a fashion designer, lawyer, and rainforest radical, but, most of all, it took a poet. Sip it slowly. It is a bold and complex selection and wants to be savored.

Author Information

Kenneth A. Silver is a law student who pursued a career in fashion design. He created and built a chain of clothing stores in Canada that featured his own exclusive products. Following his return to the States, he became an active partner in large-scale real estate projects in and around NYC. While doing so, he exhibited his photography in venues throughout the US.

Despite the rigors of an active and varied career and an extensive travel schedule, Kenneth has always made time for his writing and is quick to trivialize his impressive resume. He considers himself a writer first and foremost, and has done little else since 2004. Kenneth lives with his wife in Manhattan and Woodstock (NY), and has three children.  Currently, he is completing the novelization of Songs for the Deaf, one of his optioned screenplays.

Queerly Beloved by Susie Dumond Book Review

Book Description

A people-pleasing baker tries to find her place as a bridesmaid-for-hire . Will she finally find her happily ever after—and her own voice?

Amy, a semicloseted queer baker and bartender in mid-2010s Oklahoma, has spent a lifetime putting other people’s needs before her own. Until, that is, she’s fired from her job at a Christian bakery and turns her a one-off gig subbing in for a bridesmaid into a full-time business—thanks to her baking talents, crafting skills, and years watching rom-coms and Say Yes to the Dress. Between her new gig and meeting Charley, the attractive engineer who’s just moved to Tulsa, suddenly Amy’s found something— and someone—she actually wants.

Her tight-knit group of chosen family is thrilled that Amy is becoming her authentic self. But when her deep desire to please kicks into overdrive, Amy’s precarious balancing act strains her relationships to the breaking point, and she must decide what it looks like to be true to herself—and if she has the courage to try. 

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was drawn to this book just based on the cover of it and I am glad I had the chance to read it. I winded up listening to this one on audio and really enjoyed the audio version of this book.

I tend to not read romance books because of the spice scenes which I am not a big fan of. This book includes a few of those scenes but they are not overdone and they add to the plot without deterring so I found them to be well done. I do think that this book is marketed as a romance but it is more of a story in which Amy is finding herself and learning to embrace that with some romance included throughout.

There were quite a few things that I really enjoyed throughout this book. I really enjoyed how we get a chance to see what it is like for Amy to have two separate lives, one in which she is out and another in which she is closeted. I like how this book brings up how hard it is to be a queer person of color or someone who doesn’t fit the binary living in that small town. I also really enjoy how this book talks about what marriage equality means for Queer people but also how it isn’t everything people think it is and how there is still more work to be done.

I also really enjoyed Amy being a baker and also her brief time as a backup bridesmaid. I really enjoyed getting to see her be in her element even as she hides a piece of herself that is important to her. I liked getting a glimpse at some of the weddings that Amy has to work at and the mess that she gets herself into at some of them.

Characters: In this book you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Amy. You get to meet some of her friends, Damian and Joel, her family, the love interest, Charley, and more.

I really enjoyed all of the relationships that are included in this book and love hearing about Amy’s relationship with her friends. I loved getting to see how she allowed herself to just be who she is around them without worrying about others finding out about her queerness.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Amy and her mother. I love how Amy goes to her mom for so much yet her mother pushes her to make Queer friends to talk to because she doesn’t understand everything. I love how supportive Amy’s mother is of her and how you also see Amy’s mother in Amy when she is supporting a Queer youth later in the story.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person through the perspective of Amy. I really like having romance books be written in third person because I can detach from them and am able to enjoy the story as an outsider. I like that we only get things told to us in the perspective of Amy because we don’t see how others are feeling as things fall apart. I also really liked how this story is more than just a romance story and has parts that aren’t just about Charley and Amy.

Author Information

Susie Dumond is a queer writer from Little Rock, Arkansas. She is a Senior Contributor at Book Riot, where she writes a monthly Horoscopes and Book Recommendations column, as well as various quizzes, book lists, and bookish news pieces. Susie received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tulsa and a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the George Washington University. Currently, she’s probably making cupcakes at her home in Washington, DC, with her partner Mary, her dog Waffles, and her cat Maple.

Alyse Diaries by B. Danielle Watkins Book Review

Book Description

““The Alysé Diaries”, a riveting new series by acclaimed author B. Danielle Watkins, is a controversial drama vastly different from the previous “No Other Man” tragedy series. Volume one, befittingly entitled “Curious”, deals with Sentury’s innate yearning to being in sexual relationships with women. As a star basketball player at Montana College, Sentury is highly sought after, but not in the ways she previously envisioned. Plagued with the ideals of religion and society, Sentury is forced to submerge her feelings and move towards the life she thought she wanted. Juggling basketball, women, and a serious relationship with a man, Sentury has until the WNBA draft to figure out the ultimate life she wants to lead.

“The Alysé Diaries”, written as diary entries from begin to end. Every word, every description, every conversation will be depicted as Sentury saw through her eyes. This story is not only impeccable, but it details many things that women go through when battling within themselves. Touching on topics like religion, government, safe-sex, polyamory relationships and more. “The Alysé Diaries” proves to be not only a thrilling story, but an eye-opening experience to the world of down-low lesbianism.”

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This is one that I decided to read because I was drawn in by the description of the book when I was asked to provide a review for it. I am glad that I read it though even if it was different than my typical read.

Right from the very few pages you know how this story is going to end but I forgot about that as I was reading and was invested in the story and not so much the ending. I really liked how this story drew you in and you wanted to hear more about the main character and go along her journey with her.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with the main character, Sentury. While you are introduced to many characters, you dont really get to know anyone in depth. I really liked how you only get to know side characters on a surface level because that’s how our main character views them. I love that you only get to know side people if the main character is close with them and trusts them.

Writing Style: This story is told in diary entries which I found rather interesting. I liked that it was written through diary entries because it made for a unreliable narrator. There were times where I wanted to know things from the other character’s perspectives but I thought it was good that we didn’t get to know what others thought. The fact that all we know is how Alyse has experienced things makes it so that it is easy to sympathize with her.

Author Information

WHO IS B. DANIELLE WATKINS?

New York is not only known for its famous hot wings, its historical museums, and it’s beautiful

One World Observatory where you can see the skyline and the stars from high above, it is also the “City of Dreams”, and the place where rising star B. Danielle Watkins began her journey. B. Danielle Watkins, international award-winning filmmaker, and author is a native of Buffalo, New York. Watkins is on top of her game, rapidly paving her way to success with her many accomplishments.

Danielle began laying the groundwork for her career at the age of nine, not aware that her gift of writing would take her to higher heights in her future endeavors. By the age of 15, Watkins had her first poem published in the “Poetry Gems Collection”, presented by the Famous Poets Society.

It did not stop there, this tenacious young lady put her talents to work by publishing  a three novel trilogy entitled “The No other Man Three Part Tragedy” released in 2011/2012. In 2013, Watkins began working her way up the ladder to join the ranks of some of the greats when she was officially named the head of the Creative Writing Department for M Power Productions, LLC based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the same place that the great Tyler Perry studios is located.

Working with M Power productions allowed this fierce lady to advance her way onto stage and screenwriting. In 2014, Watkins produced her first sold out show respectively titled “BlacButterflii: The Saigon Ruse Story” which premiered in Atlanta, Georgia. During this time, she was also creating a name for herself in the industry. B. Danielle decided to try her hand in writing the Gender Diverse Digital Series, “Girls Just Don’t Do That”, giving way to a fresh new perspective of the LGBTQ community and the real-life circumstances that are addressed and often marginalized. This series portrayed an open honest common-sense view to relationships, hardships and intimacy.

In January 2016, Watkins made major power moves by launching her own production company named Dream N 1 Productions based out of Las Vegas, NV. Later the same year her newly found production company produced its first major production entitled “Parallel the Documentary” based on her true-life experiences as the first African-American Filmmaker at the first all lesbian film festival in Paducah, Kentucky. This documentary has since been screened internationally in two countries, winning awards such as Best Director and Audience Choice, and causing her name to circulate through the film festival circuit.

Taking her career to the next level Ms. Watkins became the first and only African American filmmaker to write, produce and star in a REVRY original series, “3030”. 2019 proved to be one of her most defining years in her film career. After winning four Telly Awards for the documentary entitled “GRRRL: The Beauty of the Beast” and launching the second season in her original series “3030”. She has earned a plethora of accolades and acknowledgements in the film industry, making her an alchemist in the game.

Adding to the list of talents Watkins added journalist to her resume when she became Staff Writer for MIM Magazine.  A graduate of the HBCU Winston Salem State University, and a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. B. Danielle Watkins gives new meaning to the saying “Black Girls Rock”; Author, Filmmaker, Screenwriter, Actress, producer breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings and propelling her way to the top. Watkins is a woman on the move, a rising star, and as Hip-Hop Artist Tobe Nwigwe would say it’s time to “EAT”!

Surviving Home by Katerina Canyon Book Review

Book Description

Concisely arresting and challenging the beliefs of family and the fantasies of tradition, the poems in Surviving Home show that home is a place that you endure rather than a place where you are nurtured. With unyielding cadence and unparalleled sadness and warmth, Katerina Canyon contemplates the prejudice and limitations buried in a person’s African American heritage: parents that seem to care for you with one hand and slap you with the other, the secret desires to be released from the daily burdens of life, as well as the surprising ways a child chooses to amuse herself. Finding resilience in the unexpected, this collection tears down the delicate facades of family. 

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I’ve been reading quite a bit of poetry lately so I was glad to get a chance to read this book. Each of these poems is filled with so much emotion and there were so many poems that I really enjoyed. So many of these poems captured the author’s love for their parents while also feeling betrayed by them, and expressing how those mixed emotions shaped her childhood and upbringing. There were two poems that really stood out to me and those were “My pain is sculpted into art for you to consume” and “I left out “bells and whistles” written with a little help from Webster’s dictionary”. I found that these two poems were really powerful pieces and a great addition to her story.

Writing Style: I like that Canyon used poetry to express her feelings about a lot of things from her childhood and what being Black means to her now and what it meant to her then. I like that while we are hearing about her childhood at no time do you believe that this could be told from a child’s perspective but it is rather an adult writing from painful memories. I really liked how this went from early years to later years and it took you through those moments in a chronological order. I think while each poem elicits different emotions and is a roller coaster ride, the story is tied together well.

Author Information

Katerina Canyon is an Award Winning Poet, Best Selling Author, civil rights activist, essayist, and poet. She grew up in Los Angeles and much of her writing reflects that experience.

Her first book of poetry, Changing the Lines, was released in August 2017. This work is a conversation between mother and daughter as they examine what it means to operate within the world as black women.

Katerina Canyon is a 2020 and 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her stories have been published in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and Folks. Her poetry has been published in CatheXis Northwest, The Esthetic Apostle, Into the Void, Black Napkin, and Waxing & Waning. From 2000 to 2003, she served as the Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga. During that time, she started a poetry festival and ran several poetry readings. She has a B.A. in English, International Studies and Creative Writing from Saint Louis University and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Katerina moved to Seattle three years ago. She is currently running a civil rights campaign against police brutality. More information can be found at www.vdaycampaign.org.

My Feet Don’t Touch the Ground by W. Lee Baker Book Review

Book Description

Snatched from the safety of her day-to-day life, young Crysalline wanders in search of the world she has lost.
Alone, she searches for refuge in a wild land of the 1840s.
When her own deep, yet undeniable, yearnings begin to surface, she sets off into her life adventure. The new path only reveals itself after she takes the risk and seeks what lies ahead.
This is the story of a life richly lived.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This isn’t the type of book that I would normally pick up but the premise interested me so I decided to give it a try. At first I was invested in the story and wanted to know what would happen to our main character, Crysalline. I was wondering if she would be alone for the whole story and then if she would ever come across her family.

I really enjoyed the portions in which she found another family and was accepted into their family as one of them. I liked watching her group up with that family and learn about herself and the world while staying with them. I liked reading as they went out in search for her family and even as things didn’t go right.

One thing that threw me off with this book was that nothing really happened. it was just a day by day description of this one girl’s journey. While there were portions that I enjoyed the day to day because things were happening, once she becomes an adult things aren’t so interesting anymore. I am not a big fan of books that don’t have a plot and for so much of this book I couldn’t see it going anywhere. Once I got to the last 40 pages I winded up skimming through the book since nothing really happened.

Characters: This book introduces you to several characters as our main character, Crysalline, comes across them. She meets a family while she is young and spends quite some time with them. While she spends time with this family and they are looking for the place she came from, they come across other people who add to the story.

I wasn’t too much of a fan of any of the characters as I didn’t attach to anyone. I did like the relationships that Crysalline develops with others and how she develops because of those relationships. I wasn’t sold on the romance in this story and it felt very shallow both on Crysalline’s end and the love interest.

Writing Style: This book is told in the first person through the perspective of Crysalline which I thought was a good way to tell the story. I felt that throughout the story as Crysalline ages we get to see this occur. I liked how at first it sounds like a child is telling you the story and voice matures as Crysalline experiences more of life.

Author Information

W. Lee Baker’s writing is inspired by life’s passages and wisdom gained along the way. His first novel is a story of that path to become a mature, well rounded adult. It is the adventure of what life can bring alive for each of us.


He has a love of wonder, inspired by his spiritual quest. Continuing to learn from challenges has provided joy and rewards of character never previously imagined. He has also climbed in the Himalayas, scuba-dived at Cocos Island, Costa Rica, and enjoyed afternoons in the cafes of Paris and Prague. A lifelong creative with a career in professional photography, he found the time and gateway to be able to write and share this novel. He brings life into his writing so we may see the beautiful delicacy of this world. It can be a wondrous ride.