Our Wolves by Luanne Castle

source: review copy courtesy of Poetic Book Tours
title: Our Wolves
author: Luanne Castle (Twitter)
genre: poetry/nonfiction
published: 2023
pages: 37
first line: Inside the cabin it’s woodsy and warm near the woodstove.

In Our Wolves, poet Luanne Castle navigates the timeless story of “Little Red Riding Hood” in a compelling collection of sharp, memorable poetry. Familiar tales are ageless for a reason. Their magic is that they can easily be transformed to explore subjects of abuse, danger, sexuality, self-sufficiency, and interpersonal relationships in a way that makes these challenging topics palatable to readers. Trying to find the reasoning behind Red’s traumatic adventure, as well as using it to comment on contemporary events, Castle creates taut narratives and sympathetic monologues to show how the story shapeshifts with the teller. Here, we hear from the wolf, the huntsman/woodcutter, Grandmother, townspeople, and Red herself. Not just a victimized or innocent child, Castle’s Red also appears in wiser (and sometimes older) incarnations that are knowing, rebellious, resilient, and clever. This technique subverts stereotypical conventions and shows that Red’s story “is not so very different from yours / and yours and yours and yours and yours.” Filled with atmospheric power, dynamic portrayals, and bright imagery, Our Wolves will haunt you long after you’ve returned from its woods. -Christine Butterworth-McDermott, author of The Spellbook of Fruit & Flowers

my thoughts:

I love reading poetry and when I heard about Our Wolves by Luanne Castle it sounded like an interesting collection to enjoy. These poems tell the story of Little Red Riding hood and the characters from the children’s fairy tale. The story told through this set is a coming-of-age story for Red and the lessons she learns in life.

“Fools need classes. So do the so-called smart
girls who answer long equations on the board.
How do they know not to trust their hearts
if they aren’t warned by books and teachers?”- from School for Girls Who Shouldn’t Trust

I enjoyed reading Our Wolves very much. As usual when reading poetry, I read the poems twice and out loud to get a feel for them. I recommend this collection, I especially like the imagery Luanne Castle creates and I could easily envision Red, the wolf and her grandmother as I read. I also like that Red Riding Hood is portrayed as a strong female lead here, the quote below was my favorite.

“What is a wolf if not
the hungry wildness in the heart?
That feeling inborn to the girl, visceral and unexplored.”- Human Origin

Special thanks to Poetic Book Tours and Luanne Castle for making this possible! Click here for the rest of the tour stops.

Blog Tour Schedule:

March 7: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (review)

March 9: the bookworm (review)

March 13: Books Parlour (review)

March 16: Anthony Avina’s blog (review)

March 20: True Book Addict (review)

March 23: A Bookish Way of Life (review)

April 14: Impressions in Ink (review)

About the Author:
Luanne Castle lives in Arizona, next to a wash that wildlife use as a thoroughfare. She has published two full-length poetry collections, Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line Press 2022) and Doll God (Aldrich/Kelsay 2015), which won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry. Kin Types (Finishing Line Press 2017), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Our Wolves (Alien Buddha Press 2023) is her second chapbook. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, American Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, River Teeth, TAB, Verse Daily, Saranac Review, and other journals.

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My copy of Our Wolves by Luanne Castle came via Poetic Book tours.

Author Guest Post: Sticks and Stones by Chelsea DeVries

Hello all, please join me in welcoming author Chelsea DeVries as she stops by today for an inspiring guest post about her writer’s desk. She is on virtual tour for her book of poetry called Sticks and Stones. Click here to view the rest of the tour stops.

About the book:
In Sticks and Stones, DeVries paints a poetic picture of rising above toxicity, love found and love lost, and delves into what it means to find strength in the human spirit. Through poetry, the reader finds a voice of strength and the rebuilding of one’s heart a home with all the sticks and stones thrown upon it. Newly expanded with more full color photos, 41 new poems, and a rewrite of Drowning in An Ocean of No Tomorrows, DeVries shows a full poetic picture of turning pain into poetry in order so you can rise above whatever is pulling you under.

Advance Praise:

“This collection of poetry and innovative thinking by Chelsea DeVries is a remarkable work of words. Sticks and Stones: Full Story Edition is a definite read, and please, read the dedication at the beginning of the book, and then you know the set stage for this book. It is personal. The words almost float across the pages, bringing different situations and emotions to light, in a very toxic world. After reading this, I realized what the title actually alludes to, and how it just fit this unputdownable collection. Such a wonderful read. My favorite was Perks of Being a Wallflower which starts with ‘I’m just a girl, Really strong, like petals on a flower, I wilt.’ I liked this so much, I read many of the poems twice. I look forward to reading more by this poet. Sticks and Stones is a definite recommendation.” –Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews.

“This book highlights that you are not alone in the emotions, thoughts, and situations that challenge you. It’s a reminder too that you can make it through those things and come out on the other side. I love the idea of building something beautiful and strong out of the sticks and stones that others throw at you.” – Amazon reviewer Sara Hovel

About the Author:

Chelsea DeVries wanted to be a writer at the age of 7. Her first publishing credit came at the age of 14 with a poem in a student anthology. She then wrote nonstop while doing IB classes in high school. She published two YA novels while still in high school which after over 10 years she rewrote as a NA romance that she looks to put out as her next publication. She is a seeker of justice and uses her words to free this world’s outcasted, peculiar, and underdogs from the chains that bind them. When not writing she runs and does PR for authors and musicians with her bookish brand The Smart Cookie Philes. Though she’s Florida born and raised, she has New Jersey in her veins. She currently lives in Port Richey, FL with her squad of two dogs.

You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @chelsealynnpoetry, and her squad at @dasquad26. In October 2020, DeVries was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of Autism.

Add to GoodReads:

sticks and stones

Available at Amazon.

Author Guest Post:

In August 2016, I finally got my own writer’s desk. It had a purple desk chair and was one of those cheap desks you get from Walmart. We struggled to put it together so I paid my woodcarving neighbor to do it for me and he did. The desk was so nice and new. Even better, it would have enough space to hold all my business essentials because outside of being a writer, I run The Smart Cookie Philes, which I started because I wanted to be a publicist for authors and musicians. One of the first clients of the Smart Cookie Philes was pop singer Rachel Platten. With the desk all ready to go, I began reworking the novels I published as a teenager. When they were first published, they were YA romance but now that I was older by ten years and wiser, I wanted them to read as NA romantic suspense. I finished the new 40,000 word novel on December 10,2017, at that desk and I never felt more proud of myself.

From here, I went through a strong writer’s post-project depression and I didn’t write for 8 months because I was facing a lot of imposter syndrome that was about the idea that was I only ever going to write one novel my whole career? After a cruise that went to Turks and Caicos, I ended up finding my creative spark again with a new novel project that I watched grow and grow until I worked for the toxic workplace mentioned in Sticks and Stones and following being let go there, and having so much to say … again my writer’s desk was my safe space. I wrote, edited, and published Sticks and Stones, and wrote, edited, and republished Sticks and Stones. And some of it wasn’t pretty at all. I sat at that desk some days and bawled my eyes out. Unfortunately for me, my writer’s desk has to be left behind in my upcoming move in order to recover from mold toxicity, and I feel extra sad about that.

That desk was there for me better than even the most trusted therapist. It was there when I needed to vent, express, tell my story, speak through my characters, decompress. If it weren’t for that desk, I would definitely not have made it or been more depressed. She helped me kill my darlings and was even more darling to me on the hard days when the words don’t come. Writer desk, thank you for everything.

Special thanks to Poetic Book Tours. Click here to view the rest of the tour stops.

Guest Post: Rooted & Winged by Luanne Castle

Hello all. Please join me in giving author Luanne Castle a warm welcome today as she stops by for an interesting guest post relating to the mention of birds in poetry as well as a bird rescue story.

Her book is available at Finishing Line Press and from Luanne Castle’s Bookstore.

Author Guest Post:
When I was a little girl and we would visit my paternal grandmother in Chicago, I would sit by her parakeet’s cage, mesmerized by the little bird so close at hand and unable to fly away from me. Over the years, Grandma must have had several parakeets, one at a time, but they were all named Dickie. When my grandmother moved into a nursing home, she was not allowed to bring her parakeet with her, so we took in the bird. Although I tried to coax it to eat, within a week it passed away, pining for my grandmother.

My association with birds, though, is not just personal. Birdsong has been a metaphor for the voice of the poet for centuries. Scottish poet Don Paterson argues that “birds provide a natural metaphor for the song all poets aspire to. We envy them their ease of expression, as their song provides a bridge into the mysteries of a world the animal in us fondly half-remembers.”*

My favorite poem is Walt Whitman’s “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking,” a long rhythmic exploration of a young poet’s burgeoning voice as inspired by the singing of a mockingbird. The adult poet reminisces about his poetic awakening as a child when he heard the song of a special bird. He believes that he and the bird have an understanding of life and death that many do not.

Shelley meditated on a skylark; Keats on a nightingale. Whitman on the mockingbird. But are birds still important to poetry and poets?

In the Rooted and Winged poem, “Noah and the Middle School Marching Band,” I mention the “famous poet [who] chastised me / for putting birds in poems.” I was in a workshop led by Richard Siken at Arizona State University’s writer’s conference years ago. He forbade us from putting birds in our poems, insisting that birds have been overused in poetry.

Isn’t it ironic that one of Richard Siken’s poems shared on poets.org is “The Language of Birds”? I guess he couldn’t stay away from birds either. But I didn’t know about that Siken poem until after I had written “Noah and the Middle School Marching Band.

Siken’s pronouncement seemed arbitrary to me. After all, if birds are an important part of my life, why can’t I write about them? There aren’t many new subjects explored in poetry—the key is to do something fresh with them. In “Noah and the Middle School Marching Band,” I decided that I wouldn’t listen to Siken.

But you know what? I’m alone
with my paper and who will care
if I lure them in with my baton
-like pen, parading them into place
two by two like Noah and the
middle school marching band.

In addition to their song, birds, along with bats and insects, are unique in the animal kingdom in that they are winged. For the majority of birds, that means that they can fly. The wings of birds and of angels inspire me as I find myself wanting to soar above it all, although I actually have a serious fear of heights. Poetry allows me to go places that are not available to me in “real life.”

But sometimes even birds have limits.

My poem, “Without Flight,” from Rooted and Winged, describes an experience that I had soon after the start of COVID when my husband discovered a red-tailed hawk heart-breakingly earthbound in our yard. The hawk sat underneath the hanging plant on our deck. A female dove was raising two babies in that plant so my husband had to water it very carefully because if he didn’t water it at all, the plant would die and the nest wouldn’t have the camouflage that the mother intended. He called to me when he saw the hawk.
My heart thumped when I thought that the hawk was resting after eating one of the babies. We came to realize that the hawk had not eaten a baby bird and was, in fact, grounded. We put out a shallow pan of water and called Liberty Wildlife, a wonderful wildlife rescue organization. We were told to wait overnight in case the bird was just winded.

In the past, I had taken many quail babies to them when they were abandoned by their mothers. Liberty Wildlife doesn’t have the volunteer staff to come pick up all the small wildlife like quail and songbirds that people find in need of help.

The next morning the hawk had moved to a different area of the deck, but still could not fly, so I called Liberty Wildlife again. They said they would send out a volunteer because we would not be able to catch a hawk ourselves. A woman, experienced with raptors, came out to capture the bird, but our deck hangs over a decent sized wash, and somehow the bird managed to lead her on a merry chase through the wash. Even without use of its wings, the bird was determined not to be caught.

Eventually, the volunteer was able to trap the bird with the help of my husband. She told us that the hawk belonged to the magnificent species of red-tailed hawks. Later, I called to check on the hawk and was told that Liberty Wildlife does not let the public know the condition of the animals they bring in, but they did let me know our hawk was a female. It was tragic seeing her like that, and I appreciated Liberty Wildlife so much. They give advice when I call about our wildlife, and they accept any wild animal brought to them. When they take in an animal I bring them, I always give them a small donation as a thank you. That’s why when I wanted to create a fundraiser for Rooted and Winged I didn’t even have to think about what charitable organization I wanted to benefit. Here is a link to Liberty Wildlife. They often post fascinating videos on social media.


What a great guest post Luanne! I really enjoyed reading it especially the story about the red-tailed hawk that landed in your yard. I’m glad you were able to help her. Organizations such as Liberty Wildlife are so important. Over the years we have called the wildlife rescue in town to come and get birds that have broken a wing and ended up in our yard as well as a baby squirrel who actually followed my son home one summer while he was out riding his bike. This happened right after hurricane Sandy so we figured she was displaced from her mom due to the storm.
I think birds are important in poetry, they are symbolic of freedom and hope. Your post also reminded me of one of my favorite poems, Hope is The Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson.

About the poet:

Luanne Castle’s new poetry collection is Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line Press). Kin Types (Finishing Line Press), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her first collection of poetry, Doll God (Aldrich), won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, American Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, Tipton Poetry Review, River Teeth, TAB, Verse Daily, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Saranac Review, Grist, and other journals.

Special thanks to Poetic Book Tours for making this possible.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Sept. 15: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (interview)

Sept. 20: The Bookish Elf (interview)

Sept. 28: the bookworm (guest post)

Oct. 4: Author Anthony Avina’s Blog (interview)

Oct. 11: The Book Connection (interview)

Oct. 19: CelticLady’s Reviews (guest post)

Oct. 25: The Soapy Violinist (guest post)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #rootedandwinged @writersitetweet #LuanneCastle

the dust of hope: rune poems by Judy Croome 

About the book:
Judy Croome’s latest collection of poetry returns to the ancient ways of the Nordic runes, shining a light of hope and healing as we navigate through the wilderness of anxiety permeating these early years of the twenty-first century.

The simple verses console the reader with a calm acceptance that, even during a global pandemic, everyday life ebbs and flows with the natural rhythms of the timeless oceans.

Here are poems that invite us to stop, to breathe, and to see the world around us from a new perspective birthed within the centre of our souls.

My thoughts:
Hello everyone. Today I am taking part in the virtual tour for Judy Crume’s collection of poetry entitled the dust of hope. This is a collection of poems about everyday life, love and loss during the pandemic.

I really liked one called “Strength”.
“only then, in the shadows of heartbreak,
did I learn how to dive deep.
how to survive.”

There’s a rune symbol at the start of each poem and I found this to be a lovely and soothing collection. I savored these as I read a few per day. I really enjoyed these poems that so many of us can relate to.

perhaps the corona storm,
with all its violent destruction,
is only planting
the seeds of a new generation.”-ploughing the fields

“I met my soul
walking the path of solitude.
separated from you
by an invisible virus,
as powerful as a wrecking ball
through the ceiling of our lives.”- between two moments

I recommend this collection if you enjoy poetry and are looking to get swept away by reading a few good poems.

Judy Croome is on virtual tour, click here for the rest of tour schedule.

Special thanks to Poetic Book Tours for my review copy of the dust of hope by Judy Croome.

About the Author:

Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition, Judy’s short stories, poems and articles have appeared in various magazines, anthologies and newspapers, such as The Sunday Times, The Huffington Post (USA) and the University of the Witwatersrand’s Itch Magazine. In 2021 and 2016, Judy was the poetry judge for Writers2000’s Annual Writing Competition. In 2021, Judy presented an hour long workshop to Writers 2000 called “The Gift of Poetry”.

Judy loves her family, cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, cats, rainy days, ancient churches with their ancient graveyards, cats, meditation and solitude. Oh, and cats. Judy loves cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.)

Her fiction and poetry books ‘the dust of hope: rune poems” (2021); “Drop by Drop: poems of loss” (2020); “a stranger in a strange land” (2015),”The Weight of a Feather & Other Stories” (2013), “a Lamp at Midday” (2012) and “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” (2011) are available from Aztar Press.

“Street Smart Taxpayers: A practical guide to your rights in South Africa” (Juta Law, 2017) was co-authored with her late husband Dr. Beric Croome (1960 – 2019). Follow her on GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Your Words Your World by Louise Bélanger

source: review copy via Poetic Book Tours
title: Your Words Your World
author: Louise Bélanger
genre: poetry
published: July 2, 2021
pages: 99


Poetry For Your Soul – Stunning Photographs
Zoom to Heaven
The most beautiful love poem
Where God is not there
A handful of cloud
During the night

These are some of the titles of the poetry you will read in this beautiful, inspiring collection complemented by captivating nature photographs.

Read poems about God and having a relationship with Him. Poems about trust, missing a loved one, childhood memories, Christmas, Heaven, Easter…

Other poems are lovely stories, the length of a page.
The poetry is easy to understand. It is for everyone whether poetry is your genre or not, you will enjoy it.

Advance Praise:

There are a number of 5-star reviews on Amazon, including this one: “Your Words, Your World is a beautiful collection of poetry, photographs, and story poems about God and the world He created, and the second book of poems by Louise Bélanger. It helps the reader look at the world in a new way. Among my favorite poems is Ordinary, about how God can take something ordinary, like a star or a body of water, and make it do extraordinary things. I also loved Dust, which reminds us that God created us all from something we don’t really like–dust. A War Erupted paints a beautiful and tumultuous picture of a thunderstorm. The Contest is a thought-provoking story poem about a conversation between flowers. Zoom to Heaven is probably my favorite of all, as it talks about what it would be like to have a Zoom conversation with a loved one in Heaven. Your Words, Your World takes a unique look at God and the world He created, and it makes me appreciate Him and this world all the more.” – BonnieD


My thoughts:
Your Words Your World by Louise Bélanger is a lovely collection of poetry and the author’s photography. The poems are mainly about God and how everything He created like the clouds, fire, the ocean and the flowers are extraordinary if you stop to think about it. These inspirational and spiritual poems are also about living your life with intent and having faith in pursuing your dreams. I’m a big believer in living with intent so this theme resonates with me. The pretty nature photography throughout adds a nice touch as you read the collection. I recommend this one if you enjoy spiritual poetry about everyday life.

One of my favorites in the collection is titled “I Want”
I want…
To explode on the page

Stories and images
Invading my head

To crack open my heart
So it flows from the page


“God lifts the veil”

Life can be so difficult
Keep planting, in faith
It always produces a good harvest
Whether you see it or not


About the Poet:

Louise Bélanger is a Canadian poet and the author of Your Words Your World and Your Words. Both books are beautiful, inspiring, and spiritual poems complemented by nature photographs. She started writing poetry in the spring of 2020. She poured her emotions onto paper, describing beautiful scenery and stories that came to life. With encouragement and help from friends, her dream came true. She loves photography and music, is an avid reader, and loves movies. Visit her website.

Available at Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Dec. 3: the bookworm (Review)

Dec. 6: The Book Connection (Review)

Dec. 15: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Guest Post)

Jan. 5: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)

Jan. 11: Just A Bookish Blog (Review)

Jan. 18: Christian Bookaholic (Review)

Jan. 19: Author Anthony Avina Blog (Guest Post)

Jan. 25: Author Anthony Avina Blog (Review)

Feb. 8: The Mary Reader and Instagram (Review)

Feb. 10: Savvy Verse & Wit (Interview)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtags #yourwordsyourworld #LouiseBélanger #poetrycommunity

Click here for the main tour page.

Special thanks to Serena at Poetic Book Tours — Where Readers Come to Poetry
Poetic Book Tours on Facebook

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. My copy of Your Words Your World came via Poetic Book Tours