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Tiger Honor (Thousand Worlds, #2) by Yoon Ha Lee

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Arc was given by Disney Hyperion & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published after the release date (January 4th 2022)

🌠 Dragon Pearl ★★★★

Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, severe injuries, talk of death, grief, mentions of abandonment (near end of book), hostage situation, attempted forced exorcism

“By the White Tiger of the West, I swear to serve the clan in all matters.”

Creature Factions:
✨ Dragons – Enormous, uses weather magic, can terraform planets
✨ Goblins – Ability of invisibility, mostly secret agents, can also summon food with their wands
✨ Ghosts – Spirits that have unfinished business, most likely haunting someone/something
✨ Tigers – Large in size, strong, fierce, feared by everyone, Sebin and their family
✨ Shamans – Healers, help ghosts crossover
✨ Humans – Like you and me
✨ Fox Spirits – Bad reputation, considered myths, extinct, Min and her family

Other Factions:
✨ Dragon Council – Galactic government
✨ Space Forces – Military, to protect the people and the different worlds
✨ Mercenaries & Pirates – Factions of all kinds trying to survive by whatever means

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it feels so good to be back in this world! I have missed this world dearly and I had been wondering where or more specifically who would come next in this series. I’m pleasantly surprised by the faction we got to follow and how everything seem to come full circle. Now, I’m just eagerly waiting to see what Yoon Ha Lee has in store for us next!

Our story follows Juhwang, Sebin, who’s been training to enter the Space Forces, in hopes of one day becoming a captain of their own ship like their uncle. In the midst of training and hoping to here back from the Spaces Forces, on whether or not they’ve been accepted into the program, tragedy strikes. Sebin is not only given the good news of being accepted into the program, but now their loyalty will be tested as their beloved uncle has committed treason, and is on the run.

“The White Tiger had told me, pay the price for breaking your oath, but pay it willingly.”

I love the themes we get to see so heavily engraved in this series. There is a strong, consistent theme of family and what it means to love your family so deeply, and at what lengths you’ll go to find out the truth of what’s happening with your family. Looking back on Dragon Pearl, we saw the main character go to great lengths to find out the truth about her brother. Now, we get to see our new character Sebin, not only seeking the truth, but having that inner struggle of loyalty to your family or doing the right thing to prevent others from getting hurt or potentially innocent lives being lost. And one of the most beautiful parts of this theme has been the character growth for the main characters. These family themes are not only consistent int he book, but they’re also key elements to watching the main character grow and come into their own.

Another favorite part of this book was seeing characters from Dragon Pearl return to this one. I loved seeing our favorite gumiho come back and I adored the way Sebin and Min clashed. One of my favorite things is seeing the “enemies to friends” relationship blossom and grow, and the author delivered. Its not a perfect friendship and there was a lot of miscommunication between the two of them, but it was wonderful to see them slowly come to understand one another and the hardships they both had to endure.

“It must be a hundred times worse to have to conceal something so fundamental about yourself.”

Also, I wanted to add a little side bit. I did this in Dragon Pearl and I really wanted to state it with this book as well. There’s a lot of Star Trek vibes throughout this entire book. Dragon Pearl had a lot of scenes where it felt like it may have been Star Wars inspired or even pulled inspiration from Mulan or Lilo & Stitch, but in this book, if you’re a Star Trek lover, this book feels like there’s a lot of inspiration pulled from it.

I think the most interesting part of this book was watching Sebin’s character development. We didn’t just see them come into a role of their own as a cadet, but we also see the conflicting feelings they have about many things relating to their uncle. Truly, I think one of the most beautiful things this book did was put an emphasis on how you can still love someone despite the bad things they’ve done, despite how imperfect they are, but still recognizing there’s a right and a wrong, and that its okay to have a lot of conflicting feelings about it as a whole.

“Losing him as a hero was more painful than an injury I had received.”

Of course, we see a lot of diversity throughout this book as well. There’s a few side characters who are non-binary, but our main character Sebin is also non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. We also have a side character who uses sign language. And speaking of disabilities, there’s a normalization of required sign language interpreters by the Space Forces, which I find isn’t often shown in books. It was handled in a very respectable way and I really appreciated that included aspect.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I feel like a power read this book so fast. That might be why I gave it four stars was from this book feeling short compared to the first book in the series. Either way, it was a fantastic read. I recommend this to anyone who’s a sci-fi lover for sure. I’m actually in the process of trying to get my significant other to read this series and they’re a die hard sci-fi lover. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and I think many readers will find themselves falling in love with this world all over again with this sequel!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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#5OnMyTBR

#5OnMyTBR | Planned to Read in 2022

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook
You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it.


Salutations lovelies! I’m back with a ‘five on my tbr’ for everyone! I haven’t done one of these in a hot minute either and I thought this would be a really good one to kick off on since we’re talking 2022. Yes, it’s true, I’m already planning a 2022 tbr with some 2022 releases that are just around the corner. Now, most of these books are arcs, but I’m hoping to knock out my arc list in hopes to have them read by their respected release dates. Except for one, one book on this list is coming out literally right in the new year, but I’m still mentioning it because I’m so excited for it. Anyway, without further delays, here are some of the books I want to read in 2022.


🎄 Tiger Honor (Thousand Worlds #2) by Yoon Ha Lee 🎄

“Sebin, a young tiger spirit from the Juhwang Clan, wants nothing more than to join the Thousand World Space Forces and, like their Uncle Hwan, captain a battle cruiser someday. But when Sebin’s acceptance letter finally arrives, it’s accompanied by the shocking news that Hwan has been declared a traitor. Apparently the captain abandoned his duty to steal a magical artifact, the Dragon Pearl, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Sebin hopes to help clear their hero’s name and restore honor to the clan.

Nothing goes according to plan, however. As soon as Sebin arrives for orientation, they are met by a special investigator named Yi and his assistant, a girl named Min. Yi informs Sebin that they must immediately report to the ship Haetae and await further instructions. Sebin finds this highly unusual, but soon all protocol is forgotten when there’s an explosion on the ship, the crew is knocked out, and the communication system goes down. It’s up to Sebin, three other cadets, and Yi and Min to determine who is sabotaging the battle cruiser. When Sebin is suddenly accused of collaborating with the enemy, the cadet realizes that Min is the most dangerous foe of all…”


🎄 Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space by Zoraida Cordova 🎄

“Reclaim the Stars is a collection of bestselling and acclaimed YA authors that take the Latin American diaspora to places fantastical and out of this world. From princesses warring in space, to the all too-near devastation of climate change, to haunting ghost stories in Argentina, and mermaids off the coast of the Caribbean. This is science fiction and fantasy that breaks borders and realms, and proves that stories are truly universal.

Authors include Vita Ayala, David Bowles, Daniel José Older, J.C. Cervantes, Sara Faring, Romina Garber, Isabel Ibañez, Anna-Marie McLemore, Yamile Saied Méndez, Nina Moreno, Circe Moskowitz, Maya Motayne, Linda Raquel Nieves Pérez, Claribel A. Ortega, Mark Oshiro, Lilliam Rivera and Zoraida Córdova.”


🎄 Belle Morte by Bella Higgin 🎄

“There’s only one way out

Belle Morte. One of five houses where vampires reside as celebrities and humans are paid to be their living donors. While others came here seeking fortune, I came in search of my sister who walked into Belle Morte five months ago . . . and never walked back out.

Now that I’m here, the secrets about this world have proven to be much bigger than I ever anticipated. And lurking around every corner are shocking insinuations of what happened to my sister.

There’s only one person who might have the answers I need, and the undeniable pull I feel toward him is terrifying: Edmond Dantès―a vampire, and my mortal enemy.

The harder I try to resist him, the further I fall under his spell. And in one instant my life is irrevocably changed. My past becomes prologue and my fate becomes sealed behind these doors. Belle Morte has spoken. And it may never let me go.”


🎄 The Vicious Grace (The Last Finestra, #1) by Emily Thiede 🎄

“Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?”


🎄An Unreliable Magic (A Hundred Names for Magic #2) by Rin Chupeco 🎄

“Tala, Alex, and the rest of their friends are safe for now, but know the Snow Queen is still out there. They have to be prepared for when she eventually attacks—and all decide to do so in their own way.

When Ryker comes out of the woodwork, showing himself when he starts attacking American detention facilities and freeing refugees. And the Nameless Sword, a legendary weapon that according to Avalon legend, will make its wielder the most powerful warrior of their time turns up with her name on it, Tala’s life gets messier…But when the Snow Queen arrives with an unlikely ally, the group will have to work together.”


Okay, friends! I those are the top five books I have at the top of my 2022 reading list thus far! These are some of my most anticipated reads of 2022 and I can’t wait for them to release! What are some of the books you’re hoping to read in 2022? Come chat with me in the comments below! Until next time friends, stay safe and cozy! I love you! 💚

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Paper Girl and the Knives that Made Her by Ari B. Cofer

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Arc was given by Central Avenue Publishing & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published before the release date (January 4th 2022)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Mental health conditions, suicide/suicidal ideation, self-harm, talk of depression, sexual assault, gun violence, violence against poc, brief mentions of body dysmorphia, brief mentions of drug and alcohol abuse, grief, loss of loved ones, heartbreak, talk of medication, trauma/PTSD, and much more!

“I hold my breath because I’m afraid of losing what’s left of you in an exhale.”

In a room full of books, this is one of the loudest books in that room. Truly, this book is filled with raw emotions, very dark topics, but so important. There aren’t enough enough words to say how emotional I felt reading this poetry collection and I truly believe, with my whole chest, that this is such an important read. We need more books with the voices of those and their own experiences because there is always someone out there who needs to hear those perspectives. And as someone who has gone through similar hardships, I really appreciated reading about another person’s experiences and being reminded that healing is never linear.

Some of my favorite poems include:
The fairytale becomes a memory
Sacrifices
What do you think the birds are saying when they sing?
Heavy
When it feels too much
The garden that bursts with wanting
Juxtapose
Welcome Home

Overall, I think anyone who picks this book up is in for an emotional ride, but a ride that is so heartbreakingly beautiful and important. Though I feel there’s so much I could say about this poetry collection, I feel I don’t need to say anything because this poetry collection speaks volumes for itself. And if you’re a poetry lover like myself, then I want to encourage you to add this one to your ‘to be read’ piles.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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The Moon Resides in Her Heart by Isabel Scheck

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Arc was given by BookBuzz & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published after the release date (November 28th 2021)

This was probably the hardest poetry collection I’ve had to rate. Honestly, my feelings with this collection was very torn. Not just with the contents of the book, but how I wanted to rate this and whether or not I actually enjoyed my time reading this poetry collection. Ultimately, I decided that this collection wasn’t for me. I really wanted to love this and maybe the reason why I didn’t connect with this was due to setting my expectations too high. But I digress.

The Moon Resides in Her Heart is a sapphic poetry collection about crushes and unrequited love. What it means to love someone so much, but to become heart broken because they don’t see you that way. These haikus are very short, three lines per page. With that being said, this makes for a very fast read. Also, there’s matching imagery to represent the haikus.

I will say, some of these haikus are very relatable. Whether you’ve dealt with an unrequited love or perhaps you loved someone so much that you thought entire universes lived within them. It’s very easy to feel connected to them and enjoy the underlying message of these haikus.

“Stars in her ribcage. Moon residing in her heart. Galaxies love her.”

However, despite the haikus being relatable and descriptive enough to enjoy them, there were two major flaws that prevented me from truly being able to enjoy this book the way I hoped. My biggest issue was repetitiveness. This is something that I can usually overlook at times, but the theme was very repetitive on multiple pages which made it incredibly hard to overlook. It didn’t help that this book is so short. Which leads me into the second issue with this book, the length. Fifty-six pages long with repetitive haikus, and themes. It was really difficult to enjoy this book with these two elements. I think if this book had been longer, add another fifty or so pages and I think the repetitiveness would have been easier to overlook or even be more forgivable.

Overall, this just wasn’t the kind of poetry collection I was looking for. It’s definitely relatable and I truly believe there will be others who may find joy in this collection. Sadly, the repetitiveness and the short length of this book made it very hard to enjoy. However, I still recommend this book. Even though it wasn’t for me, I truly believe someone else may enjoy it more than I did.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez

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Arc was given by Oni Press & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published before the release date (March 1st 2022)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Stress about unemployment, depictions of aggression, pressure and guilt trips from overbearing parents, manipulation attempts from overbearing parents, subtle homophobia

Oh my goodness, I didn’t think I would push this review out right away, but oh, sweet friends, I adore this graphic novel and I had to come shout about it from the roof tops! I adore this graphic novel so, so much. It’s charming, pure, and will leave you on the edge of your seat, waiting for what’s about to happen next. There’s so much good in this book and honestly, this is probably my favorite graphic novel that hasn’t been released yet. Hands down, a new favorite of mine.

Chef’s Kiss follows our main character, Ben Cook, who’s recently graduated college, moved in with his best friends, and now finds himself struggling to find a job. With overbearing parents breathing down his neck, Ben is feeling the claws of defeat, frustration, but mostly, unemployment scraping at his walls. When his eighteenth interview doesn’t go as plan, Ben stumbles upon a hiring sign for a restaurant and suddenly, the future is looking a lot brighter… and conflicting.

“It’s a tale as old as time. You’re falling in love for your mentor!”

Truly, with my whole chest, I can’t say enough how I loved the cast of characters (except you, Ben’s parents). The cast of main and the side characters are so diverse with BIPOC characters, different professions, and a plethora of personalities. And despite his aggressive tendencies, I actually like Chef Davis with his banter and his love for the taste testing pig, Watson. Yes, you heard me correctly, taste-testing pig. And the fact that Watson has his own personality and a mischievous side to him just fills my heart with so much euphoria.

I think one of the things I truly loved the most about this graphic novel is the friendship Ben has with all of his roommates. What made me love these friendships the most was how the author displayed how messy friendships can be, but also the healthy side of friendships, where you address the issues that have happened or where someone was being a not so good friend and work through it. Every time I see healthy friendships in a any kind of book, I get all soft and mushy inside. And I really loved the support this group of friends have one another despite the hard moments that happen.

This graphic novel addresses what it means to be someone fresh out of college, looking for work and not having experience. How frustrating, tiring, and stressful it can be especially when you’re trying to carve your own path as an adult. It’s also about doing what’s best for you and asking yourself “what do you want” instead of constantly catering to what everyone else wants especially when it comes to our own personal happiness. I really appreciated how beautifully and realistically the author wove these themes into the story. It felt so real and I know for my case, these themes were something that weighted heavy on me. So seeing that being represented in a graphic novel was such a big thing especially you don’t see them shown in literature that often.

Of course, I have to gush about the art and the illustrations. If the cover of this book hasn’t sunk it’s claws into yet, wait till you actually open this graphic novel. It’s simply stunning. At times it reminded me of other graphic novels I’ve read. I think that’s why I was so easily captured by the art because every time I see this art style, I know I’m going to fall in love.

Overall, I’m just really in love with this graphic novel. I don’t think I could make it any more simple. I truly, most ardently, love this graphic novel. I wasn’t kidding when I said this was going to be one of my favorite reads. 2022 never looked brighter and I can’t wait for more readers to pick this graphic novel up.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Starry Night, Blurry Dreams by Henn Kim

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Arc was given by Andrews McMeel Publishing & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published before the release date (March 15th 2022)

“Who are you when you’re alone.”

Friends, I’m not going to lie to you… This cover and title got to me. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why, but yeah, I got really emotional when I stumbled across this arc on NetGalley. I’ve said it a few times before, but I’ll say it again, I truly believe, with my whole dang chest, that pieces of literature come into our lives when we need it the most. And for whatever reason, somewhere in the catacombs of my mind, a piece of me was screaming that I needed to read this book. As fate would have it, the NetGalley gods smiled down upon me and blessed me with this arc. And wouldn’t you know, I consumed the contents of this book immediately.

Starry Night, Blurry Dreams is a collection of poems playing with words and their representation with imagery. The poems are short, incredibly short. Sometimes the lines are about one to two lines and may only have a couples words to them. Which is why it was so easy to read through it. This book truly is a quick read and perfect for light reading during your morning routine or when you’re trying to unwind at night.

If I had to describe this collection with one word, that word would be ‘human.’ Henn Kim’s writing pulls from dreams, love, heartbreak and sadness, and just life in general, as a whole. Despite the simplicity of this collection, it was very easy to feel a connection or have certain poems or imagery resonate with with oneself. And I think that’s what I love most about this book. Even though it’s a fast read, it was so easy to feel seen or feel the tickling of something familiar about it all. Whether it was through the poems itself or the illustrations throughout this book.

And speaking on the illustrations, they’re stunning. There’s so much details and sometimes I found myself staring at them, wondering if they’d reveal any hidden easter eggs within them. Each images could be seen as individual pieces of art, hanging in a museum on display for the world to see, with their own story to tell. Yes, I think that’s probably the best way I can describe it. Like an art gallery and you can’t help being overcome with ‘awe.’ And I think any first time readers of this collection will fall in love with the artwork throughout this book. Truly, they fit so beautifully and honestly, I don’t think I can picture this book without these illustration in it.

“A heavy heart is hard to carry.”

If I had to point out one thing that impacted me and my reading of this book, I’d have to say repetition. There’s a definite cycle within the pages of this collection and at times poems seem to repeat or feel very similar to one another. It may be the repetition of themes or maybe an emotion, but I think for many readers, myself included, that feeling of repetition is going to be a struggle.

Overall, I enjoyed this poetry collection very much. As I mentioned before, I truly believe pieces of literature come into our life when we need it the most and I definitely needed this book. And I think there will be many readers who will fall in love with this collection, whether it be for the poetry or the illustrations. Truly, it flows so nicely, like a calm river. And if you’re in search of a quick read then I definitely think this is one book to put on your to be read pile.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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The Cat Proposed by Dento Hayane

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ARC was given by NetGalley and LOVE x LOVE in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (February 23rd, 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Suicidal ideation and mentions of attempted suicide

“That day… I took a story by the hand.”

It’s very easy for me to fall in love with a manga and The Cat Proposed is no exception! I fell head over heels in love with the manga. Despite the dark themes of this book, I really enjoyed my time reading it. I really wish we would see more of this book or see it turned into a series. I’ve always loved the lore and mythology of the bakeneko of Japanese culture and knowing this manga exists, ugh, it filled my heart with so much warmth and excitement.

“We may be completely different, but I still want you.”

Our story follows Souta Matoi, a company worker, who’s contemplating suicide because nothing has changed, his life seems to be stuck in a terrible loop. Living the same routine day in and day out, overworked by his company, a deep exhaustion has set into his bones and he desperately wants to make a change. Then one fateful night Souta decides to change the routine by going to a kōdan storytelling. And that’s when his whole world begins to change. Starting with meeting Kihachi, the kōdan storyteller.

I really loved the way the author portrayed Souta and Kihachi. Though they seem like absolute polar opposites of one another, the chemistry between them is perfection. Souta is very timid and bashful, has a hard time expressing how they feel, declaring what they want. Whereas Kihachi is the opposite. Not only is Kahachi a bakeneko, but he’s very upfront about what he wants and direct with how things will work between one another. Also, they’re both sensitive beings who care very deeply for others. They’re both the type of people who puts everyone before their needs. And they just balance each other out so well. There’s some really hilarious side characters we get to meet as well. Yamabuki is absolutely hilarious and I enjoyed the little pokes of fun he has with Kihachi. Also, he’s a lover of stories like Kihachi is and somehow, between all their banter, you can tell they’re long-time friends!

“The light in the darkness is twinkling beautifully.”

If you haven’t guessed already, this manga involves Japanese mythology and folklore. Bakeneko appear a lot throughout Japanese history and culture. From works of literature and landmarks all the way to famous legends, bakeneko have played a role in Japan’s mythology and folklore. Most commonly found within the Endo period, but don’t quote me on that since there’s a chance they appeared during the Kamakura period with the nekomata, since they’re so similar. But I really loved how the author took that mythology and knowledge to weave their own tale. I think the author did a fantastic job of bringing to life the world of bakeneko and finding a way to encourage the reader to learn more about this mythology.

While I know it’s a dark turn of things, I want to take a moment to pause and appreciate the way the author wrote about suicide in this book. I think the author did really well at talking about what it means to be suicidal, to have suicidal thoughts, and to feel such a bone deep exhaustion that’s almost suffocating. And on top of that, I love how the author made sure to show how one person can save us from and how important little acts of kindness, endearment can truly make a difference. I thought it was beautifully and respectfully written.

Overall, I just really loved this manga. I truly wish the author would consider turning this into a series because I have no doubt that I would purchase the whole series for my manga collection. I loved it so, so much! I adored the characters, I really wanted to see more of the bakeneko community and their world. There’s so much untapped potential with this one book and honestly, I want more. I’m excited to see what this author will do next and I’m so glad I got to read an arc of this manga early.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Shine Your Icy Crown (You Are Your Own Fairy Tale, #2) by Amanda Lovelace

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ARC was given by NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (January 26th, 2021)

Break Your Glass Slippers

Content/Trigger Warnings: Child abuse, sexual assault, toxic relationships, eating disorders, mental illness, anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide, trauma, bullying, sexism

“If I’m with you, it’s because I think you let in more stardust than storm clouds.”

Friends, I love Lovelace’s work and you all know how much I loved the Things That Haunt duology. However, I’m starting to notice a pattern with a lot of these duologies, these trilogies. I always end up loving the first and/or second book, but then the final book seems… lack luster, to say the least. Maybe this wasn’t the right time for this to come into my reading life or maybe it was from the lack of emotions this book didn’t stir. Whatever the reason, I just didn’t love this book the way I thought I would.

Starting with the positives, I’ve always loved the way the author writes. Out of all the modern poetry I read, Lovelace is the one I can connect with the most. I know a lot of readers struggle with this writing style especially since everything is lower case, but I find that it’s smooth read for my own experience. The other thing I really loved about this book was the artwork. The art in these books is always so beautiful and if I’m remembering correctly, Lovelace does all the art. There are these gorgeous forest and crystal panels in this book and they were probably a big highlight for me. And lastly, I couldn’t stop pulling quotes. I’m a lover for a good quote and I was able to pull some many from this book. So that made me really happy.

“Embody the heroine you needed when you were a child, but don’t forget to embody the heroine you need now, too.”

Despite the things I loved, there were a few things that just prevented me from loving this book. My first issue with this book was the lack of the theme. From the beginning this book states that this is going to be centered around sisters or sister relationships, and I just didn’t get that feeling from this book. It started off strong, but then that theme kind of disappeared for me. Tying in with that, there was this vibe of negatively charged vibes while reading this book. When I finished reading this book, I didn’t feel good at all. Most of the time when I read the books by this author, there’s a big shift from the negative to the positive, and that just wasn’t here in this book. The negativity seemed to dragged throughout the majority of the book for me. The other issue I had with this book was the repetitiveness. I haven’t seen many people talk about it, but for me there were sections that felt repetitive to the author’s past work. I was really hoping for something fresh, I was excited for the sibling theme (as I’m very partial to mine) and this just wasn’t it.

Overall, there were some things I loved and then other things I really didn’t like. I think the execution could have been done better and I wish the author would have focused on the actual theme just a little bit more. There’s also a big imbalance between the poetry and prose. There was a lot more prose than I was expecting. I’m hoping for future works we see the balance return. And I still recommend giving this book a chance. Even though this book didn’t work out well for me, it doesn’t mean that will be your experience.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them by Jesse Freidin, Robert Garofolo, Zach Stafford, & Christina Garofolo

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Zest Books in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (March 2, 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Mental health, homophobia, toxic relationships, addiction (drug abuse & alcoholism), depression, grief, mentions of suicidal ideation, trauam/PTSD, mentions of terminal illness (cancer), death, loss of a loved one, microaggressions, mentions of rape, mentions of assault, mentions of a forced outing

“What I’ve learned throughout my life is that while I struggle to feel loved and supported by the people around me, I can always rely on my dogs, no matter what.”

With my whole chest, I love this book so damn much! I’m a firm believer that there are some books that everyone needs to read at least once in their life. This is one of those books. All too often society doesn’t talk about mental health or certain illnesses because of the stigma around them. And all too often, that stigma can cause a one-sided perspective of them and the person who has to face these challenges every day. HIV and those who have HIV are no exception to these type of circumstances, but this book is so fantastic because it offers so many different perspectives, from a plethora of people who share their own stories. I can’t express the importance this book holds and how much I wish I could put this book in everyone’s hands.

This book is a collection of stories with a photo of a person(s) and their dog(s), and their story. Each story is centered around their story with HIV and how their canine companions help them heal, and improving their life despite the challenges happening to them. Throughout the book you’ll meet a plethora of diverse people who are trans, do drag, queer, BIPOC, and so much more. You’ll learn about their background and the most common theme is the rejection of one’s family and loved ones, addiction, and facing the struggles of mental health from all the stigma surrounding HIV.

This is probably the most emotional book I’ve read in a very long time. You know I love my books that make me cry and steal my soul away, and this book succeeds at that. This book is so heart breakingly beautiful and it shines a light on the importance of fighting back against the stigmatism surrounding HIV. As someone who faces stigmatism around certain mental health challenges, this book hit so close to home on how hard it is to keep going despite the stigma, despite feeling like you don’t have the support you need, and this book melted me into a puddle. And while I don’t have HIV, one of my good friends passed away from having HIV and seeing the hardships they faced, reading this book just hit so close to home in so many ways. I think that’s why I loved it so much because I love books that touch that part of my soul.

“I am not a bad person – you don’t get HIV because you’re a bad person. You can be a good person, an educated person, and get HIV. We have to get past the stigma – that is the reason people don’t get tested and are not honest about their status.”

I think the thing I love most about this whole book is the hopefulness and the reflection on the benefits, emotional and physical, that pets have on people. I loved that despite the hardships all these people face, there’s always a feeling of hopefulness, of love, and seeing the silver-lining. And I think with everything combined, the good and the bad, readers will be able to connect with the people within this book.

Overall, I don’t want to say too much about this book because I want to encourage you to go pick this book up and read it. I believe with my whole heart that everyone needs to read this book at least once in their life because this book is too important not to. Even though I read and finished this in 2020, this is book has made it onto my top books of 2021 because it truly is a master piece and I just love it so, so much!

“I know that without him I wouldn’t be alive, and without me he wouldn’t either. We saved each other.”

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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When Sharks Attack with Kindness by Andres J. Colmenares

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (March 2, 2021)

This was absolutely precious! With the way 2020 has been going, this is the book to make things just a little bit brighter. Truly, this is so precious and there’s some really hilarious moments. Let me be the first to say that everyone needs to check this graphic novel out as soon as it releases.

From really cute panels to friendships that will warm you heart, this is a graphic novel that will steal your heart. The characters are super cute and the dedication page was so wholesome. This is one of those graphic novels that poke you right in your heart and make you cherish the the friendships you have. Also, I know many readers will probably get this graphic novel for the children in their lives, but let another adult tell you that you need this book as much as children do. It’s just a precious gem of a book that many book lovers are going to fall in love with.

The only thing I think readers might have an issue with is thinking this is going to be a graphic novel with a continuous story. That’s not the case at all with this book. This is a graphic novel that’s designed to make you feel good, feel happy, and pick up the phone and call your friends. That’s the kind of book this is. For me, this wasn’t an issue because this was something I needed. I needed a feel good book to come into my life and wrap me in love, and that’s exactly what this book does.

Overall, I loved this graphic novel so gosh darn much! It’s so wholesome, the feel good book we all need, and just a fantastic pick me up. I highly recommend this to everyone, literally everyone! I think we all need a feel-good book that washes us in warm, fuzzy feelings. And if I could put this in everyone’s hand right now, I would.

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