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I Must Belong Somewhere by Dawn Lanuza

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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 (January 5th, 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, suicide ideation, violence, bullying, graphic injuries, self-harm, body shaming, sexism, mental health/illness, toxic relationships, abandonment, depression, anxiety

“I must find a way to still choose myself despite holding on to you.”

I’m a firm believer that poetry, literature, and a plethora of other things can come into our lives when we need them the most. If I’m being honest, if this didn’t come into my life right now, I probably wouldn’t have given this as high of a rating as I have. Modern poetry and prose is something I have to be in a particular mind set or in a certain part of my life where I feel like it’ll be helpful to read. And reading this book right now, it has been a blessing.

This was such a well written collection that’s beautiful, and at times very heart breaking. I loved how every thing flowed and nothing seemed out of place. Everything was connected to one another whether it was a poem or prose. I think that’s one of the hardest parts modern poetry face, making everything flow together, but this author did a wonderful job of accomplishing that. And really loved that despite some of the hard themes throughout this book, there’s an optimistic feeling at the end. It was such a great way to end the book.

My most favorite thing of this whole book was the content and trigger warnings at the very start of this. I say this every time, authors should include these in their books and when the do, damn it’s the best feeling. Seeing an author take the time to add these at the beginning of their book, it’s like a little pat from the author saying, “I see you and I acknowledge your mental health.” It’s just a really great way for authors to show they care about their readers.

“I grew wings, but sometimes in between, I think I left my heart where you’ve been.”

Overall, I think this was a well-written book that many readers are going to connect with. I think many readers will find validation in their feelings or find a way to heal with this book. For me, with my whole chest, I believe this book came into my life when I needed it the most and that left a big impression with me.

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

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Pillow Thoughts (Pillow Thoughts #1) by Courtney Peppernell

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Mentions of self-harm and suicide

“Life is unpredictable, and I’d rather play every card as honestly as I can than have a deck full of regrets and what-ifs.”

Friends, I say this all the time especially when it comes to poetry (and even more so when it comes to pets). I truly believe all of these things come into our lives when we need them the most or in certain times of our life where we didn’t know we needed them. Would I read this poetry collection a year ago? Three years? Five? Probably not. However, this poetry coming into my life right now while the world is on fire and I’m home, missing my family more than ever… Yes, this poetry collection hit home with really hard blows.

“May your weapon be kindness. Your shield compassion. May flowers grow again , to sprout love from all this sadness.”

I’ll be honest, I don’t think many readers will enjoy this poetry collection. It’s classified as modern day poetry, but I think many readers (myself included) will feel at times, this book feels more like a motivational book or book of inspiration. I also want to say that this book is divided into sections and I love when a poetry collection divides itself into sections.

And can I take a moment to talk about the illustrations? Not going to lie, those jellyfish illustrations were not only beautiful, but also really calming and soothing. I read this poetry collection after some really terrible things happened and the amount of stress, anxiety, and panic I had eased a bit while reading this book and a lot of that is contributed to the fact of the illustrations. Jellyfish exhibits are some of my favorite sections go to at an aquarium and just some of my favorite videos to watch. So I really loved how the jellyfish were included.

“You stole so much of me, more than I had ever planned. But it is a new day and I feel like coming home. Back to all the parts of me I’d forgotten, the part that I don’t feel so alone.”

Overall, I really connected with a lot of this poetry collection and it came into my life at a moment where I was feeling very broken, very twisted up inside, and shrinking into myself. Since reading this poetry collection, things don’t feel as terrible and I’m slowly finding my way back to myself. As I have said, I never would have read this a few years ago, but it came into my life when I needed a little beacon of light to help guide me back to feeling semi-okay and that makes all the difference.

“You’re still here, you know; under all the messy things, under the stress, the anxiety, the sadness, you’re still you.”

Special thank you to the anonymous gifter who sent me this book!

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Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers from the Past by Vanita Oelschlager, Kristin Blackwood

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ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchanged for an honest review.

Friends, this was a simple and delightful read! While is starts out with the winter blues, the scenes quickly turn into spring filled frames! This book was such a fast read and honestly, I wish we had so much more. I really loved how things transitioned and it’s perfect to put you in the mood for spring time.

Our story follows Ivy, who is waiting for spring to finally come. Winter has her stuck in the wintery blues and all she wants is April showers to finally come. As our story progresses, we watch Ivy play in the snow and slowly transition into the beautiful scenery of spring. Finally ending with our main character swinging in the sunlight and enjoy the view of spring.

What I truly loved most about this book wasn’t just the art, but also the fact that all the poems are referenced in the back of this book. I love when books pull inspiration from other creators, but also leave the sources or the inspirations for them where the reader can easily find them. As for the art, the art is truly beautiful and almost has a water color look to it. Perfect for anyone who needs something eye pleasing to read.

Overall, I truly enjoyed this. It was very eye pleasing and such a quick read. Not to mention, it gives you a break from more dense books that may be draining your focus or might be too intense at the moment. I do wish it had been a little bit long though. I feel this book have benefited with ten more pages or so, but regardless, it was an enjoyable read. Perfect for those who are itching for spring to finally be here.

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Eighteen Inches: The Distance between the Heart and Mind by Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol

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ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchanged for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (May 5th, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Cheating, toxic relationships, fighting/graphic violence, assault, sexual assault, rape, trauma/PTSD, guilt, abuse, grief, death/loss of a loved one, anxiety, abortion, sex, and more!

“If I must burn again, I shall continue to rise, and from the ashes be reborn , again and again.”

Friends, this poetry collection was an emotional roller coaster. I cried for the majority of this whole book. It’s not often books touch the scars of my heart, but when they do, they leave a lasting imprint. That’s what Eight Inches did to me. It left an imprint and awoke so many of my own personal memories. This poetry collection is a raw letter of emotions from the author to the reader, for you to see the author for who she is and what she has endured.

This book is broken into eighteen sections; each a moment, a lesson, or a memory the author has encountered to craft them into the strong soul they are today. Each section filled with pain, loss, the struggles of coming of age, and learning to love anew. This collection has something everyone will feel in their heart or find locked within their memories for many of us have endured similar things the author writes in each section. As always, I may have stated it above, but please practice self-care while reading this poetry collection because there are a lot of trigger warnings.

“The past is not the past if it continues to live with you.”

While I loved many parts of this, there was one part I felt the absolute need to talk about and address. When you enter the thirteenth section of this book, where it claims that happiness is a choice. Now this may not seem like an issue at first, the passage talks about how we have the choice to be happy and the tone of the entire passage didn’t sit right with me. For those who suffer with depression or struggle with mental health, this passage can be quite harmful. This isn’t to say that this wasn’t the case for the author, but as a reader who struggles with mental health, I was quite confused and had to read the passage five times before the tone of this section finally sank in. No one is always happy all the time, to say happiness is a choice is to say that depression isn’t a real illness, it’s to say those who struggle with mental health aren’t valid because they have a “choice” to be happy. In my opinion, this section could have been worded better and in a less harmful light.

Overall, I truly appreciate this poetry collection and I truly wish I could have given it a full five stars. This book had the potential to shine a light on mental health and how to truly balance living with mental health struggles, but there was an opportunity missed in this book. Otherwise, this book addresses many important topics not often talked about and once again I remind you to please practice self-care while reading this book because there are a lot of trigger warnings that this book addresses.

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

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