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


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
What do you think the birds are saying when they sing?
When it feels too much
The garden that bursts with wanting
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.



Starry Night, Blurry Dreams by Henn Kim


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.


ARC Reviews

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


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.



Lost Girls Go Everywhere: Poetry & Prose by Azzurra Nox


ARC was provided by NetGalley and Victory Editing NetGalley Co-op in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published after the release date (October 6th, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Mentions and allusions to rape and assault, mentions of death and loss of a loved one, grief, depression, mentions of suicidal thoughts, mentions of physical violence, toxic relationships, mentions of blood, body shaming, mentions of slut shaming, alcoholism

I always find rating poetry really difficult. I don’t say it often enough, but I’m a firm believer poetry and works of literature come into our life when we need them the most. So maybe I went into this collection with high expectations or maybe I was wanting something more from within these pages. Either way; I wanted to love this book, I wanted to enjoy this book, but I’m sad to say that wasn’t the case with this book. I’ll be honest, I’m disappointed and maybe, this book wasn’t meant for me.

This book is broken into two parts, part one is poetry and part two is prose. There were a few pieces of part one that I enjoyed or felt a small pull to, but for the most part I felt nothing. I felt detachment and I found myself wanting more emotional pull, more connection. A lot of this portion paints all men in a terrible light, how they’re entitled, take what they want, or how they’re always causing more harm than good. There was nothing positive to be said, not even once. Honestly, it felt like I was reading passages by someone who hates all men and that’s not my cup of tea. I’ll also make the statement that this can happen the other way around and it does happen. There’s also a lot of references as to wanting to harm them back, to the point of potentially killing them. There’s actually a passage in one of the poems that references twisting a knife repeatedly into a man’s chest because he enjoys it and the blood. Needless to say, I was completely turned off. Not to make this about me, but I like to think I’m a very open person about you should always defend yourself and only do harm if it’s necessary to your survival. I have said this a few times in past reviews, if it’s not in self-defense or in a situation of life and death, physical violence should always be a last resort otherwise it’s not necessary. This entire poem alone, turned me off from the rest of the book.

“I got so much misfortune that I’m bathing in my bad omens.”

The second portion of this book was probably my least favorite. The entire second half felt like I was sitting down with someone I had just met and they thought the best way for us to get to know one another was to break out a rollodex of all the bad, toxic, or loveless relationships they had been in. I felt completely detached from this entire portion of the book. I think I read about five of these short stories before I started skimming. As I mentioned, I wanted more pulling, something that would jab at my emotions, but I didn’t feel anything, no spark. This portion of the book really dragged on for me especially since these short stories were two to three pages long. There needed to be something to capture the reader’s attention.

Overall, I wish I had a more positive experience with this book. I felt really underwhelmed and felt this book was a big rant of some sort. And there were so many other issues with this book. I definitely felt like this book needed to be balanced with some poems or short stories of hope, signs of life improving, or something to lighten things up. As an avid poetry reader, I wanted so much more from this book and unfortunately it fell flat for me.

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



While the Earth Sleeps We Travel: Stories, Poetry, and Art from Refugee Youth Around the World by Ahmed M. Badr


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

This review is being published before the release date (October 13th, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: War themes, bombings, refugee crisis, poverty, homelessness, mentions of gang violence, talk of racism, Islamophobia, mentions of terminal illness (cancer), death, murder, mentions of homophobia, mentions of drug abuse and drug addiction, grief, loss of a loved one, trauma, mentions of terrorism

“Together, we are speaking up and proclaiming to the world that our existence is worthy of its attention.”

Friends, I truly cannot express how important this collection is. I truly believe with my whole heart that this collection is a gift that should be talked about so much more. It’s rare when we hear the voices of people who have been severely impacted because of war, violence, and other hardships, but even rarer when they’re children. I think I spent my entire reading experience crying. This book truly is a gift and I hope many readers decide to pick this book up.

While the Earth Sleeps We Travel is a collection of poetry, stories, and art by refugees who have been displaced for various reasons, but the most common is war and violence. In this book these people come together to share their hardships, their experiences, hopes, and dreams. From those who are just children to an elderly artist determined to teach their artwork to those who’ll listen, we’ll hear the voices of refugees from a plethora of places. All beautifully expressed on page to be shared with the world.

“We have to find out what people like and need and use that to help them towards a better future.”

Truly, this book is a gift. It’s heartbreaking, humbling, and encouraging. As I mentioned, I spent the entirety of this book crying because it was so moving. I’ve listed some of the pieces that really stood out and touched the softest part of my heart.

⛰️ Erwin’s Story
⛰️ Lina Habazi’s Story
⛰️ Karem Potela’s Story
⛰️ O’s Story
⛰️ Meteorite Yasan’s Story

I truly hope everyone picks this book up and take the time to listen to the voices on the pages in this book. I think this book is going to unravel many people, cause the readers to pause and really take a look at their privilege. I don’t think everyone will appreciate this book, but I think everyone needs to read this book at least once in their life.

Overall, this was just a really touching book. I can’t encourage you enough to take the time to pick this book up and hear the voices of these people. Their experiences, their souls have been laid bare for all to read and experience in this book. This is such an important collection and I hope it gets the spotlight that it truly deserves.

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



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


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.



To Drink Coffee with a Ghost (Things that Haunt, #2) by Amanda Lovelace


Content/Trigger Warnings: Child abuse, eating disorders, sexual assault, self-harm, violence, cheating, death, trauma, grief, child neglect, emotional/verbal abuse, body shaming, talk of depression, manipulation, forced hospitalization, and much more!

“one minute you were here; the next, you had already gone. now i’m terrified to leave a room without saying goodbye to everyone inside of it first. – what if they disappear like you did?”

To Drink Coffee with a Ghost is the second and final book in the Things that H(a)unt duology. To Make Monsters Out of Girls explored the memory of toxic relationships, eating disorders, and wanting nothing more than to disappear into the thin cracks of the floor. Now in the second book we explore the memory of a toxic relationship between mother and daughter, body shaming, and the haunting shadows of the dead walking behind us.

Friends, I’m all soft, sappy, and emotional… I say it all the time, but let me say again how much Lovelace’s works are true master pieces. How much I love them and adore these pieces of works. Her writing has a navigation system to the soft parts of my heart and soul , she knows how to shatter me into a million pieces, but pulls me back together again. Her work makes me feel seen and she will forever be an author that has a place in my heart.

To say I have been anticipating To Drink Coffee with a Ghost would be an understatement. I knew the minute I heard she was coming out with the final book in this duology that I had to have it and words can’t express how grateful I was and still am that my past self pre-ordered this book.

I love this book with my whole heart. Amanda has an amazing talent for making readers feel like they’re not alone with their thoughts and they’re feelings when bad things happen to them in life. Even though this book will cause your heart to ache and feel like pieces of you are shattering, there’s comfort in the underlining of her words. That she understands, saying ‘you’re not alone, I’ve been there too.’

This collection is broken down into three parts; ghost-mother, ghost-daughter, and sun-showers. This will be the part where I do a bit of a breakdown. Don’t worry, I try to keep this a spoiler free zone. Besides, emotional reads a better when you go in blind anyway!

🌻 Ghost-MotherAbout the toxic relationship one can have with their parent, the lack of acceptance or not being good enough, and the emotional and mental abuse a child can endure.

🌻 Ghost-DaughterAbout the death of a parent and living life without them, the heaviness of grief, and slowly becoming your own person without them.

🌻 Sun-ShowersAbout letting go, finding your family and home, sisterhood, loving yourself and choosing to be free.

Now the way this book addresses grief and what is truly means to lose someone, someone close to you, someone who molded you into the person you are now… Lovelace hits the nail right on the head. While my mother is still very much alive, I have lost many, many people in my years of life to all sorts of causes. And the way Amanda brings to life just how heavy grief and losing someone is so painfully accurate and she talks about the heaviness of it all. She even writes how it feels like she’s walking with the ghost of her loved one weighing her down, impacting her life, and how it all feels like quick sand. Words can’t express how much my heart ached, but how much I loved every second.

“for the first time, i will allow myself to believe that the best can & will happen to me, instead of the worst. – life doesn’t have to be a horror show”

If there’s one thing I love the most about Amanda’s writing is that it never fails to bring some form of hope or sense of peace. Both books in this duology start out heavy, laced with hard, raw emotions and feelings, but slowly they move towards brighter things. Like how we can create and choose our own family, that grief doesn’t have to keep us chained to the darkness, and most importantly, love will always find you in the end. I think that’s why I love the third portion of this book so much. It reminds me so much of finding my own happy place among someone who means the world to me. Plus, the mention of finding a sisterhood was such a breath of fresh air. It’s not often that sisterhood gets put in a positive light especially in the process of healing. Plus, there was a gorgeous illustration to match that sisterhood. This section was truly beautiful, sorrowful, but nonetheless beautiful in every way.

Overall, I truly love Amanda Lovelace and her work. I don’t often mention it, but Amanda has a way of bringing pieces of my life to reality and it touches some of the softest parts of my soul. For me, Lovelace in a favorite author and I can’t recommend picking up her poetry collections enough. Even more so if you find that you’re in need of a mirror, if you feel you’re alone in your thoughts and feelings then her books are the ones to pick up. But please remember to be in the right head space when you read this book. Even the soundest of minds can take some big mental and emotional hits. So please remember self-care and to make sure you’re in the right head space for reading this book. And of course, I think the best way to go into this book is to go in blind (which is why I barely went into detail). Emotional books are best read when one knows barely about it. It’s just the best way, in my opinion, a better reading experience.



Dragonhearts by Nikita Gill, Amanda Lovelace, and Trista Mateer


Content/Trigger Warnings: Partner violence, domestic abuse, child abuse, emotional abuse, stalking, queerphobia, sexism, mental health issues, body image issues, bullying, trauma/PTSD, death, violence, gore, self-harm

“There is a spell for almost anything and if there’s not a spell, there is at least a poem.”

The top three best selling poets; Trista Mateer, Nikita Gill, and Amanda Lovelace come together in this empowering poetry collection, Dragonhearts. The authors use fairy tales & myths to create something that is both timeless & extremely relevant to present-day issues, such as the #MeToo movement, reclaiming your voice, & the shared power of self-love & solidarity. This book is a reminder that romantic love does not need to be the main plot of your story, sometimes friendship is.

This has Amanda Lovelace so of course I was going to pick this up! However, trying to find a copy was incredibly difficult and I definitely think they need to do a reprint just for the fact that it is a very sought after poetry collection. If, you manage to snag one of these, never let it go because the words written within these pages…they will do something to you.

I say this all the time, but I love when a poetry collection shatters me in the best possible way or makes me feel things that I thought have been asleep for years. There are incredible pieces from this poetry collection that have broken me, pieced me back together, and broke me all over again. It’s the best kind of heartbreak to feel because it means you feel what the author or in this case, authors are sharing on a deep and emotional level. It made giant waves in my heart and I think the best way for any reader to take this book on is to go in blind and know that there are heavy topics that will make you emotional or be triggers.

I’ll be honest, I never read anything by Trista Mateer and the only work I’ve read of Nikita Gill’s was Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul, and that wasn’t the best of experiences. However, I am very familiar with Amanda Lovelace’s work. Her poetry collection To Make Monsters Out of Girls completely wrecked me and since then I have loved her work. Seeing the three of these authors come together in this poetry collection, they really balance each other out, personality wise. This has made me reconsider Gill’s work and has encouraged me to pick up more of her work (to test the waters, if you will) and it put Trista Mateer on my radar for more poetry collections to read, experience, and enjoy. We really get to see the uniqueness and individuality of each author and how well they bounce off of one another, and I kind of loved that!

My only issue with this poetry collection was the lack of organization, themes, and direction. We don’t get a sense of what’s happening and poems that are themed and bounce well with one another aren’t always paired together. To give a better understanding, think of a giant maze and you’re running around with no map or any idea of where you’re supposed to go, that basically sums up how this poetry collection is organized. There are quoted images in the book, but if the purpose of them were to be “chapters” or “separators” then they should have come at the beginning o each section and not the end.

“I will not give up the flowers in my heart for stones just because the world is a hard place. The world is only hard because it needs more flower-hearted people.”

Overall, I don’t want to say too much about this poetry collection because a lot of poetry collections are best left with the reader going in blind. As always though, please pay attention to the content/trigger warnings and make sure you are practicing self-care. I personally seek out books that make me emotional and push that border of triggering, but that doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone. And I highly recommend being in the right head space when reading this collection. On another note, I was very pleasantly surprised by this collection and how it left me feeling. Also, the guest poets were absolutely precious and wish we had a little more from both of those guest poets! Just a wonderful experience all around!



Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill


Content/Trigger Warnings: Abuse, toxic obsession, trauma, alcoholism, talk of emotional and mental abuse, PTSD, war/war violence, talk of murder, death, loss of a loved one, depression, abandonment, implied cheating, and many more.

“Take this as your reminder. Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear darkness, some wear wounds.” 

Rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own. Complete with beautifully hand-drawn illustrations by Gill herself.

My Thoughts

I say this all the time, but I’m going to say it again…I absolutely LOVE a poetry collection that shatters my soul and causes my eyes to turn into waterfalls. Always remember that an author pours a bit of themselves into their poetry collections so going in with an open mind is the best that you can do. However, as much as I wanted to love this poetry collection, there were parts that started to wear a little thin with my enjoyment of this book.

So starting with the good, I loved that Gill had so many retellings in this poetry collection. I love a good retelling and the fact that we get heroes and villains was a huge bonus. I really enjoyed the villains the most, of the two. We don’t often get to see the villain side of things, having so many villain retellings was enjoyable for me. I wish more authors did more retellings of villains and I think Gill did a wonderful job of breaking down some of the well recognized villains.

I also really enjoyed the fact that there is a wide variety of serious topics addressed in this poetry collection. Gill writes so intensely and allows the reader to visually picture topics and stir emotions within us. I may have shed a couple of tears myself. A lot of these topics were fairly accurate in representation (I’m just going off my own experience so hold those pitch forks) and for myself it caused me to do a lot of reflecting on my past and journey, on others I have talked with, and even reflect on those who have come and gone. All these topics were nicely represented and I almost wished we got just a little to provoke deep conversation among ourselves. And of course, I always stress this when there’s heavy topics being addressed, but please remember to practice self-care. These aren’t easy topics to talk about, read about, or even try to push yourself through. So make sure you do take care of yourself, practice self-care before and during reading this, I love you! ❤️

“I hope you summon your courage and you invite your demons to tea, and you learn to listen to all their stories.” 

Even though there were plenty of parts that I liked, things did get a little problematic for me. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of hard topics represented, but there comes a point in this book where that stops and things become repetitive. Now, repetitiveness isn’t always a bad thing, but for me personally it wasn’t just the repetitiveness that started to bother me, but there were large bits of hatred of men scattered throughout. For me as a reader, I’m not here to read a book that tries to push the concept of hatred towards others and I’m also not here for content that constantly wants to push the concept of men always being the villain, the bad guy, or painting this picture of them being monsters. As a reader, I’m not here for that type of content. I don’t want to read any book that feels like it’s trying to be subtle about hatred and beat in hatred towards others, no matter the gender. I’m not here for it, I don’t want to read it, and once that point got reached in this book, I was cringing the entire time and wanted to throw this book out the nearest window.

I want to state this… There’s never a truly supreme gender that is better than the other. Each gender has it’s flaws and if you exclude gender, everyone is morally grey. There is no truly/purely good person in this world, but we all do good things and bad things, no matter what. With this poetry collection, there are times where it comes off as painting women as angels or as the better gender and men as these terrible monsters or as the “bad gender”, and that the only good kind of man is in touch with his feelings or “sensitive” side. Let me be the first to call out this crap and say women are not better than men and men are not better than women. We all balance each other out. We are all good and bad and it’s high time we start realizing that there’s bad and good in people, no matter the gender, the race, sexual orientation, etc…

If you couldn’t tell, I reached multiple points where I was asking myself if I wanted to continue reading this collection (to answer that, yes, I did finish this poetry collection) and I had to really analyze how I was feeling about the book. To elaborate, there were times where it almost felt like I was reading a self-help book or Gill’s personal diary. There are parts where you can feel her emotions so strongly that it feels like a ton of bricks just landed on you. There were times where the anger and hate were so strong that I was cringing and asking the book “who in the world hurt you so badly that you have all this pent up anger?!” I’m all about pouring a little emotions into your work, but coming off too strong or putting too much of those emotions in can be overwhelming, suffocating, and at times, it can turn a reader off, but for me this wasn’t my cup of tea.

“Trauma when left untreated has the capacity to make a villain out of you.” 

Overall, there were some wonderful parts of this poetry collection that I absolutely loved and of course, I’m always here for villain retellings. The hard topics are a bonus too! However, the repetitiveness was okay, but it was the constant hatred of men that truly turned me off. Even more so with the repetitiveness tying in with the man hate. Since reading this and taking the time to really think on my thoughts and whether I truly enjoyed this collection, my rating has since changed. I was originally going to rate this poetry collection a three stars, but the amount of hatred and distaste for men is so strong that it left a bad impression with me and actually triggered some of my anxiety. Since all this has happened, I have decided on a solid two stars. And normally, I recommend the dickens out of poetry collections even if I didn’t personally like them, but I can’t recommend this poetry collection on a good conscious knowing how much hatred is woven throughout this book. I never want to be a person who becomes a beacon for spreading hate and anger. So if you’re not someone who likes large quantities of hatred and misandry or even someone who doesn’t want to read about those two things, then I don’t recommend this poetry collection.

“We have all taken turns being Red Riding Hood and we have all been the wolf.”



I Love My Love: A Journey Toward Self by Reyna Biddy


Content/Trigger Warnings: Abandonment, domestic violence, toxic relationships, body image issues, cheating, depression, abuse, emotional/mental abuse, talk of suicide, emotional/mental abuse, and many more hard topics.

“I’m ready to be more like me. I’m ready to be more alive.”

Whenever I read poetry, I always go in with an open mind and I’m always conscious that a part of the author goes into ever corner of their poetry collection. A part of me always feels guilty for putting a review on anything like a poetry collection, a memoir, etc… because who am I to judge someone else’s life, experiences, or their journey. However, I am very appreciative that the author has the courage to put their journey and work out there and I’m grateful I could read this poetry collection.

Reyna Biddy is a 22-year-old spoken word artist known for her positive affirmations and self-love guides she hides within her poetry. Reyna is also well known on Tumblr and Twitter, where she also shares some of her healing words. This LA native has given credit in the past to her childhood as her source of inspiration, and this inspiration has spread like wildfire. “I’m sorry you missed the God in me”, this one quote of Reyna’s can be seen in bios all across Twitter.

Not only does Reyna have her spoken word available on to stream on Soundcloud, but she also has books available to purchase. Her first project  “I Love My Love”, features a collection of her poetry that tells the story of how she learned to love. This collection is extremely personal and inspirational, she gained thousands of fans after it’s release in early 2017. Her second collection is titled “A Psalm for Us”, since then has been released as of February 2018. Her highly anticipated collection will explore and question faith and self-affirmation.

“before we fall in love—let’s heal each other.”

Reading poetry collection after poetry collection, it’s easy to find likes and dislikes. One thing that I’ve noticed with I Love My Love is it talks about deeper issues, with a seductive but powerful anger that all but sparks from the pages. It’s not coming from a passive voice who is just telling a story, this comes from a voice that demands to be heard with such intensity that you have to listen to it.

My Thoughts

I love poetry and I always love poetry that can spark some form emotion from me. The type of poetry I come to love is the type that can rattle the bones in my body and make waterfalls out of my eyes. While there were a few pieces that shook me, I struggled with this poetry collection so much. For me, the biggest thing I noticed was the voice that would radiate from various pages. There would be parts where you could feel Biddy’s Latina side come out, there would also be bits of freestyle slam poetry thrown in randomly throughout this collection. While I love both of these styles of poetry, when there’s already a set tone of voice and then you throw other random tones of voice into the mix, it can be very jarring and my interest would slip in and out because things would start to become muddled.

While I dislike comparing authors to one another, for this bit of an example I’m going to make some references to the work of Lovelace. Mays does what Lovelace does in her book, which basically means no traditional capitalization and lots of line breaks to separate what would otherwise be ordinary sentences. Some of Mays’s poems do rhyme, and they rhyme in a way that made me wonder if they might actually sound better being read aloud, like how I mentioned above with the freestyle poetry, instead of being read on the page. Because the way I was reading them in my head, the meter was not consistent and many of the rhymes felt forced. A lot of her “poems” are also paragraphs, and it’s hard to read them because of the lack of capitalization. While some have criticized Lovelace for the amount of white space in her poems, but it does make them easier to read her books. With the way Biddy has styled each page, this was more of a strain, and not really worth reading. I also took issue with the fact that her ellipses only had two periods instead of three. This stylistic choice looks like a typo, and I kept stumbling over it because it looked like an error, even though it wasn’t. It was very hard to read and I think there will be a few readers who will struggle with the way this is all typed out.

One thing I really want to point out (and I’ve only mentioned this once in one other review) is a lot of swearing and use of curse words. If you’re not a fan of swear words or curse words used often, then this might not be the poetry collection. For myself, it didn’t bother me too much, but I know that there will be some readers who will have issues with that being woven into this collection.

I really loved that this book addressed a lot of important topics. And the parts that really hit me, they really reminded me of my childhood and growing up. They were like claws pulling on my heart strings. A lot of these issues aren’t always talked about that often and I really appreciate that Biddy addressed them.

“trying to love someone into loving you- is destroying you”

Overall, I feel really bad about giving this poetry collection such a low review, especially with all the important topics that get mentioned, and a lot of the lines have a lot of potential. As I said before, I always try to go in with an opened mind and not be to harsh on judging poetry collections. This was someone trying to share their story, trying to resonate with their supporters and readers. I’m sure this poetry collection will -with others- not with me. I just wasn’t very connected to this poetry collection and it didn’t connect with me. However, don’t let my reading experience discourage you from giving this poetry collection a try. There are many moving parts of this collection with very important topics. And I truly believe that this collection will touch many poetry lovers.

“make homes out of something you can keep close forever – not some “one” who’s temporary”