Review: Dear Girl by Aija Mayrock


Expected publication: April 7th 2020

From a celebrated activist and spoken-word performer comes a debut poetry collection that takes readers on an empowering, lyrical journey through being a woman in today’s society, exploring issues like suicide, sexual assault, self-image, and healing.

Aija Mayrock published her first book, The Survival Guide to Bullying, at just sixteen. A fierce advocate for women, girls, and all youth, Mayrock performs spoken word poetry as part of her activism work and has performed live to an estimated four million people. Dear Girl, her powerful debut poetry collection, includes some of her viral spoken word poems like “Dear Girl,” “Dear Sisters,” and “The Truth About Being a Girl,” as well as many never-before-published pieces. Aija’s poetry—fierce, conversational, inspirational—speaks to the pain and the beauty of being a woman in our society today. Dear Girl is a love letter to all women, amplifying Aija’s message of understanding, empowerment, and support.

Dear Girl is one of the best poetry collections I’ve read in a long time. I’ve picked up quite a few poetry books the past month or so and Dear Girl really stands out from the rest. The poems are all very well written, super powerful. I feel like a good deal of poetry books have filler poems, but I didn’t come upon any poems in Dear Girl that seemed like fillers or noticeable lesser quality. The whole book was very consistent in quality and I loved that.

Review: This Boy by Lauren Myracle

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Expected publication: April 14th 2020

Paul Walden is not an alpha lobster, the king lobster who intimidates the other male lobsters, gets all the lady lobsters, and wins at life. At least not according to anyone in his freshman seminar. But Paul has found a funny, faithful friend in Roby Smalls and, just maybe, caught the interest of smart, beautiful Natalia Guitierrez. Life as a sharply dressed beta lobster seems just fine, but in the tricky currents of high school, its pretty easy to get pulled too deep.

With perfect frankness, Lauren Myracle explores the point of view of a middle-class white kid as he navigates friendship, love, loss, addiction, and recovery. It’s life at its most ordinary and most unforgettable.

I’m super appreciative that that publisher sent me a copy of this book. It wasn’t a book I normally would have picked up but I’m always game to read something new.
Shortly after starting This Boy, I realized this book is not meant for me. I’m 100% not the demographic that I think this book is best aimed at. The synopsis says “with perfect frankness, Lauren Myracle explores the point of view of a middle-class white kid” and honestly, that’s very telling about what to expect from this book. I’m not a teenage white boy so I couldn’t relate at all and I didn’t find this character’s perspective to be of any interest to me at all. I don’t read Young Adult very often these days but when I do, I realize now that I usually grab a YA book with some diversity in it, something with a new perspective, something I can learn perspective from. This book isn’t any of that.
Outside of the complete lack of interesting perspective, I felt like this book was incredibly slow and boring.
Overall, to be completely blunt, this book brings nothing new or exciting to the YA genre and even though I think some male teen readers might enjoy this book, I think there’s many more YA books that provide a more interesting perspective and better plots. I’ve been reading YA for a decade now and I know there’s so many books out there with this same perspective with better plots. I wish I could have enjoyed this book but the basic privileged, middle class, straight, white boy narrative isn’t interesting even to compensate the extremely slow, boring plot.

Review: The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Expected publication: June 23rd 2020 

Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again, in this propulsive page-turner from suspense master Megan Miranda.

I was really excited to pick up The Girl from Widow Hills. The plot sounded great and I’d seen several reviews that had high praise.
Unfortunately, it was way too slow for me tom really become invest in it. Nothing really happened until 19% into the book and the real action didn’t happen until the book was almost over. There was several plot twists and one was pretty decent but the other seemed to come way out of left field and it didn’t make a lot of sense to me.
I did really like the overall plot and the writing was really good. I liked the main character and even the side characters added value to the book.
Overall, for most of the book, it wasn’t really holding my attention and I wasn’t extremely driven to finish the book. If you don’t mind slower reads, you might really enjoy The Girl from Widow Hills.

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls
Published : February 11, 2020

A film-obsessed romantic rewrites the script to understand why his “picture-perfect” love story crashed and burned in this wonderfully clever debut.

Ellie had the quizzical eyebrows of Broadcast News-era Holly Hunter and the neon-red hair of Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. At least, that’s what caught Nick’s attention when he met her on the night of 2008’s historic election. A cinema devotee and lover of great love stories, Nick always fancied himself the Tom Hanks of his own romantic comedy, and when sparks flew with Ellie that night, he swiftly cast her as the Meg Ryan of his story. For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job as a film projectionist: wholly, earnestly, cinematically.

But now Ellie has moved out, convinced “the fire’s gone,” and Nick is forced to sift through his memories to figure out where it all went wrong. The fallout from Ellie’s declaration that she “doesn’t love Nick the way she used to” throws him back into recollections of their first night together. Their shared jokes, her wry smile, the “hope” that filled the night air–his memories are as rose-colored as the Hollywood love stories he idealizes.

That night was a perfect meet-cute, yes, but was their romance as destined for a “happily ever after” as he’d thought? Is he really the rom-com hero he believes he’s been? Or did this Harry let his Sally down? Peppered with references to beloved movies, Love, Unscripted explores how even a hopeless romantic can learn that in real life, love isn’t, and shouldn’t be, like what we see in the movies.

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

So, I really wanted to love this book. It sounded like the perfect little romance, something sweet and great to read, I mean hell even look at the cover. How do you NOT buy this book?! But this book just didn’t do it for me. And to be honest, there’s three timelines going here, and I’ve read plenty of stories that follow through multiple timelines but this just didn’t to it very well. It jumped around so much I couldn’t really keep everything in the right spot in my mind.

This book also felt a bit slow at times to me. So I had some trouble trudging through it and to be quite honest I didn’t really connect to either of the characters which makes reading a book really difficult for me. Although I got through it, it was just kind of meh. Nothing stood out to me and I feel bad because I really wanted to enjoy this book.

2/5 Stars

Top Six Books I Want To Reread in 2020

I’m bound and determined to get back on track with my reading this year and I feel like I’m already doing a really great job. It’s the first week of February and I’ve already read 13 books and have reviewed almost all of them. Way better than last year. So to continue my endeavor of reading like a boss in 2020, I’ve realized there’s so many books I want to reread. It’s been ages since I’ve read most of these books and I know how much I loved them when I first read them, I’m ready to revisit that love and excitement. So, in no particular order, here are the top six books I want to reread this year.

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I know it hasn’t been THAT long since I read this book, I read it in March of 2019, but I loved it so much and it might even have been my favorite book I read in 2019. I read Where the Crawdads Sing cover to cover during a flight and as soon as I finished, I wanted to start reading it again. I had seen some hype around this book but I didn’t think it would actually live up to the hype but it totally did. The plot, writing, and characters are stunning. I’m amazed by the writing especially. This is one of the best written books I’ve read in years and I recommend it to everyone.


According to GoodReads, I read The Winner’s Curse in early 2014. I don’t remember a lot about it but I do know I loved it so much and even though I never got around to reading the sequels, I still pre-ordered them and kept the whole series in my massive unhaul of over 1,000 books in 2018. I’m really looking forward to revisit this story and rediscover the characters.


Y’all know there had to be at least one CoHo book on this list. I’ve actually already read Ugly Love twice, once in 2015 and once in 2016. That being said, I honesty don’t remember a lot of details about this book. I obviously loved it and I still stay it’s one of my top favorite CoHo books but I 100% need to reread Ugly Love asap and refresh my memory.

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I read Verity in 2018 and it was honestly a highlight of my year. I wasn’t reading much that year, I was having a hard time in life, but I preordered this book, as I do all CoHo books, and halfheartedly started it, not really feeling like reading. I loved it right away and is to this day, the one book I’ve binge read and stayed up all night to read in the last two or three years. This book pulled me out of my funk for a night and it was such a fantastic feeling. I’m sure it won’t be the exact same experience the second time around, knowing how the plot goes, but I look forward to picking this book up again and hopefully feeling as excited about it as I did the first time.


I read this book a long time ago, in 2014, but it remains one of my all time favorites and I still recommend it to people. It’s a well loved and familiar favorite among the Young Adult book crowd but Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is so beautiful, it transcends genres. I loved it so much when I read it but I have a feeling it’ll mean even more to me now than it did back in 2014.


I know there’s so many CoHo books on this short list but I can’t help it, she’s my favorite author! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve read Too Late. I read it in 2016 and it was insane, wild, and an incredible ride while reading. It’s without a doubt one of my favorite books and I’m surprised I haven’t reread it yet. I’m expecting to see more of the problematic side of this characters, fully realize how complex this story is, than I did when I first read it but I’m ready to write a whole new review for this book and get back on the wild ride that is Too Late.

Review: Sara and the Search for Normal by Wesley King

Expected publication: May 5th 2020

In this prequel to the Edgar Award–winning OCDaniel, fan-favorite Sara quests for “normal” and finds something even better along the way.

Sara’s Rules to be Normal

1. Stop taking your pills
19. Make a friend
137. Don’t put mayonnaise on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Sara wants one thing: to be normal. What she has instead are multiple diagnoses from Dr. Ring. Sara’s constant battle with False Alarm—what she calls panic attacks—and other episodes cause her to isolate herself. She rarely speaks, especially not at school, and so she doesn’t have any friends. But when she starts group therapy she meets someone new. Talkative and outgoing Erin doesn’t believe in “normal,” and Sara finds herself in unfamiliar territory: at the movies, at a birthday party, and with someone to tell about her crush—in short, with a friend. But there’s more to Erin than her cheerful exterior, and Sara begins to wonder if helping Erin will mean sacrificing their friendship.

Even though this is a prequel, I haven’t yet OCDaniel. But after reading Sara and the Search for Normal, I’m picking it up right away.
This book was so well written, had fantastic characters, and wonderful mental health representation. I could tell that the author wrote this book with care and thoughtfulness. I appreciated, what I felt as, accurate mental health representation and I was able to relate to the main character a lot.
I really don’t have much to say critically about this book because I enjoyed it so much and even read it in two sittings.

Review: Nineteen by Makenzie Campbell

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Expected publication: March 3rd 2020

By the author of the wildly successful 2am Thoughts, comes Nineteen — titled after the poet’s age when she wrote this new book. Nineteen is a collection of poetry that broaches heartbreak, love, loss, war,
peace, and healing.

For every place we go, there is a feeling or memory that’s been painted on the walls. You can paint over it, but it will always be there. Even if you can’t
see it, you know.

You can feel the heartbreak inside the bedroom where you lost a love.

You can feel the hope at the coffee shop where a beginning happened.

You can feel the healing as you sit in the driver’s seat, in charge of your own life. 

I’ve been reading quite a bit of poetry lately and even though I did enjoy Nineteen, it didn’t provoke much emotion from me. I thought the poems were really good for the most part but they seemed more like slam poetry and it didn’t translate to the page and to me like they probably would have it they were read aloud, slam poetry style.
Overall, I appreciate the personal story told within Nineteen and enjoyed most of the poems, however, I think they would translate verbally much better than on paper.

Review: The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

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Published December 30th 2019

New York Times bestselling author Tarryn Fisher delivers a pulse-pounding, fast-paced suspense novel that will leave you breathless. A thriller you won’t be able to put down!
Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.
But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.
What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.
You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. After a month of trying to get through this book, I’m torn on how I feel. I wasn’t super invested in the characters but the overall plot was intriguing enough to me that it made me want to finish it even though the the first half is pretty slow.

This is the first Tarryn Fisher book that I’ve picked up and I’m feeling a little underwhelmed. I did really enjoy the writing style so I’ll most likely be picking up another book of hers.

In the first half of this book, I didn’t have much of an opinion on it. It was pretty slow, I wasn’t emotionally invested in the characters and the main character seemed a little bland. I wasn’t a fan of her husband so it was unfortunate he was such a large part of the main character’s personality.
Once I was about half way into the book, the action slowly started but all the excitement and plot twists felt fabricated from nothing and there was so many plot holes. Nothing really made sense and felt made up along the way.
I didn’t really enjoy that miscarriage and infertility were used as… tokens. I personally wasn’t triggered by it but if that is something that you don’t want to read about, you’ll want to skip this book. I also feel conflicted on using mental illness as a plot twist. I don’t think it was needed and, because the details of the plot are pretty messy, I think there was many different approaches that could have made this book a million times better.

Overall, this book is kind of a hot mess and even though the last half of the book was a wild ride, it wasn’t very well done and could have used some improvements. I did enjoy most of the book but if I’m critical of it and honestly reviewing it, it was pretty dumb at times and didn’t make a whole lot of sense. If you’re looking for a thriller and aren’t a critical reader, you might really enjoy this one.

Review: I Hope You Stay by Courtney Peppernell

Expected publication: March 3rd 2020

In the spirit of her bestselling series, Pillow Thoughts, Courtney Peppernell returns with a new, empowering collection of poetry and prose. From heartbreak to dreaming of and finding a new love to healing the heart to ultimately finding peace, the themes in this book are universal but also uniquely individual to readers.

Just as moving and endearing as Peppernell’s previous books, I Hope You Stay is a reminder of the resilience and hope needed after heartache and pain. The book is divided into five sections, with poems ranging from free verse to short form. These words are a light in the deepest hours of the night: Hold on. The sun is coming.   

I read Pillow Thoughts when it was first released and I really loved it. It was one of my favorite poetry books I’d read in a long time. I was really excited to pick up another book from Courtney Peppernell and while I really enjoyed this book as well, I didn’t love it as much as I expected. There’s so many beautiful poems in I Hope You Stay and I especially love the overall story it tells, but I felt like there was quite a few poems that didn’t match the quality of others, which was a little disappointing. I did really enjoy the otter illustrations throughout the book and I absolutely love the cover. Even though I didn’t love this as much as the author’s other work, I do plan on purchasing a physical copy for my poetry shelf.

Review: a fire like you by Upile Chisala

Expected publication: March 10th 2020

A fierce and lyrical collection of poetry celebrating the moments of triumph and beauty in our lives, as well as the moments of despair—recasting them as opportunities for growth.

In this never-before-published collection, poet Upile Chisala grapples with themes of love, loss, and desire. Throughout this third book, she explores her identity as a black Malawian woman, offering intimate reflections on her life and experiences, imparting a stirring, universal message of empowerment and self-love

I’ve been really enjoying reading modern poetry books lately and while A Fire Like You isn’t my most favorite, I still really enjoyed it.
I thought the writing was beautiful and meaningful, and relatable many times, but I felt like there was quite a few filler poems that didn’t seem to hold as much meaning as others and maybe were written in haste.
Overall, I did enjoy it and would probably pick a physical copy for my poetry book shelf, but it wasn’t my favorite.