ARC Review: Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year- Vincent Meis

Title: Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year

Author: Vincent Meis

Publisher: Spectrum Books

Format: e-book

Pages: 239

“Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year” is centered around 14 year old Colton who lives in San Francisco with his two dads. He discovers acceptance, first love, deception, and disappointment all within a year. His trip to Thailand was one of self-discovery for Colton.
Growing up with his two dads Colton always felt a little different, and he felt they didn’t understand what it’s like being a black teenager. Colton starts to question his roots and where he came from. He decides he wants to meet his surrogate mother. Unfortunately, that meeting didn’t go as he planned and he’s left with this hole in his heart and confusion.

Colton has already went through so many emotions this year. From his first kiss with the girl of his dreams, to having to deal with a long distance relationship, to having to deal with racism from one of his family members, to his dad getting sick. It was just all too much for Colton to bear.
“Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year” is a coming of age story that deals with a lot of issues set in 2020, when the whole world was uncertain for everyone, especially a teenager. Issues such as: racism, the pandemic, and the BLM movement. Just like every teenager, Colton is becoming “woke” and starts to realize everything going on around him.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. I would’ve definitely finished it on one sitting if it wasn’t for my adult responsibilities :). The author did amazing addressing teenage dilemmas, capturing the love amongst Colton and his diverse family, as well as the drama, and navigating relationships. I also enjoyed the trip we took to Thailand through the author’s writing; Beautiful scenery, and temples. I really commend the author for creating such a fun and diverse set of characters, as well as including different sexualities as well.

Overall, this book was excellent. Touching on a lot of important topics. I’m a huge lover of YA so I already knew the intended audience and writing. I will definitely be reading more of Vincent Meis’s books in the future. Special thanks to @bibliophile.nat (Instagram) and @vincentmeisauthor (instagram) for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Released: 3-4-2023

Book Review: Over my Dead Body- Greg Melville

Title: Over my Dead body

Author: Greg Melville

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Format: Hardcover (Library)

Pages: 272

Cemeteries have always been a fear of mine. I never liked to walk past them because I thought the dead would become like zombies and come eat me, but I was always really intrigued by them. From very young I was always exposed to death. no matter if it was a family member or a pet or someone I knew. ‘Over My Dead Body’ is an extremely informational book filled with whit and a barrage of dad jokes. 

The book speaks about early cemeteries and graves. The lack of respect for indigenous and African American graves is also talked about in the book in depth. People had their graves disrespected by colonists building over them. One that’s pretty surprising is the African American burial ground that they built over in Central Park (the markers were removed). Another great topic brought up in the book is of funeral costs or the “American Way of Death” as described by Jessica Mitford. How grieving families are taken advantage of in a way. Wanting to upsell “the best” to these families. 

Overall, a great read. Very educative and informative (sometimes that drives me a bit mad lol). The author did great writing this book.

Book Review: All the Living and the Dead- Hayley Campbell

Title: All the Living and the Dead

Author: Hayley Campbell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Format: Hardcover (Library)

Pages: 288

I picked up this book while visiting my local library. I absolutely am obsessed with books that deal with mortuary science in some way or form. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m highly fascinated with something that has scared and continues to scare me, which is death. I will admit after losing my grandmother, I’ve become more intrigued about the roles of people who are involved in the business of death. 
The best thing about this book was the fact that there’s a person for every job listed here, and you get to hear the experiences they go through working in these fields. It really isn’t easy and I truly admire what they do. I really enjoyed a few stories more than others, especially: ‘The Executioner’. The fact that these people have to fear for their lives on a daily basis because of other people’s beliefs is insane. However, a lot of the people who’ve taken the role of The Executioner have been known to also stop all together after being consumed by nightmares and death threats….most taking their own lives as well. The process of Freezing your body, grave Digger, and many more! Many think books like these are macabre and dark, but I think it gives great insight into the world of the dead. The people who take care of our loved ones during the death process should be given credit and be spotlighted a swell. It’s not for the faint of heart. The author did an amazing job interviewing these professionals as well as getting an hands-on experience in these fields of work.
I think after reading about some of the cases and what these professionals do, I have even more respect for them. 


Hello Eeveryone!

Wow. It’s been a REALLLLYYY long time. It’s been about a year (maybe more) since I wrote a blog or a review. I do apologize. I kind of fell out of reading for about a year and a half. It truly wasn’t starting to feel very overwhelming and pressuring. I was struggling keeping up reading ARC’s because I didn’t know how to pace myself at all and just kept requesting and requesting; major burnout.

But I am here for 2023, and absolutely ready to knock out all these books I have to read. Already read my first book of the year. Last year, I was lucky enough to have read the 10 I did. Anywho, I’m so glad to be back and don’t be afraid to say hello. I will be posting my first review of 2023 shortly. Thanks for sticking around!


ARC Review: Enduring Freedom- Trent Reedy & Jawad Arash

Title: Enduring Freedom

Author: Trent Reedy & Jawad Arash

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 352

Rating: 5/5

Enduring Freedom is a fictional YA book based on the horrific events that took place on 9/11/2001. I remember where I was when the planes hit. I was in global history class in High School. I saw the smoke from the the first tower from the window. It was such a life changing moment for everyone around the world. It was a time of uncertainty, and reflecting; the course of history would change forever. Right after those tragic events, troops were immediately dispatched to Afghanistan to fight in the war. 

Baheer is a boy from Afghanistan. His life revolves around his educations. He’s very studious and wants nothing but to educate himself and learn English. His brother on the other hand, only cared to work. Learning and having an education meant absolutely nothing to him. Baheer just sits and sees how his family lives in constant fear because of the wars and violence that plagues their country every single day. He wants better than that for them. 
Joe is a young army private who lives on the other side of the world. He’s studying to be a journalist, which is one of his biggest dreams. Joe just wishes that he could be a full time journalist and give up the rifle. When September 11th happens, Joe is immediately shipped to Afghanistan, flipping his life upside down. When Joe and his unit arrive to Afghanistan, he’s on high alert. He doesn’t’t trust anyone. On the other hand, Baheer see’s it as an opportunity to learn from the soldiers, especially English. 
When Baheer and Joe meet, they’re uncertain about each other, but as they get to know each other they start to see how much they have in common; their friendship blossoms. Of course, the friendship doesn’t come without some rocky moments. Baheer and Joe’s friendship is put to the test. Will they be able to ignore the differences and situations that surround them. Huge thanks to Algonquin Young Readers and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. (less)

ARC Review: The Woman With The Blue Star- Pam Jenoff

Title: The Woman With The Blue Star

Author: Pam Jenoff

Publisher: Park Row

Pages: 336

Rating: 5/5

Imagine living in perpetual fear everyday because of your race. Imagine hoping that your family wasn’t next. Imagine getting the opportunity to go and try to escape those that wish you harm. Eighteen year old Sadie Gault and her family are Jewish and have lived in Krakow, Poland for most of their lives. Their lives were pretty peaceful until the Germans invaded. They were forced to move into the Krakow Ghetto. Everyday got progressively worse for all the Jewish families.

One day while the parents of the Jewish children were at work, the Germans raided the homes of the Jewish families, taking children with them. Sadie heard the approaching soldiers and decided to hide in a trunk in her mother’s room. It was only when Sadie heard her mother trying to kill herself that Sadie came out and showed her mother…she’s okay.

Sadie’s parents were afraid and tired of living like this and decided to come up with a plan to finally escape the hell they were living through. With the help of a sewer worker named Pawel, they created a hole and escaped into the sewer system under the most deplorable conditions. Unfortunately, tragedy struck and things for the family became harder for them. Until one day, Sadie decided to explore the tunnels and came face to face with another girl her age through the sewer grate. After that things take an interesting turn.

I must say this book was riveting; The writing was amazing. I will definitely be checking out more of Pam Jenoff’s writing. Wow…just, wow. Huge thanks to NetGalley and Park Row books for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: In Your Face- Shari Graydon

Title: In Your Face

Author: Shari Graydon

Publisher: Annick Press


Rating: 5/5

‘In Your Face’ is a fantastic look into the beauty world. The positives, the negatives, and the controversies behind it. For years the beauty industry has been changing, with standards that are beyond impossible to reach. Many young women are sucked into websites that promote women with surgically enhanced bodies and making it seem like it’s a obtainable goal, when it reality it’s all fake.
I really loved how the author broke everything down, from the different decades, different fashion, with colorful graphics and illustrations. The author didn’t sound bias to me, if anything she made you think, she broke everything down for you, and fed you facts. I think that’s something admirable about this book. I believe any girl/young lady/woman who picks up this book will go into reading this with an actual eye opening experience. 

Blog Tour ARC Review: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman- Julietta Henderson

Title: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman

Author: Julietta Henderson

Publisher: Mira Books

Pages: 400

Rating: 5/5

When you’re twelve years old and your best friend dies life can be very hard. Norman Foreman loses his best friend Jax suddenly and he is left with a empty hole in his heart. Jax was an amazing kid. He was caring, outspoken, and he helped Norman come out of his shy and quiet shell. They had a five year plan set as a comedic duo. You see, Norman and Jax loved comedy and they made sure to always put on a show. Their dream was to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Even Sadie, Norman’s mom, misses Jax. Not only was he an amazing friend to her son, but he made her home lively with his presence, often getting into little schemes. Being a single mother, Sadie lost her dad (whom was also a comedian; not so successful though) a year before she had Norman. Her grief and heartbreak led her to questionable behavior, such as drinking and having one night stands. As a result, she doesn’t really know who Norman’s father could be. She often feels she’s not a great mother, considering she can’t do anything to get her son out of his misery. It doesn’t help either that her boss is a pain in the butt. After she spills all her woes on her co-worker, whom comes up with a plan to help Norman and Sadie look for his real father.

This book was simply amazing. It’s a story about friendship, love, family, and never giving up. The way Julietta brought the characters to life was refreshing and she really takes you on an adventure with all the different characters she brings aboard this road trip. Huge thanks to Mira books, NetGalley, and Harlequin for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Existence of Amy- Lana Grace Riva

Title: The Existence of Amy

Author: Lana Grace Riva

Publisher: Independently Published

Pages: 283

Rating: 5/5

Trigger Warning: 
OCD, Depression, Social Anxiety, Anxiety

‘The Existence of Amy’ does an amazing job showing you the everyday life and the stresses that Amy goes through. Amy has a full-time job, has her own home, and tries to maintain friendships. The thing is it’s hard for her to do all this and her friends have no idea the mental anguish she goes through everyday (Sally was just a horrible person; so entitled).

This book is one that most of us could relate to and the subject manner isn’t so heavy. It’s like you’re living whatever Amy is going through as if you’re in the present moment with her. The constant voice in the back of your mind, constantly tugging at you…trying to make your day a living nightmare. No matter how hard Amy tried to push these thoughts out of her mind..she just couldn’t. I really truly felt for her. I’m glad that she had at least sort of a friend in Ed. He seemed to be the only one who truly cared about her.

I think it’s safe to say that after reading this book, it’s so important to have a support system and learn to listen to people. I want to give a huge thank you to Lana Grace Riva for gifting me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I truly enjoyed it

ARC Review: Honey Girl- Morgan Rogers

Title: Honey Girl

Author: Morgan Rogers

Publisher: Park Row Books

Pages: 352

Rating: 5/5

‘Honey Girl’ was just an amazing piece of literature. You must absolutely read it. It has definitely been moved to the pile of books I have that have left quite an impression on me. This book deals with so many issues that many of us have encountered in our 20’s. The feeling of what we’re going to do after we graduate. The constant pressure of not being good enough, especially with not so supportive parents. 

Grace Porter is 28 years old and has graduated and obtained her doctoral degree as an astronomer. Now she’s having a hard time finding a job due to the major systematic issues affecting her not only as a woman, but a black queer woman. It doesn’t help that she feels she needs to live up to her fathers expectations. Seriously, he was the most annoying person ever (I hate parents who can’t let their kids choose their own dreams). To try to get away from all the madness and her own thoughts, Grace goes on a girls trip to Vegas…and well…we all know what happens in Vegas. Grace wakes up the next day, hung over with no recollection of what happened…and…a wife! A wife she remembers as smelling like flowers and sea salt. 

Join Grace on her journey of self-discovering and lookin for the woman who stole her heart. I absolutely loved this book. It showed that it’s ok to not be perfect or have your crap together. I truly admired the tight knitted relationships shown in the book. What you’ll get from reading this book….f/f romance, black women romance, and mental health representation. Huge thanks to Harlequin, Park Row, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.