book review: sweet tea and spirits by angie fox

***an eARC of this book was provided to me by season publishing via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

angie fox

goodreads summary:

Southern girl Verity Long is about as high society as her pet skunk. Which is why she’s surprised as anyone when the new head of the Sugarland social set invites her to join the “it” girls. But this is no social call. Verity’s new client needs her to go in undercover and investigate strange happenings at the group’s historic headquarters.

But while spirits are whispering hints of murder, the socialites are more focused on Verity’s 1978, avocado-green Cadillac. And when Verity stumbles upon a fresh body, she’s going to need the long-dead citizens of Sugarland to help her solve the crime. Good thing she has the handsome deputy sheriff Ellis Wydell on hand, as well as her ghostly sidekick Frankie. The bad thing is, the ghosts are now whispering about the end of a certain ghost hunter.

my thoughts:

this book was such a delight to read and i’m so grateful that i was given the opportunity to read it! when i came across this book on netgalley i was in the mood to read something light and fun & this was exactly what i was looking for! it was funny, charming, and thoroughly engaging the entire way through; i can honestly say that i was entertained from start to finish. the mystery within the book was a lot of fun, and i found myself eagerly turning the pages in order to find out what happened next. this book is part of a series called the southern ghost hunter mysteries, and although i admittedly had never heard of this series prior to this one, nor had i heard of the author, i am now definitely interested in reading the previous books in the series, as well as any others that may come out in the future! although this book is the fifth and newest in the series, it was easy enough to get into without being confused, as background information was given about the characters, as well as some plot points (without actually spoiling the plots) from the previous books.

this book is jam packed with humorous, quirky characters (some of whom were ghosts, how awesome is that???) that i thoroughly enjoyed reading about. verity long, the main character of the series, is a charmingly endearing heroine.  i especially loved her interactions and antics with frank, her ghostly sidekick who aides her in her ghost hunting investigations.

this series is set in a small, southern town called sugarland, which i found added to the charm and appeal of the book. a small, cozy, southern gothic town filled with buildings that may or may not be haunted by a ghost or two? yes please!

if you love lighthearted, but engaging mysteries, with ghosts and endearingly fun characters thrown into the mix, then i would definitely recommend reading this book. i am very much looking forward to the next installment in the series, and i’ve already got the previous books in the series downloaded onto my kindle so that i can get caught up while i’m waiting!

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

 

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book review: bones in the garden by mckayla debonis

bones in the garden

goodreads summary:

Here lies the anatomy of the first Heartbreak.

But,

take my advice, you can grow, you can heal, you can learn, no matter what.
Just pick yourself up and keep going.

my thoughts:

as soon as i saw the cover of this book i just knew that it was going to be something special, and i was right. in fact, this book is now one of my absolute favorite poetry collections. but even with that being said, i’m finding it harder than i thought to write a review for it, as i feel that nothing that i say is going to properly convey just why i love this collection so much. it was dark and haunting but it was also hopeful and beautiful and i feel more empowered than ever after reading it.
i want to place this book into the hands of anybody who is heartbroken and trying to piece themselves back together and is in need of a reminder of how special they are, because this book is just that: a beautiful reminder that no matter how much we may struggle to love ourselves, especially during the worst of times, we are all unique, strong flowers that deserve to flourish.

“i am more than broken bones and

bruises

i am more than scars etched in 

white

i am the strongest and unique

flower in the garden

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

book review: aftercare instructions by bonnie pipkin

***thank you to netgalley for providing me with an early digital copy of this book!

aftercare instruct

goodreads summary:

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

This powerfully immersive and format-crushing debut follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.

my thoughts:

i loved this book. in fact, i loved it so much that not only would it have been a book that i finished in one sitting had i not fallen asleep (contrary to popular belief i do actually sleep sometimes) but it also managed to completely tear me away from my most recent gilmore girls marathon (the fact that i marathon gilmore girls on a regular basis is beside the point).  this was a book about love, heartbreak, friendship, loss, & everything in between.

this book starts off with the main character, genesis, discovering that her boyfriend, peter, has abandoned her at a planned parenthood clinic after she gets an abortion.  both the abortion, and peter’s decision to leave her stranded, leads genesis down a painful, yet eye-opening & ultimately fulfilling path of self discovery that she may not have gone down otherwise.  this story takes place over the span of one week, & what a hell of a week it is.  as you delve deeper into the story, it becomes apparent that there is even more going on in genesis’ life than first meets the eye, & that both her abortion experience, as well as her breakup with peter, weren’t her first experiences with grief & loss.  this was such a heartbreaking book, but it was also brave & hopeful & inspiring.  genesis went through so much for someone who was so young & i found myself rooting for her throughout the book. despite her painful circumstances, she still managed to have such a strong & capable head on her shoulders, & even when she thought she would never be okay again, she perservered, & i really admired her for it.

despite the bleak picture i may have painted, this was also a really fun book to read. i loved genesis’s friendships with her best friend, rose, & her cousin delilah, & i really enjoyed watching (or reading, rather) the development of her friendship/relationship with seth, a boy she meets one night at a random party in new york city. speaking of new york city: i also loved how a good chunk of it took place in new york city! (i love NYC even though i haven’t been there in a very long time) and that we got a glimpse into NYC’s underground theatre life.

i really loved & connected with the author’s writing style & it was easily one of my favorite things about this book.  at first i wasn’t so sure about the fact that the flashback scenes in the story are written in script format, but i actually didn’t mind it, and the further i got into the story, the more i understood why it was written that way.

this was an absolutely stunning debut of a book, & i am SO glad i happened to stumble upon it on netgalley.  i can’t wait for it to be officially released this summer, and i will definitely be picking up a hard copy when it is!

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

book review: sad girls by lang leav

***thank you to netgalley for providing me with an eARC for review

sad girls.jpg

goodreads summary:

“Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to—it’s the first one who breaks it.”

Sad Girls is the much anticipated debut novel from international best-selling author Lang Leav. A beautifully written and emotionally charged coming of age story, where young love, dark secrets, and tragedy collide.

School is almost out for Audrey, but the panic attacks are just beginning. Because Audrey told a lie and now her classmate, Ana, is dead. Just as her world begins to spin out of control, Audrey meets the enigmatic Rad – the boy who could turn it all around. But will their ill-timed romance drive her closer to the edge?

my thoughts:

i have been a fan of lang leav’s work for YEARS, so when i heard that she was releasing her first full length novel, it immediately became one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. needless to say, i had been impatiently awaiting its release in may, but to my surprise & extreme delight, i randomly stumbled across an eARC of it on netgalley & i instantly downloaded it (thank you so much netgalley!!)

now, onto the actual review. first off, lang leav’s writing, as always, was absolutely breath taking. her way with words never fails to amaze me. there’s a reason i’ve been a fan of her work for so long. but aside from that, i am not really sure where to even begin. i don’t want to say too much, seeing as how this book still won’t be hitting shelves for another month. furthermore, i am still reeling from the ending, & am still trying to wrap my mind around everything that happened in this novel. this book is not called sad girls just for the hell of it. throughout this book, & certainly by the very end of it, you may not end up liking all of the characters, and you certainly may not agree with or even understand why they did some of things that they did. this was not an easy read. it was heavy. it was dark. it was hopeful. it was tragic. it was beautiful. it was ugly. it was profound. it was everything that life can be-it was REAL. it covered a variety of topics and hard hitting issues including mental illness, drug abuse, grief, and suicide. it also showed love in all of its forms, & how it can be both beautiful and tragic. and most importantly, this book showcased how one decision that we make can not only impact and change our lives forever, but also spread like wildfire and influence and change the course of the lives of those around us. it makes you stop and think about how different things in your life, as well as the lives of others, may have been had you not done that one thing.

one of the biggest things that drew me to this book in the first place (aside from the fact that it was written by lang leav, of course) was the fact that i knew from reading a summary of it that it includes a character that suffers from anxiety. i have suffered from anxiety & panic attacks for as long as i can remember, & anyone who has never experienced on going anxiety & panic attacks themselves will never truly understand how it feels. even as someone with anxiety, i find it hard to convey what its like to other people.  that being said, i was very much impressed with how accurately anxiety was portrayed in this book; it was written in such a raw, unflinchingly honest way, and i am so grateful to lang leav for not holding back and shedding light on what people who suffer from anxiety go through.

there is so much more that i could say about this book (& probably will say as i will more than likely add to this review at some point after the book is actually released) but for now i am just going to end this review with a list of trigger warnings. (if i think of any more i will certain edit this review to include them)

trigger warnings: drug abuse, self harm, suicide

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

book review: 7,300 days by isabella mente

7300 days

goodreads synopsis:

this book holds my story, my odyssey, through twenty years of life. it shares my story through the darkness and the light. get comfy, put your favorite sweats on, boil some water, and make tea. crack open the pages and feel with me. hold my art upon your lap and let it become a part of you. because this story is not just mine, it is yours, too. all my love, me. [themes found within this text: femininity, mental health: depression/anxiety, self-love, sexual abuse, love, trauma, etc. a coming of age] xx

my thoughts:

wow. it’s poetry collections like this that make me remember why i love words so much, and why it’s important that we open ourselves up enough to share our words with others. this book spoke to my entire heart and soul; i connected with and saw myself in so much of what was written in here. this collection was so raw and so filled with emotion that it’s clearly evident that the author bled herself dry onto each and every page. thank you, isabella, for being brave enough to open yourself up and share with us the words that you have been holding inside for so long.

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

book review: i am more than a daydream by jennae cecelia

daydream

amazon synopsis:

How often do you daydream? For most, it is many times a day. We stare out the window instead of the task in front of us. We fantasize about where we would much rather be, the significant other we long for, our ideal job, the body we hope to see in the mirror, a healthier mindset, pure happiness in our lives and the lives of others, peace in this chaotic world. However, how many of us daydreamers believe these pleasant thoughts will truly turn into our reality? Daydreams are more than just short bursts of happiness that only our minds can see. I know I am more than a daydream; and you are, too.

my thoughts:

this poetry collection may have been short, but it was an extremely empowering read. i love how much it stresses the importance of self love and finding your self worth despite the struggles you may face in life.

as someone who has been battling an eating disorder and body image issues for many many years, i just want to say THANK YOU, Jennae. I have been working through recovery for a long time now, and it’s definitely not an easy fight, so it is always so nice to read things that both encourage me & remind me that my self worth is not based upon what my weight may be, and that self love doesn’t come from my pants size. so many of us struggle with the ability to love ourselves because of what we see in the mirror, and it is easy to lose focus on the fact that beauty and self love is much, much more than the numbers on a scale.

to anybody who may be struggling in any sort of way, and is having trouble navigating their way through the many obstacles that are a part of life, please do yourself a favor and pick up this poetry collection. words are a truly powerful thing, and they can go a long way in helping to change your life for the better.

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

book review: love, & you by gretchen gomez

loveandyou.jpg

goodreads synopsis: 

one day i met a guy
who stole my heart,
we created a world
for ourselves.
and another day
he broke my heart
and shattered
my soul.

i took the tattered
pieces of this
broken soul and
became anew.

– here lies the hurting, the healing, and the learning

my thoughts:

i have been reading a lot of beautiful poetry collections as of late, and this collection is no exception. it is clear that the author opened herself up fully, and allowed her words and feelings to flow through the cracks in her heart and onto the pages of this book. in fact, i feel like she took shattered pieces from my own heart in the past and placed them alongside hers in this book. there was a particularly painful period of my life where i could have used a book like this, and i highly encourage anybody who has been through a toxic relationship, or is going through some form of heartbreak, to pick up this collection and lose themselves in Gretchen’s words. absolutely beautiful debut!

my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️