Book Review: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki

Hello everyone and I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday so far. Yesterday was Independence Day for us here in the US and I was able to spend some time with family and enjoy the day. Today, I wanted to talk about a book I read back in April, which seems like such a crazy long time ago. I loved this book, until I realized what it was seriously lacking. Let’s get into the review so I can explain a little more.

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Amazon.com: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me eBook: Tamaki ...Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me

Mariko Tamaki

Pages: 304

Audience: YA

Genre: Graphic Novel, Contemporary Romance, LGBT

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

TRIGGERS: Toxic relationships, abortion

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.

Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever.

Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.

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  • Freddy’s Group Of Friends – I really loved Freddy’s group of friends. They seemed to be exactly what she needed at that time, and even though she wasn’t always to amazing friend to them back, and even at times rejected their help, they were still there for her, which is what I love to see.
  • Toxic Relationship – It sounds wrong that I “liked” the toxic relationship part, but let me explain. I think in today’s contemporary romantic YA, there isn’t a lot of relationships portrayed like this. But in reality, in high school these type of relationships was all I had seen, all that I knew. I grew up with thinking a relationship should be a certain way, but growing up I realized that is not how it is supposed to be at all. I think the YA community needs to shed more light on how toxic some relationships can be and really shed light on it for awareness, and I just think this book did a great job with showing a toxic relationship and making it known that it absolutely was.
  • Freddy’s Personality- I think Freddy’s personality was perfect. She was a little shy, basically just wanted to try and make everything work and have everyone be happy. Again, goes with the toxic relationship and how people with this personality can be pulled into these kind of relationships.
  • Friendship, Not a New Relationship – I loved how it ended with Freddy gaining new friendships and not just jumping into another relationship. I really appreciated that.

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  • Mental Health Portion of A Toxic Relationship – Okay, so the problem I had with this book is that… Freddy never seeks help from really anyone! She’s clearly going through a toxic relationship, and she never seeks therapy help, never talks to anyone really, she keeps it all bottled up inside. I think if that was really how Freddy was, her mental health would just have deteriorated! I think the book could have definitely followed Freddy try and heal and seek help. Teenagers can’t rely on other teenagers all the time, especially when this was a serious situation at times.

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                             ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

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I would recommend this book to anyone, I think it’s a great book. Just make sure the trigger warning’s I listed above wouldn’t effect you in any negative way.

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Book Review | More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys

Hi everyone! Happy Mothers Day! I hope everyone is able to celebrate Mother’s Day today at least in some type of form even through all of the craziness. I bought my mom some goodies from Ulta a few weeks ago online, so at least I was able to get her something. She loves basically all Kylie Cosmetics products, so I was able to get her lip glosses, eyeshadow palettes, and a super cute blush!

Today, I wanted to share a book review with you guys, but I picked this specific book for this day because I thought it fit best with the whole Mother’s Day theme. I actually read Alicia Keys new book! I will admit, I mainly picked this one up for the star filled audiobook cast, which included Jay-Z, Oprah, Swizz Beats, and even more. But, after reading it, it really just showed me how much of a positive spirit Alicia is. Let’s get into the review!

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More Myself: A JourneyMore Myself: A Journey

Alicia Keys with Michelle Burford

Pages: 272

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook

Genre(s): Nonfiction, Memoir, Feminism, Leadership

Publication Date: March 31, 2020

As one of the most celebrated musicians of our time, Alicia Keys has enraptured the nation with her heartfelt lyrics, extraordinary vocal range, and soul-stirring piano compositions. Yet away from the spotlight, Alicia has grappled with private heartache―over the challenging and complex relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that characterized her early career, the loss of privacy surrounding her romantic relationships, and the oppressive expectations of female perfection.

Since her rise to fame, Alicia’s public persona has belied a deep personal truth: she has spent years not fully recognizing or honoring her own worth. After withholding parts of herself for so long, she is at last exploring the questions that live at the heart of her story: Who am I, really? And once I discover that truth, how can I become brave enough to embrace it?

More Myself is part autobiography, part narrative documentary. Alicia’s journey is revealed not only through her own candid recounting, but also through vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her. The result is a 360-degree perspective on Alicia’s path―from her girlhood in Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem, to the process of self-discovery she’s still navigating.

In More Myself, Alicia shares her quest for truth―about herself, her past, and her shift from sacrificing her spirit to celebrating her worth. With the raw honesty that epitomizes Alicia’s artistry, More Myself is at once a riveting account and a clarion call to readers: to define themselves in a world that rarely encourages a true and unique identity.

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  • Star-Studded Audiobook – What an amazing cast of people to not only be able to be included in the book, but the audiobook as well! To hear Oprah, Jay-Z, Swizz Beats, I mean just Alicia alone was amazing! It definitely kept me interested since non-fiction is not always one of my strong suits.
  • Alicia is such an incredible powerhouse – I never realized how incredible Alicia really is, and just how much she gives back into the world. Going through her journey and being able to read about her positive and mindful spirit definitely was something I enjoyed.
  • Mind, body, and spirit advice – Yes, this is a nonfiction book. But I feel like even though you’re reading about Alicia’s story, you’re still taking away some information from the book and can apply it to your life. There’s a lot of meditation advice in here and just positive thinking that everyone, not only women, should apply to their everyday life.
  • Uplifting during a difficult time – I read this during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I think I definitely needed to read this. At a time like this, it’s nice to read about a positive story, one that isn’t so negative and so many up and downs, it’s a pretty solid positive read and I enjoyed that as I’m sure you can tell.
  • Music within the audiobook – I loved the fact that Alicia would play music and sing in between chapters, also when talking about a specific song in depth she would sing it. Ugh, what an amazing voice she has.
  • Not too long, Perfect length – This book was 272 pages long and I thought that was the PERFECT length. I don’t really care for nonfiction that’s 400+ pages, I like smaller books, I’m not going to lie here. It went by nicely, and I think if it was any longer I might not have gotten through it, maybe not even picked it up.

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  • Wanted more music details/backstories – I would have liked more details and backstories about the SONGS. The albums were described very well, don’t get me wrong. But I would have loved to have seen the songs and their stories go more into depth because Alicia does write her own music, and has some pretty powerful songs on some pretty power filled albums.
  • Wanted more depth going into 9/11 – She seemed to have a pretty big part of the healing New York needed after 9/11. I’ve heard stories, but New York is my home and I’ve known for a long time that Alicia was big into helping New York heal. I would have loved to hear her reactions to it and about her performance. She’s a New Yorker, and me being one myself I wanted to hear more about that.
  • Too Political for my tastes – I didn’t care for the tone the book was taking towards the end with the political talking. I understand, shit I would love to talk about Obama too. But about the whole Trump and Hillary thing… I don’t know. It just got too political for my personal tastes. That’s all.

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                          ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

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If you’re an Alicia Keys fan, absolutely. You should read this immediately, and definitely the audiobook. If you know about her but aren’t necessarily a fan and don’t have any issues with her, I would also recommend this to you. If you don’t like Alicia Keys, and I don’t really know why you wouldn’t, then probably don’t pick this up, but definitely look at the decisions you’re making in life because Alicia is not a bad person or someone you should hate what-so-ever 🤣.

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Book Review | The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Hi everyone! Happy Sunday! Today I have a few things planned, which mostly consist of updating my planner spread for next week in my new Erin Condren! But also planning some blog posts for the week ahead. I’ve also been trying to participate in the #stayhomereadingrush and I’ve been doing pretty okay with it. Today is the last day of the mini reading marathon, so I am hoping to push through and finish a couple of books I’ve been meaning to wrap up on.

I thought I would review one of my 5 star reads from this year. I loved this book, and it makes me really excited to continue on reading other things of Acevedo’s. I thought it was really a positive story and covered a lot of difficult topics that we don’t really see that much of in books. Let’s dive into the review!

Amazon.com: The Poet X (9780062662804): Acevedo, Elizabeth: Books

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo

Pages: 368

Audience: YA

Genre(s): Contemporary, Poetry, Fiction

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

  • Elizabeth Acevedo narrates the story – I loved that the author was the narrator for their own story. I don’t think just any voice actor could pull off reading a book like this and pull off the voice that Acevedo had while writing this. She is a beautiful narrator and I hope she does more audio books in the future.
  • Really Heartfelt
  • Tackles issues in a good way – There were a ton of issues tackled in The Poet X like religion, young love, parent and child issues, gay/religious issues… and honestly I thought they were handled in a very good way! I know that this is not some out of this world issue, this is a common issue that I feel like a lot of young adults go through today. Questioning religion and whether they want to be apart of it, questioning their parents values and whether they agree with their ideologies or not. She really tackled these difficult topics in a good way.
  • The quotes – There were so many memorable quotes in this book, but the one that really stood out to me was ‘“Burn it! Burn it. This is where the poems are,” I say, thumping a fist against my chest. “Will you burn me? Will you burn me, too?”’. It really was powerful to read and made me feel deeply about what was being said.
  • Twin’s relationship with Cody – I loved the little LGBTQ+ rep in this book. Not only was Xiomara going against her family and their religion, but Twin was as well and when we kind of found that out, it was definitely an eye opening moment that Xiomara was definitely not in this alone.
  • Was the relationship necessary? – Honestly, I thought the relationship in this book was not necessary. I understand how it caused the whole issue between her and her mother and created the main conflict, but I feel like Xiomara just challenging the religion and her mother as a whole would have been enough to have driven the story. It just didn’t really help my reading experience at all and I kind of wished maybe instead of a love interest, he could have been more as a friend.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

I would definitely recommend The Poet X. 100% yes if you love poetry, but even if you aren’t that big into poetry it is an amazing read. I am not that big into poetry and I obviously still found this amazing.

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WWW Wednesday #40 | 4/15/20

Hello everyone! Hope everyone is having a good week so far! Not a lot going on around where I live. Still adjusting to the quieter life, but everyone is still healthy and happy over here.

Now, it’s time for WWW Wednesday! This book meme is hosted over at Sam’s Taking On A World of Words page! Just answer the 3 questions below every Wednesday, and feel free to post your answers in the comments and of course check out the other participants and see what else they are reading for the week. The questions are:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What have you finished reading?
  3. What will you read next?

So let’s get onto the post!

What are you currently reading?

More Myself: A Journey
Blitzed (Playbook, #3)

💜 More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys – I am currently listening to the audiobook version of Alicia’s new book and I am really enjoying it so far. I love listening to Alicia’s voice, and hearing from her mother, Oprah Winfrey, and Jay-Z. I am hoping to finish this either tonight or tomorrow night.

💜 Blitzed by Alexa Martin – I also hope to get to this one tonight, and I know as soon as I really dive a little deeper into it, I’ll be hooked and probably read it within a day or two.

What have you finished reading?

I’ve been picking up reading, and then putting down books this whole week, so I have to eventually finish a book at some point this week right?

What will you read next?

The Honey-Don't List

💜 The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – I am super excited and happy that I found this at Walmart. Once I saw it, I picked it up immediately and didn’t even take a second thought. I really can’t wait to read this as it seems like every single Christina Lauren book I’ve read, I have fallen in love with.

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Book Review | Sabrina The Teenage Witch by Kelly Thompson

Hi everyone! Happy Easter! I hope everyone has a lovely holiday during this otherwise very difficult time. Today I know is meant to be spent with family, but it’s best that we all stay home and just reach out by a phone call. Trust me, when this is all over I am so looking forward to visiting my grandparents and bbq’ing it up.

I know my mom and dad are struggling a little bit with Easter having to be at home and no Easter dinners, but this year I decided to hold an Easter egg hunt at home for my brother and mom and dad. My brother is 18, so we haven’t had an egg hunt at my house for a long time.. but I thought we needed a little bit of fun this year for Easter. I made them nice baskets, and they will be going around the house looking for their eggs.

How are you guys spending your Easter at home? Any dinner plans? Any fun stay at home activities you have planned? Let me know! Now, on to the book review!

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Kelly Thompson, Veronica Fish (Illustrator)

Pages: 144

Audience: YA

Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Paranormal, Witches

Publication Date: November 20, 2019

Sabrina is a teen witch who’s struggling with balancing the double life of high school and her burgeoning powers. Newly relocated to Greendale with her aunts Hilda and Zelda (also witches), Sabrina is trying to make the best of being the new girl in town which so far includes two intriguing love interests, an instant rivalry, a couple of misfits that could turn into BFFs, and trying to save the high school (and maybe the world) from crazy supernatural events. NBD!

  • Sabrina’s Personality – I loved Sabrina’s personality throughout the story. She had a ton of sass and was very sarcastic, just like me which I enjoyed. She was very funny and I loved that she wasn’t afraid of using and showing off her magic! Every witch-y themed book I read, the witches are always scared to use their magic, which is what makes the book great! We saw a lot of magic in this story, and I hope with future stories we continue on with that.
  • Artwork – I really loved the artwork in this one, I also how the included all the different covers at the end that multiple artists has sent in. Just really refreshing artwork.
  • Lots of Action – There were a lot of monsters, magic action. I love seeing that in a book, less drama and more action!
  • Funny – I laughed throughout most of this book to be totally honest. Not laugh at the book obviously, but at Sabrina’s humor and SALEM! Ugh, I loved it.
  • Length – I thought their definitely could have been more, but the cliff hanger was a good starting place for the next book.
  • Love Triangle – I don’t like love triangles in general anyways, so this one definitely did not do it for me. We all know I love Sabrina and Harvey together, so that love triangle was NOT needed!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Absolutely! I thought this was such a refreshing graphic novel. I loved the artwork, the action, the sass. I can’t wait for the second volume/collection to come out!

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Book Review | The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Hey everyone! Happy Saturday! I hope everyone is having a lovely day so far. Today I wanted to give you guys a really good book review because….. ah this book. Honestly, where can I even begin with this book? Ummm… it f**king rocked okay?! It was amazing and thank god I just decided to pick it up on a whim. Let’s just get into the review shall we?

The Kingdom

The Kingdom

Jess Rothenberg

Pages: 352

Audience: YA

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy

Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Trigger Warnings: suicide, implied sexual assault, animal abuse, talks of blood/gross imagery, self-harm triggers

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human. 

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg | Sheaf & Ink
  • Dark – This book is very dark. I don’t normally include trigger warning in book reviews, but this one I had to because there are a lot of dark elements to this book. I knew it had some creepy and deep elements to it, but I never expected it to turn as dark and terrifying as it did in some spots.
  • Unexpected Turns – There were a lot of twists and turns in this book that I did not see coming AT ALL. It kept me guessing constantly of what may happen and what may not happen. It was so crazy and out there.
  • Ana and Owen – What a nice relationship! It wasn’t one that was solely built on attraction to one another, but based on deep conversation the two shared, that us as the readers got to see in a really nice way thanks to Rothenberg. It made the whole fact that he’s a human and she’s this cyborg princess a little less creepy.
  • The Sisters – I loved all of the sisters. Some weren’t as present as others, but some like Eve, Nia, and KAIA! All of the sisters seem to have different programming, and Kaia’s character honestly broke me every time I heard from her. Even though what she said literally had no reference to the current conversation that was being handled in the book (if you’ve read this I think you know what I’m trying to get at here), her words still had a deep, dark and terribly sad meaning. I need more KAIA.
  • Description of Park/Writing – I thought Jess did a great job with the writing and the description of the park was amazing.
  • Back and Forth Timeline – I don’t usually care for timelines that go back and forth between past and present, but man did I enjoy the hell out of this. I feel like this review would be a lot different if those little chapters to the ‘present’ where Ana is going through her trial weren’t included. They kept the reader want to keep reading, and it wasn’t long before it has me totally sucked in.
  • Pictures of Evidence in Book – Liked that there were some pictures included, and even fake notes. Loved that.
  • Disney References – There were a few Disney references in this book, one is my favorite quote from the entire book which is ‘Like Wendy, John and Michael Darling on the night Peter Pan taught them how to fly – I think one happy thought. In my pocket, I have a knife.’ In that moment I immediately wrote it down because I had felt a sharp shiver go all the way up my spine. Good lord.
  • Will there be a sequel? Because that ending! – I need to know what happens to a certain character which will remain nameless…… but I really need to know and I need a book 2 ASAP.
  • Backstory – I needed a little more back story. That’s literally the only complaint I have. I just want to know more about how The Kingdom came to be before Ana showed up.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Of course I would! I’m thinking this may be my favorite book of the year if I have to be straight forward with you guys. I will scream it from the mountain tops that I love this book. Although, I will warn you guys, it is VERY DARK. Like possibly could upset you dark. Could possibly put you in a bad head space dark? So just be fair warned about that.

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