Unanswered Verses by Tajammul Kothari

Photo taken from Goodreads
  • Published August 1, 2018 by Amazon
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Edition: E-Pub
  • Pages: 51
  • Rating: 3 stars

Unanswered Verses is a collection of poems that strives to capture the varied emotions of life in its rawest form. It aims to indulge the reader in asking questions pertaining to the three entities that govern our lives. Namely the mind, the heart and the soul. Written in a simple and lucid manner, the book is divided into three chapters related to the attainment of peaceful bliss, love and worldly freedom.

I have not read many poetry-based books, but I found myself pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed this one. This book contains several poems that cover a wide variety of topics: bullying, cheating, addiction, anger, etc. My top favorite poems were titled: Prelude, Harassed, Addiction, Unrequited, and The Affair.

Every individual has questioned the meaning of life at some point in their lifetime; in the poem titled Prelude, which serves as the book’s introduction, the person feels like no matter where he/she turns, whether religiously or to others, the answer to life’s meaning is still nowhere in sight.

Every night I cry silently

Hoping that tomorrow they won’t bother me

In the poem, Harassed, the author talks about a child being afraid to attend school due to being bullied. This one tugged at my heartstrings; the author makes you feel like you’re the child and as if the pranks and torture this child feels from his/her bullies is your own.

How I wish I could turn back the clock

Then I would have ignored and looked away

And my life would have been different than what it has become today

Addiction was a poem that spoke to me from the title alone; I’ve never personally suffered from addiction, but have several family members battling the disease. In this particular piece, the author details the how easy it is to pick up a new drug due to peer pressure, not thinking about the long-term consequences. The reader learns that the individual gets hooked from the very first use and is fast forwarded to ten years later with the person still struggling to end the cycle of addiction, but with no avail.

The poem titled “Unrequited” tells the story of a love story with a heartbreaking ending. A guy ends up falling in love with a woman, whom he has established a long-term friendship with. One day, the contact between the two comes to a screeching halt and he drops everything to fly out to see what is the matter; however, once he arrives he is informed that she has recently gotten married.

I closed my eyes for a few moments

Hoping this was just a dream

I felt her warm body embracing me

Opened my eyes and saw no one was there

I rejoiced thinking I had hallucinated

Yet I could smell the dirty stink of betrayal

Last, but not least, The Affair is pretty self-explanatory. A man and his wife have not had much time together in awhile and he decides to try doing something romantic for her, but comes home to see that she has had a romantic evening with someone else. Later, he wakes up next to her and believes he has dreamed of her betrayal; however, the smell of the encounter still lingers in the air.

I want to take a moment and thank Kajammul Kothari for reaching out to me and providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for a honest review.

Sweet Poisons by Natalie Bennett

  • June 18, 2019
  • Genres: New Adult, Romance
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 236
  • Rating: 3 stars

Rhett Sullivan.

Mysterious boy painted in shades of red.

Nova Markov
Eccentric girl dripping in sunshine.

He was the type mother’s warned their little girls about—a cocky, rich asshole with a pretty smile, unapologetically insane and wild.

I was the type guys like him usually ignored—a free spirit who hid my crazy beneath an odd good girl facade, and the art hanging on my studio walls.

We were opposites in every way but one, and we collided like two runaway trains that never had a chance of stopping.

What blossomed between us, our ‘relationship’, was maniacal.

We got stuck in a cycle of madness.

Rhett Sullivan became a bittersweet poison I couldn’t get enough of.

In the end, that’s what destroyed me.

Because in the end?
Our love was nothing but a lie.

Author note: I said I was done slapping warning labels on my book babies this year, but since I have never written full on NA yet, I’m going to give a tiny one now. This will be the only label this duet will have. If you are not a fan of twisted stories that deal with dark themes, rich assholes, and lots of filthy sex, this will not appeal to you. This couple is not unicorns and rainbows and neither is their story

I must confess that the main reason I decided to checkout this book was because of its cover; the cover oozes darkness, but with an adequate amount of sensuality. After reading the book’s synopsis, however, I knew this was one I had to read; boy, must I say, it didn’t disappoint! From the beginning of this book, I was hooked and ended up finishing it in one sitting.

Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of romantic novels; I find those reads to be redundant and predictable. If you think this book is going to be another one of those reads, then you are mistaken and are best to leave this one behind. Yes, this book follows a budding romance between Nova and Rhett, but it is far from a “match made in heaven” or having a “fairy-tale ending.”

Nova is a twenty-two year old who has recently experienced the loss of her parents while Rhett is the mysterious new guy around town. As best as Nova tries to keep her distance from Rhett, their paths continue to cross and she finds herself no longer trying to push him away. However, the newfound relationship is in jeopardy of being destroyed before it even has a chance to evolve into something long-lasting; Rhett has a secret he’s hiding and when Nova begins to uncover the truth, the outcome will be unexpected for both of them.

I would recommend this book to those that enjoy romance novels that have a darker storyline. This book contains expletive language, sex, and violence; if mentions of these topics are triggering for you, then I highly suggest you steering clear of this book altogether.

Last, but not least, I want to thank Giselle for having me be a part of this Xpresso Book Tours event.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

  • Published: July 2, 2019 by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Edition: Audiobook
  • Time length: 10 hours
  • Rating: 2 stars

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings.

Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind. As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story…until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

At the start of this book, the readers are introduced to Jules Larson. Her life has not been an easy one; her sister, Jane, went missing at the age of seventeen has yet to be found and her parents died when she was nineteen. She has recently broken up with her boyfriend and is currently crashing at her best friend’s house until she can find a job that will allow her to have her own living space. This makes it easier to understand why Jules acts quickly when she sees an ad seeking an “apartment sitter” for the luxury building named the Bartholomew. The protagonist meets the employer for an interview and is offered the position; she will stay in the apartment for three months and receive twelve thousand dollars after the entirety of her stay. However, the position comes with certain rules that must not be broken; at the beginning, the rules do not seem to be an issue until her next door neighbor, Ingrid, goes missing.

Ingrid and Jules had made plans to meet up at a nearby park when Ingrid turns out to be a no-show. After several texts go unanswered, Jules confronts the employer on her whereabouts. The employer of the building provides little explanation to her sudden disappearance, but does tell Jules that Ingrid left in the middle of the night and the apartment was left the way she found it. Jules, unable to accept this news, decides to start an investigation and questions the other residents hoping to uncover clues that will aid in finding her neighbor. Sadly, the other inhabitants provide little to no information that is helpful; this leaves Jules on her own to uncover the truth and it lands her in the fight for her life.

It is at this point in the book that the plot falls flat for me. I do not want to give too much away, so I will just state that the “twist” the author introduces as an explanation to the disappearance(s) comes out of nowhere. Sager does not lay down any sort of foundation that serves as a build-up to this development, which made it hard to follow and leaves quite a bit of loose-ends that I feel needed tied-up. I also found it frustrating that the author provided no resolution for Jane’s disappearance as it seems she was prominent in the protagonist’s character development. This is the first book that I have read by this author and even though it was not the book for me, I will look into reading other works by him.

*I listened this book on Scribd. If you would like to have ONE FREE MONTH of this book subscription service then click this link: https://www.scribd.com/g/7ovkvo

The Whisper Man by Alex North

  • Published: August 20, 2019 by Celadon Books
  • Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 368
  • Rating: 3 stars

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Everyday, I would log onto my “bookstagram” and see several fellow readers currently reading this book, or giving it a five star review. The hype made me eager to get my hands on a copy of this book; I tried NetGalley and Edelweiss+ to no avail. I finally obtained a Kindle copy once the book was released and sadly, it missed the mark for me.

From other reviews, this book was supposedly creepy and not the type of read for late nights; however, I found it not creepy at all. Maybe I have a higher threshold hold for all things creepy since I love the works of Stephen King and other authors of horror? Aside from that, I found myself having a hard time getting into the story. The author throws in a lot of subplots without a clear explanation; for example: Jake’s ghost friend, or Pete’s connection to Jake and Tom.

Even though this book wasn’t a five star read for me like it was for many others, I would still recommend this book to those who enjoy reading books in this category because it’s still a quick and enjoyable read. Who knows? You may find that your opinion is different from mine! That’s the beauty of reading; everyone reacts differently to what they read.

*I read this book via a buddy read hosted by the lovely Hannah, a.k.a. @girlsturnpages. She’s such a sweetheart and her account features several beautiful bookish posts. Go give her a follow at: https://www.instagram.com/girlsturnpages/

Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

  • Published: June 23, 2015 by Dey Street Books
  • Edition: E-book
  • Page length: 355
  • Rating: 3 stars

The shocking, never-before-told story of the bizarre world inside the legendary Playboy Mansion—and, finally, the secret truth about the man who holds the key—from one of the few people who truly knows: Hef’s former #1 girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door

A spontaneous decision at age twenty-one transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Sue Cullen into Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s #1 girlfriend. But like Alice’s journey into Wonderland, after Holly plunged down the rabbit hole, what seemed like a fairytale life inside the Playboy Mansion—including A-list celebrity parties and her own #1-rated television show for four years—quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing bunnies. Life inside the notorious Mansion wasn’t a dream at all—and quickly became her nightmare. After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth, and her hope for the future, Holly found herself sitting alone in a bathtub contemplating suicide.

But instead of ending her life, Holly chose to take charge of it.

In this shockingly candid and surprisingly moving memoir, this thoughtful and introspective woman opens up about life inside the Mansion, the drugs, the sex, the abuse, the infamous parties, and her real behind-the-scenes life with Bridget, Kendra, and, of course, Mr. Playboy himself.

With great courage, Holly shares the details of her subsequent troubled relationship, landing her own successful television series, and the hard work of healing, including her turn on Dancing with the Stars. A cautionary tale and a celebration of personal empowerment, Down the Rabbit Hole reminds us of the importance of fighting for our dreams—and finding the life we deserve.

Holly Madison is mainly known as being number one girlfriend to Hugh Hefner, but in this book the readers get to see her in a different light. Madison gives inside scoop on the feuds going on with the other females she was living with, her battle with depression, and how she ultimately overcame it and found a new life.

When Holly Madison was given the invitation to live in the Playboy Mansion, she didn’t hesitate to accept; it felt like a dream come true for her, but that quickly changed. Madison describes the rivalry she faced with the other females and how they all seemed to stick around long enough to become the centerfold before deciding to up and run. Luckily, she did befriend one woman: Bridget Marquardt; Marquardt remains one of her closest friends till this day.

If the hostility with the housemates wasn’t enough to deal with when Hef started limited Madison’s independence, she knew she couldn’t stay around that atmosphere for much longer. The decision didn’t come easily to Holly; Hef had taken her under his wing when she was struggling to make it on her own and he had blessed her with some of the greatest luxuries life could provide. When she took all those things into consideration, her thoughts of leaving seemed like the ultimate betrayal; however, she knew that her happiness and well-being was what mattered most and that was confirmation for her to leave.

After she managed to leave Hef and everything with him behind, she found herself in a new relationship with Criss Angel. At first the pair was happy, but Holly quickly noticed Angel to be jealous and possessive over her; it didn’t take long until the couple were fighting constantly and the toll of the relationship caused her to spin into a deep depression. Madison ended up being put on an antidepressant called Effexor, which causes a high dependency rate, and she struggled for years to wean herself off the drug completely after ended the relationship with Criss.

Through all the craziness that was thrown the author’s way, there was light at the end of the tunnel when she found her husband. The two now share a daughter together, Rainbow Aurora.

I’d recommend this book to those that would like to know more about Holly’s life during the Playboy years or those that enjoy celebrity memoirs.

Book Review: Cicada Spring by Christian Galacar


Published: March 18, 2015
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 368
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Description: On a warm May evening in the spring of 1979, the people of Heartsridge, Massachusetts, are living the American dream. Families are gathered for barbecues. Kids are playing in front yards. Gardens are being kept. 


Meanwhile, Kara Price stumbles home through the woods, raped and beaten, her life shattered by a wicked act of violence, perpetrated by one of the town’s most beloved and public figures. 

Surrounding Kara is a cast of compelling and nefarious characters—a violent-tempered mayor who can do no wrong in the eyes of the town, a sheriff bound by the rules and plagued by a guilty conscience, a father bent on revenge, a serial killer in the midst of an identity crisis. 

And at the center of it all there’s Kara, who just wants to move on with her life and forget everything that happened to her. But how can she do that when everyone thinks she is a liar who is only out for attention? 

With plot and emotion braided together by a careful hand, this haunted group of people all acting on behalf of their own interests begs the question: How far would you go to protect your own?

This was my first read by this author and Galacar did not disappoint. I feel like this author took the risk of addressing sensitive topics into his novel that most authors would decide to leave out. This story starts off with the main character, Kara Price, heading home after being a victim of sexual assault. At first, she believes that she is going to keep her attack secret but by the time she makes it home she breaks down and confides in the authorities the details of her assault. Kara’s courage to acknowledge her assault and identify the perpetrator should be a huge relief for law enforcement, but that is not the case considering whose name it is that is mentioned. 

Kara’s revelation leaves everyone shocked and doubtful: the sheriff, the deputy, the doctor, and other prominent figures of the town. It doesn’t take too long before word gets around about what has happened to Kara and citizens start to label her as a liar. As a result, Kara becomes a target for bullying and cruel comments. As Kara’s world continues to crumble, she does gain an ally in a female deputy who refuses to let Kara’s case go without justice; with her help, lies and alibis begin to unravel and the truth is brought to light by an unlikely source in an ending that won’t want to miss!

A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

  • Published: January 29, 2019 by Thomas Nelson Audio
  • Edition: Audiobook
  • Time length: 9 hours
  • Rating: 2 stars

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer? Kerri Rawson, the daughter of the notorious serial killer known as BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill), tells the nightmarish story of that discovery and of her long journey of faith and healing.

Kerri Rawson was living a happy, normal life until one day when the cops showed up at her front door with news that would destroy the image that she had painted of her father over the years. It would be unveiled that Kerri’s father, Dennis Rader, was the serial killer dubbed BTK, which stood for bind, torture, kill. The news stunned Rawson and in this book, she shares the side of her father that his victims did not get to see while also sharing with readers what the conviction meant for her and her family and how they coped with the aftermath.

The book’s opening begins during the time that Kerri is informed her father is a serial killer and all emotions that immediately hit her: denial, shock, and other emotions appropriate for the occasion. Rawson goes through the book sharing memories that she had created with her father while growing up: a hiking trip she took with him and her brother, a father’s concern when she was doing poorly in college, and other moments meant to bond families together.

However, the more the author uncovers about the crimes committed by her father she starts to connect dots to the timeline of the murders and that of her childhood. Kerri makes no excuses for her father; she openly expresses sadness for the victims and guilt for not realizing that danger was so close to home the entire time. With her dad’s crimes exposed, Rawson and her family had to be there for one another and help pick up the pieces of the mess left behind. Most people would believe they would “cut all ties” with a loved one if they found out they committed such horrid crimes, but the author is only human and at the end of the day Rader is her father. As she felt her way through her emotions, which was difficult to say the least, she begins the process of forgiving her father and slowly begins re-establishing a connection with him while he is behind bars.

Originally, I was excited to finally read this book, as I’m a huge fan of true crime shows and books. However, this book just could not hold my interest for too long and did not leave me with any lingering feelings after I finished it. I would still recommend this book, though, for lovers of crime shows/books and memoirs; it may not have been the book for me, but it could be for you!

*I read this book on Scribd. If you would be interested in ONE FREE MONTH of this book subscription service, be sure to click this link: https://www.scribd.com/g/7ovkvo

Book Review: A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell


Published: July 23, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Thriller
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 346
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Description: Caroline Stark’s beach house was supposed to be her crowning achievement: a lavish, expensive space to showcase what she thought was her perfect family. But after a very public fight with her husband, she realizes things may not be as perfect as they seem: her husband is lying to her, the money is disappearing, and there’s a stranger on the beach outside her house.


As Caroline’s marriage and her carefully constructed lifestyle begin to collapse around her, she turns to Aidan, the stranger, for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s infatuation with Caroline, her family, and her house becomes more and more destructive. But who is manipulating whom in this deadly game of obsession and control? Who will take the blame when someone ends up dead…and what is Caroline hiding?

As those that follow my blog know, it is rare for me to reward a book with a five star rating. When it comes to books, there are certain factors that must be present in order to be bestowed a five star rating and here is the list:

  1. Reading speed-Did I finish this book in one sitting or less than three days?
  2. Content-Was the content engaging enough to keep me reeled in until completion?
  3. Predictability-Did I catch onto where the plot was heading?
  4. Re-Read-Would I be able to reread this book at another date?
  5. Purchase-If reading on my Kindle, would I go out and buy a physical copy because it needs to be on my shelf?

This is the first book that I have read from Michele Campbell and I know it will not be the last for me; I finished it in one sitting! This book was the perfect combination of psychological thriller and “whodunit?” The author tells the story from two perspectives: Aidan, a twenty-seven year old man who falls head over heels with a married woman after a one night stand and Caroline: a forty-two year old married woman whose marriage is falling apart and suspects that Aidan is stalking her after their brief sexual encounter. The readers are taking on the journey of hearing both characters recount memories differently from the other, which will leave readers constantly wondering who could be the true culprit when both are accused of murdering someone. Although I caught onto a part of the storyline towards the end, it still didn’t prepare me for what I would discover!

➤ I would like to take a moment and thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Philipps

  • Published: October 16, 2018 by Gallery Books
  • Edition: E-book
  • Pages: 320
  • Rating: 3 stars

There’s no stopping Busy Philipps. From the time she was two and “aced out in her nudes” to explore the neighborhood (as her mom famously described her toddler jailbreak), Busy has always been headstrong, defiant, and determined not to miss out on all the fun. These qualities led her to leave Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of nineteen to pursue her passion for acting in Hollywood. But much like her painful and painfully funny teenage years, chasing her dreams wasn’t always easy and sometimes hurt more than a little.

In this stunningly candid memoir, Busy opens up about chafing against a sexist system rife with on-set bullying and body shaming, being there when friends face shattering loss, enduring devastating personal and professional betrayals from those she loved best, and struggling with postpartum anxiety and the challenges of motherhood.

But Busy also brings to the page her sly sense of humor and the unshakeable sense that disappointment shouldn’t stand in her way—even when she’s knocked down both figuratively and literally (from a knee injury at her seventh-grade dance to a violent encounter on the set of Freaks and Geeks). The rough patches in her life are tempered by times of hilarity and joy: leveraging a flawless impression of Cher from Clueless into her first paid acting gig, helping reinvent a genre with cult classic Freaks and Geeks, becoming fast friends with Dawson’s Creek castmate Michelle Williams, staging her own surprise wedding, conquering natural childbirth with the help of a Mad Men–themed hallucination, and more.

Busy is the rare entertainer whose impressive arsenal of talents as an actress is equally matched by her storytelling ability, sense of humor, and sharp observations about life, love, and motherhood. Her conversational writing reminds us what we love about her on screens large and small. From film to television to Instagram and now to the page, Busy delightfully showcases her wry humor and her willingness to bare it all.

I adore Busy and was eager to finally get my hands on this book and read the stories she would include, but was disappointed by most. I applaud her for sharing some heartfelt stories such as: her unexpected pregnancy that led her to a difficult decision, her battle with postpartum depression, and the endless rejections that comes with the entertainment industry. On the other hand, I felt like other stories she was sharing came across as her narrating a script for an upcoming movie. She’d constantly mention going out with friends for drinks or hanging out and smoking endless cigarettes. I just couldn’t find myself always engaged in the book or like I could relate to her as much as I would’ve liked.

*I read this book on Scribd. If you would like to have ONE FREE MONTH of this book subscription service then click this link: https://www.scribd.com/g/7ovkvo

Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality by Brian “Head” Welch

  • Published: November 30, 2010 by HarperCollins
  • Edition: E-book
  • Pages: 208
  • Rating: 2 stars

This 40-Day devotional from Brian “Head” Welch, former lead guitarist of Korn and the New York Times bestselling author of Save Me From Myself, is an intimate tour through the Bible passages that have meant the most to him on his trying journey from substance abuse to salvation. Save Me From Myself, Welch’s self-effacing story his against addiction and his reawakening to divine love, has made the metal band icon into a hero of Christian rock. Uncompromisingly honest about his demons, and equally fervent about his faith, Head and his impassioned devotional offer a uniquely voiced guiding light perfect for young Christians and rock music fans everywhere.

Brian “Head” Welch co-founded the highly successful metal band named Korn and had everything he could have asked for: nice vehicles and houses, loads of cash, and let’s not forget the most important, fame. It came as a huge shock to everyone when in 2005, the musician made the decision to give his life over to Christ and walk away from his band and all the luxuries attached to it. In this book, Welch carries his readers into spiritual discussions for the span of forty days that he will compare this journey to that of the biblical Moses. Each day, the author shares a few biblical verses that have meaning to him and shares stories of times throughout his relationship with Christ that he needed to apply those specific ones.

This book is not my typical read; I am not familiar with many scriptures of the Bible and don’t practice the religion frequently, so it made it hard to connect with the book. It is for that reason that I decided to rate this one a two star read for me. Although in his defense, I did find that Welch breaks down the verses he shares in a way that is easy to understand. This book is the perfect read for those seeking spiritual guidance, those who love hearing more on Welch’s life after seeking Christ, or those that are looking for a light, uplifting read.

*I read this book on Scribd. If you would be interested in ONE FREE MONTH of this book subscription service, be sure to click this link: https://www.scribd.com/g/7ovkvo