• Author: Kalynn Bayron
  • 2nd Book Published; 1st in a series (*cries rocking in a corner*)
  • Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
  • Background: Black
  • IG-@kalynnbayron; Twitter-@KalynnBayron; https://www.kalynnbayron.com/
  • Release Date: 6/29/2021 (out NAOW in the US & UK!), 7/2/2021 (AUS)
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury
  • Favorite Character-I LOVEEEEEEEEE Briseis’ moms SOOOOOOO much but I loved Mo (Angie) a lot! She’s the overprotective but funny & cool mom that I think I will be should I have kids! Also, the way she loves Bri & Mom (Thandie) just made my heart feel all sorts of warm & fuzzies!
  • Favorite Quote(s)“Oh, they also like to make dance videos on TikTok,” said Mo. “What’s that one called? The Renegade?” “I can do it, but the way my ligaments are set up-“-Mo…damn if this won’t be me some day! And the way I cackled at this entire page…this whole book really! “You’re some kind of actual Black girl magic.”-Mom. I could just feel the reverence & love in this quote…more Black girls need to hear this from the people in their lives.
I mean, it’s true

The moment I saw This Poison Heart’s cover, I just KNEW I had to read this book… Scroll up and Just LOOK at the cover!!!! Don’t tell me that it doesn’t scream to you that you MUST read it?! If you look at this cover and feel no pull toward it, you may just want to go get checked out! It is FIYAH and BEAUTIFUL and All that I could’ve possibly dreamed of, especially as a Black Girl who is a member of #GlassesTribe! I need this cover on a poster for my Magical Black Kids Wall & I needed to be directed to whoever could make that possible like yesterday!

Me too Queen Symone, meeeeeee too!

I had resigned myself to waiting until after pub day to read this book because yet again, Edelweiss was a hater and denied me the E-ARC but THE BOOK GAWDS! They smiled down on me and shook a finger at Edelweiss trying to staunch me living my best bookish life. My favorite Indie Bookstore, Kew & Willow (shouts out to them…and go order something from them or stop by, #NotAShamelessPlug), thought of me *wipes a tear* & offered me their extra copy. Of Course, I happily accepted (#NoMrMcDowellFakeAcceptance) like I was being proposed to (which, this is like the bookish equivalent so now we really go together, lol). It was being offered fluffy blanket on a cold night, water during a drought, RuPaul’s Drag Race on an emotionally taxing day and bubble tea after a long day…it just made me THAT happy! I haven’t gotten to go obsess to them about this book yet but I think they know it’s coming, lol! Seriously, they let me be great & obsess about books all the time (they are the literal best, #PunIntended)!

Basically how I felt when I got that DM

How can I really pop this post off? Hmmmmmm… wellllllllllll, THIS BOOK IS FUCKING PHENOMENAL! I don’t even know a more eloquent way to put it! TPH had me gripped from start to finish…it had me wishing I had magical powers like Bri, especially because I seem to have a hard time keeping plants alive that don’t belong to my grandparents (I don’t need my Grandpa scolding me in my dreams over them). I think part of WHY I loved Bri’s power is because she has such a deep love for Botany and her excitement is so palpable, just like my Grandpa’s love of it. When she described her bedroom, I thought of my Grandparent’s foyer filled with different types of plants. When she got excited about a plant, I thought of my Grandpa talking about different flowers & showing pictures of the ones he was particularly proud of. With those sentiments/memories, it made TPH that much more special to me. Sidenote: I’ve been watering my Grandparents plants at my Grandma’s insistence (you DON’T say No to a Haitian Grandma) and while I’m not on Bri’s level with plants, they have been growing!

The best person I have ever known, as a matter of fact

Outside of wanting to read this book, I honestly didn’t know what to expect but I didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did! When I tell you that the banter in this book along with the thoughts/commentary is everything, it truly is! Not only is the story line bomb but like every other page had me in tears. This book felt quite opposite from Kalynn’s debut Cinderella Is Dead in terms of level of humor (that book is also really good) as I don’t remember laughing so much while reading. The relationship between Bri & her moms and how they interact is just the best… like who wouldn’t want to listen in to a conversation between a Black teen girl and her 2 Black mamas?! It’s just *chef’s kiss*…this is a family we ALL deserve to read!

And what a blessing this family is

Speaking of Moms, Bri’s parents are two of the best parental figures I’ve read over the years! They are funny, they are supportive and they are down to earth. I think part of why Bri is so amazing is because their belief in her & her abilities. Yes, they are fearful like any other sane parent/adult would be and yes, they can be overprotective close to the point of being helicopter moms but its mostly because they love Bri so fiercely. They give Bri the freedom to explore who she is & what she wants but also advise her where they feel it appropriate…. they are basically the dream team of YA parents and I lived for them! Where do I sign up for them to adopt me? I’m sure there is plenty I can learn from them and I can be helpful, lol! Bri seriously hit the parental jackpot y’all! You have to read in order to truly understand why they are The GOAT of YA Parents*wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*.

The All-Stars of Parents, really

I don’t know what it is about the name/nickname Bri but there has been some Amazing Bri’s in YA (On The Come Up, Legendborn [Bree], Wings Of Ebony) but I’m so glad another has been added. I seriously lived for Bri; her level of sarcasm & sense of humor was simply A-1…like I couldn’t have asked for more when it came to that. Also, her cynicism connected me further to her because literally everything she questioned, I was asking the same or similar questions in my head. Only difference is her timing would’ve been different from mine in terms of when she was investigating things. There were instances where I would’ve wanted to look into it right away and others where I would’ve held off. If you want examples, unfortunately, I cannot provide them for you as I’m not about that spoiler lyfe but if you read the book and decide you want to talk to me about it, I will happily oblige, lol! Though, I will say that she is a downstate teen who is upstate without a license, which would’ve been me too at 17! Bri is such a clever character and her level of knowledge of plants is simply amazing… I wanted to look up all of the plants she talked about as I read but she did such an incredible job describing them that I felt like their pictures were painted in my mind while reading. Seriously, if you don’t add this book to your TBR, you my friend are losing, periodt.

How I imagine Bri’s face when she questions/doubts something

So much goes on in this book but it didn’t feel as overwhelming as it could’ve been…okay, fine, I will admit that I was a bit stressed at parts, lol. From the mystery of Bri’s gift to the home she inherited to the what her birth family did in the past… it’s just all set up so perfectly. Bri basically became a magical Black Nancy Drew and honestly, Who wouldn’t love to see a Black Girl sleuthing it up?! As she was piecing together these different mysteries, I found myself taking mental notes trying to piece them together too. That’s always a good sign when it comes to me & books with any sort of mystery/mysteries to solve! I loved almost every moment of this book (when you read this book, you should be able to guess the reason for the “almost”) and I really didn’t want it to end. I couldn’t put it down and even sat & read when my ceiling for peopling at a family gathering had been hit (judge me if you want but I doubt any introverted person would’ve questioned my choice). This book was honestly worth any & every side eye I got from my family especially since that’s where I finished it *’Ye Shrugs*.

That moment when something doesn’t sit right

On the real doe, get this book, read it and then come talk to me because I need someone to talk to at length about it…especially because the last few chapters leading to the cliffhanger ending were wild disrespectful! Deadass, I had to make my discontentment known to Kalynn on Twitter. I legit looked to see if there was more but the acknowledgements weren’t even in the ARC! I internally screamed like I spilled my bubble tea (yep, that level of mad/hurt/upset) then I tweeted Kalynn…. Seriously, y’all I’m mad about this. I didn’t know this was a series until I had about 100 pages left and was like “this doesn’t end here…this can’t end here” and I’m ticked I was right (a very rare thing). I felt like a bomb got dropped & I had no idea I needed to duck for cover! Again, wild disrespectful but will I be anxiously awaiting book 2? Ya damn skippy I will be because I need to know how this ends! I got maddddd questions and I know Bri will ask them all!

Me, in my mind, when I read the last line

Well y’all, I think I have said just about everything I could say without spoiling anything. You know I wouldn’t do that to you because I loveeeeee youuuuuu, lol. On the real doe, You need to get this book and tell all your friends to get it too because it is simply amazing! You KNOWWWWW I wouldn’t steer you wrong *insert Angel emoji here*! Just…just trust me on this… I got your bookish back!

When a Black woman says it, she means it….and I mean it so much that I used an Black Auntie gif

As always, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading! For more bookish banter, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms.


Published by bookishgirlmagic

I’m reader who has a fierce love for books written by authors of color & belief in the importance of supporting them! My mission is to amplify their voices and work so this generation and all the others after them will have literature that will reflect them.

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