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Ink and Bone – The Book that shows the Power of Knowledge

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Publication date : July 7th, 2015goodreads

Publisher : Berkley Publishing

Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy

Page Count: 352

Synopsis : In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…
Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.
Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.
When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 3.5 stars

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(No Spoilers)

I have many, many conflicting feelings about this book. Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect, IT’S A BOOK ABOUT BOOKS (I feel like all people who read this book, say this exact same thing haha.) and the premise sounds cool but other than that, I didn’t know what to think. After reading it, as much as I wasn’t disappointed, it didn’t blow my mind either. The concept delivered but I still had a few issues with the book that weren’t negligible.

One thing I want to get out of the way before starting the proper review is that the synopsis is misleading. It makes it seem like the fact that Jess’s (the main character) friend committing heresy is what’s going to get the plot going, it is not. That doesn’t happen until the end of the book. That was kind of a bummer because I kept expecting it to happen and it didn’t. Anyway, moving on.

The writing is easy to follow without falling into being over-simplistic. It was just what the book needed. Though the first complaint I have is about the chapters, they are so painstakingly long. Ink and Bone is with no doubt the book that contains the longest chapters I’ve ever read and that didn’t help with the pace of the book -which I’ll get into a bit later. Last thing, read this:

“For the most part, the people matched the place: exotic, clean, attractive, polite. Cosmopolitan.

Yikes. You probably don’t see what is wrong with that sentence, let me enlighten you. You DON’T describe a person as exotic, NEVER. No matter what your reasons are, they’re not food, they’re not exotic. After that, I watched like a hawk for more vocabulary like that but there weren’t so I’ll just call this one a slip.

Onto the plot now. I loved the concept, it is unique and unheard of, even though I must admit at first it was a bit confusing and I found it hard to get the hang of but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it. What it basically is, is a world where the Alexandrian Library didn’t burn and it controls all knowledge, no one has the right to own books and doing so is against the law. Because of that, the world progress is rendered slow and it is stuck in a 19th century sort of vibe while technically the book is set in the future.

But the book was slow. Very slow, with no apparent direction to the plot for the first chunk of it. I blame that pace on 1/ the long chapters and 2/ the misleading synopsis which made me expect something that wasn’t coming. But once the pace picked up, it was GREAT and very complex. Plot wise, the second half of the book would easily get 4 stars from me, shit got very real very fast, people started betraying, stabbing, dying, etc… I loved how through the letters that were inserted between the chapters, the reader isn’t kept in the dark and knows right off the bat that the library is the bad guy -which honestly is like a sect.

The world building -along with one character- was my favorite part, it was really well done and explained in depth with no info-dumps, all the information that was needed was introduced through dialogue, lectures to the postulants, etc.. So that it all flowed nicely.

I LOVED the characters, each one of them came from a different part of the world, they made for a very diverse cast. But what I loved most of all about them is how none of them suffered from SSS (That’s Special Snowflake Syndrome if you weren’t following me when I first used that acronym), they all had strengths and weaknesses that complimented each other’s.

Funnily enough, Jess who is the main character felt like the one I knew the least about and the one that I didn’t particularly care for, though I loved his friendship with Thomas aka the big bear of the story. I loved that boy so much. Speaking of characters I loved, Wolfe -their instructor- was such a fascinating character to read about, he was an authority figure while never taking advantage of his position. He also had an entire backstory that drove part of the plot and explained other parts.

My favorite was Khalila by far, she is a Muslim girl from Saudi Arabia and SO SASSY, she’s such a confident, brave character, I felt like kick-ass is a word that was created with her in mind. The fact that she was only a side character made me think that being written in one single POV didn’t work in favor of Ink and Bone because I wanted more of her. But not only Khalila, I wanted more of all the other side characters as well.

There were a few romances happening, one being M/M, another being interracial, both of which I loved but again, the main one that involved Jess didn’t do much for me. I saw it coming and liked it, it was cute and all BUT it was a bit rushed and that made it feel underdeveloped and lacking chemistry.

This may seem like a rant more than anything else but it’s not haha. Mostly. I still really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to pick up the sequel.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Ink and Bone? If so, what did you think?

Who was your favorite character? What was your favorite part of book?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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TAG #32: The Book Courtship Tag

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Hello guys !

When scheduling my posts, I hadn’t planned on doing anything specific for Valentine’s day, no particular reason, it just wasn’t happening. And here I am getting ready to write this week’s tag when I realized that it is… kind of fitting? It’s weird haha I swear it wasn’t planned. Anyway, since the only romantic relationship I have at the moment is with books The Book Courtship tag is perfect. I was tagged way way back by the lovely Beth @ Reading Every Night. Thank you!

Book cover = Goodreads page

1

julia-ember-unicorn-tracks

I didn’t exactly buy it, more like received it. But Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember was a cover read for sure. The colors, the illustrations, everything about it is so so pretty that I couldn’t help myself. That being said, the premise is very intriguing as well. It has Unicorns and an F/F interracial romance, enough to seal the deal to me.

2

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Again, I didn’t really buy this one BUT the summary of God smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems by Ishara Deen spoke to me on so many levels. It’s the Muslim girl version of Nancy Drew but not really. It is a mystery nonetheless. That’s pretty much all I know. And I AM SO INCREDIBLY excited to read it.

3

anna-marie-mclemore-when-the-moon-was-ours

When will I not bring this book up, honestly? Never. I’m pretty sure one day very soon someone will scream at me to stop bringing this book up at every occasion I get. BUT I CAN’T HELP IT. When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore is such a beautifully written book, the most beautifully written book I’ve ever read, if I dare say. It’s calm and lyrical. Amazing, I tell you.

4

Ryan Graudin - (#1) Wolf by Wolf

I’m going to use the same book as Beth which is Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin. This book sucked me in immediately and there was no going back. It didn’t really leave me any other choice but to fly through -after an agonizing wait for it to come out- the second and final book in the duology.

5

Adam Silvera - More happy than not

More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera. I think I slept at almost 4am when I was reading this. It was all good (well, not really *good* but relatively) until a certain thing happened and glued the book to my hand, I just COULDN’T put it down until I was done with it. I just needed to know what would happen to Aaron and that he would eventually be okay.

6

paul-kalanithi-when-breath-becomes-air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I read it at the beginning of January and thought of it every single day since. I have a feeling that book will stick with me my whole life. It is so brilliantly written and impactful that I just couldn’t help love and cherish it, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.

7

ForbiddenWish_BOM.indd

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury. AMAGAAASH! THAT BOOK IS SO CUTE. It made me so so happy with it’s strong three-dimensional characters, accurate depiction of Jins, great world-building and most of all the slow-burn romance. It just had me broadly smiling at the end and really, what more could I ask for?

8

Khaled Hosseini - And the Mountains Echoed

My friends and family aren’t big readers, if readers at all but And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Husseini seems like something that anyone and everyone could enjoy because it is such a deep, real, meaningful story. It has such a wide variety of characters that everyone is bound to find one characters to hold on to.

9

Jandy Nelson - I'll Give You the Sun

A few weeks ago, my paperback of I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson finally arrived and I’ve been itching to re-read it ever since. Seriously though, the urge is so real that I’m sure it will happen sometime in the upcoming months. Besides that, I knew from the moment I finished it that it was going to be a book I re-read many many times in the future. I just love it so much.

10


That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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life-talk

Choosing your People Right

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Hello guys !

You know what a new Life Talk post means right? It means that I had something happen lately that made me take a step back and reflect on life for a bit. Don’t worry, nothing personal, just things that have been happening in the world, thing I have been hearing, etc… But what really sparked this discussion topic and made me go “That’s it! Now is the time to discuss this.” is reading YOU’RE WELCOME UNIVERSE by Whitney Gardner. The book puts emphasize on friendship and shows a comparison between what a healthy and a toxic friendship is and that kind of made me look at all the friendship I had in my 20 years and I honestly feel good where I’m at right now. So I’m sharing my wisdom (ish)

I’m a pretty social person which means that I know and hang out with a lot of people but I only consider a handful my friends, the rest are more like… acquaintances. I know them, enjoy their company, spend fun times with them but wouldn’t trust them with personal things. That being said, I haven’t always been that way. I was a very naïve girl when it came to trusting and opening up to people and I even considered myself lucky whenever someone wanted to be my friend which means that I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak and disappointment. The upside to that is that now I have killer instincts when it comes to people bullshiting me to their benefit or people having a negative impact on my life in general.

All of this being said, let’s jump in:

1

They’re nowhere to be seen when you need them.

You’ve had a rough day? You need help? You need someone to just listen to you? Well, they’re conveniently busy, have problems of their own that they don’t fail to remind you of or some varient of that. Sometimes, they’d even pretend to be there for you but by the end of the conversation you’d realize that the focus of it shifted to them without you even realizing it. Yeah, I’d hate to break it to you -no, not really- but that’s not good.

They’re always expecting you to listen to them

Yeah, ironically, they expect of you the very thing they don’t give you. Time.  They’re self-centered and they not only expect but demand of you that you hear them out. They probably even manipulate you with “You’re my friend”, “That’s what friends are suppose to do”, “I thought I could count on you” or anything that would make you feel guilty for not being the “worthy” friend they “deserve”. Listen closely, because I know it’s hard to recognize this behavior, especially when it’s someone you love but ask yourself whether this person returns all they’re asking for. If your answer is no, it’s time to make some changes.

They think their bigotry is an opinion

This is more of something I recently started paying attention to, especially while being more involved in the book twitter community. Some people would say really offensive maybe even racist, ableist, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic… things and expect you to respect that because it’s their “opinion” and they’ll make you think that you’re the one in fault here because you are not respecting it. Here’s the thing, that’s not an opinion. Blue is my favorite color is an opinion. I like sushis is an opinion. Hating on a religion, an ethnicity, a sexuality is not. That’s bigotry and you don’t have to put up with it. Actually, you have to stay as far away from it as you can.

They have a negative outlook on things

There are some people who have a hard time after bad experiences, because of mental health issues and so on. People who can’t help it and those are not the people I’m talking about here. I mean here the one that are quick to judge, fast to trash talk, don’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt. The way to recognize this kind of behavior is essentially by the way you’re feeling when hanging out with these people, they’re often criticizing you -not the constructive, healthy kind- making you feel bad about who you are, what you say, what you do, they’re never happy for your small and big victories and so on and so forth. Listen to what your body is telling you, if having them around stresses you out and leaves you feeling drained and unhappy, it’s time to cut your loses.

You’re always doing things THEY want to do

You know, when you want to have Italian for lunch but they impose thai. Or if you want to go on a weekend getaway to a wood cabin and they take you to the beach because “they know better”. They’re generally all small things that accumulate overtime so that you find yourself never enjoying yourself, never doing what you actually want to do. This may seem like nothing but looking at the bigger picture, why do you have to be the one to always sacrifice? Once in a while is okay, but all the damn time? You deserve better. You know it. I know it. The neighbor’s dog knows it. So, act on it.

2

I won’t make this one as long, because it is basically the opposite of what’s above. But I’ll cover some basis anyway.

Your relationship is about reciprocity

You don’t have to do all the work just like they don’t do it all. You find a middle ground that work for the both of you. Today is a beach day and you’re having thai food for lunch while next weekend you’re booking a cabin and getting italian food. Your friendship is based on love, trust, respect (!!!) and understanding. In the long run, only relationship that have solid basis can last. Relationships where you are not scared of being judged, talked over or disrespected. Because they uplift you and you do the same.

They’re open to change

I’m not saying that you should strive to change your friends because you shouldn’t, you should love and accept them for what they are. But. But let’s have as an example a friend who has some internalized biases, maybe racism. You shouldn’t be scared to call them out on it and they shouldn’t be offended by it, because at the end of the day you only want them to be the best version of themselves they can be. They work on it and improve themselves. And you do too. As I said, reciprocity.

They boost and motivate you

We all have those days when waking up in the morning is just hard, those days when things get overwhelming, goals seem unachievable some people can make that worse but your friends should help ease it. Even if they’re just words, sometimes the right ones can go a long way. I am not saying that they are a miraculous remedy to the storms that may be taking over your brain, I’m just saying that when you are at your lowest you can’t have people around you who make it worse for you.

I think I am done. This was my two cents on how to choose your entourage. Toxic friendships/ relationships in general are more common that we think which makes it hard to recognize them sometimes, because some bad behaviors are just normalized and “It’s okay” is overused. Well I’m telling you that you don’t have to settle for any less than you deserve, and you deserve better than people who stick with you whenever they can get something out of it and disappear once that’s done.

And I know that letting go can seem hard but it’s not. It’s worse for you and your health to be living in a toxic environment and trust me, you’ll feel better after you cleanse your life from the people that don’t belong in it and don’t bring any positivity to it. Once you start it becomes easier. It only takes that first step. Do it.


That’s it until next time.

Did you ever have to deal with this type of relationship? Was it easy for you to recognize them?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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When Breath Becomes Air – I finally found *THE* Non-fiction Book for me

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Publication date : January 19th, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Random House

Genre : Non-Fiction | Memoir

Page Count: 208

Synopsis : At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air, which features a Foreword by Dr. Abraham Verghese and an Epilogue by Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a young neurosurgeon at Stanford, guiding patients toward a deeper understanding of death and illness, and finally into a patient and a new father to a baby girl, confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 5 stars

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(No Spoilers)

See that quote up there? I never related to something so much in my life. That’s basically me in a nutshell. I’ve had this book on my radar since it came out but I never got around to reading it. A couple of months back, I was chatting with cw @ Read Think Ponder and she told me that I had to read it because she thought I’d love it and I want to thank her a billion times for that because I absolutely adored it. It was such a deep, meaningful, inspiring read that had me thinking and feeling things I didn’t expect.

The writing is absolutely eloquent. Dr. Kalanithi was such a talented writer. You know how I always say I’m not a non-fiction person because of writing, right? How it always feels matter-of-factly and stripped of any emotion? Well, it wasn’t the case at all here, the neurosurgeon’s writing style is breathtaking and lyrical, you can see from that his love and respect for literature, both of which he mentions a lot throughout the book while also quoting writers and philosophers that inspired him in one way or another. He was also very good at conveying a sense of what he was feeling not only while writing his memoir but also while living the events he wrote about.

This review will be more of a personal thing than a proper critical review because this book hit me harder than I expected, in more ways than I expected and impacted me more profoundly than anything I could’ve imagined. Dr. Kalanithi wrote this book after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer so maybe most people would expect it to be about his battle against the illness but it’s not. Not the first half of it anyway. This book tackles so many aspects of life, of his life, from his childhood up until the end.

What impacted me the most was his experiences through his medical studies, his wins, losses, struggles, and huge responsibilities. You all know by now that I am a medstudent, so I’ll forever be grateful for what this book did to me, especially because I read it while I was going through rough times. It comforted me in my questions and doubts in my own journey and it showed me that even though things don’t get easier (let’s not kid ourselves) they do get better. I laughed, I cried and I found myself nodding in approval. His journey was really an inspiring one, a motivational one even, because he had a purpose, a drive and most of all empathy that some medical students and doctors lose along the way. But he didn’t, he never did.

“Don’t think I ever spent a minute of any day wondering why I did this work, or whether it was worth it. The call to protect life—and not merely life but another’s identity; it is perhaps not too much to say another’s soul—was obvious in its sacredness. Before operating on a patient’s brain, I realized, I must first understand his mind: his identity, his values, what makes his life worth living, and what devastation makes it reasonable to let that life end. The cost of my dedication to succeed was high, and the ineluctable failures brought me nearly unbearable guilt. Those burdens are what make medicine holy and wholly impossible: in taking up another’s cross, one must sometimes get crushed by the weight.”

As Dr. Kalanithi goes through physical and mental changes after his diagnosis, he starts reflecting on life, its meaning, what matters and what doesn’t, with even more urgency than ever before, it becomes a kind of obsession -not in a bad way. Which made this book more about life than death, about living it to its fullest capacity, while keeping in mind that death is prominent, that it is coming. I know. We don’t like to think about that stuff but as he makes it evident in When Breath Becomes Air, it is important to register that in order to start living. As the end of the book approaches -and his death nears- you can feel a change in his writing as well, it becomes more raw and pressing (if that makes any sense), like he needed to say everything he wanted to say before he couldn’t do it anymore.

“The tricky part of illness is that, as you go through it, your values are constantly changing. You try to figure out what matters to you, and then you keep figuring it out. It felt like someone had taken away my credit card and I was having to learn how to budget. You may decide you want to spend your time working as a neurosurgeon, but two months later, you may feel differently. Two months after that, you may want to learn to play the saxophone or devote yourself to the church. Death may be a one-time event, but living with terminal illness is a process.”

The epilogue was written by his wife after his death and it was such a beautiful and hopeful addition to the book, an outsider’s look on what we read about throughout the book as well as what life was like afterwards, how important family was to him and to his wife and baby daughter after he was gone. Her contribution was so touching and emotional, her love for him really bled through the pages.

“For much of his life, Paul wondered about death -and whether he could face it with integrity. In the end, the answer was yes. I was his wife and a witness.

Like I said, as a medical student, I have a very deep appreciation for this book, it quickly became my favorite non-fiction as well as one of my favorite books of all time. But I truly believe that this is a book that everyone should read, because each person can relate to it to some extent, some parts of it go beyond the illness, or ever beyond his experiences as a neurosurgeon. They’re simply human, and profoundly humbling.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read When Breath Becomes Air? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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dhjk

TAG #31 : The Snack Food Book Tag

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Hello Guys!

The Blog is finally back to its normal schedule which means that the weekly tags are back. Recently, I went through the huge backlog of tags I needed to do and realized that a huge part of them I have no interest in completing anymore (Sorry ❤ that’s what happens when you sit on a tag for too long). Anyway, the ones that still picked my interest will be coming over the next few weeks and I’m not feeling overwhelmed by them anymore haha. This week, it’s the Snack Book Tag for which I was tagged quite a few months back by the ever amazing Kat @ Life and Other Disasters and the lovely Sammie @ Bookshelves and Biros. Thanks girls!

1

 

riley-redgate-noteworthy

Jordan and Isaac from Noteworthy by Riley redgate for sure. I loved their friendship and was ready to riot if the author ever made them date, but then they happened, they were cute and made me swoon so I was completely won over. They just ave effortless chemistry and amazing banter. I’m usually and easy and fast shipper and I go with whatever the author chooses but here I was so in love with the friendship that it took a bit more convincing that usual. Now I love them. So, so much.

2

Leigh Bardugo - Six of Crows #1

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo always and forever. I need my children, I need to read about them always and forever. I know there is a trilogy is the Grishaverse and another series coming BUT it will never be the same. I need Kaz, Inej, Jasper, Wylan, Nina and Matthias *quiet sob*. I need that duology to be a series of 60 thousand books, that’s how much I love it. I’m pretty sure I’ll be rereading that duology many, many times again.

3

rachel-caine-1-ink-and-bone

I could use the same book again BUT I want to expand your overflowing TBRs so I’m choosing Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine. The characters come from all around the world, from Portugal to Saudi Arabia, going through many other countries. I must admit they are side characters but they still play a big part to the plot.

4

justine-larbalestier-my-sister-rosa

Can I just ask WHY Fruit Bowl stands for unpredictable character? hahaha. Anyway, this would be Rosa from My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier. The girl is a psychopath. Literally, not being ableist here. So, her next move can never be predicted, she like to hurt people in all sneaky, creepy ways she can and it al comes out of nowhere. She find loopholes to promises she makes and rules her family set for her to get and do what she wants. She’s scary.

5

anna-marie-mclemore-when-the-moon-was-ours

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore. That book has my heart, soul and everything else. I LOVE IT SO MUCH and need everyone to read. Seriously, read it. Sam and Miel have the cutest, realest, most precious relationship I have ever read (I have a lot more adjectives for it but I sadly can’t use them all). It also has a calm, whimsical vibe that’s kind of soothing. I don’t know how to explain it, you have to read it, experience it to really get what I’m talking about.

6

A Gathering of Shadows Final

Holland from A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. I know he’s the bad guy or whatever, but not really. If you read it, you know what I’m talking about. So, that not really makes me pity him and even like a little bit. I want to know how everything turns out for him in A Conjuring of Light but I’m also very scared. HALP.


I Tag:


That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Why don’t I see myself? Muslim Representation in Books

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Hello guys!

So… I’m a Muslim.  I know I’ve said it in a couple of posts before but I’ve never really talked about it, and that was a while ago. For the new-comers, hello! I’m Fadwa and I’m a Muslim Moroccan girl –  Arab-Amazighi. That being said, I am not writing this whole post just to introduce myself, fret not, it has another purpose, which is clear from the title, I want to talk about Muslim representation in books.

I’ve had this topic on the back of my mind for quite some while, it is something I knew I wanted to talk about, I just didn’t know when, or how. But considering the shit show that the world has turned into lately (more than usual, mind you), with the Muslim Ban and the terrorist attack on a mosque in Quebec, I thought it was time to speak up, to tell my own story and not let media define me and my religion. Not gonna lie, even thousands of miles away, this last week was rough, I felt exhausted and terrified but most of all useless, because I felt like I needed to do more for my community, and my fellow Muslims directly affected by the things that have been happening. That’s where this post comes in.

I’ve been a reader ever since I could remember, but do you know the number of books that I read in my 20 years of existence that have good Muslim representation that are NOT solely focused on religion? Three. Yeah, you read that right, and I’ve read hundreds of books. To be honest, before last year, I didn’t seek them out because the media portrays us in such a negative way that I thought books are just the extension of that and the few that I had come across (all not #Ownvoices mind you, because before getting involved in the diverse community I didn’t know that was a thing) only confirmed my theory and made me stay away even more from books with Muslim protagonists.

Growing up, I wish I had a book -even just one- for which I could say “THAT’S ME!”, in which I could see myself, my family, my friends, my daily life. That would’ve mattered, that would’ve helped in shaping me as an adult. And looking back, now that I am aware of the importance of seeing one’s self in the books one reads, I can see how that impacted me as a little girl who spent most of her time buried in books. Reading books that didn’t represent me made me feel like, on a larger scale, who I was and how I identified didn’t matter enough, like I had to hide who I was in order to fit in, and that is just sad. I know that I wasn’t alone in feeling that way and that’s even sadder. But I don’t want little girls now to feel that way. We have the responsibility to give them the books they need and deserve.

Just like with many other minorities, people know about Muslims what they see on tv, hear on the radio, what they read on the internet, or gossips they hear from their friends or neighbors. What with Islamophobia climbing up at dangerous rates, all of us need to work harder than ever to deconstruct those stereotypes that have been pinned on us for a very long time because we can’t afford staying silent when those acts of hatred threaten our lives, when people stop just talking and start acting on their bigotry. We are 100% scared but we are fighting back. And I think books have such a huge part in that.

Books are the way people get educated, books are the source of all knowledge, so if we get good positive representation in books and we get a lot of accurate books about us, our voices will eventually get louder than bigotry, and they will finally be heard. That is why we need more Muslim publishing imprints, more Muslim publishers, authors, protagonists, bloggers, librarians and so on and so forth. Because there aren’t nearly enough Muslims in the book industry to represent us the right way.

Before getting into bookish Muslim things, I need to break some stereotypes:

  • We are not terrorists. I just feel like we are repeating ourselves here. ISLAM is a peaceful religion. And terrorism isn’t an Islam thing, it’s a hateful people thing and there are plenty of terrorist acts perpetrated by non-Muslims, it’s just that the media doesn’t call it what it is. I wish I didn’t feel the urge to apologize every time there is a terrorist attack. But I do.
  • We are not a monolith. Islam is a very diverse religion, we are a people from different ethnicities, sexualities, genders, socio-economic backgrounds etc…
  • Muslim women are not oppressed. Some cultures do oppress women, but they just happen to follow Islam. Islam as a religion values women a lot. If a woman wears a Hijab it’s because she wants to, not because her father/brother/husband made her do it so stop trying to “save her”.
  • We are not backward thinking. We believe in Allah, yes. But we also believe in science, progress, equality, freedom of speech and belief, and many many other things.
  • Forced marriage isn’t part of Islam. Again, some cultures do that, but they just happen to be Muslims. Arranged marriage is, which happens with consent from both parts and both can say no and call it off at any time.
  • Each one of us has a different, unique relationship with their faith. The Quran (our holy book) can be interpreted in various ways which means that beyond some pilar things in Islam, other parts of it differ from one person to the other and it doesn’t necessary mean either one is better.

Now that I think I covered the common misconceptions, let’s move on to books, because that’s why you’re here, right?  Here are a few things I need more/less off when it comes to Muslim representation.

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Things that need to disappear

  • Picking and choosing. How do you choose what you want to use from a religion and dispose of the rest? Explain the logic to me, please and thank you.
  • Calling our beliefs mythology. Repeat after me. JINS ARE NOT MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES. You’re making a joke out of yourself by doing that and showing your very real, very obvious lack of research. Don’t do that.
  • Books where the Muslim boy becomes a terrorist. Pretty self-explanatory, I don’t need to elaborate on that.
  • Books where the Muslim girl needs saving. And ends up being saved from oppression by -typically- a white non-Muslim person. Just, no.
  • Any kind of book that looks at Islam with a negative lens. We have plenty of that everywhere, we don’t need it in our books too.

Things we need more of

  • MORE #OWNVOICES BOOKS. Let us tell our own stories. We live them so we are the best people to tell them. Our narratives are so rich and diverse, you’ll never read the same story twice.
  • Muslim protagonists who slay dragons and save kingdoms (while taking breaks for prayer times, obviously!)
  • More diverse family dynamics. The popular thing is for the family to be very conservative and while that is the case for a lot of people (and I don’t have a problem with that), it is not for me and a lot of other people. I need to see that reflected in the books I read.
  • Muslim girls who have crushes, go out, travel, have big ambitious careers because those are the girls we are and that is the image that the world needs to see for it to realize that we really are fine and we don’t need any saving.
  • Muslim kids that get to figure out themselves, their sexualities and everything else, kids who get to make mistakes because it is okay to be lost and find yourself in the middle of your own chaos.

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Title = Goodreads Page

This list focuses on YA but has non-YA books as well.

Books you can read now

22521951Written in the StarsAisha Saeed

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late

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Sofia Khan is Not Obliged – Ayisha Malik

“Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.’ Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. ‘Are your parents quite disappointed?’
Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.
As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?

20898019Ms. MarvelG. Willow Wilson

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!

 

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She wore Red trainers – Naïma B. Robert

When Ali first meets Amirah, he notices everything about her—her hijab, her long eyelashes and her red trainers—in the time it takes to have one look, before lowering his gaze. And, although Ali is still coming to terms with the loss of his mother and exploring his identity as a Muslim, and although Amirah has sworn never to get married, they can’t stop thinking about each other. Can Ali and Amirah ever have a halal “happily ever after”?

 

17345748And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

Does my Head look big in this? – Randa Abdel-Fattah79876

When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth…
Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full- time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.
Can she handle the taunts of “towel head,” the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.
 

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The story of Maha – Sumayya lee

The child of a forbidden marriage, Maha grows up happily in Cape Town until her world changes forever when her parents are killed at a political rally. At the age of eight, Maha is reclaimed by her loving but staid Indian grandparents and taken to live in Durban. Growing up in the claustrophobia of the suburbs what she dubs Slumurbia Maha reveals a love for the outrageous as she clashes with the conventions of her community. Always a free spirit, she soon learns how to weave around the strict boundaries of Muslim life and as a rebellious teenager, nothing holds her back from experiencing first love, a bit of partying and a tantalising romance (all between prayers, of course). But when it counts the most, rules must be obeyed and as she heads towards her twentieth birthday, there is no way Maha can avoid Marriage to a Suitable Boy. With refreshing energy, Maha treats us to the ups and downs of her passionate (though sometimes quite vulnerable) young heart, and a life in which she’s not quite in charge.

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God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems – Ishara Deen

LIKE NANCY DREW, BUT NOT…
Craving a taste of teenage life, Asiya Haque defies her parents to go for a walk (really, it was just a walk!) in the woods with Michael, her kind-of-friend/crush/the guy with the sweetest smile she’s ever seen. Her tiny transgression goes completely off track when they stumble on a dead body. Michael covers for Asiya, then goes missing himself.
Despite what the police say, Asiya is almost sure Michael is innocent. But how will she, the sheltered girl with the strictest parents ever, prove anything? With Michael gone, a rabid police officer in desperate need of some sensitivity training, and the murderer out there, how much will Asiya risk to do what she believes is right?

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The Languages of Miracles – Rajia Hassib

Samir and Nagla Al-Menshawy appear to have attained the American dream. After immigrating to the United States from Egypt, Samir successfully works his way through a residency and launches his own medical practice as Nagla tends to their firstborn, Hosaam, in the cramped quarters of a small apartment. Soon the growing family moves into a big house in the manicured New Jersey suburb of Summerset, where their three children eventually attend school with Natalie Bradstreet, the daughter of their neighbors and best friends. More than a decade later, the family’s seemingly stable life is suddenly upended when a devastating turn of events leaves Hosaam and Natalie dead and turns the Al-Menshawys into outcasts in their own town.
Narrated a year after Hosaam and Natalie’s deaths, Rajia Hassib’s heartfelt novel follows the Al-Menshawys during the five days leading up to the memorial service that the Bradstreets have organized to mark the one-year anniversary of their daughter’s death. While Nagla strives to understand her role in the tragedy and Samir desperately seeks reconciliation with the community, Khaled, their surviving son, finds himself living in the shadow of his troubled brother. Struggling under the guilt and pressure of being the good son, Khaled turns to the city in hopes of finding happiness away from the painful memories home conjures. Yet he is repeatedly pulled back home to his grandmother, Ehsan, who arrives from Egypt armed with incense, prayers, and an unyielding determination to stop the unraveling of her daughter’s family. In Ehsan, Khaled finds either a true hope of salvation or the embodiment of everything he must flee if he is ever to find himself.

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Painted Hands – Jennifer Zobair

Muslim bad girl Zainab Mir has just landed a job working for a post-feminist, Republican Senate candidate. Her best friend Amra Abbas is about to make partner at a top Boston law firm. Together they’ve thwarted proposal-slinging aunties, cultural expectations, and the occasional bigot to succeed in their careers. What they didn’t count on? Unlikely men and geopolitical firestorms.
When a handsome childhood friend reappears, Amra makes choices that Zainab considers so 1950s—choices that involve the perfect Banarasi silk dress and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. After hiding her long work hours during their courtship, Amra struggles to balance her demanding job and her unexpectedly traditional new husband.
Zainab has her own problems. She generates controversy in the Muslim community with a suggestive magazine spread and friendship with a gay reporter. Her rising profile also inflames neocons like Chase Holland, the talk radio host who attacks her religion publicly but privately falls for her hard. When the political fallout from a terrorist attempt jeopardizes Zainab’s job and protests surrounding a woman-led Muslim prayer service lead to violence, Amra and Zainab must decide what they’re willing to risk for their principles, their friendship, and love.

Books to look forward to

29346880The Gauntlet – Karuna Riazi (March 28th 2017)

A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.
When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.
Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?

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That Thing we call a heart – Sheba Karim (May 9th 2017)

Shabnam Qureshi is a funny, imaginative Pakistani-American teen attending a tony private school in suburban New Jersey. When her feisty best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf without even consulting her, it begins to unravel their friendship. After hooking up with the most racist boy in school and telling a huge lie about a tragedy that happened to her family during the Partition of India in 1947, Shabnam is ready for high school to end. She faces a summer of boredom and regret, but she has a plan: Get through the summer. Get to college. Don’t look back. Begin anew.
Everything changes when she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack, and meets her there every afternoon. Shabnam begins to see Jamie and herself like the rose and the nightingale of classic Urdu poetry, which, according to her father, is the ultimate language of desire. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating—her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but Farah finds Jamie worrying.
With Farah’s help, Shabnam uncovers the truth about Jamie, about herself, and what really happened during Partition. As she rebuilds her friendship with Farah and grows closer to her parents, Shabnam learns powerful lessons about the importance of love, in all of its forms.

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Amina’s voice – Hena Khan (March 14th 2017)

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

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The Authentics – Abdi Nazemian (August 8th 2017)

Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage, unlike some of the “Nose Jobs” in the clique led by her former best friend, Heidi Javadi. Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics, because they pride themselves on always keeping it real.
But in the course of researching a school project, Daria learns something shocking about her past, which launches her on a journey of self-discovery. It seems everyone is keeping secrets. And it’s getting harder to know who she even is any longer.
With infighting among the Authentics, her mother planning an over-the-top sweet sixteen party, and a romance that should be totally off limits, Daria doesn’t have time for this identity crisis. As everything in her life is spinning out of control—can she figure out how to stay true to herself?

30688435Exit West – Mohsin Hamid (March 7th 2017)

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.
Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
 

The City of Brass – S.A Chakraborty (November 2017)

When Nahri, a young con artist in eighteenth century Cairo, accidentally summons a powerful djinn warrior to her side, she finds herself drawn into the political machinations of the royal court of Daevabad, the ancient, magical city of brass. Descendant of a powerful family thought to be destroyed, blessed with the gift of healing, Nahri soon realizes her very presence threatens to reignite a centuries-old religious war between the feuding djinn tribes. Hoping to keep her head, she forms an alliance with a fiery prince who dreams of revolutionizing his father’s corrupt reign. But she soon learns that working with the enemy—even to make peace—can have deadly consequences.

Saints and Misfits – S. K. Ali (June 13th 2017)

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?
Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.
And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.
While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?  

This Promise I will Keep – Aisha Saeed (Sometime in 2017)

In it, a Pakistani teenager enters indentured servitude to pay her family’s debts, and must choose between pursuing an education and freedom or the chance to save her village from a dangerous threat.

Mirage – Somaya Daud (November 6th 2017)

YA fantasy/SF trilogy inspired by the author’s Moroccan background, in which a poor girl from an isolated moon must become the body double to the cruel imperial princess, and learns that life in the royal palace is far more dangerous and complicated than she imagined. Publication of the first book is planned for fall 2017.


That’s it until next time.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

If you have any other recommendations, leave them in the comments.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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The Forbidden Wish – The Aladdin retelling to crush the Original

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Publication date : February 23st, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Razorbill

Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy

Page Count: 352

Synopsis : She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…
When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 
But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart? (From Goodreads)

Rating : 4.5 stars

quotes(No Spoilers)

*swoons* *swoons* *swoons* *swoons* Okay, I’m good. I LOVE THIS BOOK YOU GUYS. This is the Aladdin retelling I never thought my life was missing, until I read it. This is such a feel-happy book, it will just make you smile broadly with its story, relationships, magic and everything in between. It will also suck you in and keep you turning the pages until there are no more pages to be turned. And you’ll keep thinking about it and how warm and fuzzy it made you feel for a while after putting it down. At least that’s what it did to me.

The writing in The Forbidden Wish is the most precious, exquisite thing I’ve read in a while. It is so poetic that it brings to life the magic of the book. It makes it more mesmerizing, more tangible, almost real. And most importantly it fits Zahra’s (the jinni) character. The book is written from her POV and she is thousands of years old so that ought to show on the writing and it does. Zahra recounts the story as a long letter to her Habiba (translates to darling, dear, etc…) queen Roshana -whose identity and role in the book you learn later on- and she loved her which you can see through the text, the narration holds a lot of emotion.

I can’t not mention the descriptions obviously, they are very vivid which helps a lot with the complex world building. Speaking of which, that world building is amazing. It is very detailed and thorough, the history that was laid down as a base to the story was really impressive and left no room for confusion, inaccuracies or plot holes.

More importantly, it has the most accurate depiction of Jinnis (or jins) I’ve ever encountered in a book, they are portrayed as the complex beings that they are. This resembles a lot what we grew up hearing and believing (although not 100%, you gotta leave some room from imagination and creativity), from the shapeshifting, to the silent language, to the existence of good ones and bad ones. The slight problem I had is that there were multiple Sheitans (when Sheitan is used for a unique creature which is the equivalent of the devil).

The Forbidden Wish is pure magic, the story is threaded of many subplots that end up connecting and making perfect sense. The main one being the romance. THIS is how I want all my romances to be, it is so soft, gentle and most all SLOW BURN, the pace of it made my dead heart sing. Zahra and Aladdin’s relationship starts off as a friendship which keeps on evolving until they can’t see their respective lives without each other anymore, and THEN they realize how deeply in love they are.

The romance doesn’t eclipse the other -no less important- parts of the story. One thing that I particularly love is how it reaches far beyond Zahra and gives every character their own goals and motives (at some point the book even shifts its focus onto princess Caspida), some less honest than others which makes for an exhilarating and addictive adventure that gives the book a fast pace -when needed- and a guaranteed page-turner.

Zahra is very intelligent and full of contradictions if you ask me but in the best ways. She has a very strong personality but is also full of doubts, she is both selfless and selfish, gentle and firm, proud and ready to sacrifice herself for others. She has flaws. And all of these things make her all the more loveable. I adored everything she stood for, as well as how the author kept a part of her past veiled throughout most of the book but teased us enough to remind us that that is something we really want to learn.

Aladdin is such a fun character. He has a flirty personality, he is also cunning, hilarious and very smart. All of this being said, he has some deeply rooted insecurities  that break that confident, borderline egocentric facade that he puts up. Last but not least, we need to talk about princess Caspida. I love how she broke that damzel in distress stereotypes, she’s powerful, wise and an amazing fighter, her part of the plot was so refreshing to read, I loved it.

The Forbidden Wish is a mesmerizing story that puts a twist on the original Aladdin and easily surpasses it. It is a beautiful tale of friendships, love and freedom. Relentlessly hopeful and ultimately happy. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on it.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read The Forbidden Wish? If so, what did you think?

Did it make you as happy as it made me? Did you love it more than the original?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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awards

Award #14: My attempt at a Life Aesthetic

Awards.pngHello Guys!

A few weeks ago, I was nominated for what, in my opinion, is the greatest, most unique award I’ve ever encountered. My awesome friend Liam @ Hey Ashers created the Aesthetics Blogger award, I was tagged by the lovely Sammie @ Bookshelves & Biros as well, so thank you both, you’re awesome! This will be my first ever attempt at an aesthetic, let’s hope I don’t fail. So here’s what the Award is about:

Bloggers are (let’s just be honest here) the absolute best. There’s so much diversity and personality and creativity in this community—and what better way to celebrate those things than by spending the next twelve hours of our lives hunting down and collaging the images that best reflect our individual awesomeness?

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The Rules:

  • Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favorite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  • Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  • Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  • Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “Hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesomeness.”
  • Share these rules (and maybe the below tips, if you’re feeling helpful).

Tips:

My Aesthetics:

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Nominations:


That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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To Sum-up: January 2017

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Hello guys!

January was such a weird month for me, it was fast and slow at the same time and that… doesn’t make sense? haha. Anyway. How are you? How is life treating you?

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January is famously known as my torture month. Aka exam month. Aka I don’t know what life is anymore. I’m not going to lie to you, it was brutal. A lot of stress and self-doubt but I ultimately made it through and I AM BACK (in case you missed the post where I announced my return from zombieland ). My exams ended on the 20th and I was so tired that I couldn’t blog last weekend even though that’s when I had planned to go back to my normal schedule.For the past week, I’ve been slowly climbing back to my normal happy self and I’m almost there. There are still somedays when I get stressed over my exam results and that ruins my mood but more often, I’m good.

On a happier note, on the 23rd, the books I ordered with my birthday money arrived and THEY ARE SO BEAUTFUL IT HURT MY HEART. For the curious and curiouser, I got the Six of Crows Duology and I’ll Give you the sun, all UK paperbacks. Although, they sent me different sizes for the duology and that annoyed me a bit. Yes, these are all books I read but Hello Favorites! So I had to own physical copies because I know I will reread them.

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  • Winter – Marissa Meyer                                                                             4 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – John Tiffany & Jack Thorne 2.5 stars
  • The Orphan’s Tale – Pam Jenoff                                                               4 stars

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ME. ALL OF ME.

No but more seriously, the blog will be back to normal with 3 posts a week, replying to comments in time, blog-hopping and everything. You may have noticed that the “Posts from elsewhere” section has vanished but it’s only because I visited zero blogs this month for obvious reasons but not worry, it will be back and -hopefully- overflowing with awesome posts next month.

As I said in my 2017 goals, I will be talking about topics that really matter to me (diversity, feminism, etc…), but I don’t know if I’ll start this month or later, it will depend on inspiration, time and everything else. But that’s something that will happening. Soon.

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That’s it until next time.

Did you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

What books did you read this month? Oh! And if you have any posts you think I should check out, leave them in the comments.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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ertyu

Word wonders turns ONE: I answer all your questions

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Hello Guys !

I seriously cannot believe I’ve been around for a year and I never would have thought I’d make it to see the day where this little baby of mine would turn one. Because commitment issues and boredom. Yeah, yikes. But by some kind of miracle that didn’t happen with this blog and I don’t see a day where it will be happening because I’m loving it more and more each day. It boggles my mind how quickly time passes by, it genuinely doesn’t feel like a year has gone by. I’ve grown for sure, but I still feel like I just started (which in a way I just did, compared to the people who have been around for years).

Not gonna lie, blogging was harder some times more than others, because of how long writing posts takes and how much work goes into it, but for the most part it has been a wonderful journey that I’d never regret making the decision of starting. To be honest, I’m very tempted to make all this introduction a text of me screaming I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT. But I won’t. Because I want to show all of you how grateful I am that you have made this adventure an amazing one for me.

Thank you to each one of my followers for baring with my lame humor and rambly posts, especially those who always leave comments, you can’t imagine how much your kind words mean to me, they make my days a whole lot better and they put a huge smile on this face of mine.

And a special huge thanks to the friends I’ve made and without whom blogging and being on the internet everyday would never be same. They always have my back no matter what and that’s something I can never forget. Some of my best friends I met through blogging and you know who you are, you’re the ones I talk to everyday and to whom I go to with my every news I have, every new obsession, every rant and rave. Thousands of miles might separate us, but I’m determined to cross them one day and meet you. I LOVE YOU ❤

Okay, now that I’m done with the cheese and emotions, let’s start the Q&A, shall we?

1

What would your biggest dream be? What’s your actual dream job? Dream place you’d love to visit?Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books.

My biggest dream is with no doubt to travel all around the world. There are so many beautiful places that I want to visit and I hope I’ll be lucky  one day to go and discover some of them. At the top of that list is either Greece or the Netherlands so yeah that’s my answer for dream place to visit haha. Dream job is the one I’m fortunate enough to be working towards right now which is being a Doctor, I’d also love to go on missions with organizations like Doctors without Borders, that’s my ultimate job goal.

How did you break your laptop screen with a scarf? -Meghan @ Whimsically Meghan.

This was such a ridiculous thing hahaha. So, to keep it short, I always wear one of those huge scarfs at home because it is freezing. A couple of weeks ago, I put my laptop on my desk and didn’t pay attention to the tip of that scarf which got stuck under the laptop (like seriously THE TIP, not even a big chunk), so when I turned around the scarf turned with me and it brought the laptop down with it. That’s how my laptop screen was shattered. Because of a scarf. Yep.

What is your favorite song at the moment? -Chloe @ The Chloe Douglas Blog & Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews.

I’M IN LOVE WITH THE SHAPE OF YOU. Okay, if you didn’t guess it’s Shape of You by Ed Sheeran. It always gets me jamming and dancing, and it instantly puts me in a good mood.

What show would you star in if you could and would your role be like? *cough* I am assuming it will be something in The Royals *cough* -Kat @ Life and Other Disasters.

You already guessed half the answer, didn’t you? hahaha. And I’m pretty sure who I’d want to be won’t come as a surprise either. I want to be Eleanor’s best friend. I love that girl so much and she’s had her fair share of betrayal and heartbreak for a life time so yeah I want to be her loyal royal bestie.

What’s your favorite Tv-show? -Angel @ Bookhearts Forever.

Read the question above hahaha. I’m completely obsessed with the Royals right now. It took over my life while I was binge watching the available seasons and now waiting for a new episode every week is painful and I have Kat to thank for that. She did it to me. And for those of you who don’t know, the Royals is about a fictious English royal family with a LOT of scandals and drama.

If money weren’t a problem, what are the top 3 places you’d want to visit? -Kat @ Life and Other Disasters.

  • Greece
  • The Netherlands
  • Italy

Someone fund my travellings. Please and thank you.

What’s your favorite food? -Reg @ She Latitude.

SUSHIIIIIS. I’ve literally eaten it every one of my birthdays for the past 3 years.

If you could live anywhere in the world other than where you are currently, where would it be? -Reg @ She Latitude.

It would be somewhere with easy access to English books and out of all the places that have that, London sounds the most appealing to me right now.

3

How long did it take until you personally felt like your blog was somewhat successful, in your opinion? -Mikaela @ The Well-thumber Reader.

Umm.. This is such an interesting question because I don’t see myself as a successful blogger in the literal sense of the term? But what I can say that I started feeling somewhat like that when I got more confident with my content as well as when I started having real friends that I don’t imagine myself without. That’s pretty much what success is to me. No big number or stats. Although those are really nice too haha.

What is one big lesson you’ve learnt from one year of blogging? -Anushka @ Going Through Books.

It’s not as easy as it seems. When I was thinking about starting, I thought “How hard can it be?”, and though it isn’t hard, it takes a lot of time, effort and commitment. From thinking up post ideas, writing them, graphics, promoting, visiting other blogs, etc… it takes a lot. But I love it so it doesn’t feel like a burden and it makes it all worth it.

Are you reading more of some genres since you started blogging? -Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books & Melissa @ Booknerd Momo.

Fantasy and Historical Fiction. Which is funny because they’re now favorites of mine. I used to side-eye HF so much before even though I’ve always been a History Nerd si I don’t know why I thought I wouldn’t like them. As for Fantasy, I grew up subconciously thinking that they were for boys so I never even tried one before last year.

What kinds of posts are your favorites to write? – Gail @ Gail the Fabulaphile & Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews.

Discussions for sure. I get to ramble at my heart’s desire, I get to make my lame jokes -or be serious, depending on the topic- and I’m generally just more excited when the post I’m writing is a discussions versus everything else. I still love the other types of posts but these have my heart.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting out with their blog? -Tiana @ The Book Raven

Be yourself. I know that this is the generic advice that every blogger gives but it’s the most essential one. Don’t worry about what everyone else is writing about or how people would react to this or that kind of posts. We can’t all be saying the same things, what fun is that?From experience, the posts that have the most interaction are the genuine ones where I get personal and talk about things that really matter to me. Or the ones where my personality really shows.

What’s the first review you ever posted on your blog? And what differences do you see between that and the last one you posted? -Marta @ The Book Mermaid.

Ehehe, the first review I ever wrote was also the first post in general. It was my review for the Martian by Andy Weir and everything about it is different? haha. It didn’t have any structure (not saying it’s a bad thing, I just have the memory of a gold fish so I need structure to remember everything I want to say) while my reviews now are roughly sectioned and I also noticed that I’m way more critical now and I tend to notice things that I used to think back then “How does this blogger notice all those things?”

In an average week, how many hours do you spend reading and blogging? -Reg @ She Latitude.

Oh boy. Can a lot be the answer? No? Okay. I read on average 2hours a night on week days and around 4 on week ends so I read around 18 hours a week, could be more, could be less. As for blogging, I never paid attention but one post takes on average 2 hours + blog hopping, comments, etc… I’d say 10 hours is the minimum.

Is there anything you ever felt scared to post about on your blog?  Any issue you wish you could cover but are unconfident to do so in case of haters? -Hannah @ A Mortal Reader.

Yeah of course, I was really scared to get backlash from people who would twist my words when I posted “To some, access to books is a Luxury” and I also felt REALLY nervous when writing my post about “Reading Books at the wrong time” because I got very personal in that one.

Umm, I don’t think haters will ever stop me from speaking my mind, because at the end of the day this is my blog and I say whatever I want in it as long as I’m respectful and I don’t hurt anyone in the process. Yes I’m scared of being hated on at times, but I still talk about the things that matter to me.

Do you like when book bloggers talk about issues they’re passionate about? Such as feminism, climat change etc… -Hannah @ A Mortal Reader.

100% YES. Those are some of my favorites because they blog about things that are important to them and it can be very educational especially when I’m not very aware when it comes to the topics that are discussed.

What’s the most difficult thing about blogging for you ? -Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews.

Definitely keeping up with other blogs. With the amount of blogs that I follow, posts add up very quickly and with real like things + taking care of my own blog, it gets hard sometimes to find the time to read other bloggers’ posts.

When you started blogging a year ago, did you expect to be where you are now? -Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews.

Honestly? No. Not in the number of followers, not in the stats, not in the design, not in my place in the community, not in the relationships I gained. I NEVER would have thought that I’d get to 500 followers in a year, never would have thought that I’d meet people who’d become my best friends, that I’d get to interact with authors, and so on and so forth. I have so many things now that I never expected my blog to give me.

What’s been the proudest blogging moment of your first year?Sammie @ Bookshelves & Biros.

Umm… This is a really hard one, because I’ve had a lot o small proud moments, like reaching every milestone, changing my bog design and seeing how everyone responded to it, etc… My proudest one recently is when an author I love and admire reached out to me to help her work on something, that was really something very special to me, and something I would’ve never thought would happen.

How do you think blogging changed your personal life and your life as a reader?Sammie @ Bookshelves and Biros.

Well, first of all, I spend a lot of my free time working on my blog haha. No but more seriously, blogging changed me a lot as a person. I’m more confident in holding important discussions, I’m way more open-minded and critical in reading as well as in real life. As for my reading, last year I read more than three times what I used to read before starting my blog, I read more regularly and with a critical eye more often than not.

What’s one thing about blogging that you really struggled with when you first started your blog?Melissa @ Booknerd Momo.

Coming up with discussion topics was a real struggle for me at first. It’s not that I didn’t know what to talk about, it’s that I worried what people would think and if they would care about those things I want to talk about. But once I got over that, discussing different topics on here became a lot easier.

2

What Books have you read for your blog that changed your life or your perspective on the world in some way? -Diana @ Diana Prince Reviews.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore. They are both books I read last year and I can’t even begin to explain the kind of impact they had on me. That’s not even an exaggeration, I CAN’T FORM WORDS. But I have reviews for them which you can find here and here that try to explain why everyone should read both of those books. I’ll never shut up about them.

What made you want to start reading in English, since it’s not your native language? -Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books.

I’ve never thought about it before but it just felt like the natural course of things, I started being fluent in English so translating that into my reading seemed like the right move to do. To be fair, I never like reading in my native language haha, I used to read in French before that and some translations can be pretty bad, if they are even available that is.

Would you rather have a bedroom with bookshelves all around the walls or an actual room dedicated to books? -Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books.

MARIE I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS! Why you do this to me. I’m very tempted to steal Kat’s answer for this one because it sounds awesome but no. I think I will take a room dedicated to books.

What fairytales/stories do you wish there were more retellings of? -Tiana @ The Book Raven.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses was one of my favorite stories growing up and I only manages to find one retelling for it (which I haven’t read yet) so I definitely want more of it. Hansel and Gretel is one that would definitely be interesting with a modern twist.

What Books did you love reading while Growing up? -Tiana @ The Book Raven.

The Grimm brothers Fairytales, the kid friendly ones obviously not the creepy ones. I also devoured all the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton, I lived for that group of friends’ adventures.

If you could read only one genre for the rest of your life which would it be? -Kat @ Life and Other Disasters.

Why are my friends evil? And why do you hate me? Uuuuh… I’m torn between Fantasy and Contemporary, I love all the the different worlds Fantasy has to offer but contemporary was my first love so that’s probably what I’d choose. Contemporary.

Imagine you had the power to read a character out of a book and get them to live in ours, who would it be? -Kat @ Life and Other Disasters.

Again. Evil. I would probably choose Nina Zenik from Six of Crows because her love for food made my life and I feel like we would be great friends, and she’s relatively harmless… even though those powers of hers are frightening.

If you could take the place of one main character and live their journey who would you pick and why?Beth @ Reading Every Night.

Probably Jordan from Noteworthy by Riley Redgate. The MC is such a funny, relatable girl. She also joins an A capella group and goes on a little cross-dressing experiment that would definitely be interesting. Keep a look out for it once it comes out in May, you don’t want to miss out.

What Book  world do you wish was real? -Beth @ Reading Every Night.

The Wizarding World is a pretty standard answer isn’t it? haha. Well, it’s either that or Red London, though I’m very nervous about this one because of how A Gathering of Shadows ended, I don’t think it’s safe anymore, so it being real is probably a bad idea.

Is there a book you’ve read that was bad that you wish you could go back and stop yourself from picking up? -Beth @ Reading Every Night.

No? Don’t get me wrong, I read my fair share of bad books but I don’t regret any of them because at least I can warn other people, especially in the case of problematic books.

Who is your favorite bookish character and why? -Angel @ Bookhearts Forever.

LILA BARD from the Shades of Magic trilogy. If you read those books, you already know why she is my favorite because how can you not love her? She’s so sassy, witty and cunning. A very flawed but very lovable character.

If you could trade places with any villain in any book, which one would it be and why?Melissa @ Booknerd Momo

I don’t think trading places with a villain would be very smart hahaha. They all end up dead or stripped of power or something. I’d much rather be on the other side of that scenario. So, no trading places with a villain for me.

What’s your favorite bookish quote? Sammie @ Bookshelves and Biros.

It’s a quote from none other than the glorious book that has ruined all fantasy for me, Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

Crooked Kingdom.png

Well, that’s it for this Q&A, I LOVED answering al these questions, some were really fun, others made me think. They’re all around awesome, so thank you for taking time to ask me ❤


That’s it until next time.

Do you have any other questions? I’ll be happy to answer in the comments.

I’d also love to get to know all of you, so answer some of these questions in the comments if you’d like.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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