Blood for Blood – The Book that squeezed my Heart into Dust

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Publication date : November 1st, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre : Young Adult | Historical Fiction

Page Count: 481

Synopsis : There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.
For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.
Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.
But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?
This gripping, thought-provoking sequel to Wolf by Wolf will grab readers by the throat with its cinematic writing, fast-paced action, and relentless twists.
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 5 stars

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(No Spoilers)

So… The wait for this book has ended and I. AM. BROKEN. I know I kept ranting since I finished Wolf by Wolf but I WASN’T READY FOR THIS. Blood for Blood was equally brilliant and horrifying. I loved it as much as I hated it. It not only lived up to all the expectations I had built up for it, it also exceeded them by a lot. I.. I just feel like I have so much to say that I will be struggling to write this review because I am destroyed and heartbroken and sad. But I also feel happy because of how everything wrapped up even though I want more of these characters.

This book is 100% different from the first. Story wise which I’ll get into later but also some aspects of the writing. What’s similar is the feeling it conveys, it is as intense, if not more than in the first book, I felt it in my gut, twisting my heart and stomach in all kinds of way. The chapters are short which helped me fly through the book like no other. Now what’s different is that instead of having everything from Yael’s point of view we mainly have 3 POVs (with some other popping up here and there). Yael, Luka and Felix. And that I appreciated because it gave me a more rounded perspective and a clearer view of what was happening and when it was happening.

As its prequel, Blood for Blood goes back and forth between our characters’ present and their past with very well placed flashbacks that allowed me to get to know the characters a lot better, especially Felix and Luka and how they were shaped into the people they were during that period.

The story picks up a few minutes before Wolf by Wolf’s ending from Luka’s POV so we get to see things from the outside, so when Yael jumps, he follows and the action picks up -to never slow down. In the first book we don’t get to experience WWII much because it’s mostly the Axis Tour, so it’s mostly a competition but in this one we get to see the full impact that Hitler’s win had on the world, it’s was destroyed, angry, robbed of all freedom. The things happening were terrifying and heartbreaking. Ryan Graudin doesn’t chew on her words and portrays war in such a detailed, raw way that I was really impressed with all the research she must have done to have such a mind-blowing result.

Here, our MCs are essentially on the run so imagine how action packed that is. And multiply it by 10 to have it how it REALLY is. It was seriously unputdownable, I stayed up really late at night reading and read it every chance I got during the day which I don’t normally do. It is also unpredictable. When picking the book up, I imagined A LOT of ways it could go them, but none of them were the actual thing. It is so intricate and well thought out that I don’t think it is possible for anyone to predict the course of things from the beginning.

I also loved the book for the strong relationships it was built on, from romantic ones to friendships and family bonds (not just blood-family). Some characters were made stronger because of them, some others weak. Not only that but it has amazing women as leaders and I LOVED that, Yael, Henrika, the soviet commander (I can’t say her name because that is kind of a big spoiler).

Yael is as kick-ass as ever but she was vulnerable as well, which was a very interesting side of her to get to know. She was doubting herself and her decision as if she was just realizing that the future of the world was depending on her. I will never say this enough, she is one of my top 2 favorites female characters and I don’t think she’ll ever be detroned, she’s just too amazing for it. The other POVs made me realize just how intimidating and mysterious she seemed from the outside which a gave me a fresh side to look at her from.

I LOVE LUKA, YOU GUYS!!! He completely won me over in this book. He’s so cocky, sexy and snarky, even when it’s inappropriate and I think that his humour is what kept everyone sane when things got rough. Felix! Oh, Felix! I DESPISED HIM, things only got worse between us from where Wolf by Wolf left us, he was weak and easily impressionable and put them in extreme danger more often than not because of his stupidity. UGHH!!

The romance in this is PERFECT! I loved the way it evolved, how Yael and Luka started trusting each other, sharing personal things without even realizing they were actually getting closer. I shipped them with every fiber in my body and how they had each other’s backs through everything.

Last but not least, can we talk about that ending for a bit? IT RUINED ME. I AM SHATTERED. I AM DESTROYED. I cried non-stop through the last few chapters because I just couldn’t process and be okay with the things that were happening. But I guess that made things all the more brutal and realistic and my brain gets how appropriate that is but my heart can’t deal. To sum up this book, it is all chase, war, roth and death, with a tinsy bit of swooning that thankfully didn’t take front stage.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Blood for Blood? If so, what did you think?

Who was your favorite character? What did you think of the ending?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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20 ‘TIL I’M 20: My 20 Favorite Bloggers – 11 & 12

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Hello guys !

You may or may not know my birthday is coming up and I don’t want to make this whole thing about myself, so what do I do instead? I make it all about my favorite people in the community. The ones that made my experience better, the ones that taught me things, the ones I admire and strive to be like. I decided to put 20 on this list but I definitely have more. Also, these are in no particular particular order.

puput

 

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What I love about her:

  • She has such a fun, chatty, enthusiastic personnality. I LOVE IT.
  • She’s the first fellow Muslim blogger I’ve met and it was like a revelation haha.
  • I fangirl with her A LOT over my latest bookish obsessions.
  • I trust her recommendations because we have the same taste in books.
  • She has a cutesy, girly blog (says the one with the bright pink blog. Okay *sigh*)
  • HER INSTAGRAM.

Noteable Posts:

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What I love about her:

  • I’ve been in kind of an NA slump this year and she made me want to read it again.
  • Talking of which, her reviews are great.
  • Have you seen her Instagram pictures? Go. Now.
  • Her graphics are very simple yet very beautiful and eye pleasing.
  • She’s just all around an awesome and funny person!

Noteable Posts:


That’s it until next time!

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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TAG #29: This time Next Year

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Hello guys!

I’m not one to usually make new year’s resolutions or anything, because I never stick to them and that just puts additional pressure on yours truely. And I DON’T LIKE THAT. It has been years since I last done that (seriously, I was like 14 or something). But this tag seemed like the perfect way to write down what are some things I wish to achieve by the end of next year without the added pressure because… well because at the end of the day this is a tag. And also the goals I’m setting are very achievable and things I’m actually very excited about. Anyway, Kendra @ Reads and Treats tagged all December babies so it was calling out my name. So, thank you!

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Write your goals for next year.
  • Write how you’re going to achieve your goals.
  • Tag at least 5 of your blogger friends to share their goals.
  • Then if you wish in 365 days write a post for everyone to see if you have been successful or not!

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The way I calculated this number is that I generally read 6 books a month and I want to make at least half of that diverse, which makes it 3 and if I remember anything in maths 3x 12 months = 36. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ll surpass that number because I reach naturally for these books more now than ever and I have a MASSIVE diverse TBR. So besides some series I really want to get to (which I don’t really know if they are diverse or not) most of my reads will hopefully be diverse.

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What I’m talking about here is maybe feminism in books, Muslim representation in books, maybe the correlation between the two, share some of my experiences, etc… And it’s not that I don’t know anything about these things now, I can write these posts, but I just feel like I have a lot to learn, to avoid making certain mistakes, to write more elaborate and more detailed discussions. Don’t worry I’ll still be silly me most of the time, it’s just that some things are important to me and I want to share them with you.

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I’ve been naughty. I worked out non-stop for the last 3 years, I was disciplined and passionate about it but since this uni year started, I slacked A LOT until I just stopped going and canceled my gym membership altogether. Now, 80% of that is because I was trying to figure out a way to fit in everything I want and have to do and this including studying, my intership, reading, blogging, drawing, AND working out… and I had to give up something just until I figure it my schedule. The other 20% is because I didn’t like what I was doing anymore. So next year, I plan on going back to doing martial arts and yoga and if the first proves difficult I’ll take up running.

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The way I’ll do this is simply by not missing a week or if I do, make up for it by posting twice some other week. And I think that if I start having too many reviews on hold, I’ll start posting them more than once a week. Now, I already have a month worth of reviews, all from my November reads so if that keeps accumulating and it gets worse ahah, I’ll do that.

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This is something I am dying to start doing but I’m waiting for the actual journal to get here. I’ve always wanted to write down my thoughts but never knew how to format them. A few week back I stumbled upon some journaling videos on YouTube and I realized that THAT would work for me and that I could do it however I wanted and I don’t have to do it everyday. So yep, as soon as it gets here, I shall start and I’ll make it all artsy and pretty (I hope).

Well, I think those are more than enough haha. I will most definitely write a post in a year to see how everything goes (hopefully, I’ll remember!), how I grow and how some things might change in that time period. Anyway, wish me luck!


I Tag:


That’s it until next time.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? What are some you have for 2017? Do we have any in common?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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20 ‘TIL I’M 20: My 20 Favorite Bloggers – 9 & 10

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Hello guys !

You may or may not know my birthday is coming up and I don’t want to make this whole thing about myself, so what do I do instead? I make it all about my favorite people in the community. The ones that made my experience better, the ones that taught me things, the ones I admire and strive to be like. I decided to put 20 on this list but I definitely have more. Also, these are in no particular particular order.

aimal

aimal-2

What I love about her:

  • Her reviews are very polished and detailed.
  • She created an amazing diversity meme called “Diversity Spotlight Thursday”.
  • She’s sassy and I love her tweets.
  • Can we just talk about the prettiness (I know it’s not a word but roll with it) of her blog?
  • JUST LOOK AT THAT HEADER.

Noteable Posts:

meleika

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What I love about her:

  • She is such a strong, outspoken and intelligent woman.
  • I admire her for all the work she does to make marginalized voices heard.
  • She’s creating a 2017 Squad for marginalized voices.
  • Other than diversity, she tackles really important topicson her blog.

Noteable Posts:


That’s it until next time!

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.signature

Reading a Book at the Wrong Time of your Life

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Hello guys!

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the books I read a while ago and how a few months back I went and lowered my rating for most of the books I thought were fantastic and even favorites, and even though the reasons for that are pretty obvious (some problematics, two dimensional characters, insta-love, plot holes and I could go on forever), I started thinking about the ones I originally didn’t like and the specific book that sparked that train of thought in my mind is “L’homme qui voulait être heureux” by Laurent Gounelle, which translates to “The man who wanted to be happy”.

That is kind of a philosophical book exploring happiness and following a man who was unhappy and went to a balinese healer to try and make peace with himself and where he is in life. Back to my experience with the book. I felt uneasy whie reading it, didn’t enjoy it, not one bit and didn’t give much thought to that. I didn’t finish it (First DNF of my life) and labelled my reason behind it as boredom but now, reflecting back on it, I know for a fact that that wasn’t it. I’ll tell you the real reason I finally came up with further down the post.

Now that we have a background as to what generated this discussion let’s dive in and see what are some reasons for hating book at some point and feeling not so sure about that further along in life. This post might get is definitely getting quite personal. But I’m okay with that, I feel okay to share these things with you guys.

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I know this may sound harsh but it’s true and I’m not talking age either,some people at 13 are more mature than myself when I was 18. But the thing is, at certain points of our lives, we don’t look past what we know, what we understand and what isn’t too thought provoquing. Some topics go over our heads because they’re too complicated or we’re not educated about it enough.

Here’s a confession: I never read books treating LGBTQIA+ issues because of that, books about immigrant issues, POC (yes even the ones I identify with), racism, and other issues that I think are so fundamental now. I was in my own bubble reading books 100% for the story (not that there is Something wrong with that) not looking beyond to the people it’s including -or not including- the issues it’s discussing… a very narrow bubble to be honest and I’ve never been happier about something in my life than the fact that I have popped it. I can see more now, I KNOW more. Though I have an infinite more to learn, I am so far away from when I was a year ago, I can SEE those possibilities now and I’m so eagerly waiting to dive into all these books I have piled up.

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That was my case with Eleanor & Park. I read it when I had severe body image issues and if you read the book as well you know that Eleanor goes through that as well. She’s too curvy, her hair too curly, she had to many freckles etc. And I truly hated her. Why? I hear you asking, you’re supposed to relate to her struggles and like her but NO. She represented everything I hated about myself, my stomach with too many roles, my thighs that were too thick, my skin that was perhaps too dark. Anyway.

That was around 3 years ago and I reread it a few months ago and I adored Eleanor. She was so quirky, brave and funny. Also beautiful, and that’s what I failed to see before. I could relate with her and found myself nodding and smiling through it because although there’s nothing happy about having 0 confidence, I was happy that it was something that I managed to get through and now what I see in her is a part of my past that although was excrutiatingly hard, I wouldn’t change because it forged me to what I am and what I didn’t know then is that there IS a way our of that vicious circle.

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I don’t know how to explain this one, like really get my thoughts across the way they’re in my mind. Alright. I’m not talking about characters representing sexualties, genders, ethnicities or religions that are different than yours. I’m talking about the character that you were set to relate to because of all these things but somehow you haven’t had enough experiences yet, or yours were different and you just felt cheated. I personally have never experienced this one but I know people who have. Going from not liking a book to deeply appreciating it because NOW you can understand and identify with what’s in it.

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You weren’t warned before so diving into the book you didn’t expect to find that one thing -or several things- that sends you down a spiral of dark thoughts and terrifying corners of your brain but it did. So, naturally, you couldn’t enjoy the book because of that. I only have one trigger which I won’t go into detail about in this post, maybe some other time -probably not, but the thing is that I’ve had it since I was 5, not over it, can’t get over it, will probably never get over it but that’s not our subject here. The point I’m trying to make is that I can’t bare reading a book that contains it, it makes my skin crawl, sends me in a downward spiral and I have a hard time recovering from it.

Funny enough, the first book I read in 2016 (after a huge slump) was triggering and THIS is a common trigger but it wasn’t mentionned ANYWHERE and that is a huge mistake, because books like that should have trigger warnings. It was set on being a favorite until the thing happened and I hated it.

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The book and you just didn’t click because it was telling you things you didn’t WANT to hear. And THIS was me with The Man who wanted to be Happy. The book was talking about how to let go of things -among other ways- to be able to be happy, and I wasn’t ready to hear all those things, I had toxic people in my life that I held onto for dear life, I held grudges as old as the world, I was very unhappy and I KNEW why, I just wasn’t ready to acknowledge them because it meant I had to change a lot of things about myself and my life. And to be honest, I just found comfort in my misery, it was like a friend. I KNEW how to be miserable but had no clue about how to be happy. I might actually re-read this one soon and try and actually stop being a chicken now that I’m at a better place and see what it’s all about.

This might also be a topic that’s taboo to you, an opinion that’s against yours or any other kinds of confrontation that you can think of.

This was a lenghty discussion, huh! And more personal that what I expected but what can ya do? I just follow inspiration wherever it takes me. Also, I just think illustrating my examples with personal experiences makes them more understandable, so yep, that’s what I just did. ENJOY!


That’s it until next time.

Did you ever experience this? Can you relate with any of the points?

What are some other reasons you can think of?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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20 ‘TIL I’M 20: My 20 Favorite Bloggers – 7 & 8

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Hello guys !

You may or may not know my birthday is coming up and I don’t want to make this whole thing about myself, so what do I do instead? I make it all about my favorite people in the community. The ones that made my experience better, the ones that taught me things, the ones I admire and strive to be like. I decided to put 20 on this list but I definitely have more. Also, these are in no particular particular order.

mishmamishma-2

What I love about her:

  • She’s such a bubbly, happy part of the community and I’m grateful for that.
  • She made a Diversity Book recs thread on Twitter that’s EVERYTHING.
  • Her blog design is SO cute and colorful.
  • She does tons of guest posts.

Noteable Posts:

 

becca

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What I love about her:

  • SHE’S THE BEST, MOST CHEERFUL PERSON EVER!
  • Queen-bee of positivity.
  • She’s the reason I started seeking out more originality in my content.
  • She always finds a way to include humour in her posts.
  • She has the most original emoji-rating system for her reviews.

Noteable Posts:


That’s it until next time!

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Unicorn Tracks – On finding Love while Casually saving Unicorns

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Publication date : April 21st, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Harmony Ink Press

Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy

Page Count: 180

Synopsis : After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.
Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 3 stars

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*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

First of all, I have been eyeing this book for a few weeks before I got it, just LOOK AT THAT COVER, it is so gorgeous and I wish I had the physical copy so I can craddle and love it forever. Then I got it and I couldn’t be happier because there are girls in love, unicorns and adventure, doesn’t it sound like something any of us fantasy lovers would enjoy? Yes? Then you’re definitely not wrong, this was an enjoyable and quick read but I was ultimately disappointed.

The writing in this book is good. Really good. The author has a way of telling her story that threads through your mind and keeps you flipping the pages. At some points, it was just straight up beautiful, it took me by surprise. Just read this and judge for yourself:

“A shrill melody floated on the air, rising higher like the climax of a song. Bending thr muscular crest of his neck, the stallion touched his muzzle to his knees. And I could have sworn he was taking a bow.”

The setting of the book was probably my favorite thing about it. It is set in Nazwimbe which is a fictional land inspired from southern African countries, everything from the actual place, to the culture and the beliefs were heavily empreinted with that. While we’re on it, the world building is well done, especially for a book this short. Everything was so detailed and well thought out that I never felt confused or disoriented by any of it, it just made sense and flowed very nicely. One thing that nagged at me though is that I didn’t know WHEN it was set, today? yesterday? 300 years ago? 50 years in the future? I DON’T KNOW.

The major fictitious elements are the creatures. They are a mix between real -elephants, lions…- and mystical -unicorns, mermaids…- and a slight problem I had is that when some of the latter were introduced is was kind of infodumpey and didn’t flow as well as the rest of the story. The unicorns take front stage in the plot and how I adored them! They were so majestically described and were made out to be very intelligent and strong, and I just really really enjoyed reading about them. They truely fascinated me.

As I said before, the unicorns are at the center of it all because our protagonist and her love love interest set on a mission to rescue them from poachers who are exploiting and harming them -which was a neat and subtle way to raise awareness to animal cruelty I might add. At first, the mystery was kept alive and a real pageturner for me but as the story progressed and the plot unfolded it started becoming more predictable, the girls just got away too easily with things they’ve done and from situations they were trapped in. There was no real stress for me or fear for them not getting out of it whole because I just knew they would. Just. Like. Every. Other. Time. And that kind of bummed me a lot because the premise was so interesting and some impredictable twists and turns would’ve made it better.

The story is told in first person from our MC, Mnemba‘s POV and I have a love/hate relationship with her. She made really rash and nonsensical decisions that ALWAYS put her and Kara in danger, she didn’t think things through and defied authority when it was for her own good, on the other hand there was just something preventing me from disliking her, I simply COULDN’T. I really liked the mix of strength and vulnerability she was made off. Kara, I don’t think much off to be honest, she was there, pushing Mnemba into taking the rash decisions, but still she had a bold personality and that’s not something to dislike. Their romance though was quite cute, BUT also insta-lovey which annoyed me knowing how I can’t deal with rushed romance.

Special notice to Bi Trembla, the sassy maternal figure that never failed to kick their asses everytime they did somthing irrational -which is ALL THE TIME- but she is also loving and endearing. Last but not least, Tumelo, Mnemba’s cousin and also my favorite, he was such a drama queen that it made for some really funny moments that I very much appreciated, he’s very heavy on theatrics, but really he’s a very caring young men.

Overall, even though the book didn’t live up to my expectations, I liked it for its premise, its setting and most of all for its diversity. It felt rich! And lest not forget about the Unicorns. I have never read a book about them and now I want more, they’re so amazing !


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Unicorn Tracks? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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20 ‘TIL I’M 20: My 20 Favorite Bloggers – 5 & 6

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Hello guys !

You may or may not know my birthday is coming up and I don’t want to make this whole thing about myself, so what do I do instead? I make it all about my favorite people in the community. The ones that made my experience better, the ones that taught me things, the ones I admire and strive to be like. I decided to put 20 on this list but I definitely have more. Also, these are in no particular particular order.

liam

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What I love about him:

  • His unbeatable sarcasm and sass levels.
  • His reviews are my favorites in the whole wide world.
  • He leaves the sweetest, most thoughtful comments.
  • HE’S JUST ALL AROUND AN AMAZING HUMAN BEING ALRIGHT?
  • His love for everything Moroccan is pretty awesome as well

Noteable Posts:

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What I love about her:

  • She’s such a sweet person.
  • Her Book Looks are to die for ! I want to pick them up and wear them.
  • Her Blogging Tips are awesome.
  • I trust her opinion on books. A LOT.

Noteable Posts:


That’s it until next time!

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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TAG #28: Around the World in Books

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Hello guys !

I’m back again with a new tag, this one I’ve been sitting on THIS. WHOLE. YEAR. Wanna know why? Because like a dumbhead I realized the books I read weren’t set in a wide range of countries, so upon seeing this tag, I had decided it was time to remedy that and I started picking up books set in more countries that just the US. I was tagged for this back in february by the lovely Felicia @ Fell for Books , so thank you and sorry for being late, I didn’t know of enough books to do it before. Also, the end of the year seems like a great time to do The Around the World in Books tag. It’s originally in YA, but I decided to include Adult books as well, because this is my blog and WHY NOT? Also, it will be a mix of read and to be read.

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My Review

3

ghana

My Review

4england

My Review

5

afghanistan

 

My Review

6france

7

india

8australia

My Review

9russia

10germany


That’s it until next time.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?

Do you have recommendations of books set outside of the US?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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20 ‘TIL I’M 20: My 20 Favorite Bloggers – 3 & 4

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Hello guys !

You may or may not know my birthday is coming up and I don’t want to make this whole thing about myself, so what do I do instead? I make it all about my favorite people in the community. The ones that made my experience better, the ones that taught me things, the ones I admire and strive to be like. I decided to put 20 on this list but I definitely have more. Also, these are in no particular particular order.

lauren

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What I love about her:

  • She’s MY reference for me when it comes to navigating the GN, comic maze.
  • In fact, it’s because of her I started reading them.
  • She never forgets about me when doing tags, haha!
  • Her GIF game is on point.
  • She is all around Awesome.

Noteable Posts:

naz

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What I love about him:

  • He’s the reason I am aware now of the necessity of diversity and good representation.
  • All around amazing Book Recommendations.
  • His passion and commitment.
  • He helps marginalized voices be heard.

Noteable posts:


That’s it until next time!

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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