TAG #33: Who Am I ?

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Hello guys !

No you’re not dreaming, I’m REALLY posting a tag on a Monday. I have a reason for that though, I couldn’t post my wrap-up today because FEBRUARY IS NOT OVER and I can still get some reading done so March 1st it is, which is Wednesday… the day this post was supposed to go up. So, I simply switched. And voila! You get a tag today. It’s been a little while since I talked about myself, I did the Get to Know me Tag almost a year ago which was just facts about myself BUT for the Who am I Tag, you’ll get to know my deepest darkest secrets, things I don’t even know about myself. Or at least that’s what I think will happen haha. I was tagged by some of my best blogging friends of mine Puput @ Sparkling Letters and Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books. Thank you, lovelies ❤

What is the meaning of my name?

My name is Fadwa (فَدْوَى) which is an Arabic name that means self-sacrifice.

Well, I’m Arab so that explains it. I don’t think my parents chose my name for its meaning. Actually, they didn’t choose it at all, my dad wanted to name me Sara and they couldn’t agree so my aunt took charge and named me, just because she liked the name.

What is my Myer-Briggs personality type? (Link)

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People are drawn to strong personalities, and Protagonists radiate authenticity, concern and altruism, unafraid to stand up and speak when they feel something needs to be said. They find it natural and easy to communicate with others, especially in person, and their Intuitive (N) trait helps people with the Protagonist personality type to reach every mind, be it through facts and logic or raw emotion. Protagonists easily see people’s motivations and seemingly disconnected events, and are able to bring these ideas together and communicate them as a common goal with an eloquence that is nothing short of mesmerizing.

I feel like this is pretty accurate. I have a strong personality and I can be pretty persuasive. I don’t know about the eloquence part but I’ll take it haha.

For strengths, it says:

  • Tolerant – True, I can be pretty hot-headed in nature but when it comes to other people’s opinions I can accept anything as long as it doesn’t go against basic human rights.
  • Reliable – Probably? haha I mean, I always have an ear/shoulder/fist to lend to whomever needs it.
  • Charismatic – I don’t know? hahaha.
  • Altruistic – I really just want to be good, see good, do good.
  • Natural Leaders – Yep.

For weaknesses, it says:

  • Overly Idealistic – NOOO. haha! I’m actually a pretty realistic person. The kind that hopes for the best but expect the worst.
  • Too Selfless – Umm? I don’t think so?
  • Too Sensitive – I know for a fact that I am not. I don’t take critique personally.
  • Fluctuating Self-Esteem – YES. I never read something that’s more true.
  • Struggle to Make Tough Decisions – Yeah, I think about the consequences a little too much.

I must admit that this is more spot-on than I expected.

What is my zodiac sign? 

I’m a Capricorn but I don’t believe in the horoscope. I still think it’s fun to read it because it sometimes -rarely- get things right and when it doesn’t I like ti joke about the inaccuracy :p

What is my Hogwarts House? (Link)

Like my bestie Willow puts it: I’m a Ravenclaw, obviously! Fun fact is that I identified as a Ravenclaw even before I ever took any test, the Pottermore one confirmed it. Twice. As well as a couple other ones. I guess, there is no escaping it.

What are my Learning Styles? (Link)

  • Visual 5
  • Aural 6
  • Read/Write 2
  • Kinesthetic 7

I have a multimodal learning preference. (VAK)

I can’t say I’m surprised, I have the most trouble learning with reading/writing but experiences are what works best for me, that’s why I have an easier time learning the practical sides of my medical training rather than the theoritical. Listening/Seeing works good as well.

Am I Right or Left Brain Dominant? (Link)

Capture d’écran (2).pngI am VERY left-handed so I expected to be right brained and wasn’t disappointed haha. The thing is every right handed person relies more heavily on their left brain and vice versa. Brought to you by science. You’re welcome.

What is my Blood Type?

I’m an O+ which means I can give blood to all the other positive groups but can only receive from O (either + or -). I’m basically part of the second most screwed group of people if I ever need blood. O- being the universal donor that can only receive from itself, and that makes it the most screwed.

What Career Am I Meant To Have? (Link)

I got Writer. Um? What kind of fresh hell is this haha. This couldn’t be any farther from what I’m working towards. And I don’t write. I used to, but now I really can’t. So according to this test, I’m basically doomed.

Which Divergent Faction Do I Belong In? (Link)

You deviate from the norm. The aptitude test is inconclusive. It cannot determine just one faction for you, Divergent. Your mind is ceaselessly changing. You’re creative, with a strong sense of self, and you have a clear picture of who you are and what you want. You stand out from the crowd. You may pose a threat to the norms of society, but you are unwilling to give into them.

 

 

Woot! Woot! I’m divergent and I expected it, because I can’t make up my mind about things. That’s how I role.

What Does My Birth Order Say About Me? (Link)

I am the first Born child and it says I am a natural leader, ambitious, responsible. All of which are true and have been proven by more than one of the tests above haha. It also says that the eldest is kind of a surrogate parent and that was true for me as well. I am 8 years older than my baby sister and I used to feed her, change her, and everything. Yes even as an 8 year old myself. I also like to think that I participate in her education haha because I’m the one she spends the most time with at home.


I Tag:


That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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You’re Welcome, Universe – Graffiti, Friendship and an Angsty Teenager

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Publication date : March 7th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Knopf

Genre :Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 304

Synopsis : When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.
Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.
Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.
Told with wit and grit by debut author Whitney Gardner, who also provides gorgeous interior illustrations of Julia’s graffiti tags, You’re Welcome, Universe introduces audiences to a one-of-a-kind protagonist who is unabashedly herself no matter what life throws in her way.

Rating: 4 stars

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*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

I’ve been eyeing this book since it was announced because ILLUSTRATIONS. Call me shallow if you please, but my eyes like all things pretty and I can do nothing about that. I even mentioned it in my Most Anticipated Books of 2017 post. So, when I saw that it was available for request, I jumped on the occasion and was thrilled when approved. Although this book took a little more time than I expected to win me over, once it did, I really enjoyed it.

You’re Welcome, Universe is written in 1st person from Julia -the MC- ‘s perspective. I loved the writing style, it is great and powerful especially with the main character having such an honest strong voice. I think the author managed to depict a true teenager’s voice. One thing that annoyed me (really, the only thing I couldn’t brush off) is the use of some ableist language, like psycho and hysterical when really the event or person described is none of those things and it was unnecessary.

This is a very character driven story, we follow Julia’s journey as she struggles to trust anyone after her best friend sells her out and get her expelled from school, as she tries to find herself and her voice through her graffiti, trying to balance between the part of her that tells her that what she’s doing is illegal and the one that cares only about expressing itself through street-art. And I loved it. The character development she went through was so raw and real that I couldn’t help but adore her. This was the kind of book that made me think by the end, this girl will be alright.

The main character is a Deaf Indian-American girl who just got betrayed by her so called bestfriend and that shows in the writing. It is intense, and very emotionally charged, even though she pretends not to care about anything or anyone anymore, she does, and very deeply so. The first word that comes to my mind when I think of Julia is angsty. Oh lord! No one can compete with the attitude that girl has got going, and that’s what made it hard for me to get into the book at first. But then I remembered what an angsty teenager I myself was (yep, 14 y/o me was no joke, all emo and dramatic) and all my frustrations with her behavior went away because they’re simply normal.

She’s just a caring passionate teenager, scared to get hurt again who puts up walls around herself, and really, who can blame her?

My favorite thing about You’re Welcome, Universe is with no doubt its focus on friendship. It has no romance whatsoever and I appreciated that so so much (and this comes from a sucker for everything romance). It shows the difference between what a real friendship is and a toxic friendship is. And that’s such an important thing for young teenagers to see, because not everyone who is present in your life, is present FOR YOU. It also shows friendship in its truest form with its ups and downs, fights and make-ups. It’s not made up to be this perfect thing where people never get hurt. It’s human.

Jordyn is the so-called bestfriend who betrays Julia to save her own skin and the worst part is that she expected Julia to be there for her and listen to her complaints despite it all. There was so much entitlement and manipulations in her behavior and I’m glad that was called out and challenged in the book. She was so self-centered, and just all around awful. My hate for her is very deeply rooted. In contrast with that there was sweet, lovely YP and I’m so fond of her. She was there for Julia even when she didn’t see it, listened to her, confided in her and it went both ways. She stood up for her, called her out and loved her.

Another relationship that I loved is the one she had with her moms Ma and Mee. It was so realistic and heartwarming. She was much closer to Mee than to Ma -which happens to most teenagers, being naturally drawn to a parent more than the other. Here again, they never hesitated to ground her and putt her back in her place when needed while being present and loving her all the same.

The illustrations added a nice touch to the book and I feel like it wouldn’t have been the same without them. It was a mix of her graffiti, things from her daily life as well as some ASL signs that were mentioned in the text. I kind of was disappointed at the end when the author didn’t show the last graffiti but I was pleased all the same.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read You’re Welcome, Universe? If so, what did you think?

What did you think of Julia’s behavior and her character development?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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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.

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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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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

 

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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

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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

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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. Continue reading

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 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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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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