Unique Blogger Award

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A huge, HUGE thank you to both Maxine @ The Rogue Storyteller (who tagged me back in March) and Empress @ Empire of Starlight for nominating me for The Unique Blogger Award! Maxine has some very thoughtful book reviews and awesome recommendations so go check her blog out! Empress also has some great book reviews and she’s just a wonderful person inside and out so go check out her blog too!

Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them three questions.

Maxine’s Questions

  1. What’s your favorite retelling of a story/folktale? This can be in the form of a book or movie.Oooh, my favorite retelling. I guess I’d have to say the Lunar Chronicles because I haven’t read many retellings I liked. Out of the Lunar Chronicles, Winter (Snow White retelling) is probably my favorite.
  2. Are there any characters that you think deserved a better ending than they got?You mean ALL OF MY BABIES WHO DIED?? YES! SO MANY! (I’d also like to not spoil anything for anyone so let me refrain from actually making a list of characters who deserved very much to live).
  3. If you could be any book character for a day, who would it be and why?
    Image result for kamala khanThis is such a hard question! As much as I’d love to be any of the Six of Crows crew, I’d kill myself and the team in seconds. I’m actually going to go with Kamala Khan (aka Ms. Marvel), she is still trying to get used to her newfound superpowers, we have similar family backgrounds and I think her powers are super cool.

Empress’ Questions

  1. If you could have any fictional power, what would it  be and what would you do with it?Related imageI’ve always liked force field manipulation/creation the best. I don’t think I’d do anything special with it really, just learn how to reach things with my field so I wouldn’t have to go get it, maybe use a force field to levitate myself, protect myself from a nuclear apocalypse, etc. etc.
  2. What is your favorite/most hated YA trope?Favorite: The Chosen One trope, I just love the whole your destiny is blah blah blah story line for some reason.

    Most hated: insta-love. No, just no.

  3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what would it be? 

    I… would rather not read for the rest of my life than choose among my children. I cannot and will not do it.

My Questions

  1. If you could bring any book character from their world to yours so you can be friends, who would you pick?
  2. What hobby would you like to pick up that you haven’t already?
  3. Do you like happy endings or sad but realistic endings?

I Tag You

(I’m going to tag some blogs I found recently that I loved. If you’ve already done the tag, feel free to disregard.)

 

Diverse Characters Monday #4 – Natasha Kingsley

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Diverse Characters Mondays is my self hosted weekly meme celebrating my favorite diverse characters. This meme was created to get myself to post more frequently with a topic I am interested in. Posting memes always help me get out of a blogging slump, especially since I haven’t been posting Diversity Spotlight Thursday posts as frequently anymore.

If you’re not familiar with “diverse” characters (which I’m sure most of you are), they are basically a character who is not a white allocishet and able person (note that this is in no way a definite definition of a diverse character and feel free to comment or email me if you think I need to add/change anything). 

If anyone wants to participate, please do! If you do decide to do this, leave the link to your post down below and I’d love to check it out! Your post can be as long or as short as you like.


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Art by Kanski-Art from Devianart.com

Natasha Kingsley

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha Kingsley is an undocumented Jamaican immigrant living in New York City. Her father brought their family over to the USA from Jamaica pursuing an acting career which didn’t work out for him and he only ended up neglecting his family in the process. Her and her family is twelve hours away from deportation when the story starts. Because of this, Natasha has had to grow up fast and take up responsibility at a young age. In The Sun is Also a Star, Natasha is trying to use up her last day in America going to an immigration lawyer to try and make a case for her family.

This is the life you’re living. It’s not temporary and it’s not pretend and there’s no do-over.

Natasha is very logical when it comes to making decisions. She is intelligent, determined and knows exactly what she wants to do in life. She picks the most practical choices, the ones where she’s certain she knows the end result. That said, her personality doesn’t leave her passionless but the opposite. She’s always passionate about the decisions she takes and has no regrets.

She’s also a cynic when it comes to love and romance which makes sense because of the circumstances in which she grew up. Seeing her character develop and mature into a more caring and forgiving person was one of the best aspects of the book.

Natasha is strong, independent and fights tooth and nail until she is completely out of time. She was holding out hope for her and her family even until the day they were to be deported. That shows some extreme determination on her part.

Have you read the Sun is Also a Star? What do you think of Natasha?

Should novel length fanfiction count towards your Goodreads goal?

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I have always loved reading fan fiction so I can stay in a book world I love longer, to follow the characters’ lives or just see how other fans interpret and expand the book. There have been an ongoing argument on Goodreads on whether or not fanfiction should be added and counted on Goodreads as a book.

I recently finished a novel length Harry Potter next-generation fan fiction. It was better written than a lot of novels I’ve read, a good size (would be at least 300 pages if put to paper), and had a complex story expanding on the ideas in Cursed Child (here is the link if you’re interested, I thought it was fantastic). So my question obviously is, can I count this towards my Goodreads goal?

I know as book bloggers, there are what we call real books which are published books and then there are other reading material that aren’t published books. But there’s also the fact that there are many fan fiction that are published books: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, even Harry Potter and the Cursed Child since it wasn’t written by Rowling. So if a printed fan fiction can count as a book, does that mean all fan fiction can count as a book? (I am speaking specifically of novel length fan fiction, short ones obviously do not count).

What’s your take on this? Do you think long fan fiction should count towards your Goodreads goal?

Review: “Saints and Misfits” by S.K Ali

31123249Rating: 

4 stars

Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

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?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and NoblesArrowSaints and Misfits quoteTrigger Warning: attempted rape, stalking

Saints and Misfits is a great start to the road for more YA contemporaries with Muslim main characters. The plot is of a typical YA contemporary about finding your voice and overcoming a past trauma. There are many things the book does well and I applaud the author for trying to educate people on what Islam is actually like.

The main character Janna is a fifteen year old, Muslim hijabi teen in the United States. She is kind-hearted and faithful. She tries to balance her religion with a typical high school experience and it was interesting to see what she does to not have to compromise one for the other (sometimes unsuccessfully). The book does a good job in highlighting that people aren’t perfect; Janna makes many mistakes in this novel but she is only fifteen and is still trying to figure herself out.

My heart went out to Janna for what she has experienced with Farooq. Farooq is one of her best friend’s cousin, he attempted to rape her and then continued to stalk her in the book. He is highly respected in their community and Janna is too intimidated by his reputation to report him.

Although I liked Janna just fine, I wasn’t in love with her. She seemed immature at times and her crush on Jeremy often deterred her from seeing the big picture. It makes sense because she’s so young but it did throw me off of loving her character.

Janna’s parents are divorced – she lives with her single mother in an apartment. Her father lives in another state and is married with two sons. The social stigma that comes with divorce in a Muslim society is briefly touched upon but isn’t given much detail.

The side characters all played a role in trying to represent all types of Muslims but sometimes it felt like that was all they were there for. The ending did little to resolve their stories and left a lot of questions unanswered. I wish we got to spend more time with the side characters and had more glimpses of their personalities. But I understand that’s not always easy to do with a first person narrative.

Overall this book was enjoyable and the representation was on point.

Have you read this? Do you have it on your tbr list?

Diverse Characters Monday #3 – Samirah Al-Abbas

Oooh, it’s been over a week! There goes my goal to post every week. Before I start, I changed my theme you guys! The last one I had, I liked well enough but the heading was huge and it started bothering me.

Diverse Characters Mondays tpbg

Diverse Characters Mondays is my self hosted weekly meme celebrating my favorite diverse characters. This meme was created to get myself to post more frequently with a topic I am interested in. Posting memes always help me get out of a blogging slump, especially since I haven’t been posting Diversity Spotlight Thursday posts as frequently anymore.

If you’re not familiar with “diverse” characters (which I’m sure most of you are), they are basically a character who is not a white allocishet and able person (note that this is in no way a definite definition of a diverse character and feel free to comment or email me if you think I need to add/change anything). 

If anyone wants to participate, please do! If you do decide to do this, leave the link to your post down below and I’d love to check it out! Your post can be as long or as short as you like.


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Samirah Al-Abbas

The Magnus Chase trilogy by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan has been really good at writing some strong and wonderful diverse characters. Samirah al-Abbas from the Magnus Chase trilogy is brown (Arab-American), a Muslim hijabi, and betrothed (and very happily so). She’s also an axe wielding Valkrye, a shapeshifter and her hijab acts as an invisibility cloak.

I always love seeing Muslim main characters in mainstream books, especially ones who are well developed. Samirah is raised by her grandparents and she respects them immensely and always feels guilty when lying to them about being a Valkrye.

She has faced prejudice from her peers almost all her life, in the real world for being Muslim and in the Norse world for being a child of Loki. But despite that, she’s kind and always tries to do the right thing.

Riordan also explores a healthy and happy arranged marriage through Samirah and Amir Fadlan. They’re both adorable as a couple and are both on the same page when it comes to getting married. Because arranged marriages are usually considered a stigma in western society, I think it’s important for kids to understand that they aren’t always forced.

Have you read the Magnus Chase trilogy? What do you think of Samirah?

Bollywood Book Tag – SRK Edition (Original)

So if you’ve been around for a little while, you probably know I love Bollywood movies, especially ones that involve Shah Rukh Khan. So a few days ago, I was talking to one of my best friends in real life who blogs over @ Empire of Starlight and we decided to create our own Bollywood book tags. Check out her Bollywood Book Tag: Song Edition (she doesn’t post often so it’s kind of a miracle when she does).

Anyway, on to my very own, Bollywood Book Tag – SRK Edition.

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Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge – Favorite Classic

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Lizzie Bennett is the perfect protagonist, she’s smart and witty and always unapologetically herself.

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Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – Favorite Romance

I am not big into romance? But out of the few I’ve read, I’d definitely have to pick The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Natasha and Daniel are a great pair and I was rooting for them from the first chapter.

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Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – Great in All Aspects

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Need I say more? Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are both wonderful beyond wonderful books and have ruined YA Fantasy for me.

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Kal Ho Naa Ho – Favorite Love Triangle

Obviously The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. Will, Jem and Tessa are the ultimate love triangle. All three of them love and care for each other. I love their individual relationships as well as them as a group.

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Chak De India – Favorite Girl Power Book

YA is pretty good at publishing girl power books so there are lots to choose from. I’m going to say An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I think this series is very good at highlighting all the ways a girl can be powerful. Helene is a trained fighter, Laia is more patient and intelligent, the Commandant is ruthless and unforgiving, Izzy is kind and loyal.

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Dilwale – Biggest Disappointment

I’ve had quite a few disappointments, especially from book that are superhyped but I didn’t end up liking. But there are two books that have disappointed me beyond measure: Allegiant by Veronica Roth and Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. I expected so much more from the ending of both of those series but alas, it didn’t work out.

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Main Hoon Na – Favorite Action Book

A recent favorite would be A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab. I love, love LOVE magical duels and sword fights, especially magical dueling contests.

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My Name is Khan – Favorite Controversial Book

A book that covers a controversial topic is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas which talks about the Black Lives Matter campaign. THUG is probably the best book I’ve read all year and I encourage everyone to read it if you haven’t already.


I Tag You

Diverse Characters Monday #2 – Starr Carter

Diverse Characters Mondays tpbg

Diverse Characters Mondays is my self hosted weekly meme celebrating my favorite diverse characters. This meme was created to get myself to post more frequently with a topic I am interested in. Posting memes always help me get out of a blogging slump, especially since I haven’t been posting Diversity Spotlight Thursday posts as frequently anymore.

If you’re not familiar with “diverse” characters (which I’m sure most of you are), they are basically a character who is not a white allocishet able person. Most of the books I’ve read the past year have been diverse books and I will continue to do so because I tend to enjoy them more.

If anyone wants to participate, please feel free to! If you do decide to do this, leave the link to your post down below and I’d love to check it out! Your post can be as long or as short as you like.


Hate U Give quote

Starr Carter

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter is a black teenage girl who lives in a rundown, mostly black neighborhood but goes to a majority white private school. Because of that, she has a unique perspective when it comes to both places and she often feels like she doesn’t belong or that she has to change her personality depending on where she is.

“I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down. Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak.” 

Starr is a witness to her friend getting shot and killed by a white police officer. The police officer then turns the gun on her and Starr is unbelievably calm on the outside because she has been trained for moments like this. As the book says, black children often get “the police talk”: what to do if a police officer pulls them over. This entire situation is heartbreaking because Starr technically did everything right, everything she was taught, but it wasn’t enough.

Starr’s story follows what happens in that moment and afterwards. Starr is obviously stunned and she doesn’t know what to do after the ordeal. She takes her time to find her voice and the fact that she did is a feat in itself.

Because of everything Starr has been through, she has had to grow up fast and can seem older than she is. But her geeky side reminds you that she’s just another sixteen year old girl: she loves Harry Potter, High School Musical and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. And because of that, it’s even sadder that she’s been through so much.

“I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?” 

Starr is just phenomenal. She is persistent, she stands up against racism and she keeps fighting and resisting even when facing a bleak reality.

Have you read The Hate U Give? What do you think of Starr?