#ownvoices · Diverse Books · Diversity Spotlight Thursday

Diversity Spotlight Thursday #6

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Diversity Spotlight Thrusday is a weekly meme hosted by Aimal from Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Every week, the participants are suppost to choose one book for each of the three categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your tbr, and a diverse book that has not yet been released. 

If you didn’t know, I also decided to pick  books that have  less than a thousand ratings on Goodreads, because I want to promote less known diverse books and authors, and I will try to choose only #ownvoices books, because I want the authors that I promote to be members of minorities and marginalized groups.

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God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems by Ishara Deengod-smites

Craving a taste of teenage life, Asiya Haque defies her parents to go for a walk (really, it was just a walk!) in the woods with Michael, her kind-of-friend/crush/the guy with the sweetest smile she’s ever seen. Her tiny transgression goes completely off track when they stumble on a dead body. Michael covers for Asiya, then goes missing himself.

Despite what the police say, Asiya is almost sure Michael is innocent. But how will she, the sheltered girl with the strictest parents ever, prove anything? With Michael gone, a rabid police officer in desperate need of some sensitivity training, and the murderer out there, how much will Asiya risk to do what she believes is right? 

Goodreads | Amazon 

I have talked about this one a few times on my blog, but in case you missed it please know that I loved this book so much and I can’t wait to read the sequel and here more from Asiya. God Smites is a funny, charming and interesting book. The main character, Asiya,has a unique voice that shines throughout the whole story. Also, the humour is absolutely brilliant and that comes from being honest and outspoken about things that are not often talked about in YA. Here’s my review.

tbr

The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis

the melody of you and meAfter dropping out of university and breaking up with her girlfriend of three years, Chris Morrison’s life is now a mind-numbing mess. She doubts that working at the small neighborhood bookstore is going to change that. The rest of her time is spent mostly playing guitar and ignoring the many messages her mother keeps sending her about going back to college.

But one day, an adorable and charming new bookseller waltzes her way into Chris’s life. Josie Navarro is sweet, flirty, and she always has a new book in her hands. The two girls start a fast friendship that, for Chris, holds the promise of something more. But is she reading too much into this or is it possible that Josie feels the same way? 

Goodreads | Amazon

I have heard a lot of things about this book from people on my Twitter timeline. These are some of the things I know about this book: it’s super short, it’s set in a bookstore and it has a pansexual main character and the love interest is a lesbian filipino girl. Also, I have heard is sex positive. I don’t really need to know more than that.

coming-soon

That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim 

That Thing We Call a HeartShabnam Qureshi is a funny, imaginative Pakistani-American teen attending a tony private school in suburban New Jersey. When her feisty best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf without even consulting her, it begins to unravel their friendship. After hooking up with the most racist boy in school and telling a huge lie about a tragedy that happened to her family during the Partition of India in 1947, Shabnam is ready for high school to end. She faces a summer of boredom and regret, but she has a plan: Get through the summer. Get to college. Don’t look back. Begin anew.

Everything changes when she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack, and meets her there every afternoon. Shabnam begins to see Jamie and herself like the rose and the nightingale of classic Urdu poetry, which, according to her father, is the ultimate language of desire. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating—her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but Farah finds Jamie worrying.

With Farah’s help, Shabnam uncovers the truth about Jamie, about herself, and what really happened during Partition. As she rebuilds her friendship with Farah and grows closer to her parents, Shabnam learns powerful lessons about the importance of love, in all of its forms.

Goodreads | Amazon

This is another book that has been all over my twitter timeline (great book recs, that’s how I know I follow the right people!). I’m looking forward to reading this book because a)The synopsis sound interesting and intriguing and b) I haven’t read enough books with Muslim characters and I don’t think I have ever read a book with a Pakistani main character. The release date for this one is May 9th 2017.

Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Can you recommend me some diverse books you love? 

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Life Update

Things I’ve Been Loving Recently: Books, Movies, TV Shows, Music & More

Things I've been loving recently

Today, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about some things that I’ve been loving in 2017, so this post will cover January, February and the first weeks of March.

BOOKS

These are my top 5 books I have read so far in 2017, or at least I think so, it’s just that I have read so many amazing books this year that it was really hard to choose my favorites and I’m still not entirely sure about my picks. My favorite definitely is How to Make a Wish, there’s diversity, a cute love story between two girls, and a honest depiction of a complicated relationship between a mother and a daughter.  Here are my reviews for How to Make a Wish and God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems. You can read my thoughts about the other books in my January Wrap Up and my February Wrap Up.

Top 5 winter

MOVIES

I haven’t watch that many movies in 2017, but these 3 are definitely the ones that stand out. My favorite was Hidden Figures, I love stories about women doing amazing things, especially if they are women of color, so I definitely loved this one; the acting was amazing and there’s a scene where Katherine screams at this room full of white people that’s my favorite scene of any movie I have watched this year. A the same time, I think for the cinematography and for the importance of the story, Moonlight is outstanding and I found La La Land entertaining even if I recognize that it’s problematic, mainly I liked the songs.

top 3 winter

TV SHOWS

I watched a lot of TV Shows and right now I’m behind in most of them, because I have been really busy. The only ones I’m not behind in are Jane the Virgin and Grey’s Anatomy. I’m loving them both; Jane is always great because being latinx myself I can related to a lot of things that happen in the show and Grey’s is one of my favorite show of all times and I’m liking this season so far.

I have started to watch two new shows thia year: one is One Day at a Time, which I found incredibly funny because again being latinx I can related to a lot of things, this show has been great because when my anxiety gets really bad I can watch this and feel a bit better. I have also been watching Big Little Lies. which I’m very intrigued by and I’m enjoying it so far.

MUSIC

This is the playlist of songs I have been loving lately. I’m currently obssesed with Green Light by Lorde.

BLOGGERS & BOOKTUBERS 

Here are some booktubers and bloggers I have been loving, go check them out!

One thing that made me happy recently is that T just started her blog Novel Paradise ! I have been following her for a while on Twitter and I’m happy to be able to read her reviews and opinions in her own blog.

I have a new favorite blog and it’s Puput’s blog Sparkling Letters, I discovered her blog recently after moving from blogger  to wordpress and I love all her post.

I just found a new booktuber to follow, she is Adriana @Perpetual Pages and she is a latinx. I’m so excited about that! I don’t enought latinx bootubers and I really need to do it.

As always, I’m ejoying Dana’s videos @The Book Horder. She is one of my favorite booktubers.

COVERS

I follow a lot of people on Youtube that make covers, I chose the cover of Lost Boy by the Gardiner Sisters because I have been obssesed with it the last month and a half and I chose the cover of Scars to Your Beutiful by Cimorelli because I have been loving it the last week since they posted it. Th fact that they are both groups of sisters is a total coincidence, btw.

That’s it! Those are some of the things that I have been loving lately. Let me know in the coments, if you like any of the things in this list. Also, tell me what things have you been loving recently. I would love to know! 

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#ownvoices · Diverse Books · wrap up

February 2017 Wrap Up

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I don’t know how but I managed to read 10 books in February, and ,what’s even more exciting, 9 of those books were diverse. This is gonna be a bit of a long post, so let’s talk about the books!

february-2017-wrap-up

God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems by Ishara Deen (4,2 stars) 

I recieved this book from the author and I’m extremely grateful to her. This is a funny, charming and interesting book. The main character, Asiya,has a unique voice that shines throughout the whole story. Also, the humour is absolutely brilliant and that comes from being honest and outspoken about things that are not often talked about in YA. Here’s my review.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (4,2 stars) 

I recieved this book when it first came out and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t read it until recently. This book is atmospheric, it has a creepy vibe that captures the attention of the reader, while also having amazing main characters that are intelligent, funny and complex. The only flaw is that it’s easy to guess who Jack the Ripper is.

The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolaño (3,2 stars)

I read this in my purse of reading more Latin American authors, my boyfriend and one of my best friends love Roberto Bolaño and that’s why I ended up reading his book. The story is told from the perspective of 3 men, it’s an internal monologue of what they think and how they see women in their lives and it isn’t entertaining or insightful. By the end of the book, the reader doesn’t have an idea of who these women actually are, only the ideas these men create about them. Also, this is a mystety and it becomes really predictable after halfway through the book. The one great thing about this book is the writing. Roberto Bolaño is definitely talented with words.

If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman (4 stars) 

This book is funny and cute. The main character, Martha, is plus sized and she has a positive relationship with her weight and that makes this story really valuable.  The book is set in the Philippines and the cultural aspects are very fasicnating and insightful. Also, there ‘s fake dating and the best friends to lovers trope in this story, which allows some emotional moments and makes this book really swoony.

Well Played by Katrina Ramos Atienza (3,4 stars)

This is a Pride and Prejudice retelling set in a university in the Philippine and learning a little bit about how things work in their educational system is entertatining. The characters are interesting enough and the romenace is good even if it takes way too long to start moving forward. The main problem with this book is that it’s too short and that makes the ending feel a bit rush.

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Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan (I didn’t give it a rating)

This book has really problematic content; there are biphobic comments, ableist comment,  a woc is called ‘exotic’ repeately and there are a lot of other issues. At the same time, this is #ownvoices, the author shared the sexuality and ethnicity of the main character. The few things I liked about this book were that it has a lesbian Persian main character, her family and their culture were big parts of the book, her friends were great and the love story we get at the very end was cute. I’m really conflicted about this book and I think I wouldn’t recommend it.

The Backstagers by James Tynion IV & Rian Sygh ( 4Stars)

This is a cute and short graphic novel that has a diverse cast of character and great representation. Also, it has mystery and fantastical elements that make it interesting and intriguing.Here’s my review.

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake ( 4,5 stars) 

I recieved an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review. This book has an amazing romance, Grace and Eva are so cute! Grace is bisexual and Eva is a biracial lesbian girl, these topics are address in a sensitive and thoughtful way; this book is a great example of representation done right. Another good thing about the book is the story of Grace and her mom, which is raw and complicated and told with so much honesty.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4,2 stars)

This book is about a love story, pure and simple. There are a lot of important subjects discussed, especially race, but at its core I feel this is a love story. A beautifully written love story that can be slow at times, but that by the end it has the reader engrossed. It is defenitely a character driven story, the main character Ifemelu is really complex and kind of intriguing, while the plot is a simpler one.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (4,3 stars)

This is a odd book that has a really fascinating premise.  Hearing about all the different lands the kids went to was incredibly entertaining and the diverse cast of characters, both in terms of LGBTQ+ community and POC’s is represented in a thoughtful and considerate way.

  Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? Do you want to read any of them? Let me know in the comments! 

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#ownvoices · Diverse Books · Review

Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems by Ishara Deen

god-smites

Title: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Author: Ishara Deen

Published by: Deeya Publishing Inc.

Publishing Date: January 15th 2017

Pages: 236

LIKE NANCY DREW, BUT NOT…

Craving a taste of teenage life, Asiya Haque defies her parents to go for a walk (really, it was just a walk!) in the woods with Michael, her kind-of-friend/crush/the guy with the sweetest smile she’s ever seen. Her tiny transgression goes completely off track when they stumble on a dead body. Michael covers for Asiya, then goes missing himself.

Despite what the police say, Asiya is almost sure Michael is innocent. But how will she, the sheltered girl with the strictest parents ever, prove anything? With Michael gone, a rabid police officer in desperate need of some sensitivity training, and the murderer out there, how much will Asiya risk to do what she believes is right?

Goodreads |Amazon

*I recieved a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. * 

God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems is a funny, charming and interesting book that talks about the problems Muslims have to deal with in everyday life, particulary, Muslim teenage girls. The heart of this book is the main character Asiya, she is funny and smart, she has a unique voice that shines throughout the book, she cares deeply about other people, while being a bit naive at times.

Furthermore, the humour in this book is absolutely brilliant and that comes from being honest and outspoken about things that are not often talked about in YA and turning the awkwardness that can surround topics like sex and religion in something funny. Some of the funniest moments in the book are when Asiya has conversations with God, she thinks about the most innapropiate things while she prays or simply talks to God in her head. Those moments were relatable and hilarious, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments where that those same subject are addressed seriously and with thoughtfulness, but there’s a good balance between the funny and the serious.

Also, the way this book talks about muslim problems is insightful and it can be uncomfortable in its truths. As this books addresses Muslim problems, it also shows perfecly that not all Muslims share the same ideas or have the same interpretation of what the Quran says. They are a community, they are part of the same religion, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same, that they all have the sames opinions or attitudes. They are all individuals and have their own personalities and their own ways of seeing and understanding the world.

The relationship between Asiya and her parents is really important to the story and religion plays a big role in that relationship. Sometimes it’s really frustrating to see how her parents refuse to listen and are really overprotective, but at the same time, it’s easy to see that they love her and want the best for her. Not to mention, that the relationship developes throughout the book, and by the end, the door starts to open for a more open and honest relationship between Asiya and her parents.

Moreover, the relationship between Asiya and Michael plays a big part in the story and the scenes between them are extremely cute; the whole ‘I don’t really know you yet, but you are nice and I like you’ thing was written so well, because it didn’t feel like insta-love. Asiya likes Michael but she reminds herself throughout the book that she doesn’t knwo him that well and that she doesn’t know if she can trust him, which was refreshing. On the other hand, Michael is a mystery and he is not enterely trustworthy; only time will tell if he is good enough for Asiya. Additionally, Asiya’s best friend, Abby, is amazing. Even if she isn’t in the book that much, her character shines and it seems she is going to be a lot more present in the next book. Asiya and Abby’s relationship is definitely a great representation of a healthy female friendship.

Finally, this books manages to be funny and insightful at the same time; the writting is incredibly strong, the pace is even throughout the book and the mystery is not predictable. Likewise, the main character has a unique voice and the other characters feel real and flesh out.

Rating: 4,2 stars

Are you excited to read this book? Have you read it already? Did you like it? 

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