5

Countdown to Halloween: Book Shoutout #1 (Mara Dyer)

Hey guys! Before I start…wow, it’s been such a long time since I’ve sat down, a little less stressed and not in a hurry, to write a blog post. My app, as I’ve said before, isn’t working properly and it just felt so good to be able to go through my feed and see all of the posts even if I couldn’t read all of them.

I’ve missed reading so much. I haven’t read a full book in over 6 or so weeks, and I haven’t avidly read in like…over a year. Sitting down and going through my feed made me realize how much I miss it, and the sad part is, I probably won’t be able to for a while. Regardless, I wanted to start a series of posts until Halloween in which I feature a specific book I’ve read/want to read that’s creepy, scary, or Halloween related.

I read the Mara Dyer series over three years ago, back when I was in 8th grade, and I naturally loved it. I recognize now that there are lots of flaws and points that aren’t that well written, but, well, I still love the books. I remember them as being addicting, intriguing, and slightly creepy but not necessarily horror–and I love that creep factor.

When Michelle Hodkin announced that she would be writing a spin-off trilogy, then, I was naturally SUPER excited, and I still am. I’ve been counting down for the release for years now–and it’s finally getting closer. The Becoming of Noah Shaw is going to be released November 7th, and guys. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to go back into this world and be immersed in a story with Mara and Noah. I miss these characters so much and that’s why I just HAD to do my first shout-out on this series/book.

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Also, I love all the covers so much, but this one especially. (I also love the fact that this new trilogy seems to be the opposite of the first one…The Unbecoming vs the Becoming, the fire/ashes instead of the water…all so cleverly designed.)

If you don’t know, the Mara Dyer trilogy is like the book version of crack. I’m serious. Once you start reading, you can’t stop. There are some cringy parts, but the overall enjoyment is worth it. Plot twists, romance, etc. And it will definitely get you in the mood for Halloween.

Are you excited for this book to come out as much as I am? Let’s discuss!

I hope you guys enjoyed this shortish post, and will keep following for my next shout-out.

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2

A Special Banned Book: The Catcher in the Rye

Whoops. It’s been two weeks since I’ve written a blog post (sorry). Do I even need to tell you why? (It’s because of school, in case you didn’t know). In honor of Banned Books Week, which starts on the 24th, I wanted to talk about one banned book in particular: The Catcher in the Rye.

I completely understand anyone who hates this book. I get that Holden is annoying, exasperating, and ridiculous. The book itself seems repetitive, vulgar, and can even be pointless for some. But for me?

I love it.

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Funnily, it’s actually one of my favorite books and definitely my favorite “classic”. I first read it two years ago, the summer before high school, and I enjoyed it a lot then too. This summer, I had to reread it for school, but I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it. The summer before freshman year wasn’t really a good time for me, so I thought maybe I only liked it because, well, I was depressed and so is Holden.

I reread it, and I still enjoyed it. At one point, I felt like I was going to cry (towards the end). Now here’s the thing. I feel like people who don’t enjoy Catcher kind of read it…wrong. Given, sometimes you just don’t like books, but I read it for what it was: one of the first young adult books ever published, narrated by an angsty, depressed (?) teen.

If I had read any other book that was published recently, and it was even remotely similar to Holden’s narration, I can guarantee you that I would hate it. But Catcher isn’t any other book that was published recently. My expectations were entirely different because I sort of knew what it was going to be about.

Sure, Holden’s annoying. He’s inconsiderate, stupid, and makes bad decisions. All. The. Time. But…I love his character too. He’s relatable, and he feels real. He’s more “human” than any other book character I’ve read about. Most people aren’t selfless and kind all the time. Most people are mean, judgy, and selfish–like Holden. And I related to that. He says all of the things that we normally don’t say because we deem them inappropriate. But he cares, too. He’s not a villain, per se, because he’s not really bad. Of course, he’s not good either. That’s why the only way I can describe him is human. Holden is human, and humans screw up, humans get depressed or say bad things and good things. And that fact–that’s what touched me.

There are a million other things I could possibly say about The Catcher in the Rye, but I think this is enough for this post. I love this book, and I know it’s controversial, but I feel like that just makes it even better.

What are your favorite banned books? What about Catcher? Are you a person who hates it, or loves it?

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6

National Book Festival Experience

Hi everyone! It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged, or even went on WordPress. I also haven’t been able to go through anyone else’s posts because my app isn’t working properly; I’m sorry about that.

Anyway, last Saturday, I went to the National Book Festival in D.C. for the second time, and it was so much fun! I wanted to share my experience with you guys, so I hope you enjoy. 🙂

This year the authors I met were Sabaa Tahir, Nicola Yoon, and Sandhya Menon. It was raining and a gloomy day, and we were in a hurry to get there on time for the signings–but luckily we did. If you don’t know, the National Book Festival (obviously) is one of the biggest book festivals in the world, so it was flooding with people and signing lines. I quickly rushed over to Sabaa Tahir’s line and luckily got to meet her!

She was super nice, asked me how Eid was going which was pretty cool, and I told her how happy I was for her books to be growing so popular. We didn’t speak for that long, because the line was so long, but she was so cool that it didn’t even matter much.

I couldn’t get a really good photo with her, but I feel like this picture accurately represents my reaction to meeting her:

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Next, I met Nicola Yoon, WHICH I AM STILL SO EXCITED ABOUT BECAUSE GUYS I LOVE THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR SOO SO MUCH. I had actually drawn a picture of Natasha, the main character, and gave Nicola the photocopy and kept the signed one for myself. It was such a lovely experience; and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet her and give her my fan art.

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For the next hour or so, I didn’t really have anything to do while my sister met Angie Thomas (author of THUG, whom I didn’t meet but saw!), so I decided I might as well buy When Dimple Met Rishi and meet Sandhya Menon. I told her how excited I was about her book, especially the diversity, and then she also recommend a bunch of books with other brown main characters. She was also, of course, super sweet and now I’m more excited to read her book. (I don’t have a picture with her, unfortunately).

Overall, the National Book Festival was once again so much fun. The staff was super nice, it’s a huge event, and it’s just really great to be among so many people who also love books. If you live in the area (or even if you don’t!) I highly recommend you come next year!

Have you ever been to the National Book Festival? If so, who did you meet?

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September 2017 & The Start of My Junior Year: Musings

Hello everyone!

I probably should have posted something, as it’s been over a week, but as the title of this post says, I started my junior year of high school this past week. Today’s Friday, September 1st, (it’s also Eid, so Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim friends!), and I wanted to write this post about things I’ve realized lately. I wasn’t feeling like writing a post about books, but if this interests you, please keep reading!

The first thing is, well, I’m a junior in high school now. I know, it sounds young to many bloggers, but I started this blog in 8th grade. I’ve changed…like, so much. I can’t believe I’m an upperclassman (!!!) now. I survived two years at a super vigorous STEM school.

Kind of along similar lines, I also turn 16 this month. And nothing’s actually happening, I know–I’m not even going to have a Sweet Sixteen–but it feels like I’ve reached a certain point in my life. I mean, 16! It’s supposed to be a great year! I finally got my permit, so I’m going to try driving soon. I don’t know. It just feels weird I guess. In my head, I’ve always idealized being sixteen in a way. Or it always seemed so far away, and now it’s right around the corner and knowing that just feels different.

One thing I’ve realized is that…I don’t think I’m ever going to be avidly reading and blogging with the same fervor as I did when I first started. Nope, this does not mean I’m quitting blogging. This most certainly does not mean I don’t enjoy reading anymore. Because I do. I love doing both, still. It’s only that at one point in my life, these two things were so important for me that I forgot about other things. And I sometimes miss that, being completely obsessed. But now I realize it’s not really the best thing–it shouldn’t be taking over my thoughts. They’re both still things that are really dear to me, and will always be. The thing is, though, I think I have to come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to be in the same way as it was two years ago.

Something else I noticed was that (in the past year, actually), contrary to popular belief, you can be good at (and love) both humanities and STEM. Why is there such a distinct line between the two? Why do you have to be either a “STEM” student or a “humanities” student? Because heck, I’m not that good at biology, but I still love it, and I am better at humanities classes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pursue a career in STEM. Anyway, I want to talk about this later, but just food for thought.

I also realized, I mean–I had always known it, but I especially realized–I reaaallly want to do something art related in college. I’ve never taken an actual art course since fourth grade, but I really love drawing. I’m definitely not that good, but considering the fact that I’m pretty much self-taught…I like to think I’m not that bad, either.

Similarly, I want to learn a new language SO bad. Arabic, for practicality (since I already speak Turkish, and Arabic would be useful in the Middle East), and Russian, purely out of interest. It would be SO cool.

Finally, of course I have other things to say, but maybe for later, I want to have more posts like this on my blog. Of course this blog will still be book-related mostly, but I want it to be a bit more personal. Plus, I can put up posts even when I’m not reading that much. I’ll probably call all of these posts “Musings”. Some of my old posts have a really childish voice, and these posts might balance them since I’ll probably talk about more serious stuff. Anyway, I hope you’re interested in that!

I honestly don’t know who read through this whole jumble of thoughts, but if you did, thank you! It truly means a lot to me. Even if no one did, it felt good to write in a “mature” way on this blog–it kind of helps me sort out my feelings. (Please tell me if you did in fact read all the way through!)

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Science (or Sci-Fi) Related Books

Hi guys! As some of you may or may not know, I attend a pretty rigorous STEM high school, so along with my interest in the Liberal Arts, I also am passionate about science, too. Naturally, I love it when books have some form of science in them, whether or not that be a main character who has an interest in STEM, or if the book is sci-fi, or even if the book is non-fiction.

Today, I wanted to share with you guys some books I’ve read (or want to read) that I know have some scientific influences. I hope you enjoy!

The Martian by Andy Weir is easily the most science-influenced books I’ve ever read, so I think it deserves a place on this list. Not only is it really intriguing, but the main character is so funny and you won’t get bored, even if the science doesn’t make sense at times.

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The next book on this list is Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough. This is a non-fiction book that piqued my interest because it is really relevant to our world right now; the synopsis is below:

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things has garnered a reputation as the definitive work on eco-effectiveness since its publication in 2002. Described as an enlightening, imaginative, and accessible manifesto, Cradle to Cradle draws on William McDonough’s work in sustainable architecture and design to develop new eco-intelligent philosophy, evolving from “cradle-to-grave” industry standards to “cradle-to-cradle” practices. As relevant and important as it was fifteen years ago, McDonough and Braungart’s text marks a trail for industries looking to engage with new and innovative environmental solutions now more than ever before.”

I haven’t read it yet, but I definitely want to pick it up, especially considering current environmental issues like global warming and reusable, renewable energy sources.

A book I’ve been wanting to read for over three years now is These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I don’t know much about it, except that it’s set in outer space, and most people really enjoy this series. Also, the cover: *hearty eyes*

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The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey is one of my favorite books that I read back in middle school, and although it’s not necessarily set in stone “science fiction”, it has aliens and is an awesome apocalyptic story. I haven’t read the last book yet, but when I first them, I fell in love with everything about the books. ❤

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My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga is definitely not considered science fiction, but I wanted to include it because I love it and because the main character, Aysel, is a physics nerd. It’s not that influenced by science, but lots of her thoughts are influenced by her love for physics, which I thought was a unique trait for a YA contemporary.

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Warcross by Marie Lu is by far one of the books I’m most anticipated for, and it’s coming out pretty soon so that’s great. Most people know about it and based on the reviews I’ve heard of the ARC, it sounds AMAZING. I’m so so excited! (I think it’s supposed to science fiction-ish in the near future).

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The last book of this short list is Invictus by Ryan Graudin–a book that’s also to be released. I recently read Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf and LOVED it, so I’m excited to see what her science-fiction book will be like. (Plus it’s about history too!!)

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…and, that’s it for this post! I hope you enjoyed reading it & if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

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2

Historical Fiction Book Recommendations

Hi everyone! As some of you may or may not know, I love history. Naturally, I also love reading historical fiction, but something I’ve realized is that I don’t really read that many. And when I do, they all seem to be set in WW2–which is super important, of course–but there are so many other time periods that also deserve recognition. Anyway, today I decided to make a list of some historical fiction books I really enjoyed, regardless of the time period. (The books I chose exclusively have lots of historical information in them and are not just randomly set in a different time period).

I hope you enjoy!

The book I read most recently from this list is Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin. It’s set in a world where the Axis powers have won World War II, and the main character goes on a mission to kill Hitler. It’s super intriguing, with some fantasy elements, an awesome lead, and plot twists.

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Then, we have Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys. This book is set during World War II, however, the story is not a commonly told one as it is not about the Holocaust but about Lithuania and how it was also impacted by the war. It’s really emotional, well-written, and touched me greatly. I also finished it in only a couple of sittings because I was hooked.

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This next book is set in a historical setting that’s not as well-known either: Afghanistan. A Thousand Splendid Suns takes place within a few decades and shows how drastically one country–and its people–can change over the years. It is one of my favorite books as of now and extremely moving.

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And I Darken, obviously, I had to include on this list. This actually takes a twist on history so it’s not that historically accurate after one point, however, the setting and the characters are from the 15th century Ottoman Empire and I thought they were really well represented. When will I ever stop talking about this book? Nope.

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Distant Waves is actually a book I read a long, long time ago. (I think I was in fourth or fifth grade? So, like, 6 years ago.) That’s why I don’t remember much except for the fact that I enjoyed it. I know it had something to do with the Titanic, and like And I Darken, it changed some historical facts, but it was pretty good.

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The last book I have on this list is also one that is not well known, but when I read it I thought it was really important (and it is). The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti is actually based on a true story about a teenager in Nazi Germany who decides to tell the truth about Hitler. It is one of the saddest (and it is even sadder when you know this actually happened to someone) books I’ve ever read, but extremely worth it. I highly, highly recommend everyone pick this book up!

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That’s it for this list, since those are all of the historical fiction books I’ve read and enjoyed. I really want to read more, so if you have any recommendations, don’t hesitate to let me know!

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0

Windwitch: You Should Totally Read It Too!

Windwitch by Susan Dennard is the second book in the Witchlands series. Last summer I read Truthwitch and had enjoyed it very much so I was partially hesitant about reading this one. Luckily, I loved it just as much as the first book.

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This review will be spoiler-free for both books in the series, so feel free to read it (and learn why you should read this series too!)

Maybe for the first 70 pages or so, I couldn’t quite get into the story. This series has probably the most complex world I have ever read from, so I had forgotten a lot of the terminology, magic, and plot of the previous book. Thankfully, I got a hang of it once again and started enjoying it even more.

This book focuses on Merik–and I love Merik. Whereas in the first book he is mostly seen as a love interest that is kind of bland (I still loved him, but this is what I hear are the opinions of other people as well), in Windwitch, his character is almostly completely transformed. Throughout the book he goes through one of the best character developments I’ve read in a while. (It’s so great that the ending made me even happier). It doesn’t really have as much romance, because the characters are separated, but I thought it was nice to take a break from this.

All of the characters, the new and old ones, are awesome, badass, and three-dimensional. They constantly question themselves, as anyone normal would do, and often times you can’t really tell where the story is headed because they appear somewhat morally ambiguous (which I love).

On top of all the amazing characters and world, the plot was so well written. Susan Dennard cleverly switches between chapter to chapter from character to character so that you don’t get bored reading the same story. Almost all of the time each chapter ends in a cliffhanger and so you want to keep reading. And of course, there are lots and lots of plot twists–and who wouldn’t love plot twists?

Long story short, this series is probably my ideal high fantasy series and I urge everyone to pick them up. They deserve so much more recognition than they get! \

Have you read this series as well? Who’s your favorite character? (Merik is my favorite, but I love all of them).

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