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Contemporary Books: Some Recommendations, Some Musings

Hi everyone! Happy May. It’s currently in the middle of AP weeks for me, and I have an AP tomorrow, so I shouldn’t be blogging, but oh well.

As you guys may or may not know, my favorite genre is fantasy, but after fantasy I usually end up preferring the contemporary genre. I kind of have a weird relationship with the genre: I really have to be in the mood to read it and enjoy it, and unlike fantasy books, I usually don’t stay as attached to the characters and plot. For example, most of my favorite books are fantasy books, and even if I really LOVED the book while I was reading it…it just doesn’t stay with me when it’s contemporary, for some reason.

I think a lot of it has to do with my current mood. If I don’t feel like reading about a cheesy romance, well, then, I’m likely not going to like a fluffy contemporary novel. Likewise, if I don’t feel like reading a gritty novel about mental health and family issues–I’m likely not going to enjoy it as much. This does hold true for me for other genres as well, but I’ve seen it happen with contemporary the most.

Surprisingly, most of the contemporary novels that have stuck with me were books I didn’t mean to read and got hooked on. For example:

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I know I rave about this book all the time, but it was honestly one of my favorite reads last year, and I was not expecting it at all. And even more surprising! This book had insta-love. Somehow I could deal with it. Which is very unusual for me. So again: it really depends on how I’m feeling when I’m reading the book.

Similarly, I read Mosquitoland pretty randomly as well, and I thought it was super refreshing and just great in general.

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This is in contrast to some books I read by planning (that is, expecting to read them) and enjoying them…but then, those books faded. For example, I LOVE all of Morgan Matson’s books, but they definitely don’t come to mind when you ask me for some of my favorite books. I don’t know what it is about this weird preference thing–maybe it’s just that I end up remembering the books I wasn’t expecting to love as much as I did?

Anyway, this post went in a different direction than that I thought it would when I first started writing it, but oh well. Now: if you’ve read this far, I have a question for you guys! What new(er) released contemporary books do you recommend? It can be fluffy or serious or anything in between–I haven’t read a contemporary in so long (it’s been like 5 months) and I’d love to hear your recommendations. So please let me know!

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you recommend some books!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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Books with Beautiful Covers I’ve Yet To Read

Hey everyone!

This is my second post this month…and the month is almost over. I have honestly been so emotionally, physically, mentally, everything drained that blogging was not a priority for me. I haven’t read anything since Spring Break, (besides AP Exam Prep Books), and I don’t think I will be reading anything until June–which means I don’t really have much to talk about, books-wise. That being said, I do want to read (as usual) a bunch of books and I thought I would share.

The first book on this list is The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan. Not only is the cover gorgeous but the main character is also half-Asian and half-White (Yay for diversity!) so I am really excited to see how her culture is portrayed in this novel. Also, I haven’t read a contemporary novel in what seems like a really long time, so I miss the genre in general.

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^This is the U.S. version–which is the one that I had in mind while writing this post, but I also discovered this version, which is just as beautiful:

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Next up, we have a book I waited a super long time for but still haven’t read, which is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Actually, not only is the cover beautiful, but I also find the title to be suuuper alluring and just “aesthetic” in general. And the same goes for the second book, The Muse of Nightmares!

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Didn’t think it was possible, but I somehow love the second cover even more than the first.

Third on this list is Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken. I’m not sure if I’ll ever read this book–I want to, but it’s not top priority for me right now–but if I do, one thing is for sure: the cover is is what keeps drawing me back into the story.

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Then–we have Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic. I honestly don’t even know what exactly this book is about, or whether or not I’ll like it, but I added it to my TBR list purely out of the fact that the cover and title sounded super appealing.

Finally, I chose to include City of Brass–which is actually a high-fantasy with a Muslim, hjiabi MC (!!!)–and also has a really beautiful cover, especially in person. It’s golden and shines a lot and really catches your eye, and I absolutely can’t wait to read it.

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Have you gotten this far down in this post? What are some of your favorite covers? I’d love to chat!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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Books I’ve Read in 2018, School, & Things I’m Excited About

Hi everyone! It’s been been 15 days since I even visited my blog, and I honestly don’t even know what to say. Writing a blog post had been on my mind for a while, but about what? I haven’t been reading much, and I didn’t really have the inspiration to write something other than a review. Anyway, I decided I should at least post something, so here goes nothing.

This year–at least compared to last year–I’ve been reading more, but of course still not as much. I’ve read 6 books in 2018 so far:

  1. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson–I LOVED this book so much. Even though it’s not for everyone, I loved the world and the writing and it’s my favorite out of the 6 books I’ve read so far. (5 stars)
  2. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones–This was definitely a good book, but there were some things I didn’t quite love, so I gave it around 3.5 stars.
  3. Sinless (Eye of the Beholder) by Sarah Tarkoff & Book 2 in the Eye of the Beholder series–these two I read as sensitivity reads, so I won’t be reviewing/rating them for professional reasons.
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald–I read this for school, and honestly I don’t even know how to feel about it. At times I could be immersed in the story and enjoyed the writing, but other times, I was really confused. Regardless, it’s a classic, so I’m glad that I finally got the opportunity to read it.

Now–as for school. Obviously, as usual, it’s been taking up all of my time, but even more so than usual. And…it’s almost the end of junior year. I have basically three quarters left until I’m a second semester senior, and until then, I need to try my best. Lately it’s been really hard to motivate myself, but like I said, I’m just trying to trudge through.

…As for the things I’m excited about!

Ramadan is coming up, and so is the end of the school year!

Although fasting through APs and finals is going to be hard, I still generally love the feeling of Ramadan–staying up late, breaking my fast, and of course Eid. Also, Eid is on the last day of school this year so I’m really excited about that too.

In addition to Ramadan, in May and June, a bunch of books I’ve been waiting a while for are coming out. I probably won’t be able to get to them until school ends, but the two I’m most excited for are A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas and Save the Date by Morgan Matson.

Alright–I’m sorry for how terrible this post was. I honestly don’t know what I was trying to do, but I really need more inspiration and would appreciate it if anyone helped me out with that!

Thanks so much for reading,

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton | Review

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**Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book. This did not change my opinion or review in any way.**

3.5 stars.

Oh, where to begin. I should probably tell you guys about the fact that I had been anticipating this book ever since I read Leslye’s first book, Ava Lavender, three years ago. I loved it so much: the writing, the story, the characters, the magical realism. Of course I would be excited for Leslye’s new book! (Ava Lavender was, and still is, one of my favorite books to this day).

Sadly, despite this being a good book, to me, it did not live up nearly to the wonderfulness that is The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. Don’t get me wrong–it certainly wasn’t bad. It was a good book (hence the 3.5 stars). But my expectations were too high, and they weren’t met; which means I am now currently pretty disappointed. This will be spoiler-free.

Unlike Ava Lavender, I’d say this book is basically urban fantasy. Magical realism has something different about it–it’s more subtle, less public, and it’s accepted and not questioned but people do recognize the fact that there is something different. This book, as I was saying, I felt like tried to have magical realism, but it didn’t work. The fantastical scenes were too intense, and the atmosphere of the book wasn’t working well with me.

Perhaps the most disappointing part of this novel for me was the fact that the beautiful writing in Ava Lavender did not seem to show up. Leslye’s writing is still good, but it didn’t blow me away. I didn’t feel the atmosphere of the novel; I didn’t feel enchanted or captured by the words (which is what I had been expecting).

Regardless, I still enjoyed reading The Price Guide to the Occult. It was still intriguing, and I wanted to get to the end. It just didn’t hook me as I had expected it to, and I didn’t end up loving the characters or feeling much attachment to them. Personally, I thought Leslye’s writing shone the most when she wrote about the past (i.e.; Rona and her descendants) rather than Nor, maybe because it reminded me of Ava Lavender. It ended with a hook, though, so I am curious to see what will happen if there is a future novel because I think it will definitely be more interesting. Also: regarding the romance–I didn’t get the point. There was a half (?) love-triangle, but I thought Reed’s character was 100% useless. The book would have been much more interesting if the main love interest had been Gage, since Nor and Gage display much more tension than do Reed and Nor. Anyway, I really hope we get a second book because I think these issues may be resolved then, and maybe I’ll be satisfied once again :’).

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Nova Teen Book Festival 2018

Hi everyone! Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. Truth be told, I’ve been so swamped with school that I didn’t even think of blogging until I had a snow day today. But regardless, I want to share with you guys my experience of the Nova Teen Book Festival which happened a few weeks ago.

For all of you who don’t know, NTBF is an annual book festival with a bunch of awesome YA authors, books, and panels, and a grand signing with all of the authors at the end. This was my fourth year going to the NTBF and I love it so much. (It’s in the Northern Virginia area). The link is here for any of you who might want to check out their website. Here are my posts about NTBF from the past years: 2017 (apparently I never wrote one!) / 2016 / 2015.

As I said, this was my fourth year actually going, but my third year volunteering. I do have to say, it was definitely more hectic and stressful this year than in the last, but that had to do more with the fact that I was volunteering than the actual festival itself. Also, this is a relatively new festival (this was it’s fifth year), and it keeps growing, so there were a lot more people there.

Regardless, I loved the festival, yet again. It is SO nice to be in a space where everyone loves reading and discussing books. This year, I actually met fewer authors than before (mainly because I didn’t have the money to buy other books).

I first met with the author of It Started With Goodbye, Christina June, whose book you should totally check out. I haven’t read it yet, but it seems SO good and the cover is SO PRETTY. (Also, the author is super super nice–I actually know her personally, not just within the book sphere).

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Next, I met Tomi Adeyemi, the author of Children of Blood and Bone. Guys, I am so unbelievably excited to read this book. It got so much hype, the cover is amazing, and Tomi was so sweet. When she saw that I was a hijabi, she gave me a traditional African scarf that she wasn’t giving other people (which I unfortunately realized only after, which meant I couldn’t thank her enough).

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Me and Tomi at the signing area.

Also, although I didn’t personally meet him, I had listened to Arvin Ahmadi’s discussion the day before (since he visited my high school that he is actually an alum at as well!), and I took a couple of pictures of him and my sister talking about his book, Down and Across.

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My sister and Arvin Ahmadi.

Finally, I met Susan Dennard (who is one of my FAVORITE authors) AGAIN, and she remembered me! This time, it was towards the end of the signing, and SHE asked me to take a picture with her because she felt bad that I had waited so long. Also, she even remembered my name and its meaning and told me that she would hold her promise of naming one of her characters Silanur. 🙂 I honestly loved meeting her again.

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Me and Susan!

Once again, I came out of the signing super happy, and I really hope that I don’t break my streak of going to the NTBF continuously.

Thank you so much for reading this post! Do you all enjoy reading about my book signing experiences? Please let me know!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

my social medias: // goodreads // studygram // tumblr // questions? contact me: aloofbooks@gmail.com

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Why I’m Not Continuing the And I Darken Series: A Discussion

Hi everyone!

This post is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I actually wrote about it a little bit on my Goodreads page. Basically, before I jump into it, I want to give a disclaimer: I loved And I Darken. I even met Kiersten White and told her how much I loved it. I still love And I Darken and I truly understand why other people love this series. Had things went differently for the series, I probably would have read the other two books and loved them as well.

Now let me tell you why I’m making this post and why I believe it’s necessary that other people read this too.

If you didn’t know, And I Darken is set in the Ottoman Empire, and involves Mehmed the Conqueror’s conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul). The story itself is a twist on actual history–the main character is the female version of Vlad the Impaler, a historical figure–but in its essence, the books are still historical fiction (with obvious differences, of course).

A fact I should let you know at this point–I’m Turkish. The Ottoman Empire was a Turkish empire. The Ottoman nobles, sultans, culture, food, language, were Turkish. As I was saying, I’m Turkish, and I’m a pretty proud one. And specifically, I love the Ottoman Empire: it’s history, it’s leaders, it’s accomplishments. As with any powerful empire, the Ottoman Empire had it’s flaws and wrongdoings. However, I absolutely despise it when Turks and the Ottoman Empire are depicted as cruel, ruthless people who took away the very Christian, and very European, Constantinople.

In most descriptions written by people who are white, European, or Christian, the seizure of Constantinople is viewed as a terrible day. Turks are described as disgusting people who had no mercy for those living in the city. On Wikipedia, it states that Ottomans barged into the city, raped the women, and destroyed all of the churches.

I am here to tell you that this depiction is wrong. Of course, it wasn’t all glorious and beautiful. It was still war, after all. But to the contrary of most opinions, the Ottomans did not go into Istanbul and ruin everything. They kept all of the churches and religious places of worship intact. The damage they did on the city’s walls were caused by the fact that they needed a way into the city to capture it.

Now, you’re probably thinking: what does this have to do with And I Darken?

And I Darken involves Mehmed the Conqueror, who is probably one of the most–if not the most–celebrated figure in Ottoman (Turkish) history, as he was the one who conquered Istanbul. While I was reading Book 1, I didn’t really mind how Mehmed was depicted. I heard other people talking about how they hated him, but I assumed it was just as how people hate certain book characters and slid it off. However, as I read through reviews of Now I Rise, I realized that nearly everyone was talking about how much they hated him. Or how terribly sad the scenes of the conquering of Constantinople were. And I know I haven’t read the book–but these are things that I can not ignore. I can not ignore people who know near to nothing about my people, my culture, talk about the horridness of such a huge aspect of my history. I can not ignore people bashing someone who was not a devil, someone who was educated and such an important figure in the history of not only Turkey, but of the world.

I cannot ignore the bastardization, in a way, of my culture.

You can not say this is only fiction. Fiction is not something to be nudged off or considered lightly. Fiction changes. Fiction impacts. Fiction touches. Fiction can change the way you think, for better or for worse, and I am very sad to say that I don’t think these beloved books are doing the job they should. For many people, reading this series may be the first time they are exposed to the Ottoman Empire and Turks/Mehmed the Conqueror, and these books will impact the way they think about them. No matter how fictitious, they will assume some biases that are inevitable when reading historical fiction. And I cannot support this anymore.

Thank you for reading this. This post, out of all the ones I have made so far, matters to me perhaps the most. I would greatly appreciate it if you spread this information and discuss it with me, as it would truly make a difference.

*One point: I really do appreciate Kiersten White’s efforts in portraying Islam, despite all of the things I said about Turkey/Turkish culture–I think she did it very well, and I do respect that. But this is about a different topic that I think should be addressed.*

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones | Book Review

Hi everyone!

About a month ago, I started reading Wintersong, intrigued by it because I knew that it was about goblins and kidnapping, and now I’m happy to say I read it. Although, I didn’t quite love it–I’m giving it around 3.5-3.75 stars–it was definitely enjoyable, so I hope you stick around to continue reading this review.

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One thing I would like to point out is that you should definitely go into this book without knowing much. If you’re aware that it is about goblins, and that it has really beautiful writing, I think you’re set. What I realized while reading was that the synopsis given on the inside of the book as well as the one on Goodreads actually spoils part of the book. That is, I kept expecting the story to move forward more quickly, because what was happening was already given in the synopsis itself. It turned out, however, that the synopsis basically tells you what happens for at least a third of the book. So: if you want to be slightly more surprised, I recommend not reading a summary.

(This review will be spoiler-free).

Things I Liked:

As I mentioned already, I loved the writing. It was probably my favorite part of the book. It’s flowy and nice-sounding and really sets the atmosphere of the book. The world is super interesting as well. You want to continue reading purely because of the fact that everything is so mysterious and dark. Literally: when I think of this book, I imagine the color scheme of the (beautiful) book cover–dark blue laced with shining silver.

Another aspect I really enjoyed was the character development. By the end of the novel, Elisabeth is basically entirely transformed. When we first meet her, she has no self-esteem, doesn’t know what she’s doing, is bitter and unsatisfied with her life. Throughout the novel, she finally finds herself and her music. I also really liked the fact that her music was such a central aspect of her story, as books often erase hobbies and passions for plotlines.

Things That Could Have Been Better

My biggest complaint for this book is that nothing happened. I could have skipped a good 100 pages, and I would have understood what was going on because that’s how slow it was. I was expecting Elisabeth to do something besides stay weepy and mourn and lust, but she didn’t, most of the time. And this is coming from a person who can usually read slow books–I just couldn’t deal with it. It felt really repetitive at times, so much so that the romance got boring and even the beautiful writing didn’t faze me. It felt like I was reading the same lines over and over again.

I also wish that the author had expanded the world of the novel. There was so much more to know! It could have been so much more adventurous and interesting if something had actually happened. Don’t get me wrong: I usually enjoy character-driven books–I LOVE characters, even if the plot isn’t amazing–but for a book that was supposed to be a fantasy, I was expecting a little more action. So many things went unexplained; and I assume that they will be elaborated on in Book 2, but still.

Overall, however, I did end up liking this book because it had a really different taste to it. I’m not really sure if I’ll get to the second book, just because I don’t know if I can deal with another super slow book in a long time now.

Have you read Wintersong? Did you enjoy it, or were you one of those that thought it was mediocre?

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

my social medias: // goodreads // studygram // tumblr // questions? contact me: aloofbooks@gmail.com