Ace Of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé Book Review

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! Like I said in one of my previous posts, I’ve been reading a lot more recently so I want to bring you all more book reviews, and of course I had to go back to my favourite book genre: YA Thrillers. One of the latest ones I read was Ace Of Spades which I’ve seen many people review before on the WP Reader, so today I’ll be sharing my thoughts. Let’s jump into it!

First of all, I want to start off by saying that the whole novel, in general, was such a compelling introduction into Faridah as an author! I thought that everything had been written so well and I truly understand why she had been given so much praise and so many nominations for a debut book. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

My personal favourite part of this book was how complex the storyline would get. Not so much in a confusing way, but more in an intriguing sense. Particularly since it’s written from the perspective of both protagonists. I thought this was a great addition as it definitely demonstrated how Devon and Chiamaka were unlikely friends, but then relied on eachother to survive at school when they least excpected it. Each shift in the plot would create so much more tension through information being withheld, and when it was released it would be so shocking – but then you would also realise how cleverly it executed was based on clues dropped throughout the course of the story!

Also, I think the extended metaphor of a card game which is constantly used throughout the book was written brilliantly. I really believe it perfectly displayed a subplot of the story and the symbolic meaning. The idea of a ‘game’ will always be playing on your mind while you read, and once you finish the book – you will realise how disturbing it is (based on the ending and what the story truly meant) but it’s also brilliant because Faridah implemented it in a way that will leave you never forgetting what the book truly means.

One really interesting thing about the story is where it takes place. Devon and Chiamaka attend Niveus Private Academy, a presitigous school with huge legacy, and this legacy makes up the best and worst parts of the school. Personally, I found this so fascinating because the two sides of the school’s legacy antitheses eachother, and when you read on and find out what past students had done (compared to the schools reputation) it’s so crazy to think about! But, it also lends itself to the true meaning of the story, which I’ll go onto next.)

The thing that sits at the very heart of this novel is tackling systemic issues. Niveus High is dominated with White privilege, and with Chiamaka and Devon being the only two Black students; institutional racism is very apparent. And placing this simultaneously alongside the shocking legacy of the school creates a very difficult situation for Chiamaka and Devon. In reality, so many Black students go through this, and may not even have the support of another student. Characters such as Devon also have parts of their identity, such as their sexuality, exposed when they are not ready. Again, this experience is not fiction for so many students. And hopefully after reading this book, people can build more tolerance and raise more awareness in our societies. I hope more writers can also use their books to spread awareness regarding more important issues!


Thank you so much for reading this review, I really enjoyed Ace of Spades and I’m excited to read more of Faridah’s future novels. Let me know in the comments what you thought, and if you have any other book recommendations!

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A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson Book Review

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! I’ve recently finished A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder and thoroughly enjoyed it, alongside so many other people who have spoken highly about it. So today, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the book as it’s so popular and I know so many people who have read it. Let’s jump into it!

Official Reviews

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder was subject to some highly positive reviews! It has an average reader rating of 4.4/5 stars on Goodreads and on The Works it has an average of 4.9/5 stars. On Common Sense Media, the average was a full star 5/5 rating!

Synopsis

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

My Opinion

Since A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder had been widely circulating social media and had a majority of positive reviews – my expectations were quite high going into it. Almost so much so that I didn’t think it would be as great as people say because readers over exaggerate it. But, I an confirm that this book is definitely worth the hype for me. The plot and mystery were so beautifully crafted by the author where readers were forced to be the detective just as much as the main protagonist, Pippa. And I love this aspect of mystery stories. It makes this book so much more compelling as you’re in her shoes and even you have the significance to solve the mystery.

Furthering this point, creating the whole mystery alongside the rest of the plot’s book must have been very difficult – so to do it well was incredible! I loved how you would think the story was going one way but it would take a complete change of direction in the next page. And that made for the story to be such an amazing read!

There’s one aspect of this book that I really think sets it apart from other teen mysteries which is the layout! I know that’s something a bit out of the ordinary to praise in any book, but if you pick it up, you’ll see what I mean. Every other chapter or so, is filled with a log in which Pippa notes down all the key things that she’s learned from the past few chapters. With each one leading towards the end, as she produces her final project and realises who the culprit is. Again, this links back to the idea about playing ‘detective’ I really enjoy books that also take into account the reader experience, and make them feel much more involved – and in particular I think this was executed really well in this book.

A huge factor within the plot of this book is resilience and believing in others.When Pippa took on the case, she had almost everyone around her discouraging her and telling her not persue it. Despite this, she kept on going and eventually did bring new things alight about this case. I think this is a great message to the young readers that if you’re passionate about something – it’s important that you don’t give up! I love how this book may be a mystery, but some of it’s underlining values are so vital.

Taking a chance and believing in others is also hugely explored. Pippa begins her case by meeting the alleged murderer’s brother: Ravi. Her entire town has excluded and shunned them out without letting them say anything for themselves. Yet, Pippa still chooses to believe Ravi and help him with her brother, and Ravi takes a chance on helping Pippa even though he didn’t know who she was. The whole subplot was their finding their mutual trust for one another and sometimes it was a nice break from a brutal murder investigation!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s one of the best teen mysteries I’ve read in a while! I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for a good book to get lost in.


Thank you so much for reading this post, I really enjoyed reminiscing about this! Let me know in the comments what your thoughts were on the book.

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Love From Mecca To Medina by S.K Ali Book Review (Blog Tour)

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! Today I’m super excited to be writing this post because this will be my review of Love From Mecca To Medina as part of the blog tour hosted by Colored Pages Tours. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or you know me well, you’ll know how much I loved Love From A To Z! Therefore, thank you so much to Colored Pages alongside S.K Ali and Simon Teen for my spot on this tour and providing me with the eARC via Edelweiss. Love From Mecca To Medina is out on October 18th (and in early December in the UK) so I’d definitely recommend that you pre-order it after reading this. For now, let’s jump into the post!

Synopsis & Author Information

Adam and Zayneb. Perfectly matched. Painfully apart. Adam is in Doha, Qatar, making a map of the hijrah, a historic migration from Mecca to Medina and worried about where his next paycheck will come from. Zayneb is in Chicago, where school and extracurricular stresses are piling on top of a terrible frenemy situation and making her miserable.
Then a marvel occurs: Adam and Zayneb get the chance to spend Thanksgiving week on the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, tracing the hijrah in real life, together. Adam’s thrilled, and Zayneb hopes for a spiritual reset—and they can’t wait to see each other.

But the trip is nothing like what they expect, from the appearance of Adam’s ex in their traveling group to the anxiety gripping Zayneb everywhere they go. And as one wedge after another drives them apart as they make their way from one holy city to another, Adam and Zayneb start to wonder: was their meeting just an oddity after all? Or can their love transcend everything else like the greatest marvels of the world?

S. K. Ali is the author of Saints and Misfits, a finalist for the American Library Association’s 2018 William C. Morris Award and the winner of the APALA Honor Award and Middle East Book Honor Award; and Love from A to Z, a Today show Read with Jenna Book Club selection. Both novels were named best YA books of the year by various media including Entertainment Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. She is also the author of Misfit in Love and Love from Mecca to Medina. You can find Sajidah online at SKAliBooks.com and follow her on Instagram @SKAliBooks, TikTok @SKAliBooks, Goodreads and on Twitter at @SajidahWrites.

My Opinion

Love From Mecca To Medina was kind of emotional for me as I knew this was the last time we’d see Adam and Zayneb in this book series, and let me tell you – it was so satisfying for me to read. Before going into specifics, just know that if you enjoyed Love From A to Z then you will definitely enjoy this one even more because it was even better than the first. I really felt that the level had been raised because everything from the writing to the characters was executed even better in this sequel. Which really helped for this final book to be so worth the read, despite how connected fans have become to these characters and the sadness in saying goodbye.

It really felt like this book was an evolution. Of course, Zayneb and Adam’s relationship evolved, they were now married and they were learning about some of the challenges that come with that as well as the rewards, but also these two protagonists had individually had a lot of character development in the time jump but also throughout the course of this story. Through any disconnect they had, they learned so many life and relationship lessons along the way that each benefited each other. And I really appreciated the idea of them learning from both eachother but also their own experiences because it made the story much more realistic and interesting rather than just being a romance where they relied on eachother.

Even the structure of the story had evolved, now instead of being written from the perspective of their Marvels & Oddities journals ,from the previous book, it was written in chapters based on life lessons they could infer from different artifacts (possessions) that represent something to them or something they learned throughtout the course of the story.This was such an innovative way of changing how the story was told, and I love how it represented the main plot in the story (going to one of the most historical places in Islamic history) also while letting readers know that Adam and Zayneb were in a new chapter of their lives.

The idea of making an impact was a huge motif throughout the story. An important thing to note was that Adam and Zayneb were still emerging young adults in this book, both wanting to make a difference in the world. And I think this part of the story is universal for so many readers. They both want to do it in such different ways yet both of them care about helping eachother. Zayneb wants to be a human rights lawyer and break down stereotypes about her, Adam wants to use his craft to educate those who admire it. I really loved their aspirations, it made the story so much more appealing and allows you to get an idea of where they’d move onto even after the books.

Before even reading any word, it was very apparent from the title that this book was going to be delving into Islamic History – and as a Muslim myself, I really appreciated the genuine descriptions; particularly of the pilgrimage (Umrah.)
Something to note was that I really admired how S.K Ali chose to wrote realistically about Adam and Zayneb’s experience on Umrah and shares their authentic emotions rather than just acting like everything is perfect for them the entire trip. I think this really added to their character development, and from my perspective, it allowed them to appreciate the trip and the many benefits so much more!
Everything written about it was very well researched which was really comforting as it’s so lovely to see Islamic practices portrayed positively in the media (long time readers will know how much of an advocate I am for this!) That’s why I really loved the subtle detail of adding a verse of the Quran at the beginning of a new part of the story, it was a lovely nod at Islamic History and where abouts they were in the pilgrimage.

To end this off, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the epilogue of the book – because this is probably the last scene we’re reading of Adam and Zayneb. I won’t lie to you, I was shocked by the epilogue the first time I read it because it was not what I expected. Rather than being a romantic scene between Adam and Zayneb, it was a game night surrounded by all their friends. But after I read this, I realised something. This scene represents Adam and Zayneb’s relationship, simple but content – which is why readers fell in love with these characters.

And this also represents the versatility of this series, I particularly highlighted this in the review of my first book, but their relationship didn’t have to always be romantic to thrive, the epilogue allowed me to realise that they thrived with their friendship, their faith, their adorable cat Bertha and most importantly: eachother. To me, this was the perfect way to end their story.

Other Tour Stops

So many other amazing creators have spots on this blog tour, I’d recommend you check all of them out!

Amani is sharing a playlist based on the book, and The Bookarazzi is also doing a review.

My good blogging friend Zahra (who I’m sure you’ve seen in my comments section before!) posted a mood board and other recommendations yesterday.

If you want to see other content from the tour, just look for Love From Mecca To Medina Tour tag on WP Reader and social media!

Find The Full Tour Schedule


Thank you so much for reading this post, if you’ve had the chance to read Love From Mecca To Medina let me know your thoughts, and if you haven’t also let me know whether you plan to read it! Again, thank you so much to S.K Ali, Simon & Schuster and Colored Pages for the opportunity to be on this book tour. Make sure you check out everyone else’s content!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great day!

This post is part of a blog tour hosted by Colored Pages Tours for Love From Mecca To Medina however all opinions and views expressed were my own and genuine.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea And Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey Book Review

Hey everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to my blog! I’m back to posting more book reviews, and you guys know that my favourite genre is thriller, but this time I took a backseat from thrillers and decided to read a YA Romance called A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea And Tomorrow. I don’t know that many people that have read it, but I really enjoyed reading it, so today I’ll be sharing my thoughts!

Official Reviews

A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea And Tommorow is a New York Times bestselling book with a variety of reviews! 93% of Google Users voted that they liked the book along with an average customer reating of 4.6/5 stars on Amazon. On Goodreads, the average star rating is 3.82/5 stars and had an average of 4/5 stars on Common Sense Media.

Synopsis

For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.
Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.
A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.

My Opinion

Even just from the cover (and I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover), it was very clear going into this that A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea And Tommorow was going to be one of those comfort stories that you can go back to and read again. And I got this just from a few reviews, and the welcoming impression on the cover – and my expectations were reached.
The plot line was very sweet and thoroughly enjoyable. Telling the story of aspiring head baker Lila Reyes being sent to England to try and find herself again. It was quite a short, light read – but for me, I think books can be so saturated sometimes that this made for a really comforting read. The warmth and loving atmosphere you read about will definitely one I’ll be going back to read again in the future!

The idea of choice and the effects of making choices, are very prominent throughout this story. Despite Lila’s stubbornness in regards to wanting to go back home, as soon as she chooses to enjoy her time in England, new doors and avenues for her life are opened for her – prompting her to have to make even further choices. Some which are very difficult because she wants to consider all the factors, her family, what people will think, etc! And I think this is very relatable for any teenager (especially slightly older ones) reading this as they’re probably going through very similar situation in their own lives.

With the key message being, don’t be afraid to prioritise yourself. Lila goes on a journey throughout the book of self discovery, while still being afraid sometimes to make choices for herself without thinking of others. This was a huge responsibility of Orion and the rest of her friends in England, to help Lila come to terms with the fact that her future was the most important thing for her. They acted as great reminders, not only for Lila, but any readers going through similar situations.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book were the references to Lila’s heritage. Lila comes froma family with a Cuban background and she is unapologetically herself, and embraces her heritage with pride – which I love to see! She speaks Spanish in the book, she bakes Cuban food and shares Cuban traditions with others, and as someone who doesn’t know much about Cuban culture, it was so interesting to learn about.
It was also so refreshing to see a teenage character actually proud of their heritage, in a lot of YA stories, the arc comes from the main character finally learning to accept their heritage. But, from the beginning of this story, Lila already takes pride being Cuban and uses it to guide her and help her while she’s away from her family – and I love how books are now normalising diversity and characters already being proud of who they are. I only wish it could’ve been done sooner!

As well as the new people she meets in England, Lila’s family also plays a huge role in this book, despite the fact that they’re away from her for a majority of the book. Lila’s relationship with each of her family members all shaped her into who she was. Her sister helped her with business, her Abuela taught her the basics of baking and was the beginning of that chapter for her, etc! Each member of her family moulds Lila into the girl that came to England, and despite her anger at them, ultimately they were always there for her. This was so lighthearted to see in a YA book, as a lot of times there is major conflict. And while Lila and her family are not picture perfect, they love her no matter what – and that truly gives this book the ‘comfort factor’ that a lot of people seem to talk about.

If you’re looking for a quick easy read, perhaps something to boost your mood, I would definitely recommend this book – I smiled so much while reading it! I’d also like to add that they’re actually adapting this book into a movie, and they recently finished filming so when it comes out, let me know if you’d like to see a movie review too!


Thank you guys so much for reading this post. Let me know in the comments any reading recommendations or your thoughts on the book!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great day!

We Were Liars by E Lockhart Book Review

Hello everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to my blog! I recently read the widely popular book: We Were Liars and I found it very interesting – so today I’ll be sharing my thoughts!

Official Reviews

We Were Liars had a variety of different opinions and reviews. Starting with an average of 3.7/5 stars on Goodreads. Amazon customers had an overall average rating of 4.3/5 stars and Waterstones giving it an average 4.5/5 star rating.

Synopsis

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

My Opinion

Going into We Were Liars, I was very unsure of what to expect. Both the blurb and synopsis did not really give much away about the plot. On the one hand, this made for a very exciting reading experience as I didn’t know certain things would happen so I genuinely had a very raw reaction at a lot of moments within the story. On the other hand, it made reading slightly boring at times because at some points (more so at the beginning when it was slow) I was so confused of where plot points would lead to or not really be able to understand the build up. So, it was intitally a hit or miss -in my opinion!

Other than that, I thought the story was very well crafted. The Sinclair family illustrate themselves as a picture-perfect family at the beginning of the story. And I thought that the theme of family relationships was beautifully crafted in this story as Lockhart really breaks down barriers and shows realistic strains in the family – that many normal families also go through. The discovery of this was executed so well, because after the main protagonist’s, Cadence, life changing-event her family changes and breaks down – almost trying to force their past dynamics in which she realises that some things will have to change.

The idea of trauma is also heavily explored in the climax of this book – both physically and mentally. The traumatic event that Cadence goes through really set the story on it’s course. Because the mental effects of trauma are not only on herself but also felt by her family. Yet, the physical trauma meant that Cadence couldn’t remember her life-changing event – and this really began the mystery as she tries to discover what actually happened to her, all while her family ties are changing and her group of friends (The Liars) aren’t telling her something. With that being said, if you’re not good with trauma, please check the trigger warnings beforehand because some people who didn’t had an uncomfortable reading experience.

I briefly wanted to touch on the ending (don’t worry, no spoilers) because it was honestly the most unexpected ending in a book that I’ve ever read. After reading it, I was so stumped (go to my Goodreads to see my reaction to the ending!) Without giving anything away, it was so well imagined and thought out – E Lockhart really gave an incredible ending! Once you finish it, you’ll instantly respect the book and the author even more because you’ll realise how much lead up to it, even from the first page, which you didn’t realise. The subtle foreshadowing was amazingly executed!

Overall, this book was quite enjoyable. Despite the slow pace and confusion, I thought the second half really made up for it! So I’d definitely recommend if you’re into more shorter books with plot twists you couldn’t even imagine.


This review was so interesting for me to write, so let me know in the comments what you thought of this book, and whether you agreed or disagreed!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
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Enjoy your week!

Verity by Colleen Hoover Book Review

Hey everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! As you can tell by a lot of my recent posts, I’ve been reading a lot more again which inspired me to pick up my first Colleen Hoover book: Verity. This is a very popular book written by a very popular author at the moment, so today I’ll be sharing my thoughts!

Official Reviews

Verity was on the receiving end of really positive overall reviews. On Goodreads, it had an average star review of 4.4/5 along with a similar average review of 4.5/5 on Waterstones and Amazon.

Synopsis

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

My Opinion

Going into Verity, I was kind of apprehensive considering Colleen Hoover is very well known for her romance, I was unsure on how well she could execute a good thriller. Yet, this book exceeded my expectations! It was so encapsulating to me, I read it very quickly because you’re desperate to know what happens, so you can’t put it down.

I would label this as an excellent starter to the thriller genre for anyone wishing to begin reading it. This book definitely was creepy – but more in a human sense and not an explained extraterrestrial creature sense. With that being said, the book does deal with some very sensitive subjects as major parts of the plot which add to the books thriller aspects, so if you’re not comfortable reading some trauma, please check the trigger warnings prior to reading.
It was interesting to see how each character processed a lot of the events of the story though as a lot of the events in the book could realistically happen despite secret motives.

As this book is a combination of thriller and romance, I did enjoy the mix and thought the other romance plot point did distract from the fearful parts of the book – but I did feel at some points the romance aspects were very over saturated (which in retrospect, doesn’t surprise me too much considering Colleen Hoover predominantly writes romance).

One thing I really enjoyed about this book were the different layers of plot. It really felt like each secret that was revealed may have both a literal and deeper meaning to Lowen in regards to how she felt about Verity. And it was very unique because it seemed as she read more and more of Verity’s manuscript she seemed to be even more frightened, of a helpless woman with traumatic injuries.

Furthering on this point, it was really well executed through the choice of a dual perspective. We get the perspective of both Lowen in the present and Verity in the past (as she was living through the events of her manuscript). And I thought this was an excellent addition to the writing as it added more excitement to my reading experience and also links back to my point previously about the different layers of plot. Because each thing Lowen read in the manuscript made her learn more and more about Verity’s family’s life in the present.

In short, Verity was such an enjoyable reader experience to me! I really enjoyed Colleen Hoover’s writing style and how well thought out the plot was throughout the book. This is a great introduction to the thriller genre all while having a classic romance in the story. The ending was also incredibly shocking and makes for great conversation with other readers!


Thank you so much for reading this post, I know a lot of you have read this book or are at least aware of Colleen Hoover so let me know in the comments your thoughts – I’d love to chat!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great day!

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon Book Review

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back! Recently, I’ve been reading a lot more books so I’ve also been reading more book reviews via WP Reader. I’ve seen quite a few reviews of The Sun Is Also A Star so I decided to give it a read and share my thoughts. Let’s jump into it!

Official Reviews

The Sun Is Also A Star is consistently quite a highly rated book receiving an average of 4.5/5 stars on Waterstones along with a similar average 4.6/5 star review from Amazon. On Goodreads, it had an average 4/5 star rating.

Synopsis

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

My Opinion

The Sun Is Also A Star is a YA Novel with so much multiculturalism embedded into the story. Both Natasha and Daniel have immigrant parents who despite come from different parts of the world, both characters feel that their parents don’t understand everything they’re going through which is very realistic to how real life immigrant children sometimes feel. And that strained relationship you can sometimes develop with your families is thoroughly explored through both Natasha and Daniel’s interactions with their fathers. Both characters also explore the other’s culture and attempt to overcome the stigma of being with someone outside your culture, which is also a real problem – so it’s clear that Nicola Yoon did a great job at portraying real experiences of different cultures.

Speaking of immigration, this story may be a romance but it also tells the heartbreaking family stories of immigration. The raw emotions and struggles of being an immigrant in America and trying to give their child a better life were told in this book exceptionally.
It can particularly hit home for a lot of readers who have gone through experiences of immigration as a child and have memories of it happening. Especially through the perspective on Natasha, as the story begins with her trying to stop her family from being deported which prompts her to meet Daniel and bond over their similar experiences and begin a possible romance. But her attempts to stop the deportation were heartbreaking to read and emotions were excellently conveyed.

Two opposing ideas were also presented in the story: Science vs Belief. The two protagonists are both humanising each ideology (Natasha humanises science and Daniel humanises belief/fate). And in a weird way, these two very contradicting ideas somehow bring Natasha and Daniel closer as they each criticise and explore the other’s way of thinking. And these opposing perspectives are both very prominent in real life too, and since Daniel and Natasha were brought closer through them, it stems the question that maybe science and fate could coexist in the universe instead of one having to be the supreme answer?

Despite this being a fictional story, it is clear that a lot of research from our real lives had been done in order for this book to be as articulate and well representative of the different cultures as possible. After every few chapters in the story, there are always a couple of pages giving a little bit of historical context on the deeper meaning of what’s happening in the story. This is something I’ve never read in the book and I really appreciated this as it educated me more on different practices & words from Jamaican and Korean cultures along with the history and backstories of different events. Which also gave me a greater understanding of the story.

Another cool part of the story is that everything is interconnected. This book, like a few others I’ve read, really explores the journey of supporting characters but also minor characters and how everything is happening for a reason in Natasha and Daniel’s life. (Which reopens the questions as to whether this is caused by Science or Fate?). Either way, each character can have a huge impact on another’s life without even realising – which is a good lesson for real life too! Some characters who were only seen once at the beginning of the story had a bigger role at the end of the book without expecting this – so it’s definitely worth remembering the little impacts characters and you can make on others.

Overall, this was such an amazing story. I love how it was a romance yet it incorporated so much more into the story. If you’ve noticed, I haven’t actually spoken about the romance much as most aspects of it are a spoiler so you’ll have to read to find out! Regardless, so much effort was put into this book – it’s so clear. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while!


Thank you so much for reading this review – I hope you enjoyed! Please let me know in the comments how you found this book if you’ve read it, I’d love to chat about it!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
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Have a lovely week ahead!

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera Book Review

Hello everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to the blog! Today’s post is going to be a book review of a very popular book that I’m sure many of you have heard of: They Both Die At The End. I have heard so many things about this book through friends and social media alike, so I knew I had to read it, and today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on They Both Die At The End!

Official Reviews

They Both Die At The End was very popular meaning it had a variety of reviews. It was rated 4.5/5 average rating on Waterstones along with the same average rating on Amazon. It received 4 stars on Common Sense Media and an average of 3.87/5 stars on Goodreads.

Synopsis

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

My Opinion

I thought that They Both Die At The End was one of the most philosophical teen stories I had ever read. Through both characters dying at such a young age, it was truly a reflection on what life meant to both Mateo and Rufus and each characters perception and attitude towards life is explored throughout the story. With the interesting part being that the arcs of some characters is that they might’ve changed their attitude to living as the book progressed as the boys only have so much life left to live.

The book really was a reflection on love – in all it’s forms. Both characters experience the heart wrenching love for their friends for the last time as they prepare for death. And it’s quite emotional to see how love changes the boy’s actions towards eachother and also spending their last hours with their friends.

The different challenges and paths of life are also weaved into the plot, as both Mateo and Rufus have different experiences of life, and it was intriguing to see how each character reacted to the other’s stories and challenges. (Some of these are quite emotional and realistic though, ideas of: trauma, death and illness are contemplated on so if that’s difficult for you then please don’t feel like you have to read any part of the book you don’t want to read).
One note I had was that Adam Silvera could have done a bit better at sharing moments from each character’s backstories. Some really traumatic parts of both boy’s childhoods were only told in third person and I felt that I lost quite a bit of emotion from the story, so I wish their backstories could have been told in flashback POVs, I feel that would have made me feel more empathy towards the characters.

My favourite feature of this writing was the large addition of side/supporting characters to the story. Instead of having just one interaction with a supporting character from one perspective, Adam Silvera went into POVs of many of the supporting characters too sharing how their lives had lead up to that day, regardless of whether they were dying or not. Personally, I thought this was a really great addition to Adam and Rufus’ plot points as it made their stories a lot more meaningful and gave the sense that everything and everyone who they’d had an interaction with had been preparing them for that day, which was really beneficial in a book that had a lot to do with death.

Overall, this book was quite emotional yet enjoyable. I thought it was really deep and can definitely prompt you to question parts of your own life too. This book is aimed at teenagers but I’d honestly recommend it to anyone, the messages and experiences in the story are universal!


So guys, these were my thoughts on They Both Die At The End. I’d love to hear your opinions so please let me know in the comments!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
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Enjoy your day!

Ms Marvel Series Review

Hello everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back! Today I’m posting another review – I did post a movie review last week however I knew I had to share my thoughts on the MCU’s latest show, Ms Marvel. This show means a lot to me on so many levels, so I’m really excited to share my thoughts today. Let’s jump into this!

Official Reviews

Ms Marvel received some incredible reviews from critics. It’s one of the best reviewed shows on Disney + which makes sense considering it received 98% from Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer as well as 8/10 from IGN with The Guardian calling it a ‘Glorious Debut!’

My Opinion

Ms Marvel is a series portraying Kamala Khan’s journey as she gets superpowers, all whole she’s just trying to be a normal teenager in high school. And I personally loved this! It’s not that often that the MCU creates coming-of-age projects, but it’s clear that they executed this one really well. Many people loved that they were able to relate to Kamala in so many ways in the growing up aspect, and as a teenager myself, it was very cool to see a superhero who had some of the same simple problems that I do.

Community is also a major part of this show. This is one of the only times in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that a superhero has a stereotypical nuclear family dynamic (as in her family supports her being a superhero instead of trying to kill her like many other MCU family members!) And the dynamic between her social circle and herself is so wholesome. The show did a great job on casting the perfect people, Iman Vellani and the rest of the cast had amazing on-screen chemistry! Since this show was targeting more younger viewers, it was a great way to showcase that family and friendships are vital to everyone, even for superheroes.

One of my favourite scenes is in the finale episode, in which after she saved her community, her community (even strangers) save her from Damage Control taking her. And this scene really speaks volume. It shows how much goodness can have an impact and even ‘normal’ people without superpowers can make a difference in the world!

Another cool part of this show is the comic-book accuracy. Despite the controversy over changing her powers from elongation (her original comicbook powers) to manifesting light which came from a bangle, Marvel fans still loved how much the rest of the show stayed true to the comics! Everything from famous scenes to the show’s art and aesthetics were very much true to the comics. This may have been them trying to compensate for altering her comic book powers, but regardless I thought it was done amazingly!

From Episode 3 onwards, the show begins to touch on some historical aspects of Pakistani culture regarding the partition between Pakistan and India. And I thought the show handled this very well as it’s a very harsh topic for many families as people became divided and unfortunately people died. And I was really happy the show made true historical context as a major part of this show and it is referred to a lot when discussing the origins of Kamala’s bangle.

I had to save my favourite part for last, which is the representation! Because I think it was done beautifully in this show. Pakistani culture was very well represented in this show (I can say this being Pakistani myself!) I particularly resonated with her interactions with her family, and the South Asian market scenes. It was very clear that the show had people behind the scenes who understood the culture – which really increases my respect for Marvel for hiring diverse creatives and cast. In a society with representation at the heart of it, seeing Muslims and Pakistanis being represented as protagonists and them being shown as just normal people doing fun family things such as dancing at weddings is huge! Even though some people did review-bomb this show as seeing a Muslim Pakistani as a superhero was not what they were into, I hope this paves the way for the beginning of positive representation for all minorities.

Representation of fan culture is also such a fun part of this show. Kamala is so relatable as a fan – she loves the Avengers, she posts theories and reviews while attending fan events, she cosplays! It’s exactly what many fans of the MCU do and to see that portrayed on the big screen is very exciting. I think it shows, despite that the MCU is fictional, the idea of being a superhero and making a positive difference to the world is so appealing – and I think this is the creators way of nodding to fans showing that anyone can be a superhero!

Therefore, I thoroughly enjoyed Ms Marvel! I’m really upset to see it go, I’ll miss the hints at culture, easter eggs and the humour from the incredible cast. But I’m hoping there’s a season 2! Any non Marvel fans reading, this is a great entry point into the MCU – I would recommend this to anyone!

Synopsis

Kamala is a superhero fan with an imagination, particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel; Kamala feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home, that is until she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s looked up to.


Thank you all so much for reading this review – I really loved this show so please let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to chat about what you think!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
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Have a lovely day everyone!

Thor: Love and Thunder Movie Review

Hello everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to my blog! Todays post will be a movie review of Marvel Studio’s latest movie: Thor Love and Thunder. So many people have been sharing their opinions and thoughts on this movie, therefore it’s time to share mine.

This review will have minor spoilers – no major plot points but parts that were not left in the trailers and promotions so please be aware of this before reading. Let’s jump into it!

Official Reviews

Thor Love and Thunder’s reviews were generally good, the movie received 7/10 on IMDb as well as a Google general audience review of 83% liking the film. The Rotten Tomatoes reviews were mixed with a Tomatometer score of 68% but an audience score of 81%.

My Opinion

Thor: Love and Thunder is definitely similar to Thor Ragnarok in terms of the humour – it’s very clear that Taika Waititi directed both. And personally, I really enjoyed it. There was humour drizzled throughout the entire plot; even super intense and serious scenes. The only drawback of this was that this would interfere in some very serious and heartfelt scenes which took away some of the meaningfulness, this definitely played into the mixed reviews.

We all know Thor is a God, which obviously connotes to powerful and flawless, and although the idea of life’s challenges have been presented in previous Thor movies, I really feel that this movie in particular acknowledges the hurdles and difficulties in life. In the lead up to this movie, Thor had lost practically everyone important to him – his mother; father; brother and his friends. Which can be very relatable to viewers, as he feels like he’s lost his purpose. The beginning of the movie, especially, is Thor embarking on a voyage of purpose attempting to figure out who he is internally, not just a superhero God.

This movie is also centred around the return of Thor’s ex-girlfriend from the previous movies: Jane Foster, with a lot of the plot also being centred around her difficulties. She had been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and didn’t feel she had much left to live for until she discovered Thor’s previous hammer and used it to fulfil a temporary purpose of fighting as the Mighty Thor, alongside Thor, against Gorr. Both Thor and Jane confided in eachother sharing their hardships and a major part of this film is proving that the love between them and others is not just romantic but it was never forgotten and is what helped them keep going.

Parental love is also explored a lot throughout the course of this film. It begins with the backstory to Gorr (The God Butcher) in which he loses his daughter which set him off on an awful past. He always yearned for the love of his child which is very relevant through the themes of this film. I truly believe that this film wanted to prove the universality of love: romantically; like a parent; and through friendships.

Which is so refreshing to see in a superhero film – I really believe specifically this film broke down the barriers of being a superhero, possibly even acting as symbol that love is the greatest weapon.

Synopsis

Thor embarks on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced — a quest for inner peace. However, his retirement gets interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher, a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods.


Thank you so much for reading this blog post! As always, I’d love to talk about your thoughts so if you’ve seen the film or have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day!