Review: Love From A to Z

Title: Love From A to Z
Author: S.K. Ali
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting. 

Review:

I knew this book would be amazing because I love S.K. Ali’s writing. It was so good that I couldn’t put it down!

I’ve read a lot of books lately with Muslim characters, and I love them. They really open my eyes to the Muslim experience. I grew up with a lot of Muslim friends, but I never witnessed anything like what happens in these stories.

Zayneb experiences Islamophobia from her teacher, but then is punished when she exposes it. She also experiences it when trying to swim in a pool. I can’t imagine why anyone would do these hurtful things to someone just because of their religion. One event that stood out to me was when she was on a plane and a white woman had her seat changed just because she didn’t want to sit beside Zayneb. The woman actually got bumped up to first class because that was the only other seat available! I couldn’t believe she was rewarded for the behaviour. Zayneb compared what she was doing, sketching on the plane and listening to music, to a white girl a few rows ahead who was doing the same thing. They were doing the same thing, yet Zayneb was called out for it because she wore a scarf on her head. It was heartbreaking to read about.

I loved the duality of Zayneb and Adam in the story. Zayneb was constantly criticized for her religion, on planes and in school because she was a woman wearing a hijab. Adam, on the other hand, was also a Muslim, but his outward appearance didn’t tell anyone that. His background was Chinese Scandinavian and he converted to Islam when he was eleven. Though they have very different experiences, they are brought together by writing in the same journal.

I loved this story! I highly recommend it!

What to read next:

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Have you read Love From A to Z? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – April 26

This is a weekly meme hosted by Wandering Words, where you give the first few lines of a book to hook your readers before introducing the book.

Here are my first lines:

“I’ve been locked up for 264 days. I have nothing but a small notebook and a broken pen and the numbers in my head to keep me company. 1 window. 4 walls. 144 square feet of space. 26 letters in an alphabet I haven’t spoken in 264 days of isolation.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) Tahereh Mafi.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

You can check out my review for Shatter Me here.

Have you read Shatter Me? What did you think of it?

Review: Sadie

Title: Sadie
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page. 

Review:

This audiobook was recommended to me by a friend. The story is written partly as a podcast, so it works really well as an audiobook. There are even sponsorship “ads” for MacMillan Publishers during the podcast chapters, which really made it seem like a podcast.

One of the other great things about this audiobook was that it had many different voice actors. Each character had a different voice, which made it seem like a live production. It also made it easier to keep track of the characters. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to follow an audiobook because I listen to it when I’m driving. This one was much easier to follow because it was more like a TV show or play, since it had so many different actors who put a lot of emotion into their voices.

This story was fascinating and heartbreaking. There were many horrifying subjects, such as children being sexually assaulted, which were difficult to hear. There weren’t graphic details, but they were implied. These subjects may be difficult for some readers.

I loved this story, but the ending didn’t give me the closure that I was hoping for. I don’t want to give anything away, but I enjoyed the whole thriller up until the end, which left me with a big question. I still highly recommend this audiobook. I’ll definitely look for more Courtney Summers books!

What to read next:

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Have you read Sadie? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – April 25

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim.

Goodreads Synopsis:

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Social Misconduct

Title: Social Misconduct
Author: S.J. Maher
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 23, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A timely and shocking thriller about a young woman who is the target of a social-media smear campaign.

“Smart, sardonic, sexy, suspenseful—and scary, because it’s probably true.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series

Her perfect job becomes the perfect nightmare when a stalker hacks her phone.

Candace Walker is thrilled when she lands a new job at a hip Manhattan tech company and gets a brand-new iPhone. She’s more than ready to move on from creating clickbait ads for weight-loss pills and herbal erection boosters, and is determined to dazzle the startup team she joins.

A week later, though, everything is at risk: Candace is the target of a mysterious harasser and an online smear campaign. She tosses her new phone into the Hudson River, begins hiding out in her sister’s storage locker in New Jersey, and can’t think of a single person she can trust. But Candace hasn’t come this far—and gone to such lengths—to submit to what is happening without a fight.

Review:

This was a creepy thriller. I started reading it before bed, and I was getting so creeped out that I had to put it down. The way that Candace’s phone was hacked and she was harassed was so disturbing, yet it seemed realistic. There are so many ways to hack into technology and really affect people’s lives.

This story gave an inside look at the way social media can be used to promote companies. The ads that we see online are not always random, but are often targeted for the user. It was creepy to see how we can be manipulated through social media to purchase goods and services.

I can’t say much about this story without giving away the ending. It didn’t end the way I had predicted. I thought I had figured it out, but I was wrong. It was actually the solution that made the most sense, but I had ruled it out because of that.

The only problem is that I still had so many questions at the end. I would have loved to know more about Candace’s past, because there were hints to things that had happened to her, but it wasn’t explored in detail. I would also love to see what happens next.

This chilling thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat! 

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Salvage by Stephen Maher

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

Have you read Social Misconduct? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – April 24

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali. The release date is May 7, 2019.

Goodreads Synopsis:

marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting. 

What books are you waiting on this week?

Top 5 Wednesday – Books With Lightning on the Cover

This meme is hosted by Lainey from Thoughts on Tomes. The Goodreads Group for Top 5 Wednesday can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Rainy Day Reads, but I did this prompt for Top Ten Tuesday last week (link here). Instead, I’m listing Books With Lightning on the Cover. Here’s my list:

1. When Lightning Strikes (1-800-WHERE-R-U #1) by Meg Cabot

2. Soulstruck by Natasha Sinel

3. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

4. The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner

5. The Dysasters (The Dysasters #1) by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast

What are your Rainy Day Books?

Review: War Storm (Red Queen #4)

Title: War Storm (Red Queen #4)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Victory comes at a price.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

Review:

It has taken me a while to read this highly anticipated finale to the Red Queen series. I was glad to finally finish it!

It’s been a few years since I started reading this series. I had forgotten a lot that happened, so I had to read some summaries before reading this book. Even though it has only been four books, there were a lot of subplots and characters to follow. I was surprised at how easy it was to get back into the story once I started reading it. Victoria Aveyard’s writing gives a complete picture of what is happening, so it was easy to read.

The one criticism I have about this book is that it drifted from the original plot of the story. The story mostly followed Mare, Evangeline, and Iris. There was a lot of focus on the different houses and kingdoms in the world. I think it would have been much shorter if it just focused on the battle between Mare, Cal and Maven. The stories of the other families could have been explored in its own series.

I’m glad that I finished this series. I’m curious to see what happens in the collection of stories, Broken Throne.

What to read next:

Broken Throne (Red Queen #4.5) by Victoria Aveyard

Have you read Red Queen? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – First Books I Reviewed

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is First Books I Reviewed. I have also linked to my reviews. These are from 2 years ago, so my reviewing style has changed a lot over this time. Here’s my list:

1. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

3. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

4. Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

5. Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

6. Captain Marvel, Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick, David López

7. Jonesy, Vol.1 by Sam Humphries

8. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

9. We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

10. Gutenberg’s Fingerprint: A Book Lover Bridges the Digital Divide by Merilyn Simonds

(All photos taken from Goodreads)

Review: Work It, Girl: Boss the Bestseller List Like J.K. Rowling

Title: Work It, Girl: Boss the Bestseller List Like J.K. Rowling
Author: Caroline Moss, Sinem Erkas (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction
Publisher: Lincoln Children’s Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this new series for aspiring future girl #bosses, discover the life of JK Rowling, the famous author. Be inspired by her remarkable story, and learn 10 key lessons from her life and work. Featuring inspiring quotes and mantras, this is a book for all girls wanting to forge their own career path. 

Review:

I’ve always been a huge fan of J.K. Rowling. I have fond memories of reading the first Harry Potter books with my dad when they first came out.

Her life story is a huge inspiration to me, as a writer. I was familiar with a lot of her story, but I still found this book fascinating. Jo created her own success by working hard at what she enjoyed doing. She wrote when she had time, including while her daughter was napping. She continued to work hard even after she became successful. She also never forgot her humble beginnings, by giving back to those in need.

The books in this series are beautiful. I love the creative graphics. The images look like they are created with layered pieces of paper. There are many pages just made up of just pictures, with short quotes from J.K. Rowling.

I love this series! There are currently two books, one about Oprah Winfrey and the other about J.K. Rowling. I can’t wait to see what other inspirational women are featured in this series.

What to read next:

Work It, Girl: Run the Show Like CEO Oprah Winfrey by Caroline Moss, Sinem Erkas (illustrator)

Who Is J.K. Rowling? by Pam Pollack, Meg Belviso

Have you read Work It, Girl: Boss the Bestseller List Like J.K. Rowling? What did you think of it?