Hello everyone! As apart of #TheCandleAndTheFlame street team I am going to recommend you some stuff! I decided not to recommend novels but instead other forms of media such as tv shows. Based on different aspects that are present in The Candle and the Flame. I won’t be including any links. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Three images were taken from Google images. The last one is from GR. A few of these may have some triggers. I’ll list the triggers. I would also suggest looking into triggers as well.
Ms. Marvel follows Kamala Khan a Pakistani-American as she navigates super powers, high school, family, religion, and friendships. Throughout the series Kamala is tested in ways she does not expect and learns how to cope with the consequences of her decisions.
Marvel fans will recognize some of their favourite superheroes making appearances. Captain Marvel and Iron Man make the most appearances.
I love this series! Kamala is so relatable and sweet. Islam plays a major role in the series and it is done so beautifully! It means so much as a Muslim to have books with an accurate portrayal of Islam amongst teenagers!
Kamala’s family aren’t the only Muslims, there’s also her best friend Nakia and the Imam of the Mosque. Each play a vital role in the series and are very different Muslims. Other characters with different ethnicities and faiths are present as well. All dealt with beautifully!
The comic book series is ongoing. The latest release being Ms. Marvel Vol. 10: Time and Again.
Trigger warning: Islamophobia, racism, discrimination, and bullying.
The Quintessential Quintuplets follows Futaro Uesugi who is top in his class, as he tutors a set of quintuplets. Much to his agony said quintuplets refuse his help at every chance they get. Along the way he befriends these quintuplets. And succeeds in getting them to study. There is also a bit of a mystery with flashes in the future.
The Quintessential Quintuplets has such a beautiful focus on family! Specifically sisters. Each sister is so unique and their relationship to one-another is the strongest part of the series!
I also really love that Futaro’s family plays a huge role! And while I really didn’t like him in the beginning he really grew on me. He grows from his relationship with the quintuplets and vice versa.
There is an ongoing Manga series as well as an anime. The anime has been renewed for a second season. Probably releasing in 2020.
Trigger warning: Grief.
Violet Evergarden follows Violet who is coping with PTSD after the war has ended. Violet is described as a ‘doll’ by people. She’s very beautiful and doll like, but has no concept of people or emotions. Despite her doll like appearance Violet played a vital role in the war. Realizing that she needs to work on herself Violet gets a job writing letters for people.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Violet Evergarden! Despite it being a very sad series (there wasn’t an episode where I didn’t cry), I found quite a bit of it relatable. I liked that Violet needed to work on her emotional problems and PTSD after the war. She realized that she had a lot to work through and found a good way to do it.
It’s really nice that by the end of the season, Violet also doesn’t fit into the typical ‘strong female’. She is away from the war and therefore not having to fight. Too many people (mostly men) consider ‘strong females’ to either have a superpower or amazing fighting skills.
Violet can fight really well, and throughout the season she realizes that there’s more to life than the war. That she can live a happy and accomplished life away from the war. It doesn’t define Violet let alone proves her worth as a person.
There are multiple women in the anime and each one demonstrates tremendous strength! Violet works in an all female office, some of the episodes are narrated from her coworkers point of view. Which gives you each of the characters’ backstory along with their relationship to Violet.
The anime does such a excellent job portraying each of these women! None of them are perfect and they know that. All the women grow to be better from the relationships they have with one-another. Especially Violet.
The anime is available on Netflix. The light novel series is finished. There are going to be two films released. One in 2019 the other early 2020.
Trigger warning: PTSD, grief, death, depression, and trauma.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic follows Aladdin as he asks a Dijinn for a wish. Aladdin is then transported to the real world where he meets Alibaba. The two become fast friends and vow to be by each other’s side. Along the way they meet a slave whose name is Morgiana.
With the help of Aladdin and Alibaba, Morgiana is sent free. She chooses to follow the boys as a way of making it up to them. The three venture into different lands and find themselves in the presence of a power struggle.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic utilizes it’s setting very well! The culture, the food, the language, etc. was done beautifully! There are so many different countries and people that make’s it enjoyable to watch. It also helps to give you the full picture without black or white.
It’s also so much fun that some of the characters are based off of The Arabian Nights! Others are based on tales sometimes from religious texts. As a Muslim I didn’t find any of this to be insensitive. Rather I felt that it was dealt it well! There are of course several differences from the actual stories the author used as an influence. I found that to be apart of the appeal.
There is an anime. Which is just two seasons and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Plus there is a prequel anime series. It’s one season and also ends on a cliffhanger. The manga series is complete.
Trigger warning: Slavery, torture, abuse, trauma, death, and grief.
Hello everyone! As apart of #TheCandleAndTheFlame street team I am talking about why I think own voices stories matter. Let me know in the comments what you think!
Why Own Voices Matter
When I first heard about the Own voices I didn’t think much about it. I didn’t really understand what that meant and what the entailed regarding books. It wasn’t until there were some own voices books coming up on my feed that I started to take notice and pay attention.
I saw quite a few books being published under own voices. That people were loving and raving about! There were a couple that sounded fantastic based on the representation alone.
It wasn’t until I heard about Salaam Reads, an imprint whose primary goal is to publish various Muslim stories, that I became truly invested. And begun actively looking for own voices stories.
I really love the whole idea! I think it’s wonderful that authors are being given a space and a title to write their stories under. While also bringing forth amazing and much needed representation!
I think these stories matter and important for the future generation. I see so much hate and ignorance that could really be avoided by educating the youth. Adults now have much more material to work with in educating the youth about different cultures, races, circumstances, disabilities, and so much more!
I truly believe that if we can do that we really could be saving a lot of people. Now of course I know this won’t work for everybody and we have such a long way to go, but it’s still a start. And that’s better than nothing.
It also helps for children to see themselves represented! I an adult was overjoyed to see a Muslim book imprint! With that in mind imagine how a child would feel to see themselves.
I do hope that we as people continue to get better with own voices! And not just with books, but all other forms of media as well.
Overall, I believe that having own voices stories can help pave the way to a better future.
Hello everyone! As apart of #TheCandleAndTheFlame street team Nafiza has come on my blog to talk about storytelling. Hope you all enjoy this post!
On Storytelling, the City of Noor, and Points of View
This post is in part a response to the reviews of The Candle and the Flame that do not understand the many points of view utilized to tell the story of Noor and in part an exploration into the politics of storytelling and their function apart from the obvious.
As I said on Twitter, I am from a culture that places primary importance on the collective compared to the importance of the individual as pervasive in Western culture. It may surprise you but until I moved to Canada when I was seventeen, I hadn’t thought that I could have a favourite colour, or food, or anything that pointed to my existence as an individual. While growing up, it was always what we liked. You understand the emphasis.
The Candle and the Flame is the story of the City of Noor. While Fatima is the protagonist, she is but one person who lives in the city. You cannot tell the story of the sky from the perspective of one star. Similarly, I couldn’t tell Noor’s story without using multiple POVS.
For example, Fatima and her sister, Sunaina, speak lovingly of the apartment building they call home but when Bhavya visits the place she is horrified at its dilapidated condition. Multiple points of view, for me, create a richness and texture in the narrative that I wanted to impart in Candle.
As diverse stories become more common in YA literature, I believe we will find that diverse ways of storytelling will also become more popular. Maybe it is because I was raised to value the collective over the individual that I tend towards multiple POVs versus one. Or maybe it is because the story I wanted to tell demands multiple POVs. It also behooves us to beware of the rich tradition of cultures other than our own. Stories are more than an escape, especially for kids. People have written multiple papers on the subject.
Storytelling and stories are also a way to connect the old to the new. They are a way for people to find and celebrate their stories. In difficult times, stories are hope and in happy times stories are a caution not to take the happiness for granted. The Candle and the Flame is a celebration of people and their differences; it is also an ode to a city that is possible in real life. It is also a love letter to my readers from me.
Thank you so much to Nafiza and the street team for this wonderful opportunity!
Hello everyone! Today I am doing a curated post all about book fairs. In this post I am featuring Karim at Kotobee. I’ll be talking about my thoughts on books fairs then will feature a link that you all can check out.
When I was a child I loved book fairs! It was an excellent way to get books in one place for a decent price. I would find tons of titles that I hadn’t heard about and more that I was interested in reading.
Book fairs happened a lot at my school when I was in seventh grade. I believe they were from Scholastic? Though I can’t be certain. Those fairs really fostered (along with other factors) my love for reading! And I felt that it made a huge difference the the other children in my grade.
Karim is the head of Digital Marketing at Kotobee. Kotobee is a bookish website that has e-books. Karim is allowing me to share a link to a blog post which is written by Kotobee, regarding international book fairs. Readers can look at the website and source out international book fairs in their area.
Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my monthly wrap-up for April. I read books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included. Let me know in the comments what you read in April!
Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my book haul for April. Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled in April!
Hello everyone! Today I am going to be sharing an expert from Wicked Saints as a part of the blog tour. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for stopping by!
Horz stole the stars and the heavens out from underneath Myesta’s control, and for that she has never forgiven him. For where can the moons rest if not the heavens?
—Codex of the Divine, 5:26
“It’s certainly not my fault you chose a child who sleeps so deeply. If she dies it will very much be your fault, not mine.”
Startled by bickering gods was not Nadya’s preferred method of being woken up. She rolled to her feet in the dark, moving automatically. It took her eyes a few seconds to catch up with the rest of her body.
It wasn’t wise to tell the gods to shut up, but it was too late now. A feeling of amused disdain flowed through her, but neither of the gods spoke again. She realized it was Horz, the god of the heavens and the stars, who had woken her. He had a tendency to be obnoxious but generally left Nadya alone, as a rule.
Usually only a single god communed with their chosen cleric. There once had been a cleric named Kseniya Mirokhina who was gifted with unnatural marksmanship by Devonya, the goddess of the hunt. And Veceslav had chosen a cleric of his own, long ago, but their name was lost to history, and he re- fused to talk about them. The recorded histories never spoke of clerics who could hear more than one god. That Nadya communed with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.
There was a chance older, more primordial gods existed, ones that had long since given up watch of the world and left it in the care of the others. But no one knew for sure. Of the twenty known gods, however, carvings and paintings depicted their human forms, though no one knew what they actually looked like. No cleric throughout history had ever looked upon the faces of the gods. No saint, nor priest.
Each had their own power and magic they could bestow upon Nadya, and while some were forthcoming, others were not. She had never spoken to the goddess of the moons, Myesta. She wasn’t even sure what manner of power the goddess would give, if she so chose.
And though she could commune with many gods, it was impossible to forget just who had chosen her for this fate: Marzenya, the goddess of death and magic, who expected complete dedication.
Indistinct voices murmured in the dark. She and Anna had found a secluded place within a copse of thick pine trees to set up their tent, but it no longer felt safe. Nadya slid a voryen from underneath her bedroll and nudged Anna awake.
She moved to the mouth of the tent, grasping at her beads a prayer already forming on her lips, smoky symbols trailing from her mouth. She could see the blurry impressions of figures in the darkness, far off in the distance. It was hard to judge the number, two? Five? Ten? Her heart sped at the possibility that a company of Tranavians were already on her trail.
Anna drew up beside her. Nadya’s grip on her voryen tightened, but she kept still. If they hadn’t seen their tent yet, she could keep them from noticing it entirely.
But Anna’s hand clasped her forearm.
“Wait,” she whispered, her breath frosting out before her in the cold. She pointed to a dark spot just off to the side of the group.
Nadya pressed her thumb against Bozidarka’s bead and her eyesight sharpened until she could see as clearly as if it were day. It took effort to shove aside the immediate, paralyzing fear as her suspicions were confirmed and Tranavian uniforms became clear. It wasn’t a full company. In fact, they looked rather ragged. Perhaps they had split off and lost their way.
More interesting, though, was the boy with a crossbow silently aiming into the heart of the group.
“We can get away before they notice,” Anna said.
Nadya almost agreed, almost slipped her voryen back into its sheath, but just then, the boy fired and the trees erupted into chaos. Nadya wasn’t willing to use an innocent’s life as a distraction for her own cowardice. Not again.
Even as Anna protested, Nadya let a prayer form fully in her mind, hand clutching at Horz’s bead on her necklace and its constellation of stars. Symbols fell from her lips like glowing glimmers of smoke and every star in the sky winked out.
Well, that was more extreme than I intended, Nadya thought with a wince. I should’ve known better than to ask Horz for anything. She could hear cursing as the world plunged into darkness.
Anna sighed in exasperation beside her.
“Just stay back,” she hissed as she moved confidently through the dark.
“Nadya . . .” Anna’s groan was soft.
It took more focus to send a third prayer to Bozetjeh. It was hard to catch Bozetjeh on a good day; the god of speed was notoriously slow to answer prayers. But she managed to snag his attention and received a spell allowing her to move as fast as the vicious Kalyazin wind.
Her initial count had been wrong; there were six Tranavians now scattering into the forest. The boy dropped his crossbow with a bewildered look up into the sky, startling when Nadya touched his shoulder.
There was no way he could see in this darkness, but she could. When he whirled, a curved sword in his hand, Nadya sidestepped. His swing went wide and she shoved him in the direction of a fleeing Tranavian, anticipating their collision.
“Find the rest,” Marzenya hissed. “Kill them all.” Complete and total dedication.
She caught up to one of the figures, stabbing her voryen into his skull just underneath his ear.
Not so difficult this time, she thought. But the knowledge was a distant thing.
Blood sprayed, splattering a second Tranavian, who cried out in alarm. Before the second man could figure out what had happened to his companion, she lashed out her heel, catching him squarely on the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slit his throat.
Three more. They couldn’t have moved far. Nadya took up Bozidarka’s bead again. The goddess of vision revealed where the last Tranavians were located. The boy with the sword had managed to kill two in the dark. Nadya couldn’t actually see the last one, just felt him nearby, very much alive.
Something slammed into Nadya’s back and suddenly the chilling bite of a blade was pressed against her throat. The boy appeared in front of her, his crossbow back in his hands, thank- fully not pointed at Nadya. It was clear he could only barely see her. He wasn’t Kalyazi, but Akolan.
A fair number of Akolans had taken advantage of the war between their neighbors, hiring out their swords for profit on both sides. They were known for favoring Tranavia simply because of the warmer climate. It was rare to find a creature of the desert willingly stumbling through Kalyazin’s snow.
He spoke a fluid string of words she didn’t understand. His posture was languid, as if he hadn’t nearly been torn to pieces by blood mages. The blade against Nadya’s throat pressed harder. A colder voice responded to him, the foreign language scratched uncomfortably at her ears.
Nadya only knew the three primary languages of Kalyazin and passing Tranavian. If she wasn’t going to be able to communicate with them . . .
The boy said something else and Nadya heard the girl sigh before she felt the blade slip away. “What’s a little Kalyazi assassin doing out in the middle of the mountains?” he asked, switching to perfect Kalyazi.
Nadya was very aware of the boy’s friend at her back. “I could ask the same of you.”
She shifted Bozidarka’s spell, sharpening her vision further. The boy had skin like molten bronze and long hair with gold chains threaded through his loose curls.
Well that is certainly an intense expert! Wicked Saints is out now so you can pick up a copy. I hope you enjoyed this expert!
Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my monthly wrap-up for March. I read 8 books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included. Let me know in the comments what you read in March!
Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying.
Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she’s running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill?
Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.
Readers will love every page of this funny, romantic, aspirational, and ultimately triumphant novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own.
Beware spoilers ahead!
Content Warning: A creepy neighbor who continues to harass and stalk the main character. There are some sex scenes but nothing explicit. And a nudity situation.
Book 2 for Monstrous March.
Becca and her boyfriend Alex are spending one last hoorah before Alex goes to college. All of the college’s that Becca applied for denied her. Upon her mother’s request Becca plans to look for a part time job whilst trying to became an actress. Much to her surprise Alex breaks up with her. Feeling lost Becca decides to move to LA and try to become an actress there.
I had heard about Hello, Sunshine through Netgalley in 2017. I really liked the synopsis and heard good things, so I decided to purchase a copy. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it! The book is written in first person limited following Becca’s point of view. There are text messages, lists, as well as quotes from a book and online articles.
I really liked that this book is YA! I think this book would help so many teens before going into college. And it’s nice to see college YA. There are a lot of valuable lessons such as the value of work, a person’s worth, and money.
I really liked Becca! She was so happy and energetic. I rarely read about those types of characters and Becca felt so fresh and fun. Her growth throughout the Hello, Sunshine was amazing! I really enjoyed her standing up for herself. And learning and experiencing new things. Which in turn helped her grow and become a really good actress.
I loved the family aspect! Becca is really close to her mother and even her cousin Vivian. She had a fantastic relationship with her mother! I also appreciated that Becca didn’t mind that her father was out of the picture. As long as she had her mother she was all good. Becca’s mother plays a huge part in the story and in the decisions she makes. I wish more YA would bring in family.
I loved the friendship between Becca and Marisol! Marisol was also trying to become an actress. The two supported each other rather than tearing each other down. Which was so nice to read about! They had such a wholesome friendship which made the book all the more enjoyable.
I also really liked Raj! He was a good friend and a genuine person. His crush on Becca was so cute to read about. I did enjoy how it was slow burn. Also when Becca friendzoned Raj he came back and was cool with everything. They really did complement each other.
I did have some issues with Hello, Sunshine. I didn’t like that Raj got all giddy at the thought that he looked like a ‘criminal’. This didn’t feel realistic considering that he was an Indian. And Indian’s are primarily confused by ignorant people as Muslim’s therefore are terrorists.
While I’m happy that Becca got into California film school I am a bit muffed by it. I really thought that she would answer that question and grow even more. But that didn’t happen. I know that connections are everything and while I appreciated that aspect, I still would’ve liked to see her answer it.
The conflicts at the end were weird. Marisol was rich and kept it a secret. And that whole thing with Raj kind of made sense but also felt thrown in there for some drama build-up. Not every contemporary needs that and this book could’ve done without it.
While I like Raj and Becca as a couple I’m not happy with how they got together. It read odd and felt rushed. And it affected how I felt about them as a couple. I think it would’ve been better had they gotten together earlier and maybe not had a conflict before.
Overall I really enjoyed Hello, Sunshine! I highly recommend.