Sunday, 18 November 2018

Book Review 10: Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai

I received this advance copy of Escape from Aleppo from an online contact. Unfortunately, it didn't reach me in time to do the review before the book got released. It took me some time to get into it. The first few chapters didn't reel me in like I was expecting. However, once the story got interesting, I had a hard time putting it down. It follows Nadia on her journey through the war torn streets of Syria in search of her family. She makes unexpected friends (and enemies) along the way.
The story is full of love, friendship, sadness and mystery. N.H. Senzai plans to write future books in the same world. I am interested in checking those out as well, to find out what happens to all the characters in the book and how their fate plays out. Overall it is a heartwrenching tale about family. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Book Review 9: Throne of Glass by Sara J. Maas

I first heard about the Throne of Glass series a few years ago (through social media.) When I started researching on what the book was about, I was intrigued. The story follows Celaena Sardothien (Adarlan's most dangerous assassin), as she competes for the chance to become The King of Adarlan's Champion. The King promises her total freedom after four years of being his lackey...if she wins. The readers witness Celaena's journey from being a dangerous assassin to fighting for her freedom.

Despite Celaena's cocky nature, you can't help but fall in love with her. Having gone through such a rough childhood and adolescence, she grows to be a strong and independent eighteen year old. Her spirit and headstrong personality reminded me a lot of Raisa Ana Marianna from the Seven Realms series (one of my favourite book series.)

In addition to the parallels between Raisa and Celaena, both the Throne of Glass series and Seven Realms series have a similar undertone to them. If you are a fan of one of these series', I think you may enjoy the other one just as much. Sarah J. Maas does a great job of hooking her readers in with fantasy, love and friendship. We learn right from the get go of Celaena's deadly demeanor, However, Maas does a nice job of successfully humanizing her through out the book by introducing us to some her hobbies and interests as we get further into the story.

The Throne of Glass book series consists of five books in the series (and a sixth one underway.) I am looking forward to continuing on with the series and reading more of Calaena Sardothien's adventures.

Happy Reading! =)

Friday, 20 January 2017

A Dog's Purpose Controversy

Unless you're living under a rock, you may have heard of the animal abuse video that has recently surfaced from the set of the movie "A Dog's Purpose." The video shows a dog handler forcing a German shepherd into a water rapid simulator (and the dog is clearly not having it.) The video is then edited to show the dog submerged under water and nearly drowning.

For obvious reasons, this video upset a lot of people. Not only is the dog trainer forcing the dog to do something against his will. It's also ironic and very disturbing that this took place behind the scenes of a movie that celebrates a dog's love for his/her masters. Many people have decided to boycott the movie due to the circumstances of how the movie was filmed.

I read the book a few months ago and was really looking forward to watching the movie. W. Bruce Cameron wrote a tear jerking novel with such great delivery. It's really unfortunate that the actions of an unprofessional dog handler has tainted his beautiful story. Due to the controversy surrounding the movie, now the author is being shunned. Cameron released a statement on his official facebook page stating that he wasn't on set when this all went down. He's currently looking into the situation and investigating exactly what happened.

For those people who've decided to boycott this film (and there's a lot of them), my personal recommendation would be to at least read the book. I understand the disturbing content in which the film was made, but please don't deprive yourself of this amazing book about love and friendship. It's written beautifully and with so much heart and soul. However, you may need to have a box of tissues nearby as I was completely red eyed and sobbing through out half of the book. Also keep in mind that it may give you some Marley and Me flashbacks. Nevertheless, the author shouldn't be blamed for the actions of an irresponsible animal handler.


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Book Club: Poetry Reading

I have been a part of various book clubs in the past and they all usually work the same way. The group all reads the same book and meet the following month to discuss that book. What we liked about it, what we didn't like about it, would we read something from that same author again, etc. The books read at book club are meant to start up a lot of discussion, so they tend to be books that make you feel. This upcoming meeting in February, my (current) book club is doing something a little different. Instead of reading a book, every book club member will be choosing a poem each and read it out loud to the rest of the group members. Each reading will be followed by a little explanation of why we chose that poem.

Literature was always my favourite subject in school and I loved studying poetry. Back when I was a teenager, I used to write a lot of poems, short stories and journal entries in my free time. It is sad for me to admit that I haven't written a poem or a short story in years. However, I do occasionally still write in my journal. I was going through some of my old notebooks recently and found a collection of some of my writing. Some of them I had completely forgotten about, so it was nice to go back to them after all these years. Looking back at some of my old work, I feel like I may want to get back into writing poetry some time. Maybe one day when I am inspired, I will start again! One of my book club members suggested for me to bring one of my own poems to read for the next meeting. I was a bit hesitant at first to share my own work, but I decided to go with the one I liked the here it is. Most of my writing is dated, and I wrote this one when I was sixteen.  Hope you enjoy it!

Growing Up

by Sadaf Hussain

I am quiet,
I am lonely,
I have imaginary friends,
I am a laugher,
I am a crier,
I am a thinker,
As I look at my reflection,
In a mirror view of my past,
I let my inner-child free,
I come back to reality,
Today I am friendly,
I am loving,
I am caring,
I am a laugher,
I am a crier,
I am a thinker,
I am a writer,
I am a drawer,
I am a dreamer,
I am a friend,
I am a sister,
I am a daughter,
I am an aunt,
I am not perfect,
I make mistakes,
I am a learner,
After all,
I am human.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

2016 Reading Challenge.

2015 I did not actively read as much as I had hoped. My book list was ever growing but some days I just didn't feel like reading. There were only a handful of books I read this year which were page turners. The last few months of 2015, I decided to join my local book club (again) to force myself to read more (for lack of a better word.) The very first book club book just happened to be a lovely book I'd read before; The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

I'd been a member of the online Good Reads community for quite some time now, but I'd been relatively inactive on it. I've started using the app more lately, and it's helped me find some good books which I've added to my TBR book list. One nice feature Good Reads has on it is a "Reading Challenge" page. Members challenge themselves to read a certain amount of books for the year. I was going through many of the other members' reading challenges, and noticed numbers like 50, 75, 100 and some even as high as 200!

I wanted to challenge myself to reach a realistic reading goal. At first I was going to do a 30 book reading challenge. Then I decided to start off with 25. At first I thought it was a low goal, considering that so many others' wanted to read 100 books! However, a good friend of mine reminded me not to compare my goals with others. Maybe those people have more time to read, but there's nothing to be ashamed of. Furthermore, the most important thing is not the quantity of books but the quality! Hopefully I can reach my goal and will read some enjoyable books along the way.

Happy Reading! =)

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Book Review 8: Ms. Marvel (Crushed) by Willow Wilson

I have always enjoyed watching superhero movies and T.V. shows. However, I had never read any of the comic books until very recently. I used to read Archie comics and the Saturday morning comic strips in the newspaper, but that was as far as my interest in comic books went. Until the movies had been released, I didn't know which superhero was from D.C. Comics and which was from Marvel.

A few months ago I decided, since I enjoy the movie/T.V. shows so much, I should go back to the original source and try reading the comic books, just for kicks. I picked up several different kinds from my local library; some I enjoyed, some not so much.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a hold of Ms. Marvel. I had heard about (the new) Ms. Marvel when she was first introduced a couple of years ago. The new face of Ms. Marvel was Kamala Khan, a sixteen year old Muslim Pakistani superhero. I remember hearing both positive and negative reviews about Ms. Marvel at the time. Some people were excited to see that Marvel was coming out with more diverse and multicultural superheroes, some were outraged that the new Ms. Marvel was Muslim, and others (Muslims) were not satisfied with the way the comic book portrayed the average Muslim family.

I sat down with the comic book, thinking I'll probably just read a few pages and then be on with my way. I was intrigued and found myself laughing out loud at a few parts. It was funny, relatable and exciting. I couldn't put it down, and before I knew it, I read the entire book in one sitting! The way Kamala's family was portrayed, everything Kamala was going through, I felt like I was reading about my own adolescent experience (as a Muslim).

Wilson made it a point not to shove Kamala's religious beliefs down the readers' throat. It's very subtle and overall, Ms. Marvel is a story about a teenage girl like any other. She has her doubts, her fears and a loving family (who at times annoy her.)

I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend the Ms. Marvel series to anyone who likes comic books. I intend to go back and read it starting from the first issue.

Happy Reading! =)

Monday, 15 June 2015

Game of Thrones Season Finale Review (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!)

All my social media feeds are currently full of really pissed off Game of Thrones fans venting about who died on last night's season finale. Normally, I would also be one of those fans. However, since the internet is dark and full of spoilers (and some cocky book readers), I already knew from several months ago that Jon Snow was going to die.

I tried reading the first book years ago, but I found it tedious and too detailed for my taste. So I didn't continue reading them and just stuck to the TV series. However, there's many book readers on online forums saying things like, "Well, if you didn't want to know the spoiler, then you should have read the books long ago!" So I'm just going to say what every Game of Thrones TV show watcher is thinking right now: We've finally reached a somewhat mutual point in the story line where book readers don't have the opportunity to spoil the story line for the rest of us who haven't read the books!

Can we take a step back, wipe our Jon Snow tears and talk about how awesome Theon Greyjoy was in last night's episode?! There is no doubt, Theon did horrible things. However, I've had a soft spot for him ever since the day his sister tried to rescue him from the Boltons. Since the beginning of season five, all I've really wanted is for Theon to save Sansa, and for the two of them to join forces and kick Ramsey's butt! When Theon pushed that woman off the roof and grabbed Sansa's hand, I had a shred of hope left for the two of them. I was happy to see there is a bit light at the end of Sansa's tunnel and that Theon is the one helping her out of this hellhole.

I find it funny that everyone is causing an uproar about Jon Snow's death but nobody seems to care that Myrcella died (in the arms of her father). The Lannisters are terrible human beings, but did Myrcella really deserve to die? She was completely naïve and innocent in all this craziness. On that note, what did everyone think of Cersei's atonement? I kept reading online, people saying she deserved her punishment and humiliation. But I found that scene extremely cringe worthy and hard to watch. Much to my surprise, I actually felt bad for her. It's interesting how the characters on Game of Thrones are so three dimensional that you start to feel bad for the "villians" and begin to hate the "heroes."

What was up with Drogon mimicking my cat by licking himself and taking a short nap while the people of Mereen were in trouble?! And am I the only one annoyed by the lack of direwolves this season?

I have nothing to say about Arya Stark because quite frankly, that story line is so twisted that it goes over my head and I truly have no idea what's going on there... But I was shocked to see Arya going blind.

People have stated "If you think this has a happy ending, then you haven't been paying attention." The only thing that really shocks me about the story now is that Daenerys and Tyrion have actually made it this far. Since George R. R. Martin loves to kill off beloved characters, here is my little plea for Mr. Martin: We all love Ramsey Bolton. Please protect him and let him survive till the end of the series. Please don't let Theon and Sansa kick his ***! We don't want to see the demise of Ramsey Bolton. ;)

What are your thoughts and opinions about the Game of Thrones season finale and/or the entire season so far?