ARC Review: Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

lhaof

Love, Hate and Other Filters

by Samira Ahmed

YA Contemporary, Romance


American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognisable; neighbours and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for approving me for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!

This book, I’ll admit, was captivating from the very first page to the end. I thought it was a timely, important story and it was even better that it included a diverse cast of characters and points of view, especially seen as the protagonist was Indian-American and Muslim. I really enjoyed how the author also tackled the challenging topic of Islamophobia head on and doesn’t dance around it, like many other well renowned authors tend to do. (Yes, this tea is scalding)

Love, Hate & Other Filters follows the life of Maya, an aspiring film director, who is stuck between chasing her dreams or pleasing her overbearing parents. In this midst of this, she’s tackling a romance set up with Kareem by her parents, while also developing feelings for the popular jock in her school, Phil. The plot goes totally one way and you think you can predict the ending, when all of a sudden, there’s a terrorist attack near her town by a man with the same surname as her. Suddenly the spotlight is turned on her and her family and those around her wonder whether they can be trusted or if they had a connection to the crime.

I really liked how tense and engaging this book was. However, I did at certain points feel like the pace was too slow and the integration of scenes wasn’t written that well. I loved the characters of Maya and Violet and their friendship, but I found Phil to be a particularly bland, boring and predictable love interest.


Rating:

★★★★

Top Three Thursday #10

Hey guys! Today I’m back with another Top Three Thursday and this week’s theme is my favourite childhood books!


one dog and his boy.jpg

All Hal had ever wanted was a dog. “Never!” cries his mother. “Think of the mess, the scratch-marks, the puddles on the floor.” But on the morning of Hal’s 10th birthday, the unbelievable happens. He’s allowed to choose a puppy at Easy Pets, a rent-a-pet agency (a fact his parents keep from him). The moment he sees the odd-looking terrier, he knows he’s found a friend for life. But no one tells Hal that Fleck must be returned and when Hal wakes up on Monday morning, Fleck is gone. If dog and boy are to stay together they’ll have to run away…

From the reknowned Eva Ibbotson comes her final novel, a tale laced with humor and full of heart, and stunning in its beauty and all things dog.


wonder.png

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.


cirque du freak.jpg

In the tradition of Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot, Cirque Du Freak is the frightening saga of a young boy whose visit to a mysterious freak show leads him on a journey into a dark world of vampires. Filled with grotesque creatures, murderous vampires, and a petrifying ending, Cirque Du Freak will chill, thrill, and leave readers begging for more.

And what about you guys? Do you have similar childhood favourites as me? Or if you’ve got different ones, let me know below! x

WWW Wednesday

WWW wednesday is hosted by Sam on Taking on a World of Words. Everyone can participate in answering the three questions below and posting a link on Sam’s website or just answer the questions on her post, if you don’t have a blog.

the three questions are:

1.) What are you currently reading?
2.) What did you recently finish reading?
3.) What do you think you’ll read next?


1. What I’m Currently Reading

1984

1984 by George Orwell

thoughts: we were supposed to finish today in school but we didn’t. So it means we’re still going to be reading it when we come back in 2018. Ugh, is my main thought.

vile village

The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket


2. What I Recently Finished 

ersatz elevator

The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket

thoughts: I really enjoyed this. I love how the series is starting to get closer to unravelling the whole VFD mystery and I’m glad the Quagmires are being incorporated into more!

sacrifice box

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

thoughts: I finally got around to finishing this and I adored it! A full review will be coming soon but I thought it was so unique and engrossing!

lhaof

Love Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

thoughts: so I feel like last week was a good week for reading because I finished this ebook soon. A full review will be coming soon but I really liked this one! It was so tense!


3. What I’m Going to Read Next

everless

Everless by Sara Holland

 

And what about you all? What are your current reads? Let me know below!

Top 10 Books of 2017

Hey everyone!

I’m here today with my TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2017!

It was incredibly hard to choose from but in the end I had to go with my gut and what books I read this year that I enjoyed the most!

 

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

This has definitely made my top 10 books of 2017 because it’s now one of my favourite books of all time. I loved the diversity and the mystery threaded throughout from start to finish. I’m so excited for Oseman’s third novel coming next year!

 

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

I love the theme of friendship that this book heavily focused on and I’m so glad this was an amazing book I read this year that introduced me to the wonderful Sara Barnard!

 

S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett

I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did but I’m glad I picked it up before I met the author at Deptcon3! I’m incredibly excited for the next instalments!

 

Release by Patrick Ness

I can always depend on Patrick Ness to deliver heartbreaking yet heartwarming masterpieces, and this year’s Release was no difference! What an incredible achievement he must feel to be the author of that wonderful work of art!

 

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

Similar to Ness above, I can always rely on Holly Bourne to bring us yet another fabulous book filled with feminism, laugh-out-loud humour and fantastic friendships! She even got the romance in this book right on so many levels!

 

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin  Alire Sáenz

I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages and I finally got around to it thanks to LGBTQMonth, and all of the hype surrounding it did not disappoint!

 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare and her world of Shadowhunters will always have a special place in my heart, so considering the newest instalment of the Dark Artifices came out this year means it’s 100% making the list of my top 10 books!

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited is a glorious book full of heartwarming moments, loveable characters and a diversity like no other!

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

I read this series during the summer and it is phenomenal! I particularly loved the first book in the series because it was my first V. E. Schwab book and it also introduced me to the fantastic world she creates!

 

Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy

I feel Hennessy’s books are so underrated but they shouldn’t be because they’re both so brilliant! But her newest gem this year totally knocked it out of the park for me, and it should be read by everyone – any boy, girl, person, teenager, child, adult out there!

ARC Review: I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

i am thunder

I Am Thunder

by Muhammad Khan

YA Contemporary


Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem, who dreams of being a writer, struggles with controlling parents who only care about her studying to be a doctor. Forced to move to a new school in South London after her best friend is shamed in a scandal, Muzna realizes that the bullies will follow her wherever she goes. But deciding to stand and face them instead of fighting her instinct to disappear is harder than it looks when there’s prejudice everywhere you turn. Until the gorgeous and confident Arif shows an interest in her, encouraging Muzna to explore her freedom. 

But Arif is hiding his own secrets and, along with his brother Jameel, he begins to influence Muzna with their extreme view of the world. As her new freedom starts to disappear, Muzna is forced to question everything around her and make a terrible choice – keep quiet and betray herself, or speak out and betray her heart?


Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy and also to the publisher for providing me with a physical ARC in exchange for an honest review!

This was such an empowering, important read! I’ve to start off by saying that I’m so happy that this book had a Muslim protagonist and focused so much on her family and their views! I think every person out here should read this to inform themselves about the Islam faith and not give into its stereotypes.

I was engrossed with this book from the first page. I loved how I got so heavily invested into one story and then all of a sudden everything changed, and I was reading about a whole different plot that was so huge and significant and timely.

Muzna had such a strong voice as our main character too that it was so hard not to get invested in her story. If I could change one thing about this book, however, it would be that I felt so much of the scenes were unsynced. Like one would end so abruptly and you would be expecting the next chapter to pick up where it left off with a further explanation, but it just jumped straight to another, somtimes irrelevant moment in her story that left me confused at times.

But other than that, I really enjoyed I Am Thunder and can’t wait till it hits shelves in 2018!


Rating:

★★★★

ARC Review: Goodbye, Perfect

goodbye perfect

Goodbye, Perfect

by Sara Barnard

YA Contemporary


When I was wild, you were steady . . .
Now you are wild – what am I? 

Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.

Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.

As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself. 


*Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me a digital copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review!*

I am, and forever will be I’d say, a sucker for anything Barnard writes.

So I’m sure it’s obvious that I was absolutely over the moon that I got approved for her newest upcoming book. And to no surprise whatsoever, I flew through it because it was amazing!

My favourite thing about Sara’s writing is how well she captures teenagers! She’s up there alongside Holly Bourne with my favourite authors who write teenagers so well, who really get and understand us. The craziness and stress we have to deal with, as well as dealing with every day relationships with parents and friends and boy/girlfriends. It’s something I particularly admire about Barnard’s writing and she didn’t shy away from it in this book. Bonnie and Eden are both complex, contrasting characters and I feel Barnard really used this well to highlight their differences but also the strong bond they share and the feelings going through their heads.

The book was hard for me to put down, because there was a shocking twist after twist after twist. It was enjoyable from start to finish and I really liked to see a main character who was adopted – and such a positive outtake on it as well! I would recommend this for fans of Alice Oseman’s amazing Radio Silence because I got a similar vibe from it, because it shows how stressful and awful exams and school can be, and the consequences of them and how people react!

I can’t wait until this is published in February, 2018 so I can get my hands on a physical finished copy to put beside my other two beautiful copies of Barnard’s books!


Rating:

★★★★★

WWW Wednesday

WWW wednesday is hosted by Sam on Taking on a World of Words. Everyone can participate in answering the three questions below and posting a link on Sam’s website or just answer the questions on her post, if you don’t have a blog.

the three questions are:

1.) What are you currently reading?
2.) What did you recently finish reading?
3.) What do you think you’ll read next?


1. What I’m Currently Reading

1984

1984 by George Orwell

thoughts: yup, I’m still reading this. It’s taking forever since we’re doing it in school. We’re near the end however so hopefully we’ll be finished next week.

sacrifice box

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

thoughts: yup, I’m still reading this too. It’s not that’s it not good – I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s just this school year is having an awful affect on my reading and I hate it.

lhaof

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

thoughts: I’ve started this since last Wednesday because it’s my newest ARC I got from Netgalley. I’m about 70% through and I really, really like it. My review will hopefully be up soon when I finish but I love how the main character is an Indian Muslim girl!


2. What I Recently Finished

austere academy

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket

thoughts: I read this quite quickly since it was such a short book, and this series is always a fond favourite of mine. I quite liked this instalment, especially since it introduces the Quagmires and VFD!


3. What I’m Going To Read Next

ersatz elevator

The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket

vile village

The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket

 

And what about everyone else? What are your next reads going to be, or what books have you recently enjoyed? Let me know!

Favourite Albums of the Year

Hi everyone!

So for today’s post, I’m going to be doing something a little different. I’m not going to be talking about books at all…. *gasps* I know, shocker!

But since I’m doing Blogmas I wanted to take this opportunity of reflection to look back at the music of this year. I’ve always loved music, probably since around when Glee started, but I think this was the year that I fell hard. I’d only went to one concert ever before 2017, and this year alone I attended four!

This year, as well, was a superb year for music too. It was difficult to only pick a few, but I just had to go with my gut.


Melodrama by Lorde

melodrama

This album was everything to me. Hands down the best album of the year, maybe even one of the greatest albums of the decade. I’d fallen in love with Lorde a while after Pure Heroine so as soon as she announced she was dropping Green Light followed by her second album a few months later, I was extremely excited. When it finally came out, I lay in bed and pkayed the album from start to finish at midnight of the day in Summer it came out. All these songs felt so personal to me, and I love each one of them. If I had to pick a favourite it would have to be Hard Feelings/Loveless. It’s the one I feel I connect with the most, especially the first half of the song. Her vocals are incredible on this and her lyrics are a simple, poetic masterpiece. I love this so album so much that I want my first tattoo to be in honour of this work of art. Lorde poured her heart and soul into this album and I respect her so much for it. I even bought tickets for her concert in Manchester, even though I live in Ireland. When she announced her tour but nothing was said about Dublin, I just couldn’t not be a part of the Melodrama World Tour. I was lucky enough to be at the very first show in this tour and I have to say that she is a phenomenal performer. I don’t think there are enough words to describe my undying love and appreciation for this woman.


÷ (Divide) by Ed Sheeran

divide

I’ve always been a fan of Ed Sheeran too since his first album, so he was another artist that I was so happy to be getting another album off him in 2017. I’m pretty devastated that I didn’t get tickets to any of his gigs for this tour (believe me, I tried) but that still doesn’t take away from how amazing this album is. He has some of the most beautiful lyrics ever and his voice is just so good. He’s incredibly talented at what he can do and I couldn’t be prouder!


Evolve by Imagine Dragons

evolve imagine dragons

I’ve already said this for the past two but I’ve been a massive Imagine Dragons fan ever since they released their first album. I saw them for their Smoke and Mirrors tour in 2015 and I’m so happy I’m seeing them again for their Evolve tour!!  This album did not disappoint and I love their new style!


American Teen by Khalid

american teen

Khalid was a new artist that I got into this year! When I found out he was opening for Lorde’s show, I checked out his debut album and loved it more than I was expecting. I’m so excited to see what he does next and he’s a great live performer. Young, Dumb & Broke and Location and 8TEEN were instant faves.


Reputation by Taylor Swift

reputation

I don’t particularly like Taylor Swift as a person but I can’t deny she makes hella good music! I was not at all expecting to like Reputation but I started to really dig her singles when she released them (except Look What You Made Me Do – yikes, that’s terrible) and when I started listening to it when it was dropped on Spotify – it was incredible! Instant faves: Getaway CarEnd Game and This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.


Everyday is Christmas by Sia

everyday is christmas

As an artist, Sia’s always just been there for me. Like, I didn’t actively listen to her music but always enjoyed it when it came on and appreciated her outstanding voice. But when I heard she was dropping a Christmas album, it immediately appealed to me. And this album of 10 songs is incredible! Some of my upbeat favourites are Ho Ho Ho and Candy Cane Lane but I adore other softer ones like Snowman and Snowflake and Underneath the Mistletoe!

 

So there you have some of my favourite albums of the year! What about all of you? Let me know some of your favourite music this year in the comments!

ARC Review: How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne

HDYLMN

How Do You Like Me Now?

by Holly Bourne

Adult Contemporary


Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?

There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot.

But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about marriage, but everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.

When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.

It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?

The debut adult novel by bestselling author Holly Bourne is a blisteringly funny, honest and moving exploration of love, friendship and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of your thirties.


*Thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!*

Holly Bourne is definitely up there in my top three writers, so I was absolutely chuffed when I was approved for the ARC of her upcoming adult debut!

I must admit I was a bit hesistant going into this on whether I would like it or not, seen as I don’t usually read a lot of adult. But it was completely unnecessary because How Do You Like Me Now?, like every other of her books, was FANTASTIC.

I only finished It Only Happens in the Movies recently but I was already missing Bourne’s laugh-out-loud writing style terribly. This book was everything – I was hooked from page one. The writing was of course funny and sharp and so bloody realThe great thing about Bourne as a writer – whether it be YA or Adult – is that she manages to express everything to realistically and not sugarcoat things just for the sake of it. Her characters are always so true and genuine and honest and it’s something I love about her as a writer.

At times it reminded me of Bridget Jones, which is the best thing ever because I adore Bridget Jones just like any other sane person. This book is so brilliant and I love the various types of media woven throughout. How we get a look into Tori’s personal life with her texts and Facebook updates, as well as the posts she makes to the numerous fans of her memoir.

I just wish this didn’t end so quickly. I loved this book so much, and I’m so proud of Bourne for the transition from YA to Adult. And I must admit the end did scream out for a sequel 😉

I JUST WANT MORE TORI!



Rating: 

★★★★★ (+ten times more!)

 

Guest Post: Han @ Queens of Geekdom

Hey guys!

Today I’m back with another guest post and this time it’s Han at Queens of Geekdom! It’s another Christmas interview just like Amy’s, but go and check out her amazing blog!


 

Introduce yourself and your blog! What’s your favourite books and authors?

My name is Han (@hscptcrash), I blog at www.queensofgeekdom.com and write for www.cultbox.co.uk My all time favourite books are Jurassic Park by Michael Critchon, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Ready Player One by Earnest Cline and the Heartsick series by Chelsea Cain. 

What’s your favourite Christmas present you ever received as a child?

My favourite present I recieved as a child was my first ever mobile phone. My mum had repeatedly said no, so my brother bought me one and I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years that he would buy me one. It was a Trium Mars, looked like a bubble and I loved it so much.

How did you learn the truth about Santa Claus?

Might sound weird, but I don’t remember. Almost like with Star Wars Empire reveal, it was something that I realised slowly to the point it felt like I always knew. I feel as if this was the best way; no lasting feeling of being duped.

Favourite Christmas song?

My favourite is the Darkness’ Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) It’s taken a number of years to grow on me, but it’s just a lovely bit of fun.

Favourite Christmas books?

These are not books that contain anything remotely Christmassy, but are instead ones that I’ve read around Christmas time: The Martian by Andy Weir, Armarda by Earnest Cline and Shift by E M Bailey.

What are you asking for Christmas this year?

I haven’t asked for anything this year. However, if I could ask ‘Santa’ I would ask for a set of notebooks and the perfect pen that gives me wonderful writing. This may seem silly, but I’d ask for the confidence and circumstances to ensure I have a boyfriend for the following Christmas. I had my heart broken this year, but I’m ready to get back into the world and date.

What are you doing for Christmas this year?

I’m spending it with my dad. It’s not going to be very Christmassy (no tree, no setting the table), but I’m going to make the most of what we have. After all, there will be Doctor Who.

And finally – Brussel Sprouts? Yay or nay?

A world of yes. Either halved or shredded, fried with bacon and chestnuts.


Thanks so much to Han for agreeing to guest on my blog as part of my blogmas 2017!