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#TheReadingQuest Update #1

Hello! Today #TheReadingQuest has been going on for a week, and I’m having an amazing time. I think this might be the most productive and fun reading week I’ve ever had. I’ve completed the Rogue’s quest, one side quest and read three books for the Mage’s quest already. All in all that’s nine books. I wish my reading pace would stay like this forever!

Below are all the books I’ve read in the first week.

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A BANNED BOOK: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, 4 stars

I started my quest with a book I’ve had on my shelf for ages. I don’t know why I’ve never read any of Khaled Hosseinis books before, but I’m very glad this challenge pushed me to pick one up now. This was a beautifully written and incredibly well crafted novel about friendship, family and the choices we make. The only thing that kept me from giving it a 5 star rating is the fact that it was a little too well crafted for my taste. Everything wrapped up a little too neatly. It didn’t leave me with much to ponder.

A BOOK WITH A PARTIALLY OBSCURED FACE ON THE COVER: Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali, 4 stars

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Janna Yusuf is one of the best YA heroines I’ve had the pleasure of reading about in a while. She’s an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager dealing with the issues most teenagers do: family expectations, friendships, schoolwork, her first crush. Janna also has a secret. His name is Farooq and he tried to rape her. He’s a monster, but everyone thinks he’s a saint. Only Janna knows the truth, but what will happen if dares tell it?

My favorite thing about this book was reading about so many fantastic Muslim girls. Nuanced portrayals of diverse characters are so important and this books does an awesome job of delivering that.

A BOOK WITH <500 RATINGS ON GOODREADS: La mucama de Omicunlé by Rita Indiana Hernández, 4 stars

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This little book set in past and future Santo Domingo is a stange blend of environmental dystopian sci-fi and afro-Caribbean mythology. It’s MC is a trans man who acquires the ability to exist simultaneously on multiple timelines through contact with a mysterious sea anemone. It’s even weirder than it sounds. I really liked it.

A BOOK PUBLISHED BY A SMALL PRESS: Marriage of a Thousand Lies by S.J. Sindu, 5 stars

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Published by Soho Press, this was one my most anticipated 2017 releases and it did not disappoint me at all.

Lucky is a lesbian, her husband Krishna is gay. They both date on the side. They go out to gay bars together. They also go to Sri Lankan weddings and  gatherings together, pretending to be the perfect couple to appease Luckys traditional family and the community. It’s unorthodox, but it works. Then Lucky’s childhood friend and first love reappears in her life on the cusp of her own arranged marriage and everything changes.

This is an utterly fascinating exploration of sexuality, gender, marriage and cultural identity. It’s also a beautiful and heartbreaking story about family ties, first loves and the cost of finding your voice and choosing your own path.

A BOOK WITH A ONE WORD TITLE: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor, 4 stars

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What if aliens came to earth, and what if they landed in the bustling metropolis of Lagos?

Lagoon is the third books I’ve read by Nnedi Okorafor, and even though it wasn’t my favorite of hers it’s really cemented her as on of my absolute favorite writers. I love the worlds she creates and the characters that inhabit them. Something about the way she writes makes the impossible seem not only possible, but downright likely. Why wouldn’t the motorway eat people for example? And who knows what really lurks at the bottom of the sea?

A BOOK BASED ON MYTHOLOGY: The Star-Touched Queen  by Roshani Chokshi, 5 stars

The first book I chose to read for the Mage’s quest was this beautiful retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth. Of all the books I’ve read for the quest so far, this one is my favorite. It’s a lush and vibrant story set in a magical version of ancient India written in the most gorgeous prose. To steal the words of another creator of magical worlds and epic love stories: It’s beautiful and full of monsters – Laini Taylor. I loved it.

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A BOOK THAT CONTAINS MAGIC: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, 3 stars

When I read the description of this book I gasped. Cause there’s no way a book about time-traveling pirates set in Hawaii could be anything less than absolutely magical, right? Well, kinda.

The biggest strength of the book lies in it’s setting and it’s characters. Maybe I’m partial, cause I’d read anything set in Hawaii. But it’s obvious that the author knows the island well and it truly comes alive on the pages. As do the characters. They’re all complex individuals with credible motivations which are sometimes at odds, and it’s fascinating to watch them navigate the fraught waters of love, friendship and family.

Sadly the plot’s so messy it quickly became mere background noise to me. The crew becomes involved with some kind of heist. Or is it a coup. Who knows. Not me.

THE FIRST BOOK OF A SERIES: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, 3 stars

I finally jumped on the bandwagon and read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. People have a lot of opinions on this book. A lot of people love it, and a lot of people hate it. I…liked it. It’s a good book. It’s beautifully written, the characters are interesting, the plot is engaging. The action parts were great, I just wish we could’ve seen more of that and maybe a little less of the make-out sessions. I really like where it ended though, so I’m very excited to continue with the series.

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MINI GAME: Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor, 5 stars

This was the first time I strayed from my tbr, and it probably won’t be the last. I’m amazed I managed 8 books before it happened, I’m usually terrible at sticking to tbrs. After I finished Lagoon I was really craving some more Nnedi Okorafoor,  and I realized this one would fit this challenge perfectly.

It’s the sequel to the novella Binti, so I won’t say much about the plot. But considering the title it literally Binti: Home, I don’t think I’m giving away too much when I say that Binti returns home to her people in this installment. I absolutely loved this novella, I think i’s miles better than the first in the series – which is also very good. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger though. So I can’t wait to read the third one and find out what happens next.

 

Hopefully the second week will be as successful as the first one! I’m currently reading The Wrath & The Dawn and really loving it – so it’s off to a good start already. I hope everyone else participating is having as much fun as I am and reading lots of amazing books!

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