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October Recap: Being real; my journey with health & learning from my failures

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October has a very interesting month for me – a lot of introspection, a lot of asking myself what I want to do with my life and future, and still a lot of uncertainty. Despite my hopes in my previous recap, I don’t quite know what my 2017 will look like.¬†It’s been stressful and nervewacking, but I am soldiering on because, what else can you do?

For this recap, I’ve changed the¬†Around the Blogosphere¬†section a little bit – I’ll only be posting discussion posts – because don’t want this post to be too¬†long and¬†I want to talk about other things more.¬†:)

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The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years‚ÄĒa world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity‚ÄĒonly to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

I remember finishing this book in the wee hours of the morning, and¬†I rolled over in my bed and I just…¬†happy sighed.¬†

The Forbidden Wish made my heart swell; swell from its romance, its enchanting world, and the feeling of absolute wonder that this book evoked. It is a gorgeous retelling of Aladdin, but with a twist: the genie/jinni is a girl. Although the story is based on another, The Forbidden Wish manages to be an entirely different and unique story that is captivating from start to finish.

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Mini-Reviews: My Adventure into Non-Fiction

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I’m doing something a little different and a little new today! For one,¬†I never read¬†non-fiction,¬†and¬†I don’t usually write mini-reviews.¬†But today, as the title strongly implies, I’ll be sharing some mini-reviews of non-fiction books I have read in the last two months!

Before August this year, I was never interested in non-fiction. I enjoy reading because I enjoy the act of escaping into another world. Reading non-fiction, I discovered, offers something else: it offers insight, it can humanize, and it can implore. I loved the four non-fiction books I read in August and September – three were biographies and one was a series of essays, and I can’t wait to tell you about them today!

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Let’s Talk About: ‚ÄėIssues‚Äô Stories, Happy Stories & Why We Need Both

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Earlier this month in October, T wrote a thread on Twitter about criticizing problematic portrayals that are ‘realistic’. The idea of today’s discussion post came to me after reading T’s tweets, and I felt compelled¬†to reflect on¬†my preference of books that tackle marginalized social identities.

In today’s¬†Let’s Talk About, I talk about¬†the importance of reading books that explore social issues, particularly those relating to¬†people of marginalized identities and what they may face and experience, as well as why it is important – in fact,¬†necessary¬†– to have happy stories too.

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Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

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Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend‚ÄĒwho might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California‚ÄĒwhere gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.

Before reading this book, I was largely ignorant to the California Gold Rush between 1848 to 1855. After reading Walk on Earth a Stranger, I may still be far from fluent in the history but Carson has written a wonderful story that gives us insight to what it might have been like, propelled by one heck of a sweeping story about what it means to be brave.

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Book Recs: It’s a Kind of Magic

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I owe my love of reading to magic. Not only the kind where we are pulled into imaginative worlds and are capable of experiencing a spectrum of emotion and feeling, but the literal kind. At age eight, I refused to read — until my primary school teacher read a chapter of¬†Harry Potter.¬†Thereafter, I developed an insatiable love for reading, and haven’t looked back since.

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida C√≥rdova

labyrinth-lost

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

This is a book of wonders. 

Labyrinth Lost is a blend of fantasy and adventure filled with dark creatures and magic, captivating but terrifying otherworlds, but, at its heart, is a powerful tale about family, love, and identity. The balance between fantasy and thematic is delicate, but the protagonist, Alejandra, and her journey to save her family and self-discovery is the driving force of the story. The results are spectacular; what we get is a story that stretches the imagination but is also full of heart.

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