Monday, June 18, 2018

Love, Life, and The List book aesthetics

One thing I think I'd love to start posting are pictures that remind me of certain books!  I just finished Love, Life, and The List by Kasie West, and similar to her other novels, it was the perfect summer read.  

The main character, Abby, is an artist struggling to find herself when she's told that her paintings are lacking heart.  She makes a list of new experiences that help bring her out of her comfort zone, and the only person left in town to do them with is her best friend, Cooper.  As she struggles with her secret feelings for him, she learns a lot more about herself than ever before and even makes a few new friends along the way.

There were plenty of beach scenes and romance, therefore I chose these photos to represent the book:

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Review: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Title: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road
Author: Sheba Karim
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: June 5th, 2018
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author 

The summer after her freshman year in college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala and religious but closeted Umar. But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what better escape than New Orleans? 

 The friends pile into Umar's car and start driving south, making all kinds of pit stops along the way--from a college drag party to a Muslim convention, from alarming encounters at roadside diners to honky-tonks and barbeque joints. 

 Along with the adventures, the fun banter, and the gas station junk food, the friends have some hard questions to answer on the road. With her uncle's address in her pocket, Mariam hopes to learn the truth about her father (and to make sure she didn't inherit his talent for disappearing). But as each mile of the road trip brings them closer to their own truths, they know they can rely on each other, and laughter, to get them through.

Mariam, Umar, and Ghaz are three teens who have been emotionally damaged and scarred by their parents in very different ways.  Each of them, finding friendship and loyalty in each other, decide to go on a spontaneous road trip.  Along the way- like any good road trip story- the characters find themselves and come to realize that what they've got and who they are is better than what they've been chasing their entire lives.

Mariam's father abandoned her family when she was only two years old.  She's always wanted to know more about him, but her mother erased him from their lives.  She never even spoke much of him.  Umar comes from a very religious Muslim family, but he's gay and doesn't know how to fulfill that part of his life openly when he knows he would likely be disowned if he ever came out to them.  When Ghaz gets in trouble for a risque photoshoot, Mariam and Umar come together to rescue her, Rapunzel style.  They hit the road with one destination in mind: New Orleans.  With a car, your best friends, and a set of fake IDs, anything is possible.

I loved the character dynamics and the topics that this books touched on.  Mariam and her friends learn that you don't always need the traditional idea of a family; they're each other's family.  Racism and Islamophobia is present in this book as well, which I haven't gotten the chance to experience in many YA books thus far.  Going on a road trip through the south, you come across the narrow-mindedness of some, but can be pleasantly surprised by the understanding of others and I felt that this was an important lesson in this book.

Overall, I loved every second of Mariam Sharma Hits the Road!  There are great friendships, personal growth, and a ton of hilarious one-liners.  I especially enjoyed the fact that I'd been to a few of the locations mentioned in the book on a road trip of my own a couple years back.  It felt like I could relate to the characters even more!  I would definitely recommend to anyone in all walks of life, because it's a very relatable and heartwarming story.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Getting back into Bookstagram

Last year I wanted to try combining two of my favorite hobbies: reading and photography.  It was fun, but quickly became overwhelming, as I had much more on my plate than anticipated.  I couldn't invest much time on trying to rebuild a new social media account and I quickly ran out of unique creative ideas, so the account was put on hold.  One day, just last month, I woke up and wanted to start it up again!  I feel like I'm getting better everyday, and I love seeing what others in the community are posting.

Here are some of my recent Bookstagram posts!

If you would like to follow, you can find me here, at thehollowcupboards!
If  you bookstagram as well, I would love to follow you.  Please leave your links below!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

What I've Been Watching: Thirteen Reasons Why

(No Spoilers)

Season 2 of the controversial Netflix show, Thirteen Reasons Why, released just a couple weeks ago.  With the way that Season 1 got me hooked, I knew that I had to continue watching, just to see where they could possibly go from there.  The thing about season one, if you haven't seen it, is that it covered what happened (and then some) in the book, written by Jay Asher.  Season 2 is a completely new story to all viewers, so that's partially what reeled me in so fast.

One thing you will notice going into this season is that each episode holds a message from the cast regarding reaching out for help, making sure to leave the suicide hotline, and urging younger viewers to watch with a parent or guardian.  This season goes into more about the characters, or the "reasons" Hannah died.  In season 1, we heard her side of the story, but season 2 is all about the secrets she kept and the court battle between Hannah's parents and the school.

I may be the only one, but I was feeling some serious Pretty Little Liar vibes this season, because it had a lot to do with trying to find out the secrets of a dead girl.  The producers really took the viewers on a journey this time around.  While we've already gotten to see the aftermath of losing Hannah, delving deeper into each characters feelings and them trying to heal is an important part of this story.  I do have to say, there were scenes where it felt that the creators were reaching for that shock-factor.  I can certainly empathize, and I know there are teenagers going through many experiences similar to these every day, but there were certain things that I didn't feel necessary to include in the development of certain characters.

Overall, yes, I still consider this show among one of my current favorites!  It's edgy and pulls you in from the very start.  I like that they're not afraid to discuss and portray real issues.  If you like drama and mystery, this is definitely going to be a show for you.

Have you watched both seasons yet?  
Let's discuss in the comments below!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Currently Reading and June TBR

Where is the time going?  I can barely get one book read before the month is over; it's been such a busy year!  Hopefully now that it's summer, things can slow down and I can enjoy life.  June is my birthday month, and this year I'll be turning 26!  Every summer I get in the mood to read cute, fluffy contemporary romances, and this one is no different!

Currently reading:

Leah on the Off Beat by Becky Albertalli

It's taking me a LONG time to get through this one, only because I don't normally listen to audiobooks, and I keep forgetting to put it on when I'm cleaning and/or driving!  So far I'm enjoying it, though.  It's nice to be reacquainted with all of the characters from Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Saga Vol 2-8 by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

After falling in love with the first of this series, I knew that I had to get my hands on the next few volumes.  My best friend was able to loan me the copies she had, and I went ahead and bought the rest.

June/Summer TBR


By Your Side by Kasie West
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Summer screams the names of authors like Kasie West and Morgan Matson to me, and since there are a few Kasie West books I need to catch up on, I'm going to try and do that this month!

I've also heard great things about Sandhya Menon's books, so I decided to pick them up ASAP.  I can't wait to get started on When Dimple Met Rishi!  

And who doesn't love a good roadtrip book?  Mariam Sharma Hits the Road is about a cross-country trip to my favorite place, New Orleans!  Since I can't take my own roadtrip there right now, at least I can join these characters on theirs!

What are you hoping to read this summer?