Review: Heroine’s Journey

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Heroine’s Journey by: Sarah Kuhn

My Rating: 4 Stars

If there’s one thing Beatrice Tanaka never wanted to be, it’s normal. But somehow, her life has unfolded as a series of “should haves.” Her powers of emotional projection should have made her one of the most formidable superheroes of all time. And she should have been allowed to join her older sister Evie as a full-fledged protector of San Francisco, pulverizing the city’s plethora of demon threats.

But Evie and her superheroing partner, Aveda Jupiter, insist on seeing Bea as the impulsive, tempestuous teenager she used to be–even though she’s now a responsible adult. And that means Bea is currently living a thoroughly normal life. She works as a bookstore lackey, hangs out with best friends Sam Fujikawa and Leah Kim, and calms her workplace’s more difficult customers. Sure, she’s not technically supposed to be playing with people’s mental states. But given the mundanity of her existence, who can blame her?

When a mysterious being starts communicating with Bea, hinting at an evil that’s about to overtake the city, she seizes the opportunity, hoping to turn her “should haves” into the fabulous heroic life she’s always wanted. But gaining that life may mean sacrificing everything–and everyone–she holds dear…

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger Warning(s): Grief, racism, manipulation, and bullying.

Reading Challenge(s): Book 16 for #StartOnYourShelfathon.

Rep: Evie and Bea are Irish-Japanese-American. Bea is queer. Aveda is Chinese American. Lucy is Puerto Rican-Mexican-British and is a Lesbian. Rose is Black and queer. Kevin is Black-Latino-Asian. Shruti is Indian-American. Leah is Black-Korean-American and queer. Sam and Nicole are Japanese-American. Nicole is queer. Nate, Scott, Letta, and Maisy are white.

My Thoughts Before Reading: I’ve owned the Heroine Complex series for years. I had initially bought the books because I heard that they would be fun. Also in part because of the rep and the superhero aspect.

I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it!

What I Liked: For this review I’ll be listing everything that I enjoyed in points. Rather than full paragraphs.

  1. Bea and Evie’s relationship is the most tense that it’s ever been. Despite fours years passing since the events of Heroine Worship, the two of them haven’t changed their views about each other. Evie still views Bea as a brat, and Bea still views Evie as an annoyingly suffocating older sister. The two of them finally decide to work on their relationship after Bea gets promoted to superheroine in training. There were many bumpy rocks, but they finally work things out. They also decide to see a therapist, so that they can work on their grief.
  2. It was great to read about her relationship with Aveda! The two of them didn’t really interact in the previous books and I was happy to read about them. I also loved that one scene with Nate.  
  3.  I loved Bea’s relationship with Leah! They were so supportive of one-another. We stan positive female friendships.
  4. Bea’s ex best friend Nicole plays a fairly big role. It was annoying to read about their interactions in the beginning. After some time I started to like what the author was doing. It was nice to see these former best friends reconcile and own up to their faults. I would really like this to be in more novels. Rather than always relying on the mean girl trope.
  5. Sam and Bea were fun to read about! I liked their easy going relationship and their academic rivalry. I liked seeing them being more with each other. Opening up to one-another in a way they didn’t do earlier. And eventually becoming a couple.
  6. I loved Bea’s growth! I didn’t enjoy reading about her abusing her powers, but I’m glad it happened so that she could grow as a character. I was sad to read about her going to Maui, but it made sense for her character arc. 

My Criticism(s): Absolutely nothing!

What I’m Looking Forward To: At this point I’ve already read (and thoroughly enjoyed) Unsung Heroine. Though I am excited to read Haunted Heroine!

Conclusion: Overall I loved Heroine’s Journey! I highly recommend this series.

Review: Heroine Worship

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Heroine Worship by: Sarah Kuhn

My Rating: 4 Stars

Once upon a time, Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) was demon-infested San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, a beacon of hope and strength and really awesome outfits. But all that changed the day she agreed to share the spotlight with her best friend and former assistant Evie Tanaka—who’s now a badass, fire-wielding superheroine in her own right. They were supposed to be a dynamic duo, but more and more, Aveda finds herself shoved into the sidekick role. Where, it must be said, she is not at all comfortable.

It doesn’t help that Aveda’s finally being forced to deal with fallout from her diva behavior—and the fact that she’s been a less than stellar friend to Evie. Or that Scott Cameron—the man Aveda’s loved for nearly a decade—is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder after what seemed to be some promising steps toward friendship. Or that the city has been demon-free for three months in the wake of Evie and Aveda’s apocalypse-preventing battle against the evil forces of the Otherworld, leaving Aveda without the one thing she craves most in life: a mission.

All of this is causing Aveda’s burning sense of heroic purpose—the thing that’s guided her all these years—to falter.

In short, Aveda Jupiter is having an identity crisis.

When Evie gets engaged and drafts Aveda as her maid-of-honor, Aveda finally sees a chance to reclaim her sense of self and sets out on a single-minded mission to make sure Evie has the most epic wedding ever. But when a mysterious, unseen supernatural evil rises up and starts attacking brides-to-be, Aveda must summon both her superheroine and best friend mojo to take down the enemy and make sure Evie’s wedding goes off without a hitch—or see both her city and her most important friendship destroyed forever.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger Warning(s): Controlling parents, racism, and bullying.

Reading Challenge(s): Book 14 for #StartOnYourShelfathon.

Rep: Evie and Bea are Irish-Japanese-American. Bea is queer. Aveda is Chinese American. Lucy is Puerto Rican-Mexican-British and is a Lesbian. Rose is Black and queer. Kevin is Black-Latino-Asian. Shruti is Indian-American. Nate, Scott, Dave, and Maisy are white.

My Thoughts Before Reading: I’ve owned the Heroine Complex series for years. I had initially bought the books because I heard that they would be fun. Also in part because of the rep and the superhero aspect.

I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it!

What I Liked: For this review I’ll be listing everything that I enjoyed in points. Rather than full paragraphs.

  1. Aveda and Evie actively try to improve their relationship. They don’t completely succeed, but I enjoyed seeing how everything played out.
  2. Aveda and Scott’s relationship was strained in the beginning. As time (and pages) progressed their relationship improved greatly. I loved the two of them as a couple!
  3. Aveda’s character development was so well done! I loved seeing her work on herself and fully realize the harm she caused those around her. She is definitely my favourite character.
  4. Aveda’s relationship with her parents is very strained even prior to the book series. I didn’t really like them in the beginning, but I loved seeing them grow with Aveda. I cried reading that scene with Aveda and her mother. 

My Criticism(s): Absolutely nothing!

What I’m Looking Forward To: Normally I’d say the sequel, but at the time where I’m writing this review, I have already read the sequel.

Conclusion: Overall I loved Heroine Worship! I highly recommend this series.

Review: Heroine Complex

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Heroine Complex by: Sarah Kuhn

My Rating: 4 Stars

Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine. She’s great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss’s epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she’s not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie’s forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest secret comes out: she has powers, too. Now it’s up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda’s increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right… or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger Warning(s): Grief, abusive parent, toxic friendship, negligent parent, experimentation, racism, and bullying.

Reading Challenge(s): Book 13 for #StartOnYourShelfathon.

Rep: Evie and Bea are Irish-Japanese-American. Bea is queer. Aveda is Chinese American. Lucy is Puerto Rican-Mexican-British and is a Lesbian. Rose is Black and queer. Kevin is Black-Latino-Asian. Nate, Scott, Shasta, and Maisy are white.

My Thoughts Before Reading: I’ve owned the Heroine Complex series for years. I had initially bought the books because I heard that they would be fun. Also in part because of the rep and the superhero aspect.

I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it!

What I Liked: I really liked the world building! The different types of demons were cool. And it was really interesting to see how the world dealt with the whole situation. While employing Aveda Jupiter, the government opened up a demon unit and gave them weapons similar to those in Ghostbusters.

I’m always looking for superhero books. Imagine my delight at not only finding an adult series, but also one with Asian superheroes! It’s always nice to see diversity in every genre. 

Female friendships is something I try to look for in books. It’s such a rarity in most genres and it means a lot to me. This is a large part of Heroine Complex.

Evie has been best friends with Aveda (real name is Annie) since they were in kindergarten. They have been supportive of one-another, been there for each other, and always looked out for the other’s best interests.

Over time their relationship became toxic. Aveda in her quest for perfection, has become controlling and manipulates Evie whenever she wants something. Evie has done nothing to stop Aveda. She thinks that in order to be a good assistant to Aveda, Evie should be able to handle Aveda’s tantrums.

Aveda is very annoying to read about in the beginning. And she remains so for a majority of the book. Evie in her own right enables Aveda’s behaviour. The intervention scene, and the bar scene really sold their relationship for me. After reading those scenes I felt that the two of them really could mend their relationship.

Evie and her sister Bea, have a very strained relationship. After their mother passed away, their father left leaving Evie to raise Bea. The trauma and their own issues (how they view and treat each other) has ruined their relationship.

Despite their rocky relationship, I really enjoyed reading about Evie and Bea! I loved how they always had each other’s backs. I admire Evie for having raised Bea all on her own.

I was not expecting to enjoy the romance as much as I did. Nate and Evie are very hostile towards each other. I wouldn’t call it out enemies to lovers, they simply don’t get along in the beginning. They have different opinions on how things should be done, and neither one of them wants to listen to the other.

What I enjoyed about their relationship is that they both apologized, if they ever did anything to hurt the other. They also owned up to their mistakes and actively worked on them.

I loved Evie’s character development! After pretending to be Aveda, Evie started to stand up for herself, became confident, and overcame her fear regarding her powers.

My Criticism(s): Absolutely nothing!

What I’m Looking Forward To: Normally I’d say the sequel, but at the time where I’m writing this review, I have already read the sequel.

Conclusion: Overall I loved Heroine Complex! I highly recommend this series.         

Monthly TBR: August 2020

August 1

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Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my monthly tbr for August. Like many of you I am partaking in CW’s #StartOnYourShelfathon. For more details please click on the link.

My goal for this readathon is to read as many owned books as possible, be it new releases or old ones. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you plan on reading in August!

Currently Reading:

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  1. Legendborn by: Tracy Deonn
  2. Labyrinth Lost by: Zoraida Córdova-#StartOnYourShelfathon

Middle Grade:

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  1. Front Desk by: Kelly Yang

Young Adult:

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  1. Bruja Born by: Zoraida Córdova-#StartOnYourShelfathon 

Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2020

July 3

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Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my July monthly wrap-up. I read 5 books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included.

I will also be sharing my wrap-up for CW’s #StartOnYourShelfathon, Noura’s #totallyspiesathon, and Lily’s #pixarathon. For more details please click on all the links. Let me know in the comments what you read in July!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

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  1. Today Tonight Tomorrow by: Rachel Lynn Solomon
  2.  More than Just a Pretty Face by: Syed M. Masood-Mini review

Book(s) that I Didn’t Enjoy (0-2 Stars):

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  1. A Duke by Default by: Alyssa Cole

Book(s) that I Enjoyed (3-4 stars):

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  1. Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World by: Burhana Islam, Nabi H. Ali (Illustrator), Reya Ahmed (Illustrator), Saffa Khan (Illustrator), Aaliya Jaleel (Illustrator), Deema Alawa (Illustrator), and Aghnia Mardiyah (Illustrator)
  2. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by: Talia Hibbert

#StartOnYourShelfathon:

 0 books.

#totallyspiesathon:

  1. A Duke by Default by: Alyssa Cole-Book 1
  2. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by: Talia Hibbert-Book 2

#pixarathon:

  1. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by: Talia Hibbert-Book 1 

Book Haul: July 2020

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Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my July book haul. Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled in July!

Library:

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  1. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by: Talia Hibbert

Ebook/Kubo/Kindle/Audible:

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  1. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku Vol. 4 by: Fujita

E-ARC(s):

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  1. Fall of Night by: D. K. Stone
  2. Amazing Who the Changed the World by: Burhana Islam, Nabi H. Ali (Illustrator), Reya Ahmed (Illustrator), Saffa Khan (Illustrator), Aaliya Jaleel (Illustrator), Deema Alawa (Illustrator), and Aghnia Mardiyah (Illustrator) 

Bookstore:

July books 

  1. Re: ZERO Starting Life in Another World Vol. 13 by: Tappei Nagatsuki, and Shinichirou Otsuka (Visual Art)
  2. Haunted Heroine by: Sarah Kuhn
  3. Eva Evergreen Semi-Magical Witch by: Julie Abe
  4. Front Desk by: Kelly Yang

Blog Tour: My Recommendations

Blog tour

Hear our voices blog tour

Hello everyone! Today as apart of the More Than Just a Pretty Face blog tour hosted by Hear Our Voices, I am going to be sharing some recommendations. All the recommendations feature Muslim characters. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Two images are from GR and the last one is from Google Images. A few of these may have some triggers. I’ll list the triggers. I would also suggest looking into triggers as well.

My Recommendations:

 Unfair & Ugly (TV Series 2018– ) - IMDb

Unfair and Ugly follows the Shaikh family, a Pakistani-American Muslim family. There’s Mushtak (the father), Zaynab (the mother), Haaris (the son), and Sana (the daughter). 

Mushtak is the patriarch, and constantly reminds his children not to disrespect him. Zaynab having spent most of her married life raising Haaris and Sana, does not understand either of them. Haaris is trying to take off his art business and to get his family to accept his girlfriend who is a Black Muslim. Sana has gotten recently engaged, just graduated from school, and may have depression.

Unfair and Ugly was the tv show I did not realize I needed! It was so relatable! And perfectly captured the Pakistani Muslim experience. I really appreciated how raw it was and that the show never shies away from taboo topics within the desi community. 

The show originally aired in 2018 consisting off 8 episodes in one season. Here is to hoping for a season two at some point!

Trigger Waring(s): Islamophobia, internalized racism, anti-Black racism, depression, discrimination, colorism, and xenophobia.

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Satoko and Nada follows Satoko who is Japanese rooming in America with Nada who is a Muslim from Saudi Arabia. The manga focuses on the cultural aspects and friendship between the two girls.

I loved the Muslim rep! The author managed to portray the beauty in the religion and does a successful job in tearing down the stereotypes usually representative in media. The relationship between the girls was fun and sweet! I love reading about female friendships.

Trigger Waring(s): None that I can think of. 

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The Candle and the Flame takes place in the city of Noor (which is near to the Silk Road) and follows Fatima. Eight years prior Fatima and Sunaina’s parents were murdered when the Shayateen attacked. Fatima, Sunaina, and a neighbor were the only survivors of that attack.

The Shayateen are attacking again. Seemingly trying to recreate the massacre from eight years ago. Fatima discovers a hidden power within herself. Something that may defeat the Shayateen. With the help of Zulfikar, Fatima sets out to prevent another war.

I really enjoyed this book! The rep was fantastic, and I loved how diverse the world was. The character arcs and plot were great. It’s such an underrated gem and I highly recommend.

Trigger Waring(s): Grief, PTSD, and survivors’ guilt.   

Blog Tour: Why I Love Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Amazing Muslims

Hello everyone! Today as apart of the Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World blog tour hosted by The Muslim Shelf, I am going to be sharing my post about why I love Ms. Marvel. Let me know what you think in the comments!

The information included in this post is from Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World and G. Willow Wilson’s Wikipedia page

Why I Love Ms. Marvel:

When I was asked to write about a Muslim that inspired me, I knew that I wanted to write about G. Willow Wilson. The creator of Ms. Marvel.

G. Willow Wilson loved superheroes growing up. When she was eighteen years old, she was rushed to the hospital. Her hair was falling out, she was dizzy and disorientated, she was losing weight and bone mass. No doctor seemed to know what was going on or how to help her. 

Wilson decided to turn to religion in hopes that she would heal. Islam was the religion that she connected with the most. Wilson practiced Islam on and off, until 2003 when she converted.

After working in the comic industry for a few years, Wilson received an offer at Marvel. Upon meeting with David Gabriel, she was offered a chance to co-create a new Ms. Marvel. Wilson alongside Sana Amanat created the new Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan. A Pakistani American Muslim superhero.

Both Wilson and Amanat knew they would receive a lot of backlash (from anti-Muslims and Muslims). Despite this knowledge both women poured their hearts and souls into creating Kamala. This new Ms. Marvel was received positively and even made it on The New York Times Best Seller list!

In 2018 I was craving some Muslim rep, so I decided to pick up Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal from my library. Thus, begun my journey with the series. 

I was not expecting much from Ms. Marvel. I had decided to pick it up because I’d heard that the rep was good. And it was convenient that my library had a copy. I knew absolutely nothing about the series. I was happily surprised to have loved it!

I started slowly burrowing all the volumes from my library. I got sucked in and did not realize just how much I craved Muslim rep until reading. I felt seen.

I adore Kamala! From her kind heart to her insecurities about her place in the world. It is hard not to love her and feel for her. I loved that she was always thinking about Allah whenever she saved people. How Kamala became a superhero because she felt that her powers were a gift from God, and it was her duty to use them justly. 

The reason I love Ms. Marvel is more than just the rep. I love the setting, the characters, the plot, the humor, and so on. You can tell that a lot of thought went into writing the series. Especially with how well the rep is done. And not just the Muslim rep but the Pakistani one as well.

It is clear that Wilson and Amanat knew that there was an audience for Kamala and that the world was ready for stories about Muslims. I now cannot imagine my life without reading a Ms. Marvel volume!

Monthly TBR: July 2020

July 1

startonyourshelfathon banner

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my monthly tbr for July. Like many of you I am partaking in CW’s #StartOnYourShelfathon, Noura’s #totallyspiesathon, and Lily’s #pixarathon. For more details please click on all the links.

My goal for these readathon’s is to read as many owned books as possible, be it new releases or old ones. While having fun! GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you plan on reading in July!

Currently Reading:

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  1. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by: Talia Hibbert
  2. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code by: Eoin Colfer

Young Adult:

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  1. Brooklyn Brujas 1-2 by: Zoraida Córdova-Series link

Adult:

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  1. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 46 by: Jun Mochizuki

Non-Fiction: 

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  1. Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World by: Burhana Islam

Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2020

June 2

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Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my June monthly wrap-up. I read 32 books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included.

I will also be sharing my wrap-up for the #StartOnYourShelfathon. The readathon is hosted by CW. Let me know in the comments what you read in June!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

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  1. The Honey-Don’t List by: Christina Lauren

Book(s) that I Enjoyed (3-4 stars):

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  1. Daytime Shooting Star Volumes 1-13 by: Mika Yamamori-Series link
  2. Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet Volumes 1-14 by: Mika Yamamori-Series link
  3. Can’t Escape Love by: Alyssa Cole
  4. Heroine’s Journey by: Sarah Kuhn-Wordpress review to come
  5. Unsung Heroine by: Sarah Kuhn

Favourite Book(s) of the Month (4-5 stars):

  1. The Eid Gift: An Adam and Zayneb Story by: S. K. Ali

#StartOnYourShelfathon:

  1. Heroine’s Journey by: Sarah Kuhn-Book 16
  2. Unsung Heroine by: Sarah Kuhn-Book 17