Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Sign Up Post! #YARC2019

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Sign Up Post! #YARC2019

Some pretty cool people (more specifically Lily, Shealea, Vicky and CW) have come together to host a reading challenge to celebrate Asian literature. The aim of this challenge is to read as many books written by Asian authors.

In order for a book to count, it must be started and finished within 2019. I really enjoy how laid back this challenge is and for someone like me, whose time available to read/blog fluctuates very easily, it’s often really difficult to participate in reading challenges. I’ve already planned to read more books by Asian authors but I thought it would be cool to join this challenge and document the books I do find! There’s no set number of books to read, just levels to reach which depend on how many books you end up reading!

I really like how all the levels are based on different animals in Asia. I initially got brave and thought I will be able to hit the Bengali tiger level, which is reading more than 50 books, but then I had to take into account university assignments and life, in general, so I’m aiming for the Malayan tapir level, which is to read around 31-40 books.

Green and blue award badge with a Malaya Tapir in the center, and with three gold stars above the award.
My journal spread for #YARC2019!

I’ll be updating my main progress on Twitter! You can follow me @zaheerahkhalik if you’re interested! If you’re interested in joining too, here’s one of the official sign-up posts.

Review: All The Lonely People

Review: All The Lonely People

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5/5)

*I received a copy via the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

When Kat becomes the target of an alt-right smear campaign, she has no choice but to erase her entire online presence. Suddenly, Kat is fading, and only The Lonely People know what to do. Wesley realises that people are forgetting Kat and he has to help her, even if he was partially responsible for it. 

I think what was best about this book was the portrayal of the toxic parts of the internet. These people who spew negative, hateful things into the world have solid fan bases, often young kids. Kat is one of the newest victims of a right-wing YouTuber who enables his fanbase to act violently, to hack into her website, her safe space, and completely violate her privacy.
Kat’s entire arc was the story for me. She’s created this online side of herself where she’s free to speak about anything she wants. She discusses fandom positivity and the beauty of the internet. And then it’s gone, and she had to work with Safa, a fellow faded person, to discover what to do next. Her chapters were more interesting to read. 

Welsey is a part of the boys who look up to these YouTubers, act on their behalf on these so-called man-hating feminists who want to get rid of them. He’s very much aware that what he’s doing is terrible, and what was irritating was how he never really owns up to what he’s done. He often blames his surroundings, his upbringing which caused him to find friendship in an alt-right fanbase. Kat seems to be the only person with sense and often calls him out, not outright because no one can interact with a faded person. The ending suggests Wesley works towards becoming a better person. But, personally, I found it difficult to forgive. 

The outright dismissal of online friendships was a downfall as well. Kat essentially fades because once her site is shut down, she has nothing, no other connection to people, therefore begins to fade. It comes across as seeing online relationships as less authentic and not real. And it’s quite dangerous in this book because it does show how real the internet can be, how anyone with a large enough following can have people do their terrible bidding. It’s not as nuanced as the book believes it is. 

All The Lonely People certainly is unique. The notion of fade to represent feeling invisible while discussing online culture in our current digital age is fascinating. It’s a shame I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. 


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Best books I’ve read in 2018!

Best books I’ve read in 2018!

Today’s post is a recap for some of the books I had enjoyed this year. My top 18 reads of 2018!

I managed to read 102 books this year, and I’m very impressed with myself. I was ridiculously busy with university and work, this year, I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete the challenge I set for myself. I usually set my goal around 50 because it’s more attainable for me, and since last year, I had a really bad reading year, I wanted to do better.

I guess I did do better this year since I managed to read more, but I didn’t read differently this year. I want to read more than just Young Adult novels and I want to try going into Adult fiction and other areas of books that I otherwise wouldn’t have touched. But I was set back a lot by university which meant I just ended up reading what I requested on NetGalley or my backlist. But I do want to branch out for 2019 and read more differently and diversely.

So, without further ado, my top 18 reads of 2018! (In no particular order!)

  1. The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

A music-loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.

All I can say for now is: Emotional and stunning. I’m part of the blog tour for this in February so catch my review and playlist for this book then!

  • A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

I know I said I didn’t have an exactly number one favourite this year, but Expanse is the one that hit the highest. I wasn’t exactly impressed by the Shatter Me series, at least, not until the latest release, but Expanse blew me away. For years, I hadn’t touched anything Tahereh Mafi wrote because I didn’t like Shatter Me when it first came out. But this book changed everything. I adore Tahereh on social media, but now I’m a huge fan of her work. | my review

  • Sadie by Courtney Summers

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.

This book was pure greatness. It was so much fun to read, especially the audiobook, since it plays out like a podcast as well. Part mystery, part drama. All round pretty good read. | my review

  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility

Schwab has been on my to-read list for years. Even before I started this blog, and I finally managed to find time to read at least one of her books this year and I’m glad it was Vicious. It was such a surprise to read and so much fun. I never wanted to not stop reading a book as much as this one. | my review

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Review: The Fallen Children

Review: The Fallen Children

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Night out’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterward Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.

One night everyone inside Midwich Towerfall unconscious in a mass blackout. No one can explain why they all fell asleep at the same time, or what had happened during those hours, but soon after residents Keisha and others realise they’re all pregnant. And something isn’t right about these kids.

I really enjoyed how David Owen was trying to address the themes of guilt, shame and judgment of young people. Its concept is quite intriguing which attempted to examine the treatment of young children via its supernatural themes. The diverse cast of characters is what pulled me to this book.

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Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Longest Books I’ve Ever Read
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature once hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten (or your own amount) accordingly.

As per the title, these are the ten longest books I’ve read. I’ve excluded a couple for many reasons, for example, I didn’t put down Deathly Hallows because there wasn’t much of a difference between Order of the Phoenix and I excluded non-fiction books I’ve read for school and university.

ttt_longestbooks_book_1

1. Les Misérables

Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.

2. A Game of Thrones

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

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ASTRO (아스트로) 2ND MAKESTAR PHOTOBOOK UNBOXING

ASTRO (아스트로) 2ND MAKESTAR PHOTOBOOK UNBOXING

Today’s post is going to be a little different. I’ve decided to do an unboxing review of ASTRO’s Second Makestar Photobook. For those who don’t know ASTRO, they are a six-member K-Pop boy group, and they are my absolute favourite!

I became a fan around the time the first photobook was happening. But I never bought it because of 1. I hadn’t yet realised how much I would love them and their music yet 2. I actually couldn’t afford the photobook at the time. So when the second time came around, I knew I had to purchase one!

I will include a youtube video I made of me unboxing the photobook, the toy stamps and the extra goodies we received every time we reached a stretch goal. (We received photo cards, postcards, bookmarks and then a poster) I also do a little flip through of the book. (Not all of the book though, it’s pretty massive and would’ve made the video twenty minutes long) I did intend this to be a speaking unboxing but I, unfortunately, was sick at the time of filming but imagine me fangirling as I go through the goods because I was!

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