Love, Hate and Other Filters Book Review

 

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*Major spoilers in the review*

Love, Hate and Other Filters was a book that I have been excited to read since I heard about it last year. I had heard a lot about it being a book about a Muslim teen and that for me was why I was so excited. I would finally see someone who was like me.

This book is about a Americal-Indian Muslim teenage girl, Maya Aziz who while she is in her final year of high school is victim to a hate crime after a terrorist attack happens near her small town. This book tackles some heavy topics, hate crime, islamophobia, racism.

I have such mixed feelings and I’m so torn as I really  wanted to like it but I think my expectations and how it was advertised left me feeling underwhelmed and just not liking the story or characters at all.

I felt like it was basically a fluff romance book for 90% of the time with some islamophobia and hate crime added in. It was also heavily advertised as a Muslim teen book yet Maya neither talks or acts on anything to do with her religion. The way it was advertised I was expecting there to be references that she is Muslim and she makes decisions or is struggling or something to do with her religion. But she never mentions it not even once. Her Indian culture is mentioned in her clothes or food or weddings etc but Indian culture is not the same as her religion.

There is even a scene where she’s at dinner with a boy that her parents have set her up with to meet and he orders wine and then says at least he isn’t eating pork. It can’t be justified by saying he doesn’t eat pork and it’s not even mentioned that just because he is drinking it (that’s his choice) it’s not actually allowed in Islam.

I also didn’t like the insta-love between her and Kareem and then the weird love triangle that continued for the first half of the book. I felt the fluff romance was far too dominating in the book and it just isnt my thing so I was really put off by it.

I also didn’t like Maya, she was a spoiled selfish brat. She was irresponsible and immature and acted like a 12 year old. She snuck around doing things behind her parents back and then was annoyed with her parents when they were upset with her about it. She didn’t tell them that she applied to NYU and when she dithery did eventually agree to let her go. Then after they were victims of a hate crime her parents were scared and changed their minds about letting her go. Instead of trying to maturely speak to them about it, she runs away! I understand that she has her passion and dreams but running away is no way to solve it especially in the middle of her parents dealing with the hate crime and fearing for their safety.

I felt like her parents were unfairly portrayed. She always complained about how her parents never understood her but I never actually read a single moment in which she actually tried to have a conversation and explain anything to them.

And throughout the story I didn’t see much character development aside from her finally telling her parents that she wants to go to NYU.

I also didn’t really see the relevance how the point of view from the bomber was relevant to the story. It was confusing to read and didn’t add to the story.

Okay so I know I’ve spoken a lot about what I didn’t like but I am glad that topics like islamophobia and hate crime are being discussed in books. It is needed, we need diverse books and diverse characters. And I’m glad there are more and more authors who are writing about these topics.

I also liked that there was references to Indian culture and I also really liked Maya’s friend Violet. She was a good and loyal friend. She defended and protected and supported Maya throughout the book. And I do wish we had got to see more of her.

I’m also glad that the author showed how much of an impact a hate crime can have on a family. It made them fear for their safety and how emotionally distressing it was. It showed how unfair it was to hold someone else responsible for a crime someone else commits.

Overall this book wasn’t for me. The advertising made it seem like the book was something it was not and this book was not for me. If you do like stories which has lots of romance then definitely give it a read but it was not my kind of book.

Rating: 2.5/5

 

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The Lines We Cross Book Review

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*Contains mild spoilers*

The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah is set in Australia and follows the story of Mina and Michael. Mina is an Afghani-Australian who had arrived in Australia as a refugee as a young child. Michael comes from a family whose parents are opposed to allowing Muslim refugees into the country.

It is told from both their points of view so we get to see the story unforld from both their perspectives. Mina is given a scholarship to attend a private school and this is where their paths cross. It causes them to think and reflect on what they have grown up being told as the truth.

I really loved this book! Not only was it a great story but the message is incredibly important. As this topic is relevant no matter where you live in the world. We all hear about how refugees are trying to escape their war torn country and are trying to get their family to safety.we hear how some want to help and others are opposed to allowing them to enter. It shows all these differing opinions through Mina and Michael and their friends and family.

Although this story has a romance that develops between Mina and Michael after they initially dislike each other. Their developing feelings for each other is what furthers the story but the political issues that are interwoven into the story which also creates obstacles for them, makes it a much deeper and compelling story.

The character development for Michael was so great, he starts off as a teenager who just goes along with whatever his parents say, blindly believing them but by the end he has learnt to reflect and think deeply for himself. My main issue was with Mina’s character development where I feel there wasn’t as much development for her. I feel her main purpose was to show Michael that his beliefs may not be correct.

I also loved the friendships in this especially between Mina and Paula. It balances the serious issues with more lighthearted topics. There’s a scene where they have a LoTR marathon including cosplaying as the characters. It was such a fun scene and I loved that they were slightly nerdy.

I would definitely recommend everyone reading this book. Not only is the message so important it’s such a great book to read. I read it in two evenings. I couldn’t put the book down!

Rating: 4.5/5

If you do read it let me know what you think!

Ramadan Reflection

I was told by the doctor that due to my health condition I will not be able to fast the whole of Ramadan as I need to take my medication regularly and should not miss them. I was really upset by this and felt that I would be missing out on this month. So I insisted on fasting the first day, and yes it was a mistake. It took me several days to recover from it.

But over this week what I’ve realised is that I don’t need to miss out on this month even though I’m not fasting. I can still pray and do all the other acts of worship. And that this is a blessing from Allah that he has allowed those that are ill to not fast as it will be too difficult for them and worsen their condition.

That I had sincerely wanted to fast and that the Prophet (saw) has told us that those who sincerely want to do something good but a prevented will still get the reward of doing that good deed.

So I am not missing out at all. But that Allah has made it easier for me to fulfill other acts of worship in which I can still gain rewards from. Something that I definitely wouldn’t be able to do if i was fasting.

That Allah knows what is best for us even if we think we know better.

The Seven Principles for making Marriage work book review

So I wanted to share some thoughts on this book, The seven principles for making marriage work by John Gottman. This book was actually recommend by Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed at her event that I attended last year about marriage.

My rating: 4/5
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This book teaches us methods that the author has tried and tested on many couples over the years to create a happy marriage. It has easy to follow exercises that you can do as a couple to help resolve conflicts, improve communication, nurture love, fondness and respect for each other.

I found the book very useful and insightful in helping to improve my own marriage. Although there are small things I disagree with the majority of the book is very relatable and easy to understand.

What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer, or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day to day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I call an emotionally intelligent marriage.

He first discusses signs of a unhappy marriage and one of the first things discussed in his book, are things that are so toxic to a marriage that he’s named it the four horsemen of the apocalypse. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. He discusses how these can create long term problems and eventually lead to the couple becoming emotionally distant and can even cause divorce if they aren’t dealt with.

Then each chapter discusses a principle that will help to achieve a happy marriage.

The first principle is Enhancing your love maps. He explains that couples with detailed love maps of each other are better able to cope with stressful events or conflicts. Having a detailed love map means that they are intimately familiar with each other’s worlds.

The second principle is nurturing your fondness and admiration for each other. This is where you build on the belief that your spouse is worthy of being respected and liked. Reminding yourself of your spouses positive qualities even if you struggle with a negative one.

The third principle is turning toward each other instead of away. So the little things you do on a day to day basis has a greater impact on your marriage than going away for a holiday for example. The way you respond to your spouse can have a big impact on your emotional connection.

The fourth principle is letting your partner influence you. It’s important that you and your spouse make decisions together and you honour and respect each other’s feelings and opinions.

The next principle that was discussed was the two types of conflict, one that you are able to solve and the other that is perpetual. He discussed ways in which we can solve the solvable conflicts through several techniques in how we discuss them.

The sixth principle was overcoming gridlock, where a couple is stuck on a conflict for so long they feel they can no longer move past it. They are conflicts that keep coming up again and again, issues with in laws, when to have children, how to raise your children etc. These issues may never be resolved completely but the goal was to move out of the gridlock and to be able to reach a compromise.

The last principle was creating a shared meaning, so you are not just roommates that have seperate lives but you have goals and you create a life together that has deeper purpose than just sharing chores and looking after kids.

I found this book hugely beneficial even though I read it feeling unsure as to what I would gain from it. His writing can be a bit annoying at times but it well worth reading. Everyone has issues in their marriage, especially at the beginning when we’re learning how to communicate and understand each other but this book actually has really helpful advice in making it more effective.

There was a few things I disagreed with, for example he said the husband should always side with the wife in a disagreement between his wife and his mother. I don’t think it’s just to do that. Instead the husband needs to always remain just in all situations.

I think this is beneficial for anyone who is looking to find ways to strengthen their marriage and help to build better communication and understanding and to resolve conflicts.

Also if you’re interested in books check out my Instagram account @thetsundokuchronicles

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When eating introduces someone to Islam

When eating introduces someone to Islam…
Abraham’s interest in Islam took off when he saw the special way that his Muslim friend ate. But he worried what his family, teachers and friends would think if he embraced Islam. Maybe they’d think that he was crazy?

Watch on to see how God guided him and helped him overcome…

World Book Day

Today is World Book Day! As I love books I always feel really excited about today and I thought I would share with you some of my favourite Islamic fiction and non-fiction books. Happy reading!

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1) She wore red trainers by Na’ima B Robert

So this fast became my favourite love story and the first halal love story I’ve read. I could completely relate to the characters throughput the book and what they were going through and seriously loved this story! Everyone needs to read this book! It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, basically it has everything you need in a book. I read this in one sitting!

2) The Echoes series by Jamilah Kolocotronis (5 book series)

So this is the first series I read that was classed as Islamic fiction, before this I didn’t even know that this genre existed! This is a story about a brother who reverts to Islam and how his life and his family’s life changes. Each book you see the development of him and his family and friends and it’s a series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There’s so many things brought up in this series and so amazingly woven into the story from racism to terrorism and everything else in between. Completely loved this series.

3) Normal Calm by Hend Hegazi

So this book I picked up because I read about it in sisters magazine and it really intrigued me because the story was about a young Muslim girl who is raped and how her journey through surviving progresses. It’s a heartbreaking story but one that needs to be told as its somethings that isn’t dealt with appropriately in our society. I did wish some parts had been given more depth but it’s still worth reading.

4) From my sisters lips by Na’ima B Robert

This book is nothing but inspiring, to read about how Islam empowered the women sister Na’ima talks about in her book and especially how much of an impact Islam had on her life. It shatters the stereotype that women are oppressed and we get to see a much more real image of what Muslim women are like.

5) Reclaim your heart by Yasmin Mogahed

This book needs no introduction, I’m sure many of you have heard of sister Yasmin and know about her book. This book got me through some difficult times and it’s a book you can read multiple times and gain new insights into your life everytime you read it. Absolutely love this book!

6) Duas of the superstars by Alima Ashfaq

This is a sister who I have done several online courses with through Islamic Online University and they have been amazing. Her book goes through the importance of having goals and making the best duas we can make. She uses examples from both historic and contemporary figures and gives us Quranic duas that will help us to reach our goals. I really really loved this book and regularly read the duas she spoke about.

7) Al-Muhaddithat: The women scholars in Islam by Mohammad Akram Nadwi

This is just the introductory book of a 40 volume book of women scholars in Islam. This is the only one that has been translated into English (the 40 volumes are in Arabic) but even reading this gives so much insight into the lives of Muslim women throughout Islamic history. It challenges the misconceptions about women in society today, some of which include that women shouldn’t study or work etc. This book can be a little confusing for those who don’t understand the way that people were named within Arab society but it’s well worth reading.

8) Muhammad: How he can make you extraordinary by Hesham Al Awadi

Having listened to several of his lecture series and loves them, I just had to buy his book, and I wasn’t disappointed. This book is not a typical seerah book but it takes you through all the different stages in the prophet (saw) life and gives practical examples of how we can implement his habits into our lives. Giving practical techniques in raising children, to having a harmonious marriage to how to deal with teenagers. Using examples from the seerah and explaining how the prophet (saw) did things and what impact it had in his life and those around him.

9) The productive Muslim by Mohammad Faris

I love the articles on the productive Muslim website and the book is even better. Going through step by step each chapter tackles a different aspect of your life and goes through examples and exercises for us to implement to become more productive I our lives. It’s not a book you read I one sitting but go through each section and try to implement that before moving on. This is a book I’m still reading and learning from.

So these are some of my favourite Islamic books, if anyone’s read any of these let me know what you think! I would definitely recommend everyone to read all these books. Happy world book day!

What happens when you Marry a Bookworm

This post is dedicated to my husband who has put up with all that comes with marrying a booknerd. So these are just some of things you have to deal with if your spouse is a booknerd! To all the people who are looking to get married and your potential spouse says they love reading, you have been warned!

1) We will constantly gush about whatever book we’re reading. Especially when we finish a book we NEED to talk to someone about everything we’re feeling and you are the closest person to us therefore you will have to listen. Even if that means we wake you up at 4am because we we’re an emotional wreck. This will also mean that you will know characters and storylines about books you may not have even looked at, let alone read.

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2) If something traumatic happens in the book we’re reading we will be severely affected by it. If one of our favourite characters dies then we will be an emotional wreck. We will cry, laugh, scream and yell at the book. Basically our emotions are affected by the book.

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3) Everytime we walk past a bookshop we will NEED to go inside to browse. This can mean we think we’re in there for 10 minutes but it can be an hour. We really won’t realise the that much time has passed because we’re too busy looking at all the amazing book we want to buy. You will more than likely end up dragging us out.

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4) We will want to buy more books even though we have a pile of books at home we haven’t read yet. Our favourite kind of shopping spree is a book shopping spree. Don’t worry we will eventually get round to reading all the books we have.

5) We will NEVER have enough books, just not enough bookcases.

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6) Our main post will be books! Because like I mentioned we need to buy books all the time it’s not always from the shop. We will also buy books online. You will also end up carrying the bag of books when we do go to the bookshop.

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7) As we love books, we will want to meet the author of these books. This will mean we will drag you book events as we don’t want to go alone.

8) Our books are like our children, our prized possessions. We will not take kindly to any damage to our books and we always dream of having our own personal library.

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9) We will want several editions of our favourite books. They’re so many pretty covers out there and we want them all!

10) You should never interrupt us mid-chapter. We will either not even realise you spoke to us or become highly irritated with you.

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11) You will never be stuck for a gift for us. You can literally buy us books for any and all occasions and we will be happy.

12) We will tell you every night that we will finish the chapter and come up to bed but it will become one more chapter until it’s past midnight and we’re exhausted but we still need to read one more chapter.

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13) We will carry a book wherever we go, even if it’s to go get the groceries because you know, just in case. We can’t ever get bored if we have a book with us.

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So these are things that me and my husband came up with. I’m sure that others will have their own ones to add. We booknerds are a unique bunch but at least we will keep your life interesting and you will always have something to talk about. 🙂