Major Works – AP Lit Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author:  Khaled Hosseini

Date of Publication:  May 22, 2007

Genre: Historical Fiction


Biographical information about the author (for my knowledge only, but very helpful):

 Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the United States in 1980. He is A U.S. Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.


Information about the literary period (for my knowledge only, but very helpful):

A Thousand Splendid Suns came out about a decade ago, so there isn’t much to say about literary time period, as its modern day. It is based on real historical events in Afghanistan. Sometimes, the current literary time period is called Post- Postmodernism.


Plot summary:
Mariam grows up outside Herat, a small city in Afghanistan in the 19600’s. She lives with her mother, Nana, and is visited once a week by her father Jalil, who is a successful businessman, she is his only illegitimate child. Mariam wants to have a greater part in Jalil’s life, and asks to see Pinocchio for her 15th birthday. He agrees, but never comes to get her. She walks to his home, which she has never visited, and is not let inside, she so sleeps on the street. Her mother warns her not to go, but she leaves anyway. The next day, the driver takes her home, and they find her mother has hanged herself. After the funeral, she goes to Jalil’s home, where he and his wives force her to marry Rasheed, and older widow from Kabul. He intends for her to replace the son who died years ago, but after facing several miscarriages, he beings to treat her cruelly. In the same neighborhood, Laila grows up, a young, intelligent girl. The war kills her two older brothers. Laila and her best friend Tariq fall in love as teenagers, Tariq and his family flee to Pakistan. The day Laila’s family decides to leave, a bomb hits their house, killing her parents. Rasheed and Mariam nurse Laila back to health and after she recovers, a stranger, Abdul Sharif brings her news that Tariq has died. Devastated and realizing she’s pregnant with Tariq’s child, Laila agrees to marry Rasheed. Mariam is initially hurt and threatened by Laila’s presence and refuses to have anything to do with her. However, after Laila gives birth to a daughter, Aziza, the women come to see themselves as allies against Rasheed’s abusive, manipulative ways. A few years later, Laila gives birth to a son, Zalmai. Then, one afternoon, after years of abuse and sadness, Laila is shocked to see a man standing at her front door: Tariq. Rasheed fins out and beats Laila. With a shovel, Mariam kills Rasheed. The next day, Mariam turns herself over to the Taliban in an effort to clear the way for Laila to find sanctuary for herself and her children in Pakistan with Tariq. Laila visits Mariam’s old home and is able to come to terms with her grief over Mariam’s execution. Laila and Tariq build a new life in Kabul: Laila becomes a schoolteacher at the orphanage where Aziza once lived. And when Laila becomes pregnant, she decides that if she has a girl, she’ll name her Mariam.


Memorable quotations significant to meaning:

  1. She would not miss him as she did now, when the ache of his absence was her unremitting companion—like the phantom pain of an amputee.
  2. These women were—what was the word Rasheed had used?—”modern.” Yes, modern Afghan women married to modern Afghan men who did not mind that their wives walked among strangers with makeup on their faces and nothing on their heads.
  3. To me, it’s nonsense—and very dangerous nonsense at that—all this talk of I’m a Tajik and you’re a Pashtun and he’s Hazara and she’s Uzbek. We’re all Afghans, and that’s all that should matter.
  4. She understood what Nana meant, that a harami was an unwanted thing; that she, Mariam, was an illegitimate person who would never have legitimate claim to the things other people had, things such as love, family, home, acceptance. 
  5. She picked up ten pebbles and arranged them vertically, in three columns. […] She put four pebbles in the first column, for Khadija’s children, three for Afsoon’s, and three in the third column for Nagis’s children. Then she added a fourth column. A solitary, eleventh pebble.

Significance of opening scene:

The opening scene depicts Mariam, the first time her mother calls her a “harami” – literally “bastard child”. The word harami marks Mariam as an illegitimate child, and the way her mother says it to her, makes Mariam feel unworthy of things like love, a family, or a home, a recurring feeling throughout the novel, as she attempts to escape the sting and stigma of what she is. 


Significance of closing scene:

In the closing scene, Laila, Tariq, Aziza, and Zalmai have found the better life Mariam sacrificed herself for. Laila is a schoolteacher, and once again pregnant. The family debates baby names, but only for boys, as Laila has already decided that a girl will be named “Mariam”, showing that Mariam’s sacrifice was not in vain, and that happiness was in deed possible.


Characters

 Name /  Role in the story and significance  / Adjectives

  1. Mariam – Mariam is one of two female protagonists. Born out of wedlock to a rich and married businessman (Jalil) and his former housekeeper (Nana). After her mother’s suicide at 15, her father forces her into an arranged marriage. Mariam is plagued by guilt that controls her for much of her life, which contributes to her tolerance at being married to the abusive Rasheed. Mariam’s inability to have children turns her into a resentful, bitter, and fearful woman. Through her love for Laila and Laila’s children, Mariam is able to fulfill her wish to be a mother and to finally give and receive love. She eventually sacrifices her life for theirs, turning herself in to the Taliban after killing Rasheed.
  2. Laila – Laila the second female protagonist, is the youngest child and only daughter of Hakim and Fariba. Laila has a strong desire to use her intelligence and education to improve the world around her. Laila falls in love with her best friend since childhood, Tariq. Him and his family flee to Pakistan, and days later, a bomb kills Laila’s parents. Rasheed and Mariam take her in, and Rasheed marries her as well, hoping she can give him a child. Laila decides to marry Rasheed in order to give her unborn child by Tariq a father. At the end, when she and Tariq are reunited and expecting another child, she plans to name the child after Mariam if it is a girl.
  3. Rasheed – Rasheed is a widowed shoemaker whose first wife and son died many years before his marriage to 15-year-old Mariam. Rasheed is constrictive and, upon Mariam’s multiple miscarriages, cruel. He is demanding, and easily angered. With Zalmai, Rasheed is patient, loving, kind, and gentle. Eventually result in Mariam kills him in self-defense.
  4. Tariq – Tariq grows up near Laila in Kabul. He lost his leg to a landmine when he’s very young. He and Laila are best friends as children and become lovers as teenagers. Upon his reunion with Laila, he learns of his daughter Aziza, and after marrying Laila and moving her to Pakistan, Tariq takes care of Zalmai as if he was his own son.
  5. Jalil – Mariam’s father and a wealthy businessman, Jalil abandons Mariam, his only illegitimate child, at his wives’ wishes. Years later, he finds Mariam to express his deep regret for her childhood and his love for her.

Setting:

Afghanistan from the early 1960s to the early 2000s.


Symbols:

Pinocchio –

Mariam wants to go see Pinocchio with her father for her 15th birthday, and his failure to take her sets off the chain of events that leads to Nana’s suicide and Mariam’s marriage to Rasheed. It is the end of her relationship with Jalil. It is also the olive branch he extends her, as the movie is found in the box Laila is given by Mullah Faizullah’s son.


Themes for discussion:

Family –

Family plays a large role in the novel. Laila is very close with her family, whereas Mariam barely knows hers do to her status as an illegitimate child. Much of Mariam’s life is spent in search for a family, and she faces miscarriage, after miscarriage, constantly denying her that, until Laila and Aziza.

Women in Society –

The women in Afghanistan face strict standards, though when Mariam first arrives in Kabul there are many with a “more modern” view of how a woman can dress or act, especially when the war comes to Kabul, treatment of women takes a turn for the worst, and more traditionally conservative.

War –

Most of the problems and changes that plague Kabul are a result of war, first civil war and then American invasion. These problems include bombings, killings, and strict enforcing of laws and regulations of what woman can and cannot do. All based on historical fact.

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The Mystery Blogger Award #2

The lovely Icebreaker694  and the amazing Melting Pots and Other Calamities nominated me – thank you so much!

Edit: I had this scheduled when I got nominated again, so I’m adding in my nomination from Never Not Reading. Thank you so much!

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Shout out to the creator Okoto Enigma!

WHAT IS MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD?
“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma


THE RULES:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog. ([In Awards widget and pic is in About Me.])
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog!
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  7. Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog. 
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  9. Share your link to your best post(s)

The Mystery Blogger Award


Answers:

Icebreaker’s Questions:

1 – WHAT IS ONE BOOK THAT YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2017?

INVICTUS!

2 – WHAT IS A BOOK YOU’D GIVE A LOVED ONE FOR THE HOLIDAYS?

Well, my cousin has been begging me for Library of Souls.. so that.

3 – ANY BLOG PLANS IN 2017? (POSTS, TOURS, REVIEWS, ETC.)

HAHAHA Its later 2017 by the time I got to this….

4 – FAVORITE GIF OF 2016!

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5 – WEIRD BOOK HOARDER: HOW MANY BOOKS DID YOU BUY THAT YOU STILL HAVE TO READ? 

Too many…


Melting Pots and Other Calamities Questions

1. What is the coolest handmade thing you’ve ever received?

I don’t think I’ve ever received something homemade… But I bought some cool flowers made out of comic book pages from Supercon a few years ago!

2. Is there a villain or antagonist that you can’t help but call a favorite character? If so, who?

Loki. Always Loki.

3.  What is a show, anime, or webcomic that desperately needs another season? Or a book that needs a sequel?

OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB WILL ALWAYS NEED ANOTHER SEASON!!!!

5. What are some animations and/or webcomics that you think have some of the best art?

You’re Lie in April, Orange, Ouran High School Host Club, Sword Art Online… I could go on.

5. (Weird/funny) Which character would you like to be from whatever you’re currently reading or watching?

Currently Reading: Pride & Prejudice – Character: Probably Lizzy…

Currently Watching: The Defenders – Character: Definitely Jessica Jones.


Never Not Reading’s Questions

1 – If you could have any super hero be your personal body guard, who would you choose and why?

Captain America, mostly because I love him, and I can totally picture him as a bodyguard.

2 – Movies or TV?

Movies because Star Wars, Fantastic Beasts, and Marvel movies.

3 – What is your favorite animal?

Sloth, otter, fennec fox… I could go on.

4 – If you didn’t have to work for money, what would you spend your life doing?

Writing and reading probably. Helping people. Volunteering. Adopting cats.

5 – What keeps you blogging?

Its fun?

 


Fun Facts About Me:

1 – I own a book (Everything All At Once) signed by Bill Nye.

2 –  I have a dedicated Media-Tie-In fiction shelf.

3 – I have a word document full of nothing but hyperlinks so make tagging/nominating fellow book bloggers simpler.


Best Post(s)


Questions For My Nominees:

1 – Would you rather drink polyjuice mixed with cat fur or be cursed to talk in limericks only?

2 – How many minutes to midnight is your TBR?

3 – How do you organize your bookshelf?

4 – Worst bookish/reading habit?

5 – (Weird/funny) – Make a closet cosplay for a book character. Put a picture (of just the outfit or of you wearing it). Why did you pick each piece?


I Nominate:

Niraja @ Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them

Stephanie @ Adventures of a Bibliophile

Louise @ Genie Reads

Casey @ Adopt-a-Book-AUS

Calliope The Book Goddess

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

The Orangutan Librarian

Liz @ Cover To Cover

McKenzie @ Bookish Things and Tea

Megan @ Bookslayer Reads

Catia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much

Danielle @ Books, Vertigo and Tea

Ryann The Reader

Kayla @ KDrew The Bookworm

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies

Angelina and Brianna @ Fables Library

Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts

Emma @ Corn Reviews Books

 

 

The Unique Blogger Award

I was nominated by the lovely Jade @ Drink Coffee and Read Books  who just reached 200 followers so congrats to her because she deserves it and many more! Go check out her blog!

I was also nominated by Sam’s Life In Books – I couldn’t ask for a better blogger to share a name with!

Last, I was nominated by Read Rant Rock and Roll – check them out!


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The Rules:

  1. Share the link to the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the questions they gave you.
  3. Nominate 8-13 other bloggers and pay it forward.
  4. Ask them three questions.

Questions from Jade:

1 – Has any book ever influenced you greatly?

I’m of the opinion that every book you read influences you in some way, shape, or form.

2 – Would you want to be an Author or are you content to just be a reader?

I definitely want to be an author!

3 – Where is your favourite place to read?

My bed… Boring, but true.


Questions from Sam:

1.What (or who) inspired you to get into blogging?

My cousin! She started a blog – so obviously I had to. I stuck with it, she didn’t.

2. Describe your ideal three-course meal? 

Fresh baked bread.
Pollo a la milanese with fettuccini with vodka sauce.
Leche condensada cheesecake.

3. Would you consider naming any future children after fictional characters, if so which characters?

Yeah…

James is actually my favorite boy’s name (three guesses where thats from).


Questions from Read Rant Rock And Roll:

1 – What’s something unique about you?

I’m double jointed. But not in my elbow like most double jointed people, my shoulder and knee are double jointed and my ANATOMY teacher once thought I had broken my arm because of the way my shoulder was twisted.

2 – What’s a favorite book, movie, or song you enjoyed this month?

Book:

I’ve been in a reading slump so…

Movie:

Not a movie but Tv: I’ve been loving Sleepy Hollow!

Song:

I went to Vzza Suena 2017 so…

3 – What’s your favorite thing to do in your free-time and what do you love about it?

Reading. TV watching. Blogging.


Nominations:

B @ Icebreaker694

Calliope The Book Goddess

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

The Orangutan Librarian

McKenzie @ Bookish Things and Tea

Megan @ Bookslayer Reads

Catia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much

Danielle @ Books, Vertigo and Tea

Kayla @ KDrew The Bookworm

 

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies

Sarah @ Written Word Worlds


Questions:

  1. What are your three current favorite gifs?
  2. Best series to binge read/watch?
  3. Unpopular bookish opinion(s)?

The Book Blogger Insider Tag

I wasn’t tagged, but I saw this over at Drizzle and Hurricane Books and thought it looked like fun!


Rules

Answer the questions below.
Credit the creator: Camryn @The Writing Crafter.
Tag at least 5 people.
Have fun!


1) Where do you typically write your blog posts?

My desk in my room where my desktop is. Never anywhere else, though I jot down ideas in the notes app of my phone a lot everywhere else.

2) How long does it generally take you to write a book review?

Anywhere from 20 minutes to agonizing over everything for 4 hours. Generally, there is no in-between with me.

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3) When did you start your book blog?

I started this blog in January 2015. But I didn’t get serious about it until later into 2016.

4) What is the worst thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

Time.

Stress.

I have terrible time management when it comes to this blog, and the TBR pile and having to post is just another stress in the long line of things I have to be stressed about.

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5) What is the best thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

Getting to talk to people about books, meeting people, making friends, having a consistent hobby. Take your pick.

6) What blog post have you had the most fun writing so far?

There have been a few. Off the top of my head, some are:

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things I Want To See More Of In YA

Poem: Despite Your Heart Of Gold (I’m Not The One You Need To Save)

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things That Make Me Want To Read A Book

Discussion: Review Copies/ARCs

Buddy Read – Book Review: And I Darken

Panic! At The Disco Book Tag (Original)

Entirely non-comprehensive of course.

7) What is your favourite type of blog post to write?

I really like writing discussions and story type posts. They don’t tend to come out very good, but they feel the most personal/conversational and I like them.

I also like the Top Ten Tuesdays usually.

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8) When do you typically write?

In the morning when I have time to kill, at night when I’m avoiding some other responsibility like dishes/laundry, or on weekends while I lounge around watching TV and should be reading probably.

9) Do you review every book you read?

I try to. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but I try to.

10) How do you write your book reviews? With a cup of coffee or tea? With Netflix? Cuddled with your fur baby?

My cat doesn’t cuddle me, he’s my sister’s. I swear she trained him to bite me.

If I’m writing in the morning I have coffee, but I don’t seek it for writing time. Usually I;m watching Youtube videos or Netflix while I’m blogging. Definitely.

11) When do you write your book reviews? Right after finishing the book? Two weeks after finishing the book?

I try my best to review books as soon as I finish them – or at least within the week. Usually I’ll write the review and schedule it for later (next open Friday on the schedule or, if its an arc, for release day).

12) How often do you post?

Lately I’ve been trying for minimum 3 times a week. Sometimes more, but thats usually it. I have a few monthly posts that I do (like Throwback Thursday) and I usually try to do a few weekly memes (T5W and TTT), but my basic schedule is a tag on Monday, a discussion or etc. on Wednesday, and a review  on Friday.

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My Tags

B @ Icebreaker694

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

Kayla @ KDrew The Bookworm

Lashaan and Trang @ Bookidote

Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies

The Orangutan Librarian

The Mystery Blogger Award

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I was nominated by the wonderful Ann The Book Master – thank you so much!!!

Sorry this took my like, 5 months, to get to… But, you know, school is a thing.


“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

– Okoto Enigma


The Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog!
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  7. Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  9. Share your link to your best post(s).

3 Facts About Me:

1 – I am left-handed, I’m not sure if I ever mentioned that…

2 – I have a website about Down’s Syndrome  – and I’m crazy excited to keep working on it. If any one has any experience with the disorder, I’d love to interview you or get a guest post about your experience for it!

3 – I’m currently re-watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer because of the 20 year anniversary.


Questions Given to Me:

  • Weird – What is the closest thing to you on your left?
  • What is your proudest moment in your life?
  • Funny – What would do if you were to grow a tail?
  • In high school, what was your biggest fear?
  • What is your favorite movie of all time?

1 – Weird – What is the closest thing to you on your left?

My coffee is the closest thing on my left, in a Flanigan’s cup no less.

2 – What is your proudest moment in your life?

Um… Getting a citizenship award from the district last month? Getting an arc sent to me in the mail by a publisher? Something like that? Not really sure.

3 – Funny – What would do if you were to grow a tail?

Be confused AS HELL. And probably assume I was about to become the protagonist of an anime/superhero comic.

4 – In high school, what was your biggest fear?

I AM in high school. Right now, all my fears revolve around college.

5 – What is your favorite movie of all time?

You can’t ask me these sorts of questions, I don’t have a favorite I have dozens.

Jack of the Red Hearts is a vastly underrated movie though, and I adore it.


My Best Posts:


My Questions:

  1. Weird – What color is your room and why?
  2. Funny – Would you rather drink polyjuice mixed with cat fur or be cursed to talk in limericks only?
  3. What is the last book you hated?
  4. Current favorite tv show?
  5. Favorite guilty pleasure read?

I Nominate: 

B @ Icebreaker694

Jill @ Rant and Rave About Books

 

Stephanie @ Adventures of a Bibliophile

Calliope The Book Goddess

Jocelyn @ 52 Letters In The Alphabet

Shealea @ That Bookshelf Bitch

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

The Orangutan Librarian

 

Q & A From Icebreaker694

I asked around for guest posts in February, and one idea I got from lovely blogger Icebreaker694 was to interview each other.

We asked each other 11 questions are are answering them Q&A style.

Here are the 11 she asked me with my answers, and you can check out her’s over at her blog!


What was the earliest book you’ve ever read (childhood books included)?

My dad read me The Princess Bride. If you meant read on my own…I loved the Biscuit the puppy books.

Did your view of reading books change as you got older?

I guess? I didn’t really love the idea of reading when I was 5/6, it felt like school. But I feel in love with reading young, at 7/8 when I read Harry Potter.

What was the earliest Young Adult book you’ve read?

Harry Potter, that counts as YA right? I read Twilight and A Series of Unfortunate Events around that time too, age 8/9.

Are there any books you don’t get tired of rereading?

You could really just look at the above answers. And include Rick Riordan.

When you write, what kind of genre do you tend to write about?

I write YA, since its my demographic, and my only serious idea right now is a Science-fiction book.

Have you ever done a reading challenge?

I do the Goodreads challenge every year!

If so, then what was it?

See above….

What is your favorite adult book you’ve read?

I loved My Sister’s Keeper and The Time Traveller’s Wife. This is Where I Leave You was also pretty good.

What kinds of posts do you enjoy writing the most?

I like discussions, and recommendation lists. I liked writing my study guide posts too. But I don;t write anything I don’t enjoy.

What is your favorite book cover?

This is not a question I am capable of answering.

But Illuminae and Gemina are SUPER GORGEOUS.

Do you have any future plans for your blog?

I want to make new graphics and schedule posts to post on a consistent basis, those are the main ones, though I’m open to any ideas!


 

That was a lot of fun!

If you guys like the Q&A posts, and want to ask me your own questions, feel free! I’d be glad to do another!

 

 

Guest Post: Standalones That Should Get A Sequel by B @ Icebreaker694

Hi!

I’m so excited to be a guest post on RiverMoose-Reads! I’d like to thank Sam for having me on here!

I’ve composed a list for all of you to enjoy! I’ve once made a similar post for this for anime, but now I’m doing it for YA books! But this post was actually hard to make since most of the books I’ve read will be getting a series. But still I hope you enjoy reading this, and here are standalones that I think should get a series/sequel!


#1 

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I really liked this book a lot, and even though I’m pretty satisfied with the ending, I’d still like to have a second book. Will Cath fangirl about something else? How is Cath’s relationship with her and her sister going? Also I would want more Levi moments!

 

#2

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I know I’m probably cheating with another Rowell book, but I really think that this book should get a second one. The ending is bittersweet, and leaves off at a “sort of” suspenseful moment. I’d like a second book just to see if they fare after that ending.

 

#3

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Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

To be perfectly honest I really want all of Morgan Matson’s books to have a sequel. But I want one more for this book in particular. It leaves off at Amy finally moving away, and Roger promises to see her again, so I’d like to know if they ever fullfilled that promise. Morgan Matson doesn’t make sequels because she likes the characters to live in her mind and assume they’ll end up together. I really like that method too, but as a reader, I really want a second book.

 

#4

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The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

I wanted to spice things up with a fantasy book!

It’s the Forbidden Wish #1, so it implies that there might be a second book, but I haven’t heard of anything. I was actually fine with how this book ended, so I’m not pushing for a sequel as much, but I would still be very happy if Khoury decided to make a sequel/series out of this.


That’s really all the books I could find, hehe, but I still hoped you enjoyed this post! And go follow Sam’s site for me, will you? It’s really amazing, you won’t be disappointed! 😀

That’s it for me, bye!


B’s blog is over at Icebreaker694 and she is lovely and amazing so you should go check her out!

Follow her on Goodreads and Twitter too!