March 29, 2022

10 Book Recommendations for Ramadan (for EVERYONE!)


This year, Ramadan is predicted to begin on April 2, although this could change slightly depending on the sighting of the moon, and end on May 1. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. To honor those who will be celebrating and participating in Ramadan, I am sharing 10 book recommendations with you to help you add diverse books and authors to the titles you read this year, as well as to encourage you to educate yourself on a group of people (Muslims) who are vastly misunderstood and discriminated against. We can only know better and do better if we learn and unlearn, and reading is the best (and easiest) way to do that.


*** Not the Girls You're Looking For ***

by Aminah Mae Saf

Debut author Aminah Mae Safi's honest and smart young adult novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if--especially if--you love them. 

Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she'd nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she's done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.


*** Once Upon an Eid ***

Short Story Collection

A joyous short story collection by and about Muslims, edited by New York Times bestselling author Aisha Saeed and Morris finalist S. K. Ali

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it's waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it's the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it's the gift giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.


*** Love from A to Z ***

by S K Ali 

A School Library Journal Best Young Adult Book of 2019

A YALSA 2020 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes--because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb's teacher, who won't stop reminding the class how "bad" Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn't bad. She's angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt's house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, "nicer" version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam's.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam's stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam's also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs...

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.


*** The Bad Muslim Discount ***

by Syed M. Masood 

It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karachi, Pakistan. As fundamentalism takes root within the social order and the zealots next door attempt to make Islam great again, his family decides, not quite unanimously, to start life over in California. Ironically, Anvar's deeply devout mother and his model-Muslim brother adjust easily to life in America, while his fun-loving father can't find anyone he relates to. For his part, Anvar fully commits to being a bad Muslim.

At the same time, thousands of miles away, Safwa, a young girl living in war-torn Baghdad with her grief-stricken, conservative father will find a very different and far more dangerous path to America. When Anvar and Safwa's worlds collide as two remarkable, strong-willed adults, their contradictory, intertwined fates will rock their community, and families, to their core.

The Bad Muslim Discount is an irreverent, poignant, and often hysterically funny debut novel by an amazing new voice. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed M. Masood examines universal questions of identity, faith (or lack thereof), and belonging through the lens of Muslim Americans.


March 22, 2022

The 5-Second Rule / Books for Writers


Please Note: I’m taking a break from social media and all things for the month of March, so my replies to comments and return visits to bloggers will be delayed. I will get to it eventually, though. Promise. Thanks for your understanding! 

You can read The 5-Second Rule for the reading challenge for writers I’m hosting called Read With Fey. You can join it on The StoryGraph here. But you don’t have to be on The StoryGraph to participate! Check out all the details here: Read With Fey: Challenge For Writers


Image by Chrys Fey


FYI: The 5-Second Rule is exactly what it sounds like. You literally say/think “5- 4- 3- 2- 1,” meaning you countdown, and then you use that as momentum (like a rocket blasting off) to do something, like whatever you are procrastinating doing. 

While reading Chapter Two, I already recognized the benefit in using the 5-Second Rule to get me to do the things I've always wanted to pick up and turn into a habit but I was too busy or too tired to too lazy or too...

This tool doesn't only have to be used for a daily habit; it can be used spontaneously, too, especially in those moments when you need courage: like asking for that promotion, looking for a new/better job, sending a query letter, submitting a story, hitting "publish" on Amazon. The potential for this tool is endless and can be used by writers in many ways.

Even 5- 4- 3- 2- 1- Butt in seat.


I'd like to share one warning that's not discussed in the book.

5- 4- 3- 2- 1- BURNOUT!

Don't let the 5-Second Rule burn you out. 

As someone who has gotten burned out and suffered for it, I can see how someone obsessed with this tool and the results of it could overdo it and burn themselves out. 

I mean, in the very same Chapter Two where I recognized the benefits, I also recognized the possible danger. Mel Robbins talked about how her husband used the Rule to meet with dozens of advisors and "worked day and night." She described the "grit, hustle, and commitment" and said that he and his partner "pushed, pushed, and pushed some more."

And they probably burned themselves out or came pretty damn close to it.

So, definitely use it to get you to do those things you always put off or would like to do (e.g. meditate, exercise), as well as the things that require courage that you truly want to do, but attention to your body.

While your brain can stop you and hold you back, as Mel says, you need to be in tune with the rest of your body. This is called embodiment and is not discussed in this book. Be in tune with your body at all times so you can use this tool wisely and at the right time.

Image taken of a page from the book
The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Yes, this tool is great for cultivating those habits of exercising when you should or waking up on time and going for the opportunities that present themselves to you before fear can make you back down, but I also believe it can be used this way:

March 15, 2022


Please Note: I’m taking a break from social media and all things for the month of March, so my replies to comments and return visits to bloggers will be delayed. I will get to it eventually, though. Promise. Thanks for your understanding! 

You may notice links to whenever I recommend books on here. Those links will be affiliate links. (There’s a notice in my sidebar about my usage of affiliate links for

When I found out about last year, I fell in love with what they do, and the fact that they’re NOT Amazon made me love them even more, so I jumped on becoming an affiliate to support them and their mission.

So, what is

It’s a marketplace for books. That’s the obvious part. It’s what they stand for that’s awesome.

From their About page:

Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. 

We believe that bookstores are essential to a healthy culture. They’re where authors can connect with readers, where we discover new writers, where children get hooked on the thrill of reading that can last a lifetime. They’re also anchors for our downtowns and communities.

As more and more people buy their books online, we wanted to create an easy, convenient way for you to get your books and support bookstores at the same time.

If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on our map and they’ll receive the full profit off your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop). 

For more info: 

March 01, 2022

Stand Up To Cancer, Protect Trans Youth, Stand With Ukraine / Good Causes PART 4

Please Note: My mom was admitted into the hospital early February 27th (as in 2:00 am). By the time this post goes live, she may or may not be home, but everything that had been a concern (and there had been several) has improved and she’s feeling a lot better. I’ll be resting and taking care of her even more in the coming days, so…once again…my replies to comments and return visits to bloggers will be delayed. I will get to it eventually, though. Promise. Thanks for your understanding!

Update: She was discharged last night (February 28th). ❤️

Good Causes:

Causes and Donations - Books, Animals, and People / PART 1

Good Causes to Support / PART 2

I Donated My Hair / Good Causes PART 3

*** *** STAND UP TO CANCER *** ***

Every year, Stand Up To Cancer does a televised event that helps to raise awareness and bring in donations, but every month is cancer awareness month, every month you can donate to Stand Up To Cancer or to any cancer charity/organization.

From their website: Stand Up To Cancer’s (SU2C) mission is to raise funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.

SU2C brings together the best and the brightest researchers and mandates collaboration among the cancer community. By galvanizing the entertainment industry, SU2C has set out to generate awareness, educate the public on cancer prevention, and help more people diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors.

My mom rang the chemo bell on February 14, 2022 (Valentine's Day). I sat with her during each of her six chemo treatments, and on that last one I wore a SU2C shirt that I bought just for this reason.

This is me with no makeup, no styled hair.
Just my SU2C shirt and matching nail polish
after coming home from my mom's final chemo treatment.

I will also wear it when she has her last radiation treatment, when she has a CT scan to check on the progress, and when she sees her doctor to hear the results and hopefully move on to the next phase of her treatment, which is immunotherapy.

During my mom's final treatment, I took pictures to document the moment, created a short video, and shared it on Instagram for everyone to see the details of her journey so far. You can watch it HERE on my Instagram.

Action Items:

- Buy SU2C merchandise and wear it proudly in public.

- Create a tribute placard with the name of a loved one who you stand up for. Check out mine below.

- Become an advocate

- Fundraise

- Donate

I stand up to cancer for my mom. 

*** *** PROTECT TRANS YOUTH *** ***

In Florida and Texas, transgender youth are being attacked by heartless people and politicians. 

First off, are you a teacher? Check out the Free to Be Me: A Toolkit to Protect LGBTQIA+ Students' Rights.


February 21, Attorney General Paxton said that gender-affirming care for trans youth is child abuse.

It's not.

What is child abuse? Physically injuring a child, sexually abusing a child, withholding food and water and shelter (neglect), psychological/emotional maltreatment (e.g. telling a child their worthless and unloved).

What is not child abuse? Affirming their gender.

Check out Schuyler Bailar's (@pinkmantaray) informative post on this HERE on Instagram.

These politicians who are going after trans youth are committing child abuse by making them feel worthless, unloved, unwanted, and blatantly attacking them and who they are. Their actions risk increasing suicidal ideation.

What's also horrifying is that Texas wants to investigate all parents of trans children as child abusers. Those investigations will harm loving parents and happy transgender children and hurt the children who are ACTUALLY being abused because they will get lost in the shuffle while social services investigate these ridiculous false claims against parents of trans kids.

It's beyond time to take action.


February 25, the Florida House passed the "Don't Say Gay" bill.

From Equality Florida: "This dangerous bill blocks teachers from talking about LGBTQ issues or people and undermines existing protections for LGBTQ kids in schools. This legislation is meant to stigmatize LGBTQ people, isolate LGBTQ kids, and make teachers fearful of providing a safe, inclusive classroom. The existence of LGBTQ students and parents is not a taboo topic that has to be regulated by the Florida Legislature."

Action Items: 

Send a (virtual) Love Letter to Trans Texans. The date has been extended to March 4th. "Declare your love and commitment to action to support and fight for trans people."

Send a pre-written message through Equality Texas to the Department of Family and Protective Services urging them to listen to medical experts and protect trans kids from politicians like Texas Governor Abbot and Attorney General Paxton. 

Sign Equality Texas' Joint Statement Supporting the Care of Transgender Children. "Supporting and providing access to gender affirming care for transgender children promotes health and well-being. It is not child abuse. This approach is recommended by the prevailing standards of care, best practices, and guidelines endorsed by local, national and international professional organizations."

Sign this petition to Demand the Justice Department investigate Texas Governor Abbott for illegally targeting families of trans kids. 

Sign this petition: Texas's Governor Wants to Hurt Trans Kids by Going After Supportive Parents. "Texas must prove it truly cares about children by standing up for trans kids, too."

Send pre-written letters to Florida senators through Equality Florida's to Tell Florida Lawmakers to Oppose "Don't Say Gay" Bill.

My Accountability: I have done all of these action items and the additional ones below.

Donate To:

Equality Florida

Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT)

Equality Texas

Out Youth

Support queer and trans BIPOC communities through Allgo

Instagram Accounts to Follow:

Equality Florida @EqualityFL

ACLU of Florida @aclufl

Trans Texas @TransTexas

Equality Texas @EquailtyTexas

Allgo @allgoqpoc

Out Youth @OutYouth

Additional Action Items to Protect Trans Kids:

Join HRC’s Count Me In movement for trans and non-binary equality & get your FREE sticker in support of trans equality.

Sign this petition to Tell the Tennessee legislature to stop targeting trans kids.

Download and display a free Trans People Belong Here poster.

*** *** STAND WITH UKRAINE *** ***

Russia is invading Ukraine, risking the displacement of 5 millions Ukrainians, resulting in the largest refugee crisis currently impacting the world. Ukraine is in dire need of life-saving support, aid, and funds while while innocent civilians are forced to flee their homes.

Donate To:

Voices of Children - "Charitable Foundation Voices of Children helps children affected by the war in eastern Ukraine. Thanks to you, we provide psychological and psychosocial support to children. It helps them overcome the consequences of armed conflict and develop."

United Help Ukraine - "100% of all donations go to the cause (minus small transaction fees) and dedicated to help Ukraine."

Revived Soldiers Ukraine - "a non-profit organization dedicated to providing aid to the people of Ukraine so that they may fulfill fundamental rights and freedoms such as right to life, right to appropriate and affordable medical care, freedom of belief and freedom for an adequate standard of living."

Voxtok - SOS - provides "comprehensive assistance to conflict-affected persons and IDPs, promoting democratic transformation and human rights values in Ukraine."

The Ukrainian Red Cross

NOVA Ukraine - a "registered non-profit organization (EIN 465335435) dedicated to raising awareness about Ukraine in the US and throughout the world and providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine."

Save the Children - "We are gravely concerned for children in Ukraine, Afghanistan and around the world who might be caught in the middle of armed conflict, forced to flee their homes and exposed to injury, hunger and sub-zero temperatures."

Ukraine Humanitarian Fund

Catholic Relief Services - "CRS and Caritas partners on the ground are preparing across Ukraine and in bordering countries, ready to provide safe shelter, hot meals, hygiene supplies, fuel to keep warm, transport to safe areas, counseling support and more."

The Kyiv Independent - "Ukraine’s English-language media outlet, created by journalists who were fired from the Kyiv Post for defending editorial independence."

My Accountability: I have donated a combined total of $45.55 to two of the above charities.

Get Accurate Info:

Kyiv Post @KyivPost.official

Ukraine’s official social media accounts 



President of Ukraine




Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine




SHARE WITH ME if you support these causes by taking any of the action steps.

QUESTION: Who do you stand up to cancer for?