Not In Jersey: What I’ve Been Reading #30–Featuring Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair What I’ve Been Reading #30–Featuring Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair - Not In Jersey

What I’ve Been Reading #30–Featuring Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair

Friday, October 4, 2013

I received this book from TLC Book Tours for my review. “Muslim bad girl Zainab Mir has just landed a job working for a post-feminist, Republican Senate candidate. Her best friend Amra Abbas is about to make partner at a top Boston law firm. Together they’ve thwarted proposal-slinging aunties, cultural expectations, and the occasional bigot to succeed in their careers. What they didn’t count on? Unlikely men and geopolitical firestorms. When a handsome childhood friend reappears, Amra makes choices that Zainab considers so 1950s—choices that involve the perfect Banarasi silk dress and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. After hiding her long work hours during their courtship, Amra struggles to balance her demanding job and her unexpectedly traditional new husband. Zainab has her own problems. She generates controversy in the Muslim community with a suggestive magazine spread and friendship with a gay reporter. Her rising profile also inflames neocons like Chase Holland, the talk radio host who attacks her religion publicly but privately falls for her hard. When the political fallout from a terrorist attempt jeopardizes Zainab’s job and protests surrounding a woman-led Muslim prayer service lead to violence, Amra and Zainab must decide what they’re willing to risk for their principles, their friendship, and love. Jennifer Zobair’s Painted Hands is The Namesake meets Sex and the City, an engaging and provocative debut novel about friendship and the love lives of American Muslim women.”

I was very excited to read this book because the American Muslim culture is not one I know much about. I also loved that the book blurb compared this book to The Namesake – a book I truly enjoyed reading, and Sex and the City. The book did not disappoint. I really enjoyed the story and characters in this book. Aside from Zainab and Amra, the book also includes an American woman who converts to Islam, a third friend who almost marries an American man, and women and men who fall across a wide political spectrum – from those who want to banish Muslims from American to those who want to change traditional Islam to allow more female participation in prayer. Many of the political and religious issues mentioned throughout the book reminded me of some of the issues that the Jewish community faces as well – should marrying outside the religion be acceptable? How does one convert? Can women conduct their own prayer service? As well, outside of the cultural background of the characters, there are also issues addressed such as women working after having children, compromise in marriage, and parental pressure to get married. In other words, this book was highly relatable and interesting!

This is the kind of book that features characters that stay with you after you finish. I missed them when I closed the book. Jennifer Zobair is herself a convert to Islam and an advocate for Muslim women’s rights. I definitely recommend this book and would read more by this writer.

And now for the other books I’ve been reading lately! There are 2 others besides the one above. And both were awesome as well!

“Four months after their separation, marketing consultant Lake Warren faces a tough legal battle with her husband, Jack, for custody of their two kids. Though the timing couldn't be worse, she finds herself responding to the flirtations of Dr. Mark Keaton, her handsome colleague at the Advanced Fertility Center. But the morning after their one-night stand, Lake discovers Keaton with his throat slashed. Afraid of losing her children forever, Lake lies to the police—and begins searching for the truth on her own before she can be charged with the heinous crime. She starts getting hostile treatment from her coworkers, and strange clues start appearing, quite literally, on her doorstep. Soon Lake is pulled dangerously close to the very dark secrets surrounding the slain man and the clinic where they worked. And suddenly the police are not the only ones hunting Lake Warren.” I thought Hush by Kate White was an exciting thriller. It had me on the edge of my seat at many points while reading. I was kept guessing about what would happen next throughout the book. I also enjoyed the fertility treatment center plot line. The “dark secrets” mentioned in the blurb also kept me guessing! Recently, Dave, who is not normally a book reader, has been asking me to hand over the books I think he would enjoy too. He read this one right after I did and he finished it about as quickly as I did, meaning he liked it too!

I love time travel. I call The Time Traveler’s Wife my favorite book and I can’t stop raving about 11/22/63. So it’s not a surprise that All Our Yesterday’s by Cristin Terrill is a new favorite. “’You have to kill him.’ Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present-imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. Marina has loved her best friend James since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America's most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James's life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.” This story was amazing. While at times I found myself a little confused about the characters and how they got to certain points in the story, most everything came to make sense with a bit of thought. I was totally involved in the world of this book and was not happy to see it end. The ending confused me at first, but after a chat with a few other readers, I have come to love it. If you are at all interested in thinking about what would change in the future if events change in the past, you will love this book.

What have you been reading lately?