Cover Image: Sparks Like Stars

Sparks Like Stars

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Sitara, the only member of her influential family to survive the 1978 coup in Afghanistan, almost leaves the country. She is adopted by a U.S. official who assists her with moving to the country. In the future, Sitara (now Aryana) is a successful surgical oncologist in the Big Apple. Until she runs into someone from her past, she is able to keep the horror from her childhood at bay.

Given the present state of affairs in Afghanistan, this book couldn't come at a better time. Those interested in Middle Eastern fiction will appreciate this excellent work. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator, Mozhan Marno, did a fantastic job.
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The audiobook is wonderful! I listened as I read along.  
An Afghan American woman returns to Kabul to learn the truth about her family and the tragedy that destroyed their lives in this brilliant and compelling novel.⁣
The life of Sitara had me totally engrossed to her story, wanting to know more.  I loved stepping in to a bit of Afghanistan’s history and the streets of Kabul.  Even though I was flipping pages, there were a few parts that were slow for me. Overall, I enjoyed this one. ⁣
• Genre tags: historical fiction, literary fiction, Afghanistan ⁣
• Rating: 4.25 ✨
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Thank you Netgalley, Nadia Hashimi, and Harper Audio for the opportunity to listen to this amazing powerful story. There are very few books that I can say I’ve read that left such a lasting impression on me, and this is by far one of them. When I was listening to this book, I could feel all the emotions just running through me. It hit my heart more than I ever thought any book could. I can’t even begin to fathom being such a young age and losing everything that was known to me, being the only survivor after house my entire family’s assassination, and then having to trust someone in order to survive. This book was beautifully written and flowed so effortlessly. I received the audiobook version of this and the narrator did an absolutely amazing job bringing the story to life. This book will forever be one of my favorites. I would even go as far as saying it should be read in schools. I am rating this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Side note: my apologies for being so far behind on this review. I thought I had posted this review way back when I read this book only to discover I had never written one.
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Thank you Netgalley for an audio copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This story is an emotional roller coaster ride unlike any other. The first half of the story takes place in Afghanistan when the years-long conflict began. The emotion that is conveyed during this half of the story is heartbreaking. Going from practically on top of the world to the bottom of the barrel with absolutely nothing - no home, her family slaughtered nothing but the clothes on your back. The narrator put all the emotions, heartache, pain into this and I couldn't help but be brought to tears several times.

The second half of the story is of the same person, only she is older living a different life in America. It finally seems as though she's got life back on track. But the past haunts her, and there are some things that she still has to work through. Even more so since a figure from her past is now very present in her future. Now all the hate and resentment that she has had bottled up for the past 30 years has bubbled to the surface.

The beautiful, impactful story will have you on the edge of your seat. It will take you through a range of emotions and leave you wanting more. It does start on the slow side, but don't let that fool you. Keep pushing through and be emersed in the magnificent story.
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Sitara is just a young girl but her experiences are many. She will find herself without her family, left behind without anyone. Her savior, a man her family trusted to protect them is not someone she wishes to be saved by. How did he not save them? 

As Sitara finds herself on a new path that leads her to America, she will suffer much more by the hands that are supposed to care for her and protect her before she finds her final home with the American Diplomat that becomes her family. 

Aryana is a successful surgeon that try’s to help people when she can. While the business she is in sees much death, she is the doctor her father always hoped she would be. 

Her boyfriends has always been on the same page with her with children and marriage. That is until now. He has decided his chances of becoming a politician would be better if they were to make some changes in their relationship. She is worried because she has a complicated past that she hasn’t mentioned in all this time and now it seems to late to tell him but with the turn their relationship seems to be going she knows she must tell. 

I loved Nadia Hashimi’s writing and Mozhan Marno did an excellent job bring it to life with her narration. I didn’t want to stop listening the whole time. 

This story has so much within that it keeps you interested and doesn’t get stale. This has death, grief, trauma, the foster care system, immigration, achievement, family relationships, governmental powers and much more. I was so glad I read Spark Like Stars. I don’t know why it took me so long. 

I would definitely recommend this to anyone that enjoys historical fiction, women overcoming their past, and stories of other cultures. I will definitely be adding this one to my favorite/must read lists.

This was recieved via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions within are my own.
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Such a powerful story, told by such a talented writer. The narrator is spot on as well. Nadia Hashimi, tells the story of a prominent Afghan girl, who’s family is murdered, right before her very eyes. Her father’s is the Presidents right hand man and the tides turn against them, politically. A bodyguard, sneaks Sitara out of the palace but can’t keep her. Sitara, finds her way to the home of a US Diplomat, who too thinks she can’t take Sitara in. This life saving arrangement saves Sitara and gives her a Jew life. The transition to America, though isn’t so smooth but she does find her way. She changes her name and puts all her efforts into her studies. She is able to become a doctor and eventually a world renowned surgeon. During one particular surgery, she is face to face with a man from her past. She couldn’t ever forget that face. Facing this man stirs up all the hurt and loneliness away from Kabul. She needs answers and decides she is the person to get them.. The twists and turns of this story had me hooked. I loved the characters and I couldn’t put this book down. Hashimi, is an excellent story teller and her descriptions are amazing. It was such a pleasure reading this story. I kept reading, because I had to know how it ended. I adore stories like this..
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I've enjoyed Hashimi's other books, and was looking for  more of the same going into this. What I found was a long and ambling historical fiction novel following Sitara, a young privileged Afghani girl. Sitara shares what it's like to grow up in the 1970's as the daughter of the right-hand man to the president of Afghanistan. Until, of course, the coup that ended that leadership, in which her family is murdered around her. Sitara finds an escape, and spends the rest of her life trying to fit in and process her trauma. 

Somehow, Hashimi took a story about a coup and made it boring. Granted, listening to this on audio didn't help, as many of the fast parts felt slow and many of the slow parts dragged on for ages. After Sitara settles into her life in America as an adult under the name Aryana, the story becomes quite mundane. She's in a relationship with someone who doesn't care about her as much as he should, she's a doctor but not quite fulfilled by her job.  I found most of the story to feel half told, and often told instead of shown.  I was frustrated from the lack of conclusion and lack of importance of many characters that we spend half the story with.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Harper Audio for my copy of Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi Narrated by Mozhan Marno in exchange for an honest review. It published March 2, 2021. 
Wow! This book was riveting. From beginning to end, I did not want to stop listening to it. I was utterly devastated with Ariana (Sitara) from the beginning of her tragedy and through her tumultuous childhood. 
That juxtaposed with the 2008 storyline was very well done. I loved the character development and the way the story went. It was not predictable at all! 
I am now wanting to learn more about Afghanistan and the culture! 
Along with great writing, the narration was also wonderful!
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This novel follows an area of history that isn't too long ago which allows it to provide excellent perspective into the world which we are now in. I wish more books covered this specific time period in history. Excellent read! Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Audio for a copy of this book for an honest review.
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Sparks Like Stars is the story of Sitara/Aryana, an Afghani girl from a wealthy family who was saved during the 1978 coup while the rest of her family was killed. In order to survive she was smuggled out to the country by a US diplomat and used her dead sisters US birth certificate to get permanent asylum. The story is told in two parts, Sitara's escape in 1978 and Aryana's return in 2008. Thirty years after the coup Aryana has become a doctor and one day a new patient comes to see her. That patient brings back memories and drives Aryana to return to Afghanistan to find the bodies of her family. This is a story of survival both physical and emotional. Like so many of Nadia Hashimi's books she has created a very human main female character who is a strong but yet vulnerable and scared. I definitely enjoyed the story and would recommend this book.
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Nadia did a fantastic job capturing this piece of history, but also the journey of healing and growth that Sitara goes through.

This book tugged at my heart strings constantly, and was so beautifully written.
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Kabul, 1978: The daughter of a prominent family, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Afghanistan’s thriving cosmopolitan capital. The 1970s are a time of remarkable promise under the leadership of people like Sardar Daoud, Afghanistan’s progressive president, and Sitara’s beloved father, his right-hand man. But the ten-year-old Sitara’s world is shattered when communists stage a coup, assassinating the president and Sitara’s entire family. Only she survives. Smuggled out of the palace by a guard, she is adopted by an American diplomat her who raises her in America. 

New York, 2008: Thirty years after that fatal night in Kabul, Sitara’s world is rocked again when an elderly patient appears in her examination room—a man she never expected to see again. It is Shair, the soldier who saved her, yet may have murdered her entire family. Seeing him awakens Aryana’s fury and desire for answers.

Her father had once told her that the world lived within her. That her bones were made of mountains. That rivers coursed through her veins. That her heartbeat was the sound of a thousand pounding hooves. That her eyes glittered with the light of a starry sky.” That is the gorgeous, lyrical writing you’ll experience in Sparks Like Stars. It’s not the type of book you’ll breeze through; it is the type you’ll savor. The author paints vivid word pictures that engaged all my senses: the sounds of the Kabul marketplace, the chaos of the coup, the fragrance of the gardens, and the despair of a little girl whose family is murdered before her eyes. 

It was that strength she calls upon when she leaves all she knows behind to forge a new life in the United States. Sparks Like Stars is epic, emotional, and educational. It’s a great choice for book clubs because there is so much to discuss, and I’ll be recommending it to mine when my turn rolls around.
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This is a tough one to write a review for. I’m saying this was a 3.5 for me & rounding up to 4 because I loved the writing style & the richness of the characters. There was such heart and realness to them all.

The inner turmoil Sitara felt surrounding the man who she suspected murdered her family but also saved her was so raw, and heartbreaking. 

We were given such a rich look at her life before the coup, but only glimpses into her life after before she returns to Afghanistan. I would have loved to have the same rich look at her life in America and the relationships she had prior to her return to Afghanistan. 

The narrator was excellent and I look forward to listening to more of their work. 

I would like to thank NetGalley, Harper Audio, and Nadia Hashimi for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Sparks Like Stars completely consumed me. In its sadness and hope, we rest in Satira’s mind and her pain. In its first half, the book expects her to be nothing more than a child - and that makes her story entirely empathetic. In the second half, where we see her adult life, past traumas are revealed in splinters. In this, the story is heartbreaking  This book is beautifully written and I recommend it as one of my favorites of this year.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A good story , long after the last page is turned, the last word savoured, stays with you . It is remembered for more than the characters, the unique plot line, or the description of a hundred details that become the sum of its creation.
A good story is remembered by how it made you feel.

Sparks Like Stars 🎧
Published by @williammorrowbooks
Pub date March 2, 2021
4.5 💫💫💫💫

The story starts with Sitara Zamani , daughter of the chief advisor to President Sardar Daoud , living in 1978 Afghanistan . She is happy, loved little girl and a terrible night in April the 10 yr old must find a way to escape with her life, the only person living after the assasination of the President, his family and every member of her family. She is smuggled out by a palace guard, Shair..but it wasnt easy .

This history saddened me, I found myself reading and researching the years events, because none of this was discussed in any World history class I took. It seems the Russians wanted a Communist leader to take over this country, and at the same time the US was fighting against this from happening. In the middle of this are the people who live in the country, and from this assassination how the Taliban we hear about in the news came to be. By a twist of fate the guard was able to get Sitara to a US Embassy diplomat, and the road to getting her out of Afghanistan was a difficult journey.
The story continues with Sitara in 2008 , grown up as a surgical doctor. Her quest for the truth comes full circle when the guard who helped her live becomes one of her patients. Will she return to Kabul and finally learn the truth?

This is a sweeping story I listened to on audiotape as an ALC from @Netgalley. I cried, I journeyed quotes, I felt for the main character who worked hard to build a life,
" How desperate we fight for meaningless things when the only things that matter is a glimpse of heaven in this life". Heaven would be to find where her parents and brother were buried.
With the aide of a former veteran who wrote of the war, her adopted mother she journeys back to Kabul. There is where the story truly begins.

Five good things:
🎆Strong Female Protagonist 
🎆 Made me want to learn more about Afghanistan,  its culture and travel there.
🎆 Family story line with pro adoption themes
🎆 Beautiful prose style that made me want to journal quotes
🎆 PTSD and Mental Health with positive solutions and self care addressed.

Minor dislike
🎆 I felt like the story between the veteran writer and Sitara was rushed, and should have blossomed. We needed more of his character Arc to the story, It made me wonder if the editor didnt chop sections with them together out. 

A must read ! And my fave audio book so far this year.. thanks @netgalley and @williammorris for my ALC.
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What an intense read! I knew immediately that I was going to love this book when I heard Mozhan Marno's voice. She is the perfect narrator for Sitara and I will definitely be researching to see if she narrates any other books.

The writing is absolutely poetic! If I'd been reading an e-copy, it would have been full of highlighted sentences that caught my attention. Sitara/Aryana is wonderfully complex and haunted by the trauma of her past and it fills the story with sorrow and heartache. I enjoyed the structure of the story and was glad the past and present weren't unfolding simultaneously. This book is so well-written that it's easy to believe Sitara/Aryana, Antonia and Tilly are real people.

This is the perfect book for fans of The Kite Runner and historical cultural fiction! I've never read any of Nadia Hashimi's other books but that will be changing post-haste.

"Afghanistan’s secret weapon has always been her women."

Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for the audio ARC!
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QOTD: what are you most looking forward to, “getting back to normal?”
My son is supposed to have his first in-person school day of the year tomorrow (we’ll see, because he seems to be coming down with something 😔 ), but we are so glad to be vaccinated and comfortable to send him back to learn in the classroom with his peers 💃 

I couldn’t let the weekend pass without wishing a HAPPY PUB WEEK to @nadiahashimibooks and her book Sparks like Stars ✨ published March 2, 2021

First of all, how beautiful is this cover? Second, it has deckled edges 🤩🤩🤩

From the synopsis:
Bold, illuminating, heartbreaking, yet hopeful, Sparks Like Stars is a story of home—of America and Afghanistan, tragedy and survival, reinvention and remembrance, told in Nadia Hashimi’s singular voice.

Thank you to @nadiahashimibooks @williammorrowbooks @bibliolifestyle  for this gifted copy 😍 and @netgalley for audio version

#sparkslikestars #nadiahashimi #bibliolifestyle #newbook #publicationday #bookpubday #bookbirthday #bookrelease #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookishpost #bookishfeatures #bookstafam #bookblog #bookblogger #bookcommunity #readercommunity #readingcommunity #instabook #instabooks #instabookstagram #instareads #instaread #instareading #booksgram #bookgram #readersofinstagram #booksofinstagram #bookpost #netgalley
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Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi
Such. A. Good. Book. First, thanks to @netgalley and @harperaudio for an audiobook copy of this book.  
**There are probably going to be a few spoilers in here so skip to the next paragraph if you want to avoid those.** The story begins in 1978 and is about a 10-year-old girl named Sitara. She lives with her parents and toddler brother in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sitara’s father is a close adviser to the Afghan president. When the president is ousted in a coup Sitara’s family is assassinated along with the president. She is smuggled out of the presidential palace and is foisted upon an American diplomat. She escapes to the US. She has a fairly good life growing up in her new home. In her present day life she has become a surgeon and while successful the 30 years that have passed have brought Sitara little peace. She must now fight to make peace with the past if she’s ever going to be able to move forward. 
The first half of the book was hard. It was just trauma after trauma to this little girl. However, there is a turning point, and while she still struggles, she is safe. Once I got to that point I couldn’t get through the book fast enough. I had to know how it was all going to turn out. 
A few observations that I made while reading the book. First, this is the second book that I’ve read recently that has drawn a concise, convincing line from the Cold War to the Twin Towers being attacked. It’s certainly something I need to look into more. Second, the Afghanistan that has been conveyed to me over the last 20 years is by far not the whole picture. There is a depth of culture and history that this book pulls back the curtain on and gives a glimpse. Again, it is something that will warrant more study.
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Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Storygraph!
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This is now my new favorite audiobook. 

Fantastic story, narration, characters, writing, and more. I can’t recommend this enough!
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