Monthly Wrap Up

June 2020 Monthly Wrap Up

This month has been a month. Me and my husband both had to isolate because we caught covid so spent most of the month unwell. Thankfully we are starting to feel better now but it has meant that I haven’t been so active on my blog this month.

But I had organised a blog tour with some of my blogger friends to celebrate the release of The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. This trilogy has my whole heart and I will never stop screaming at you all to read it! You can find the tour schedule with all the bloggers involved here

Back to the books I read! So despite being unwell I had a pretty good reading month.

1 Frankie’s Comics by Rachel Dukes – This was a cute comic about a cat and I really loved it so much and a must read for all cat lovers

Rating: 4 out of 5.

2 Fighting Hislam – Women, Faith and Sexism by Susan Carland – This was a really interesting book which showed a wide range on opinions on the topic from different Muslim women

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3 A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir – I love this book so much and this whole series is amazing and you should all go read it. My review will be up soon!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

4 The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence – I did not enjoy this book at all. The beginning was somewhat interesting but then I ended up skimming the second half of the book

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

5 We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia – I really loved the first book but I just felt a little disappointed with the sequel. I don’t think I enjoyed Carmen’s PoV as much.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

6 A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown – I loved this book so much! I need to reread this book asap!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

7 Muslim Women are Everything by Seema Yasmin – This was such an interesting book full a big range of Muslim women.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

8 You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson – I really loved this book and I highly recommend the audiobook.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

9 Mirage by Somaiya Daud – A reread in time for the sequel! I really love this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

10 10 Things I Hate About Pinky – This book was so much fun and so cute and all the angst! I love all the books in the Dimpleverse!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

11 The Damned by Renee Ahdieh – I absolutely loved this sequel and i cannot wait for the next book!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

So that’s all the books I read in June.

I also shared these blog posts in June:

Inspiring Women throughout History – Barakah (ra) – A wonderful woman who everyone should know about.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn ARC Review

Books to read by Black Authors – A list of some of the many books by Black authors you should have on your radar

Stay at Home Book Tag – everyone is welcome to do the tag!

Blog Tours/Street Teams, Booksish Discussions, Muslim Shelf Space, The Daevabad Trilogy

Muslim Representation in the Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

Today is the last day of the World of Daevabad blog tour! I hope you enjoyed reading all the posts! Today I am going to be discussing the Muslim rep in the books.

One of the many reasons that I completely fell in love with the Daevabad trilogy is because of the wonderful Muslim representation in these books. Shannon created such wonderfully diverse and nuanced Muslim characters and especially having an unapologetically Muslim character as one of her main characters.

While there are many Muslims in Daevabad, we don’t meet many practicing Muslims there. Especially in the palace and those amongst the rich and powerful where people do what benefits them and their tribe over what is actually right and just.

Alizayd is one who always fights for what is just and right and that means breaking the status quo which makes him disliked amongst the people in power. They make him out to be a fanatic and someone who will kill indiscriminately to get what he believes to be right but time and time again we are shown that isn’t the case. They call him slurs from sandfly to crocodile. It actually reminded me of how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was treated when he refused to stop teaching Islam and it was an interesting parallel to see in a fantasy book and honestly just made me love Ali even more.

While, 18 year old Ali in City of Brass, is quite rigid in his beliefs and sees everything in black and white we still see instances when he still won’t cross that line. From not punishing the daeva boy for shooting an arrow at him. He has incredible growth throughout the trilogy too and realises that there are better ways to create change and that it will take time. It was honestly incredible to see how he never stopped practicing his faith but he grew wiser as he got older and learnt to see how to use what his faith teaches in a way that won’t alienate anyone.

At the end of The Kingdom of his decision to stop the killing of innocent shafit made me so proud of him but I was especially proud when he said that the innocent daevas are also to be kept safe and that he would execute the people who hurt them himself. Finally someone in Daevabad who cared about everyone in Daevabad and not just those who are their own or that they will benefit from if they cared for those people. Throughout Kingdom of Copper we see time and time again that he cares for all of the people in Daevabad. Social justice is a huge part of Islam and to see a main character embody that was incredible to see.

One of my favourite things throughout the books was how Islam was such an intricate part of the books and it was just there as if it’s completely normal. From the first page with the fajr adhaan and Nahri wearing a black abaya to Ali’s first chapter where he goes to the masjid to pray in congregation. In fact we see Ali turn to his faith time and time again. When Ali is distressed or worried he turns to Allah, when there is a moment of joy, he thanks Allah. It was incredible and so heartwarming to see that in the books.

We also see small things like, Ali and Zaynab not drinking alcohol because it’s forbidden, we see that Ali does not want to have a relationship with anyone outside of marriage and that he even says to Nahri that they can’t be alone because the devil is the third person (who will tempt them to do something that isn’t allowed in Islam). This last one especially was amazing to see, this is a teaching of our Prophet (pbuh) and yet it isn’t considered societal norm for most in the west especially so to see that plainly, unapologetically in a fantasy book, it blew my mind. Ali even gets made fun of by Muslims and non Muslims alike for these beliefs and yet he stays firm. For a teenage boy, a young man to fight this type of peer pressure it is incredibly hard and a lived experience of many Muslim youths and just seeing it in a book. Honestly I cannot begin to describe how much I loved seeing these little things. I wish we had gotten to see more of what it was like for Zaynab too as that would have been so interesting to see.

There are so many instances in the book where people say that Ali is a fanatic and I found it really interesting reading it because according to these people, a fanatic is someone who stands firm in their faith. Ali definitely is one who stands firm in his beliefs but the discussion on what makes a person a fanatic was really interesting and subtly woven into the story. He always questions what happens and learns and grows but his core belief of social justice stays firm. That does not make him a fanatic. Blindly following and being completely devoted to someone despite them doing something morally and ethically wrong is a more accurate definition of what a fanatic is. That isn’t Ali, yet he is always the one who is accused of it but as readers we can see that isn’t the case and I am so glad that Shannon included this discussion in the books.

We also see many instances of people manipulating Islamic beliefs for their own benefit from Ghassan in City of Brass “reminding” Ali that in Islam, parents have a high station and we should listen to them unless it goes against Islam. To the tanzeem who use Ali’s faith to manipulate him into supporting them and then gaslight him when he questions them. To people telling Ali that he is far too strict in his beliefs and that he should just calm down and that people would like him more this way. People would like him essentially if he compromised on his beliefs. He also has to battle through all of this and it was so relatable.

I can truly talk about the wonderful Muslim representation in these books, it gave me the rep that I had been craving and I will forever be thankful for Shannon for this rep.

The Empire of Gold is out in the US today and is already out in the UK and many other places so make sure you pick up a copy because it is phenomenal.

Book Tag

Stay at Home Book Tag

I was tagged by @starisallbookedup to do this tag! Make sure you go give her a follow and check out her amazing blog!

1 Laying in Bed – A book you read in one day

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed. This book had me sobbing and I just could not stop reading.

2 Snacking – A book that is a guilty pleasure read

Urm does the Daevabad trilogy count because I have other books to read but I keep rereading these instead.

3 Netflix – A series you want to start

The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehenat Khan! I have been meaning to read that for ages!

4 Deep clean – A book that has been on your tbr for ages

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas. I really need to read this! I don’t know why I haven’t yet. Oops

5 Animal Crossing – A book that you recently bought because of the hype

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown and let me tell you, it absolutely lived up to the hype!

6 Productivity – A book you learned from or had an impact on you

The Daevabad trilogy has had a huge impact on my life. I cannot even begin to explain how much these books mean to me and how much the wonderful Muslim rep means to.

7 Facetime – A book you were gifted

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson was gifted to me by one of my lovely friends I made through bookstagram.

8 Self care – What is one thing you have done recently to look after yourself

Painting is so therapeutic for me!

Bonus – An unpcoming release you are looking forward to

I am so excited about The Damned by Renee Ahdieh! The Beautiful was one of my favourite reads last year and I am so excited to read The Damned!

So that’s the tag! Everyone is welcome to do the tag!

Favourite Book Quotes, Muslim Shelf Space, The Daevabad Trilogy

My Favourite Quotes from The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

Another post for the World of Daevabad Blog Tour today! Today I am sharing my favourite quotes from the second book in the trilogy!

So a while ago I shared my favourite quotes from The City of Brass on my blog so here is some of my favourite quotes from The Kingdom of Copper!

I loved this book even more than The City of Brass but this book caused me even more pain than the first book but omg this book is phenomenal and you should all go read it!

You can read my post of my favourite quotes from The City of Brass here

So here are some of my favourite quotes:

Alizayd al-Qahtani didn’t last a month with his caravan. – Excuse me but how can this be the first line of the book?! I was stressed and all I read was one line.

I need to put some men in their place. – This one of my favourite Nahri scenes! The way she stood up to Ghassan, I loved her!

You don’t stop fighting a war just because you’re losing battles. You change tactics. – Hatset giving the good advice! Thankfully we have one great adult in this book.

Because a lost little girl from Cairo thought she was living in some sort of fairy tale. And because for all her supposed cleverness, she couldn’t see that the dashing hero who saved her was its monster. – Muntadhir sometimes says what everyone else is thinking, even though he tells Ali not to do that exact same thing.

Go steal some happiness for yourself, my friend – Nahri telling Ali to be happy, this scene omg I love these two so much.

If I do not point it out often enough, your gender can be remarkably stupid. – Aqisa quickly became one of my favourite side characters especially how she fights first and asks questions later.

I’ve had enough of men hurting me because they were upset. – This line was so relatable and I think so many of us know exactly how Nahri feels here.

Is this liquor? Because I want to be completely intoxicated when Abba gets wind that his children are plotting a coup in a fucking closet. That’s weapons polish, Ali said quickly. – This scene with all the Qahtani siblings is one of my favourites in the whole trilogy!

I just hate that choosing to do the right thing in Daevabad always seems to come with a steep price.  – I hate how real this quote is

The only time you’re not wearing something stark and streaked with dirt, it’s because someone else has dressed you. – Nahri pointing out that Ali has zero fashion sense is my favourite thing!

We keep the peace, understand. – This whole scene omg it made me so afraid for everyone’s lives. But also gave me hope.

So there is some of my favourite quotes from The Kingdom of Copper! What are some of your favourite quotes?

Book Recommendations, Booksish Discussions

Books To Read by Black Authors

We all know what is happening in the world and we all need to make sure we stand up and fight the oppression and injustice happening to Black people. It is not a time to be silent, although we should never have been silent in the first place.

One of the ways we can support Black people is that as book nerds we can support Black authors by buying, promoting and sharing their books. So here is a list of books by Black authors to get you started.

There are so many more than the small list I have shared and please do comment any that I missed so we can all share the love!

Fiction Books

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

She Wore Red Trainers by Naima B Robert

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson &Ellen Hagan

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Tried and Tested by Umm Juwayriyah

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Daughters of Nri by Reni K Amayo

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Triston Strong Punches a Hole in the Skky by Kwame Mbalia

A Phoenix First Must Burn by Patice Cadwell

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

A Song Below Water by Bethany C Morrow

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

 Slay by Brittney Morris

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Non-Fiction Books

I Will Not be Erased by Gal-Dem

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

From My Sisters Lips by Naima B Robert

Becoming by Michelle Obama

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Slay in your Lane by Elizabeth Uviebinene & Yomi Adegoke

Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch

The Fundamentals of Tawheed by Bilal Philips

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women White Feminists forgot by Mikki Kendall

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Feminism, Interrupted: Disrupting Power by Lola Olufemi

We Should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Adiche