Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites – Diverse Books

This is hosted by Something of the Book who created this tag out of a love for lists. There are different topics for us all to be able to take part and you can find the prompts here.  There isn’t a specific number of favourites so it’s entirely up to you how many you share. You can share your most or least favourites too!

This week I’m going to share diverse books I want to read soon. I love that more diverse books are being released and by diverse authors and I hope that they continue to be released because I can finally see myself in books and I know lots of people feel the same.

So these are books I’m hoping to read soon:

1 We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – I absolutely cannot wait to read this book! I have been eagerly awaiting for it to release ever since I heard about it last year.

2 On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – I adored The Hate U Give so I really want to read this too. I have been meaning to read it since it released.

3 The Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – another book that I have been excited about for a very long time! I got it in a recent Illumicrate box so I’m hoping to get to it soon!

4 The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad – as soon as I saw the cover I fell in love and then I heard it has a Muslim main character and jinns and I knew I had to read this!

5 Pride by Ibi Zoboi – a pride and prejudice retelling and as I adore this classic I need to read all retellings! This one sounds so good!

6 Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri – a Mughal inspired world so of course I had to add it to my tbr!

7 Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali – a Muslim love story? Sign me up!

8 Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi – this is inspired by Hindu mythology and sounds so interesting!

9 Empress of all Seasons by Emiko Jean – Another book I received in book box and have heard great things about so I am looking forward to read it!

10 A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman – this is an anthology with short stories and written completely by diverse authors which of course I need to read!

So these are some of the diverse books I really want to read soon!

What diverse books are on your tbr? Or what diverse books have you read recently and loved?

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For the love of Books

Hyped Books I Didn’t Love

So this post is probably full of unpopular opinions as I know many of you loves these books but I just…didn’t. Some are books that I hope will get better as the series progresses, some were books that disappointed me as I thought I would love it.

So here are books I didn’t love:

1 Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – the story itself was quite intriguing but I just didn’t like how slowly the story progressed and the writing style. I got bored and forced myself to read to the end of the first book and then just gave up

2 Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I hadn’t planned on reading this but everyone kept telling me I would love it so I thought I would try but again I just didn’t get on with the writing style. Though the story itself was intriguing I just wished more actually happened in the book.

3 Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – I mean the book is okay but I just don’t love it. I don’t know if it’s the footnotes that put me off or the story was slow at the beginning but it took me ages to get through the book.

4 A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas – I cannot explain how much I did not like this book.

5 Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – I really struggled to get through this book but then I found that the books actually get better

6 Vengeful by V.E. Schwab – I absolutely adored Vicious but I didn’t enjoy this book as much I felt like the story dragged too much in the first half especially

7 The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare – this series was such a chore to read. By the end I was only here for Malec. Which is strange because I adore The Infernal Devices!

8 King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – I was so disappointed by this book. I was expecting Six of Crows level of epicness and it just…wasn’t

9 Legendary by Stephanie Garber – having loved Caraval I was hoping this would be just as great but I just didn’t enjoy it much

10 The Cruel Prince – a book that I was actually struggling to get through but the ending saved it.

So there you have it, books that have been really hyped but I just didn’t love. These are just my opinions and if you loved them then I’m glad you did!

Are there any hyped books that you didn’t love?

Book Reviews

The Chosen by Taran Marathu – ARC Review

Thank you to Hodder Children’s Books and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Having loved the Summoner books by Taran Matharu I was so excited when he announced his new series The Contender especially as it was set in a world with dinosaurs! And this book did not disappoint!

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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.
Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.
But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.

The Chosen opens with Cade already in this alternate world faced with a creature he’s never seen before so right from the beginning we’re thrown into the action. I really liked that as it made me even more intrigued about the story and how Cade ended up there.

We get the backstory of Cade and his classmates throughout the book through Cade so we slowly get an idea of why the characters behave the way they do with each other. It was interesting to see the dynamics between them all and how they had to try and get a long because of the situation they were in. They have conflicts and don’t always agree on things but I wish we had gotten to see more of that in the story.

The story is fast paced and lots happen throughout the book. They have to face dinosaurs and lots of other creatures. I really loved how immersive it was and how he weaved real history and fiction together, the history nerd in me totally loved all mentions of historical facts! The history is actually an important aspect of the story too and one of the reasons that Cade is chosen to be taken to this world.

I really liked Cade and how he thinks before taking action, it’s unusual for a teenage boy to think before he barrels into things so that was nice to see. I really liked seeing the own voices rep as Cade is half Indian and how his culture and family dynamics are. We also see the racism and discrimination he receives from some of the other boys because of it. He is looked down upon because of his lower social class and everyone assumes he is guilt because of how he looks and that he isn’t rich. I liked that he does battle with these emotions and how it makes him feel despite being a top student his opportunities are taken from him. I really hope we get to see more own voices rep in books.

Another character I really liked was Quintus, who Cade meets in this world, he helps Cade and the others and even teaches them how to use some weapons. He has hearing difficulties and we see how he is unable to communicate with others and how that makes him feel isolated and lonely. Cade also meets a group of teenage girls while on this world and they also help him and I loved seeing them flip stereotypes that girls aren’t as capable as boys.

Throughout the whole story we are left to wonder why Cade and the others have been sent to this world. There is a lot of intrigue and mystery and it made me want to read just one more chapter. The ending of the book was so intense and kept me on the edge of my feet. They have to face these terrifying creatures and there are some things that happen that I was not expecting at all which left me reeling. We only get an idea of why Cade has been sent to this world right at the end which of course is then left on a cliffhanger and I just want to know what will happen next!

This book is full of action and intrigue and unlike any other book I’ve read. If you love dinosaurs and history then I highly recommend you pick up The Chosen! I am already dying to know what will happen in the next book!

Ramadan Readathon

My Favourite Books By Muslim Authors

I am absolutely loving that there are more books being released by Muslim authors so I thought I would share some of my favourites and ones I highly recommend you all read! They range from non-fiction to fantasy to contemporary books.

This month is also Ramadan and you can also take part in the Ramadan Readathon taking place on Instagram and twitter and these books are perfect for many of the prompts!

1 Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed – a book that I will recommend to every single person until the end of time! I adore this book and it’s written in such a way that it feels like it’s written just for me. This book has gotten me through so many difficult times in my life.

2 The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – I am completely and entired in love with and totally obsessed with this trilogy! It is absolutely amazing and you all need to go read it. If you want to know more you can read my review here

3 Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin – a Pride and Prejudice retelling with Muslim characters and I absolutely adored it! The banter and slow burn romance was done so well! You can read my review here

4 Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed – a book that deals with a topic I am so passionate about, girls rights to an education. I really loved how Aisha dealt with the issue and highly recommend you all read it. You can read my review here

5 An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – this book is brutal and intense and will keep you on the edge of your feet right until the end!

6 Revive Your Heart by Nouman Ali Khan – a book that deals with many important societal issues faced by Muslims today. Highly relevant and really inspiring.

7 She Wore Red Trainers by Naima B Robert – a halal love story that I absolutely adored! You can read my review here

8 Ayesha Dean – The Istanbul Intrigue by Melati Lum – a Muslim teenage detective who ends up solving mysteries while she is on holiday with her friends. If you enjoy Nancy Drew type books then I highly recommend it! You can find out more by reading my review here

9 Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan – dealing with toxic masculinity that is still very much prevalent in todays society and that it is okay to be you. You can read my review here

10 Prayers of the Pious by Omar Suleiman – this is a short concise book but full of inspiring duas and how amazing Muslims in the past knew the power in dua. It’s such a great book and perfect as a Ramadan read.

So these are some of my favourite books!

Do you have any favourite books by Muslim authors? Or books by Muslim authors you want to read?

Top 5 Wednesdays

Top 5 Wednesday – SFF Characters I Would be BFFs With

Hey booknerds! It’s another Top 5 Wednesday post! This is hosted by Sam over on Thoughts on Tomes where you share you top 5 for the chosen topic for that week. You can check out each weeks topic over on Goodreads.

This week I’m sharing some characters I would love to be friends with! I adore these characters and their personalities, and I feel like if they were real we would probably be friends and bond over something!

1 Cress from The Lunar Chronicles – she is a total fangirl and I would definitely bond while fangirling with her

2 Zainab from The City of Brass – she’s so sassy and fun and I would love to hang out with her

3 Shahrzad from The Wrath and the Dawn – I would love to be friends with her I feel like it would be really fun and exciting

4 Amani from Rebel of the Sands – I think it could be so much fun to hang out with her

5 Hermione from Harry Potter – I have always wanted to be friends with her since I was a kid!

What fictional characters would you want to be friends with?

Reflections

10 Things You Can Do In Ramadan If You Can’t Fast

Following on from my previous post about how I am no longer able to fast in Ramadan, I thought I would share some things that I can still do. Especially as I know there are many people who, like me, are unable to fast. Whether it’s because of health reasons or because many women will be on their period at some point and unable to fast then.

There are so many reasons as to why people can’t fast but here are things we can all do regardless of whether we are fasting or not, to be able to increase in our worship and gain that closeness to Allah.

1 Read the Quran – try reading on a daily basis, even if it just a few pages a day. For every letter you read you get rewarded. It is what will help you gain that connection to Allah because He is talking directly to you through the Quran.

2 Listen to the Quran recitation – you can play the Quran recitation during your commute to and from work or any other time during the day especially if you cannot physically pick up the Quran to read at the time.

3 Read the translation of the Quran – read it in a language you understand best. For me, that’s English. I read the Sahih International version as I find that easiest to understand. It will help you to understand the Quran so much better.

4 Read the tafsir of the Quran – the translation only gives us a superficial knowledge of what the Quran is teaching us but reading or watching a lecture on tafsir will give you a much deeper understanding. For reading I recommend Ibn Kathir and listening, I recommend Omar Suleiman or Nouman Ali Khans lectures which are available on YouTube

5 Dhikr – remembering Allah throughout the day and is probably the most easiest form of worship to do. You can recite Alhamdulillah, Subhanallah, Allah Hu Akbar while you are at work, driving, cooking basically doing almost anything.

6 Dua – there are so many duas we can learn and recite and I highly recommend picking a few and making it a goal to learn and implement these. It can be anything from the dua to enter your house or a dua for ease in your studies. Fortress of a Muslim is a great book to have and small enough to fit in your pocket. There are also special times when dua is most accepted so we can make the most of our worship by praying especially in these times. The last third of the night, laylatul qadr, at the time of breaking the fast are some of these times.

7 Increase in Islamic Knowledge – pick a topic you want to learn more about and focus on learning something new about it. It could be anything learning about the Prophet (saw) or the mothers of the believers or self improvement or anything else. Learning more will help us to gain that connection with Allah. It can be reading, audio, watching lectures, attending a course.

8 Making Istighfar – seeking forgiveness is something we are all taught we should do regularly. None of us are perfect so our worship won’t be perfect. We forget, we make mistakes, we commit sins. And so we should also seek forgiveness for those.

9 Feed a fasting person – if we can’t fast we can still help those who are fasting. Maybe make something and give it to a neighbour or send money through a charity so they can provide food for those who fast and can’t afford to buy food to open their fast. We gain the reward for feeding a fasting a fasting person.

10 Give in charity or volunteer for a charity – we are always more generous in Ramadan, and there are always charities that are doing great work across the world in need of funding. Even if you can’t afford to give money, maybe volunteering a few hours to help them is an act of charity too. Smiling is a charity, helping an elderly neighbour, babysitting or helping out a friend or family member, so many possibilities.

There is so many more things we can all do to try to benefit the most from this month but don’t compare yourself to what others are doing. Allah knows what you are doing and He will not compare you to anyone. Do your best to take advantage of this Ramadan as the rewards are innumerous.

PS. Even if you are fasting you can still do all of these too! 🙂

I hope you find this beneficial and I hope you all have a wonderful Ramadan.

Book Reviews

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly – ARC Review

Thank you to Hot Key Books and Netgalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

I really loved this book! I’m not a fan of Cinderella but the synopsis intrigued me and I’m glad that I read this because it was so great!

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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.
When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.
Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.
Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

I really enjoy retellings even when I’m not a fan of the original fairytale and this was no exception. This story made me root for the “ugly” sister, it made me feel for her and hope for a happy ending for her. I think that shows how much I enjoyed it, especially as she is a villain in the original story, tormenting Cinderella.

This book deals with female empowerment and how women should empower other women and not tear them down. How women can be more than what society tells us. They put us in boxes and expect us to stay there. You can only be that one thing that they designate to you and we have to cut away parts of ourselves to fit societies expectations. But this story is about breaking out of these boxes and tearing them down. It’s about being true to yourself and being more than what society tells us to be. And that is what makes us so powerful.

I really liked how fate and chance were personified and how each of them tempted Isabelle to make a choice that could lead her in a completely different direction. Fate told her to play it safe, that change isn’t possible, she made her doubt her own ability. Chance told her to take a stand, to be brave and take that step to take hold of her life and lead it in a different direction, to be who she knows she can be. It made her story feel very real, we all deal with these in our own ways, all the time.

I also loved how the fairy queen came to her just like she did for Ella but Isabelle has to find herself before she can actually realise what her hearts true desire is. At the beginning she thinks it is to be pretty, because everyone tells her she is ugly and therefore won’t amount to anything in life. But her journey of self discovery leads her to who she truly wants to be. It was a hard journey full of self doubt and her having to really look beyond what she was told to be and to truly be who she wanted to be.

Tavi was the other sister and I loved her as much as Isabelle, she’s really smart and doesn’t understand why she has to give up her dream of studying to become a suitable wife. I related to her so much! Why girls have to be the ones to sacrifice an education, that they can’t be too smart, because it will hurt the male ego. It’s something we see throughout the book, Tavi is told that she won’t be able to work out the answers by men, that when she corrects the men they feel insulted.

Even Ella, when we meet her, becomes more than just a pretty girl. And I really loved how the author showed the depth and complexity of each of the girls and how they might not be what we all assume them to be.

Honestly this book is filled with themes that I am so passionate about so it left me with a whirlwind of emotions. I felt angry and sad and hopeful and everything else in between. I highly recommend everyone read this book!