Book Events, The Daevabad Trilogy

The Empire of Gold Readalong Announcement

I have an exciting announcement for you all today! Me and Zulfa are hosting a readalong for The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty!

The readalong will begin on 6th Oct and end on 7th November with an Instagram live chat with Shannon. We will also be sharing discussion posts and fun activities on twitter and Instagram over the month.

This readalong is quite relaxed and you can all read at your own pace. But we would love to see your updates so make sure you use #EOGReadalong in your tweets or posts so we can find them!

During the live we will also be asking Shannon all the spoiler questions so write down any you want to ask for the live! We will also be collecting questions so if you can’t make it you can give us the question to ask Shannon.

There will also be a giveaway which will be announced later but there may be some art involved…

Make sure to follow our social media to keep up with the readalong

Shannon’s instagram and twitter

Zulfa’s instagram and twitter

My instagram and twitter

Book Events, Muslim Shelf Space, The Daevabad Trilogy

Meeting Shannon Chakraborty – Waterstones Event

So on Wednesday I was finally able to meet Shannon Chakraborty! To say that I was excited would be an understatement! I was literally buzzing all day and poor Anisha and Gillian had to deal with me screaming at them in caps lock after the event. Get yourself bookstabesties like them who tolerate this lol

Anyways, the event was AMAZING! Honestly it’s my favourite event I’ve been to! Even my husband really enjoyed himself which is an achievement as he normally gets bored as he’s not a fiction fan but Shannon had him hooked as she spoke about Muslim rep and of course his favourite topic, jinns!


The event started by Shannon reading a non-spoilery excerpt from Empire of Gold which is from the point of view from a certain Afshin. It gave everyone chills. It was a flashback to how everything started for him!

She spoke about my faves Alizayd and Nahri and about Ghassan and complicated family relationships. She spoke about how her background in Islamic history is what inspired the world.

She spoke about how it was important to her to write about Alizayd and that he is a young Muslim boy who is deeply devout and passionate about social justice for everyone regardless of social status. Social justice is a big part of Alizayd and Shannon being a convert to Islam, the social justice is what drew her to the religion. I also loved learning that she was basically Alizayd in her teen years!

I really loved the discussion around the Qahtani siblings. Their relationship is so complicated because of their political positions so it makes their sibling relationship so complex. Muntadhir is the Amir and Ali is the second son who is a trained soldier and this makes him a threat to Muntadhir. Ali and Muntadhir also have very different views on how to run Daevabad which makes them rivals.

But they both love each other and try to protect each other too. Zaynab is the one who ends up as the peacemaker between them. She spoke about how their relationship is inspired by her wanting to explore how Princes in history, who were brothers and loved each other, ended up rebelling against each other. That the sisters would often play peacemaker. It just creates even more depth to this wonderful story!

One of the most interesting characters in this story is Ghassan. He is such a complex and layered character that you hate and love him and want to scream at him and emphasise with him all at the same time. She spoke about how he is corrupt leader mirroring those real leaders we have seen. They believe that what they’re doing is for the good of their people. They will oppress and subjugate other people to “protect” their own, just like Ghassan does. Then over the years he slowly became more and more power hungry and it becomes about keeping that power. And he lets the fear control his actions. He is the same way with his children, he clearly loves them all but will also use them as political pawns.

The last character she spoke about is Nahri. She told us how initially Nahri was a straight cut character and only became a con artist much later. She wanted to explore how, an orphan with abilities that would frighten those around her, that grew up in a time where kinship and family was an important part of the culture would be. Nahri is an extremely distrustful person because of how she grew up and just because she was taken to Daevabad she wouldn’t be able to change that part of her so easily. That’s why even in The Kingdom of Copper she still isn’t comfortable in her role as a leader of a tribe and living there even though she has embraced the healer side of her.

She spoke about how her background in Islamic medieval history has inspired the world and the politics and family dynamics. Listening to her speak made me appreciate even more just how much research she did to build the world. It is so incredibly detailed even in aspects of the characters that I didn’t even initially consider!


Lastly we were able to ask her questions and when I spoke to her I spoke about how I’m part of the discord chat and she was so lovely to talk to! I spoke to her about our many theories and her response was to smile with eyes twinkling and man she killed me! I am hoping that some of our theories are correct!

Anyways I could go on forever about how lovely Shannon is and how much I adore these books! But that’s all from me!

If you were at the event or have met her do let me know!

PS. You can read my review for The City of Brass here and my review for The Kingdom of Copper here

Book Events

My YALC Experience – Part 2

So in my previous post about YALC I wrote about the issues I had with the event, which you can read here. But this post will be all about my favourite parts of YALC!

Of course some of my highlights include just generally nerding out with my sisters and the others who were there because we all shared a love for books! I bumped into a few people I know through bookstagram and it was lovely to finally meet them but it was so crowded that even though I knew some others were there I literally could not find them all day! Hopefully I will get to meet them another time.


My favourite day was definitely Friday as I got to meet some of my absolute favourite authors! The reason why I actually decided to book the tickets so I could finally meet them.

Renee Ahdieh: I had to get front row seats to her panel and then of course was ridiculously excited to meet her! I have been waiting for absolutely forever for her to come to the UK so I could not miss this opportunity. She is absolutely lovely and I really hope I get to meet her again! I was also seriously fangirling when I gave her a painted book of TWATD and she loved it and gave me a hug!


Eoin Colfer: He is one of my favourite childhood authors and I never thought I would actually get to meet him. I also gave him a painted book and then I had the most surreal moment where he asked me to sign it for him. *dies* He was so funny and me and my sisters had a great chat with him while getting our books signed.

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Yasmin Rahman: I also met Yasmin on Friday after chatting to her on twitter and absolutely loving her book. I finally had a book that dealt with mental health but also from the perspective of a Muslim girl. It was also amazing to see an author who looked like me there. Seriously I cannot explain how much it means to me. She is so lovely and funny and I hope I get to meet her again!


I also went down to comiccon in search of Cake in a Jar and it was so worth it! Her cakes are delicious!

Then on Saturday I met another two authors that I love!

Vic James: Talking to Vic James was amazing! I love all of her books and I loved talking to her about Sanctuary as it was so relatable and the parallels to the real world were pretty terrifying. I could have honestly talked to her for ages.


Alwyn Hamilton: It’s no secret that I love the Rebel trilogy and when she said she would be at YALC to have an exclusive event for her new book I just had to be there! Discussing theories with her and now I am absolutely dying for her new book!

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I wasn’t too fussed about winning ARCs when I went but I really wanted to win The Fowl Twins ARC or Kingdom of Souls ARC and on Friday I actually won The Fowl Twins and I literally could not contain my excitement! I am so ready to be back in the world of Artemis Fowl!


Lastly I want to add that I loved meeting Bex Hogan at the BKMRK stand and talking to her about how much I loved Viper! And I spent ages at the Harper Voyager stand talking to them about my love for The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty.

So I did have a good time overall and I am especially glad that I got to meet some of my favourite authors and attend some really great panels.

Book Events

My YALC Experience – Part 1

This year was the first time that I had booked tickets to attend YALC for all three days and I was so excited about going and a little nervous as I wasn’t sure I would manage such long days with my health. But my sisters were going to be there with me so at least I wouldn’t be on my own if I needed help.


I did mostly enjoy being at YALC, it was amazing to be surrounded by so many bookish people and the atmosphere was awesome! My favourite day was Friday as that’s when the authors I really wanted to see were there and it was the absolute best being able to finally meet them!

But before I talk about my favourite parts I want to talk about the issues that I had with the event.

My main issue was issues with accessibility. I found that there was a lack of seating that was available. There were literally no seats anywhere except the main stage where the panels were. For someone who suffers from chronic pain it made it really difficult for me during the day as sitting on the floor is really difficult for me and the standing for long periods meant that it made my pain really bad, especially carrying books or anything else I picked up during the day. (Even though I did use the cloakroom and have a suitcase to put my books instead of carrying them)

They said they had a chill out zone but again it was literally an empty space where people were sitting on the floor. This combined with the heat and humidity triggered my pain and anxiety. So much so that the pain made it impossible for me to even attend the Sunday which I am really upset about. I hope that there will be more seating available next year as it will really be the deciding factor on whether I can attend or not again and as much as I would love to go I don’t want to trigger my pain to the extent that I can barely get out of bed. It’s just lucky that I had my sisters to help me.

Another thing I want to mention is that some places were first x number of people get the ARC and I felt this was unfair and put those with disabilities at a disadvantage. We cannot stand outside and queue hours before YALC opens or rush to get there to be first. I also felt this could be pretty unsafe as the crowds could cause injury. I know most places did a raffle which I felt was much fairer and accessible to everyone and I hope that everyone will adopt this for next year.

I also wished they were a little more organised with the virtual signing system. It wasn’t clear whether we had to get a ticket for every author before but on the day we found out by chance we needed to get them for each author. We had to repeatedly come and check if we could get in the queue and while I understand that, that is necessary, if we are told to come back three times, after being told every time come back in 10 minutes it does get frustrating. My sister was told to come back at a certain time for an authors signing but when she came back at that time (which she was told by staff to do) the author had finished signing and left so she actually missed out on meeting the author she was most excited to meet.

The last thing I want to mention is that there was very few authors of colour and when I saw the author line up I was a little disappointed, although not surprised. I do hope that there are more authors of colour there in the future. It’s a little ironic that white authors are there talking about their books with PoC, yet authors of colour are few and far between at the same event.

Another part of diversity that I want to add is the lack of promotion or anything really, geared towards boys. I spent ages looking for something there that would interest my husband that I could say that he would enjoy if he came but there wasn’t much. Although I do have to say that this isn’t solely an issue at YALC but in general, book events are marketed towards girls.

Okay so I know I’ve gone on about the issues I had with being at YALC and I will probably not go again for all three days unless the seating issue is dealt with appropriately. But I will be posting another blog post about my highlights tomorrow!

Did any of you experience any difficulties of being there?

Book Events, Muslim Shelf Space, Reflections

Meeting Yasmin Mogahed

Recently I attended a class by Yasmin Mogahed. She has come to the UK and has been teaching classes on various topics.

For those that don’t know who she is, she is an Islamic teacher and author, she has a degree in psychology and a masters in journalism. And she has been one of the most influential role models in my life for the past 10 years.

Her book is one that helped me through some really difficult times in my life and I try to attend her classes whenever she comes to the UK.

And for those who want to read her books, her first book is called Reclaim Your Heart and her more recent one is called Love and Happiness and I highly recommend them both!


So I wanted to share what she spoke about in her class, and I know this isn’t like my usual posts but it’s an important part of my life and I want to share it with you all.

The topic was about dealing with hardships and difficulties in our life and the Islamic perspective of getting through them and healing and recovering from them. It’s a topic that we can all relate to so I was looking forward to listening.

This will be an extremely condensed version of her class because there is no way to actually write everything here, it would far too long!

Her class was based on this verse from the Quran:

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” Quran (2:155)

She spoke about how Allah tells us he will test us. He will test in different things. The types of challenges we will be tested with are anxiety/fear, hunger and loss.

All of this is not to say that we should hate this world but that we should not be completely attached to it.

This world is not supposed to be perfect and if you expect perfection then you will inevitably be disappointed. That if we expect perfection from the creation, we will continue to suffer until we realise that perfection is only in Allah. One of the easiest ways to understand this is to think about the happiest moments of our life and even then, you can see that not everything was perfect.

She spoke about how we put such high standards on ourselves and those around us that we don’t allow ourselves to be human. To be human, is to be imperfect.

This can lead us to despair and hopelessness and this what the shaytan uses to get to us. But the design of Allah is to keep going even when we make mistakes.

In times of difficulty we should be patient but that doesn’t mean we bottle up all our feelings. We can feel sad that we are going through a difficult time. It’s a human emotion and even the prophet’s felt sadness. Like Prophet Yaqub (as) when he thought he lost his son forever and Prophet Muhammad (saw) when his wife, Khadijah (ra), passed away.

In today’s society we use the word sabr to tell people to be patient but what we are really saying, is be numb, do not show your emotions, act like everything is fine. But this means the person is unable to heal and move on with their life. They will continue to suffer.

She spoke about how we need to be real and honest with ourselves and address the wounds. So that we don’t despair in the mercy of Allah. That we need to acknowledge it, address it, treat it and we have to have hope in the mercy of Allah.

Grief needs to be processed and that does not mean we are not patient. Sabr isn’t to supress your emotions. Emotions don’t just disappear and if we supress it, then it can become bigger. Not only that but our whole body is connected so emotional distress, when not properly addressed, can manifest into physical illnesses.

She spoke about how we can’t always control what happens in our lives but we can control our response. We need to think about whether we view the events that occur as something that has happened to us or for us.

She reminded us of this hadith:

The Prophet (saw) said: “Strange is the affair of the Mu’min (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient (Sabr) and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mu’min.” [Muslim]

She reminded us how any difficulty we go through in life is never forgotten by Allah. He rewards us for our patience and our sins are forgiven for every moment we are in difficulty. That whatever comes our way. We a stronger and wiser from it.

Sometimes Allah gives us something painful in life to force us to change, we don’t like change and often, the only time we will change will be when the pain forces us to.

She told us how what we focus on grows and if we focus on the problem we will see problems everywhere.

“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” Quran (94:5)

This means that no matter what difficult situation you are in, there will be good in your life too.

Being patient, or having sabr, doesn’t mean you are passive. It’s an active word, it means we need to take action and change a bad situation, to persevere.

The last thing she told us was a “prescription” for the heart. Things that are so important for us to do so that we will be able to face any difficulty in life and not despair. So this is what she told us:

1 Salah – This is like oxygen, if we don’t get any oxygen we will die. Just like our prayers keep our heart alive.

2 Adhkar – Reading the supplications for the morning and evenings and any others we can incorporate into our routine. They are a protection and will help us be stronger spiritually.

3 Quran – Make it a daily part of your life. Be consistent with it, so even if it is 10 minutes a day that is better than once a month.

So this is in a nutshell what she taught us in this class. I highly recommend listening to her lectures on youtube and reading her books. They are amazing!