Blog Tours/Street Teams, Diverse Books, YA Books

Blog Tour: Wings of Ebony by J. Elle – ARC Review

Thank you to the publisher Caffeine Book Tours for sending my an ARC in exchange for an honest review and for having me on this blog tour for Wings of Ebony.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighbourhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighbourhood before the gods burn it to the ground.

I really loved this book and the magic system that the author has created. But mostly I just really loved how Rue and her whole community looked out and helped each other. How when she needed people to have her back they were there for her even though they aren’t her blood relatives because family isn’t only those who you are related to, it’s the people who are there for you when you need them.

The story starts and we are thrown right into the it and throughout the story we are told through flashbacks what happened in the last year that lead to the moments we see in the first chapter. It was really interesting to read the story like this as we are slowly fed information about the magic system, Ghizon and East Row which made it more intriguing.

When people we love are in danger and we have the means to stop it – we do something. Even if it’s against the rules.

Rue is such a wonderful character, she doesn’t take crap from anyone and fiercely protective over those she loves but she will still call them out if they do something wrong and honestly that’s the best type of friend. She is empathetic and caring but she’s also stubborn and finds it hard to rely on anyone or ask for help because she feels it’s her against the world but I loved seeing her slowly realise she isn’t alone. One of things about her I really loved was that she is afraid but it doesn’t stop her from doing what is right and to get justice for those who couldn’t get it for themselves. Her protectiveness over her sister was so relatable as I’m also an older sibling and I just felt for her that she feels responsible for her sister and the guilt at not being able to do more for her.

It was also so heart breaking to read about her grief for her mum and her complicated relationship with her dad as she only meets him after her mum dies and he just drags her away from everyone and everything at a time when she needs those who she loves and knows. I really liked seeing that over time she slowly becomes more open to speaking to her dad but that doesn’t mean she absolves him of never being there or dragging her away to Ghizon, even though he explains why. It just felt so much real. Basically I just really loved Rue and I cannot wait to see what she will do in the sequel especially after that ending!

Who expects their history be erased?

I also loved the discussions on colonisation and erasing history and twisting to make the colonisers the heroes. It was just so real and hard hitting and it would make me stop reading to just think and reflect on what I read. I also loved how Rue calls Bri out for centring herself and making herself the victim when Rue tells her how the magic was stolen. I was literally screaming YESS when I read those scenes.

There was also some incredible discussions on how people view certain communities, always assuming the worst from those people when all they are trying to do is get on with their lives and they want to provide the best for their kids just like the white people from more affluent neighbourhoods. How the people there are mostly ordinary people who live in fear because of the violence that could come for them any day. How youth are killed for refusing to be forced into a life of crime. How a young person can be manipulated by adults into a life of crime and violence and then find there isn’t a way out. How often the one doing this isn’t even from their neighbourhood but from somewhere else and yet it these people who suffer.

We gotta be twice as good from the start to get half of what other people get. People everywhere waiting for us to fail.

This is such a wonderful book with an incredible story and a great main character. I highly recommend reading it!

Blog Tours/Street Teams, Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney – ARC Review

Thank you to Macmillans children’s publishing group and Netgalley for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

I have no idea why this book hasn’t been screamed about everywhere because it is absolutely phenomenal and you all need to stop what you’re doing and go buy it and read it because it released on 12th November!

IMG_2474

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Allie Abraham has it all going for her—she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating cute, popular, and sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock…and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret, exactly. It’s just that her parents don’t practice and raised her to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. But as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith—studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl? What does it mean to be a “Good Muslim?” And can a Muslim girl in America ever truly fit in?
ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL is a relevant, relatable story of being caught between two worlds, and the struggles and hard-won joys of finding your place.

This book has launched all the way to my top reads of the year! I read this book in one night and I literally stayed awake until 5am to finish it and I have zero regrets! It made me sob and laugh and made me angry and sad and hopeful and my goodness I felt every emotion reading that book. Trust me you all need to go read it!

This is a beautiful heartfelt story of a young girl discovering her faith and learning to love all of herself. It’s about finding out who you are and finding a place to belong. Nadine does such a wonderful job of showing what it’s like for so many young Muslim people today, from the Islamophobia and hate they face to being proud of their faith but also afraid to show it because they will become a target.

I’m proud of being Muslim. I want to show it to the world. And if that makes somebody uncomfortable, maybe they’re the problem, not me.

It was so real to me and it showed things that I had felt as a teen and even feel now and it had me sobbing throughout. It’s as if Nadine dug right into my complicated thoughts of what it’s like to be Muslim and especially be visibly Muslim and wrote it into the story. I absolutely adored the nuanced Muslim rep in the book. We have Allie who comes from a non-practicing Muslim family and then there’s Dua and all the other young Muslim girls she meets who are all at different stages in practicing their faith and have all different things they battle with. It was so great to see how different we all are in the book. Even the stereotype of what a Muslim should look like is discussed in the story.

The girls that Allie meets at the Quran club that she joins was so great to see, it reminded me of my group of friends and I loved seeing how amazing it is to have a group of girls who support each other in the book. She also has a great relationship with her parents, the only time she is hesitant to speak to them is about wanting to know more about Islam and practice it more. Which is actually the reality of a lot of young Muslims today. It took me over two years to convince my parents I would be okay wearing an abaya and the hijab before that. So I really related to Allie and her struggle with opening up to her parents.

I want to be loved. But for me. Not for the ideal of what I could be.

She also has a boyfriend, Wells, and is afraid to tell him that she is Muslim especially when she starts to practice more but it was really great to see him be supportive and understanding. The opposite was also true for some of her friends, when they found out they remained ignorant and didn’t want to accept that part of her.

It was really interesting reading about Allie as she doesn’t “look Muslim” so it was easy for her to get by without telling anyone and had opportunities and privileges that would have been otherwise denied to her (like we see in the first chapter). Her character arc in becoming more confident within herself and accepting all of her was so wonderful to read. She deals with Islamophobia, hate speech, people perpetuating stereotypes, white male priviledge and a white man telling her that she is oppressed even when she insists she isn’t. Honestly it made me so angry reading it because I’ve dealt with this but it was so great to see it in a book and showing these realities of Muslims.

Islam is not monolith. It’s time we stopped feeling guilty about not being Muslim enough. Or being too Muslim. Or not the right kind of Muslim.

I could go on forever about why I absolutely adored this book and I really need you all to go read it. It’s unputdownable and will have you completely immersed into the story until the end.

 

Where to find the Author:
Twitter
Website
Instagram

Where to find the book:
Goodreads
Book Depository
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

Blog Tours/Street Teams, Book Recommendations, Muslim Shelf Space

5 Reasons Why You Should Read All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney is out today! And I highly recommend you all go buy and read it! It’s one of my favourite reads this year.

If you haven’t heard what All American Muslim Girl is about then here is the synopsis:

Allie Abraham has it all going for her—she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating cute, popular, and sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock…and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret, exactly. It’s just that her parents don’t practice and raised her to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. But as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith—studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl? What does it mean to be a “Good Muslim?” And can a Muslim girl in America ever truly fit in?

So today I’m going to be sharing some reasons as to why you all need to read this absolutely amazing book:

IMG_2474

1 The nuanced Muslim rep – The Muslim rep is done so well in this book! The characters are all at different stages in their faith and they all struggle with something. They discuss so many things that most young Muslims are dealing with and it was so refreshing to see this really great rep.

2 It’s also Ownvoices rep – Which is even more amazing because we never really get to see this Muslim rep in books. When you are white passing and don’t “look” Muslim. It was really interesting to read from this point of view.

3 Great parent relationship – Allie has a really great relationship with her parents and they are present throughout her story and actually play a big part. It’s rare to see great rep for parents. She like other teens has things which she feels hesitant to discuss with them but they are actually pretty understanding.

4 It challenges stereotypes and deals with difficult issues – From what it means to be Muslim today to what a Muslim “looks like” and Islamophobia and racism. It discusses all these and more. There’s discussions on women in Islam and how Islam is not monolith and Muslims are all different just like the rest of the world.

5 The wonderful female friendships – I love books that show great female friendships! Women empowering women is all I want to see in books especially as most seem to focus on how women hate each other. Allie makes some really great friends who help and support her without judgement. Dua especially becomes a really great friend.

So there’s 5 reasons why you should read All American Muslim Girl! I could go on forever because I loved this book so much. I will have my review of the book up in a few days so keep an eye out for that!

You can find more information about Nadine and her book here:

Where to find the Author:

Twitter
Website
Instagram

Where to find the book:

Goodreads
Book Depository
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

Blog Tours/Street Teams, Diverse Books, YA Books

Blog Tour – The Never Tilting World By Rin Chupeco – ARC Review

Thank you to Caffeine Book Tours for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review and having me on the blog tour.

As soon as I heard about The Never Tilting World I knew I just had to read it and when I am so excited to be part of the blog tour and to share my review because I absolutely loved it!

46A1D1E0-D482-4469-9394-168A3BB4C3FE

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

The concept of this story immediately intrigued me and I really loved this book. Rin incorporated climate change and the destruction it can cause on our planet into the story so well. And the parallels to real life were so well done. The youth are the ones trying to make a difference whereas those in power are content to stay in their palaces and forts safe regardless of what that means for everyone else. The four main characters want to try and undo the damage and make the world a better and safer place to live for everyone yet the adult tell them to focus on other things.

I remember the world back when it was soft and good, where I could watch the sun set before stars graced the sky with their shine. Do you know what I would give to see a sunset again, lad?

There are four points of view in the book and I really loved seeing things from all of them. Though my favourite is definitely Arjun. He a moody cinnamon roll and I loved him! The two sisters are separate throughout the book because they have grown up on opposite sides of the world so we see their separate and very different journeys with their companions (and love interests).

Odessa travels with Lan who is a healer and they have a very difficult relationship which they have to work through in this journey because of certain things that happened before they started. Haidee travels with Arjun who grew up as a desert scavenger unlike Haidee who has grown up in a palace surrounded and protected by fort. They come from very different lives yet they end up working together so well! They were definitely my favourites as they were so adorable! I really loved seeing how different Haidee and Odessa are yet are so similar in many ways too.

I really loved that right from the beginning we are thrown right into the story and the magic system and we slowly learn more over the course of the story. We learn about why the way the world is the way it is and the history and how the magic in the world works. But it was even more interesting because we learn half from Haidee and half from Odessa who have both been given half truths and kept in the dark about many things from their mothers.

We’re chasing a dying sea under an endless sun that kills us with a thousand little cuts every day

The story is also quite dark at times from the monsters that they have to deal with, they were actually pretty terrifying at times. Discussion of how people can abuse their power and positions of authority and will often never be held to account are also discussed. We see the discussion happen in quite depth in the story where abuse is often ignored and covered up. Social class and inequalities are also something that are discussed in the story.

I really loved how diverse this story was, there were characters of different ethnicities all interacting with each other. Arjun has a disability, where he has lost his hand and it was really great seeing how he compensated for it but also that it does affect him. Lan suffers from PTSD and her journey of accepting help and feeling safe to talk to someone was done really well. Odessa also suffers from a chronic illness and I really loved seeing that! We never really get chronic illness rep and really related to it (a chronic illness sufferer) that she had to learn to balance between doing something and having to rest and how difficult was for her to accept her limitations.

A demoness is what men call a goddess they cannot control

The Never Tilting World is a journey of self-discovery of wanting to be more than the label they have been given and doing something that will make a difference in the world. It’s about family and friendship and love and power. You will be swept away by this wonderful story.

 

Here is the full blog tour schedule where you can find all other posts and follow the author on social media.

You can find the full schedule and giveaway here

Schedule (The Never Tilting World)

You can also join in on the Twitter chat happening on October 19th

CBTTC (The Never Tilting World)

Follow Shealea and Rin Chupeco to keep up to date with everything!

PS. You can find the twitter thread here