Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan – ARC Review

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending my this eARC. It does not affect my opinions of the book.

I read I Am Thunder last year and loved it so I was really looking forward to reading Kick the Moon and was really excited when I was approved for the arc! It’s safe to say that I loved this book even more than the I Am Thunder!

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Rating: 5/5

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Fifteen-year-old Ilyas is under pressure from everyone: GCSE’s are looming and his teachers just won’t let up, his dad wants him to join the family business and his mates don’t care about any of it. There’s no space in Ilyas’ life to just be a teenager.
Serving detention one day, Ilyas finds a kindred spirit in Kelly Matthews, who is fed up with being pigeonholed as the good girl, and their friendship blows the social strata of high school wide open. But when Kelly catches the eye of one of the local bad boys, Imran, he decides to seduce her for a bet – and Ilyas is faced with losing the only person who understands him. Standing up to Imran puts Ilyas’ family at risk, but it’s time for him to be the superhero he draws in his comic-books, and go kick the moon.

I read this book in one sitting, I just could not put it down! It’s a book that deals with many social issues prevalent in today’s society and I felt it handled it really well. Like his first book, I feel that many teenagers will relate to this and is a book I feel young boys should read. The main character being Pakistani Muslim is not something that we see in books, especially YA books and I hope we get to see more because we need more representation of young Muslim boys and girls.

There are so many important issues addressed in this book, they are interwoven really well and feel like a natural part of the story and not forced. The main theme that is addressed in this book is toxic masculinity and how this can affect not only the boys life but also those around him. He also addresses sexism, racism and prejudice. And how these can all be interlinked.

Ilyas has to deal with so much, he was a really well rounded character and so relatable. He was brought up with the “boys don’t cry” mentality and you can see how much it affects him. How showing emotion and being “soft” is seen as unmanly. He doesn’t enjoy sports like the other boys, instead he loves to draw comics and loves his rabbit. All things which are perfectly fine but he’s taught it’s not from his dad and his friends and the society around him. I felt so much for Ilyas because I have seen this growing up. Watching people tell my cousins that boys don’t cry and essentially teaching that they should not show emotion. So they never learn how to manage their emotions. They learn to hide parts of themselves if it doesn’t match what they are taught about what makes them a “man”. It just makes them unhappy and stressed and can lead them down a bad path like it did for Ilyas.

I loved that the gang culture, peer pressure and cliques were also addressed in this book. I’m sure it’s something we all saw while in school and were all affected by it. When Ilyas stands up for what is right, he puts himself and his family at risk. The fear he feels felt so real and it made me really root for him because it takes strength to stand up and fight for what’s right. I also loved Kelly, who is a reflection of the rich, privileged school girls and how this privilege gives them an advantage over other students. It was nice to see that she realises her privilege.

One of my favourite parts was that Ilyas was an artist and that he drew comics. But not just any comic, one that represented him and other South Asians. I have always wanted to see a superhero who looked like me and I was so happy to see that in this book! I just want to read a whole comic based on his superhero! I really loved that Ilyas holds onto his identity of being Muslim and a Pakistani. It isn’t something we see enough of in books.

There is so much more I want to say but I don’t want to spoil anyone so I will just say this, this book deals with really heavy topics but it is also fun and uplifting and that representation is so important and I want more and I’m sure many others do as well! I highly recommend picking this book up and also reading his other book I Am Thunder if you haven’t!

Kick the Moon releases today, 24th January.

Fiction Books, YA Books

Enchantee by Gita Trelease – Book Review

I love historical fiction books especially when they have magic involved so I was super excited when my request for this book was accepted on netgalley. Thank you to Macmillan Children’s book for sending me this book. It does not affect my review in any way.

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Rating: 4/5

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

I really loved this book, there was great world building and I loved the characters so I was really invested in their story. The was a lot of intrigue and suspense and a major theme throughout the book was that everyone was hiding something so the deception kept me hooked. I wanted to know what was truly happening, who each of the characters truly were.

Each character had their own secrets for various reasons, from needing to blend in to keeping a loved one safe, and it made their deception grown until they were almost spiralling out of control. It really made me root for the characters and wanting them to work everything out.

I personally loved the romance in the story, even though there isn’t a lot of it, it felt very realistic for the time period it’s set in and honestly they were so adorable!
The world building was amazing, it was rich and intricate, so I felt like I was right there walking the streets with the characters. It shows Paris’ dark and bleak side where the common people live but also the glitz and glam of the aristocracy. It made it seem much more real.

I also loved how Gita incorporated true historical events and people into the story, from the revolution to Marie Antoinette to the hot air balloons. I especially loved how the hot air balloons were shown as the revolutionary event in the story as it was so accurate for that time and how the characters were so invested into making using a hot air balloon a reality. Their enthusiasm and zeal was completely addictive and it made me want to join them in the hot air balloon!

I was really glad to see that Gita accurately depicted the stark differences between the rich and the poor and how the rich often cared very little for the suffering of others. While Camille and Sophie had to deceive people to just be able to buy bread, the rich were gambling and drinking their days away. Showing this made it clear why the revolution happened.

I loved the diversity in the books and how it was portrayed from Lazare being half Indian and facing racism even amongst the aristocracy, with them making it clear that he is not their equal and Chandon having to hide his relationship because it was seen as unacceptable.

Although I loved the book I did feel it dragged a little near the end but it did not lessen my enjoyment of the book. Then the ending was a lot more fast paced and I loved the way it ended.

One thing I did love was that although there will be a book two, this book had a complete arc so you can technically read it as a standalone. I am most definitely looking forward to reading more and being back in this world as I so want to see what will happen with the characters during the revolution.

If you love historical fantasy books I highly recommend you pick this book up when it comes out in February!

Fiction Books, YA Books

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa – Book Review

Thank you to HQ and Netgalley for providing an eARC. All opinions are my own.

I requested this book because I had heard great things about it and it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

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Rating: 4/5

If you didn’t know what it’s about, here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

The book is set in feudal Japan and I adored the rich, detailed world building. We explore so much of the world with the characters travels and I loved every bit of it from the vast forests to the busy city. I did find the world a bit confusing at first but as I got into the story I quickly fell in love with the Japanese legends and lore and the way that Japan was run and there’s also samurai’s, ninjas and demons!

We are told the story from multiple points of view, mainly through Yumeko and Kage Tatsumi, but also sporadically through Suki’s who’s point of view we see first. It means we get a wider view of the world and through Suki (who is a maid in the emperor’s palace) we get to see some insight into the villain in the book.

Yumeko is a wonderfully fun and mischievous character. Being half-kitsune it comes naturally to her and we see her at the beginning as someone who hates responsibility and loves pulling pranks but she has great character development that happens naturally throughout the book. I loved how she’s not suddenly an invulnerable badass but she is still vulnerable but knows her strengths. She knows that she can wield illusions but she would not be able to fight demons on her own so she convinces Kage Tatsumi, a samurai, who is after what she has, to get her safely to her destination, all the while never letting him find out that she has what he wants.

I also loved the awe, and sometimes the naivety of her, when she sees the world beyond the walls of the temple. It was refreshing to see a character who loves experiencing the world and through her we get to experience it too. She is also brave and kind and stands up for what is right, much to the irritation of Kage Tatsumi, who wants to ignore everything and continue to the destination.

Kage Tatsumi is the opposite of Yumeko, he is as serious and unfeeling as she is fun and loves experiencing new things. It was so interesting to see how despite being complete opposites they seem to get along so well and work so well together. And we get a better understanding of why he is the way he is as we travel with them, and why having emotions could have dire consequences for him and for those around him. It makes him mysterious and makes me want to know more about him and despite being a character who I would tend to not like, I really liked him! He has an interesting character arc in the story, albeit a little predictable, but it was still well done enough that I didn’t mind.

The story itself was interesting and action packed and even though there is an overall story arc we have smaller arcs throughout the book, quests that the characters go on while trying to reach the temple that Yumeko needs to get to. I really loved the characters that they meet along the way and who join them on their quest. They had great banter and interaction with each other and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of them in the next book.

Both Yumeko and Kage Tatsumi have to deal with moral dilemmas throughout the book and it was interesting to see them deal with that and one of the things I really loved about the book was that there was very little romance, the main theme was friendships and how these group of strangers, ended up befriending each other and how this led to the loyalty and kindness towards each other and how they are willing to fight to the death for each other, it was refreshing to see.

Overall I really enjoyed the story, especially with that ending and cliffhanger, it left me wanting to know more! I’m really looking forward to continuing the series.

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday – Backlist Books I Want to Read

Hey booknerds! I’m taking part in another week of Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. You can find more information here

This weeks post is about backlist books I want to read.

There are so many books that I have on my shelves unread and yet, I continue to buy books. It’s beginning to get out of hand and I seriously need to read the books that have been sitting there for ages. I know there are some great books, but there’s so many books and so little time. I also find that a lot of my backlist books are ebooks. I always seem to overlook these books when I’m deciding what book to read.

But these are the books I really want to get to:

1 And I Darken – I keep hearing amazing things about this book and I won the first in the trilogy in a giveaway so I really want to read it

2 Truthwitch – another book I keep hearing great things about but I still haven’t got to yet

3 Dorothy Must Die – a wizard of oz retelling?! I knew I had to buy it when I saw it but I just haven’t got round to reading it

4 Air Awakens – I know I will love this book but gahhh still haven’t read it!

5 The Queen of the Tearling – I picked this up because the cover looked pretty but I haven’t got round to reading it yet

6 Graceling – yet another book that I have heard amazing things about but I haven’t read yet

7 The Forbidden Wish – this is an Aladdin retelling so I just had to get it. I hope it’s good!

8 Iron Gold – tbh I’m pretty scared to read this book. The Red Rising trilogy was brutal and heart breaking and I’m not sure I’m ready to have my heart broken again

9 Invictus – this is totally my type of book so I’m hoping to read it soon

10 This Mortal Coil – with the release of book 2 this book is now high up on my tbr hopefully I will read it either this month or next

So these are the books that I really want to read soon especially as they have been on my tbr for far too long!

What books have you had on your tbr for far too long?

Fiction Books, YA Books

OtherEarth by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller – Book Review

I really loved Otherworld so when I saw OtherEarth on netgalley I just had to request it and I’m so glad I was approved! Thank you to OneWorld publications and Rock the Boat for providing me with an eARC.

OtherEarth releases on October 30th

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Rating: 4.5/5

Here is the synopsis for OtherEarth from Goodreads:

Simon saved his best friend, Kat, from the clutches of the Company and their high-tech VR gaming experience, Otherworld. But it was at a steep price. Now he, Kat, and their friend Busara are on the run. They know too much. About the Company’s dark secrets. About the real-life consequences of playing Otherworld. And about Kat’s stepfather’s involvement in everything. The group is headed to New Mexico to find Simon’s old roommate, who is a tech genius and possibly the only person who can help them reveal the truth about the Company before it’s too late and the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy is erased . . . forever.
Imagine a future in which you can leave reality behind and give in to your greatest desires. That future is now. And the future is terrifying.

So OtherEarth picks up right where OtherWorld ended and although it had been a while since I had read OtherWorld and was worried I wouldn’t remember what happened but as I started reading everything came rushing back to me. Like OtherWorld, this book was also fast paced and even more action packed and I loved it!

This book was intense and once I started reading I could not put it down and was reading well into the night. It’s full of intrigue and the story is even more complex than the first book. We spend a lot more time outside of OtherWorld and get a lot more backstory about the company and how and why OtherWorld was created. But we are left with even more questions too! I just wanted to keep reading to find all the answers.

I just have to say that the technology and the game that has been described in these books are absolutely terrifying and I am so glad that this technology does not actually exist and hope it never does! Even though it was made with good intentions, it never ceases to amaze me how inhumane humans can be. Like the first book, there were players who hunted the beings created in the game for sport. As a result of the technology they are actually sentient beings yet they were hunted and killed in horrifying ways. I’m so glad this side of gaming was discussed in books as it’s something I feel strongly about but I feel like it’s not something that is generally discussed.

I really liked Simon a lot more in this book than I did in OtherWorld. He was a lot more fleshed out and complex and generally more likeable. I also loved his relationship with Kat, they were adorable! Kat was a really great character and I do wish we could have seen more of her.

I also loved the addition of Simon’s friend, Elvis. He was fun and sassy but also kind and caring and smart. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in the next book. The only person I still can’t decide what to think of is Busara. She is secretive and mysterious and I couldn’t figure out what she was hiding. I hope we learn more about her in the next book. Also that ending made me even more curious to know more about her.

I’m also intrigued by Simon’s hallucinations. Are they a form of PTSD? What is real? What’s his hallucinations? Especially that ending left me reeling and shocked and even more confused as to what Simon was seeing and what was real or not real! I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil anyone but oh my god, I was not expecting that ending at all and I just desperately need the next book because I need all the answers!

I highly recommend reading this book especially if you enjoy gaming or sci-fi books. I’m not even a gamer and I loved it!

Let me know if you’ve read the book and what you thought!