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

The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah – ARC Review

Thank you to Legend Press for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book was incredible and so poignant and just made me feel all the emotions. Highly recommend this book!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A Palestinian American woman wrestles with faith, loss, and identity before coming face-to-face with a school shooter in this searing debut.

A uniquely American story told in powerful, evocative prose, The Beauty of Your Face navigates a country growing ever more divided. Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter—radicalized by the online alt-right—attacks the school.

As Afaf listens to his terrifying progress, we are swept back through her memories: the bigotry she faced as a child, her mother’s dreams of returning to Palestine, and the devastating disappearance of her older sister that tore her family apart. Still, there is the sweetness of the music from her father’s oud, and the hope and community Afaf finally finds in Islam.

This is such a profound book, a book where I felt so seen on so many levels. What it means to be a child of immigrants. Of parents who left everything and everyone behind to try to start a new life where their children will be safe but how they have to still battle, it’s just a different type of battle. One of having to prove you are not stupid, one where you have to watch people sexualise you based on the colour of your skin, where you are treated less because of it.

It was a book I could relate to being a child of parents and grandparents who moved from their home countries to the west to try and build a better life for their kids. The conflicting feelings of a child from two worlds not knowing where they fit in, not enough for either their family culture or of living in the west spoke to me deep in my soul. This whole book was something I felt deep in my soul, how Afaf is lost as a teen and then slowly finds her path and her faith and how it anchors her and gives meaning to her life was so beautiful to read.

Most of the story is exploring Afaf’s life growing up and her finding her faith until we meet the adult Afaf that is headteacher of an Islamic Girls School. We see what she feels and thinks as there is a shooter terrorising the school and she is stuck in the prayer room. We also see a little from the shooters point of view and how his blind hatred lead him to murdering innocent teenage girls. He didn’t even once try to understand who they were, he found it unacceptable that they were “different” because of their religion so therefore a threat. It’s something we still see today, something that I have experienced, something I see happen to those around the world.

I think it’s such an important book for people to read, it shows how complicated it is being an immigrant, trying to fit into a place that doesn’t really want you there, that thinks you are less because of the colour of your skin. To see how blind hatred can cause so much death and destruction. This book is such an important and relevant book and I really need you all to read it.

Book Recommendations, Muslim Shelf Space, Ramadan Readathon

Muslim Shelf Space Books Available on Scribd

So as it’s Ramadan and I’m currently taking part in Ramadan Readathon I thought I would share some of the many books by Muslim authors that are available as either ebooks or audiobooks on scribd. I know we can’t all buy every book we want to read so if you have a scribd subscription you can find these books and more on there to read!

PS. If you would like to try scribd you can use my referral link to get access for 60 days for free!

4F08CD7D-E10B-46C8-8FB4-1EC2736257EB

Fiction EBooks

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
The Weight of our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem
She Wore Red Trainers by Naima B Robert
Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali
No Sex in the City by Randa Abdel Fattah
That Can Be Arranged by Huda Fahmy
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
When Wings Expand by Mehmed Mariam Sinclair
Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Non Fiction EBooks

Allah Loves by Omar Suleiman
Misquoting Muhammad by Jonathon AC Brown
Prayer of the Pious by Omar Suleiman
Believing Women in Islam by Asma Barlas
Great Muslims of the West Mohammad Mojlam Khan
Revive Your Heart by Nouman Ali Khan
Signs on the Earth: Islam, Modernity and the Climate Crisis by Fazlun Khalid
A History of Islam in 21 Women by Hossein Kamaly

Fiction Audiobooks

Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
More to the Story by Hena Khan
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney
The Map of Salt and Stars by Zayn Joukhadar
The Lines we Cross by Randa Abdel Fattah

Non Fiction Audiobooks

Misquoting Muhammad by Jonathan AC Brown
Muslim Girls Rise by Saira Mir
Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed
The Sealed Nectar by Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

I hope you all find something that you want to read in this list! I have read a lot of these and definitely recommend them!

Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites – Books That Define You

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 weeks post is about books that define you! So I’m going to share some fiction and non-fiction books which are essentially part of me and you can learn a lot about me from knowing these are some of my favourite books that are basically me!

So the fiction books which I feel are a part of me:

1 The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – Look I think we’ve all established that I am obsessed with these books and I will one day love them enough to actually transport myself into Daevabad.

3B9D87BB-5B5C-4019-BFA6-D837F06A1FEC

2 Love From A To Z by S.K. Ali – A love story with Muslim characters, who don’t date, yet still fall in love? Where has this book been all my life?! This is essentially me and my husband and this book will have a special place in my heart.

A57A89B4-86E5-4B10-8839-F43559739361

3 Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin – The Pride & Prejudice retelling with Muslim characters that I have been waiting for that not only made me nostalgic for the original but was a fresh new spin and incorporating young Muslim lives into the story.

IMG_1765

4 Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – The book of my childhood that made me completely and entirely obsessed with books!

6DF9CC84-5467-4B22-8293-29F435A8AEAB

5 The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton – While HP may have cemented my bookworm status, it was these books that actually made me a reader

IMG_6784

These are the non-fiction books which will essentially show you who I am and what I am passionate about:

6 Fight Like A Girl by Clementine Ford – Talking about female empowerment is something I can talk about until the end of time.

0391D81A-2F3B-409F-991F-E067FD393BDA

7 I Will Not Be Erased by Gal-Dem – Seeing stories written by people of colour and especially those who are Muslim is something I am so passionate about supporting. Only we can write our stories.

E47FE4C7-8B9E-4CE7-8A83-2EEE6157AEB9

8 The Hormone Diaries by Hannah Witton – Talking about taboo subjects is something I do a lot. It brings me great joy to see the scandalised faces of those who still think that periods are ‘eww’

F8F77921-AF71-4A52-AF28-6EFBF4170BBD

9 It’s Not About the Burqa edited by Mariam Khan – I need more stories and essays with the complex and vast view of Muslim women. These are stories where I can see me, where I can see my stories. I need more of these!

03F2341B-9C55-4195-B2B6-AD498505CC22

10 Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed – This is the book that I read time and time again and has helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life.

8C2154E5-46C7-4D59-837E-F78FD6217129

11 The Quran – And lastly the book that is essentially a guide on the way I live my life. The most important book I will ever read. It is THE book that I turn to in all and any situation I find myself in, good and bad.

C0F18AEC-5FE4-44DB-900F-8ECDF05A1058

So these are the books that basically define me and topics that people I know will associate with me. I hope this has helped give you an insight to the person I am!

Is there any books that define you?

Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Middle Grade Books, Muslim Shelf Space

Ayesha Dean – Istanbul Intrigue by Melati Lum – Book Review

I first read this book last year and I really enjoyed it. So when I was lucky enough to become part of the street team for the next Ayesha Dean book I decided to reread this to refresh my memory before reading the arc of the new book.

IMG_1008

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Ayesha and her friends Sara and Jess jump at the chance of accompanying Ayesha’s uncle on a trip from Australia to Istanbul. But when Ayesha discovers a mysterious note as a result of visiting an old bookshop, their relaxing holiday starts to get a whole lot more complicated! Ayesha finds herself trying to uncover a hundred-year-old Ibn Arabi mystery, while trying to avoid creepy villains, and still making sure that she gets to eat the best doner kebab Istanbul has to offer. It’s all in a day’s sleuthing when you’re Ayesha Dean. Lucky she can count on her best friends to always have her back!

This book was such a fun read! I really loved the mystery and intrigue, there’s plenty of plot twists that kept me interested and trying to figure out the secrets until the end. It’s a really great detective mystery type book and reminded me of Nancy Drew.

One of my favourite things about the book was how well fleshed out Ayesha was as a character. She is a smart, resourceful, brave person. She knows what she wants and she is always curious about everything. Once she picks up a mystery she has to follow through until she solved it! She is also a badass! At the very beginning we see her take down a man who was running from airport security after stealing something and even throughout the book when things start to get a little scary, she doesn’t back down. She remains calm and is quick thinker which helps to save her life and catch the bad guys at the end!

I also love her friendship with Sara and Jess and how close they are with each other. They have fun and support and care for each other and it was so nice to see that in a book. I don’t get to see lots of great female friendships in stories. I also loved how she has such a good relationship with her uncle and that they actually talk about everything. She is open and honest with him and he trusts her judgement.

I loved seeing the great Muslim rep throughout the story from Ayesha wearing a hijab to the adhaan being heard to the rich Islamic history we are told throughout the book. I really loved how she wore her hijab in different styles and that she was always dressed stylishly. I related to this so much because I love matching my hijab to my clothes and making sure my hijab looks nice and smart. Especially when I was 18!

The story is also set in Istanbul so we get to see the culture of the Muslims there and how they live. I loved seeing how friendly and open many people that Ayesha interacts with are. It reminded me of the lovely community feel that we often experience I Muslim countries. I felt like I was with Ayesha and her friends as they visited the tourist sites and I always ended up craving the food they ate! I could see how much research Melati did about Turkey.

If you enjoy detective stories then this is a really great read. It’s fun, fast paced and has a really interesting and unique mystery that Ayesha discovers! I’m really looking forward to reading her next story!

Book Events, Booksish Discussions

Teensgate Blogger Event – My Female Role Models

Recently I attended a blogger event at Waterstones Deansgate. And although my anxiety was in overdrive and I ended up barely being able to talk to the others (even though I really wanted to) I am glad I went. I think next time I won’t be as nervous and actually be able to talk to people.

IMG_0480

So this events theme was Feminism and sponsored by DK Books. They gave us all a tote bag filled with such great stuff. They gave us a selection of books and I picked up two of them!

They also asked us to share who our feminist icons are. So that’s what the rest of this post will be about!

There are so many that I look up to and who inspire me to be the best version of myself. So I’m going to share some of them with you here.

IMG_0718

The first is Fatima Al-Fihri. She was an Arab Muslim born in 800AD and she founded the first and oldest university in Fez, Morocco. The university is still running today and the library is one of the oldest in the world! I loved learning about her and how she used the money her father left her to establish the university so that others could receive the education that she had been able to receive. Because of her dedication to ensuring education was available to many she built an institute that became a centre of knowledge and people came from all over the world to study there.

Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid was the wife of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and she lived in a society that didn’t value women. Yet she was a successful business woman, running her business on her own and employing people to travel to sell on her behalf. This was unprecedented in her time yet because of how she dealt with those in her business she was well respected by both men and women alike. She eventually employed the Prophet (who wasn’t a prophet at the time) and she proposed to him. Even after they were married, she was the main breadwinner of the family and he continued to work for her. I love her!

Nusaybah Bint Ka’ab also lived at the time of the Prophet and she was a badass! She was a warrior and would be someone who would be known today as an activist and women’s rights campaigner. She continually spoke up about women’s rights and ensured that women were treated with justice and equality. I adore her so much!

There are so many more that I want to speak about from Yasmin Moagahed, Alima Ashfaq, Linda Sarsour and Dalia Mogahed. Women who I see today speaking out about injustices and who won’t be silenced. But I wanted to mention those three in more detail as I doubt that many people know about them. And they deserve to be mentioned because they were powerful, strong women who created change in their community and society around them.

Let me know who your female role models are! I love learning about all the amazing women in the world!