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

Ayesha Dean – The Seville Secret by Melati Lum – ARC Review

Thank you to Melati Lum for sending me an eARC of her book in exchange for an honest review.
I am super excited to be part of this blog tour as I loved the first Ayesha Dean book and I can’t wait to read more of her adventures in the future! You can also read my review of the first book here


Rating: 4/5


Ayesha, Sara & Jess are back in an exciting new adventure, and this time they’re off to Spain! When a fellow passenger’s beloved grandpa strangely disappears, Ayesha and her friends gladly join in the search for the missing person. But as Ayesha delves further into the mystery, the more sinister the stakes become! Ayesha finds a link between the missing person and a seventeenth-century diary that contains clues to an ancient mystery. However, each step closer to discovery seems to pose greater chances of peril. Can Ayesha uncover the truth without putting herself and her friends in mortal danger?

This is the second book in the Ayesha Dean mystery series and I really loved this book even more than the first! I loved seeing how Ayesha, Sara and Jess develop from the first book and we got to see more of their interactions both while they’re solving the mystery and just hanging out together. I also loved this mystery even more than the Istanbul Intrigue. Spain is a place I have wanted to visit for a long time, especially to see the Islamic history there and this book has made me long for it even more!

This story is steeped in the Islamic history of Spain and I loved how Melati wove this history into the mystery that Ayesha and her friends need to solve. I can tell that it has been well researched. Even the way modern day Spain is described in the books. It’s so vivid from the tourist spots to the food and culture and everything, like her first book, was so well researched that all I wanted to do was drop everything and go and visit the places and eat the food!

I also loved that in this book we get to see more of Sara and Jess and their backgrounds. It made them more distinct and well rounded as characters outside of being Ayesha’s friends. It was so nice to see a group of girls who are such great friends and support and love each other yet still make jokes and have fun together.

I also want to mention Ayesha’s uncle, Dave, he is such a wonderful character and although we don’t see much of him, what we do see shows that Ayesha has a beautiful, loving relationship with him. In YA it’s not often we get to see parental figures having a great relationship with the protagonist.

The story itself was so interesting and intriguing that I didn’t want to put the book down and was reading well into the night. It was also much more darker at times than The Istanbul Intrigue which I liked seeing as solving a mystery, especially one which involves a missing person, can lead to dark secrets.

One of the things I love about these books is the way Ayesha’s faith in seamlessly woven into the story. She wears a hijab and prays and her faith is important to her yet she is just your average teenage girl who wants to be work in the police force and become a detective. It makes Muslim women “normal” rather than shown as “other” and I am so thankful for that.

Although this book is part of a series each book has it’s own complete arc so while the adventures build on each other they are completely separate stories and separate mysteries that Ayesha solves.

I highly recommend picking up this book especially if you enjoy mystery/detective books. And make sure you go check out the other posts on this blog tour!

Ayesha Dean – The Seville Secret releases today!

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.


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!