Diverse Books, YA Books

And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando – ARC Review

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a really difficult read but it was also an incredible and very important read. Everyone needs to read this but please check trigger warnings before reading.


Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.
Al was special.
Al was talented.
Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?

It took me a long time to read this book, not because it wasn’t good but because it deals with very difficult and very sensitive topics and I had to take breaks in between reading them. The sensitive topics include bullying and suicide and Danielle dealt with these really well. She doesn’t hold back in showing the reality and consequences of bullying and how it affects the person being bullied and also how it affects their family and friends too.

This book is heart breaking to read as we slowly learn what Al went through, we see how much he loved creating art and all the things he wanted to do in life and how because of cruel classmates he committed suicide and now will never get to achieve any of his dreams and goals in life. It gets more and more horrifying as we learn more and more and it just made me think how absolutely awful it would be for those teens who suffer through this and no one realises anything is wrong.

We see Al’s story from the point of view of his brother Nathan and his friend Megan who are each battling their own issues while also struggling to deal with their grief and complicated feelings about Al and his death. It was really interesting to read the story through their eyes as we get to see Al from two different parts of his life.

Megan was his friend but she has many regrets and also struggles with peer pressure and body image issues. She wishes she had just been open about the fact that she was Al’s friend as he had such a big impact on her life and helped her see that she could go to university and achieve so much more than she thought she was capable of.

Nathan is dealing with so much guilt, he feels guilty about how he felt he wasn’t there for his brother and that he can’t work out why his brother took his own life. It was heartbreaking going on this journey with him where he slowly finds out what was happening in his brothers life and slowly piecing it all together. It was incredibly difficult learning about what Al went through and that he didn’t know how to reach out to someone and suffered in silence and alone.

Danielle’s writing is incredible and despite it being an incredibly difficult topic she did a wonderful job. It was such a real portrayal of what can happen when someone is bullied. This is a book that everyone should read and we all need to have more honest discussions about these issues as they are literally taking lives.

Just please read the trigger warnings before reading.

2019 Round Up, Muslim Shelf Space

Books I Read This Year From My Muslim Shelf Space

We are finally getting more books being published by Muslim authors and I am so excited to read them all! I am already excited to see what books will be published next year and some I am already eagerly awaiting!

I have made an effort to try to read more books by Muslim authors and help to promote them so we can continue to get more books by Muslim authors. I am actually surprised by how many I actually read this year but I am also extremely happy to get such a variety.


I am going to share my top 10 and then the rest of the Muslim authored books I read this year:

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – My favourite book of the year! You should all know by now how absolutely OBSESSED I am with this trilogy and I cannot get enough! I have a Daevabad section on my blog where you can find all Daevabad related posts! You can read my review here


All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney – This book blew me away! I had no idea what to expect when I started it but I absolutely adored it and it had me sobbing. I felt so seen reading this book. You can read my review here


The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad – This book is full of amazing women who are all badass in their own ways. I cannot explain how much I loved this book! You can read my review here


Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali – The halal romance book I’ve been waiting for my whole life! I adored this book so much! I really loved Adam and I related to Zainab so much! You can read my review here


All the Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman – This book deals with mental health and suicidal thoughts and does so wonderfully. One of the MCs is a young Muslim girl and I finally read a book that incorporated all aspects of my life including my faith in relation to how I deal with mental health. You can read my review here


We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – I love the zumra so much! From broody Nasir to charismatic Altair and of course badass Zafira! I cannot wait for the second book! You can read my review here


Prayers of the Pious by Omar Suleiman – This book is full of beautiful gems and I know I will comde back to it again and again. You can read my review here


The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah – This is wonderful story of hope even in the worst situations and that the youth can do so much to make changes in the world. You can read my review here


It’s Not About the Burqa edited by Mariam Khan – Full of wonderful essays that show that Muslim women are not monolith and there is so much more to them than the scarf they wear on their heads. You can read my review here


Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan – Dealing with toxic masculinity it was a really great read. You can read my review here


Ayesha Dean – The Istanbul Intrigue by Melati Lum – review

Ayesha Dean – The Seville Secret by Melati Lum – review

The Weight of our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Light Upon Light by Nur Fadhilah Wahid – review

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson – review

A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby – review

The Battle by Karuna Riazi – review

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

A History of Islam in 21 Women by Hossein Kamaly – review

The Arabic Quilt by Aya Khalil

Thorn by Intisar Khanani


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – review
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – review

So that’s all the books I read this year by Muslim authors! I have several more on my tbr and I am eagerly awaiting the release of several next year!

What was your favourite book by a Muslim author?

Book Recommendations

Non – Fiction Mental Health Books – Book Recommendations

So a while ago I shared a post with some recommendations with fiction books that deal with mental health, which you can read here.

So this post is some recommendations of some non-fiction mental health books. I know reading these books is not for everyone and some books may resonate more than others so I am going to share a few that I have read and found beneficial and some that have been recommended to me.

1 Reasons to Stay Alive & Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig – I really loved these books and I also enjoy reading his social media posts. I met him last year at a book event which was really insightful.

2 Looking After Your Mental Health by Alice James & Louie Stowell – This book is for young teens and preteens and I found it really helpful in helping to talk to my younger cousins about mental health and she also found it helpful

3 It’s All in your Head by Rae Earl – This book is for older teens and young adults and I thought that it was written really well dealing with topics that that are actually relevant to them.

4 Happy by Fearne Cotton – I bought this recently when it was recommended to me so I am hoping to read it soon.

5 You’re Crushing It by Lex Croucher – This was a really great book and one you can dip in and out of again and again.

6 The Self Care Project by Jayne Hardy – This is another book I picked up because I really love The Blurt Foundation’s work and Jayne is the founder so I had to pick up her book. PS. Check out their buddy boxes, they’re so good for anyone struggling with any mental health problems.

7 Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed – This is an Islamic book dealing with mental health and I wanted to include it because this is the one book that I repeatedly go to when I am struggling. It’s helped me in some of my most difficult times and I highly recommend it.

So here’s some of my recommendations! Let me know if you have read any that you have found beneficial!

Monthly Wrap Up

October Monthly Wrap Up

It’s the end of October already! This year has flown by so fast! I had a really great reading month this month and read some amazing books and found some new favourites.

I also went to a Manchester Literature Festival event, Clementine Ford came to discuss her new book, Boys Will Be Boys. She discussed feminism, the patriarchy and how toxic masculinity not only hurts girls but how it also hurts boys and only the rich (white) men are the ones who benefit from this structure. She spoke about how we need to speak up against it and make structural changes to actually make a difference. It was a really great event and she was lovely too talk to. I highly recommend reading her books.

So anyways the books that I read this month are:


1 Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer – Okay so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading but I had heard great things so I decided to give it a go and I actually really enjoyed it! It discussed a lot of important and relevant issues from poverty to white privilege.

Rating: 4/5

2 Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill – I started off really enjoying it but then I got bored in the middle so I have mixed feelings about the book.

Rating: 3/5

3 The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco – I loved this book so much! The incredible world building to the wonderfully diverse and complex characters. I cannot wait for the second book! You can read my review here

Rating: 4.5/5

4 A History of Islam in 21 Women by Hossein Kamaly – Finally a book that has so many incredible Muslim women. I really enjoyed reading this book and I really recommend it especially if you’re not familiar with many Muslim women and their achievements. My full review will be up soon.

Rating: 4/5

5 Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart – This book is so incredibly heartfelt and I really loved it. If you read Wonder and loved it then I highly recommend this one too. You can read my full review here

Rating: 4/5

6 The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh – WOW just wow. I loved this book so much! Renee’s writing is beautiful as always and this story is just incredible and you all need to go read it! You can read my full review here

Rating: 5/5

7 War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi – This book was really interesting especially as it was set in a black panther inspired future world. The main characters grow up in a Nigeria that is at civil war. It’s a period of history I knew very little about and it was a good read.

Rating: 3/5

8 Angel Mage by Garth Nix – This is the first Garth Nix I read and I really enjoyed it. The story was really interesting and there was a great group of characters and a ruthless villain. You can read my review here

Rating: 4/5

9 The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah – I loved this book so much! This is such a wonderful ownvoices book. I just loved the characters and the incredible world that London has created. My review will be up soon!

Rating: 5/5

10 All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney – I stayed up until 5am reading this whole book in one night. It made me sob and laugh and made me angry and hopeful and I just loved this book so much! I really need you all to go read it! My review will be up soon!

Rating: 5/5

So these are books that I read this month. I really loved several books this month!


I also reviewed these books this month:

Boys Will Be Boys by Clementine Ford

Otherlife by Jason Segan and Kirsten Miller

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Highfire by Eoin Colfer

I also posted these on my blog this month:

5 Reasons Why You Should Read The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Fiction Books With Mental Health Rep

Lightbearers Book Tag


Adult Books, Fiction Books

Highfire by Eoin Colfer – ARC Review

Thank you to netgalley and Quercus Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Having grown up reading the Artemis Fowl books and absolutely loving them, I just had to read Eoin’s first adult fantasy book and it did not disappoint!


Rating: 4.5/5


Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way – like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him…
An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke’s unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy’s reputation.
Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou – and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp…
For Squib Moreau, Regence Hooke and Vern, aka Lord Highfire of Highfire Eyrie, life is never going to be the same again.

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book but I ended up loving it! It will take you on a wild ride! There’s a dragon who is sarcastic and witty. A teenage boy who has gotten himself into a situation that’s way over his head and a corrupt police officer that will do whatever it takes to get what he wants.

It starts off at a slower pace where we are introduced to the characters and get a sense of the type of people, or dragon, they are. Vern is grumpy and has no patience for the humans who keep making his life difficult when he just wants to watch cable and drink his vodka in peace. His quiet life becomes very chaotic when Squib crash lands into it and he has to deal with all that Squib brings with him.

Squib loves his mama and just wants to help her get out of debt, he’s smart but has no focus and no real male role models in his life. He becomes a little desperate when Hooke tries to date his mama and doesn’t take no for an answer so he does everything he can to enable them moving from where they live.

Hooke is other main character in this and we get to see things from his point of view too so we can truly see how driven he is in his greed for wealth and power. We see how truly psychotic he is and how he will kill anyone who gets in his way and one day that happens to be Squib.

There is also a host of other characters we get to see including Waxman who is Vern’s only real friend. I really loved seeing all the different characters interact with each other and how all their separate lives become intertwined. Each character is complex and there is more to them than we first think. They’re all morally grey characters though Hooke is most definitely not a good guy in any way.

I loved Vern, he is struggling with the fact that he is the only dragon left alive. He used to be a Lord and now he spends his days living in a swamp. He suffers from depression and has suicidal thoughts which I think was handled really well.

I actually saw lots of parallels between society today in the story from immigration and a sense of belonging to corruption in law enforcement. It dealt with how being different can make you isolated and lonely. How everyone wants to belong in a society. It was really interesting to see how these were all written into the story.

This book is dark, brutal and violent at times, but also filled with hope and finding where you belong. Obviously I loved how dragons were included as it’s such a unique take and it made it so fresh and interesting! It is a more character driven story but it does get a lot more fast paced in the second half leading to an explosive ending! I really hope we get more in this world because I really want to know what happens to Vern.