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

Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud – ARC Review

Thank you to Hodderscape for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

This is the sequel to Mirage which I loved so I was excited to read this. I really enjoyed this book and I liked how it ended.

Here is my review for Mirage

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.

Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris?

This is the sequel to Mirage and starts pretty much where Mirage ended. Amani has to try to gain back the trust of Maram while also deciding whether she wants to risk being part of the rebels or not anymore.

I have mixed feelings about the sequel, the story went in a direction I wasn’t expecting but I did love what happened in the book. I did feel however that the story felt quite slow at the beginning and felt myself losing interest in the middle of the book. But the ending was really great though I wish we had spent more time on the ending as opposed to the build up.

I loved seeing Amani’s character development from being the scared girl we meet at the beginning of Mirage to the young woman who leads a rebellion by the end of Court of Lions. She builds the relationships and ties needed for Maram to be a good leader and helps Maram to overcome the conditioning she has been taught her whole life to look down on her mother’s people. It was really great to see their friendship build to becoming like sisters and Amani became the family Maram never had who she could trust and turn to for help and advice. I loved seeing Amani’s love for Maram and how much she fought for her despite the rebels wariness.

Maram was the character that surprised me most in the sequel. I really wasn’t sure which way Maram would go after the ending of Mirage and I am actually really happy to see her point of view in the sequel as it made her more complex and gave her character more depth. I especially liked seeing how conflicted she was underneath her mask of indifference and wanted to be a part of her mother’s heritage and family despite her father trying to stamp it out of her. I liked seeing her relationship with her new mysterious falconer, Aghraas. Though I do wish I could have seen more build up of their relationship before they got to the ‘I would do anything for you.’ I had the same issue with Amani and Idris though I do like both couples in the books.

The political intrigue is most prominent in this book as Maram and Amani must navigate the politics of both the rebels and the Vath and I really loved seeing them both deal with all the complications and trying to keep the peace between everyone while also showing they were willing to build a new world where no one would be oppressed.

Overall I did enjoy the sequel and how it concluded I just wish we had gotten more from the ending rather than so much of the political intrigue which made it drag a little in the middle. But I think most people will enjoy how the world is expanded and that this is a lot more plot based and had more characters which I loved seeing.


Fairyloot Unboxing – September Starcrossed Swoons Box

Hey booknerds! It’s time for another unboxing! This is the Fairyloot Starcrossed Lovers September box. I was so excited for this box as I had a pretty good idea about what book would be included and it’s a book I had read and fallen completely in love with. Plus the other items were from some of y favourite fandoms!

So lets get to the unboxing!


The first thing that was included in this box is a Bella and Edward candle by Nerd Poured Candles. It has lovely scent of apples, pine and cedarwood.

They also included a really unique item that is also really useful! This is a Strange the Dreamer inspired apron! It was designed by Literary Life Co. It’s so pretty I almost don’t want to use it!


The next thing they included was another unique item which was ACOTAR inspired shoelaces! It was designed by Fictiontea Designs and has all the courts on them.

They included a beautiful constellation notebook with a quote from The Star Touched Queen. This was designed by Read At Midnight.

They also included a set of postcards each featuring starcrossed lovers from different fandoms! There was Julian and Emma from The Dark Artifices, Rhysand and Feyre from ACOTAR and Cassian and Nesta also from ACOTAR. They also included Amar and Maya from The Star Touched Queen and Lazlo and Saarai from Strange the Dreamer. The amazing artwork is by Taratjah.


The last thing included was a love rune enamel pin and an angelic fire runes candle matches both designed by Fictiontea Designs. I love them both!

The book that was included this month was Mirage by Somaiya Daud. I read an arc of this book and loved it so I’m so happy to have this edition with an exclusive cover with purple sprayed pages. They also included an author letter and artwork of the main characters by Gabriella Bujdoso.


The extras included this month was a sampler of Queen of Air and Darkness, Tempests and Slaughter bookmark and a Muse of Nightmares postcard.

I adored everything in this box and I’m really looking forward to getting the October box!

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

Mirage by Somaiya Daud – Book Review

Ever since I heard about Mirage I knew I had to read it and that I would love it. And it’s safe to say it did not disappoint! I devoured this book in two evenings and I was up late into the night because I had to read just one more chapter. I am already dying in anticipation of book two.


Rating: 4.5/5

So if you haven’t heard of Mirage then here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.
But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.
As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

Mirage is a diverse sci-fi fantasy story which is inspired by Moroccan culture. I found this world so original and fresh and I loved the worldbuilding so much! It was so nice to the Moroccan heritage and culture incorporated into the story. The worldbuilding is so intricate and done so well. It was so nice to see a world which is original especially in a sci-fi setting, the cultures of both the Vathek (oppressors) and Kushaila (oppressed) and their power dynamics are so intriguing and well written.

The characters are also so well written and fleshed out. They are complex and interesting to read about and have great character development. Amani is smart and sassy but she learns to be diplomatic and manage tense political alliances. She is brave but also shows vulnerability and admits she is afraid. I loved that we are shown that she is afraid but still persists in her goal.

Maram is initially shown as cold, abrasive and arrogant but we soon learn that there is more than meets the eye. I loved how she develops and we get a deeper look at what she is truly like and we see that she has grown up in a difficult situation and she is more vulnerable than she allows to be seen.

Idris is my new book boyfriend! I adore him even though we don’t get to see a lot of him what we do see is a young man who despite having to live among those who murdered his family is still kind and compassionate. He is very diplomatic and smart and knows how to play the long. He is also fun and charming and shows a different side to him when he learns who Amani is.

I loved seeing the relationships develop between Amani and Idris and Amani and Maram. They were complex and realistic and I am looking forward to seeing more of them and how their relationships develop in the next book. The side characters who we see for short periods are also well written and are all interesting to read about.

I also loved the Arabic poetry incorporated into the story and that it was not only an important part of Amani’s and Idris’ culture but also important to the story. It also gave us a glimpse of how the Kushaila culture was before the Vathek came and destroyed most of it in the war.

One of the aspects of the story that I found really interesting was how prejudice against a group of people can lead to the oppression of them. But also that by actually learning about the culture and way of life can help to overcome the prejudice. This was something I saw as Amani’s and Maram’s relationship developed and they started to become friends.

The story itself was well rounded and had a full arc as well as setting up a larger plot to continue in the next book. I really liked this as normally we are left on a cliffhanger just as the plot starts to develop in the first book.

I highly recommend reading this book! It was wonderfully written and left me wanting more! It was also so wonderful to see diverse cultures and the Moroccan heritage, as it’s not something we usually see in books. I am really looking forward to continuing the story.