Book Recommendations, Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites – Bookish Siblings

So I haven’t really been posting regularly lately but I’m trying to get back into it so here’s a Friday Favourite post for you all!

This week, I’m sharing my favourite siblings!

The Qahtani Siblings from The City of Brass

The Kaul Siblings from Jade City

Nasir & Altair from We Hunt the Flame

The Kane Siblings from The Kane Chronicles

The Alif sisters from The Candle and the Flame

I love these siblings so much and their dynamics! I highly recommend reading all of these books! Tell me who your favourite siblings are!

Book Recommendations, Muslim Shelf Space

Why You Should Read Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

I recently reread this book and I really loved it as much as I did the first time I read it and I think I appreciated it more this time.

This book discusses sexual assault and having to deal with the aftermath of this especially if the person who assaulted you is a beloved member of your community.

You can read my review here about why I loved this book so much.

So here are some reasons why you should read Saints and Misfits:

Well, first and foremost the sequel will be out on May 25th and will feature a big fat Muslim wedding and a love story and will have cameos from Adam and Zayneb from Love From A to Z! Check out the hashtag #CelebrateMisfitInLove to see everyone sharing their wedding aesthetics and more!

Muslim Representation

We see so many Muslims in this book, from the Imam of a masjid to the young adults and teens. We see how Muslims aren’t monolith and how some practice more than others and that each one of them has their own difficulties and struggles that they deal with. We see how teens and youth are often active members of the community how the Masjid is more than a place of worship. It’s a place where the young and old alike can meet and find a safe place. I just loved seeing it all.

Janna is a relatable Muslim teen living in the West

I felt her struggles on a deep personal level. She wants to fit in at school but also follow her religious practices. Sometimes they collide and you can’t do both and it can be difficult to manage that. The expectations and pressures from both sides can feel like a lot for a teen. She had a crush on a classmate but didn’t want to date but still had these feelings and now she has to manage and navigate this amongst people who won’t necessarily understand her completely.

Discussions of Rape Culture and Victim Blaming

We meet Janna just after she survives a sexual assault by a monster known as Farooq. As he is in a position of power in the community she finds it difficult to tell anyone what happens and he constantly inserts himself in her life. He tries to convince her she wanted it and it was her fault. She has a lot of fears and struggles to come to terms with what happened and becomes angry about her situation and being unable to do anything about it. The complicated feelings she goes through and feeling unsafe in places she should be safe felt very real. These are discussions that are important to be had especially amongst youth who are often told by society that the victim is at fault and the abuser can often get away with little or no consequence especially if they are in a position of power.

Female Friendships

I loved seeing all the women that Janna is surrounded by! Her best friend Tats was such a wonderful character and truly looked out for Janna. I also loved Sausan who is a badass niqabi and has her own youtube channel. I loved the slow friendship that started to develop between Janna and Sarah and how your own assumptions about a person can be so wrong once you get to know them. I really loved Sarah especially and I cannot wait to see her in Misfit in Love.

Sibling Dynamic

I loved seeing how real the relationship between Janna and her older brother, Muhammad was! The bickering and sniping at each other and yet always being there for each other. The making sacrifices for each other and being the only one the other can turn to for help. How Muhammad relied on Janna for help in being able to meet Sarah in a halal way. It was just fun to see them!

Nuah the Cinnamon Roll

Look, he is the sweetest and I was SCFREAMING at Janna to see what was right in front of her the whole time. A practicing young man who respects women is kind and caring and funny and seems to understand Janna really well. He was adorable and I cannot wait to see him Misfit in Love!

So these are some of the reasons why you should read Saints and Misfits and of course pick up the sequel after!

Diverse Books, Middle Grade Books

Moonchild: Voyage of the Lost and Found by Aisha Bushby

I really loved this story and the wonderful characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Sahar Peninsula lies just beyond the horizon, but it isn’t the easiest place to get to. No maps will take you there, nor can it be charted by gazing up at the stars, or down at a compass…

Twelve year old Amira has only ever known a life at sea with her sea-witch mothers. So when their ship is wrecked in a great storm, Amira is delighted to have an opportunity to explore land – accompanied by her best friend Namur – a jinn in cat form. Amira soon finds a boy who has a jinn like her, and learns that their spirit companions are connected to the mysterious storm that gets stronger each day.

When Namur goes missing Amira discovers she has to visit a magical place; a place where lost things can be found. But will Amira also discover her own destiny, and find out what it truly means to be a Moonchild?

I was told this was a middle grade story inspired by Arabian Nights and a sea adventure and I was sold! This book did not disappoint! This is such a wonderful story of friendship and learning to express yourself and so much more. The world is so wonderfully written and I could really imagine all the places Amira travelled to and lived. The storytelling is so great, I was completely hooked from the beginning and just could not put it down.

I loved Amira and her sense of adventure and especially her relationship with her jinni, Namur, who takes the form of a cat. I have a cat that I love to pieces and their relationship was so special to me, I felt Amira’s fear of losing him especially in that first scene on their boat. Amira’s determination to find Namur when he goes missing was so heart warming and truly showed the love between them.

I also loved how Amira made friends even though she isn’t always the best at talking to others. Their bond and the way they supported and helped each other, they each had their own strengths and weaknesses and they worked well together. I loved how Aisha showed that children are different and that no one type of person is better than the other and everyone is valuable and able to make a difference. It was also great to see actual loving parents in the book and also see different types of parents and that every family is different.

I loved the magic and the mythical creatures we see in the book and how we get interludes with their own story but it also adds to the main story. I really loved it and didn’t feel it distracted from the main story.

But the thing I loved most was how Aisha shows through the characters how to manage your emotions. It was just such a wonderful thing to see in the book and written so beautifully that it wasn’t preachy but woven seamlessly into the story.

Truly this book is one that all kids should read. I am really looking forward to reading the next book especially after that ending!

Diverse Books, Middle Grade Books

Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Haunted Mansion by Annabelle Sami – Book Review

Thank you to little tiger books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When a new family moves to the village, Zaiba is intrigued to hear about the strange happenings in their home. Things go missing, objects are smashed and unfriendly messages are painted on the walls. There have always been rumours that the house is haunted, but is a ghost really causing all this trouble? Zaiba and her team are convinced that the culprit is very much alive – and won’t stop until they get what they want…

This is the third book in the series and I just love them so much! The stories are fun and exciting and also have such wonderful Pakistani culture rep. I love seeing a young Pakistani girl aspire to be a detective and follow in her mums and aunts footsteps.

This story had some new characters and I really loved seeing Zaiba’s detective agency grow. Honestly we don’t give kids enough credit they are smart and resourceful and can achieve so much more than we believe they can. They also know how to have fun as evidenced by the fact that they have so much fun at the party while investigating the haunted house!

This book introduced new kids and we see how some of them get a long immediately and some take time to learn to work together and it was great to see both sides and show how kids are different. We also get a bit of discussion about jinns and Islamic folklore so that was so great to see because I grew up with jinn stories as opposed to ghost stories and honestly this is why we need representation. So many of us grew up with jinn stories but it’s never in spooky kids books.

The story and how the kids have to catch who is haunting the house was so much fun and how they discovered the history and secret passages in the house. Zaiba is such an observant child and she picks up on so much and it’s so much fun to see them working out what’s happening. Ali is another character I love because for someone so young he picks up so many facts about all different things that end up being useful in catching the person. I love how they kids support each other and work off each others strengths and weaknesses. How Zaiba knows which of them is best for the each job.

This story like the first two is so much fun to read and I love the illustrations too. I love that we get to see Zaiba in Pakistani clothes and that she is told she looks beautiful and not made to feel as though she doesn’t fit in because she lives in the west. Everyone needs a friend like Poppy! I love Poppy because she loves make up and accessories and getting dressed up and she isn’t looked down for it. Contrasting with Zaiba who prefers to wear what’s comfortable and somehow always gets her clothes dirty. Neither is looked down on and it will be so important for kids to see that whatever they enjoy it is accepted.

I just need you all to go read these wonderful books and to give them to all the kids you know!

Book Recommendations

Books By Asian Authors

With the ever increasing hate towards Asian’s happening I wanted to share some books by Asian authors. Although I do want to say that we should be supporting Asian authors all year round and not just when a tragedy strikes.

Sci Fi and Fantasy

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

Contemporary

Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

The Weight of our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Amina’s Song by Hena Khan

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel

Pride Prejudice and Other Flavours by Sonali Dev

The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafa

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

A Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

My So Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

All The Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Ayesha Dean – The Istanbul Intrigue by Melati Lum

This is by no means an exhaustive list but I have read nearly all of these (the few I haven’t I have heard really great things) and so I can say that all of these books are amazing and if you haven’t read them then you should absolutely change that!