My Ramadan TBR!

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Friend: Shahirah are you joining the Standard Chartered marathon?

Friend 2: Oh Shahirah only joins book marathons

Me: Sounds about right….

So it seems pretty obvious that we readers only ever do readathons instead of the actual running marathon. And it’s been a long time since I’ve joined one (readathon, not marathon) that I’ll be participating in the #RamadanReadathon hosted by the lovely folks at @MuslimReadathon ! You can also check out their introductory blog post here.

This readathon will be held throughout Ramadan, our ninth and most holy month in Islam as we introduce to you guys Muslim authors, Islamic-representation and Muslim characters from our favourite books! It’s a wonderful way to get on the diverse bandwagon and expand our reading materials.

While I’m all for diverse reads, as a Muslim, I struggle to find characters that I could relate to as a Muslim, let alone as an Asian Muslim, in the books I read. We’re getting more LGBTQ+, African and Latino representation which is great! So why not expand the choices further to include Muslim characters? Let’s face it, Islamophobia is a real thing which has plagued the Western countries for too long. And just like the #BlackLivesMatter, it’s important to remember that media representation and prejudice should be curbed in order to see the real kindness that exists within people of all religions and races.

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So I have here a collection of Ramadan-inspired reads on my TBR for this readathon. You’re more than welcomed to join us and you don’t have to be a Muslim to read these amazing books! πŸ˜€

1. Sofia Khan series by Ayisha Malik

Add Sofia Khan is Not Obliged to your Goodreads
Add The Other Half of Happiness to your Goodreads

I cannot wait to dive into this series. Written by a British Muslim, this romance contemporary promises lots of quips, wits and sarcasm that every modern Muslim can relate to while living as a minority in a huge city!

2. Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed

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Add Reclaim Your Heart to your Goodreads

I’ve read this book twice (both times in college) back when I needed it the most and this remains one of my most favourite self help books. I’m looking forward to rereading this beautiful book again in the holy month and reconnect with myself and God.

3. All The Things I Should Have Said by Rania Naim

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Add All The Words I Should Have Said to your Goodreads

Β I got this poetry book from Thought Catalog as a gift, and what better way to appreciate a Muslim poet than including it in the Ramadan Readathon? πŸ˜€

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Overall I’m super excited for Ramadan, sahur and breaking fast with the family and new colleagues at work in addition to reading these amazing books! I’ll try my best to read these alongside other books top on my TBR pile. But these 4 titles are definitely a high priority for now.

Share with me your Ramadan TBR, I’d love to know what other Islamic-centred books are out there. If you have any novels recommendations please do share below as well!

London Book Haul!

Hey guys! If you followed me on my social media, you may have noticed that I was in London last week for my graduation (yay!). And of course I couldn’t help but to go on a book spree while I was there. I visited Foyles Charring Cross, Waterstones Piccadilly Circus and Any Amount of Books. Alongside various WHSmith I found at train stations.

If you’d like to know more about London Independent Bookstores do read my post here.

I was looking forward to scouring for books that aren’t easily found in Malaysia, and here are my finds!

I got Beyond the Bright Sea and The Other Half of Happiness at Any Amount of Books on Charring Cross. A secondhand bookstore that has a wonderful collection of both old and new books. All this for just Β£3 can you believe it??! I love Lauren Wolk who also wrote Wolf Hollow, review here, and Beyond the Bright Sea was just released this month, so it is by SHEER PURE LUCK that I found this gorgeous book in a secondhand bookstore! I’ve been falling deeply in love with Middle Grade books with wonderful plots and life lessons, that I am super excited to read this one.

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik is actually the sequel to the wonderful book Sofia Khan is Not Obliged. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the first book that I went to Foyles Charring Cross to get the book for Β£8. If you want to try out the first book, I’d recommend you buying from BookXcess Malaysia which stocks it for just RM17.90! You can imagine my frustration when I found out BookXcess actually stocked it. But, I’ve dealt with it. Obviously.

I am very stoked to begin this series soon as my attempt to read more by Muslim authors or about Muslim representation in fictional books. I’m even planning to join a readalong hosted by Muslim Readathon for #RamadhanReadathon and I will definitely include both of these books! I think it’s high time we get more fictional books that give a normal and hilarious account of modern Muslims!

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The final 2 books I got at Waterstones Piccadilly Circus. I love their “Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price” offers because new titles are sure to be included in the list! And I can’t resist buying 2 books after entering their beautiful store….

How beautiful is that hardcover Release by Patrick Ness? I would have loved to buy it but I already got myself a paperback in Malaysia. (I’ve read this and it’s just brilliant!)

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Anyway I got The Secret of Nightingale Wood and Miss You from Waterstones! If you’ve noticed I’ve grown my love for Middle Grade books ever since I read Pax (review here). So, I’m ecstatic to be trying out more MG books and see ifΒ The Secret of Nightingale Wood is as good as its review. MG books nowadays have such wonderful story line and lessons for the young that the old should definitely give it a try too.

Miss You is a romance novel with a twist of humor. I thought it’d be fun to try out a cute romance novel that centers around 2 adults not being able to meet each other because of missed opportunities and wrong timing. Sounds like a book I could get down with. I may find myself in the mood for some romance-booster in the future πŸ˜‰

I’m looking forward to reading all of these titles! My TBR just keeps increasing but it doesn’t intimidate me when I know I’ve got amazing titles like these waiting for me. Have you read any of these books? πŸ˜€

 

 

Diverse Books You Should Definitely Look Out For !

Hello there! I’m super excited for so many PoC/diverse books that will be released pretty soon this year. I’m super proud of publishers taking the forward step to focus more on diverse main characters (MC) and introducing their wide audiences to a variety of cultures and religions. It’s super important for people to learn more of other cultures and races what with all the hate crimes going on nowadays.

What better way to educate than through books?!

You may or may not have heard about these titles, but either way I am super excited to see them in bookstores and read them.

Here are some titles you should definitely look out for!

1. When Dimple Met Rishi (Sandhya Menon)

Genre: YA Contemporary
MC Race: Indian-American
Date of Release: May 30th 2017
Goodreads | My Review | Pre-Order from Book Depository

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I’ve already read an early eARC of this book, and I promise you, you will LOVE Dimple and her amazing personality. Throw in some hilarious Indian-family chaos and you’re in for a treat for this book!

2. Saints and Misfits (S. K. Ali)

Genre: YA Contemporary
MC Race: Arab Indian-American
Date of release: June 13th 2017
Goodreads | Pre-Order from Book Depository

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A YA novel about a Muslim teen?? LIKE FINALLY! THE WORLD IS SO READY FOR THIS, BELIEVE ME!

Here’s one of the most anticipated titles in YA and I hope it lives up to my expectations! πŸ™‚

3. I Believe in a Thing Called Love (Maurene Goo)

Genre: YA Contemporary
MC Race: Korean-American
Date of release: May 30th 2017
Goodreads | Pre-Order from Book Depository

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A YA novel written in K-drama fashion? HELL YES, SIGN ME UP PLEASE!

Also, I can’t be the only one missing Goblin.

Right?

4. The Gauntlet (Karuna Riazi)

Genre: Middle Grade
MC Race: Arab-American
Date of release: March 28th 2017
(okay so this is the only book that’s released but I can’t help but to highlight this book because of its amazing plot and premise!)
Goodreads | Order from Book Depository

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When you have a Muslim version of Jumanji, you’re bound to get super excited for the action packed into this one. I hope Malaysia sells this soon! This sounds like an amazing read.

5. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Julie C. Dao)
This is the debut book in the Rise of the Empress series.

Genre: YA Fantasy
MC Race: Chinese
Date of release: October 10th 2017
Goodreads | Pre-Order from Book Depository

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Oh wow this book! Filled with so many action and drama set in medieval China in the age of emperors, I believe this is going to be super epic.

What are some diverse/PoC books you’re looking forward to reading?

Product Review: TheAvailableBook Bookmarks

Hey there book dragons! For this post, I’ll be doing a quick product review for some bookmarks I got in the mail recently. TheAvailableBook was kind enough to send me 6 beautifully done bookmarks to use and review.

When I first saw their IG profile, I was super excited because their designs are very pretty!

The designs are printed on thick glossy and their standard size can be used for any book size including the small-ish mass paperback.

I love the wonderful quotes that they use on some of the bookmarks.

Yay for The Fault in Our Stars!

This has got to be my favourite bookmark of the entire batch.

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My only comment about this bookmark is probably the material on which the designs are printed on. Glossy paper can get a bit sticky at times and the designs can fade with time. Perhaps it’d be better to use thick embossed paper or any thick printing paper.

It would also be cool if they can branch out and do customized designs. Either ways, I wish them all the best in their business!

If you’d like to purchase these, you can visit TheAvailableBook ‘s IG profile and place your order. It’s around RM15 (including postage) for any 3 bookmarks πŸ™‚

I’d like to thank them for sending me a batch to review! If you’d like me to do any bookish items review, please contact me here to discuss further.

4 Highly Anticipated Books of 2017

Hey there book lovers! I hope 2017 is going great for you so far! I have here a list of my top 4 books I’m anticipating this year. I’ve never really looked forward to book releases as I don’t really keep up to date on these things. But I realised there are so many series installments coming out this year that I can’t help but to get excited πŸ˜€

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This is the debut novel by Garber which is part of a series. Anyone who doesn’t think this cover is gorgeous seriously need to take a step back and evaluate their priorities. BECAUSE THIS COVER LOOKS AMAZING! With magical elements and adventure scattered in the book, I’m super excited to buy this and read it!

Caraval is set to be released on 31st January 2017.

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A Conjuring of Light by V E Schwab

A Conjuring of Light is the third and final installment to Shades of Magic trilogy which I started last year. This is one of my favourite seris and I’m so excited (and scared!) to see what disaster and heartbreak Schwab will trust on us this year. It’ll be pretty amazing to revisit the 4 Londons and see how Kell Maresh has been πŸ˜‰

A Conjuring of Light is expected to be released on 21st February 2017.

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Our Dark Duet by V E Schwab

Another Schwab book I am so excited to read soon! Our Dark Duet is the final installment of the Monsters of Verity duology and the first book, This Savage Song, blew my mind away! Schwab’s books are always jam packed with adventures and the moralley gray situations that you can never distinguish bad and good. I love it!

Our Dark Duet is expected to be released on 13th June 2017.

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A Court of War and Ruins by Sarah J Maas

I can’t say I wasn’t teeny tiny bit disappointed with the title. But I do hope the cover makes up for it! The final covered has yet to be released for ACOWAR. ACOWAR is the final installment of the Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. I know I surprised so many people when I loved A Court of Mist and Fury but what can I say? Rhysand is hot.

A Court of War and Ruins is expected to be released on 2nd May 2017

So those are my 4 top picks? What are the books you’re looking forward to buying and reading this year? πŸ˜€

Top 12 Books of 2016!

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! 2016 has been a pretty amazing year in terms of reading (can’t say the same about my personal life lol). I read such a diverse collection of books and explored so many genres (especially YA!) that made me love reading even more, if that’s even possible! I started off the year with a goal of reading more diverse reads and to explore more of the fantasy & sci-fi worlds. I’m glad to say that a number of books in these genres became my ultimate favourite reads of the year.

I started off with 30 books as my Goodreads Challenge goal seeing how I was going to be busy studying for my masters. But I surprised myself by reading 60 books, with over 20,000 pages read!

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Until today I have no idea how did I read so much during one of the busiest time of my life. But I have a feeling that I turned to books the most when I was deep in stress to cope with life. I read the most when I was coping with my exams and during the final months of my research.

So I specially made this post for you guys, to highlight some of the books I’ve enjoyed the most this year. I’ve done this before for 2015 but it was just a quick screenshot of the book covers. This year I’ll give brief summaries in relation to the book so to pique your interest in picking them up! :3

My top 12 picks of reads from 2016 are….

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A Quick TBR Tour!

A few days after returning home, I decided to reorganize my entire bookshelf. But this post isn’t going to showcase that since I’m still waiting for 50 books to arrive via shipment. But I want to show you my to-be-read (TBR) shelf instead!

For those of you who know me, I obsess over TBRs and my lack of control in downsizing them. I currently have around 20 books in my TBR pile and while that is small on a hardcore bookstagram level (that can reach hundreds), I do prefer to keep it less than 15 if possible. I don’t tend to have a spending/impulse buying sessions since I can get quite thrifty with money and I refuse to buy books at retail price whenever possible. So…book sales and second hand bookstores are my ultimate kryptonite.

Here is a photo of my entire TBR shelf. I purposely flipped over their covers to give that air of mystery πŸ˜› My TBR has a variety of genres I collected during my student days in London. Most books costed me less than Β£5 so you can imagine my despair when I saw retail priced books here in Malaysia.

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