Monthly TBR: April 2022

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my monthly tbr for April. Like many of you I am partaking in CWs #PondathonII readathon. For more details please click on the links. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you plan on reading in April!

Currently Reading:

1. Tokyo Ever After by: Emiko Jean-#PondathonII

Middle Grade:

1. The Last Fallen Star by: Graci Kim-#PondathonII
2. Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds by: Samira Ahmed-#PondathonII
3. Barakah Beats by: Maleeha Siddiqui-#PondathonII

Young Adult:

1. From Little Tokyo with Love by: Sarah Kuhn-#PondathonII
2. Chain of Iron by: Cassandra Clare-#PondathonII

Adult:

1. Hollywood Heroine by: Sarah Kuhn-#PondathonII

Monthly Wrap-Up: March 2022

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my March monthly wrap-up. I read 6 books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included.

I will also be sharing my wrap-up CWs #PondathonII. For more details please click on the links. Let me know in the comments what you read in March!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

1. Daughter of the Deep by: Rick Riordan

Book(s) that I Enjoyed (3-4 stars):

2. Queen of the Tiles by: Hanna Alkaf
3. The Worst Best Man by: Mia Sosa

4. Kamila Knows Best by: Farah Heron

Favourite Book(s) of the Month:

1. Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch by: Julie Abe-Wordpress review

#PondathonII:

  1. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 55.5
  2. Queen of the Tiles
  3. The Worst Best Man
  4. Kamila Knows Best
  5. Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch

Book Haul: March 2022

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my March book haul. Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled in March!

Library:

1. Daughter of the Deep by: Rick Riordan
2. The Worst Best Man by: Mia Sosa
3. Kamila Knows Best by: Farah Heron

E-ARCS:

1. Queen of the Tiles by: Hanna Alkaf

Ebook/Kubo/Kindle/Audible:

1. The Ex Hex by: Erin Sterling

Review: Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch

Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch by: Julie Abe

My Rating: 5 Stars

Eva Evergreen has fulfilled her dream of earning the rank of Novice Witch, and discovered the chilling truth behind the mysterious Culling — the violent magical storm wreaking havoc across Rivelle Realm.

Revealing the truth, however, proves to be a difficult task and soon the culprit is at large. To make matters worse Eva learns what might be the horrible truth behind her pinch of magic and her mother’s own mysterious connection to the Culling and rogue magic.

With her spirits at an all-time low, Eva must muster up the courage to prove her mother’s innocence and learn to believe in her own magic, if she wishes to put a stop to the Culling once and for all.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger Warning(s): Death, grief, violence, and confinement.

Reading Challenge: PondathonII

Rep: All of the characters are Japanese.

My Thoughts Before Reading: After that dreadful cliffhanger in the previous installment I was desperate to read this novel! I needed answers and was hoping to be satisficed with this conclusion to the series.

I am happy to say that I loved this book!

What I Liked: The plot was fast paced and I was on the edge of my seat while reading! The book begins with Eva and her mother racing to the castle to make sure that Queen Alliana is safe. Grottel appears while Eva is performing her spell and the plot picks up from there. Those first 50-70 pages were a wild ride.

The magic system was expanded upon. Rogue magic was such an interesting concept, I really enjoyed watching it all play out.

Eva’s relationship with her family played a huge part in this book. Particularly her relationship with her mother. Her mother has always been Eva’s biggest supporter, she has never doubted Eva’s magical abilities. Eva relies on her mothers (and her fathers) support even more so in this installment. It was such a lovely relationship to read about!

Eva’s relationship with Davy and Charlotte were a delight to read about! I was so happy when they made an appearance and started to help Eva in her plans. Charlotte and Davy are definitely ride-or-die friends. They have supported Eva and believed in her since the first book. Eva and Ember just like the previous book had a wonderful relationship. I loved reading about their relationship!

Eva and Conroy’s relationship surprised me. I didn’t expect for them to form a tentative truce let alone become friends. That being said I was happy that Conroy was developed. I did enjoy reading and learning more about Conroy. I even liked reading about his friendship with Eva!

The big plot twist with Grottel and Maika was completely unpredictable. The history with the culling, and how it all tied to the rogue witch was mindblowing. It was so painful and heartbreaking to read about. Abe really outdid herself with this installment.

Eva’s character development was beautifully done! Eva as seen in the previous novel has insecurities with her magic. Her family and friends believe in her but Eva doesn’t believe in herself. Through the events of this novel Eva learns to believe in herself. She really grew into herself.

My Criticism(s): Absolutely nothing!

What I’m Looking Forward To: I’m really excited to read Alliana, Girl of Dragons. I really enjoyed reading about Queen Alliana (she had a large role in this novel). I’m also very excited to read about a young Nela.

Conclusion: Overall I loved Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch! I highly recommend it if you are looking for a witchy middle grade series.

Monthly TBR: March 2022

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my monthly tbr for March. Like many of you I am partaking in CWs #PondathonII readathon. For more details please click on the links. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you plan on reading in March!

Currently Reading:

1. Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch by: Julie Abe-#PondathonII

Middle Grade:

1. The Last Fallen Star by: Graci Kim-#PondathonII
2. Barakah Beats by: Maleeha Siddiqui-#PondathonII
3. Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds by: Samira Ahmed-#PondathonII

Young Adult:

1. Tokyo Ever After by: Emiko Jean-#PondathonII
2. From Little Tokyo, with Love by: Sarah Kuhn-#PondathonII

Adult:

1. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 55.5 by: Jun Mochizuki-#PondathonII
2. Hollywood Heroine by: Sarah Kuhn-#PondathonII

Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2022

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my February monthly wrap-up. I read 4 books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included.

I will also be sharing my wrap-up CWs #PondathonII. For more details please click on the links. Let me know in the comments what you read in February!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

1. New From Here by: Kelly Yang
2. From the Top by: Jaqueline Snowe

Favourite Book(s) of the Month:

1. Amari and the Night Brothers by: B. B. Alston-Wordpress review
2. You Truly Assumed by: Laila Sabreen-Wordpress review

#PondathonII

  1. Amari and the Night Brothers
  2. You Truly Assumed

Book Haul: February 2022

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my February book haul. Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled in February!

Ebook/Kubo/Kindle/Audible:

Bookstore:

1. You Truly Assumed by: Laila Sabreen

Review: You Truly Assumed

You Truly Assumed by: Laila Sabreen

My Rating: 5 Stars

Sabriya has her whole summer planned out in color-coded glory, but those plans go out the window after a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort. You Truly Assumed was never meant to be anything more than an outlet, but the blog goes viral as fellow Muslim teens around the country flock to it and find solace and a sense of community.

Soon two more teens, Zakat and Farah, join Bri to run You Truly Assumed and the three quickly form a strong friendship. But as the blog’s popularity grows, so do the pushback and hateful comments. When one of them is threatened, the search to find out who is behind it all begins, and their friendship is put to the test when all three must decide whether to shut down the blog and lose what they’ve worked for…or take a stand and risk everything to make their voices heard.

Disclaimer: I received an E-ARC via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. However this review is based on the final copy.

Trigger warning(s): Islamophobia, racism, racial slurs, bullying, hate crime, panic attacks, and body shaming. There are also content warnings included in the final copy.

Reading Challenge: #PondathonII

Rep: Zakat and her family are Black Muslims. Sabriya, her sister Nuri, and her father are Black Muslims. Sabriya’s mother is a Black Christian. Farah, her mother, and maternal grandparents are Black Muslims. Tommy is Black. Riley is a white Christian. Aafreen is a Muslim. I’m not sure if she is Black, or an Arab, if anyone knows please leave a comment and I will edit this post. Hayat, his siblings and (I think) his mother are Black Muslims. Hayat’s father (might be) a Black Christian. Morgan is Black. Please let me know in the comments if I have missed someone.

My Thoughts Before Reading: When I had seen this book on Twitter I knew I had to read it! I am always looking to read more book by Muslim authors from different cultures than my own (I am a Pakistani). Plus this seemed right up my alley.

I am so happy to say that I loved it!

What I Liked: The writing style was superb! Sabreen effortlessly switched between Sabriya, Zakat, and Farah’s point of view. Each girl had a distinctive voice, readers will be able to tell them apart. The blog posts were a delight to read about as well! I loved how well written they were. And as a blogger it was a nice touch. I really loved how they were able to build a safe community for Muslim women.

As a Muslim I always look forward to books by Muslim authors with Muslim characters. I was so excited when I heard about this book! It made me so happy to see that the author is a Black Muslim writing about Black Muslim characters. Sabriya, Zakat, and Farah all have a different relationship with Islam. But you can tell that the author cares about Islam and it shows in each of the girls characters. It was done so effortlessly and beautifully!

The Islamophobia was handled really well. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t painful to read about. I did have to take some breaks in between reading. But I still finished the book feeling hopeful.

Sabriya’s relationship with her family was great! I really loved reading about how close she was to her younger sister Nuri. It was so nice to read about the older sibling going to the younger sibling for advice. I do that all the time with my little sister and I really felt seen. Sabriya’s mother is a Christian so there were many times she felt that her mother couldn’t understand her experiences as a Muslim. Which did leave a strain on their relationship. But her mother came to her defense towards the end of the book and it was such a beautiful moment to read about. Sabriya’s father was really sweet and optimistic. I loved how he would use the Quran to give advice to Sabriya.

I really liked reading about Sabriya’s relationship with Morgan and Hayat. Morgan was such a sweet friend and the two of them were there for one-another. Hayat unexpected grew on me. Like Sabriya I did find him a bit annoying, but as I continued to read I really liked getting to know him better. I thought he was really sweet. I loved their romance!

Zakat’s relationship with her family was nice to read about! Her parents were very protective of her and wanted the best for her future. Zakat felt that her parents were a bit much at times, and they were. However their reasoning makes sense and they communicated openly with their daughter. I love it when parents are willing to communicate with their children! Please we need to see more of this in other novels.

Zakat’s friendship with Aafreen was so sweet to read about! They were so close to one-another and trusted each other. Aafreen was Zakat’s biggest supporter but also willing to call her out when it needed to be done. Readers will feel the love and trust these two have for each other.

Farah’s relationship with her mother and maternal grandparents was wonderful to read about! I loved how they were there for one-another and how Farah’s mother pushed her out of her comfort zone. It was just also nice to read about how close they were. Farah was comfortable with her mother that she could tell her anything and everything. Her grandparents didn’t come in that many times but you could tell how close knit this family was.

Farah’s relationship with Tommy (her father) and his family was a bit complicated. Tommy doesn’t really visit Farah and barely makes any attempts to keep in touch. Despite this Tommy invites Farah to stay with him, his wife and children for one month. Understandably Farah isn’t pleased with this decision but her mother pushes her to go and that she does. Throughout the month Farah develops beautiful relationships with her siblings and even Tommy. It was such a joy to read about! I love reading about children and siblings.

Farah’s relationship with her boyfriend Riley was so cute to read about! I loved how they were both nerds, and they made each other so happy. Farah is a bit reluctant about their relationship. Riley will be going to college after summer and Farah doesn’t think they can do a long distance relationship. She does decide to give it a chance though. Which I was very happy to read about.

I adored Sabriya, Zakat, and Farah’s relationship! They formed such a beautiful friendship over the course of one month. They were also able to grow throughout the book. Each girl grows more confident and stronger through their friendship with one-another, their experience from the blog and of course their own personal relationships with the people around them.

My Criticism(s): There was an error in the beginning when Zakat was making wudu. The order was wrong. But aside from that I have nothing else to say.

Conclusion: Overall I loved You Truly Assumed! I highly recommend it for anyone looking for more Muslim representation.

Review: Amari and the Night Brothers

Amari and the Night Brothers by: B. B. Alston

My Rating: 5 Stars

Amari Peters knows three things.

Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.
No one will talk about it.
His mysterious job holds the secret . . .

So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.

Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous.

With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning(s): Bullying, grief, racism, racial slurs, kidnapping, hate crime, and classism.

Reading Challenge: #PondathonII

Rep: Amari and her family are Black-American. There are several POC side characters.

My Thoughts Before Reading: I had seen this book all over social media in December 2020. I had heard so many positive things about this book. What really sold me was the pitch (I love the Artemis Fowl series!) and the pictures of the gorgeous UK edition.

I am happy to say that I loved this book!

What I Liked: The magic system was so unique! I loved the mix of fantasy and sci-fi. And all the magical elements added in, like the talking elevators. Honestly who wouldn’t want an elevator that can talk?

The plot was so interesting! I was on the edge of my seat reading about the trials Amari was taking whilst her trying to find information about Quinton and Maria’s disappearance.

I really liked how Alston handled the racism in a fantasy setting. I usually don’t like reading about racism in fantasy because of the lack of nuance. Which was thankfully not the case with this novel. The racism was presented in a nuanced way which is a testament to Alston’s writing.

Amari’s relationship with Quinton was so sweet to read about! Quinton is 10 years older than Amari but they are still very close to one-another. Amari idolizes Quinton and has spent a lot of her childhood comparing herself to him. When she enters the Supernatural Bureau, Amari feels lost, and doesn’t think the she can bring her brother back home (she isn’t the sibling that is a genius after all). She is scared and confused in the beginning, but for the sake of her brother she decides to persevere and continue to fight for her spot in the Bureau.

Amari’s relationship with her mother is strained in the beginning. Her mother is trying to understand and sympathize with what Amari is going through, but she has a lot on her plate and it isn’t always easy. Amari misses the days when her mother would smile more and stress less. Which is another reason she wants to bring Quinton back home.

Amari’s relationships with Agent Magnus, Agent Fiona, and her roommate Elsie were a delight to read about! Agent Magnus and Agent Fiona were always encouraging Amari to try her best and ignore the people who wanted to see her fail. Elsie was a ball of sunshine! I fell in love with her from her first scene onwards. I loved how even before knowing Amari, Elsie offered to help her look for Quinton.

I loved reading about Amari’s character development! Her resilience, her confidence in her own abilities, relying on friends when needed, and so much more. I fell in love with Amari from the first page, and as I continued to read I loved her even more. She was sweet, and fierce. Amari never let anyone put her down, she always got back up.

My Criticism(s): Absolutely nothing!

What I’m Looking Forward To: I was not expecting that reveal with Dylan. I probably should’ve seen it coming from that spell book scene but still. In part it’s because Maria is his older sister, but also narratively I can’t really see his character arc going any other way.

I still have so many questions about the magic system, especially with the League of Magicians being introduced. I am really excited for Amari and the Great Game! I want answers and I really need Quinton to wake up soon.

Conclusion: Overall I adored Amari and the Night Brothers! I highly recommend it if you are looking for a middle grade fantasy series.

Monthly TBR: February 2022

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be sharing my monthly tbr for February. Like many of you I am partaking in CWs #PondathonII readathon. For more details please click on the links. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you plan on reading in February!

Currently Reading:

1. Amari and the Night Brothers by: B. B. Alston-#PondathonII
2. You Truly Assumed by: Laila Sabreen-#PondathonII

Middle Grade:

1. Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch by: Julie Abe-#PondathonII

Young Adult:

1. Tokyo Ever After by: Emiko Jean-#PondathonII