ARC Review: Deceived // an average but enjoyable read

This review is unfortunately a week late. These past three weeks have been eventful, to say the least, with finals, Eid, and some family events all taking place right after another.

But I’m back and starting off the month with a review of a new mystery novel by Mary Keliikoa. This book started off a little weak, but by the end, I was pretty interested in the resolution and was curious as to who the true bad guy would end up being.

A couple of disclaimers: there are no spoilers in this review; I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review, however, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Continue reading “ARC Review: Deceived // an average but enjoyable read”

ARC Review: Queen of the Tiles // my most anticipated read of 2022 has become a new favorite

I am so so so happy that this book didn’t disappoint.

Y’all know I was completely freaking out when I found out that there was going to be a Malaysian Muslim main character solving a potential murder mystery. I was dying to get this book, and my friends and family can attest to that since they were subjected to my endless frantic screaming.

I actually contacted the publisher (my first time ever doing so btw! yay for new experiences!!) and very professionally, kindly, but totally begged asked them for an ARC of the book.

and I got it.

*cue intense hysterical laugh-crying, jumping up and down, and lots of squealing*

I’m not being extra nor am I exaggerating; that was my actual physical IRL reaction when they said yes. There are so many firsts tied to this book for me: first YA mystery book I’m seeing with a Muslim main character, set somewhere that’s not a US boarding/highschool, first time I directly contacted a publisher asking for an ARC, first time getting approved for a book that I personally requested, and also the first time that I actually literally freaked out and physically fangirled when I received the copy.

My family was staring at me in shock because I have never ever shown that much excitement for anything in my life. And once I calmed down enough to write a coherent and very professional reply, all the fear and doubt came crashing in.

What if after all this anticipation and excitement, I didn’t like the book?

So I didn’t read it. For two months. Partly because I was afraid of being disappointed, and partly because of my somewhat reading slump. Mostly though, I was so nervous I wouldn’t enjoy it.

But I did. And I am so thankful and so happy that I did.

Before I get into the full review, here are a couple of disclaimers: there are no spoilers in this review; I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review, however, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Continue reading “ARC Review: Queen of the Tiles // my most anticipated read of 2022 has become a new favorite”

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // Sabaa Tahir wrote it, and that’s all that matters

Sabaa Tahir is going into the contemporary genre.


Young Adult, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Pakistani-Rep

All My Rage
by Sabaa Tahir

Lahore, Pakistan. Then.

Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.

Juniper, California. Now.

Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding.

Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.

When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.

Expected Publication: March 1, 2022

There’s a character named Salahudin!! I really like the name Salahudin, and was first introduced to it because of a cartoon show I grew up watching that created a fictionalized account of the real and historical Salahudin (aka Saladin)‘s years as a teenager/young adult. Truth is though, I don’t actually know know the historical importance/role of Saladin (like, I know he was important and he was a general, but I haven’t obsessively read and memorized his bio)…but I absolutely loved the adventures that the characters went on in the show.

Anyway, this is the first time ever that I’m seeing Salahudin being used as a name for a character in a book, and a book written by Sabaa Tahir no less, so I’m very excited! And yes, I know the name has nothing to do with anything, and you probably don’t really get why I’m geeking out about it so much, but it means a lot to my Inner Child.

I’ve been wondering ever since I found out that this book was going to be published whether this will be as heartbreaking as some of the events in An Ember in the Ashes were. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about Ember on my blog, but I did read the series around February of last year, and the last two books were so emotionally devastating, it still pains me today to remember some of the events.

Spoilers for the series An Ember in the Ashes

Harper dying (i don’t even want to begin on this, there’s just so much tears and pain. why did he have to die 😭😭 why world, why 😭😭).

Livia dying (an absolute queen and a wonderful empress, the empire didn’t deserve her).

Faris dying (not sure if anyone will remember him, he was a side character (from Elias’s friend group before Elias left, and then he was working with Hel), and he sacrificed himself so Hel could live, and it was just so sad because Hel couldn’t help him, and she had to leave knowing he wouldn’t make it. And he knew he wouldn’t make it. And he’s just a side character, but his death rattled me so much okay, I’m a sensitive soul 😭).

Considering that Ember managed to pack such a punch, and this book’s premise seems to be promising even more punches, I’m probably not ready to handle it.

But, I still want to experience this book right now, please and thank you.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of All My Rage? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you read An Ember in the Ashes? What did you think of it/the series?
  • What are some contemporaries that you can’t wait to read this year?

Chat with me in the comments below!

ARC Review: Behind the Lie // an interesting and somewhat psychological mystery

I’m here with my first review of the year folks, and it’s an ARC one that is being published today!

Behind The Lie was an interesting read. It was different from expectations since I was thinking it would be a straight up private-investigator style of mystery (one of my favorite types to read) but half the story was PI-style, while the other half was similar to a psychological suspense novel.

Nevertheless, it was still a great book, and I love how the plot twists unfolded. Before I get into the details of what I liked, here’s a couple of disclaimers: all spoilers will be in dropdowns, so you may skip them if you like. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review, however all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Continue reading “ARC Review: Behind the Lie // an interesting and somewhat psychological mystery”

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // a histfic set in 1989 communist Romania

Ruta Sepetys is releasing another historical fiction novel!

And this time, it’s set in 1989 communist Romania.

Adult, Historical Fiction, Romania, Spies

I Must Betray You
by Ruta Sepetys

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

Expected Publication: February 1, 2022

Chance to learn about a new culture? Check!

Chance to learn about another country’s history? Double check!!

Chance to love and enjoy another histfic by Ruta Sepetys? Check, check, CHECK!!!

Out of the four historical fiction books that Ms. Sepetys has written, I’ve read three of her works and enjoyed them so much. I first discovered her novels in the summer of 2020 when I read The Fountains of Silence. I very much enjoyed the story, because it offered a look at 1957 facist-controlled Spain while also weaving a tale of love and family. I ended up giving the book 4 stars because it was a nice read, but I hadn’t been satisfied with the ending.

Fast forward to September 2020, and I read Between Shades of Grey. I cried. Three separate times. It was a very emotional story that highlighted the labor camps run by the Soviet Union in the 1940s. It reminded me so much of the Holocaust and the labor camps that Germany had, and I was shocked that I hadn’t known about these Soviet-run camps previously (I mean, maybe it was passively mentioned, but I have no recollection of it, and it was most certainly not as highlighted as the German Holocaust was). Who knows, maybe the American education system isn’t really too keen on teaching that one of its allies during WWII did something quite similar to Lithuanians.

In June of last year, I read my third Sepetys book, Out of the Easy. This one was set during the dawning of 1950, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. As my Goodreads mini review stated: “This book reminds me of why I love histfic. The characters are so vivid and colorful, the backdrop is so vivid and colorful, everything is just so vivid and colorful and it makes me want to dive into the book so I can experience it directly with the characters. I loved everything about it.”

I’ve come to adore Ruta Sepetys’ books. Being that I know virtually nothing about Romania or its history, I’m especially eager to dive into her latest novel and learn something about another part of history that I hadn’t known before.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of I Must Betray You? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you read any of Ruta Sepetys’ books before? What did you think?
  • Do you have any recommendations for historical fiction novels that are set in not so common places/time periods (ie not the US, the UK, or Germany and France during the World Wars)?

Chat with me in the comments below!