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.

CONTEMPORARY!

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!

The Red Palace by June Hur – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // a historical korean murder mystery

A historical fiction novel?

Set in 1758 Korea??

With a quadruple homicide to solve?

SIGN ME RIGHT UP!

(Young?) Adult, Mystery, Korean-Rep

The Red Palace
by June Hur

Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.

But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.

Expected Publication: January 25, 2022

I’ve only read one of June Hur’s books before (currently reading The Forest of Stolen Girls after a recommendation from Ele, which thank you!), and that was The Silence of Bones. I really enjoyed that because of the historical Korean rep, and I loved the complexity of the characters and how they grew as the story unfolded. It was also very interesting to see the culture of Korea at the time and learn about the customs, conflict with religion, and the kind of life that some people lived during that time.

And now, June Hur has yet another historical Korean murder mystery, and I am so excited to delve into the past with her amazing story-telling all over again. There’s something about historical murder mysteries that is just so much more fascinating than modern mysteries (probably because it’s interesting to see/learn how they would be solved without modern tools to help), and adding a new setting and culture instantly makes it 10 times more exciting.

You know, I actually took some notes when I read The Silence of Bones because I liked it so much and I wanted to remember some details so I could write a review…but I never actually did write one which is a serious shame. I might type up those notes and post them anyway, perhaps as a mini review since I don’t fully remember the book to write a more fleshed out review.

What I know for sure is, this time around with The Red Palace, I’m going to take notes and I will make sure to actually write a review at least that’s the plan. Hopefully this book will become a favorite and I’ll be screaming at kindly explaining to you guys all the reasons why you should pick it up immediately 🙂

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of The Red Palace? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you read any of June Hur’s books before? What did you think?
  • Do you have any recommendations for books set in Korea (contemporary or historical)?

Chat with me in the comments below!

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // muslim MC solving a mystery

I desperately want this book.

I want it so badly 😭

Words can not describe my sheer need for this.

Young Adult, Mystery, Muslim-Rep, Malaysian-Rep

Queen of the Tiles
by Hanna Alkaf

They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen’s Gambit in the world of competitive Scrabble when a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend a year after the fact when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.

CATALYST
13 points
noun: a person or thing that precipitates an event or change

When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

Expected Publication: April 19, 2022

A Muslim girl.

Solving a potential murder mystery.

Not just any potential murder mystery, but one surrounding her best friend’s death.

*incomprehensible screaming*

Y’all, I am a mystery geek. I love whodunits, I love thrillers, and one thing that I’ve always wanted ever since I started reading the genre almost 7 years ago was a Muslim girl solving the mystery.

Adult mystery books are honestly not that diverse; I’ve only seen them starting to have non-white main characters in recent years, so I never got much representation with that in any way (besides the MC being a woman). And I’m not a huge fan of the YA mystery scene because it tends to be highschool related, which was too much drama for my liking. But I have read a couple of those and enjoyed them.

But this! This is the first time ever that I’m finding a female Muslim MC solving a mystery, AND I AM SO HERE FOR IT.

Also, can we please talk about how beautiful that cover is? It’s absolutely gorgeous I love it so much 🥺

April has never seemed so far away. At least I can use this to get through the next semester, because I’ll hopefully get to have this amazing book and enjoy it as the semester comes to an end.

And hopefully, hopefully it won’t disappoint.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of Queen of the Tiles? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you ever come across a mystery book with a Muslim main character?
  • What’s a book you can’t wait to read this year?

Talk to me in the comments below!

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi – Review

Welcome guys! Today, I bring to you my review of A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. I read this over the weekend after a friend of mine kept recommending it to me. This was an honest, painful, and cute read.

Book: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ★★★★★

Summary: It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


Quote: “If the decision you’ve made has brought you closer to humanity, then you’ve done the right thing.”

*Shirin. I really loved Shirin’s character. She was strong, fierce, and unapologetic for her beliefs. It was painful to read about the racism and bigotry that she faced and it was sad to see her try to be so strong while still feeling so much pain inside.

*Her parents and Navid. I loved Shirin’s parents pride in their Persian heritage and all the food that they cooked, as well as the Persian sentences that they sprinkled through-out the story. I adored Navid and his bluntness and how he also embarrassed Shirin. I also loved his over-protectiveness and love for his sister.

*Story. I loved the message that Ms. Mafi was sending with this book. This is a book about acceptance, about not hurting other people because they have feelings as well. It’s a book about tolerance and about other people’s differences. There’s also a romance that was cute, though I didn’t really like Ocean.


Quote: “I wondered, for the very first time, if maybe I was doing this whole thing wrong. If maybe I’d allowed myself to be blinded by my own anger to the exclusion of all else. If maybe, just maybe, I’d been so determined not to be stereotyped that I’d begun to stereotype everyone around me.”

*Ocean. I didn’t really like Ocean. I don’t know, he just didn’t click with me. Maybe because he was so naive. But I thought the romance was still cute.


Quote: “I understood too well what it was like to feel like you were defined by one superficial thing-to feel like you would never escape the box people had put you in.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this. I loved the message that was being sent and Shirin was an amazing and strong character. I would recommend this and I really hope you enjoy it if you read it!

One sentence summary: A cute contemporary romance with an important message.

Overall, 4.5 stars rounded to 5

★★★★★

Have you read A Very Large of Expanse of Sea? What did you think? Have you read any other by Tahereh Mafi? Let’s chat in the comments!!