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”

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.

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!

I Think Muslim Rep Is Important, But I Understand Why Some Muslims Don’t Want to Read It

The other day, I was recommending a book with Muslim representation to my sister and she said she wasn’t interested. My dad overheard and was really curious as to why she wouldn’t want to read Muslim rep when she’d read anything else out there.

It was kind of hard to explain. I know why she doesn’t like it, and I don’t blame her for not liking it, but I didn’t know how to explain that.

It’s just one of those things that you just get, you know?

Sigh. Yes, I know, you don’t really know, and that’s why I’m going to try and articulate what the problem is with Muslim-rep books out there.

Continue reading “I Think Muslim Rep Is Important, But I Understand Why Some Muslims Don’t Want to Read It”

Unapologetically Muslim Reading Challenge // ft. me signing up for my fourth challenge of the year

Am I going to survive these 4 challenges?

Probably not. But I’m determined to do so. Otherwise, I’ll be beyond super disappointed with myself.

Hey there amigos!! Welcome back. I hope you’re all having a wonderful day!

Today, I’ll be signing up for the Unapologetically Muslim Reading Challenge that is being hosted by the lovely Noura @ The Perks of Being Noura.

Lately, I’ve been wanting to read more books by Muslim authors, but I haven’t really started reading them or consciously seeking them out. But this reading challenge is hopefully gonna change that!

Continue reading “Unapologetically Muslim Reading Challenge // ft. me signing up for my fourth challenge of the year”