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”

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”

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?


(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.

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!