In blog tour

BLOG TOUR: The Candle and the Flame

Hello guys! The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad released ONE WEEK AGO! If you've checked out my review of this book, then you know I absolutely I adored it, but in case you still haven't had a chance to pick this up, now is the time! As part of the official Candle and the Flame Street Team, I'm here to tell you all about The Candle and the Flame!

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population -- except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

Follow Nafiza:

The book features such an intricately crafted universe, gorgeous writing, and absolutely amazing characters. It's a stand-alone so it's perfect for a quick read, too. The Candle and the Flame really makes you think about social issues, and features a beautiful fantastical universe as well as some really interesting magic! It's absolutely amazing to read! The seamless blend of languages, cultures and magical elements makes this book truly one of a kind.

Creative Effort:
As part of the blog-tour, I designed some fan-made posters for the book. Check them out below! 

Order The Candle and the Flame NOW:

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In book review


Title: Defy Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Fantasy
Release: 2 April 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

MY FAVORITE YA FANTASY OF ALL TIME IS BACK! I've missed these characters so much, you guys. After Restore Me I wasn't sure how to survive a whole year without them, but I magically did. Defy Me has been out for a month (or even longer... yikes), so I figured it was high-time for my review of this fifth book in the Shatter Me series!

What is this book about?
Defy Me is part five in the well-loved Shatter Me series, and follows Juliette, Warner and Kenji after the end of Restore Me. Juliette is now Supreme Commander of America, but has been taken by her biological parents to aid in their original plan. The team has to get back together and pick up the pieces before it's all too late.

What did I think of Defy Me?
Now, it's no secret I tend to love most of what Tahereh writes. Every single novel I've read by her has been a 5-star read. From her fantasy to her contemporary ones, she can do no wrong for me. I love the way she develops characters, her writing style (especially the poetic one in Shatter Me), and the way she crafts stories. It's again no surprise that Defy Me formed no exception to this.

I absolutely adore all of these characters, the characters are mostly what make books for me, but my favorite ones are Juliette, Warner and Kenji. Kenji's POV, then, provided such a nice addition to this series. We've gotten a brief introduction to Kenji's thoughts in Shadow Me, but that book was too short. To be fair, it was only a novella. I ended up loving every minute of Kenji's POV in both Defy Me and Shadow Me, and if he wasn't already my favorite male character... ever, he would be by now. I really like how having his own perspective added a lot more depth to his character. How he's not just there for comic relief, but also has a lot of emotional layers underneath (I know opinions are divided on this book, but I loved him a lot!)

Juliette and Warner, too, really did it for me. This series has some of my favorite character development of ALL TIME, and getting to see Warner happy for once was a very welcome change. Also, can we talk about how ADORABLE that last chapter was... please. I know that there have been a lot of diverging opinions regarding this specific matter, but the relationship development between Warner and Juliette was very welcome for me. For people who plan to read this book but still haven't found the time: I won't spoil any major plot-points, but I personally thought that, especially considering the dystopian setting, the plot wasn't rushed at all.

I also quickly want to address Nazeera's character, because OH MY! She ended up being one of the highlights of the book for me. I will admit, I'm still not 100% set on her relationship with Kenji that seems to be a thing, which eyes very much like insta-lust at the moment, but it is such a joy to read her dialogue! I absolutely adore her and want an infinite amount of scenes with just her and Juliette... I need them to be BFF's.

In the end, the majority of the plot of Defy Me dealt with the repercussions of the last book, as well as setting up for the final instalment, which made this book kind of filler-y in my opinion. The first half was enjoyable, but not overly so, however, the last 100 pages are what made the book for me. The final part, including the infinite plot-twists, and crazy scenarios were nice, but the real magic happens during the emotional moments between certain characters.

Once again, I think Tahereh can do no wrong when it comes to writing and I love every single book she writes. From my perspective, Defy Me ended up doing the characters justice which is what is most important to me. All in all, the book provided a nice set-up for the finale, but at this point Tahereh could write them going to the supermarket for 25 chapters and I'd still give this five stars.


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In spotlight

SPOTLIGHT: Reasons Why You Should Be Reading We Hunt The Flame!

Hello hello! With only ONE day to go until this gorgeous book releases, it's high time for me to talk a little more about one of my most anticipated releases of the ENTIRE YEAR: We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal!

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Five reasons why you should be reading We Hunt the Flame:
Additionally to this amazing premise, here are five reasons why you should pick up WHTF!

One: The world-building!
We Hunt the Flame is inspired by old Arabia and is, subsequently an ownvoices novel! To be immersed in this rich universe featuring characteristics of this beautiful culture, as well as the Arabic terms used within the book is so so cool! The world-building in We Hunt The Flame is absolutely amazing, and is definitely one of the highlights of the book. It's like you're stepping right into Arawiya!

Two: the amazing female characters! 
That's right, this book features some very strong and well-written ladies. Without spoiling anything, Zafira, in particular, is one of my favorite characters in the book! I love how layered and empowering Hafsah's female characters are!

Three: The beautiful writing!
This book is filled to the brim with inspiring quotes and gorgeous descriptions. I absolutely adored the way this book was written. The writing style, the POV switch, and the seamless blending of Arabic phrases made this book such a unique experience!

 Four: Broody YA boyfriends!
This book contains some serious favorite character material. Not only are the ladies amazing, Nasir is fits perfectly into the brooding YA boyfriend category. He's insanely layered, morally grey and a little bit emo, so another perfect reason to pick up this book ASAP!

Five: Altair.
This man is a reason by himself.

How to get your hands on We Hunt the Flame:

Barnes & Noble

I wouldn't be me without having done some type of creative effort. Leading up to the release I've been creating some graphics over on my Tumblr/Twitter, so check out some of them below!

We Hunt The Flame releases Tuesday May 14 2019.

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In book review wrap up


Series Title: Finale
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Young Adult

"Welcome, welcome to Caraval! 
The grandest show on land or by sea. 
Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. 
You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. 
But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game."

This particular series has been sitting on my shelf for a good 2 years. I bought Caraval on a whim because it was on sale on Amazon at the time. Not because I was planning to read it anytime soon, no, just because I liked the cover. I finally decided to pick this up in an attempt to clear my bookshelf of unread books. And while I wasn't massively impressed by the first book (I ADORED the world-building in Caraval, but it wasn't majorly shocked by any of its content!), the second and third book SHOOK ME TO MY CORE. 

Book 1:
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

Book 2:
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

Book 3:
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

"Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. 
It's more than just a game or performance. 
It's the closest you'll ever find yourself magic in this world."

What is this series about?
The premise of Caraval is such a difficult one to explain. Caraval follows two sisters, Tella and Scarlett, as they enter the game of Caraval. It's is an interactive show that blurs the lines between reality and fiction and is led by the mysterious game master Legend. Scarlett and Tella have dreamed of seeing a performance ever since they were little, but now that Scarlett is engaged by her abusive father to a man she's never met, she thinks she'll never get to see it. That is, until Tella manages to take Scarlett away from their home to witness the show of a lifetime. Only, as soon as they arrive, Legend kidnaps Tella and offers a prize to the first player who manages to find her. 

Let the game begin. 

What did I think about this series?
Let's start at the beginning, shall we? I thought the definite strong point of these books was the world-building. Whomever dreams about writing a Fantasy book someday wants their world to be as rich as this one. The universe, the writing, they were all magnificently executed. Caraval painted an exquisitely rich picture with all its elaborate descriptions and the lavish atmosphere. You either love it or hate it, but I thought Garber's writing was absolutely beautiful. This is what most of my rating for the first book: Caraval is based on. I can't say I was immediately pulled into the characters or the love story. Scarlett and Julian were certainly intriguing, but I found myself being drawn to the side characters a lot more.

And then there was Legendary. I went in absolutely blind with this one, so imagine my delight when I discovered that Legendary was written from Tella's POV and contained a LOT of one of my favorite characters: Legend. I'm not lying when I say that this book was probably my favorite of the whole month of April. Garber has a way of building her characters, especially Legend, that just stuck with me. I absolutely adored the intrigue, suspense and mystery that surrounded Legend's character. He has such an interesting and layered personality. Tella, too, was such a fun character to read about in her own POV. I'd loved her in Caraval, but her appearances in Legendary absolutely sealed the deal for me. Another interesting addition to the cast of characters was Jacks, the prince of Hearts. I'm not usually a fan of love-triangles (or ever), but both Jacks and Legend were such interesting characters that I truly found myself in dubio at times on whom I liked best. This book was my definite favorite within the series and I can honestly say that it's been a while since I've been this shook over a book. 

Now, as for Finale, this will remain a spoiler-free review, but all I can say when it comes to these books is that the conclusion to this series was satisfying. The dual POV between Tella and Scarlett in Finale worked really well, and made me love both characters more. The plot-twists, again, were very nicely executed and I didn't see most of them coming (keep in mind I went in completely blind when it came to all three of the books!) I really appreciated how the final book gave the audience an ending to be enjoyed, but also felt like there could be more of this universe in the future (I'm not sure that's the plan but there's definite space for more content within the universe!). 

All in all, I adored this series as a whole. The first book took some time to captivate me, but the world-building in this series is so exquisite and enchanting that it's hard not to fall in love with Caraval and Stephanie Garber's writing style. At this point, I only wish I'd read it sooner so I could've gotten some of the pretty merch boxes before the release of Finale. What a way to end a series and I'll definitely be reading more of Stephanie's books in the future. This was amazing. 

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In blog tour spotlight

BLOG TOUR: Love from A-Z Countdown

We're only TWO days away from the release of Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali! I'm always looking for diverse reads, and this one feels like it's going to be such a fun, romantic, but also a very important one. This Own Voices contemporary features muslim rep, a strong female character, social commentary that is on point, and heart-warming romance! Now, what better way to celebrate the imminent release than by talking a little bit about this gorgeous book!

marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.
An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.
When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…
Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Follow Sajidah:
TwitterInstagram | Website

The cover of this book is beautiful by itself, but to celebrate the upcoming release of this beautiful book, I've created some graphics to match the cover of Love From A to Z!
Check them out below: 

Perfect for fans of A Very Large Expanse of Sea, Anna and the French Kiss, and The Sun is Also a Star. Make sure to pick up this beauty right when it releases this Tuesday, or preorder using the links below! 

Love From A to Z releases Tuesday April 30th! 

Preorder Love from A to Z:

Afbeelding kan het volgende bevatten: een of meer mensen en tekst

Tour Schedule:

April 23: 
Star Is All Booked Up: Welcome Post/The Marvels and Oddities in My Life

April 24:
Utopia State of Mind: Promo

April 25:
Life of a Random: Love from A to Z Playlist

April 26:
Sun and Chai: Promo

April 27:
Aashi Ranjan
Books Bounty Hub: Muslim Representation Matters

April 28:
Open Pages: The A to Z of Journals

Julia Fleur: Creative Promo

April 29:
Writing Power: Promo

April 30:
YA Book Corner: A To Z Reasons to Read Love From A to Z

Magical Reads: Promo

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In arc review


Title: Time (Laws of Physics #3)
Author: Penny Reid
Genre(s):  Romance, New Adult
Release: April 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

"Cry if you need to, but don’t ignore what the tears are about."

Here it is! The last book in this series. It's no secret I love Penny Reid's romances (Knitting in the City was one of the first New-Adult series I picked up, and more recently I have LOVED reading the Winston Brothers series). When it comes to new-adult romances, I normally tend to read a lot standalone couples, but this was such a refreshing take on the genre for me! Time provided a satisfying end to a deliciously angsty and romantic story!

What is this book about?
Time is the last book in the Laws of Physics series, and concludes Mona and Abram's love story. The book picks up right after the ending of Motion. Abram has left Mona in Geneva to pursue his career in music, which has started to really take flight. However, Mona now finds she has to deal with missing him and reconciling her career with being close to Abram. How will these two navigate their relationship, and is there a happy ending on the horizon?

"He smiled, a real smile. 
His left dimple making its first appearance, stealing my breath before his words could. 
“It’s living artistry, Mona.” 
Abram’s gaze turned cherishing, earnest. 
“Being with you is like living in a song."

What did I think of Time? 
First of all, I loved the character development in this particular book. After getting all the major angsty plot-points out of the way in the previous two, this book really focused on their relationship and the characters by themselves which provided great character-driven moments. I also really like how Mona seemed to develop and confronted her past trauma, I thought that was a very powerful scene.

I've said this before, but the thing I really like about Penny Reid's writing is the way in which it manages to mix humor with important issues. Her comedic writing is great, it makes the reader laugh, but her books also tend to have a deeper side where she addresses issues such as social-political problems or character's mental health issues. This book is no exception when it comes to addressing these, and in this case I really like how Reid seems to touch on assault and how important it is to speak up about it. 

Abram and Mona were such a cute main couple. The combination of his musical POV, with her scienc-y one worked out perfectly and made Time a joy to read. I also like how Reid's writing seems to flow off the page, in the sense that it reads very easily and quickly. You'll finish her books in no time!

The only minor issue I had with the book was that it might have been a tad too long for its content. I understand that romance books tend to not be heavily plot-focused, but sometimes I felt like there wasn't very much happening. The parts where Mona and Abram were apart read a tad too slow for my liking, but weren't disturbing enough to get me to not love the book. 

This has been a very short and sweet review, but the main thing I am trying to get across if that if you're looking for a quick, funny, (and a little bit angsty,) romance series, then this is the perfect one for you. I'm giving the whole series a solid 4 stars, and I'm anxiously awaiting Penny's next book! 

Goodreads | Amazon

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In book review

REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Release: March 2018
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, 
there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” 

Hello lovelies, I'm back! After spending a weekend in London I'm fully recharged and ready to go back to blogging. Up next: my review of A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer! I've read this book a while ago, while reading it for a buddy-read with my friend (shame on me for only writing my review now). From a lot of my friends I'd heard that this book left them shook, which resulted in a lot of anticipation on my end!

What is this book about?
A Curse so Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and centers around the teenage girl Harper, who has been forced to survive on the streets due to her dying mother and a brother with a knack for trouble. When she attempts to rescue an unconscious woman she encounters on the streets of Washington, she is magically transported to Emberfall, the fantastical kingdom under Prince Rhen. Rhen, however, isn't your typical prince. He is cursed by a witch to continuously repeat his eighteenth year, in which he turns into a horrific beast every single autumn. The curse can only be broken if he manages to make a girl fall in love with him, which should be easy enough, right? But Harper isn't sure what to make of this new situation she finds herself in, and the curse doesn't seem to be the only thing they need to worry about...

"This early in the season, 
the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, 
while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush.
 If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me."

 What did I think of A Curse So Dark and Lonely?
Right off the bat, I thought A Curse so Dark and Lonely had a very pleasant writing style. It's very to-the-point, easy to get into, and picks up quite a bit from the start. Despite the seemingly big size of the book, A Curse so Dark and Lonely reads like a dream. It's fast-paced, introduces the characters as well as the story nicely, and the fairytale-like elements in it had my Disney loving heart soaring! 

I really liked the three main characters, and the very different characterizations of all of them separately. The book is divided into three POV's, and each have a very distinct voice. I particularly liked Rhen's character (my emo boy, I loved him!). Additionally, the main relationship pulled me in and I found myself rooting for them a lot throughout the novel. Also, this book has disability rep in the form of Harper's character, who has celebral palsy. Harper's determination made her such an empowering character that I think a lot of people can relate to!

Plot-wise, I enjoyed the majority of the book A LOT. Kemmerer's take on the traditional Beauty and the Beast story is original. The idea of a whole new kingdom that exists separately from contemporary US life in which Harper is immersed was a nice twist, as well as reading about her process to adjust in this new fantastical universe. The massive plot-twist at the end of the novel, too, made this book such an unexpected love!

The main issue (or the only issue) I had with the book was the love triangle the writing seems to be setting up for in the next book. I'm not sure if I was meant to interpret it this way, but it seems to strongly hint at a plot like this. I'm not typically a huge fan of the love triangle trope and I think that should've been left in 2011. I won't judge too quickly, though, and I'll see how it plays out in any future books in the series.

All in all, this book didn't leave me as "shook" exactly as I'd hoped it would, but it's a solid fantasy nonetheless. A Curse so Dark and Lonely nicely sets up the plot for future books. The plot-twist at the end was interesting, and the writing style was well-paced. This book made my fairytale-loving heart happy, which is why I'm giving it a solid 4 stars. I can't wait to see what the second instalment will bring!


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