Book Review: The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Hello, friends! Today I will be reviewing The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Their latest YA collaboration is a spectacular blend of science-fiction and fantasy that spans from a hi-tech city in the clouds to a crumbling land teeming with magic. It follows a goddess and a prince as they search for answers to save their respective homes, all while fighting the growing bond between them.

Before I dive into my review, here is a brief summary of what The Other Side of the Sky is about.

Synopsis:

A genre-bending romance where The 100 meets a Miyazaki-inspired fantasy world, in which the prince of a hi-tech city in the sky falls into a goddess’s ancient land ruled by magicians and prophecy.

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate unknown technology. But North believes his sky island is sinking. Its engines are failing, and the key to saving his home is to venture to the place the engines were first created.

Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the surface, responsible for providing answers, direction – hope. But in the midst of the surface’s worst crisis yet, a mist that spreads madness and poison, doubts have arisen among the people about Nimh’s divinity. She must find a way to manifest her power – before she is overthrown, and all is lost.

North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined – though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose to either save their people, or succumb to the bond that is forbidden to them.

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Book Review: Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud

Hello friends! Today I’ll be reviewing Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud. It is the conclusion to the Mirage duology and is teeming with political maneuvering, rebellion, star crossed romance, and women leading the charge for liberation. For more about Mirage, read our book discussion here.

Before I dive into my review, here is a brief summary of what Court of Lions is about.

Court of Lions synopsis:

On a planet on the brink of revolution, Amani has been forced into isolation. She’s been torn from the boy she loves and has given up contact with her fellow rebels to protect her family. In taking risks for the rebel cause, Amani may have lost Maram’s trust forever. But the princess is more complex than she seems, and now Amani is once more at her capricious nature. One wrong move could see her executed for high treason.

On the eve of Maram’s marriage to Idris comes an unexpected proposal: in exchange for taking her place in the festivities, Maram will keep Amani’s rebel associations a secret. Alone and desperate, Amani is thrust into the center of the court, navigating the dangerous factions on the princess’s behalf. But the court is not what she expects. As a risky plan grows in her mind, and with the rebels poised to make their stand, Amani begins to believe her world might have a future. But every choice she makes comes with a cost. Can Amani risk the ones she loves the most for a war she’s not sure she can win?

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Blog Tour + Review: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

Hello, friends! I’m thrilled to be the next stop on the 10 Things I Hate About Pinky Blog Tour! 10TIHAP is the third and final book in the Dimpleverse series by Sandhya Menon. If you haven’t read any of Sandhya’s books yet, you need to change that right now. I love the way Sandhya writes rom-coms: an enjoyable mix of swoony romance, charming characters, and sparkling wit. If you want to know more about the Dimpleverse books then read my reviews for When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something About Sweetie.

Be sure to grab your copy of 10 Things I Hate About Pinky on July 21st!

Before we go any further, check out the official synopsis for 10 Things I Hate About Pinky:

The delightful follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something about Sweetie, which follows Ashish’s friends Pinky and Samir as they pretend to date in order to achieve their individual goals, to disastrous and hilarious results.

Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.

Samir Jha might have a few…quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.

Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions she’s made (a.k.a. boyfriends she’s had), she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer.

When Samir’s internship falls through, leaving him with an unplanned summer, he gets a text from Pinky asking if he’ll be her fake boyfriend in exchange for a new internship. He jumps at the opportunity; Pinky’s a weirdo, but he can survive a summer with her if there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they’ll never forget.

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Review: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Hello friends! Today I’ll be reviewing There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon. I recently reread this rom-com for the Dimpleverse Readalong I am co-hosting as a member of Sandhya’s Sweethearts Street Team. I had so much fun reliving Sweetie and Ashish’s love story that I had to share some of my thoughts about it. If you aren’t familiar with this book, I’ve included a synopsis below.

There’s Something About Sweetie synopsis:

The irresistible companion novel to the New York Timesbestseller When Dimple Met Rishi, which follows Rishi’s brother, Ashish, and a confident, self-proclaimed fat athlete named Sweetie as they both discover what love means to them.

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Hello friends! Today I’ll be reviewing When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I recently reread this rom-com for the Dimpleverse Readalong I am co-hosting as a member of Sandhya’s Sweethearts Street Team. I had so much fun reliving Dimple and Rishi’s adorable love story that I had to share some of my thoughts about it. If you aren’t familiar with this book, I’ve included a synopsis below.

When Dimple Met Rishi synopsis:

The rom-com everyone’s talking about! Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

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Review: Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Hello, friends! Today I will be reviewing Intisar Khanani’s debut young adult fantasy novel Thorn. This is a fairy-tale retelling of the Goose Girl. I went into this story with no background on the fairy-tale, and was surprised and delighted by what I read. Despite some of the darker aspects of the story (book contains mentions of abuse and assault), Thorn manages to be a bold, fresh retelling that you won’t soon forget.

Thorn Synopsis:

Hunted meets The Wrath and the Dawn in this bold fairytale retelling—where court intrigue, false identities, and dark secrets will thrill fans of classic and contemporary fantasy alike.

Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life, but when her mother betroths her to a powerful prince in a distant kingdom, she has little hope for a better future.

Until Alyrra arrives at her new kingdom, where a mysterious sorceress robs her of both her identity and her role as princess—and Alyrra seizes on the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But as Alyrra uncovers dangerous secrets about her new world, including a threat to the prince himself, she knows she can’t remain silent forever. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds, and ultimately must decide who she is and what she stands for.

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Book Discussion: Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

Hello bookish friends! Faiza and I are back with another Book Discussion. Today we are talking about the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. This is one series that we both started with a lot of enthusiasm and hope, but ultimately were disappointed by with its final installment. Shatter Me is set in a dystopian world that is controlled by The Reestablishment, a ruthless governing body. Juliette is a girl with a touch that can kill. (Think Jubilee from X-Men.) She’s been locked up in prison by The Reestablishment for little less than a year when they take a new interest in her as a potential weapon to be used against their enemies.

Shatter Me was originally published as a trilogy with two novellas. Then three years ago, Tahereh Mafi decided to revisit this world and add on three more books and two novellas in an attempt to expand the story and provide closure for the characters.

In case you are wondering, here is the correct reading order for this series:

The Original Trilogy

Shatter Me #1

Destroy Me #1.5

Unravel Me #2

Fracture Me #2.5

Ignite Me #3

The Second Trilogy

Restore Me #4

Shadow Me #4.5

Defy Me #5

Reveal Me #5.5

Imagine Me #6

Read on for more of our thoughts on the Shatter Me series!

*Mild spoilers for the series are included.*

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Book Discussion: The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Hello bookish friends! Faiza and I are here today with another Book Discussion! Today we are talking about London Shah’s YA debut, The Light at the Bottom of the World. This is a unique sci-fi tale that is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity lives underwater. It stars a British-Muslim teen named Leyla McQueen who is on a mission to save her father from false criminal charges and in the process uncovers a startling truth. Read on for more of our thoughts on The Light at the Bottom of the World!

 

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Book Discussion: Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali

Hello bookish friends! Faiza and I are back with another Book Discussion! One year ago today, S.K. Ali’s second young adult novel Love from A to Z was released. In honor of its first birthday, Faiza and I thought it would be fun to discuss one of our all-time favorite YA books. Love from A to Z is a story of two Muslim teens as they navigate personal challenges, friendships, and fall in love for the first time.

We participated in the Countdown to Love from A to Z Blog Tour last year. Read our post A to Z Reasons to Read Love from A to Z right here!

Read on for our thoughts on Love from A to Z!

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Review: Once Upon an Eid

Once Upon an Eid is a middle grade anthology centered on the experience, meaning, and feeling of Eid. Fifteen Muslim authors across the cultural spectrum contribute short stories that highlight the diversity within the Muslim community. In addition to short stories, Once Upon an Eid includes a comic and poetry. This anthology is the first of its kind in children’s literature (to my knowledge), and hopefully marks the start of many more like it to come.

Once Upon an Eid is edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed with art by Sara Alfageeh. Authors included in this anthology are: Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, Aisha Saeed, Asmaa Hussein, S.K. Ali, Candice Montgomery, Rukhsana Khan, Hena Khan, G. Willow Wilson, N.H. Senzai, Ashley Franklin, Hanna Alkaf, Huda Al-Marashi, Ayesha Mattu, and Randa Abdel-Fattah.

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