Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Post Reading: Season of Crimson Blossoms - Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Season of Crimson Blossoms


Title: Season of Crimson Blossoms
Author: Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Published: May 20th 2016 by Cassava Republic Press
Source: Publisher
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An affair between 55-year-old widow Binta Zubairu and 25-year-old weed dealer Reza was bound to provoke condemnation in conservative Northern Nigeria. 

Brought together in unusual circumstances, Binta and Reza faced a need they could only satisfy in each other. Binta - previously reconciled with God - now yearns for intimacy after the sexual repression of her marriage, the pain of losing her first son and the privations of widowhood. Meanwhile, Reza's heart lies empty and waiting to be filled due to the absence of a mother. The situation comes to a head when Binta's wealthy son confronts Reza, with disastrous consequences. 

This story of love and longing - set against undercurrents of political violence - unfurls gently, revealing layers of emotion that defy age, class and religion.


Set in post-colonial, conservative Nigeria, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim's Season of Crimson Blossoms is a story that transcends cultural, social, religious and geographical boundaries. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Post Reading: Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged - Ayisha Malik

Book Review Muslims in Literature


Title: Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged
Author: Ayisha Malik
Published: September 3rd 2015 by Twenty7
Source: Bought
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"Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.' Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. 'Are your parents quite disappointed?' 

Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene. 

As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?


If I were to count the number of times I've seen myself represented in fiction, it would take no more than 60 seconds. You'd say I'm lying considering the fact that Muslims are mentioned so often in media. However, literature that is truly representative of Muslims, are few and far between.

Ayisha Malik's debut follows Sofia Khan, a Hijabi Muslim and a first generation immigrant from Pakistan living in London and working in the book publishing industry. Just bouncing back from a broken engagement with a man, Sofia is ready to swear off men. Except, she accidentally pitches a book about Muslims dating to her publicity director!

Armed with nothing but a spankin' new shaadi.com profile (for research, of course), Sofia throws herself hijab first into the Muslim blind dating scene.What follows is a heartwarming, authentic tale of a young Muslim woman in a race against time as she attempts to finish her book and maybe, just maybe find love.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

We Need #DiverseBookBloggers


Most readers including myself, read book reviews before making a purchasing decision. Simply put, book reviews drive sales.

But does it matter who reviews the book? Definitely.
I regularly buy books solely based on the recommendation of trusted bloggers and reviewers. And I'm more likely to add books to my to-read list or go out and purchase a book based on the review of book blogger than trade reviewers like Kirkus Reviews.

However, libraries and bookstores are likely to choose which books to stock up by looking at trade reviews since they are long established and are high on the credibility scale when it comes to the book publishing industry. Similarly, readers who aren't active on Goodreads, social media and the blogosphere/booktube community are more likely to go to trade review sites for recommendations.

Either way, there's no doubt that reviewers (both trade or independent) have a direct influence on what readers buy. End of story.

So what happens when these reviewers aka influencers are largely white cishet, able-bodied women?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

#DiverseBookBloggers: The Diverse Books Tag

Today's tag post is an extension of the #DiverseBookBloggers Twitter movement that is being spearheaded by Naz of Read Diverse Books and Demelza Griffiths of Books ft. Politics. It aims to bring together and lift up the voices of bloggers from marginalized groups as well as allies promoting diverse books (more on this later). 

The Diverse Books Tag is a bit like a scavenger hunt. You are tasked with finding a book (that you have read or intend to) that fits each of the specific criteria listed below. The purpose of the tag is to promote the kinds of books that may not get a lot of attention in the book blogging community.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Post Reading: Danger, Sweetheart - MaryJanice Davidson

Book Review Danger, Sweetheart - MJ Davidson


Title: Danger, Sweetheart
Author: MaryJanice Davidson 
Published: May 10th 2016 by Piatkus
Source: Publisher
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This city boy's about to get a taste of country life . . .

Blake Tarbell has a town to save. Rich, carefree, and used to the Vegas party lifestyle, Blake is thrown for a curve when his former cocktail-waitress mother pleads he go back to her roots to save the town she grew up in. Blake's used to using money to solve his problems, but when he arrives in Sweetheart, North Dakota, this city boy has to trade in his high-priced shoes for a pair of cowboy boots - and he's about to get a little help from the loveliest lady in town . . .

Natalie Lane's got no time for newbies. The prettiest gal to ever put on a pair of work gloves, there's nothing she can't do to keep a farm up and running. But when a handsome city-slicker rolls into town with nothing but bad farmer's instincts and good intentions, Natalie's heartstrings are pulled. She's about to teach him a thing or two about how to survive in Sweetheart. And he's about to teach her a thing or two about love.


A literary trope is the use of figurative language – via word, phrase, or even an image – for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech. The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clich├ęs in creative works.
We love them. We hate them. Literary tropes have been a point of debate among readers and reviewers alike over the years. Some see them as lazy writing and some simply adore them. And there are others who believe that plot and thematic tropes when done right, can be quite successful.

MaryJanice Davidson's Danger, Sweetheart is full of common tropes found in the romance genre. 45 of them, actually. Yes, you read that right.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Post Reading: Raif Badawi, The Voice of Freedom - Ensaf Haidar

Raif Badawi #FreeRaif Ensaf Haidar


Title: Raif Badawi, The Voice of Freedom: My Husband, Our Story
Author: Ensaf Haidar and Andrea Claudia Hoffmann
Published: 16 March 2016 by Little Brown
Source: Publisher
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When Raif Badawi and Ensaf Haidar fell in love with each other as adolescents, they did so in violation of every moral precept in the strictly Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During their clandestine love affair, the young couple had no idea that, more than a decade later, Ensaf's love for Raif would attract the attention of politicians from around the world as the blogger's wife now mobilises global public opinion in an effort to save her husband from murder at the hands of the Saudi judiciary. With a courage born of desperation, she is fighting from exile in Canada to secure the release of the father of her three children, and is bringing great pressure to bear on the murderous regime in her native country.

Ensaf Haidar tells Raif's and her own story: the story of their shared liberal ideas and her fight for her husband's release.


Ensaf Haidar's Raif Badawi, The Voice of Freedom: My Husband, Our Story is the kind of book that sticks with you. Having finished it in more or less one sitting, I couldn't stop thinking about it for a long time. Days after having turned the final page of this powerful non-fiction piece, I was scouring the web for Badawi's work, Haidar's interviews and updates on the trial.

I was obsessed.