Review: Amina’s Song

Review: Amina’s Song

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*I received a copy via the publisher via Edelweiss in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

When Amina returns home from her vacation in Pakistan, she is brimming with pride for her country and wants everyone else to know it. When she’s assigned homework where you have to choose an important figure, she chooses to represent Malala Yousafzai, but everyone can only focus on the horror that occurred. Once again, Amina must speak up to use her voice speak up, and hopefully, no one will drown her out. 

I found Amina’s Song really endearing. Hena Khan wonderfully captures the beautiful connection between the home of her parent’s, Pakistan, and the home where she lives, the US. Amina really works hard to send a message to her classmates about unifying different parts of ourselves. The way its written evokes a lot of heart and emotion that will make this book a perfect series to buy for middle-grade readers. 

Amina is a wonderful character, with so much compassion and love for the people around her, in both her communities and the story’s main conflict is her wanting to share her Pakistani side with her American side, but it doesn’t go the way she planned. This story is also a wake-up call, not only for Amina but her peers around her as she aims to help them question their understanding of the world beyond their borders. Amina, herself, admits she had second-guessed Pakistan herself before visiting but returns with a new-found appreciation. She’s determined to let her peers see the cultural value of Pakistan that wasn’t sourced from negative media. Amina isn’t Amina without music, so as a side plot, she ends up befriending new boy Nico and they come together to work on music production. Everyone around her immediately assumes it’s a romance and she’s clearly frustrated because all she wants is a friend. 

In this follow-up to Amina’s Voice, Amina yearns to showcase her love for Pakistan with her American community. Using her passion for music, she makes it her mission to change everyone’s tune. A delightful companion novel that I would highly recommend to younger readers!


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Review: Act Your Age, Eve Brown

Review: Act Your Age, Eve Brown

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*I received a copy via the publisher via Edelweiss in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

No matter what Eve Brown does, it always ends up a mess. So, she gives up. But her parents won’t let her go down that easy. Eve has to grow up, even if she doesn’t know how. Jacob Wayne expects nothing but perfection so when Eve turns up out of the blue, his answer is a hard no. And she’s out of sight, out of mind, until she accidentally hits him with his car. With a broken arm and no chef, Eve is now making a home in his B&B, and Jacob should hate it. But her sunny disposition is infectious, and she’s breaking down walls he’s spent so long to keep up. 

I’ll admit, I had high hopes for the finale in the Brown sister’s hectic lives, but Eve was the sister I wasn’t too sure on, even two books later. I feel like in the previous novels, Eve was the sister I could never quite understand. But Act Your Age, Eve Brown was so much better than I ever I could’ve ever expected. I think it might be my favourite of the trilogy. (Sorry, Zaf.) She’s hilarious and her quips were charming, but she really makes her own here. I was surprised to find myself relating to Eve more than her sisters. Her feelings of feeling lost and helpless despite trying her best to only fail again resonated with me the most. 

You could describe Eve and Jacob as Sunshine meets Grumpy, which is a pairing I would die for. Jacob is also autistic, I can’t speak for the representation, but Talia writes him well. These two compliment each other so well. Eve is chaotic, a human whirlwind that has Jacob frustrated. But he soon realises her work ethic is exactly what he needs. And her cooking skills for the upcoming Pemberton Food Festival. Their transition from enemies to friends to lovers is very wholesome. Jacob and Eve don’t realise it, but they fall for each other and suddenly every quirk becomes endearing. It was quite cute reading the moments before they themselves realise it. Also, if you’re into steamy scenes, Hibbert most likely won’t disappoint any old or new fans. Personally, I’m not into reading them, but that doesn’t change the fact that Hibbert is a tremendous writer. 

All in all, this was a fantastic end to the Brown sisters and their hilarious romantic and personal journeys. What a delightful end! I am truly now, through and through, a Talia Hibbert fan.


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Review: A Place for Us

Review: A Place for Us

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thinking of his future sometimes felt like looking down a long tunnel, and even if he squinted he could hardly picture what his life would be like when he stepped out at the other end.

A Place for Us follows the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered in celebration of their eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding. Amar, the youngest of the family, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. And his parent’s, Rafiq and Layla, must face the choices they all made all those years ago. A Place for Us spans decades through the eyes of a different family member, marking pivotal moments in the past that broke the bonds and pulled them apart. 

It isn’t often a book that manages to enchant me as such as this book did. I had closed the final page at 2 am and truly felt what it mean to have a heavy heart. A Place for Us hit me harder than I would have ever expected. I wasn’t even planning on reviewing this book, because I feel like anything I write could never truly explain how much this book resonated with me. 

Being character-driven, Mirza blew me away at how well each character come through. Amar is the youngest of the family, his departure from the family was years in the making. He feels trapped within the demands of his family, culture and internal turmoil. I felt extremely attached to him especially in the deep moments where he feels like as though anything he does is never good enough.  Hadia was almost like looking in the mirror. Her constant need to please her family and community, her entire self-worth is built upon approval. The enormous pressure to succeed as the eldest silences some of her best thought. However, Huda, the middle child, was almost non-existent. She appears as a messenger between Amar and Hadia, but other than that, her presence was almost forgettable, whether it was intentional or not is unclear. Rafiq and Layla are of an older generation who struggle to raise their kids within their cultural values which, in turn, affect the way their children balance themselves between two different cultures. I found myself quite angry at their actions, their adamant behaviour quite literally pushed their children away and they don’t realise it until it’s too late. 

Overall, A Place for Us is overflowing with little moments that resonated with me deeply. It emphasises the importance of family, love, and most importantly, forgiveness. The structure of A Place for Us is unconventional: the novel switches from points of view, jumping from the past to the present. I know that other readers can find it confusing, but I found that Mirza pulled it off well. Her writing is naturalistic and easy to understand. What isn’t said is often more affecting and resonating, and Mirza is a natural at tugging at the heartstrings in the quietest of moments.


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Monthly Rewind: January 2021

Monthly Rewind: January 2021

B O O K S

I actually surprised myself by reading 15 books this month. I have never read this much in a month, but I chalk it up to the UK being on its third lockdown. And now that I’ve graduated, all I can do it look for graduate jobs and read. It feel weird having this much time to read, but I quite enjoyed most of the books I read this month!

  • Six of Crows – I have finally read Six of Crows! I had bought a copy back when it was released but I hadn’t finished the Grisha Trilogy yet. So this book slowly fell down my TBR list because I had taken so long to read the first series. I didn’t like the trilogy that much, but I can definitely see the improvement in SOC. Pray I don’t take four years to read its sequel.
  • Loveboat, Taipei – I have really surprised myself this year with reading more contemporary novels and actually enjoying them for once! Loveboat was so good!
  • The Chosen – Eh, a little disappointing considering I have enjoyed reading Matharu’s previous series with my cousin.
  • Remnants of the Atonement – First DNF of the year 😦 I requested an arc because of a reddit post, but now I feel like I’ve been bamboozled.
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown – “Yours, Red.” Two damn words and I was a MESS. Damn, who is this person I’ve become that suddenly enjoys contemporary.
  • The Song of Achilles (RE-READ) – I have been playing too much of Supergiant’s Hades. I’ve been desperately trying to reunite Patroclus and Achilles in-game, but it’s hard because I can never seem to find the room where Patroclus can be found.
  • A Place for Us – A book that hit a bit too deep for me. Man, I was sobbing at 3 am.
Continue reading “Monthly Rewind: January 2021”

Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown

Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dani Brown is a workaholic, on the road to her PhD and nothing can stop her. Even romance is on the backburner, a great distraction from her greater cause. But when she wishes for a friends-with-benefits arrangement, she doesn’t expect it to come in the form of grumpy Zafir Ansari. Seven years prior, Zafir gave up on his rugby career after the death of his brother and father. Now, he works security while building his non-profit organisation to help destigmatize mental illness to young athletes. After a social media mishap which makes the duo go viral, he enlists the help of Dani to maintain a fake-relationship to gain exposure for his work. 

After reading Chloe’s story with Red, I definitely had high expectations for Dani because she was my favourite sibling. And Take a Hint absolutely smashed them! I definitely enjoyed Danika’s story more than Chloes. No hate to Chloe, I just saw myself more into Dani’s characters, and plus – Zafir is the dream man. (Sorry, Red.)

Like Hibbert’s previous novel, Take a Hint is fun and outrageous. Dani and Zafir are pretty hilarious before they even get together and in their fake relationship, they are chaotic and bring the best out of each other. Zafir has already fallen for Dani, but he’s trying his best not to fall too deep for their inevitable break-up. Dani isn’t sure of what she wants, but she tries to not think too deeply into their plan. Throughout this story, I couldn’t stop laughing at their banter. Fake-dating (like enemies to lovers in Get A Life) is another trope I always never knew where I stood with. But Hibbert does it again, convincing me that this is a trope I can get behind.  The awkwardness of them finding their footing, the angst, the romance. 

My favourite character had to be Zafir. He was so sweet and charming. And his arc really hit the hardest. He suffers from anxiety and depression after losing his brother and father to a car accident. And when the video of them goes viral, his biggest fear is someone bringing up the past and isn’t ready for that attention. Hibbert does a phenomenal job of addressing his feelings and emotions with grace. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Take a Hint, Dani Brown! I’m super excited to read the finale of the Brown sister where we get to see Eve’s story. What Hibbert does best is her cast of characters. We see old favourites like Chloe and Red, but we are also introduced to some pretty great new people. I loved Zafir’s family and Dani’s best friend. Hibbert knows how to get you to feel for even the smallest of characters. Talia Hibbert is slowly creeping into my auto-buy authors, and this is only the second book of hers I’ve read! 


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Review: Get A Life, Chloe Brown

Review: Get A Life, Chloe Brown

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After a close encounter with a speeding car, Chloe Brown decides she’s had enough. Re-assessing her life, she decides to move out of her family home and creates her Get A Life list. Her bucket list includes enjoying a drunken night out to travelling the world with nothing but hand luggage. But what she doesn’t expect is Redford Morgan, her exasperating superintendent, who might just help her tick a few boxes or shred this whole list up.

As a teenager, I had rashly given up on the contemporary genre, it just never worked out for me, and I had leaned towards the science fiction and fantasy genre instead. But a goal I had made to myself this year was to give it another chance and Get A Life, Chloe Brown was the perfect choice to convert me back to the genre. This book is so much fun. As a teen, I didn’t appreciate novels of everyday life, but now as a twenty-two-year-old adult, stories like Get A Life, Chloe Brown is perfect for people wanting some fun but without the full-on high stakes. What made this book fun was its characters, the way they interact with each other. Talia Hibbert writes in a way that felt like I was talking to a friend, it’s easy to read and enjoy. 

Chloe’s close brush with death causes her to rethink her life. She has fibromyalgia, and the constant pain and fatigue have led her to live a life quite isolated after her friends cruelly abandoned her. But her family is here to stay, including her parents, sisters and eccentric aunt. Her moving out is just one step towards her “getting a life.” In comes Redford (Red) Morgan. He’s dismissive, rude, and annoyingly handsome. But Chloe can’t help but be intrigued by the moody man who spends his free time painting as if his life depends on it. 

Enemies-to-lovers is a trope I see-saw a lot with. Some days I can dig it, some days, I’m just not in the mood. But Get a Life was hilarious in its use of the trope. Chloe thinks Red is just a rude superintendent while Red thinks she’s just a snooty rich girl. After a strange mishap that includes a tree and a cat, the two end up finding common ground. Red enlists Chloe’s skills to make a new website, and he agrees to help tick off her list. But as Chloe’s making her plans, Red is ignoring his past. As I was reading this, I was so surprised at myself. Am I gushing over romance scenes, like, what, who is this changed reader? Talia Hibbert deserves an award for being the author who made me a blushing mess over Chloe and Red.

Chloe and Red were both incredibly flawed in a good way because they get through it all and discuss what is wrong and how to fix it. I have to admit the final argument before the resolution was so unnecessary because the two have proven that miscommunication isn’t an issue, so the way it came about was… confusing. But the rest of the book was a damn delight. There are a lot of layers to the story I hadn’t expected. Chloe and her journey of putting her self out there, Red is suffering from a past abusive relationship, and the little drop-ins from Chloe’s sisters were such mood-boosters. They are hilarious and their stories we will see later in the series which makes me so excited to get started on the next book about Dani. To sum up, Get A Life, Chloe Brown was good fun. It had some great moments and characters who are hilarious. It’s a great pick-me-up, and I’ll recommend it to anyone who wants a quick romantic read, especially if you’re into steamier moments.


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