Book Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

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Title – Ayesha at Last

Author – Uzma Jalaluddin 

Publication – April 4th, 2019.

Publisher – Corvus

Genre – Muslim Romance Fiction

A smart young Muslim Canadian woman navigates the complexities of career, love, and family in this lively homage to a Jane Austen classic. “While it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single Muslim man must be in want of a wife, there’s an even greater truth: To his Indian mother, his own inclinations are of secondary importance.” With that nod to Pride and Prejudice firmly in place, Jalaluddin lays the groundwork for a raucous story that mixes a zany cast of characters with a tightly wound plot.

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I really didn’t know what to expect when reading Ayesha at Last, all I knew it was a Muslim romance and I was sold, especially because on the cover Ayesha is clearly wearing a hijab.

I am a Muslim, so I really have a soft spot for Muslim romance, but if I am being honest with myself I haven’t read a lot and the ones I have read features Muslims from the Asian communities.

This one is not any different, but it is different because this is the first romance I am reading with a Muslim who wears the hijab and I love how it isn’t made a big deal of because honestly wearing the hijab or tying a scarf is as natural as wearing normal clothes to many Muslim females.

Ayesha is in her late twenties and isn’t married, which according to all her aunties means she’s old and may never get married. I’m twenty-three and all my “aunties” are always asking me about my boyfriend and when I’m going to get married and I’m very single lol, so I could relate with Ayesha here because just like her I am currently focused on my career and making sure I am chasing my passion.

Ayesha is such a wonderful character, and I’m so happy we share the same name because she is my favourite character in a book this year.

Then there’s Khalid the male main character, the Muslim brother that takes Islam very seriously and doesn’t want to commit haram, which made me come across as stand-offish and a fanatic, but I stan…I can get with a Muslim brother like that, that would you know make me a better version of myself and let me love Islamic religion more in a not overbearing way.

There’s a lot of drama in the book, that has to do with family, I can’t remember the term but religious intolerance at work, haram, you know what the side stories/drama is too much for me to list out, why not read and find out yourself.

This review is brief and not exactly a review, but me just gushing about this book which I completely adore, because it makes me want the kind of relationship Ayesha and Khalid have. I 100% recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a fluffy beautiful romantic read.

5

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Book Review: ‘A Toast to Life’ A Memoir by the Actress Juliet Ibrahim

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Title – A Toast to Life

Author – Juliet Ibrahim

Publication – August 2019.

Publisher – Prestige, Kachifo 

Genre – Memoir

From Liberia to Lebanon, Ivory Coast to Ghana, Juliet Ibrahim survives the upheaval of war across countries, being torn away from the familiar and losing memories. But this is only the beginning of her story.

In A Toast to Life, Juliet is a child with body-esteem issues, a teenager dealing with abuse in silence, a young woman making mistakes in love and an adult finding cause to celebrate life.

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Reading Juliet Ibrahim’s book A Toast to Life is very insightful into knowing about occurrences in the life of the model, actress and activist which shaped her into the woman she is today.

The book begins from when she was a  little girl, what it was like for her growing up, how many times over due to war her family had to start over and become immigrants in countries that wasn’t their own. Her battle with unwanted attention from men from an early age due to her skin and many more things.

I love how hardworking and determined Juliet Ibrahim is, whatever she did, she gave her all and did it with passion, a true businesswoman. Not only was she a model, she started a modelling agency, then started a salon with the help of her mother, then she moved into beauty, where she sold her own eyelashes, all the while still acting and last but not the least is she has her own NGO to help people with cancer and many more deadly diseases.

Her many love affairs and how the media/people forget that celebrities are mere human beings, which the book succeeded in doing, painting her as a normal human being, who just happens to be in the entertainment industry.

The book talks about the things that have happened to her, from the beautiful to the ugly, especially by humans, and it’s awesome how steadfast she has been able to be all her life and how she lets nothing deter her, instead she trudges forward. It is very motivating and I will surely remind myself not to settle, sell myself short or not dream big because there’s always a way of making the dream become my reality.

Because of the above, it made me aware of something the memoir was missing. We all make mistakes, mistakes that are entirely our fault due to a bad call of judgement or feelings of destructive emotions such as anger/pettiness/jealousy. These mistakes are the ones we learn from, which shapes us and make us better people. There’s none of that in this book, where Juliet Ibrahim makes a mistake that hurt other people, and how she fixed it or how it affected her self growth and development.

As a woman, I found myself relating to many instances in Juliet Ibrahim’s childhood, that makes me connect and understand the stories she shares, I have taken some life affirmations from this book which I am glad I accepted a review copy of.

Was the book enjoyable? Yes, I mean it’s reading about a rich, famous and successful woman, a personal account, narrative-nonfiction. Her story is easy to follow, the writing is not bad at all. The chapters deal with different aspects of her life, although a little more tweaking and the flow would have been superb, which doesn’t take from the story at all.

I have made it that I don’t rate memoirs and the likes, especially of respectable humans, because how do I rate another person’s life experiences?

Ultimately this memoir succeeds in showing the humanity in Juliet Ibrahim, who isn’t just a face behind the screen, she is also a human, who goes through the motions of living and struggle that comes with being a human female, no matter her status.

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Book Review: Yoruba Gods Are Running Lagos even more Amok in ‘David Mogo, Godhunter’ by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

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Title – David Mogo, Godhunter

Author – Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Publication – July 9th, 2019.

Publisher – Abaddon

Genre – Urban Fantasy

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.

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