Thursday, June 1, 2017

Book Review: Tight Rope by Sahar Abdulaziz

Title: Tight Rope

Author: Sahar Abdulaziz

Publisher: Djarabi Kitabs Publishing

Genre: Dark, Contemporary Fiction

Content Warning: Adult language

Book Blurb:

In a socially and politically divided country after the presidential election, activist and American Muslim Nour Ibrahim prepares to deliver a speech at an anti-hate rally condemning the surge of attacks against people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and anyone else deemed different or disposable. As her inbox overflows with racist, xenophobic threats, she struggles to remain focused, refusing to give in to the fear. Concerns for her safety during the speech mount as one ruthless stalker escalates his terror campaign. Bitter and blinded by hate, he’s not satisfied with merely keeping Nour from speaking out: he threatens to silence her for good.
Stressed by the impending rally, a stabbing pain in her gut, and an Internet psycho who has her in his crosshairs, Nour begins to wonder—which one will kill her first?

In a socially and politically divided country after the presidential election, activist and American Muslim
Nour Ibrahim prepares to deliver a speech at an anti-hate rally condemning the surge of attacks against
people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and anyone else deemed different or disposable. As her inbox
overflows with racist, xenophobic threats, she struggles to remain focused, refusing to give in to the fear.
Concerns for her safety during the speech mount as one ruthless stalker escalates his terror campaign.
Bitter and blinded by hate, he’s not satisfied with merely keeping Nour from speaking out: he threatens to
silence her for good.
Stressed by the impending rally, a stabbing pain in her gut, and an Internet psycho who has her in his
crosshairs, Nour begins to wonder—which one will kill her first

Book Review:

Tight Rope follows the story of Nour Ibrahim, a young African American activist as she struggles to balance the stresses of life, work, politics, and her health. To make matters worse, a stalker bent on causing her physical, psychological and emotional pain plagues her. With the daily increase of racist threats, bigoted taunts, workplace marginalization, and terrorizing gifts from her stalker, Nour continues to focus on her social justice work which includes an upcoming rally she helped organize and plans to speak at. We also meet; Maria, a Hispanic convert and nurse who struggles with her family over her conversion; Zaid, a second generation American Muslim of Arab descent working in his father’s deli struggling to understand and reconcile his father’s attitudes and behaviors toward non-Arab Muslims; Russel, an older white racist, unemployed factory worker who blames immigrants for his failed life and bent on vengeance; Doris, Russel’s angry, depressed wife; Eugene, a ruthless for hire hit man and ex-convicted murderer. All of these lives and stories converge on one massive civil rights stage.

Tight Rope touches on many issues facing the American community, Islamophobia, racism, depression, crime, violence, discrimination, mental and physical illnesses, relationships and so much more. One topic in particular that we don’t see very much in Muslim authored literature but still very important is the overt and covert racism, bigotry, and discrimination within the Muslim community toward African Americans and convert Muslims. Many like to gloss over the topic or dismiss it completely causing disunity within not just the Ummah, but within families as well. Another topic I took to heart is our failing attention to our health, especially as a woman and an African American. We put our health on the back burner until often it is too late.

I enjoyed how the author pulled all these topics to the surface and addressed them; making excuses for no one, including our young activist who fails to report her cyber attacker and her deteriorating health under the guise of being too busy or not wanting to worry anyone. She makes no excuses for the obvious discrimination and prejudice within the immigrant Muslim community toward non-immigrant Muslims and converts. I could have done without the excessive adult language throughout the story but the author did keep it %100 true to life.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cover Reveal: Tight Rope by Sahar Abdulaziz



This cover reveal is organized by Djarabi Kitabs Publishing .

Title: Tight Rope
Author: Sahar Abdulaziz
Genre: Dark, Contemporary Fiction,
Content/Theme(s): Socio-Political Thriller, Islamophobia, Xenophobia
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Djarabi Kitabs Pubishing
Content warning: adult language

About the Author

​ 
Abdulaziz covers a wide-range of hard-hitting topics using her writing, and voice to advocate for the underrepresented, the disenfranchised and maligned. Her multidimensional characters have been described as having “substance and soul”, while demonstrating that those who have suffered abuse are not victims, but survivors. She and her husband presently reside in Pennsylvania–the proud parents of six grown children and the mega-proud grandparents of seven beautiful grandchildren.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Review: The Ducktrinors: Hanifa Book 1 by Papatia Feauxzar


Title: The Ducktrinors

Author: Papatia Feauxzar

Publisher: Djarabi Kitabs Publishing, December 11, 2015

Book Description:
The world is coming to an end and Hanifa Ducktrinor can feel it. The Seculars rule the world and keeping the sunnah and the deen intact become a challenge then. Hanifa, the cadet of the Ducktrinor family, is a courageous young Muslim living in a time where practicing her religion is really hard. She wants to be the courageous educated coreishy woman she dreams of every day.
Hanifa also wants to find the people of the cave and fights alongside with them, Jesus (Issa-aleihi salam), and Mahdi with the vouching cloud when the cave opens and the prediction about Yajud and Majud (Gog and Magog) will occur.


Review:
One thing I appreciate about thisbook is that it takes a young Muslim girl and makes her the hero of the story. While Hanifa was not my favorite character in the Ducktrinors, she had quite a few moments where I rooted and cheered for her. I loved the sci-fi/fantasy appeal. There is not much fiction authored by Muslims in this genre. I know of two really good Muslim authors who have taken on this genre with quite a bit of success. So I am glad Papatia Feauxzar has given this genre her attention.

In the story Hanifa is a smart girl, strong-willed, adventurous and dedicated to her dreams of being a courageous Coreishy woman. But for all her good qualities, she is often rash, quick to act and makes some really dumb mistakes that causes trouble for her and her family. But again, she stands for what she believes and she believes it is time to fight the oppression that is the Seculars. She meets a friend the first day that sort of helps her get around and learn the ropes of her school and who to avoid, only she keeps running into trouble, aka, Silas, an authoritative figure at the school. She meets a few other Muslim (on the low) at the campus and starts recruiting her army. Once her army is trained and she has been outed as a Muslim, she has no choice but to take the battle to the Seculars. She sets in motion everything she has dreamed of, fighting the Seculars and going in search of the cave dwellers.

The author did a great job incorporating religious knowledge, fantasy and futuristic world-building. The plot was good but there were times when things got a little confusing and hard to keep up with. There was quite a bit of info dumping at times. I would have loved for the author to have showed a lot more than tell what was going on. There were quite a few editing errors for my liking (I do realize that editors don't always get them all but hopefully the second edition will catch them.)

Overall, it was a good read. I enjoyed meeting the characters Dawood and Ali, as well as Hanifa's siblings. I loved her grandfather and hope she reunites with her family. Despite some of its flaws, I could not stop reading The Ducktrinors, I just had to see if this young leader would finally defeat Silas and the Seculars or if she was biting off more than she could chew.


About the Author:

Papatia Feauxzar is a work-in-progress married Muslim woman. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. Alhamdullilah, she is a proud mother. Her goal is to serve Allah first and foremost. Above all, she is annoyingly always in a good mood ;).
Visit her djarabikitabs.com or at papatia.wordpress.com

Monday, July 20, 2015

Author Interview: Sadia Faruqi



Today's interview is with Sadia Faruqi, the author of Brick Walls: Tales of Hope and Courage from Pakistan. Ms Faruqi writes fiction, teaches cultural sensitivity, blogs about religion, and organizes interfaith events. You can learn more about Faruqi on her website: www.saadiafaruqi.com





Can tell us a little bit about yourself and your book Brick Walls?
I am a Pakistani American writer, speaker and interfaith activist residing in Houston, TX with my husband and two young children by the grace of God. Professionally I am a grant writer, and by vocation I am an interfaith organizer, speaking about interfaith and Islamic issues at a variety of venues in the Greater Houston area. In 2009 I published a research-based book on grant seeking, and for the last decade or so I’ve been writing non-fiction about cultural and religious issues. Only recently did I somehow get the urge to write fiction, hence my debut fiction title “Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan.”

Brick Walls is a collection of short stories based in my birth country of Pakistan. It is a fictional account of characters living in Pakistan, but the situations they find themselves in are very real. Each story in the collection focuses on a specific obstacle the characters find in front of them – be it poverty, terrorism, gender discrimination, police harassment, political turmoil, ageism, and so on. These are the brick walls the characters face, and the stories are about how they deal with these walls. It is a unique look into the everyday lives of Pakistanis, and how they deal with the problems they face.


What was the inspiration behind the book?

During my training, when I would speak about Islam or interfaith topics, I would often be asked about my life in Pakistan. Americans know a lot about Pakistan thanks to the news, but most of that information is very biased. They read about bombs and terrorists and violence, but they never see the beauty and charm of Pakistani culture. All these questions made me realized that a depiction of Pakistani life was much-needed here, and that readers would be very interested in learning more about the daily accomplishments and struggles of the Pakistani people. So I decided to write a fictional account based on the reality of that country.


Highlight some of your achievements and challenges while working on Brick Walls.
My biggest challenge was to decide which topics or themes to write about. I wanted to show a wide variety of situations that Pakistanis undergo, but I didn’t want to go overboard. So I had to choose very carefully which issues I would write about, and which to leave out. I also wanted to make sure I included a variety of characters, male, female, young, old, rich, poor. My biggest achievement I think was being able to find the correct mix of characters and story lines that really make the book all-rounded without being overwhelming or preachy. I have received wonderful feedback about this aspect of the book and how it appeals to so many different readers.

Describe your writing style in ten words.

Writing stories of cultural importance in a conversational literary style.

Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.

Engaging, dedicated, passionate, informal, and thoughtful.


Thank you so much, Ms Faruqi, for taking time out of your busy schedule and sharing your writing journey with us.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Giveaway: Sandcastles & Snowmen


Title: Sandcastles & Snowmen

Author: Sahar El-Nadi

Publisher: FB Publishing, June 1, 2013

Summary: A reflective journey of one woman's search and rediscovery of her faith and spirituality.

Review: Click on the following link to read the review for Sandcastles & Snowmen

Giveaway: One copy of Sandcastles & Snowmen

a Rafflecopter giveaway