Book Review: Begum and Dastaan by Tarana Husain Khan

Book Review Time

Begum and Dastaan by Tarana Husain Khan

Loved it , Totally recommend it. Thanks to the Author for writing this. You got me home through this book, the roads , monuments, and paths of my childhood, stories I grew up with, the language,food. Everything made me so nostalgic of Rampur I grew up in.

Book plot:
It’s a historical fiction based on life of a Nawab Shams of Royal Estate of Sherpur( names changed here) in India who was notorious for his debauchery, he was kidnapping young, beautiful girls and even married women and putting them in his Harem forcibly.
One such unlucky women was Feroza who was strong, defiant, determined and gave Nawab some tough time.
There is also a parallel story of Dantangoi ( story telling) ongoing by Kallan Dantango which is a fantasy story inspired by real life events at that time and a contemporary timeline story of Ameera who is great granddaughter of Feroza .

The scene setting , description , narration is on point, very well researched.

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Author Interview : Jamal e Fatima

Jamal is Pakistani Canadian Author and poet. She has been writing since 2000, this book is her inaugural collection printed.

She is a blogger, a DIY crafter and works full time at a local non-profit that serves children.
Recently, she has won poetry competitions on WordPress and allpoetry.com.
Her poems have been published in literary magazines both in Canada and Pakistan. For her debut collection Its past midnight , she collaborated with a local artist Hira Noor Instagram @hues_by_hira to create illustrations for her book.

Find her latest work on Instagram @thecraftedwriter.

You can watch the interview on link below:

Book Review Time:The other side of life by Nazhah Khwaja

Plot: The story is set in Pakistan’s Punjab Province .Farishtey a young girl is main protagonist and story teller of the book. She is a strong woman who finds herself in middle of her life’s unthinkable pit of nightmares. She is a daughter of a wealthy businessman man who deals in real estate but who is also a narcissist,misogynist husband and an abusive father. She still has to discover more of his ugly truths. There is budding romance in the novel between Farishtey and Faizan . Ali her brother is great character in book which I love. Love the character of her mother too who she keeps remembering in flashbacks.


Trigger warning: There is sexual abuse , physical abuse and rape.

The story is strong, gripping .I couldn’t put it down until I finished the book. Yes it was intense, dark in few parts, hopeful , romantic in other parts . Emotional rollercoaster, no less than a movie. I love how author has described misogyny and harmful effects of patriarchy through her main character. It was like reading my own thoughts.
Makes a very good read , Congratulations to the Author , doing a great job, this being her debut novel.

Book Review the other side of life by Nazhah Khwaja

How do we preserve the Self and all the hard work done on it.

Working on your self is a never ending process, There is never a moment when you can say hey that’s enough and I no longer need to work on myself any further, even maintaining a status quo needs work otherwise all that hard work will be gone.
Accepting your self with all your realities is hardest thing.
I am saying here Realities because the  faults or error that you see on your physical self are so relative to your perception, your thoughts at that moment , experiences in life.
But once you have passed that self acceptance test, comes another test.
When you are in self care mode, happy in being yourself, sitting relaxed with your guards down , someone might just say you something that you feel those shards of words digging deep into the skin..hurting so bad. All that self work feels lost, gone in those moments, doubts creeping in from the wounds.
I kept reflecting for long what happens in those moments and this is what I came up with as an answer.

Preserving the Self

What happened in those moments is we were not ready to see us / ourselves from their eyes. The way they saw us , their reactions, how they spoke of us was not what we have prepared ourselves for , all this while.
We were preparing only to face our own critical eye.

So how do we prepare ourselves for these situations.

Preserving the hard work on Self.

When the weather inside us is cool , calm and we are at peace within our selves.
Suddenly a remark, an unpleasant reaction from someone who caught us offguard jolts us completely !
All the self acceptance work done so far seems gone down the drain in that moment.
So when are your guards down, When are you most vulnerable?
You are most vulnerable and with your guards down among the people you trust and love, in familial and friendly settings.
Anything which comes from these people affect us directly,
One of my friend commented : We cant control everything and we cant prepare for everything.
She is 💯 percent right , we can’t control everything but what we can control and definitely prepare , is our reaction to it when it happens again, we can choose to not get affected.
We can choose to understand what someone is saying and is hurtful to us, might be the projection of their fears, their insecurities,their realities and experiences.
We have made peace with ourselves and we will not let it affect us.
But if it’s repeatedly done , a boundary needs to be setup and it needs to be respected.
Nobody should be allowed to transgress it.
We need to inform the repeated defaulters that this topic shouldn’t be further brought up again or we will not like to discuss it period.

Book Review Time: Its past midnight somwhere by Jamal e Fatima.

It is debut collection of Beautiful soulful poems by Jamal e Fatima along with Beautiful sketches by Hira Noor.
The poems are based on poet’s journey of pain, loss, healing , finding identity and joy .
The title is so poetic , I loved it and so is the 2nd poem in Book , one of my favorites that I have attached.


Once I started reading the book , I could only stop at the last line of last poem, devouring and feeling each poem.
There are like 90- 100 poems in the book .

I have purely enjoyed reading it.

Know Your Author Series Episode 5: Khadijah Abdulhaqq

Khadijah AbdulHaqq is a published author.She emerged in the world of writing with her debut children’s book Nanni’s Hijab.
Since the release of her book she has written several online publications: Sapelo Square, Haute Hijab, Patheos, and About Islam.com.


Shot this video on Women’s Day , It was so good to talk to her, to know her inspiration behind this book. While going through her blog , I found she writes poems too and I asked her if she would like to recite one for us while interviewing and she was like, Was this  in Questions you send me ? I was like no, I just added in go .
She did read one , also a passage from her book too.
Her message was what stayed with me most !! Such a great message , Dont miss it!
Also she has a news to share with us ❣️

You can follow her on Instagram at
https://www.instagram.com/khadijah_abdulhaqq

Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKAH​

Blog : http://www.theunconventionalmuslimah.wordpress.com.

You can watch the interview here on link below:

Book Review Time: Show up by Na’ima B Roberts.

Show up is a motivational book and I would say its transformational.It gives you rules to live your life better, more mindfully and with purpose.
How do we Show up in life on a day to day basis as a Hero ?
The book cover says it’s for muslim women , I think that’s because it mentions Hadiths and Sunnah so its easy to follow the context if you are Muslim but I would say its for everyone of any faith. The essence of all faiths is same for me.
Naima shares her own life and journey with readers and I didn’t know the strong lady I always saw in Niqab on news or posts had to deal with so much in her past. The story started with her husband of 20 years passing away suddenly and leaving her with their four children behind. Her youngest daughter was two then ,and she also finds herself as a CEO of her husband’s company overnight.
Her story is really inspirational how she handled and dealt with it and showed up in all the testing times .

Totally recommend this book!

Know Your Author Series:Episode 4 with Shereen Malherbe

Shereen Malherbe  is a British Palestinian author.

After spending over a decade living throughout the Middle East, Shereen now resides in England with her husband and four children.

Her debut novel Jasmine Falling  is an accumulation of historical accounts from her Palestinian heritage, It has been voted as one of the top 10 books representing Muslims in Literature and in the top 20 Best Books by Muslim Women.

Shereen’s second book is a contemporary fiction novel, The Tower. It now features as required academic reading for a U.S University on courses discussing Muslim Voices Post 9/11.

Her first children’s book, The Girl Who Slept Under The Moon, was published in 2021 and is the first of a series of migrant children’s books published by Beacon Books.

I have really enjoyed our conversation! There are so many tips and advice for writers and Authors that Shereen has shared. We talked about representation of Muslim Authors on Book shelves, stereotyping, pigeonholing, her experience with getting published in UK, Writing about Palestine and her contemporary fiction novel The Tower as required academic reading in one of US university for a course on Muslim Arab voices.
A must watch I would say!

You can watch the interview on link below:

Coping with life one day at a time

Writing Bug

The price of wisdom often comes at loss of our naivety ,our innocence, the trust in life and people. I do miss my old self sometimes, but I am more happier and at peace with my current self.
I was so upset at myself for long, for being so naive , so innocent that I actually called myself stupid when I took people at their face value : the face , the emotions , and the concerns they showed me and not the ones they really had.
I still do it though and I must admit I am still learning to cope up with the hurt I do get time to time, but that’s the part of me , of who I am, I trust people easily. Some of them put their trust back , others didn’t, some even use it.
I have learnt that what others do is definitely not my problem , I am only responsible to manage myself to safeguard my heart ,to preserve my sanity. I have stopped reading between the lines. I have stopped analyzing what others actually meant when they threw a taunt, a frown at me or purposefully ignore me to make me feel unimportant.
All this affected me in past, gave me anxiety and nervousness but not anymore.
I still trust people, I still go out of my way to help people, I still am genuinely happy for others, I will forever keep motivating people in spite of any of their behavior that affected me in past or present.
I have entrusted all my actions to Almighty that whatever good I do is for his sake only and not for any human being. I still get hurt but intensity is much less now.
How do you deal with it , would love to know your coping mechanism ?

Author Interview: Know Your Author Series Episode 3 with Papatia Feauxzar

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Papatia Feauxzar is the Founder of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Fofky’s. An American author, online barista, and publisher of African descent.
Feauxzar is also a practicing accountant who holds a master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Personal Finance. She is the Online Editor at Hayati Magazine and has been featured in DFW Child and Voyage Dallas.
Visit her blogs at papatia.wordpress.com or aducktrinormom.wordpress.com
You can find her on Instagram handles : @fofkys, @djarabikpub
Publishing house website
:https://www.djarabikitabs.com/

She has written more than 20 books and The Certified Accountant is her latest thriller book.

Author Interview

You can watch the interview on my youtube channel Talk with Sana on link below.