My rating: 5 / 5 ★

The beauty of the game lies in openness; the best players find ways to dance across the board like ballerinas.

TW: Death, trauma/grief, anxiety, mentions of depression.

A brilliant murder mystery that centers around Scrabble with a local hijabi girl as a main character? A BIG FAT YES for me!

Queen of the Tiles follows the story of Najwa Bakri, who returns to her first Scrabble competition a year after losing her best friend. Competing in the Scrabble competition may not be the best idea for her, not when it was the same competition where the said best friend, Trina Low, died unexpectedly. With Trina no longer around to be crowned the Scrabble Queen, Najwa wants more than nothing to gain the title herself, only to honour her best friend.

What starts as a fierce competition filled with exceptional words and the thirst for the throne, immediately turns into a cruel game when Trina's inactive Instagram starts posting again. Cryptic messages and words are posted, hinting that Trina's death may not be an unfortunate circumstance after all. Perhaps there was a murderer, and the person is among the competitors.

I like the fact that each chapter in this book starts with  a word and its meaning to describe the chapter—mind you, these words are difficult ones too and I have never heard of most of them. This element also directly reflects the main character, Najwa, who loves the meaning of the words she uses. It's safe to say that my vocabulary is very limited, and I had fun learning new words from this book.

This book reminds me of Pretty Little Liars, although almost the entire premise is different. It's a perfect example of obsessing over pretty people, toxic relationships and people you cannot trust. You cannot trust anyone in Queen of the Tiles, not even Najwa herself because her trauma caused her to forget the events happening on the day of Trina's death. With her memory of the day hazy, it was difficult to determine the truth.

Our grief may have different symptoms, but deep down it's the same disease after all.”

Queen of the Tiles talks about grief of losing a person dear to you and learning to find your own worth. It exposes readers to toxic relationships as well, where one side overshadows the other, and how destructive this can be to someone. I find myself unable to put down this book, eager for Najwa to solve the mystery of Trina's death. I was awestruck by how brilliantly Najwa swims through this menacing game, how quick she is to figure out the clues and cryptic messages. Albeit the way the 'culprit' was captured felt rather cliche, I still think this book concludes itself pretty well.

If you are into murder mystery with a lot of drama, and a dash of nerdiness to it (in a good way!), please get yourself to pre-order Queen of the Tiles right now! Many thanks to Pansing for sending me the ARC of Queen of the Tiles. This book is set to be published on April 19th 2022, and you do not want to miss it.


Title: Queen of the Tiles
Series: -
Author: Hanna Alkaf
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: April 19th 2022
Pages: 304

Synopsis (Goodreads): When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.


Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

My rating: 5 / 5 ★

The thing about a heartbreaker is that you'll never stop loving the heart you broke—Time taught me that some hearts are to be given and not together.

It's never heard of that I would fall in love helplessly over an anthology of short stories, but Inkling is definitely a special case. I may be a bit biased since this lovely book was written by my book bestie, but I can assure everyone that N.F Afrina's words have the ability to give you comfort and warmth.

Since this book is a collection of short stories, I believe it's my duty to pen down my thoughts for each of them, because they all deserve it ✨

Sev & the Hot Chocolate follows the journey of Sev, who strongly believes iced chocolate to be an abominable creation. (Don't tell her—I love iced chocolate. Sev will murder me if she knows) She moved to a small village to sell more of her hot chocolates, and found herself new things to learn and love. I love that this story centers around humility and sharing knowledge and joys with other people. Sharing is caring 

Toffee Spills really caught me off guard. It's about a girl who decides to no longer wear a hijab and expects thunder to strike her at any given moment. I did not think I would like it at first, because I never knew how to react when someone takes off their hijab for reasons I could not confound. But in just a few paragraphs, I learned that I should be gentler to those who are struggling with wearing hijab. Just because I am wearing it, it does not mean that I am a better person. I definitely teared up reading this one, mashaaAllah.

Rainy Detours is VERY WHOLESOME. VERY ADORABLE. I WOULD LOVE TO HUG BOTH OF THE CHARACTERS IN THIS. It's about two people finding each other because of the rain. I am always a sucker for romantic or cute stories in the rain, and this one is just my cup of tea ♡ I honestly wish we could get a spin-off for this story because I NEED MORE OF THEM!

Heartbreak Motel: short but the ending was quite impactful. I love the weirdness of it. Still confused as to what is actually going on in the motel but I find that I do not really care. The peculiarity and subtle goriness of it is perfect for me. I love the final page 

I like that The Jean Jacket introduces us to a non-living thing main character. It reminds me of all the 'Aku Sebatang Pensel' ('I am a Pencil') essays that I was required to write during my school days. However, this story is just not meant for me. I guess it carries the message that sometimes we have to trade something in life in order to gain something new. This pretty much applies to human relationships too, I think? Some are dispensable, some you can never live without. Good message still!

Daily Dose is another story filled with wholesome cuteness! I love that the main character was skeptical of saying the words "I love you" constantly, claiming that these three words are overused—but then realised the beauty of it when actually saying it out loud bravely. That is why it is important to always tell the people that you love, that you love them. Tell them how much you love them, always. There will come a time when you can no longer do it, so tell them while you still can.

Oh wow. Ugg Boots literally makes me want to scream my head off. THE ANGER THAT I FELT FOR HANS? This atrocious man keeps whining on how he 'lost' his girl but then proceeds to demeaning her good qualities, just because it is never about him. People who think that the world revolves around them do not deserve nice people. Definitely not Hans. I hope more people will smack him with ugg boots.

I think Ice Prince is my absolute favourite from this book ♡ This story has a lot of layers and depth in it, despite only being several pages. I went through a whirlwind of emotions while reading this. I consider it as a story of a broken girl learning how to love another person, only to end up being manipulated. It was confusing, and just like the main character, you never knew who to believe. It is a story of how a toxic relationship can be formed, and how you need to gain your own strength to escape from it. It is sad that the brutality in this one is the reality of a lot of people in this world.

Desert Boy, Ocean Girl is filled with a lot of lessons to learn. The two main characters' relationship is rather surprising, but you know how you can just connect with someone, despite the circumstances. It is a story of healing, and women supporting each other. I like that it also shows that sometimes, some relationships are not meant to stay, and that is okay. The most important thing is you. "You attract the right people who will love you right only after  you know how to love and treat yourself right."

Crash and Burn has a hint of chaoticness in it. I mean, who would purposely drive in the middle of the road, hoping for another car to come crashing into them? Apparently, the main character of this story. I have a feeling that this story may reflect one of the author's feelings, perhaps a passing moment, about losing your passion because of exhaustion. I appreciate the message that encourages you to find your passion again, to love what you loved again. It requires effort, but breathe, continue forward, find your rhythm and inshaaAllah you will be okay. p.s: car repair is expensive as heck, so please do not do what the character did.

When I first started reading Handwriter and Keyboardist, I was not fond of the main character. The main character, Mina, claims that only handwritten notes are good, so much better than typed ones. I felt a sense of entitlement coming from her, and I did not appreciate it. But she orders float root beer and curly fries in A&W, so I think I had to like this girl. And then she meets Tape, who reads out what she wrote by running his fingers on the paper. Because of him, Mina learns that she should not hate typed-out notes because to some people, it is the only way for them to write. I love that this story can make you realise that sometimes, the things that you hate can serve as something important in someone else's life. 

Overall, Inkling has been a wonderful reading journey for me. I absolutely love N.F Afrina's writing style, especially the way how soft she wrote some of her characters. I'm looking forward to more works coming from this talented author!

You can get Inkling and Not Here to Stay, the author's new book, from here!


Title: Inkling
Series: -
Author: N.F Afrina
Publisher: Whitecoat Sdn. Bhd
Genres: Short story, Fiction
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: September 9th 2021
Pages: 196

Synopsis (Goodreads): A hot chocolate maker travels to a town with no money. A girl sins and expects a thunder to strike her. Two grown up souls in the rain. The twist of heart of a heartbreak motel’s founder. A doctor prescribes daily dose of “I love you”s to cure Alzheimer. A boy gets hit by Ugg boots multiple times. A chocolate prince turns to ice. The ocean girl and her secret meetings with the desert boys mother.


Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'