Book Review: What Would a Muslim Say?

what would a muslim sayI was provided with a free copy of What a Muslim Would Say in exchange for an honest review.

Let me begin by verifying that I am not a Muslim. However, since writing a novel (Forbidden, by F. Stone) wherein the setting is the Middle East and most of the characters are Muslim, I have studied the religion of Islam, though I don’t consider myself an authority on the subject.

One of the best sources of information was from a book by Sumbul Ali-Karamali, The Muslim Next Door; and a book by Mustafa Akyol who wrote Islam Without Extremes. I also read The Fault Lines of the Middle East: The history of the religious and political issues affecting the region, by Charles River Editors.

Understanding Islam is both difficult and enlightening. Ahmed Lofty Rashed has been inspired to present answers to challenging and controversial subjects with respect to Muslims’ beliefs and culture by inviting the public to send questions to him via email. He responds to each question providing answers in simple language and refers to passages in the Koran. His answers are articulate, honest, non-judgemental, and comprehensive. What a Muslim Would Say is a compilation of this email communication.

Ahmed Lofty Rashed’s intent is to encourage understanding of Islam’s fundamental goal – to promote peace. The difficulty in understanding Islam is due to, in part, criminals who promote themselves as Muslim even while committing terrorism and atrocities which are in contradiction to the teachings of the Koran. The challenge is compounded by the media and political agenda to sway public opinion in a direction that promotes profit and votes – not peace.

Ahmed Lofty Rashed covers many subjects that were initiated by people’s email inquiries. Included are:

Faith, sex, and marriage

Muslim response to criticism

Jihad and freedom in the modern world

The Quran and how it informs a Muslim’s faith

Islamic worship, prayer, charity and pilgrimage

Salvation and tolerance in Islam

Muslim culture and modernity

Understanding Islamic law

Etiquettes of visiting a mosque

Gods’ grace and free will

How can Islam be called a religion of peace?

Can Muslims and Christians ever live in harmony?

Even though some of the email messages to Ahmed Lofty Rashed were written in a hostile tone, his response remained respectful and non-judgemental. Several messages continued on, response followed by more responses, until the inquiry was fully addressed.

Anyone who is seeking clarification about the truth of Islam is encouraged to read books from many sources, including What Would a Muslim Say. Many Muslims I have met over the years are most welcoming in their mosque, and so delighted to talk about Islam and their culture. I look forward to another book from Ahmed Lofty Rashed who plans to write a follow-up book.

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Romance Under Fire – Returning to Blaze a New Trail

There are mega plans coming up. I could give you some hints, but you really don’t want me to ruin the surprise, do you?

One of activities I have missed doing is reading novels about to be launched, and posting my review. The first novel on my schedule (September 1st, 2018) is the Former Assassin by Nikki Stern, introduced by Partners in Crime Tour.

The Former Assassin by Nikki Stern

The next project about to be finalized, then launched, is top secret. But I am so excited, it is going to be painful to keep it quiet. From time to time, I’ll drop in a clue, just to torture you. It’s going to be so much fun.

Ciao, Baby.

Readers’ Favorite Book Review for #Forbidden, #Suspense/Thriller

I’m so thrilled with this review. I entered the Readers’ Favorite competition and received this review. I’m holding my breath to see if Forbidden makes it to the next step in the competition.

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers’ Favorite

Suspenseful and beguiling, Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket by F. Stone is a #thriller that features #terrorism and political intrigue, a story with breathtaking intricacies of plot and red herrings that will have readers guessing and leafing through the pages with excitement. After a gruesome terrorist attack, police captain Hashim Sharif captures one survivor, Eliza MacKay. There is a cover-up and the police captain has to live with the secret, but there is more to the story than meets the eye. Can he get the truth from the lying MacKay?

While working to keep the respect that his government requires, the police captain is determined to find out the truth and to uncover the brain behind the terror that has cost the lives of fifteen American volunteers. Things get complicated when he receives orders to kill MacKay, the only person who can lead him to the source of the terror. With a CIA agent on his heels and his life threatened, Hashim Sharif has to choose his path wisely and determine what is worth dying for.

F. Stone’s novel is an engrossing story, a page-turner that is masterfully written to keep the reader turning the pages. The plot is strong and has the potential for great entertainment. I loved the writing that features excellent prose, captivating descriptions, and great dialogues. The characters are rock-solid and the reader will enjoy navigating the complex political setting and the powerful conflict that drives the plot. Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket is swiftly paced and masterfully crafted to offer readers the kind of entertainment they’ll enjoy in a thriller. You won’t be able to put it down once started.

I’m Getting Annoyed, Really Ticked Actually With Reviewers.

Reviewers Beware! Some readers have been quite harsh in commenting on Forbidden’s seer – Eliza MacKay.

I should be a bit more blase when it comes to being annoyed with people who believe being a seer is someone with a crystal ball, using super natural paranormal talents.

In fact, we are all seers. To some extent, we all use this ‘gateway’ to a higher awareness but mostly, and often embarrassingly refer to it as ‘my gut, or ‘my intuition.’ I don’t know of anyone of my associates who haven’t experienced an illogical reaction to being in a particular location, attending an event, or making a purchase, etc. etc. You instinctively ‘see’ a consequence, a condition, a reward or threat associated with the idea, plan or action.

The seer is one who has flexed those intuition muscles and has become more adept at discerning what is fact and what is fantasy. Eliza MacKay in Forbidden is a character who has proven she has had success in finding lost dogs, being able to see where they are (if they aren’t running). She doesn’t portray herself having some supernatural gift bestowed upon her by a deity. She’s no goddess, and certainly no saint.

young woman in the dark

My ire with a few reviewers is justified. The first chapter, in fact first few paragraphs, she’s struggling with a strong intuition (seer) that she should get out of RIPT. She’s torn. She’s promised to meet a Habitat for Humanity group to be their interpreter. She can’t abandon them. As the chapter progresses, it is clear that she is truly in great danger.

Reviewers seem to get rankled when, much later in the story, she offers to help Captain Sharif find his children through touching the child’s coat or gazing into a map. The reviewers state that ‘suddenly’ she became a seer. No, that characteristic was introduced in chapter one, paragraph one. Damn! Sometime I wonder if reviewers read the bloody story or if they simply skim, reading every other sentence. Is there a trend to see how fast a reader can finish the book? How many books can they read in a year?

This assessment is from reading each review and discovering some readers did not grasp the plot, the motives, the chain of events, etc. Now, if every reader had the same difficulty, obviously the fault is with me, the author, in not writing a clear and well though out story. However, since most did fully understand the story, I wonder why other readers were confused. If they were required to write an exam on what they just read, they’d flunk.

There’s one more point I want to make clear. Some readers believe that what was forbidden is that Captain Sharif was not allowed to have a relationship with a non-Muslim. That is not true. The reader’s personal beliefs and misconceptions tainted their experience with Forbidden. What happened to having an open mind?

Fact: What is true for a devout Muslim, is that he or she should not be intimate before marriage. A Muslim man can marry any woman he chooses, regardless of her religion. Sadly, the reverse is different. A devout Muslim woman must marry only a Muslim man (to ensure the children are raised as Muslims). However, in a moderate Muslim community, there is more flexibility.

I’m done with my rant. Thanks.

Partners in Crime Book Review: 66 Metres by J. F. Kirwan

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66 Metres

by J F Kirwan

on Tour July 17-31, 2017

Feather’s Review:

I received a free copy of 66 Metres in exchange for an honest review.

66 Metres begins with gripping intrigue. Right from the first page, I knew this novel’s plot promised an intense and exciting experience. I followed well developed characters into a world that was foreign to me and, thus, full of surprises. Some of the characters were on the edge of morally bankrupt, callous beyond comprehension, and I hated them. One or two I managed to feel twinges of sympathy. That’s the gift of an accomplished author like J. F. Kirwan.

Readers who enjoy deep sea scuba diving will not be able to put this book down. It is that intense. I found it almost too much having narrowly escaped drowning years ago. The memories of shear terror resurfaced. Kirwan takes the reader down into the dark and cruel territory of a sunken wreck where there are no second chances to survive a misstep – other than clever ingenuity and professional skills.

All the while, the reader is sorting out which character can be trusted. One woman’s survival depends upon her sister’s courage and tenacity. Too many men want what she has, and most of all, they want her to permanently disappear. 66 Metres is a suspense/thriller at its highest heart pounding rating.

I have one complaint. When the plot appeared to be resolved, the story continued for another chapter. It felt unnecessary and left me feeling confused. However I did enjoy 66 Metres and highly recommend it to suspense/thriller readers.

Synopsis:

66 Metres by J F Kirwan

A chilling and utterly compelling thriller that you won’t be able to put down!

The only thing worth killing for is family.

Everyone said she had her father’s eyes. A killer’s eyes. Nadia knew that on the bitterly cold streets of Moscow, she could never escape her past – but in just a few days, she would finally be free.

Bound to work for Kadinsky for five years, she has just one last mission to complete. Yet when she is instructed to capture The Rose, a military weapon shrouded in secrecy, Nadia finds herself trapped in a deadly game of global espionage.

And the only man she can trust is the one sent to spy on her…

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Carina
Publication Date: August 25th 2016
Number of Pages: 232
ISBN: 9780008207748
Series: Nadia Laksheva Spy Thriller #1
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

‘Let’s see if you can really shoot. Give her your pistol,’ Kadinsky said to one of the henchmen, the one with a pockmarked face – Pox, Nadia named him – who immediately lost his sense of humour.

She took the weapon from his outstretched hand, weighed it in her palm. An old-style Smith & Wesson. God knows why the guy had it. Most blatnye preferred semi-autos, Makarovs or the older but higher-velocity Tokarevs. She checked that it was loaded, all six bullets nestling in their chambers. She glanced at Kadinsky, thought about killing him. But the other henchman, the fat one with slicked black hair – hence, Slick – had his Glock trained on her, his lopsided leer daring her.

Kadinsky waved a hand towards Katya, five metres away. He tilted his head left and right, then settled back against the soft leather, took a gulp of whiskey, and smacked his lips. ‘The red rose in the bowl of flowers behind her left ear. Shoot it. From where you stand.’

Slick’s eyes flicked toward Katya, gauging the angles. His leer faded.

Nadia stared at her sister and the rose. Most of it was behind her head. Only one leaf of the scarlet blossom was exposed. She swallowed, then lifted the revolver, and took up a shooting stance like her father had taught her. Right arm firm, elbow not fully locked, left hand under the fist, prepared for the recoil. She had to do it before anger built and disrupted her concentration. She cocked the hammer, lined up the shot, then spoke to Katya’s serene, trusting face: ‘Love you,’ she said. Then she breathed out slowly, as if through a straw, and squeezed the trigger.

Masonry exploded behind Katya. The crack was so loud that three other men burst into the room, weapons drawn. Kadinsky waved them back as Pox peeled the revolver from Nadia’s stiff fingers. Petals fluttered to the floor amidst a plume of white powder from the impact crater in the wall. Katya sat immobile, pale, the hair on the left side of her head ruffled as if by a gust of wind. A trickle of blood oozed from her left temple, and ran down her cheek.

Katya, lips trembling, beamed at Nadia. ‘Still alive,’ she said, her voice hoarse. She touched the graze with an unsteady forefinger.

Nadia began to shake. She folded her arms, refusing to give Kadinsky the satisfaction.

 

Excerpt from 66 Metres by J F Kirwan. Copyright © 2017 by J F Kirwan. Reproduced with permission from J F Kirwan. All rights reserved.

J F Kirwan

Author Bio:

Barry (JF) works by day in aviation safety, and writes at night. He is also a diving instructor and has dived all over the world. He got hooked on writing when people started arguing about his characters as if they were real people. He is married and lives in Paris, because the coffee is better there, and he needs coffee to write.

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for J F Kirwan. There will be 4 winners of one (1) $10 Amazon.com Gift Card! The giveaway begins on July 16 and runs through August 2, 2017.

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