Thursday 30 December 2021

#bookreview: The Golden Yarn (MirrorWorld 3) & The Silver Tracks (MirrorWorld 4) | Cornelia Funke

The Golden Yarn (MirrorWorld, #3)The Golden Yarn by Cornelia Funke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so I was hoping to like this better after another read, since The Petrified Flesh and Reckless II: Living Shadows were much better the second time round. (Idk how that works; a state of mind, maybe?) But while I liked it well enough, it just still remained a little meh. Not enough to push it up to a 4-star at any rate.

Plotwise, The Golden Yarn is getting more complex. Spieler, the Alderelf, is taking centre stage - he seems to be the main mover of events now, with Jacob mostly just reacting to his threats and to the bargain that he doesn't want to fulfil: that Spieler gets his firstborn. Will is back in the MirrorWorld in an attempt to save his girlfriend Clara. And Fox? Fox is dealing with Jacob's mess, as usual.

And maybe that's part of the reason why this feels flat to me. Jacob is just reacting (badly), and it feels like he hasn't really learnt anything or grown from the last book, because he's making the same mistakes again. Namely, keeping things from Fox, especially things that will affect Fox. And then telling her she's free to go, but then acting all jealous when she takes him at his word. Mebbe I'm really just meh about this book because I'm getting annoyed by Jacob and am generally frustrated at all the unnecessary secrets, no matter who is hiding it.

I mean, fairy tale wise, this should be entrancing. We're heading into Eastern territory, with Baba Yaga narratives and flying carpets and lesser-known, less-white-centred tales. But maybe it's also because we don't see enough of it; we get glimpses obscured by love triangles and love denials. At this point, the Dark Fairy is the most interesting character. Because she knows what she wants and won't be swayed.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Pushkin Children's Books via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


The Silver Tracks (Mirrorworld, #4)The Silver Tracks by Cornelia Funke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacob and Fox finally catch up to Will and, despite their better judgement, join Will's journey to Nihon (mirror-Japan) to find a cure for Sixteen. There's a weird sort of temporary ceasefire between Jacob and Nerron the Bastard, while they deal with a bigger threat - because in the mountains of Nihon, they find that Spieler, and the rest of the Alderelves, have returned.

The Silver Tracks is a story of betrayal, ever-shifting loyalties, and plot oddities. How long will this alliance between Jacob and Nerron last? Why has Clara allied herself with the Alderelves, and who does Will actually love: Clara or Sixteen? How human is a creature of glass that's turning into wood? And whose side is Yanagita Hideo on? Alderelves can be killed if you fell their Silver-Alders, but trees you think are dead can come back to life. And proximity to the one to whom you owe a child can create life (this was one of the weirdest plot points in the book).

It's interesting to see elves cast in a bad light for once - where they're often the "good, beautiful race", though these Alderelves live deep underground, and in even hotter territory than the Goyl dare go. Only Toshiro seems to be a "good" kind of alderelf, but even then still felt rather self-serving.

There are, again, too many POVs in this one, shifting across the ever-increasing cast. Which is a weird thing for me to say because I love Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archives. I think The Silver Tracks expanded a bit too far, and too fast, and the narrative and plot loses a bit of coherence especially with the shifting POVs. Jacob is perpetually in prison or being tortured and after too many betrayals and shifting allegiances, I think I gave up figuring out who was on whose side anymore.

I decided not to re-read this one, despite rereading the others, mostly because I'm not in the mood to. Besides, there seems to be a book 5 coming, so maybe I'll reread this then, instead of now.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Pushkin Children's Books via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Thursday 2 December 2021

#bookreview: Living Shadows (Reckless #2) | Cornelia Funke

Living Shadows (Reckless #2)Living Shadows by Cornelia Funke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacob Reckless has been keeping secrets - but how long can he keep his coming death from Fox, who knows him better than he knows himself?

Living Shadows (also called Fearless) is a race against time and death. Jacob has tried every magical object and legend he can think of, but the Fairy curse is proving unbreakable. The only thing left to try may not even prove reliable (or exist at all)--and is also being actively pursued by the Goyl. Funke pits two treasure hunters against each other: Jacob in a bid to save his own life; Nerron the Bastard who wants both fame and the Goyl's triumph over humans.

I rather enjoyed this one, despite wanting to yell at Jacob to just tell her already, tell Fox the truth like every single chapter. Despite the dark theme, it becomes a rather sweet slow burn romance, where they realise that they can't keep ignoring their feelings for each other - especially when death is just so close for both of them. Because as the chase goes on, it's not just Jacob's life at stake anymore.

I still don't like the shifting POVs very much, but it's not super jarring. I guess like with The Petrified Flesh, familiarity with the story helps smoothen the flow. Otherwise, expect to flip back and forth a little at times to keep track of what's happening. Because it is a complex story - it's not just two people looking for one crossbow. It's a chase across Austry, Albion and Lotharaine, it is politics and double-crossing and backstabbing, it is varied myths and legends being weaved into one larger whole. There's a lot to keep track of.

But if there's one thing to take away from this one, it's the fact that keeping secrets can be very, very harmful. And that Reckless is always reckless with his own life because he values Will and Fox above himself. And also very secretive. And both these traits just lead him into more trouble (which leads into The Golden Yarn).

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Pushkin Children's Books via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Monday 22 November 2021

#musicmonday: Ganjaran | Josh Yeoh

Oh Yesus, jadilah ganjaran terbesar 
Harta yang lebih indah dari hidupku 
Tak ingin ku hilang jiwaku mengejar dunia 
Ku tahu hidupku milik-Mu

Come and be my exceedingly great reward
You're the treasure that I would give my whole life for
What would it profit me to gain the world but lose my soul?
I know my life is not my own

Sunday 21 November 2021

#GTF: Between 01 exhibition | Tan Lay Heong (A response)

You live in the in-between. You've been living there since the pandemic started, since the day the gomen ask you to stay home, stay safe. Lindung Diri, Lindung Semua. The days bleed into each other, the weeks into months, the months into years. It has been eighteen months since you've seen the light.

Who have you really protected?

The plastic boxes pile up in your house, one for every meal. Almost. You can still handle making your own breakfast, when you decide to have it. What's the point? There's no rush hour, you can deal with waking up a little later, working on a slow cup of caffeine, and then having a large brunch delivered. One more plastic box, until all you are is plastic boxes, stacked up in precarious columns, hanging boxes deep on the racks, painstakingly washed to get the oil out. 

Who has your hand-washing saved?

You reach, you grasp. You slip. It's always that way, has always been. Your hands are not strong enough to hold; no one's arms  are strong enough to keep you. Out of the corner of your eye, you see them run. Like everyone has left you. There is no hey let's hang out when you can't; when you're boxed in, boxed out, plastic shoulders slumped. There is no real you. Your conversations stall in the first line. I'm fine. Nothing new. You're more boring than ever.

Who has your isolation helped?

So you live in the in-between, in the shadows. You are a shadow. You are all the things you have forgotten, all the things you have put on hold, all the plans you've shelved, all the hopes you've seen wither. But there is light, and there is dark, and even in the Saturday of the soul, there is hope. Even the dimmest of lights can shine. The smallest leaf still casts a shadow. And maybe in the in-between is where you are finally perceived, when the brightest of lights shine through you.

Who keeps you safe?

But you -

You are

where the light shines through


Photos taken at Between 01, an art installation by Tan Lay Heong (and others!). More info here: 

You can pre-book a viewing slot via this form, but actually... you can also just fill in the form when you arrive. The form offers 1-hour slots, but it's not like you have to turn up on the hour or for the whole hour. There's a 12-minute dance video that is looped and you should probably sit in the little plastic igloo for the surround-sound impact.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

#bookreview: The Petrified Flesh (Reckless #1) | Cornelia Funke

The Petrified Flesh (Reckless, #1)The Petrified Flesh by Cornelia Funke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Will Reckless' skin is turning to stone and his older brother Jacob is using all his treasure hunting skills to find a cure. Only, there is no cure. And more than that, Will's skin is turning to Jade - and in this world of fairy tales, the mythical Jade Goyl is the one who will protect the Goyl King from his human enemies.

Rather than a straight fairy tale setting, Funke gives us a portal/alternate earth fantasy - where Jacob has found access to an alternate earth filled with magic via the mirror in his missing father's study. The Petrified Flesh takes place only in one location (Austry), but as you continue on in the series, Funke makes it clear that many of the countries in this alternate earth correspond to real-world countries and their mythology. It's a brilliant set-up, affording Funke both a structure to follow whilst affording her the space to expand creatively, developing alternate histories and mythologies.

I'm somewhat conflicted about how to rate this book. I initially rated it 3 stars because The Petrified Flesh isn't an easy one to get into. It starts off in a light, classic fairy tale style, but the tone seems to shift the further along you get in the book as the story gets darker and darker. (It is a dark fantasy, after all.) On that first read, I found it rather choppy. Maybe it's the fact that it shifts POV almost from chapter to chapter and you never really get to know the characters in depth. The story doesn't quite pull you in for some reason. But I decided to re-read it after I finished book 4, just so I could review it with fresh eyes - and on the second read, I didn't really notice the "choppiness", and liked it much better. So I don't quite know what that initial thing was.

Despite it being book 1 of the Reckless/Mirrorworld series, the story is self-contained. Jacob sets off to solve the problem of Will's Goyl skin, he finds a solution. But the solution lends itself to another problem, which is what sets up Book 2 (Reckless II: Living Shadows) and the rest of the series.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Pushkin Children's Books via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Friday 12 November 2021

#nanowrimo: An excerpt from the #teanovel!

It was a Saturday and Jasmine didn’t know what to do with herself. The routine had always been to be doing things during the weekday, whether that was school or college or work, and then to be not doing things during the weekend, which in school or college had meant either meeting up with friends or joining some church-related activity, but in the past fourteen years had gradually come to mean stumbling into the office at 11am “for five minutes to grab a thing or send an email” and then going home at midnight anyway. She was good at “not doing things” in that context, not so good at what most other people called “not doing things”. 

It didn’t help that after almost a decade of that kind of behaviour (the first five years were a mix; she’d managed to hold out for that long until her seniority and job scope meant she couldn’t just deny her way out of responsibilities) she didn’t really have any friends outside of work. Outside of her old job, she should say. Were they even friends? Or just people she had to deal with on a regular basis?

What even were friends?

Jasmine lay in bed staring up at the ceiling, wondering what she should do. She pulled her blanket over her head and inhaled the warmth. She couldn’t call Aun or Lay Peng, or Deen or Raj—they’d all be working right now, possibly even desperately covering for all the work she’d left behind when she quit, probably even working off that unending to-do list she’d stuck in the front of the file while cursing her. Though she had tried to close up as much as possible before she left. It wasn’t her fault that in the last week of her three months’ notice, whoever that idiot was behind scheduling (her boss) decided that they really, really needed someone on that last-minute job and the only one with a blank week was…her. Because she was leaving. And she needed to close out all her files.

But nope. New client it was, no matter how idiotic it was.

Anyway. Not her job anymore. 

She rolled on her left side, kicking the blanket off and reached for her phone, squinting at the large numbers. It was only eight in the morning. Way too early to be awake on what should be technically a holiday. Well, a weekend. What had she done in the past when she took her annual leave? Oh right—she only took leave to go travel, which meant she had a whole new place to explore, or when she went back home, which meant her mother would put her to work doing something. Like marketing. 

Jasmine got out of bed and shuffled to the kitchen. She blinked and stretched, then sighed as she opened the fridge. It looked terribly empty, even more empty than usual. Right, she’d finished up her leftovers yesterday because she got home late, even though she’d already surrendered her laptop and work badge by the time HR and IT left at five pm. There was a lot she could do just by talking to her team and pointing at their screens. 

She squinted at her phone again. No one had called. She was fairly sure there was someone already in the office, but no one had called. Or messaged. 

Not my job. Not my problem. Not anymore. They’ve got it. 

It should be easy to remember, seeing that she’d turned in all her company property, but it was like this void. In her heart. An emptiness. Maybe she should do some marketing. All she had was cereal and since she wasn’t going to work today (or for the next few days until she found something else to do) she would have to make her own lunches and dinners. Jasmine laughed at herself until she cried. 

When she was done laugh-crying, she washed up, took a shower, and sat down to cereal and milk and the book she’d bought two years ago but hadn’t had time to read. By the time she was done with it, it was four in the afternoon and she was hungry. She didn’t feel like cooking (not like there was anything remotely cookable in the fridge) so she ordered something random off Grab. And then she started another book. 

It was Thursday night (how had six days passed by so slowly and yet so quickly?) before she decided she should do something a little more productive than binge-reading all her TBR and ordering food on Grab because even though she had a lot of savings (she hadn't had the time to spend it), it wasn’t going to last forever. She hadn’t talked to a person in days other than acknowledging the Grab driver and grunting at the guard when she went to pick up her food. She wasn’t even sure if that counted as talking to people. 

Tomorrow was Friday. She’d been unemployed for a week. Friday morning, she would pretend she was on holiday and take a tour of her historical city. 

I mean, people travel all the way here for holidays, right? Why not be a tourist in my own city? 

She rather liked the idea of a staycation.


Here's where you can find out more about The Tea Novel!!! Which doesn't have a name yet. Or even a properly thought out plot. But eh, it's the first draft of a WIP so things will sort themselves out...eventually.

Wednesday 10 November 2021

#booktour: Head Over Tails | Brianna Tibbetts - a #bookreview

Welcome to the book tour for Head Over Tails!

Here's the blurb before we jump into my review:

Mermaids meet mental health in this light-hearted story of life, love, and learning to grow into who you were meant to be. 

Their love is true...but is it real?

Fear of inheriting his father’s hallucinations and memory loss have brought Jacob’s life to a screeching halt at age nineteen. Now he spends his days alone on the beach behind his home, staring into the endless Hawaiian waves.

Mermaid Sevencea is eager to explore life above the water--and cheer up the handsome, lonely young man strolling on the shores. Forming a bond with him is as natural as swimming. All she needs are legs to walk beside him, so Sevencea disappears to trade for the necessary magic.

Yet when she returns, Jacob is gone, convinced she was a hallucination after all. And the more Sevencea searches for him, the more she doubts what they have will last. 

Can love truly exist between land and sea?

A sweet YA mermaid-meets-human romance set within the lovely vistas of Hawaii.



Head Over TailsHead Over Tails by Brianna Tibbetts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So many fantasy books these days are high-stakes epics with people trying to save the world--or at least save their kingdom or reclaim their throne--that Head Over Tails threw me a little. (Also, I should read blurbs more carefully, I was just excited about mermaids and magic). While it runs in the vein of retelling Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid, with a little tinge of the Disney version, this one is really a low-stakes sweet romance between a mermaid and a human.

There is no kingdom to be saved, there is no prince who needs a wife; just nineteen-year-old Jacob struggling to find his place in the world in the aftermath of his father's diagnosis that splits his world--and family--apart. And as much as Sevencea gives off Ariel vibes, she's not a princess whose forbidden romance will cause the fall of her father's kingdom; all she wants is (mostly) to not let the cute guy she's (maybe) falling in love with think she's only a hallucination.

Despite it being a romance, Head Over Tails is very much about family. The choices both Jacob and Sevencea make are heavily impacted by their families--whether it's Jacob's fear that he's inherited his father's illness, or it's Sevencea looking for her father's wisdom and advice. I love found family stories (there's a bit of that going on at The Makai), where the displaced and disenchanted build a new family from the wreckage, but this also feels necessary: a reminder that natural families are also important. And while most families are messy and sometimes they break apart, they can still be what you need when everyone pulls together, when each family member decides to work towards reconciliation instead of giving up.

Overall, Head Over Tails is quiet, slow, and sweet. There are no unexpected twists or crafty, intricate plotting. It's a comfort read for when you're reaching for soothing and familiar, when you crave the simplicity of youth falling in love, and that quiet hope of a happily ever after.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Uncommon Universes Press as part of the book launch tour. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Raised on a steady diet of rich fiction, novelist Brianna Tibbetts has been writing exciting, speculative worlds as long as she can remember. Currently based in the Pacific Northwest, she reads voraciously and writes extensively. In everything from short stories to series, Brianna demonstrates her passion for lively stories infused with faith. In addition to writing, her other superpowers include being ginger and yarn crafting. When she isn’t spending time in her own creations, she loves indulging in the fictional worlds of others.

Thursday 7 October 2021

#bookreview: Climactic Crisis | C G Penne

Climatic CrisisClimatic Crisis by C G Penne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Emma's life - and the lives of her extended family - are turned upside down when the weather goes crazy. First, a tsunami hits her home in Cornwall, England while tornadoes strand her husband in New York, USA. Then there are the massive fires in Perth, Australia - raging in the middle of winter - where her twin sister Jen lives. The weird weather extends across the world in the span of a few days, sowing devastation in its wake.

The novel is quite fast-moving and dramatic, with many tense moments as the family tries to find their missing loved ones. It paints a frightening picture of the terrible impacts of climate change - and how ineffective our current governments and politicians are at addressing the issue, especially when they don't see it as urgent.

There's what I would call a 'literary' arc to this novel. It's very focused on the moment (looking for the missing children, surviving the flood and the fire and the waves) and whilst there are little snippets of the bigger picture (exposes by journalists, growing movements to petition the government to deal with climate change in the wake of such drastic weather changes) there isn't really a resolution. The arc is pretty much each new weather event escalating to a bigger tragedy. In fact, the ending felt a little like a cop-out to me.

Interspersed between the events, Penne slows down the pace a little with the introduction of each character. This is good in one sense, because there is such rich detail and attention paid to their backstories and the dynamics of their relationships, yet, on the other hand, the execution is often clumsy leading to just a little too much telling and clumps of info dumps.

Overall, I thought the premise was interesting, but the execution clumsy. A little more editing and polishing would have made it a better read.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Tuesday 21 September 2021

#booklaunch #guestpost: How the Dwarf kept his beard: Adapting a Fairytale to a Novel

So today's the release day for C.O. Bonham's new novel, Runaway Lyrics! Before we take a look at the book itself, here's a guest post from Bonham.

How the Dwarf kept his beard: Adapting a Fairytale to a Novel.

By C.O. Bonham

So the story of Snow White and Rose Red is odd. Here’s the TL;DR:

Snow White and her sister Rose Red live in a house in the forest with their mother. They are very sweet, get along well, and are kind to all the forest creatures.

One Winter night, a bear shows up at their house, and they welcome it in and become friends. He stays until summer, then leaves. The girls miss him, so they head out into the woods to find their gentle bear friend.

The girls meet a dwarf whose beard is snagged in a tree/bush/bramble (It varies). Snow cuts his beard free, even though he tells her not to. (I thought she was kind?)

They meet him again, and his beard is tangled in a fishing line. She cuts the beard again. When she could have just cut the line. (She doesn’t care about other people’s wishes much.)

Then he is carried by an Eagle. They throw rocks at it and it drops him. (Don’t they know they could have killed him?)

Anyway, the dwarf is angry and wants to attack them. (Can you blame him?) But the bear saves them and scares/kills (it varies) the dwarf. It’s okay because the dwarf is the villain for not being grateful. The bear turns into a prince and marries Snow White, and he has a brother who marries Rose Red.

Long story short: Snow White is sweet and kind, but she doesn’t respect the dwarf enough to not cut his beard.

So I thought, how can I make her kinder? And it turned into a weird message. She isn’t super sweet or nice to the dwarf. He is wasting their time and it would be so easy to just cut his beard. But she respects his wishes and finds another solution.

The story kind of snowballed from there. There’s a difference between being kind and being polite. Some of the worst serial killers in history had pleasant manners and friendly personalities.

Some of the rudest people can be very kind. Once, I was on the side of the road. Car after car passed me by. Finally, one stopped. The guy got out, asked what was wrong and then fixed the car for me. (The problem was embarrassingly simple, so no, I won’t tell you what it was.) He didn’t introduce himself, didn’t make small talk, just fixed it, waved off my offer of payment, and left.

He was very kind to stop and fix my car, even if others wouldn’t have called him friendly. In fact, a super friendly man might have set off a ton of red flags that would have made me hesitant to accept his help.

So the moral of the story: Kindness is not equal to politeness.

I looked at all the girls’ encounters with the dwarf and came up with new solutions, and I made Snow a little put out to emphasize my point. Then the hard part came. How to make a novel out of this.

I made the Bear prince kind of gender-swapped Snow White with the evil stepmother thing. I wanted a dragon, and I knew I needed to give the younger prince a bigger role. Then I wrote until all these random elements made sense together.

The younger brother got a name and a personality and then his part in the plot just exploded from there. 

The girls’ each got a motivation, and it turns out that their mother had an excellent reason for living out in the middle of nowhere. 

The main prince is still turned into a bear for no good reason. There is never a good reason for turning people into bears. 

I added Steampunk because every story is better with steampunk.

So ends the tale of a problematic fairytale turned steampunk adventure novel. 

Now go forth and be kind. Even if you can’t be polite while doing it.


Runaway Lyrics

What one sister has, she must share with the other . . .

Snow loves music. She has spent her entire life learning, new instruments and memorizing new pieces, only to while away her life in a country manor with only her mother and twin sister as company. If only she could get out on her own and play in front of a real audience.

Rose loves magic. The things she can do with music would amaze her twin sister, but whenever she shows her, Snow quickly forgets as if the event had never happened. If only Rose could get out on her own and work some real magic.

When an airship crashes near their home Snow’s magical abilities awaken. Together the sisters must learn to use their magic, rescue a pair of cursed princes, and discover their own secrets.

Discover the magic of music in this retelling of Snow White and Rose Red.


Add on Goodreads


Author Bio:

C.O. Bonham is the pen name for a commonly misspelled first name. She loves stories of all kinds, but really likes the ones that are weird, and outside the norm. A certified book geek, when she isn’t writing stories of her own, she is busy reading stories by others. A homeschool graduate with a degree in creative writing, her goal is to create stories that make people think, feel, and have fun. 

Visit to read author interviews, book reviews, and to hear about what she’s working on next. 

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Wednesday 8 September 2021

#bookreview: Spellsmith and Carver series | HL Burke

I figured since I binge-read the whole series, I might as well just put up all the reviews in this post! :) I'll hide the second and third behind the read more so you don't get spoilers, if you don't want them.

Magicians' Rivalry (Spellsmith & Carver #1)Magicians' Rivalry by H.L. Burke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Auric Spellsmith comes home from the city to find his expected place at his father's business filled by a terrible upstart of a carpenter, Jericho Carver. Jericho just knows that whatever future he thought he had as a magician apprentice is over now that Master Hedward Spellsmith's son is back. But when Hedward Spellsmith disappears and Fey Magic threatens the human world, Auric and Jericho must learn to work together - or lose everyone and everything they hold dear.

Magicians' Rivalry is a fun, engaging, and quick read! The rivalry between the two men is hilarious and poor Rill Spellsmith, Auric's younger sister, is caught trying to placate all the easily riled, arrogant, posturing men in her life - while trying to learn magic without her father's knowledge.

About that - Hedward Spellsmith comes across at first as a misogynic old man but as the story unfolds and his past comes to light, you learn that he is anything but - it's just that he is a terrible communicator and refuses to explain why he's doing the things he's doing...until it's too late.

The one thing that felt a little off was how quickly Auric claims Jericho as his best friend. I mean, well Jericho did save him a few times in the Fey lands...but does that naturally make them best friends? idk.

Anyway, I'm just here for the proud, self-sacrificing idiots who keep landing themselves into trouble because they won't actually talk to each other or admit that they need help. Oh, and of course for Jaspyr, the magical clockwork fox.

Before we get to the rest, Magician's Gift (Spellsmith & Carver 3.5) is free for a couple of days. 

It's a short story that'll give you a preview of the main characters if you're still ambivalent! However, it's set at the end of the series, so might include some relationship-type spoilers if you're fussy about that.

Wednesday 1 September 2021

#bookreview: Toyols 'R' Us | Terence Toh

TOYOLS 'R' USTOYOLS 'R' US by Terence Toh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Toyols 'R' Us starts off like quite a normal police procedural then veers quickly into magic. Inspector Khairul is at his wit's end trying to solve a series of deaths (murders, he thinks) that only have one apparent connection: a hacked off big toe and a body drained of blood. Elsewhere in Klang Valley, Harun introduces his cousin Ismail to a secret that can solve all his monetary woes: toyols. On the surface, Toyols 'R' Us aims to help people secure their financial future, albeit in not-quite-legal ways - but what is their super enigmatic owner hiding behind his cheery demeanour?

If you've ever read one of Terence Toh's short stories, you know exactly what to look forward to in his debut novel: an utterly Malaysian story guided by and wrapped in punnery and wordplay. And since puns tend to be somewhat divisive, you may end up laughing your head off... or rolling your eyes so hard it hurts. I think I did a little of both.

In between the wit and the fun, Toh doesn't gloss over the darker side of Klang Valley. There's that one-upmanship, the constant competition to be better, richer. The rampant corruption and cronyism. Religious extremism and cyber trolling. Unwanted pregnancies and abortion. Loan sharks and gangs. In some ways, it feels a little like an extension of the KL Noir series. Both obliquely and blatantly, Toh seems to include an underlying commentary on the social issues that plague Malaysian society today.

The ending lends itself to a possible sequel - and I would definitely pick up the next Inspector Khairul & Detective Fara novel if that materialises!

It's not perfect. There's a little more POV changing than I prefer, and also a bit of an almost romance (as in, it's set up to be romantic I think but isn't quite sure what it is) that felt rather awkwardly staged. But these are really rather minor preferences that don't detract from the enjoyment of the novel as a whole.

I absolutely loved this gem, the winner of Fixi Novo's inaugural Malaysian Novel Contest. A deserving win indeed!

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From Malaysia? Get Toyols 'R' Us from the Fixi store or on Shopee.
Not from Malaysia? Toyols 'R' Us is available on Amazon

Tuesday 31 August 2021

#booklaunch: Queen's Crown | Anne Wheeler

A foreign crown bent on conquest.
An escaped traitor out for vengeance.
A realm caught in the middle.
Sometimes it takes a queen to save a kingdom.
Queens Crown cover
Laurent has left to meet the Vassian Army at the border, leaving Riette in charge of Lochfeld Castle and indeed Meirdre itself. Waiting on war to come to the kingdom she loves is unthinkable, so she escapes to her home village for a visit, searching for one last bit of normalcy in a life that is no longer her own.

But that normalcy is shattered when Thomas arrives. Bitter over his imprisonment and bent on the revenge he’s always wanted, he’s intent on destroying Laurent and has no qualms about using Riette to do so. Worse, her power as a crownkeeper is no longer a secret, and King Damir of Vassian wants it for himself. From Lochfeld itself to a coastal town, defeat looms. For their adversary is well-prepared and powerful—a formidable enemy to her small kingdom.

But the map on the floor of Lochfeld’s ballroom holds power of its own—and Riette will discover what it truly means to be a crownkeeper.


About the author:
Anne Wheeler grew up with her nose in a book but earned two degrees in aviation before it occurred to her she was allowed to write the stories that had been brewing in her head for years. When not writing her next novel, she can be found planning her next escape to the desert—camera gear included. An occasional commercial pilot and flight instructor, she currently lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and herd of cats. Visit her at

Wednesday 25 August 2021

#bookreview: Generation Manifestation | Steven Bereznai

Generation ManifestationGeneration Manifestation by Steven Bereznai
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Generation Manifestation starts with a very Divergent vibe. Caitlin Feral is preparing for her Final Testing - if she doesn't Manifest now, she'll be assigned a boring (or maybe dangerous) adult job, based on her aptitude scores. There's no room for standing out, for pursuing your own interests, if you're not a Supergenic.

So Caitlin wants to Manifest. She wants it so desperately that she's already tried to fake her way through earlier tests, earning herself some renown amongst the testers. Normand Bamford is the rich, weird guy in class - super rich, super smart, but also super weird. And on this final Testing Day, Normand makes Caitlin promise that she'll survive the Testing - and then later sneaks her a contraband comic book that ends up changing the course of her life.

Like all dystopian and post-apocalyptic books, nothing is as they seem. The X-men type Genetic Wars did not just result in superheroes, or Supergenics, as they're called. They also resulted in weird mutations and beasts who now roam the wastelands outside - which the Supergenics in Jupitar City protect the squalid human boroughs as part of the treaty. But the treaty - and rules - are unfair, and it's only the humans who are truly sacrificing themselves. The status quo may seem to work for now, but the system is broken - and since this is a YA coming-of-age book, it's up to the teens to rebel and break the world, before reshaping it into something better. Not the popular, Supergenic teens though. But the misfits like Caitlin, the weirdos like Normand, and of course, the good-looking popular jock boyfriend ones like Bradie Lopez Nettle who stays by Caitlin even at her worst.

Generation Manifestation is a wish-fulfilment kind of story where the young save the day, where you can make change possible even if you're just a dreg (DNA-regular), where the weirdos rebels are accepted for who they are. It pulses with a deeper kind of persistent love, not just the sex-hormones-emotions kind, but the kind that sticks by someone through thick and thin, that protects each other, that sacrifices themselves for friendship and the greater community. The kind that believes in you and supports you all the way, despite and through your failings.

Help comes from unexpected places, in unexpected ways, and whilst the solution isn't the cleanest (or even the most moral), it's one that offers hope in the midst of compromise. Where allies can work together, even though they'll never actually be friends. Where true stories of the rights violated and the laws broken give people the reason to rebel and fight for a better future, but it's the comic books and dreams of true heroes that will help show them how.

With the breakdown of governments around the world, Generation Manifestation is a wish-fulfilment kind of story, the kind we desperately need right now.

"We can't change the world in a day," I rationalize. "But I will make sure this rebellion has a tomorrow."

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Edelweiss +. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

View all my reviews

Monday 23 August 2021

#musicmonday: Jireh (You are enough) / How He Loves | Justin Bieber & Chandler Moore

So there's nothing I can do to let You down
It doesn't take a trophy to make You proud
I'll never be more loved than I am right now

Wednesday 18 August 2021

#bookreview: Christians in a Cancel Culture: Speaking with Truth and Grace in a Hostile World | Joe Dallas

Christians in a Cancel Culture: Speaking with Truth and Grace in a Hostile WorldChristians in a Cancel Culture: Speaking with Truth and Grace in a Hostile World by Joe Dallas

I have been sitting on this because this book is a difficult one to review. I picked this up as an eARC from Harvest House Publishers via NetGalley and should have probably just passed on it and saved myself some headache.

Maybe let's start with what it does get right. When Dallas actually gets into the meat of the issues he wants to talk about (Abortion, Homosexuality, Race***, Gender, Progressive Christianity*) he sets out quite fairly the current views of the issue** and what God says about them in the Bible. There is no ambiguity, no obvious twisting of verses, no over-the-top bias. He presents a clear Christian worldview of how things were intended to be by God. And that's not a bad thing for someone who professes to follow Christ.

Contrary to popular opinion, Christians do still have the right to take a stance on their beliefs, and in this, I agree with Dallas. Practising or following a religion requires that you follow the standards set by that religion/faith, and stating that you personally believe a certain thing according to that faith is not a crime. Persecuting others for those personal beliefs are a crime, and this is true in both directions.

But this is also where Dallas muddies the waters. As I stated in my Rant Chapter 1, the whole angle of this book presumes several strange premises:
1. That passing laws to allow others to do what you disagree with is a law attacking you and your beliefs as a Christian;
2. That free speech equates to the right to be listened to no matter what and people not wanting to listen to you is an attack on your personal freedom and rights (???); and
3. USA is a Christian nation and all laws need to be Christian and therefore current society is attacking Christians.
(OMG the persecution complex there)

I mean, these three premises alone puts the book in a very weird, off-kilter position, where some of the things Dallas says are true, but the rest of it is very, very wrong. (Also, a note to global readers, most of the issues spoken to here arise out of specifically American problems related to US laws, so may not apply across the board.) One of the reasons this book really irks me, actually, is this uber American Evangelical stance of "what Christians believe should be made law for everyone else", even non-Christians, which in my part of the world, when done other faiths try to do it, is "[religion] is oppressing Christians! How dare they!" Think about that hypocrisy for a moment.

So on one hand, part of the book has its merits. But what Dallas gets terribly, terribly wrong is how he ends each of those chapters. And unfortunately, this is also the most crucial part. Because now that you know what God says about an issue, you also need to know what's the Christ-like way to react to that issue. And instead of anything useful, loving, or kind, Dallas just tells you how to continue digging your heels in and getting people to hate you for your beliefs. The assumption here is that "because I am a Christian, my opinions are right, and whatever you say or think or feel doesn't matter in light of that."

That bit is subtitled "Keep It Going", which I assume refers to keeping the conversation going, and it is just a horrible mess of gaslighting in the name of "discourse". An example would be where the response to "I need you to call me by my preferred name and pronoun" is answered by "Don't ask me to call you by names and pronouns that represent something I don't believe is real". Later on, in response to "If you can't accept me for who I am, then I have to keep my distance from you. I won't tolerate someone who's transphobic" is refuted by "unless I treat you with disrespect and hostility, I really think the transphobic label is way off base". (IDK, I kinda think not calling someone by the name they want to be called, transgender or not, is actually really disrespectful and hostile.)

Circling back to hypocrisy and doublespeak, the one thing that Dallas keeps bringing up over and over again is how hurt Christians feel when current society cancels them for their beliefs and how breaking family relationships and friendships over a difference in opinion is bad and wrong, and why can't everyone just STILL be friends despite them being a horrible, gaslighting person? Let me just end this review with this thought:

How is this any different from when churches and Christian families excommunicated and kicked out members, children, and friends over many of these issues? Did they not also feel hurt? Were they not left stranded and without support, especially when these were minors? Or is it okay to hurt others because you believe you are morally superior/in the right?

Or, as I wrote in a note:
"So, it's okay for the church to excommunicate the backsliders but not okay for the non-believers to return the favour?"

* I would have to note that this refers to a very specific Progressive Christianity that, according to Dallas, believes all paths lead to God and not "progressive" in the general terms of not-conservative.
** I did not fact check any specific examples quoted. If he presented any facts in bad faith, I am not aware of them.
*** Dallas does not believe in systemic racism and Needs You To Specify Each Individual Charge.

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Thursday 29 July 2021

#bookreview: Monkey Around | Jadie Jang

Monkey AroundMonkey Around by Jadie Jang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, the great part about Monkey Around is that you don't need to be a Journey to the West kind of person to know what's going on! Though I suppose if you come with that kind of literary background you'd probably pick up things (clues? inside jokes?) that I might have missed. But not knowing is also cool and doesn't detract from the story as a whole, because you're taken on a journey of discovery with Maya herself!

Maya MacQueen is on a journey of discovering what she truly is - is she just a were-monkey, or is she something more? What lies behind the supercool powers she has that Ayo, magic-human-boss, doesn't seem to recognise? But in the midst of protesting at Occupy, barista-ing at Cafe Sanc-ahh, and taking on odd jobs for Ayo (like tracking down a missing aswang), supernatural creatures are turning up dead. Like Wayland Soh, the harimau jadian, and Bu-Bu, the bajang. And the only clue she has is that this soul-eating shadow is just like her.

What I love about Monkey Around is the wide range of cultures and supernatural creatures from all around the world that just appear, but is somehow still so rooted in place. Jang explores the many different were-creatures and magic users around the world that have migrated to (or pass through) the Bay, though two cultures are featured with some prominence - the Asian-American and Mexican (Mesoamerican?) communities.

With so many things going on, it feels like the disparate cultures and creatures should pull the story apart - or at least confuse it too much. Yet it doesn't. There's one thing that pulls them together, that provides a defining feature - the San Francisco Bay Area. The place feels like a character of its own. It speaks to Maya, it searches for its guardian. It's actively trying to save itself, and I love it. I also admit to having a soft spot for it in my heart due to the many times I once travelled there for work.

The most annoying thing about Monkey Around, though, is in my opinion, Maya. And that's actually a very personal thing. Okay, I should explain that a bit. Many readers gush about how much they *love* a character. I don't...fall in love with characters. There are very few characters that I super like, and that's also mostly because there are very few real people that I like. But there are very, very many characters that I hate, and that kind of correlates to the amount of real life people I just find annoying and tiresome and don't want to deal with. So back to the story, you know how you meet someone and they just...irritate you for no definable reason? Just one of those personalities that grates on you but everyone else is ok with (and maybe even like)? That's Maya for me. She's amusing to a point, until she protests "but the Monkey in me...." one too many times and [Anna stabs the Main Character].

At any rate, Monkey Around is a fun urban fantasy read that explores the diversity of the Bay, identity, and place.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

View all my reviews

Wednesday 21 July 2021

#bookreview: Mist Bound: How to Glue Back Grandpa | Daryl Kho

Mist Bound: How to Glue Back GrandpaMist Bound: How to Glue Back Grandpa by Daryl Kho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't recall how I stumbled upon this, because honestly, the marketing around it is... non-existent?? But I somehow found Daryl Kho's website! And realised there was a preorder sale! So I ordered it!

Mist Bound tells of Alexis' quest to cure her Grandpa after he was hit by a Fog of Forgetting spell. She just has to travel across the magical world of Mist with her scary Grandma and the annoying kenit who cast the spell to find the 8 ingredients to make Memory Glue. As Alexis journeys across Mist, she discovers a wonderful (and scary) thing - all the wild tales Grandpa has been telling her are true!

As an MG book, lame jokes abound - which was a little meh for me, but I'm not the main target audience. The concept itself isn't terribly new (my Coexist is written in a similar vein), but what I love about it is the delving into of Asian folklore. Not only do we have the kenit, Paeri, and duyung, there are also the Nangmais from Thailand, Baku from Japan, and pixiu from China (and a lot more lah!). While this is primarily Alexis' journey (and ours) of meeting these strange and wonderful creatures, Kho also weaves in short snippets of actual folklore and regional myths.

There are also all these cute little illustrations!! by SillyJellie!!

Whilst this is an exciting journey to a magical land, there's also a sad note to it - book Alexis' Grandpa is hit by a spell that makes him forget, but real-life Alexis, Kho's daughter, will never be able to know her grandfather before dementia struck.

Mist Bound: How to Glue Back Grandpa offers a determined story of faith, hope, and love, glued together by family.

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Get Mist Bound on Kindle!

Wednesday 14 July 2021

#bookreviews: A Castle Contended | Sharon Rose

A Castle Contended (Castle in the Wilde #2)A Castle Contended by Sharon Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So basically I sat (lay) down and read the whole thing in one sitting past midnight. Is that review enough? lol

Lemme see, where do I start?

I gave the first book, A Castle Awakened, 4 stars mainly because the writing style jarred me a little. The writing here is still somewhat old and stuffy at points, but either it flows better here or I'm more used to it now(?) so this sequel was a rather entrancing read. Or maybe I've reconciled myself to the fact that it just fits the style and the story.

Beth is learning what it truly means to be Princess of Layvacia (Lavaycia? I can't spell) - and that involves acting through seeming inaction quite often. Her parents have accepted the fact that she's grown up and are now involving her in their discussions. There's politics galore, including whole sections debating the finer points of the kingdom's laws, so if you're not one for those, you might get a bit bored in those chapters. There are still many unspoken secrets, frustrating as it is for Beth and the reader, but many things FINALLY get revealed in this one!

While I enjoyed the very clean, very slow burn between Beth and Tristan, it doesn't really appear much, other than some pining on both sides. The meat of this story is really the politics between kingdoms and the tricky navigation of opposing cultures without causing offence. It's also a very witty novel - not laugh out loud hilarious - but with a generous sprinkling of humourous turns of phrase and wry observations.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday 7 July 2021

#bookreview: Heart of Snow | Katherine Buel

Heart of SnowHeart of Snow by Katherine Buel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'd rate this one somewhat more than 4 but somewhat less than 5, so maybe a 4.5?

Heart of Snow is kind of a typical fairy tale retelling/mash-up. It's Snow White and Rose Red, but Rose Red is dead, killed by her murderous aunt. And now this aunt, Lyric, is ruling as Queen of Cresilea whilst Snow is biding her time, plotting her revenge. But it's also Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Swan Maiden, the Fairy King, the Hunter, and many, many little references and familiar fairy tales rolled into one.

Which made for a meh beginning, where things were muddy, and all you had was "maimed, conflicted, deposed teenage princess hungry for revenge against all advice". I mean, that's where most stories start anyway.

So no, this book didn't capture me right from the start, though it was entertaining enough (Eh, probably a 3+, she says, after putting the Kindle down multiple times) but then THINGS HAPPEN (somewhere past the 50% mark) and REALISATION DAWNS and it's like OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

The ending was brilliant and complex and finely spun, also heart-wrenching while we're at it. If I had more time, I'd consider reading the start again to see what I missed when I was bored and didn't know better.

Side note: I'm slightly ambivalent about the romance. I mean, it makes sense in the overall scheme of things, and it was a very powerful motivator for the climax & conclusion, but... idk. A part of me isn't quite convinced.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book via Victory Editing NetGalley Co-op on NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday 23 June 2021

#bookreview: The Image of Her | Sonia Velton

The Image of HerThe Image of Her by Sonia Velton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd really give this more of a 3, rounded up to the 3.5 because of the unexpected ending. I was offered this for review via NetGalley (as in, the publicist wrote and said, you liked her first book! Would you like to read this?) and, whilst it's not what I usually read, I picked it up because I really, really loved Velton's first book, Blackberry & Wild Rose. (There are always exceptions, right? Good writing can always surprise you. I was hoping to be surprised. )

Here, Velton uses a similar style, segueing seamlessly between Stella's narrative of her new life and snippets of Connie's old one. There's a mystery to how these two women could possibly be connected. Their lives are so disparate, so separate - how would they ever have met? There's only one person who links them, Connie's husband Mark. And for the most part, you see Connie drawing away from her husband, suspecting him of cheating on her, and you hear Stella wanting to know more about this mystery woman she's stalking on facebook, drawing closer to her - and to him and...

This was honestly where I got bored because one of the reasons I don't quite like reading literary fiction (or what's mostly touted as literary) nowadays is the whole prolonged drama about marriage infidelity.

ANYWAYS I pushed on because annoying as the subject matter was, the writing is good enough that I wasn't throwing things at the wall. I was more invested in Stella, honestly, because of the mystery of her accident and what really happened between her and her mother. Connie's was a very manufactured entitled-white-woman-expat drama that I found myself rolling my eyes at most of the time.

But I'll conclude this review by saying that the book blurb is right - how they are connected is one that I would have never guessed, and even if you skim the whole book, reading that ending when the timelines converge makes the rest of it pretty much worth it.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Quercus via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Just a quick reminder that prices for Amok go up tomorrow, June 24 - so today's your last chance to get it at $2.99 / RM12.

Monday 21 June 2021

#musicmonday: Jujur | Sidney Mohede


Music & Lyric: Sidney Mohede
@2019 Insight Unlimited

Verse 1:

Jujur kadang ku tak sanggup / Honestly, sometimes I don't know how
Menghadapi s’mua bebanku / To face all my burdens
Menantikan jawaban / To keep waiting for answers
Menolak untuk menyerah / While refusing to give up

Ku tau Kau Tuhan yang sanggup / I know You are God who is able
Menolong dalam sesakku / To help me in my struggles 
Namun meskipun Kau belum / But even if You don't help me yet
Kukan tetap menyembah-Mu / I will still be here to worship You


Ku kan bernyanyi / I will keep singing
Sampai jiwaku percaya / Until my soul believes
Sampai hatiku mendengar / Until my heart hears
Lagu Pengharapan / A song of hope
Ku kan berserah / I will surrender
Kutau aku tak sendiri / For I know I am not alone
Kuyakin Kau mengasihiku / I am convinced that You love me
Bahkan di dalam api pun / So even in the fire
Kukan menyembah-Mu / I am here to worship You

Verse 2:

Jujur kadang aku lalai / Honestly, sometimes I forget
Bersandar pada kekuatan-Mu / To lean on Your strength alone
Di dalam kelemahanku / I know in my weakness
Sempurnalah kuasa-Mu / Your strength is made perfect

Imanku memegang janji-Mu / My faith keeps holding on to Your promises
Kutau Kau s’lalu bersamaku / For I know You are always with me
Dalam s’tiap perkaraku / In every situation
Kaulah damai tenangku / You are my peace and my comfort


Ku kan bernyanyi / I will keep singing
Sampai jiwaku percaya / Until my soul believes
Sampai hatiku mendengar / Until my heart hears
Lagu Pengharapan / A song of hope
Kutau Kau sanggup / I know You are able
Dan aku tak pernah sendiri / And I know I am never alone
Selalu baik Kau di hidupku / You are always good in my life
Bahkan di dalam api pun / So even in the fire
Kukan menyembah-Mu / I am here to worship You


In line with songs for my Amok mood board, this is one of those which never made the list because it came out after I was mostly done writing it. 



Ebook prices are set to go up to $4.99 / RM20 this Thursday. If you haven't purchased your copy of Amok yet, you should do so now!

International: Amazon | Other retailers

Monday 14 June 2021

#musicmonday: Pilgrimage | RiverLife Worship

I was going to find a semi-Amok related song, but my friend Josh has just released a new single with his church. So that's today's post. 


Today on the tour: C.O. Bonham's review! 

Wednesday 9 June 2021

#bookreview: Discernment | Lauren Salisbury (plus #booklaunch!)

Discernment (The Legacy Chronicles, #3)Discernment by Lauren H. Salisbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

JIYA DOES NOT WANT TO GET MARRIED. That's it, that's the whole book.

Discernment starts with the typical "awkward girl who doesn't quite fit in" vibe. Jiya can't cook. She can't sew. She wants to watch the races, work on machines, maybe be a mechanic. But she can't. Not when her father is the Nalac-dar, leader of the clan, and has traditions and laws to uphold. And one of them is that she needs to get married and settle down pretty soon. Even though she knows there has to be something more to her life - something that matters.

But then Mahsan saves her from space pirates, and the off-worlder takes residence in her father's estate and eventually in her heart...

TBH I had a little difficulty starting this one. After the brilliant Esaralian world in Courage and Strength, you're suddenly thrown into an all-new Teraburan world with new customs and traditions and so. many. animal. names. I have to admit that I skipped some of the animal/plant descriptions, sorry.

What I especially love about this one is the nuance that Salisbury brings to Jiya's search for meaning. It's not that Jiya just wants to buck traditions for the sake of rebellion. She tries. But it's not enough. Why did the All-seeing One give her gifts and interests that don't fit any of their traditions? That refuses to conform to the mould? Did God make her wrong? Was she a mistake? Were all her dreams just that - dreams? To be simply discarded so that she can cook and clean and raise children for someone who won't appreciate her true gifts?

I think these are timely, relevant questions to be asking in this day and age - young women have many new opportunities now, but traditions (especially church ones!) are holding them to the same old expectations. How do you use your gifts if your community won't let you just because of your gender? What then, is the point of having that gift?

Obviously, since this is fiction instead of real life, it all ties in very neatly.

But it should, too, in real life.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


A misfit, a fugitive, and a sacred destiny. Everything changes when all three collide.

In Jiya’s world, the only choice a woman has is who she will marry. When she meets a mysterious off-worlder, she must decide how far she is willing to push the boundaries of Teraburan culture to gain her freedom, and whether that is truly what she wants.

Mahsan has never been accepted for who he is. The sole human raised on an Esarelian cruiser, his attempts to belong led only to disaster and him becoming a fugitive. When he is invited into the home of a Teraburan clan leader, he finds a place where he could finally put down roots. But his past haunts him, and he will need to make peace with it if he wants any kind of future in his new home.

Not everyone approves of Jiya and Mahsan’s friendship, and some will stop at nothing to keep them apart. As the unlikely pair discover their true calling, they will have to confront everything they thought they knew and learn to see themselves as they never have before.


Lauren H Salisbury hates writing bios. She tried to bribe her husband to write this for her, but he refused, even for homemade banana cake. Unfortunately, she’s run out of plausible housework excuses, and she’s still waiting for the next series of The Expanse. Oh, most of her writing is sci-fi and fantasy set in the universe of her Legacy Chronicles series.

Discernment Giveaway Word: 2. the

Monday 7 June 2021

#musicmonday: Restless | Audrey Assad

Because it's Monday.
And I am still running, still catching up, never caught up.

When does this stop?

Saturday 5 June 2021

#booklaunch: Here's the #AmokNovel tour calendar!

So, if things had gone according to plan, I had a week-long tour filled with posts from lovely, generous book bloggers on the launch week from 24 to 30 June. Now that the dates have been shifted, I have a smattering of posts across the month. This makes it a little harder to keep track of, but here's a handy-dandy calendar and a list of where posts are appearing, and when!

Click to embiggen!


31 May: Moments for my thoughts - Launch spotlight

2 June: Mermaird - Launch spotlight

14 June: C.O. Bonham - Review

15 June: Moments for my thoughts - Guest Post: On Leaving Malaysia to Find It Again

22 June: Kara J. Lovett Co. - Guest Post: On Standing Firm in the Faith You’re Doubting

26 June: Abigail Falanga, Author - Guest Post: On Vomit Drafts and Learning to Plan

26 June: Aleesya - Review

26 June: Teh Tarik & Books - Review

27 June: Trisha Bisen - Review

28 June: Amazing Distance - Review

29 June: H. L. Burke - Spotlight

I'll also be reposting & resharing reviews on facebook, so check out my page for updates


hat is faith, except hope in desperation?
All Putera Mikal wants is to gain the Amok Strength, the supernatural power granted by Kudus to the Mahan royal family. No matter how religiously Mikal keeps his vows, Kudus still denies him the Strength—whilst his father, Sultan Simson, flaunts the Strength despite his blatant defiance of the Temple and the priests’ visions of coming doom.

Then the prophecies come true.

Taken captive, Mikal must find a way to liberate his people and restore his throne in Maha—and the key to this is the Amok Strength. But what does it take to gain Kudus’ favour?


But paperbacks!

If you’ve preordered a local paperback from Teaspoon Publishing and/or still want to order one, we’re also maintaining the preorder price of RM35 until we actually have the printed books in hand. We'll also sweeten the deal by sending you an ebook copy to keep you occupied until the paperback finally gets printed.


Are you a NetGalley reviewer? Here's where you can download a review copy!