Hello my fellow fiction dwellers! Ahh! It is finally May and that means another wrap up! April was a turbulent month for me with the visa application and the challenging work load in preparation for Ramadhan in May. I don’t know if you dwellers know that I live in Indonesia, a country that is populated with the highest Muslim population in the world. So, Ramadhan is a big deal here. To that I would like to say Selamat hari Idul Fitri for Muslim fiction dwellers! Mohon maaf lahir batin.
It is daunting how often I come across a lot of pain that’s going on in the world, I know that this is a bookish blog. But I want to quickly put my spotlight on the current issues going on in Palestine, Cuba, India, Yemen, and many other countries in need of help. Take a few minutes to educate yourself, RT, donate, or anything to shed light on the current crisis’ of the world. I know what I am doing isn’t enough but I wanna do what I can.
Below are important links you can check out to find out more or donate.
- If you see any tweets, posts, insta stories, tiktok videos, or anything that is discussing about the disgusting humanitarian crisis happening in Yemen, please kindly boost!
- Yemen Crisis Carrd
- For Indonesian dwellers that wants to donate for the Yemen Crisis, you can do that through kitabisa.com by clicking this link.
- Twitter thread you can RT to spread awareness about the Yemen Crisis, click here.
- If you see any tweets, posts, insta stories, tiktok videos, or anything that is discussing about the disgusting humanitarian violation happening in Palestine, please kindly boost!
- Decolonize Palestine FAQ, click here.
- Free Palestine donations links, click here.
- Support family in Gaza, Palestine, click here.
- For Malaysian dwellers that wants to donate for Palestine, RT this link of bank account numbers, click here.
- For Indonesian dwellers that wants to donate for Palestine, you can donate through ACT (Aksi Cepat Tanggap) for their Indonesia Humanitarian Center in Gaza, Palestine to help distribute food aid packages, medical help, and other necessities. Click here.
- Twitter thread you can RT of FREE ways to show your supports towards Palestinians, click here.
In April, I’ve read a total of six books. Five out of six I listened to on audiobook and one I read on my kindle. There is particular reason why I decided to only listen to audiobooks, it’s because during this month I spent my time working on my visa application and it was very hard to focus on reading when I was anxious all the time. I’m glad that I could at least pick up The Ones We’re Meant to Find, I finished it in a pretty short time. Some of the books are pretty heavy this month with The Hero of Ages and Jade War, both are emotional sequels and heavy hitters in the world building department. To avoid experiencing a fantasy burn out, I balanced it out with The Inheritance Games, Amari and the Night Brothers, and Act Your Age, Eve Brown.
All hail to the most painful book I’ve read so far in 2021. I pushed myself to finish this series because the ever growing tension between me and the Cosmere universe is intense. Brandon Sanderson is known to be one of the top authors with series’ that avid fantasy readers have to read. My first Brandon Sanderson books is Skyward and I loved everything about it. So I started the Mistborn series back in December and finally finished it around April. I rated the first two books a five and a four, the world building and characters are fantastic. Brandon Sanderson wrote a cohesive multi POV story, in this series there are multiple characters that we follow and in all three books the POVs doesn’t fall a certain pattern. This is what I like about the series, Brandon’s writing is distinct between each character and it is apparent that Sanderson’s strength lies in his characterization. The main characters of the series are Kelsier, Vin, Sazed, and Elend. All four have a strong presence in the story and is the characters that shows a lot more development than the other characters. Throughout the series I’ve grown to be attached to them, the sheer devastation and gut punches Sanderson delivered in the third book is just agonizingly beautiful. I definitely recommend for anyone that loves fantasy to read this series. Though I have a certain gripe with the series is that I always get bored towards the 60-80% mark of the book. Personally there is so much information to remember and follow. Being a series with 600-800 pages per book it is intense. I suggest switching up the formatting you use to read the book, I switched from audio to physical to Kindle while I read all three books to make it interesting for myself.
The world building especially the magic system, Allomancy and Feruchemy, is the finest and ellaborate magic system I’ve read in fantasy. Just like jade in Jade City, the characters use an amplifier to enhance their physical abilities but Allomancy is much more complex. The base of the magic system is metals, characters would consume vials of metal into their body and burn them. Each metal have their own enhancing capabilities and each person can only burn one certain metal. Unless they are a Mistborn, a person that is of noble descent that have the ability to burn multiple kinds of metals. A magic system like this have a lot of potential to grow and expand. It is explored in the series that it is possible to mix two kinds of metal to produce a new metal. I will not go into detail to avoid any spoilers.
❁ Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations #1) by B. B. Alston ❁
Release Date : March 3rd 2021
Amari and the Night Brothers is a whimsical debut middle grade fantasy by B. B. Alston. In this story we follow Amari, a young girl that is searching for the whereabouts of her brother after he is reported missing. One day Amari is contacted by the Bureau, a secret multi national agency that is tasked to protect the magical world, about a briefcase that is left by her brother. There she discovers that she is no ordinary girl but something more. Amari is then thrown into the magical world where magical creatures exist and where people have extraordinary abilities. She enrolls into a magical school where she has to compete for her spot in the Bureau to become an agent just like her brother.
The world that Alston has created is imaginative, wondrous, and amazing. I kid you not I was smiling the whole time I was listening to the audiobook. There are so many things about the world that made me fall in love with the story. While reading I’m sure readers will find something about the world that will catch their attention. A story that is perfect for readers of all ages, it is fun and witty. Shinning light on themes and topics such as race, identity, self discovery, and coming of age. The way Alston packaged the heavier topics and incorporating them into the story is well done. There are many takeaways a reader can find within the story. I certainly found a new appreciation for middle grade books for its wholesome messages and inspiring protagonists. I love Amari with all my heart. She is the perfect protagonist and checks all the boxes. Amari is ambitious, driven, courageous, smart, and strong. The relationship she has with her family makes me soft and melts my feelings. I highly recommend for everyone to read this book, it will be a joyful experience. Trust me!
❁ Jade War (The Greenbone Saga #2) by Fonda Lee ❁
Release Date : July 23rd 2019
Starting the month of April I was dreading whether I could read Jade War with all of the stress I’m experiencing from many facets of my life. Alas I did manage to pick it up! The Greenbone Saga is one of my top favorite series. The first book, Jade City, left such a big impression on me that I was so excited when I finally got my hands on the audiobook on Libby. Jumping back into the world of Green Bones with it’s variety of customs, cultures, politics, and world dynamics is a comforting feeling. Though that comforting feeling quickly turned into terror the deeper I got into the book. When I thought Fonda Lee already pushed the envelope far enough in Jade City, she pushed it way further in this sequel. Because of this I can declare early on in my review that Jade War will make it into my list of second book syndrome destroyers. Dare I say that Lee sets the bar even higher than its predecessor.
❁ Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters #3) by Talia Hibbert ❁
Release Date : March 9th 2021
Act Your Age, Eve Brown is the third book to the Brown Sisters trilogy by Talia Hibbert. The story follows Eve the youngest sister, wild child, and baby of the family. After a disastrous successful business venture, Eve decides to quit her wedding planning business to figure herself out. Eve’s parents are tired of her abandoning everything she starts once she gets into the work. Long story short her parents cut her off and they fought. During Eve’s runaway escape she drives into an inn that is has a job vacancy. She decided to apply, there Eve meets Jacob the grumpy inn owner and her story starts from there.
I loved the first two books of the series. Truly! The Brown Sisters series is such a guilty pleasure, hot, steamy, and wholesome romance series. From the diverse leading men and women, the modern narration, witty dirty jokes, etc. It is such a joy picking this book up, I enjoyed every single moment of it. Jacob reminds me so much of Nanami Kento from Jujutsu Kaisen judging from the cover. His personality though is very different from Nanami. Jacob is a tsundere and Eve is that happy go lucky sunshine that melts the tsundere’s heart. If you’re looking for a fun short romance book, this is the book for you!
❁ The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes ❁
Release Date : September 1st 2020
The Inheritance Games is a YA mystery thriller series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, following Avery, a young girl that is thrusted into the world of the filthy rich as she is named in the will of famous billionaire Tobias Hawthorne. Avery inherits nearly all the assets to Tobias’ multi billion dollar empire. Of course with every inheritance there is a catch. The catch is for Avery to live in the Hawthorne house for a year with Tobias’ four handsome grandsons then the fortune is her’s. Will she succeed? Or will one of the grandsons gets to her or her heart first?
I picked this book up on a whim, the audiobook was around 11 hours long and I was looking for something in between before I start reading The Ones We’re Meant to Find. The story is fast paced, full of twists and turns, puzzles galore, and of course teenage angst. Though I loved the book half way but when I got to the 70% mark the story starts to drag for me. The puzzles got way too diluted and I didn’t really care much about the process anymore. One way to make me not care about a story is with puzzles. The characters though interesting didn’t have enough oomph for me to care for them. One thing that made me want to continue is figuring out the end result. I will probably not reread the book but it is a fun a book if you’re looking for something short.
❁ The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He ❁
Release Date : May 4th 2021
A haunting story about the bond shared by two sisters that spans through time as they try to reunite crossing the ocean of memories, diving deep into the depths humanity, whilst discovering one’s purpose and meaning in life.
In April, I mostly watched anime and read manga. It seemed like it was the only piece of content I can tolerate instead of words. There are a couple of animes and a couple of manga series I enjoyed this month that I would like to share with you.
An anime and book recommendation from my friends, Sasha and Michelle. They have been recommending me this series since last year and I’ve been putting it off. Until last month I was bored out of my mind from watching Shōnen anime. So I watched the first season of the anime on Netflix and oh boy did I love it. The way San Lang looks at Xie Lian is just too precious I want to protect it. For those who don’t know, Heaven Official’s Blessing is a chinese gay romance novel written by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù about Xie Lian a god that have ascended to the heavens for a third time after being banished for years. Xie Lian then has to redeem himself and pay his dues after his destructive ascension(s). To start his redemption journey he is given the task by Ling Wen to solve a predicament that requires the heavenly official’s attention to crack the case.
In the season one of the anime the story consist of the events that happen in the first book of the five book series. Though the animation isn’t as smooth as others and the acting is a bit rough around the edges, the story is still very fresh and different from other Asian fantasy. I have to admit it took me a while to get used to the way Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù progresses the plot because even though I grew up watching Chinese movies/dramas it’s still quite jarring how slow the story progresses. It was painstakingly slow when it came down to solving the cases Xie Lian is tasked with. I was tired when the main character finds all the answers and presented the twists. What made me continue is pure curiosity and the way Hua Cheng looks at Xie Lian. LOOK AT HIM! GOD DAMN!
By the way, I’m currently reading the novel and it is way better than the anime. Will write a full review when I’m done.
It will take a while though because there is 2000+ pages total for the series.
❁ Demon Slayer / Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) Vol. 1 – Vol. 7 by Koyoharu Gotouge ❁
After my Jujutsu Kaisen binge, I decided to watch the anime Demon Slayer or Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃). I always liked stories that involve Yōkai, Japanese ghost or spirit or supernatural monsters, and in Demon Slayer the demon or oni is a type of Yōkai. Any anime or manga that have Yōkai in it I will watch it. I know I am very late to the Demon Slayer party, as this anime is one of the most famous series to date. It did not disappoint at all! The anime production studio, UFO Table, did an amazing job at animating the fight scenes, specifically for the breathing forms looked so crisp and high quality. I am just floored. Below are a few gifs of the animation for the anime.
Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) is a Shōnen manga series by Koyoharu Gotouge, that first got published on the Weekly Shōnen Jump. The story follows Tanjiro Kamado and his sister Nezuko Kamado on their journey to find a cure for Nezuko and to kill the demon Kibutsuji Muzan. Tanjiro Kamado was an ordinary boy until his whole family is slaughtered by Muzan. His sister Nezuko Kamado survived the demon attack but she is turned into a demon. Demon’s are known to be powerful beings that have a variety of abilities and physical enhancements through consuming the flesh and drinking blood of humans. The more humans they consume the stronger they are. To combat their existence the Demon Slayer Corp is established filled with fearsome swords man as the last hope and protector of human kind from demons. Tanjiro Kamado joins the Demon Slayer Corp as a swordsman, there he meets a variety of characters that he befriends or attempts to befriends.
The characters in Demon Slayer are all so lovable and funny. But I have to admit, Zenitsu really got on my nerves because there are so many scenes of him screaming in the anime. Turn down your volume when you do watch it. I recently watched the Mugen Train Arc movie and it was also flipping good. I suggest for those who are interested to watch the anime series first then the movie. Because the movie picks up right after the events in the anime. Solid 10/10 experience for story telling and characterization, the first arc really showed Tanjiro’s progress from nothing to a notable swordsman. Not a lot of anime show you the characters journey to obtaining power because some anime does it off screen. The sibling relationship is very strong in the story, as Tanjiro cares a lot about Nezuko and there is one scene showing how strong they are together. I highly recommend for everyone to check it out! Need more convincing, I found this video on YouTube that got me to watching Demon Slayer.
❁ Daily Butterfly / Hibi Chōchō (日々蝶々) Vol. #1 – Vol. #12 by Morishita Suu ❁
Hibi Chōchō (日々蝶々) is my all time favorite Shōjo manga. Period. It is a story about a girl named Suiren, a popular girl known for her beauty and grace. Suiren is the IT girl that any guy wants to date but Suiren doesn’t like the attention she’s gets and it overwhelms her to the extent that she limits her communication with the opposite gender. Since boys would bully her or som etimes harass her to get her attention. Until the day she rolls into highschool, during her first day a third year started hitting on her when things got awry she is saved by a guy named Kawasumi. Lo and behold, Suiren is attracted to Kawasumi wanting to know him and get close. The premise of the story is Suiren’s and Kawasumi’s relationship blossoming in a highschool teenage romance setting.
Yes, some will say that Suiren is a boring and plain. OHOHOHO! I am prepared to lay my life for her because she is so god damn cute. The way the mangaka depicts her character is so friggin cute I could die. I know I have a type for plain heroines for Shōjo but it is a classic trope that is done marvelously in this manga. What makes it more funny is the guy, Kawasumi, is such a jock! He is so clueless but protects Suiren with fierce invincibility. He is Mr. I Got the Girl! No guy can steal the girl. Ever.
Anyway, I highly recommend. I’ve reread the manga probably over 10 times by now and I am still not over it.
❁ Waiting for Spring / Haru Matsu Bokura (春待つ僕ら) Vol. #1 – Vol. #14 by Anashin ❁
Waiting for Spring is a Shōjo manga series by Anashin. A manga series about a girl named Mizuki that gets entangled into a friendship with hot boys on the school’s basketball team. Things get interesting as one of the boys, Towa, starts developing feelings for Mizuki. When Mizuki’s childhood friend suddenly turns up and reveals that the best friend is a guy. Things get complicated. Who will Mizuki choose?
Okay, it does sound like your typical love triangle. I expected miscommunication, yearning, and angst but none of that happened. I don’t know what happened in between the start and the end of the story. There is no development or plot progression. I swear the whole story is about Mizuki not knowing which guy she’s going to pick because whoops her childhood friend is a guy. Mizuki is as plain as a sheet of paper, she is so plain the paper is transparent. The only winning factor of the story is the eye candy and nothing else. The side character’s ending has more development and much more clarity in plot than the main plot. If you’re thinking about reading this expect hot guys and nothing else.
In April my post took a decline but I did manage to write a couple reviews, Jade War and The Shadow of the Gods. Which I am very happy about! Despite all the things that occupied my time in April I still managed to post on my blog. For May, I am participating in two book tours for The Ones We’re Meant to Find. Both posts are already up on my blog.
If you noticed I added a couple of graphics to spruce up my posts. One around the middle and one at the end of each post. She also did the art for my blog header and the frames for my blog post’s banner. Art works is done my co-worker / friend, Monica Wihardi. Give her a follow on Instagram and Art Station. She does freelance graphic design and original digital art. If you’re interested in commissioning her stuff you can contact her through Instagram.
Since I am in a slump I am hoping I can at least post one review in May. Wish me luck! <3
Bookish Content Creator Shout Out!
☾ Tsai from Books with Tsai posted a fantastic review of The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. With the upcoming release of Joan He’s YA sci-fi stand alone, The Ones We’re Meant to Find, I scoured the blogsphere to find reviews of the book. Tsai wrote one of the best reviews of this awesome stand alone. Check out her post!
☾ Cube from The Geometry of Stories recently posted her review for The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He with a playlist curated by her!! I listened to Cube’s playlist nonstop at work and the vibe from the songs Cube picks perfectly fits with the whole mood of the book. Cube’s review is so articulate and well written, if you need some convincing to read Joan He’s new stand alone. Check out her review!
☾ Victoria from Cornelia Street Reads recently posted her review for The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He as Vic cross reference the book to other books that you’ve read. Vic did a great job at formatting the review for readers that would like to know what The Ones We’re Meant to Find is like what book. For readers that wants to know deeper and wants to read a different review format. Check out Vic’s review! Btw there is also a playlist <3
☾ Saima from Stories of Saima shares her Favorite Thriller Novels + Anticipated Releases. Have I ever told you dwellers how much I love lists? Well now you know! Because Saima’s list for her favorite thriller novels is exquisite and the anticipated releases I will surely keep my eye on. Though thriller is a genre I have long forgotten but I’m excited to dive back into it. Check out Saima’s list if you’re looking for some books to read or plan to buy! You’ll surely find something that will catch your eye!
☾ Sumedha from The Wordy Habitat posted a helpful post about 5 reasons why you should listen to audiobooks. I love audiobooks. I love how easy it is to read a book while multi tasking. Sumedha sums why all my thoughts about why readers should start reading with audiobooks. Check out her post if you need a boost to start listening to books!
☾ Gauri from A Book and Chai posted a fantastic review of Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto. Now a review of a book that has been floating around book tweet these few days. A debut by Indonesian-Chinese author Jesse Q Sutanto, I’m all up for the hype of a book that represents Chinese-Indos out there. Gauri wrote a splendid review of the book if you dwellers are interested in picking the book up!
☾ Katie from A Cup of Cyanide posted a fantastic review of The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso. The Chronicle of the Bitch Queen trilogy comes to a close with the addition of this third book releasing in May 4th 2021. Katie’s review and art truly hyped me up for the release of the last book to the series. It also made me want to read and add the book to my ever growing TBR. If you like Katie’s art or review be sure to check out her blog or twitter.
☾ New book blogger alert! Follow Azu from The Bookish Crusade. Azu is an South Asian book blogger that just started blogging in early May. She just posted her review of The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. Go give her a follow dwellers!
April is the month when my inner J-Rock / J-Pop loving self is awakened after some years. I discovered some pretty good anime OSTs, a few of them are : Bokura dake no Shudaika (僕らだけの主題歌) by Centimilimental (OST for the Given Movie), Yorugaakeru (夜が明ける) by Given, and my personal favorite the amazing music for Haikyuu!! To the Top Season 2 specifically the match point theme between Karasuno High vs Inarizaki High titled Monster’s Banquet / バケモンたちの宴 by Yuki Hayashi. That match point is stuck in my mind because I keep picturing that scene over and over again. It’s so good!
For normal music, I cycled through a few artists as the month progressed. BIBI came out with a new EP “BAD SAD AND MAD”, the title track is banger and highly addicting. The follow up track “Life is a Bi…” is also good! I also listened to a few songs from the new BROCKHAMPTON album, my favorite out of the three I included in the playlist is “I’LL TAKE YOU ON” (feat Charlie Wilson). A city J-Pop song that isn’t an anime OST I discovered is a cover of a song titled “Stay With Me” by Tokimeki Records feat. Hikari, a song originally done by Miki Matsubara. The song is revamped but still got that 80s disco city pop to it. I never knew that city pop is a genre that thrives in Japan so finding this song is very refreshing.
Since I am experiencing a really bad slump, I will not be too ambitious. I have three books that I want to read leisurely and I don’t have a set target to finish them quickly. I am just going to enjoy the books. Two of them are arcs and one is a fun read. These three books are :
What is your favorite read this month ? Any anime or manga recs for me? Let me know in the comments below! <3