black water sister ARC review

“A stressed zillenial lesbian fights gods, gangsters, & grandmas in 21st century Penang” – Zen Cho

Honestly… SAY LESS

Hello everyone! My name is Jan, and welcome back to another blog post ◝(ᵔᵕᵔ)◜ ♥

After I saw the cover of Black Water Sister floating around Twitter, I knew that I MUST read it, I mean seriously it is GORGEOUS. Aftering hearing about a “stressed zillenial lesbian” who fights gods, gangsters and grandmas in Penang, I knew that I was automatically going to be hooked. I absolutely love stories that include ghosts and gods, especially if those ghosts and gods embody a Malaysian grandma with an attitude.

Without further ado, let’s get on with the review!

Title: Black Water Sister

Author: Zen Cho

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Release Date: May 11, 2021

pre-order here!

goodreads | book depository | barnes and noble |

Synopsis

A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy.

Jessamyn Teoh is closeted, broke and moving back to Malaysia, a country she left when she was a toddler. So when Jess starts hearing voices, she chalks it up to stress. But there’s only one voice in her head, and it claims to be the ghost of her estranged grandmother, Ah Ma. In life Ah Ma was a spirit medium, the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Now she’s determined to settle a score against a gang boss who has offended the god–and she’s decided Jess is going to help her do it.

Drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets, Jess finds that making deals with capricious spirits is a dangerous business. As Jess fights for retribution for Ah Ma, she’ll also need to regain control of her body and destiny. If she fails, the Black Water Sister may finish her off for good.

CW: attempted rape, homophobia, racist microaggressions

I jumped into this completely blind except for the fact that the mc is sapphic and she fights ghosts with her grandma and can I say… I was well fed!

Jess was a character I could see a lot of people relating to- the type of character that’s basically stressed out about life in general and had no idea what was going in her life.

She is a closeted sapphic who is a recent college graduate and moves back to Malaysia with her parents not knowing what to do next. Moving back to Malaysia is a bit of a culture shock since she lived in the US all her life. She tries to adapt back to the culture and language and has even more stress upon her tightening relationship with her girlfriend. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she becomes haunted by a ghost. That ghost more specifically being her grandmother.

Her grandmother is back and as witty and sarcastic even as a ghost. Her Ah Ma refuses to move onto the afterlife and she needs Jess’s help to get revenge on gangster Ng Chee Hin on behalf of the goddess Black Water Sister.

Even typing her name sounds cool af.

This book goes back and forth from having hilarious scenes between Jess and her Ah Ma, trying to figure what to do next and fighting ghosts, I found myself having a lot of fun reading this! I’m not Malaysian myself but I learned a lot about the culture and the folklore which were all very interesting to read!

This story has it all from fighting goddesses and ghosts, gangster gang rivalry, family secrets, a witty and fun grandma that isn’t afraid to speak her mind. While I enjoyed the story, I wished I got more explanations and more background about the culture and language as a reader who is not Malaysian myself. But I still enjoyed the book nonetheless!

Black Water Sister was a very fun and interesting book to read! If you’re the type of reader that loves ghost stories and fun adventures with a stressed zellenial who has no idea what the heck is going on, then you’ll absolutely love Zen Cho’s stunning book.

Thank you for stopping by for my review! I hope you’re all staying safe ❤

Jan

the ones we’re meant to find ARC review

Hello everyone! My name is Jan and welcome back to another blog post  ◝(ᵔᵕᵔ)◜ ♥

Lately since February to now, I’ve been reading like crazy. I’ve been reading books after books, binging Marvel films after Marvel films, K-drama after K-drama (who’s been watching Penthouse and Love Alarm??) and my thoughts have been just been jumbled together with everything I’ve watched/read that I must discuss with you all. But first, since I’ve been behind on my book reviews, let’s start with that 😀

If you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably aware of how badly I’ve been wanting to read The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. Ever since I read the synopsis and the book cover got revealed on Twitter, I’ve been obsessed. I needed the book so desperately in my hands and I needed it ASAP. And finally after many months of waiting… I finally recieved the ARC! After reading Victoria @ corneliastreetreads blog post about TOWMTF… I couldn’t be more excited to read it.

Without further ado, let’s get started with my review! ❤

Title: The Ones We’re Meant to Find

Author: Joan He

Publication Date: May 4, 2021

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

pre-order here!

goodreads | amazon | book depository | barnes & noble

Synopsis

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most. 

We Were Liars meets Black Mirror in this twisting tale of two sisters, one who woke up on an abandoned island with no memory except of her sister and the other a STEM prodigy living in this dystopian Earth where every inch of life is dying due to pollution and the inevitable dangers of climate change.

I’ve read a handful of books so far in 2021, and I’m sure most of you are aware how I dislike every fictional main character ever no matter who it is because… they always have some way to annoy me.

But surprisingly, I can say that I really enjoyed all the characters in TOWMTF!!! Even I’m surprised that I liked every single character in this book! They were all interesting, complex, and I was really invested in the relationship between Cee and her sister Kasey. Immediately after reading the synopsis, I was hooked.

You get see life from two different points of view. One from Cee on her abandoned island, and one from Kasey on her dying skydome. Cee on her journey of trying to find her way back to her sister and Kasey trying to save human existence.

To those who have read TOWMTF have been discoursing over which sister they like better, whether it be Cee or Kasey. Even though Kasey is a fellow STEM student like myself, I would have to say I prefer Cee. I think that her storyline and plot throughout the book made me more interested and invested than Kasey’s did. Her determination to get off this island and find her sister tugged on my heart strings because even though Cee has no recollection of her life before, she only remembered and knew one thing. She had to find her sister. At all costs.

Kasey was more closed off and reserved. I found it hard to find her likeable because of how gray her character was. But I do admire how she set she was on trying to make the best of her skydome life. I did enjoy seeing both different points of view, one life on in island, the other life in a modern world away from a polluted earth.

I really liked the STEM side of this book as well! As a person in STEM myself, it was really interesting to see Kasey’s side of things and hard she worked for to make life livable.

At first, the synopsis of this book made me think of it as Lost meets The Giver because of its scientific environment but after reading, I can definitely see where the We Were Liars and Black Mirror aspect comes from. This book definitely rubbed me in the Black Mirror part. You have these kind of expectations and predictions for what’s going to happen until the technological side weaves in and changes everything.

Joan has a way of building up scenes and emotions that leaves me absolutely shook. The twists and turns are something that I don’t expect at all and I am still trying to process what tf happened! You don’t see these twists coming at all and that’s what I loved the most about this ARC.

I loved every aspect of TOWMTF. From being on an abandoned island, mysterious allies and brooding side characters, the scientific side of trying to save life and human existence- it just had me hooked from beginning to end. I didn’t know what to expect at all and Joan He really did that.

If you are planning to read this book or is currently reading it now, all I can say is that you are going to be completely shook reading The Ones We’re Meant to Find.

That’s all for today’s post! Thank you for stopping by, it really means a lot.

Until next time,

Jan.