“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!
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.
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 ❤
Hi there! My name is Jan and welcome back to another blog post ◝(ᵔᵕᵔ)◜ ♥
This is my first wrap up on my blog and I’m vv excited to do it! Usually I write down everything I’ve loved/did in a month down in my journal just bc it’s a good way to spill out my feelings and reflect, but after seeing so many other bloggers do wrap ups on their blog, I decided to give it a shot! I want to connect and interact with you guys as much as possible ❤
I will be talking about everything I’ve read, watched, listened and more! To watch my february wrap up video, watch it here! ❤
February was a really, really, busy and hectic month for me. It was also really chaotic in terms of my personal life, my school life, and my life as a content creator. Even though I was really busy and overwhelmed, I still had a lot of good moments I would like talk about with you all! How was February for you? Anything exciting happen? Let me know!
In total I’ve read about 4 books last month, which isn’t a lot but I’m proud of myself for reading consistently lately! Once I’m in a slump, I get into a SLUMP, so I’m really proud of myself being able to do so!
What I’ve read in February:
I finally read The Burning God after setting it aside for months! Thank you Ace and Trin for bullying me into finishing it ❤ Check out my review here!
I also read The Invisible Life of Addie Larue after seeing it float around TikTok for so long. My irl friends sent it to me knowing how much I like books and thought I would enjoy it… well… I didn’t LMFAO. The ending is what saved it for me but it was really boring in my opinion 😦 I should be posting a book review of this soon! Be sure to watch out for that ❤
I Love You So Mochi has been on my TBR for so long and I finally read it this month! It definitely got me into the February feels just because of how cute and fluffy it was. Definitely a great and light read if you want some cute fluff ❤
I also read Horimiya Vol.9 ! I always try to read at least one manga a month and I’ve been binging the Horimiya series ever since the anime got released this year! It’s definitely one of my favorite mangas ever, it’s so fluffy and wholesome and cute and I WOULD JUST D WORD FOR IZUMI MIYAMURA. thank you.
I mean, seriously, look how cute they are :((
I also got approved for one of the ARCs I’ve been wanting to read FOREVER!! The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He has been at the top of my most anticipated 2021 reads and I’m sososo happy I finally have it in my possessions to read ❤ I’m only at the 50% mark and things are getting CRAZY. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all later on the blog!
I’ve also binged a ton of stuff this month! I finally watched Always and Forever, Lara Jean with my best friend before Valentine’s day (reaction video is coming soon I promith), and I’ve also been binging a lot of Marvel movies lately after finally getting Disney+ LOL.
I finally!! started!!! watching!! WandaVision!!! If you read my Most Anticiated Books and Films of 2021, you should already know that I’ve been waiting for this series FOREVERRR!! I’m a huge Marvel stan and I’ve missed their movies sooo much (my favorite Avengers are Wanda, Captain America & Spider-Man) and duuuude when I say this series is good, IT IS SO GOOD!!! I never know what to expect every episode and I’m always left with a feeling of confusion BC I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!! I love Wanda so much, she’s grown so much since Age of Ultron I’m just :((( I JUST WANT HER TO BE HAPPY!!!
Oh and I finished True Beauty also, and I’m just devastated I just want Han Seojun to be happy 😦
So. I was really, really, busy, this month! And I still am really busy! The grind just doesn’t stop forrealll.
This month I had to apply to my school’s Radiography program, which is essentially the school for people who major in X-Ray Technology. In order for me to finish the rest of my classes and graduate, I have to apply to the program! It was a very hectic week for me but I’m so glad that I got it done !
I also reconnected with my friends that I haven’t talked to in a while ! 2020 was the year where I fell off with a lot of my close friends and lost some really valauble friendships which made me rlly sad for a while, but this year I started to reconnect with my old pals that had a rlly big impact on my life and I’m glad I started talking to them again ❤
I had a galentine’s day with my best friend shan! usually on a holiday we have a special day together where we have this sort of (potluck?) together and watch a movie? we always try to go for “aesthetic” foods to post on instagram and whatnot but it always fails LMAO. for galentine’s day we had shumai, mac n cheese, carne asada fries, and fried chicken along with coca-cola. we spent the rest of the night watching always and forever, lara jean and making really bad music videos LOL.
Doing these writing sprints have made me so productive with my writing and I’m vv glad I started doing them with my lovely group of friends, I honestly love them so much ❤ Honestly, I write a lot when I do write and I can write about 400-600 words in twenty minutes and I do enjoy writing a lot but I’m just… too… lazy… to write… LOL
I’ve been doing nightly writing sprints with Trin though and it’s boosted my productivity by a lot lmao TY TRIN!
I also finished my first anthology submission! Ace and I both wrote short stories for this Queer Yonder Anthology and we had a such a fun time writing it! This anthology submission I wrote was based off of my friend’s dream and it’s a horror/inception kind of story and it’s the second story I’ve ever written that I actually finished! Even though I didn’t get chosen, I’m really proud of myself for finishing this story that I put my all into. I’m also wanna say thank you to my soulmate Ren for helping me out on this submission!! I’m so sorry that you had to bear and edit it with me SFKASJFKASJK. I love you bae.
Here’s a smol collage of my month down below ❤
One last thing that I want to mention what happened in February is that I celebrated my ult bias’s birthday LOL. HAPPY BIRTHDAY I LURV UUU. (I also celebrated 4 years of stanning him :D) My fav thai idol ❤
Mentally, i’ve been okay. i’ve had a few moments last month when i was truly going thru it but recently i’ve been journaling my thoughts/things im grateful for/my day every night in my journal and it’s been really helpful taking some weight off my shoulders. after reconnecting with some things/people that have hurt me in the past last month, it was rlly hard to come to terms with how i felt about those certain things/people and your girl was just going thru it. but i’ve been bearing my feelings day by day. being surrounded by my wonderful book friends have helped me a lot and i’m really proud of myself for growing from the person i used to be a year ago.
My self-confidence has also been boosted up a lot bc of my amazing friends that I around me! I’ve been feeling vv pretty lately ❤ (sorry to be narcissistic but after feeling hideous for a good month this has been very uplifting on my heart LOL)
That’s all for today’s post! Thank you so much for stopping, it truly means a lot ❤
Disclaimer: This book is not for everyone. This entire series in fact is not for everyone. It touches on very sensitive topics + is very graphic. Some of the trigger warnings include: war, racism, genocide, mass rape, sexual assault, torture, cannibalism, etc. Here is the full list of trigger warnings.
Title: The Burning God (The Poppy War #3)
Author: R.F Kuang
Publication Date: November 17, 2020
Let’s get started.
After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead.
Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.
Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it?
Cue the fires.
I finally got the opprotunity to purchase final installment of The Poppy War series two months after the release date aaaand wow.
That was something.
I’ve been holding off on finishing the last book of the amazing series merely because I was too scared of finishing it and I simply didn’t want it to end. Though I am late on the train and finished this book months after everyone else finished it, I surprisingly didn’t see any spoilers.
It honestly took me forever to finish this book even though I purchased this in January and it took two of my friends to bully me into finishing it and after much anticipation and many days of bullying… I did.
The only thing I can say is: why did I put this down in the first place?
If you follow me on Twitter, you were probably already aware of my Burning God thread that I started in January and abandoned until a few days ago when I finished it. And that thread is just me being in full and utter disbelief and shock because of what on Earth was going on in that book.
Within each page I turned, it just became more and more intense. More and more heavy and more and more… mind f*cking.
Reading this book was certainly a wild ride. There were so many moments where I had to put it down simply because it was getting too much.
I loved this book and I also hated it at the same time. Much like how I loved/hated the first two. Kuang has such a way of making me want to strangle her characters physically through the pages that it was driving me insane.
I didn’t have any theories whatsoever before I dove into this book, all I know/wanted was for Rin to take Nezha down.
Before I dive deep into my review about this book, all I can say for those who haven’t read the last and gut-wrenching conclusion to The Poppy War is that it is not what you expect at all. Multiple things happen in this book that had me on the edge of my seat and I simply had to put it down because it was either getting too much or because I was too scared to finish it.
(major spoilers ahead)
Slowly throughout the book, we see Rin become… well… insane.
She became basically insane.
What I liked most about this book was that Rebecca didn’t sugarcoat anything when it came to the topic of war. This book is as brutal and violent and it really jerks you to see the real reality and devastation that happens to people when a war occurs.
What I really like about this series is how Rebecca played with time (as wars do take over several years). We literally meet Rin when she’s only like 13 and throughout the time span of when she turns 20, we see her become a shaman, a war criminal, and a mfing murderer. She literally burned a dude’s testicles off at like 18!!! What?!
Even though this series takes course over several years, the books don’t feel too rushed or too long and yet we still feel/see the growth of the characters.
Throughout the last book, we see Rin take control and become a leader and also lose her way within these pages. Rin has seen/been through unspeakable things that it didn’t really surprise me one bit to see her lose her mind and and change into someone we don’t even recognize due to what she’s experienced. She sort of became… demonized.
She’s seen too much, fought too much, seen her own comrades die in this war and betray her. We literally see her at her breaking point where the phoenix basically consumes Rin and all she sees is red.
Vengeance becomes the only thing that strives her to keep fighting in this war. The only thing she has going throughout this book is defeating Nezha and the southern coalition.
The amount of people that betrayed Rin in this book just left me shocked like man! No one likes her!!!
I also want to bring up this really intense scene that I just can’t stop thinking about. It literally lives in my head rent free. It’s the scene when Rin goes back to Tikany after the Hessians are there and they’re celebrating their departure and Rin is with Souji right when the bombs go off and she realizes that Nezha has been following her this entire time.
That scene when Rin is fighting Nezha and she sees that the Dragon god in him is much more powerful than she thought. Nezha and his ability to control the water was at a whole entire different level. Not only could he control the water but he could manipulate it to his will. The scene was so intense because it was raining hard, hard and as much as Rin tried to use her fire abilities, Nezha just kept putting it out by summoning more and more rain. It was honestly so intense that it kept me on the edge of my seat because I have been anticipating the moment when Rin and Nezha were going to meet up after Nezha’s betrayal in The Dragon Republic. To be honest I don’t really know who I was rooting for because I knew that both Nezha and Rin were both powerful as fuck and it kept reminding me of when Katara and Zuko went to fight Azula during the last episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender.And it also reminded me of that one meme where Squirtle was fighting Pikachu (even though Pikachu conducts lightningksjfks).
HONESTLY, TELL ME IT DOESN’T REMIND YOU OF THAT TOO.
(*side note when I found out Hanelei was Altan and Rin’s relative?? They’re cousins??? HUHHH)
INCEST!!! WHY INCEST???? I WOULD’VE CONTINUED ENJOYING THE BOOK IF REBECCA DIDN’T HAVE TO INCLUDE THE INCEST!!
The final book is much more darker than the first two. It has a much more realist undertone that the other two books didn’t have. While we were still centered around the story of war and destruction between two countries, there were still some light-hearted moments that made me laugh and smile and that was the relationship that Rin had with her comrades. Her anchor Kitay and the Cike. I found their adventures together and their banter to be funny and heart-warming. Chaghan and Rin’s back and forth was what honestly made me love The Dragon Republic and The Poppy War. The fact that this final book was more dark, more realistic made it have much more of an impact on me that I literally won’t ever forget. Even though the ending was certainly not what I was expecting, I know Rebecca wanted to portray realistic events of what actually happens in a war and that’s what made this book much more darker and deeper than the first two.
It is brutal and it is honest. Towards the end when Rin becomes so distrusting of everyone and her comrades until she thinks everyone’s just praying on her downfall is what made me so angry and so anxious for what was going to happen because I was getting closer and closer to the end and Rin was just becoming insane.
Finally, the ending… was not what I expected at all. It left me completely and honestly… broken.
Oh no! Jan becoming destroyed by another book? Are we surprised?
What do you do when you run over a Cupid? Do you call State Farm insurance? Sing, “like a good neighbor state farm is there?” Well, in Playing Cupid, when you run over the mystical being, you get to be cupid instead. And if you suck at the topic that is love just like our main character MeganCooper– well, all I can say is good luck, Charlie.
Title: Playing Cupid
Author: SC Alban
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
For the past five years, seventeen-year-old Megan Cooper has built a wall around her heart with little room to experience true feelings. However, her entire world shifts the moment she hits Cupid with her car driving home from finals. With his shooting arm significanting injured, she has no choice but to take his place.
Now, as Megan races to find Cupid’s final three love matches in order to meet his quota by the start of the new year, she comes face to face with the very emotions she’s been pushing away for so long.
Caught between what her head is saying and what her heart longs for, Megan must face old wounds, find forgiveness, and track down the perfect match for the one boy she can’t stand.
Thank you NetGalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
Playing Cupidfollows seventeen-year-old Megan Cooper, a recluse in her senior year of high school before graduating early and going to college for early admission. She has a sort of rocky relationship with her dad and basically people in general. Following the death of her mother, her relationship with her father ceased to exist to the point where he can’t even face her anymore because she reminded him so much of his first love. During finals week, Megan is paired up with her school’s hottest jock, Jay Michaels, although nice, polite to teachers and massively attractive, he flakes out of every school assignment ever.
After driving home from her Home EC final, Megan is angered with the audacity that Jay Michaels have, flaking out on herwhen all she wants to do is get her last assignment done with so that she can be done with high school. Driving at a horribly fast rate, Megan runs over an unseen figure in the road– that figure turning out to be the love god himself Cupid.
Now with the task to do Cupid’s job for him since his shooting arm is broken, can Megan find love for other people, including herself?
This book was an easy light-hearted, humourous and very heartwarming read. After reading this book, I was left with a nice feeling in my chest and I definitely felt the loving mood that it gave me. It finally felt like was February 💖 .
However, even though I do love good fluff and cute romantic tropes in books, Playing Cupid was a solid 2/5 stars for me.
The plot itself was okay. It was simple, really. Ran over Cupid? He can’t do his job of making people fall in love? No problem! Megan Cooper is right here, and she’ll get the job done! I thought that the idea of the plot was interesting and cute, we even got to see the Cupid (Amadeo) and Megan form a kind of relationship together which I found really sweet and wholesome. But, alas, this book just added another character onto my “mcs that I can’t stand” list.
Mainly why this book fell flat for me was because of the main character Megan. For some reason I just couldn’t connect with her throughout the entirety of this book. Her personality just didn’t click with me, and I found myself cringing and rolling my eyes at almost everything that she was thinking/saying/doing.
What irritated me the most was her “I’m not like other girls” personality. I’m okay with the trope/characteristic, but the fact that the book brought up that she wasn’t like other girls all the time is what annoyed me the most. The fact that there was written dialogue by her and the main love interest saying that she wasn’t like other girls made my fingers physically curl up because of how much I cringed.
The only character that I felt that I genuinely liked was Amadeo. The Cupid Megan ran over. His character was witty, sarcastic and downright entertaining. He was the only one that got me to continue the book.
Overall, I found Amadeo and Megan’s adventure of trying to find matches all over town to be entertaining and very fluffy! It’s definitely a read for February to get in the loving mood.
I hope everyone is well! Thank you for coming by ❤
If you follow me on Twitter you probably were already aware of me freaking out over this book because I had gotten almost a third of it in when I realized… it was horror….
Call the circus.
This book was amazing, weird, downright confusing up to the very last page and yet I still ate it up. I knew about this book from my very good friend Mari over @ macnbooks and I just thought it was going to be a dark academia/witchy/underground cult going on underneath Warren University until I got up to page 76 and realized that it was indeed not that.
This book had many WTF moments, many what is going on, and many oh my god my brain moments as I continued reading.
We follow our main character Samantha who is a graduate student at New England’s Elite Warren University and she has a passion for writing and yet doesn’t really write (like me??). She really only sticks to one person during her years of Graduate school and that is her very best friend Eva. At the beginning of the book they are at this gathering for the start of the school year and both Samantha and Eva see this cohort group of girls that call each other Bunnyand we see right away how weary they are of them.
The Bunnies’ small group is called The Smut Salon and while Ava is cringing and saying how weird the Bunnies’ are, Samantha catches their attention at the event, and waves at them.
The next day Samantha gets an invitation from the Bunnies to meet with them for the very first time at their famous Smut Salon and all hell breaks loose from there.
I don’t want to say too much and spoil the fun for other people (I’m also working on my own book talk video for my channel so look out for that) but after Samantha gets involved with the Bunnies at their very first meaning, some weird shit happens.
Like. Really. Weird. Shit.
Have you ever heard the burning of a tea kettle? And the whistling sound slowly getting higher and higher as it gets hotter and hotter? That was the same feeling I kept getting as the more I read. I got to page 76 when I began getting really creeped out.
Definitely gave me Zimzalabim vibes.
At last came the point when the Bunnies went and invited Samantha’s old fling from high school to their beloved Smut Salon and that’s when weird things really start going down.
Let’s just say a few bunnie conjuring, heads exploding, cult gathering scenes later I finally digested that this book was indeed a horror book. I even got so creeped out that I bothered five of my friends to play iMessage games with me because of how scared I was.
I would say read this book if you enjoy narratives from a unreliable narrator like in The Yellow Wallpaper and if you just want to get mind-fucked in every way possible. You could not stop reading this book because of how weird it was and how Samantha just kept falling deeper and deeper into this rabbit hole with the other Bunnies…
This whole book was enjoyable to read and just made me have a lot of ???? moments which I don’t doubt other people have had also and because of the ending which still has me like…. REALLY??? THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED???
Bunny by Mona Awad definitely was a trip down a really weird rabbit hole and had me on the edge of my seat and shoulders hunched up because of creepy it was. If you enjoy horror and a very sarcastic and relatable main character who doesn’t like people (like me) then this book is perfect for you.