Title: Brambles
Series: Dauntless Path #0.5
Author: Intisar Khanani
Publisher: -
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Novella, Short Story
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: December 7th 2020
Pages: 40

Synopsis (Goodreads): In the kingdom of Adania, everyone knows what Princess Alyrra did to earn the court's contempt, her mother's disdain, and her brother's hatred.

She betrayed her own.

Yet, the truth hides another story, one of honor and honesty, of a princess gambling her own life for another's. It's a tale of courage and consequences, and a choice that can never be undone.

A short story prequel to her multi-starred fantasy, Thorn, Intisar Khanani's "Brambles" gives Alyrra's account of what really happened all those years ago, and how a few critical days turned her life into a daily fight for survival.


My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Being a huge fan of Thorn, I was over the moon when Intisar Khanani announced the release of BramblesBrambles is the novella prequel to Thorn, and it gives a brief background to how everything started for Princess Alyrra. When reading Thorn, I've always wondered what she did to Valka (a.k.a the antagonist of Thorn) to be loathed so much by her own brother, and the fact that this did not bother her mother at all made it more questionable.

At the start of Brambles, readers are introduced to the young Princess Alyrra. She tries her best to be sweet and proper in front of everyone, especially her brother. Despite being treated harshly by the brother and Valka, and constantly used as an excuse for them to misbehave—the word misbehave are actually mild, compared to what the brother and Valka actually did—yet Alyrra took it all in without much protest. Even the nobles took so little attention to her, considering her as an unimportant person of the royalty. As long as they stayed out of her way and didn't ask for her much, Alyrra was content with her life.

But a certain event caused by Valka's vileness put Alyrra on a tight spot, and she knew she couldn't stay silent any longer. Not after what she knew Valka had caused, and meant to cause. The silent and meek princess finally stood her ground and demanded for the right person to be punished, and despite being right about it, the royalty and nobles considered what she did to be "betraying" her own. I respect Alyrra's mother for being able to keep the throne after the King died because we all know how men always believed that women cannot rule, but the fact that she defended her "allies" instead of trying to understand what her daughter did just didn't sit right with me. I would've expected after what she went through, fighting the men and nobles, it would make her want to protect her daughter more, but apparently she simply prioritised the prince (as her next heir) and politics after all.

It broke my heart to see how Alyrra was treated worse than before, but somehow I'm glad that she did what she did. It actually showed that despite appearing to be submissive, Alyrra has a large potential to rule and command her people fairly. Despite looking meek, her capacity of tolerance against the treatment she received proved that her strength is no match to anyone that wishes harm to her. She also always find something positive to be grateful in every situation, and for that, I love her character so much.

Through Brambles, readers also finally found out how Alyrra first met her dear friend, the wind. This might sound weird if you haven't read Thorn, but trust me, the wind is the best of a friend you can get, and I'm grateful that Alyrra was able to connect with the wind. The wind saved Alyrra in Brambles, and it made its character more significant in Thorn.

I can't wait to reread Thorn soon!

Overall, Brambles is definitely a bittersweet treat for fans of Thorn. You need not to read Thorn first to be able to read Brambles because this novella is good enough on its own, but it would be more meaningful if you read Thorn first. 

A huge thanks to Intisar Khanani for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. Brambles is now available in ebook and audiobook, and you can purchase it here.


I'd rather be sweet and useless than sharp and dangerous.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'


Title: Emergency Contact
Series: -
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: March 27th 2018
Pages: 394

Synopsis (Goodreads): For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


My rating: 3 / 5 ★

There were many reasons as to why I absolutely wanted to pick up this book: 1) It has the prettiest cover, and it's also pink! 2) The main male character works in a café. I find books with characters who bake or work in bakeries to be very cute. 3) The two main characters are awkward people and they prefer communicating through text messages. Definitely my kind of people! 4) A lot of my bookstagram friends recommended this book to me, and they rated this book with 5 stars.

I wanted so badly to love this book, yet unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations.

I loved the interactions between the two characters, Penny and Sam. As someone who is more comfortable with communicating through text messages, Penny and Sam's interactions are so adorable and funny. They connected so well and it was obvious that they were perfect for each other. Here's an excerpt from the book that I wholly agree with, in regards to communicating through text messages:

“It wasn't a romance; it was too perfect for that. With texts there were only the words and none of the awkwardness. They could get to know each other completely and get comfortable before they had to do anything unnecessarily overwhelming like look at each other's eyeballs with their eyeballs.” ― Mary H.K. Choi, Emergency Contact

But despite rooting for their relationship, I find that I don't really love the characters as their own person. Penny is strong and independent, she can also be a fun person to talk with if you're able to connect with her, but I felt like there was nothing special about her to make me love her character wholly. And while I think Sam is cute, he too, didn't have that unique spark that could make me love him more. This is mostly just my own preference, and I should clarify that there weren't any major flaws in both of them. I don't hate any of them, I just couldn't like them enough.

This book is a rather light read, but it also touched heavier subjects such as anxiety, obsession and sexual assault (it was not graphic and was only mentioned briefly, but if you're uncomfortable reading anything related to sexual assaults, please proceed with care). I believe that I'm not knowledgeable enough in regards of anxiety, so I couldn't say much about this matter, but I personally think it's written well in the story. The obsession part was something that Sam went through, and I'm glad that he managed to overcome it. As for the sexual assault part though, which happened to Penny, I felt that it was dropped too sudden into the story. In no means am I demeaning the struggles of rape victims, because I know it's difficult for rape victims to open up about it. And I am glad that Penny didn't allow it to bring herself down, and she found the courage to talk about it with Sam, but I still felt like it was placed into the story out of nowhere.

Overall, Emergency Contact is a relatively nice read, with adorable text messages in between. Although Penny and Sam were each other's emergency contacts, there weren't really much "emergency" situations in the book as I had imagined. I probably placed too much expectations on this book, and sadly I didn't end up loving it as much as I had hoped to. 

Special thanks to Rae for buddy-reading this with me! You can read her review on this book here.


I want to be with someone I can talk to. I want to be with someone who automatically has a fat folder on me. Someone who feels lucky when I tell them the most unflattering, scary stuff.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'


Title: Shine
Series: Shine #1
Author: Jessica Jung
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Music, Asian Literature
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: September 29th 2020
Pages: 344

Synopsis (Goodreads): A Korean American teen is thrust into the competitive, technicolor world of K-pop, from Jessica Jung, K-pop legend and former lead singer of Girls Generation.

What would you give for a chance to live your dreams?

For seventeen-year-old Korean American Rachel Kim, the answer is almost everything. Six years ago, she was recruited by DB Entertainment—one of Seoul’s largest K-pop labels, known for churning out some of the world’s most popular stars. The rules are simple: Train 24/7. Be perfect. Don’t date. Easy right?

Not so much. As the dark scandals of an industry bent on controlling and commodifying beautiful girls begin to bubble up, Rachel wonders if she’s strong enough to be a winner, or if she’ll end up crushed… Especially when she begins to develop feelings for K-pop star and DB golden boy Jason Lee. It’s not just that he’s charming, sexy, and ridiculously talented. He’s also the first person who really understands how badly she wants her star to rise.


My rating: 3.5 / 5 ★

When I first found out that Jessica Jung was working on a book, I was absolutely ecstatic. I love her, I look up to her especially when it comes to fashion and style, and having something written by her would mean so much to me as a Golden Star (Jessica's official fan club name). However, when I saw the synopsis of the book, I felt a tiny bit of worry. Not only does it screams a cliché romantic young adult story but with the background of South Korea instead of Hollywood, it also reminded me of fan fictions that are found almost everywhere on the K-Pop fandom community.

Don't get me wrong, I respect fan fiction writers for the time they spent to write wonderful stories and posting them online to be read for free–I myself used to write fan fictions. The point is, I have no problem with fan fictions in general. But when Shine has the possibility of being similar to the fan fictions that I've encountered multiple times before, I slightly dreaded reading this book. I never quite enjoyed this kind of fan fiction anyway, where a trainee just somehow end up falling in love and secretly having a relationship with a member of a top boy band just because they happen to be the main character.

First of all, let's start with the official profile that was released for the characters of Shine. I am so glad I found these after reading the book, because oh boy, the way I cringed over them. Rachel Kim and Choo Mina's profiles were rather acceptable, but I just can't stand Jason Lee's profile. The nickname is okay, but "known for having the voice of an angel, smile of the devil and body of a God" is just too much. I still can't stop laughing while writing this. Despite the cringeness (I totally made up this word) of it, some K-Pop fans are known to exaggerate their idols by a whole mile so I'm actually not surprised those were put up as "facts" for the characters. It's probably meant to portray the profile written by a fan.

Shine is a story about Rachel Kim, who was heavily inspired by the author herself. Rachel sacrificed her youth for the sake of debuting as a K-Pop star in South Korea, and while she has her own troubles to overcome, her life ends up being tangled up with Jason Lee, the golden boy of the entertainment industry. Falling in love as a trainee was forbidden, so she had to keep her feelings and affairs a secret. Despite looking like she has the closest bond with all her potential team members, Rachel Kim actually struggled to fit in with the rest of the group.

The plot was relatively easy to follow, I'd say that Jessica Jung's writing style is simply... simple. There wasn't anything special to it, but it was not bad either. There were certain Korean words and phrases that the author didn't bother to explain the meaning, and I felt quite troubled by it. For a long time K-Pop fan like me, I recognised these words easily, but there are definitely people who are unfamiliar with them, so I believe that she should have at least included a glossary at the end of the book, or easily include a short explanation of the term. Googling them would have been easy, yes I know, but I still think if an author wants to educate their readers about their culture, this thing is not that hard to be included in their work.

Shine is a quick and fun read; there were instances where Rachel and Jason's moments turned out to be cute and sweet. As a contemporary romance book, I'd say it's a decent and well-written story. Unfortunately, it also reminded me of reading a fan fiction, just as I mentioned previously, so there wasn't really much of a wow-factor for me. However, since this book was written from the view of someone who actually went through the situation instead of just a fan, there were matters that deserved to be applauded. For instance, how much dark truths were being hidden by the entertainment companies and the groups that debuted in South Korea. I'm very much aware of how brutal the trainings for a K-Pop star trainee can be, but this book just further prove how little a fan like me could have known. The K-Pop community is saturated, too much group has debuted, so each trainee must sacrifice everything that have in order to be the best, and that includes eliminating someone who you see as a rival.

This book is definitely not as dark as what I'm trying to portray, but it has evidence that when it comes to debuting as a celebrity in South Korea: money works the best, friendship and good working attitude are not important as long as you can pretend that you have the best relationship in front of the whole world, love is absolutely forbidden, and there are stark differences in between the treatments received by a male and female trainee and celebrity. A male K-Pop star will be worshipped and treated with utmost care and respect, but female K-Pop stars have to suffer sexist remarks all the time and bigger consequences if they end up in scandalous moments. This is the harsh reality of the K-Pop world in reality, and I applaud Jessica for exposing these matters.

I hated reading the rivalry and hatred especially between Rachel and Mina (why can't girls and women just support each other?), but if you're aware about the bullying case of AOA's former members, Jimin and Mina, it's not hard to swallow the fact that some K-Pop idols will never like their team members, despite showing to the fans how "close" they are. Apart from that, another thing that I have a trouble swallowing is Rachel and Jason's first kiss. I'd hate to spoil it so I'll try to spare the details, but honestly, if you kiss someone passionately before going on a stage, wouldn't that have smudged your make up? It just doesn't make sense that someone passed by them after the kiss and not notice that they were all over each other just seconds ago! Well, unless the make up they used were extremely smudge-proof or kiss-proof, then I guess I'm the one in the wrong here whoops.

The characters in Shine were mostly inspired by real people in Jessica Jung's life; Rachel Kim was definitely inspired her the author herself, while Rachel's younger sister was inspired by Krystal Jung, the author's own younger sister. Although I think it's all fun and games to guess which other characters were inspired by real people, I think it was quite unfair of Jessica to actually tell her fans that reading Shine "is going to be like an Easter egg hunt", because it could potentially hurt someone. Fans can be vicious when it comes to protecting their idols, and it's not a secret that some Golden Stars no longer supported Girls' Generation after Jessica parted from the group. And by doing this, she would unintentionally spark a heated argument or hatred towards the members of Girls' Generation. Although I love Jessica more, Girls' Generation was also one of the first K-Pop groups that I listened to, so essentially I wish that things would go well for both parties. I won't go on about the rest of the scandals being tied to Shine, but you may read this article for more information about it. I do suggest to take it with a grain of salt though, Jessica probably just wanted her fans to have fun reading her book.

There weren't any characters in Shine that I grew attached to, but I do like Rachel Kim's personality. I like that her character is not the goody two shoes or Mary Sue kind of girl (which is often the case in this type of fan fiction, but whew, thank you Jessica for avoiding that!). She knows how to fight back when it's the right time, which made her more relatable and this made her arguments with Mina to be rather tolerable. I like that she's also mature enough to offer help to her rival when in need, even if the person had made her suffer countless of times. There weren't much to say about Choo Mina, but I look forward to see her growth in the sequel to Shine. She's quite a hateful character, but I know she has the potential, so I hope for a positive change for her character soon.

As for Jason Lee, he's depicted as the perfect main male character. He got the looks, he got the voice, he got possibly every girl's heart and soul, he's half white half Korean (of course), he has the talent–basically he's a walking perfection. But just because he seemed to have everything, is he really a perfect person. Of course not. Nobody's perfect, and Jason has secrets of his own as well. I thought he was cute when he first appeared in Shine, but then the red flags started to show. Rachel didn't seem to mind, but it bothered me how much Jason was touching Rachel at the first party they met. It might just be due to the difference in culture, but I was still bothered by it. Jason is also ignorant and can be borderline sexist when Rachel was trying to make him see that male idols and female idols were treated differently. I have no idea what he did in the end for Rachel as a "redemption", but I still find it hard to forgive the things he did to Rachel.

There are just so much that I wanted to say about this book, but saying more would mean that I risk spoiling more of the story. I didn't realise this end up becoming one of my longest book reviews! Anyway, despite rating this 3.5 stars only, I did enjoy reading Shine and I'm looking forward for its sequel. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a cute and light story with a touch of toxicity and female rivalry, or to those who are curious about the world of K-Pop, as well as those who enjoyed fan fictions of a female trainee getting in a relationship with a popular male idol. 

Many thanks to Pansing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Shine is now available in all good bookstores! 


It's up to us to be independent, to tell ourselves the truth of what we are capable of, and to do everything we know we have the strength to do.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

A book with blue cover being held open against bright blue sky

Title: Every Little Piece of My Heart
Series: -
Author: Non Pratt
Publisher: Walker Books
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Disability, LGBT
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: August 6th 2020
Pages: 343

Synopsis (Goodreads): When Sophie receives a parcel from her best friend, Freya, she expects it to contain the reason why Freya left town so suddenly, without goodbyes and without explanation. Instead, she finds a letter addressed to Win, a girl Freya barely knew - or did she? As more letters arrive for more people on the periphery of Freya's life, Sophie and Win begin to piece together who Freya was and why she left. Sometimes it's not about who's gone, but about who they leave behind.


My rating: 4 / 5 ★

I am aware of the fact that any excerpts from ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies) are impermanent, but it's a shame that the synopsis of Every Little Piece of My Heart was changed to the one currently on Goodreads. The one on Goodreads made it seem like the story mainly revolves around Sophie and Win—although in a way, it is true—but the story actually involved four different perspectives, including Sophie's and Win's. The synopsis on the ARC that I own presents the story better in my opinion, but perhaps it was changed to the one on Goodreads to add an element of surprise to the story.

A single parcel connects strangers, acquaintances and enemies, creating a set of unlikely friends that stick to each other for the sake of learning the truth about the sender of the parcel. Sophie was the first one to receive the parcel from her best friend, and the trail that followed became a cruel game of learning the truth of how their lives interconnected with a single person.

The story was written in a vague way; from the beginning to the middle of it, I honestly felt like there was no point at all in the story. I couldn't grasp why I should care that Freya, a girl that seemed to be liked by everyone who suddenly disappeared without even telling her best friend, left a parcel behind to her friends. But then I realised that no, the story was not at all about Freya, but about what was learned by those whom she left behind.

Freya was introduced as someone very pretty and likeable, but when all the puzzle pieces were connected, she was actually someone who just always made herself the center of attention. Despite not really fond of the flow of the story, I was able to relate to the story because I've known people like Freya. They're the kind of "friends" that do whatever that pleases them, and we'll end up sacrificing parts of ourselves in the guise of being their "supportive friend". I think it's ironic that she dated someone just like her, someone whose prettiness and status hid their manipulative and selfish traits. This kind of friend can break you worse than an enemy, and I've been there enough to know how Sophie felt.

But Sophie probably had it worse. I like the strength her character has; she was diagnosed with lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. I've heard of lupus before, but I only learned what it actually is about thanks to this book. Judging by the acknowledgements, I believe that the author made enough research for the disease and created a good rep for it through this story. Being sick as she is, I felt that the things she had to go through because of Freya to be cruel. Her biggest flaw is probably caring too much for Freya, someone who couldn't give back the same amount of love that she gave out.

Other than Sophie, I like Win's calm and collected character as well, but my favourite character would probably be Sunny, Win's younger sister. She was not part of the trail that Freya left behind, but her existence definitely made the story brighter. I'm able to relate myself more to Sophie and Win, people who enjoyed quiet moments, but I like being in the presence of bubbly people like Sunny. I'm fond of Lucas as well, and there were rare moments that I find Ryan to be fun too. 

Throughout the story, I was ready to give it a 3 stars, but the way it ended changed my mind. I like how the characters learned their worth by the end. They learned how to let go of people that shouldn't stay, and instead keep those that know their worth close to them. Friendship is supposed to work both ways, and I believe that the four of them will be able to do so without demanding anything from each other.

In the end, this story is about learning the truth about real friendship, those who you need to let go and those who you need to keep holding on. I probably won't recommend this book to anyone that I know, but I do acknowledge that this book is good for young adults as it focused on teen drama and friendships.

Many thanks to Pansing for sending me a copy of Every Little Piece of My Heart in exchange for my honest review. This book is available in all good bookstores.


"Just because someone doesn't advertise their feelings, doesn't mean those feelings don't exist." Her words whipped out louder, a calm sea stirred by a storm. "People are complicated – and you don't get to shit on them just because you're sad."

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'


Title: Last Tang Standing
Series: -
Author: Lauren Ho
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Adult Fiction, Asian Literature
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: June 1st 2020
Pages: 416

Synopsis (Goodreads): At thirty-three, Andrea Tang is living the dream: she has a successful career as a lawyer, a posh condo, and a clutch of fun-loving friends who are always in the know about Singapore's hottest clubs and restaurants. All she has to do is make partner at her law firm and she will have achieved everything she (and her mother) has ever worked for. So what if she's poised to be the last unmarried member of her generation of the Tang clan? She doesn't need a man to feel fulfilled, no matter what her meddling relatives have to say about it.

But for a dutiful Chinese-Malaysian daughter, the weight of familial expectations is hard to ignore. And so are the men life keeps throwing in Andrea's path. Men like Suresh Aditparan, her annoyingly attractive rival for partner and the last man she should be spending time with, and Eric Deng, a wealthy entrepreneur whose vision for their future is more lavish than she could have imagined. With her workplace competition growing ever more intense, her friends bringing dramas of their own to her door, and her family scrutinizing her every romantic prospect, Andrea finds herself stretched to the breaking point. And she can't help but wonder: In the endless tug-of-war between pleasing others and pleasing herself, is there room for everyone to win?


My rating: 4 / 5 ★

Quoting the synopsis of this book itself, "So what if she's poised to be the last unmarried member of her generation of the Tang clan? She doesn't need a man to feel fulfilled, no matter what her meddling relatives have to say about it." I was honestly expecting this book to be about a woman who fights to show that she doesn't need a man to have a good life. Well, it sort of did, but at the same time, it absolutely didn't.

Having a rather successful career as a lawyer, a posh condo to call her own, and great friends to have fun with, Andrea Tang's life would have been enough for her, had it not been for her meddling relatives that constantly pegged on her love life. When she found out that she might become the last woman in her clan to get married, a.k.a becoming the last Tang standing, it somehow became a mission for her to find a man to settle down in a marriage. And so this is where the hooking ups started.

Plotwise, I wouldn't say that Last Tang Standing has an amazing storyline that blew my mind, but it was still fun to go through. Being a woman myself, I know how it feels to be reduced to someone who needs to find a man in order to "have a good life", so seeing how Andrea had to suffer through that after breaking up with a long time boyfriend, constantly worrying about being embarrassed in front of her relatives for not being married yet just made me feel sorry for her.

I may be blessed to have parents that don't bother me about getting married, but I hate to acknowledge that Last Tang Standing actually depicts the reality of many women even to this day. A woman's worth should not be measured by a man, and though this book didn't actually end up becoming about that (not with the multiple love interests suddenly coming to Andrea's way), I do think that it still allows the topic to be discussed. We're definitely still far from getting a world where everyone can accept that women are enough on her own if she wants to, but I believe books like Last Tang Standing can help more of us to see that.

When it comes to characters, Last Tang Standing has quite a number of interesting ones. Although I don't fancy how the book turned out to be some kind of a love mission, I still loved Andrea Tang plenty. She's a very fun character, and I enjoyed her sassiness as well. She's able to stand on her own, and I like that there was certainly character growth as Andrea acknowledges her worth more and more as the story progressed. Her casual snarky remarks, especially the petty wars between her and Suresh, her colleague, were much joy to read too.

I think despite being the "last Tang standing", Andrea still ended up getting marvellous choices when it comes to her love interests. Eric Deng, a wealthy entrepreneur who caught her attention in one of the parties she went to was a real gentleman, much older than her, but would definitely lavish her life well enough to change her life completely. Suresh Aditparan, her attractive colleague and rival was like a forbidden fruit, but putting their rivalry aside, they were supportive of each other and actually admires one another's skills. Both Eric and Suresh have strengths and flaws that complement well with Andrea, and I honestly didn't know who to team up with, but over the course of the story, I think Andrea chose the right person for her in the end.

Overall, I would say that Last Tang Standing is a fun and a rather quick read. The fact that the story was written in a journal/diary style made it more intimate and I was able to relate myself with Andrea and understand her better. This book may not have been the kind of feminist story that I was looking for, but it is still a good story that shows a woman's strength and independence, written in a very enjoyable way. I'm actually excited to read Lauren Ho's future works!

Thank you to MPH Distributors and HarperCollins UK for the Netgalley copy of Last Tang Standing in exchange for my honest review. This book is available in all good bookstores.


Tears sprang, unbidden, to my beady, plebeian eyes. That so much beauty was possible in the heart of this stone-and-concrete city, that it should be owned by one person, while I paid almost half my salary and almost all my waking hours for not even a hundredth of this space—it hurt. How could this be what my life had become about?

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Hopeful Morose is about embracing both the dark and light in life - it's okay to feel sad, broken, unwanted but knowing it is temporary as after the night there's morning. I hope this collection can give you hope in love, life or whichever difficulties that you're facing.

My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Happy publication day to Hopeful Morose by Rossyam Hadi ✨ 

First of all, I would like to say thank you to the poet himself for sending me Hopeful Morose to be read in advance, in exchange with an honest review. This poem collection is a very quick but memorable read, and I have actually finished reading through a few days ago. Due to several personal circumstances, I had to push back my review, and decided to post this on the publication day instead. It's 2AM right now, and here I am, pouring out my thoughts on this wonderful collection of poems instead of sleeping like I ought to be.

Hopeful Morose is a collection of poetry, written after the poet experienced heartbreak and depression. There is a total of 13 poems, and I would happily say that I'm in love with all of them. I mean, if Hopeful Morose is a person, I would have a major crush on him or her. And no, I'm not even exaggerating.

Hopeful Morose exuded a very calm feeling when I read it, and the comfort of that gave me some kind of a sense of belonging. I love reading soft and melancholy things, and I dare say that this poetry collection is my favourite kind of poetry. It has a touch of sadness to it, but the words are also uplifting at the same time. I was almost disappointed that there's only 13 poems, because I need more.

My personal favourites would be Best Lover and Wild; Best Lover just hits home because it described myself so well when I'm a lover. And here's my favourite part from the whole collection, which came from Wild:

Unwrapped the shell

and allowed my pearl to glint

over the ocean of emotions

that used to

drown me deep.

The way Rossyam Hadi executed his poems; the way each word complement each other; the emotions each piece of poetry brought forward—simply everything is perfection. I found solace in this collection of poems, and it will be the very thing that I will read in the middle of the night when I'm alone and needed comfort.

I look forward to more poems from Rossyam Hadi, and it would be lovely if someday, his poems can be published physically. Please do check out Syam's Hopeful Morose and his other works on his blog (http://rossyamhadi.blogspot.com), they are all beautifully written! If you're a poetry lover and enjoys melancholic yet comforting poems, this one's for you.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

I was preparing to revive back my haul posts after not doing it for so long, and then I realised that I never posted the second part of my Jan & Feb 2020 Haul. Leave it to me to forget about things like this, huh ┐( ̄∀ ̄)┌ oh well, let's just pretend that I purposely saved this post until now. 가자!

1. Enamel Pins and other gifts by Joonseason

Michelle (@joonseason) is the closest friend that I have in the pin-making community, and she often showers me with gifts whenever she feels like doing it. This time she sent me the Namkook Virgo Stars enamel pins (my memory is very bad, but I think I traded these two with two of my own enamel pins?) and gifted me with a Jungkook Wings enamel pin, Jungkook acrylic keychain and a smol enamel pin by one of my favourite artists, @alumandink! All of these are accompanied by a handwritten letter that is very personal to me, so I won't be able to share it here.

A lot of times, Michelle's care-packages had been the reason I could go through my days without feeling down, and I'm grateful that I befriended such an amazing person like her. Thank you Michelle for always bringing smiles to my days 💖

+ Gifted by @joonseason

2. Bangtan Hand Pins by Jhihiro

I'm not sure if this would sound weird, but I have a major love for hands. I'm obsessed with hands with beautiful fingers 👁👄👁 It should not be a surprise that I love to collect hand pictures of Bangtan, given how much I love the boys. So when Jing (@jhihiro) came up with these wooden hand pins, I actually screamed. Broke or not, I needed the whole set! 

My best friend, Joe, would remember how I freaked out when these pins went up for pre-orders; I was having an event where I was selling my pins at that time, so the time clashing between both things made me panic. But thanks to her help, I got my hands on the whole set 💜

On a serious note though, these pins are so pretty! I love them with my whole heart 💜💜💜 Jing, you deserve the whole world for all the hand arts that you draw! 👁👄👁💜

+ Purchased from @jhihiro

3. BTS Jungkook and Namjin Art Prints by Jackispainting

I don't think I can say anything much aside from MAD LOVE FOR THESE PRINTS ♡\( ̄▽ ̄)/♡ Jacky (@jackispainting) is definitely on of my favourite local artists, her art style is always super soft and pastel-ish 💖 Looking forward to hanging these on my room's wall soon!

+ Purchased from @jackispainting

4. GOT7 Bambam and Yugyeom — Spinning Top Preorder Benefit Postcard

I don't actually collect GOT7 merchs anymore these days, but I saved these two from the postcard sets that I bought as freebies for those who purchased my GOT7 enamel pin, since there are extras and both Bambam and Yugyeom are my biases 💚

+ Purchased from Carousell (the seller already deactivated)

5. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

I was sent this review copy in exchange with an honest review, thank you so much Pansing! The Ghost Bride is a historical fantasy young adult novel (and slightly paranormal) based in the 1890s Malaya. I enjoyed reading it, and gave it a 4 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 You can read my review for it: here

This book has also been adapted into a Netflix series! You can watch it here if you're not into reading much.

+ Gifted by Pansing (@definitelybooks), now available in all good bookstores 

6. Kaison Vanilla Aroma Room Spray

My favourite scent will always be vanilla, and this aroma room spray has a really good scent of vanilla! It's not overpowering at all, and has a calming effect on me whenever I'm using it for my room ♡( ◡‿◡ )

+ Purchased at Kaison

7. BTS 2020 Season's Greeting

I've made a whole unboxing post for everything inside of this Season's Greeting earlier in February! You can check it out here 💜

+ Purchased from Peachychimmy on Carousell

8. BT21 Mang Wrist Cushion

My second favourite BT21 character is Mang (after Cooky); I just adore Mang's colours so much! We don't have any LINE stores here in my country, so when I heard that there was a VT Cosmetics and BT21 pop-up store coming to one of the malls here, I didn't hesitate to go of course. This wrist cushion is one of the cheapest BT21 merch available then, and although I don't think I'll ever use it for my wrist, I'm so glad I bought it. It's just the cutest (💜˙︶˙💜)

+ Purchased at a BT21 pop-up store

9. Heart Shaped Sticky Notes

Just another one of my impulsive buys when it comes to cute sticky notes ( ̄▽ ̄*)ゞ

+ Purchased at Mr. DIY

10. Blank Notebooks

I forgot to take the picture of how these two books looked originally, but this is how I end up decorating them 💜✨ The white one will be used as a journal, while the black one is for a sketchbook! I have yet to use both of them until today, but hopefully soon!

Purchased at Mr. DIY

11. Mermaid Eyelash Curler

I'll just admit right away that I bought this because of its mermaid-shaped handle (*ノ∀`*) In terms of design, it's really pretty  But in terms of usage, I don't think it's amazing, maybe decent enough. Sometimes I can barely even see the difference with my eyelashes after using it. Either that, or I'm just bad at using an eyelash curler haha!

+ Purchased at a local shopping mall

12. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

I've heard a lot of good reviews with this moisturizing cream from many beauty/skin experts, so I thought I'd give it a try. And I shall say that this is now a holy grail of mine; I'm never ever changing  to a different moisturiser ever again! My skin is sensitive and quite dry, prone to breakouts as well, and I'm so happy that this moisturiser works so well with my face. It keeps my skin moisturised and become softer.

The downside of it is that it's quite expensive since it's imported, and it's not available in our local drugstores so I have no choice but to purchase it online every time. Not really complaining though, I love this product so much  I'll do whatever it takes to have it.

+ Purchased from thyevilqueen on Shopee

13. Moonchild Enamel Pin by Heartune.co

Traded this beautiful moonchild Joon pin with Rina (@heartune.co)! I'm absolutely head-over-heels with it 👁👄👁💜✨✨✨ The details of all parts of it, the chains, the smol moon, Joon's face itself—everything is just honestly so wonderful! Perhaps I will never get over the beauty of this pin (💜˙︶˙💜)

+ Traded with @heartune.co

14. Healing Enamel Pin by Kazel_

When I first saw this enamel pin, I couldn't take my eyes off it. It's absolutely beautiful and adorable at the same time! I've also always think that flowers in tall boots are very pretty for some reasons. I wear this pin on my bucket hat (the one below) 

I bought this at a local vendor, but I managed to find the artists Instagram page and I love her works so much! I'm hoping that I can snatch some of her other enamel pins too someday.

+ Can be purchased at @kazel_'s Etsy

15. "I'm glad to hear that" Bucket Hat

Bought this when I was playing tourist around George Town, Penang, with a friend of mine. It was a typical hot day that day, so I impulsively purchased this hat to protect myself better from the heat. No regrets, definitely.

Fun fact: I used to hate bucket hats, but somehow I end up being obsessed with it now. I need more bucket hats ♡\( ̄▽ ̄)/♡


And so, that's it! This post is almost six months overdue, but I had fun editing and writing it anyway. Let me just prepare my haul post for July soon and hope that it won't end up only popping here on my blog next year or something (⁄ ⁄>⁄ ▽ ⁄<⁄ ⁄) 

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'


PSD Colouring (base) - Play Nice by Wildfireresources

Fonts -

Title: Raybearer
Series: Raybearer #1
Author: Jordan Ifueko
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: August 18th 2020
Pages: 496

Synopsis (Goodreads): Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.

That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?


My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Oh. My. God. Reading Raybearer was such an intense ride, I don't think I'll be able to recover from it anytime soon (and I'm saying this after reading it almost three months ago). It felt like I've read an entire series, instead of a single almost-five-hundred-pages-of-book. Everything was super packed, but in a very good way. I've had my fair share of reading fantasy books, and they can get predictable at times, but Raybearer seems to be an expert in proving me wrong so many times!

I'm going to start with how gorgeous the book cover is 🔥 The bold colours on top of black are just stunning to look at, and the fierce lions just made it a thousand times better. And perhaps I'm the only person dumb enough to not notice a face staring back at you in between the lion and lioness. I only noticed it while editing the picture above, after accidentally inverting the colours. The way the leaves and branches were played as part of her face, I think it's just so brilliant!

As for the plot, I'd say that it's definitely a whirlwind of emotions being involved. The plot is solid, with characters and cultures and magical beliefs that I really enjoyed learning about. I'm not very familiar with fantasy books based on Nigerian culture and folktales, so reading Raybearer at first was a bit difficult, but I was easily hooked into the story as well! Tarisai is such a strong and bold character, and I loved how her character grew from a girl who only longed for her mother's love to a lady wise enough to lead. I love her interaction with Dayo, Sanjeet and Kirah. The whole idea of having a council, where you're bonded with your council members, feels so intimate and intriguing to read about. This book also talked about how everyone deserved to be treated fairly, and I loved the message it brought in the end which said that women and men should work side by side instead of fighting which gender is better.

The main characters are also written so well! While Tarisai herself is fierce, passionate and will always do her best for the sake of others, Kirah is kind-hearted and protective, constantly there for Tarisai whenever the former needed the latter. I love how Kirah always tries her best to believe in Tarisai, despite the misunderstanding that happened in one part of the story. Dayo is like the softest prince ever, and I love him so much for loving Tarisai so much. Dayo and Tarisai absolutely complement each other; I'm looking forward to how they're going to be side by side in the sequel! I love Sanjeet a lot too, my heart just softened for him as people tend to misunderstood him due to his looks and power, when in reality he's very gentle. The relationship that bloomed between him and Tarisai surpised me, but I have no complaints about it at all!

Overall, Raybearer is one of the best fantasy books that I've ever read. It has a solid plot that kept me scrambling to the next pages, that made me scream I need more when it ended; characters that are very well-written and so easy to love, making me want to learn more about them; and the culture and magical beliefs in it are also something that I truly enjoyed reading. If you're a fantasy lover, I strongly recommend reading Raybearer because you definitely don't want to miss such a magnificent story!

Happy book birthday to Raybearer 💖 Thank you Pansing for sending me this book in exchange with an honest review. It's now available in all good bookstores!


"I choose the girl who walks through fire," he said. "I choose sunshine."

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

"Love cuts deeper than any blade."

Title: Chain of Gold
Series: The Last Hours #1
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker Books
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: March 3rd 2020
Pages: 624

Synopsis (Goodreads): Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.

James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.


My rating: 5 / 5 ★

How do I start this review? From where do I even start? My love for Chain of Gold is too immense that I can hardly come up with decent coherent words to write this review. I don't usually go for thick books, but if it's from Cassandra Clare, I feel that the thicker the book is, the better it is. I never want it to end honestly, even if it's painful (oh the bitter joy of reading any of the Shadowhunter's series).

I'll have to admit that I have yet to read The Infernal Devices trilogy, which took place before Chain of Gold. But I've read the manga/graphic novel of Clockwork Angel (the first book from TID) and have enough friends that are fans of the Shadowhunter series, so I know almost enough about Jem, Will and Tessa to not make my progress of reading Chain of Gold to be confusing. In case you haven't known, Chain of Gold takes place after TID, about their friends' and their own children.

Honestly, I just love everything about Chain of Gold. The plot, the characters, the twists, the romance (oh yes, the romance is almost intense but not too intense), the frustration—as much as I love this book, I'm also absolutely frustrated with it. Since the book reached 600+ pages, there are bound to be a LOT of things going, and certain times I literally forgot what had happened in the several previous chapters, but they never bore me and I kept flipping the pages forward eagerly. All the fights and actions are fleshed out in details that I can almost see them. And the ending? Oh the ending. It definitely left me screaming agonisingly for more.

What I like about Clare's writing style is that it's very easy to read; it wasn't overwhelming at all. The characters are mostly witty and interesting enough for me to want to know more about them. Despite being told from the third person point-of-view of more than one character, I don't think it made the story messy at all. In fact, I had wanted to know the feelings of each of the main characters without being influenced by them (I'm easily influenced by the characters when the story is written through a first person point-of-view), so the writing style of this book is absolutely perfect for me.

I fell in love very easily with the characters in Chain of Gold, especially Cordelia Carstairs. From the moment she first appeared in the book, I knew she's going to have a special place in my heart, and she did! She has the sweetest and kindest heart, yet at the same time her courage is probably so much bigger than the rest of her friends. She wouldn't hesitate to help those in need, and when she's in action with Cortana, she absolutely slays everything. Literally. I just love this girl too much (°◡°♡).:。 

I kinda have a love-hate relationship towards James Herondale. He's a wonderful person, calm, mostly rational, pretty much the leader of his friends, a protective brother, gorgeous—he's almost perfect. Almost. The fact that he has some dark powers related to his origin of being the grandchild to a demon, and the way he struggled to work with his newfound power made me love him more. But every single time he's with Grace Cartwright, I hated him. I know for a fact that there was a reason as to why he acted the way he did whenever Grace was present, but I still felt like smacking some senses into him. That one particular scene during the party where James did something to Cordelia because of Grace, I was absolutely fuming. Despite my frustrations over James, he's still a good person and I'm looking forward to have more of him and Cordelia in Chain of Iron soon.

Other characters that I loved are Matthew Fairchild, Lucie Herondale and Anna Lightwood. Matthew is James parabatai, and oh man, I just love this boy. There's something mysterious about Matthew; he's often found to be drunk without actually appearing to be drunk, but I felt like there's more to him than meets the eye. He's very protective of his parabatai, which is a given because that bond is closer than anything else, but I just appreciate his presence a lot. Lucie is the sweetest little soul and I loved her more for being a passionate writer. Just like James, Lucie is learning about her own power as well and I'm curious to see how she's going to use it. As for Anna, I don't actually know how to describe her, but I love her personality a lot. She wears menswear all the time and only date girls, and her personality is very fun and interesting. I like how fond she is of James and his friends, including Lucie and Cordelia. She reminds me of Magnus Bane, in a female form.

I could go on and on about how much I love Chain of Gold, but I would love to leave this review spoiler-free and urge you to read this book to experience the intense journey yourself. If you're a fan of the Shadowhunter series, what else are you even waiting for? But if you haven't read any books from the Shadowhunter series, I'd still recommend Chain of Gold if you're into young adult fantasy. That's the fun thing with the Shadowhunter series, despite having multiple trilogies/series in one huge series, starting any of them not in the right order will not affect your reading at all. Cassandra Clare is good in writing the world in details in each trilogy/series, so you won't miss out anything!

This review is honestly a mess, but that's exactly how I felt after reading Chain of Gold. A good and satisfying kind of mess that leaves me wanting so much more.

Thank you Pansing for sending me this review copy in exchange for an honest review. Chain of Gold is now available in all good bookstores!


Do not let those who cannot see the truth tell you who you are. You are the flame that cannot be put out. You are the star that cannot be lost. You are who you have always been, and that is enough and more than enough. Anyone who looks at you and sees darkness is blind.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Tajuk: Sumpah
Siri: -
Pengarang: Shaz Johar
Penerbit: Buku Fixi
Genre: Seram
Format: Paperback
Tarikh Terbitan: 25 Jun 2020
Mukasurat: 292

Sinopsis (Goodreads): Kerana desakan hidup, Lela Palatute yang baru berusia 12 tahun telah dikahwinkan dengan seorang lelaki yang jauh lebih tua oleh ibunya sendiri. Dia kemudian terpaksa menjalani kehidupan sebagai seorang isteri dalam sebuah banglo mewah yang diwarisi suaminya, jauh dari kehidupan lamanya sebagai remaja yang masih bersekolah.

Semasa menerokai banglo itu dan kawasan sekitarnya, dia telah bertemu seorang wanita tua yang mahu membunuhnya serta makhluk misteri di dalam loteng yang sering mengikutnya ke mana-mana. Enggan terus hidup diselubungi misteri, Lela merancang cara untuk kembali kepada kehidupan asalnya dan keluar daripada malapetaka yang sedang berlaku.


Rating: 4 / 5 ★

Sumpah menceritakan kisah tentang Lela, seorang kanak-kanak berumur 12 tahun yang terpaksa berkahwin dengan seorang lelaki tua atas desakan hidup. Lelaki tersebut boleh dikatakan sama umur dengan ayahnya sendiri yang telah meninggal dunia. Tidak lama setelah dipaksa menjadi isteri orang pada umur yang sangat muda, Lela dipaksa berpindah dengan suaminya ke sebuah banglo mewah, dan di situ kehidupannya semakin buruk dihantui dengan pelbagai masalah dan misteri.

Pada asalnya, aku teragak-agak untuk sertai BlogTwit Tour ini selepas membaca sinopsis Sumpah, kerana aku cukup tidak suka dengan subjek child marriage. Tetapi pada masa yang sama, aku juga tertanya-tanya kenapa ibu watak utama sendiri sanggup mengahwinkan anaknya dengan lelaki tua tu, dan aku juga tertarik dengan wanita tua dan makhluk misteri yang akan menghantui watak utama tersebut. Sepanjang aku baca Sumpah, hati aku memang panas membuak-buak dengan manusia yang membenarkan Lela dikahwinkan dengan lelaki yang jauh sangat tua daripadanya, dengan alasan jika Lela tak berbuat demikian, keluarga mereka tidak akan mampu bertahan hidup tanpa sebarang harta.

Yang paling aku tak tahan, orang yang mengakui beragama tu sendiri yang mengatakan Lela patut dikahwinkan. Aku sebagai pembaca memang rasa nak menjerit je. "Orang-orang agama" seperti inilah yang merosakkan nama baik Islam tu sendiri sebab suka nak guna agama untuk justify kehendak nafsu masing-masing. Sepatutnya, sebagai anak yatim, Lela patut dibantu oleh orang kampung dari segi sumbangan, bukannya menyerahkan seluruh hidup dia pada orang tua yang mengambil kesempatan keatasnya. Tetapi itulah realiti sedih bagi banyak kanak-kanak perempuan sehingga ke hari ini, mereka yang masih muda dan naif tidak mampu hendak melakukan apa-apa untuk selamatkan diri mereka, termasuklah Lela Palatute sendiri.

Dari segi plot, aku memuji cara penceritaan penulis. Aliran cerita senang untuk dibaca dan mudah difahami, serta penulis juga berjaya masukkan beberapa babak yang aku rasa agak menghiburkan yang membuatkan Sumpah tidak terlalu serius dan bosan untuk dibaca. Aku seorang saja ke yang tergelak bila penulis masukkan "aura calon ke 19", barangkali untuk menyindir orang yang asalnya menggunakan ayat tersebut? 😂 Selain itu, babak-babak ngeri dimana lembaga hitam muncul untuk menghantui Lela pun aku suka, boleh kata meremang jugalah bulu roma semasa membacanya. Sengaja aku membaca Sumpah pada waktu malam ketika duduk di rumah kayu nenek aku di kampung untuk ambil mood, memang memuaskan.

Aku juga sangat suka dan kasihan dengan watak Lela. Pada umur yang sangat muda, Lela dipaksa untuk berkahwin, dipaksa untuk menjadi dewasa dan fikir bagaimana hendak melayan suami. Peluang dia untuk menjalani kehidupan kanak-kanak dan membesar dengan baik hilang macam itu saja, dek kerana orang dewasa yang tidak bertanggungjawab. Memang untuk keseluruhan cerita ini, memang tiada seorang dewasa pun yang benar-benar fikir tentang kebaikan untuk Lela. Aku rasa jijik dan marah dengan setiap seorang daripada mereka, termasuklah ibu Lela sendiri yang asyik memarahi Lela bila Lela cuba mengadu, bukannya melindungi Lela.

Pada asalnya, selepas membaca sinopsis Sumpah, aku mengagak yang elemen seram dan misteri akan muncul selepas Lela berpindah ke rumah banglo suaminya, namun aku salah. Makhluk misteri yang menghantui Lela itu ada daripada awal lagi, membuatkan aku tertanya-tanya mengapa Lela dihantui dengan sangat teruk. Walaupun muda, aku dapat lihat yang Lela ni bukan seorang yang mudah patah semangat. Dalam ketakutan dia atas dunia baru yang langsung tidak diketahuinya ditambah pula dengan makhluk misteri yang mengganggu kehidupan hariannya, Lela masih berani untuk berusaha mencari jawapan dengan caranya sendiri. Pada penghujung Sumpah, apabila segalanya terbongkar, aku memang kagum dengan cara penulis simpulkan cerita ini.

Secara keseluruhan, walaupun aku rasa marah sepanjang membaca Sumpah, namun aku mengakui yang aku sangat suka dengan buku ini dan memang aku akan cuba untuk membaca karya Shaz Johar yang lain pada masa akan datang. Terdapat banyak mesej penting yang diberi perhatian dalam buku ini, termasuklah child marriage, rape, ilmu hitam, keadaan terdesak kerana kedaifan, penggunaan agama sebagai alasan untuk mengikut nafsu, serta peranan wanita yang dikatakan tidak boleh melakukan apa-apa untuk diri sendiri tetapi cuma memuaskan hati suami. Wanita dan kanak-kanak perempuan berhak untuk hidup demi kebahagiaan mereka sendiri.

Terima kasih kepada Buku Fixi dan Untitled Book Club kerana menganjurkan BlogTwit Tour bersama Sumpah oleh Shaz Johar. Jangan lupa untuk membaca ulasan buku Sumpah daripada book bloggers yang lain!


"Jujur Pak Hadir cakap, selama Pak Hadir hidup, dah 18 orang yang cuba nak jadi isteri Pak Hadir, tapi semuanya Pak Hadir tolak dengan mudah. Tiba Lela, calon yang ke-19, Pak Hadir tak dapat nak tolak entah kenapa. Aura Lela terlalu kuat." Sepotong mangga disuapkan ke mulutku.

"Aura tu apa?"

"Lela menyesal ke kahwin dengan Pak Hadir?"

Ya. Tapi aku hanya diam.

Hingga berjumpa lagi ♡ Tulus ikhlas, Aishah Humaira'

Title: Sunshine and Whiskey
Series: -
Author: Lauren White
Publisher: -
Genres: Poetry
Format: E-book
Publication Date: February 29th 2020
Pages: 446

Synopsis (Goodreads): A collection of poetry from the bumbling teenage years to the adult woman, still trying to find her place.


My rating: 3 / 5 ★

Sunshine and Whiskey is a self-published collection of poetry about love, loss, longing and lust. At rare moments, the poems would be about self love or escaping toxic relationship. I would like to thank the poet, Lauren White, and BookTasters on Twitter for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. And that being said, I will be fully honest with my words.

This review is rather hard for me to write, because I had to DNF this book. I have never DNF-ed a review copy before, but I could not force myself to continue reading Sunshine and Whiskey, because I might end up disliking it. I'd hate for that to happen, because although I only read the book halfway through, there are good points about it, and if I were to continue, I would feel forced.

The book is divided into five parts—Summer, Lauren, Broken, Awakened and Boldly. I only read until the Broken part, and I still do not see the point of these parts? It might be personal to the poet, perhaps when she had written these poems, those were the categories she thought of. But to me, they seemed rather meaningless, as the poems do not seem to be categorised at all. At one moment, I would be reading about a poem where the persona was longing for the person that she loved, and the next moment she would hate the person and wanted to move on, but the next poem would be about longing again.

I personally think it would have been better if the poet categorised her poems into sections, maybe starting with falling in love, and then falling out of love, continued with longing and lastly moving on. It can be arranged in any way, but it would definitely be easier to read if they were categorised together, instead of being thrown altogether.

I am aware that this book is self published, so maybe the poet had no editor to check on her work, but I think it's better for me to still point this out. I found several grammatical errors and typos, which is not too glaring, but as a reviewer, I do think it's quite noticeable. One of it is the wrong use of "your" and "you're". Please note that "your" means belonging to you, while "you're" is the shortened version of you are. There were occasional times when the word "I" was written in lowercase, which is wrong, (unless it was written like that with a purpose).

And correct me if I'm wrong, but the word "mine" means belonging to me, but if you were to refer to something yours, you would say "my", not "mine". An example of it was in one of the poems (forgive me, but I forgot which one), where the poet wrote "mine ears". I would think that it should have been "my ears". As for the format too, I think each new poem should start on a new page. I'm not sure if the e-book I was given had an error in its format, but there were some poems that started at the end of a page, with one stanza, before continuing at the next page. I think it doesn't look neat, and rather distracting. I'm not trying to be smart about any of this, but I believe that if the poet is to ever continue writing, she deserves to know these.

Apart from that, certain poems seem to be very lengthy. I actually do not mind long poems, but the topic of the poems seemed to be repetitive, and when some poems started right after a poem ends instead of at a new page, it felt like reading a paragraph without a full stop. It was difficult for me to stay focus. I also think that some of the poems should have a trigger warning for them? I found two poems that mentioned self-harm, which can even be considered as a suicide attempt. Maybe it felt personal to the poet, and perhaps some readers didn't mind them, but I think that it's rather unwise to mention about self harm so vividly in a poetry book. A short trigger warning would be appreciated.

I know that it seemed that I consider Sunshine and Whiskey to be full of negative points, but that would be wrong. There are several poems that I truly love, such as Her Lovely Face, Your Loss, Open the Door, Mordant and Forgotten Things. Other poems also have some paragraphs or stanzas that are beautifully written. I'll share a couple of them below:

"Love is a splendid feeling
That should be given and felt
And though sometimes it hurts
We never give up on it
Hate is for the lost
Those who gave up on love
And so they choose anger
Life is not just what you see
It is only what you make it
So choose a path
Never look back
Do not be ashamed of it."
Little Girl

My adoration
For you blooms until I might
Burst from the passion
With each passing season I'm
More irrevocably yours

The words chosen by the poet are mostly beautiful, and she even used many extravagant words to title her poems. At first I felt overwhelmed by the number of words that I've never heard of, but I had fun learning them. Some of the words include resplendent, rambunctious, vociferous, de rigueur, mordant and many more. I also think that the poet writes good sensual poems, without making them sound cringeworthy or dirty. It would suit best for adult readers that enjoy poetry about love.

Although Sunshine and Whiskey are obviously not meant for me, I do believe that other poetry lovers may love it. To the poet, Lauren White, I wish the best for you in the future if you ever continue writing poetry, and congratulations for your success in publishing this poetry collection on your own ❤️


you are less without me
but, I am less with you

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'