I don't think many knows this but the Benedict-Savant series by Joss Stirling has always been my most favourite book series of all. The Benedict brothers are my favourite fictional siblings, and I finally read these side stories that comes from the point of views of Zed, Yves and Xavier Benedict when they first met their soulfinders. They are only short stories, but I was delighted enough to finally know the perspective of these brothers, and how they actually felt when they first met Sky, Phoenix and Crystal.

Since they are only short stories, my reviews are short too so I'll just combine them into this single post.


Title: Challenging Zed
Series: Benedict-Savant #1.5
Author: Joss Stirling
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Kindle Edition
Publication Date: February 14th 2013
Pages: 32

Synopsis (Goodreads): The Benedict brothers all have different abilities and powers. One can move things with his mind, another can heal. Zed Benedict is the youngest and the most powerful of the seven brothers and he is on the road to destruction until he meets his soulmate, Sky Bright. She is his balance, the light to his dark. Together they are even more powerful. Zed knows that they are meant to be together and that there is a connection that cannot be denied. But how can he convince Sky that their destinies are entwined when she doesn’t even realize the true nature of her potential? A brilliant addition to the Finding Sky series for both new and old fans alike.

My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Review: I've forgotten just how much I love the chemistry between Sky and Zed; their interactions before Sky learned about her true self were adorable and it's great to finally read it from Zed's perspective 💗 He fancied her ever since he first saw her and it was funny to see him trying to deny it. Planning to reread Finding Sky again soon because I can never have enough of these two!


Title: Burning Yves
Series: Benedict-Savant #2.5
Author: Joss Stirling
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Kindle Edition
Publication Date: December 1st 2015
Pages: 41

Synopsis (Goodreads): The Benedict brothers all have different abilities and powers. One can move things with his thoughts alone, another can heal. Yves Benedict is the second youngest of the seven brothers and he has the ability to set things on fire with his mind. This means he must keep a tight rein on his emotions which isn’t easy when he meets his soulmate . . . Phoenix is nothing like Yves imagined. She’s secretive, elusive and a thief. Yves lives by a strict code of honour and Phoenix is tangled up in a web of crime. But their fiery attraction cannot be denied. Sparks will fly as their destinies and hearts collide. A brilliant addition to the Finding Sky series for both new and old fans alike.

My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Review: Yves is one of the gentlest and kindest of the Benedicts, except when he lost his control over his powers. This book didn't have much scene of him with Phoenix, save for their first and second encounter, but it's more to how Yves views himself and how he wished to find his soulfinder.

I could relate to him when it comes to not having much belief in himself, but it's heartwarming to see how fierce he was when he told Phoenix that he'd do everything he can just to let her stay with him. In a normal world, calling someone you met only twice as "mine" might sound a bit predatory, but in this series where soulfinders exist, I feel it rather cute that Yves didn't hesitate to call her as "his" Phoenix.

I also love how this story shows more of how close the relationship between the Benedict brothers, and how Sky fits so well with them. My heart is just so full of love for them ❤


Title: Teasing Xav
Series: Benedict-Savant #3.5
Author: Joss Stirling
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Kindle Edition
Publication Date: October 6th 2016
Pages: 39

Synopsis (Goodreads): The Benedict brothers all have different abilities and powers. One can see the future, another can manipulate fire. Xav Benedict is the third youngest of the seven brothers and he has the power to heal. Crystal however is one patient who isn’t interested in being made better by Xav. It’s hate at first sight as his playful ways fail to charm her, but Xav just can’t stay away. He knows that she’s hiding something, even if Crystal doesn’t know it herself yet. Will he be able to tease the truth from her? A brilliant addition to the Savants series by Joss Stirling for both new and old fans alike.

My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Review: Reading Teasing Xav made me miss Xav so much more; he's my absolute favourite out of all the Benedict brothers 💗 I love that this story focuses on Xav familiarising himself with his power. The innocent friendship he had when he was young, how he almost sacrificed himself to help heal the friend and using his power to make a lot of people feel better just showed how compassionate Xav is, despite his carefree and mischievous attitude.

Unlike in Challenging Zed and Burning Yves, Xav was the only one who didn't connect with his soulfinder in his short story, but that was because his situation with Crystal was much more complicated compared to his brothers. But it's the way that he didn't hesitate to go out of his way to help Crystal that made him a wonderful person.

All in all, I love these three short stories that provided more insight to the life of the Benedict brothers. They're forever my favourite siblings 💖


That little blonde, the thorn in his side for the last few weeks, was the one. His soulfinder. Inside him, light burst into all the dark corners like curtains being thrown open, fresh breeze driving out the heavy atmosphere. His howl of protest transformed into a whoop of delight.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Title: The Crowns of Croswald
Series: The Crowns of Croswald #1
Author: D.E. Night
Publisher: Stories Untold
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Adventure
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: July 21st 2017
Pages: 320

Synopsis (Goodreads): Ivy Lovely is 16 and she has no idea who she is—or what her powers could be. When she crosses a magical boundary, she discovers a whole new world of enchantment and mystery. Making friends that will last a lifetime—and save her life—she steps into her own abilities and discovers more about her hidden past, magical blood, and the power of Croswald’s mystical stones. But all is not well: a dark history and an evil Queen threatens all that is good. Will Ivy’s bravery and wit be enough?

Curious and whimsical, both shy and brave, Ivy is a hero that connects with readers of all ages. For those who wished that Narnia, Harry Potter, and Alice in Wonderland could go on forever, Croswald opens a whole new world of magic. Recommended as a read-aloud for families and a first middle-grade fantasy read, The Crowns of Croswald is a four-part series that will carry readers to a whimsical world that they won’t want to leave.

My rating: 3 / 5 ★

Ivy Lovely grew up as a scaldrony maid, tending to the scaldrony dragons that serve purposes in breathing fires in the castle's kitchen. She's a dilligent worker, if not rather clumsy and too curious. Only having a dwarf as a best friend, Ivy wished she could spend her days sketching and reading and no longer be a scaldrony maid—until one eventful day, she was kicked out of the castle before being whisked away to Halls of Ivy, the academy of magic in Croswald. She soon learned how to wield actual magic in school and more secrets from her past slowly started to unravel.

I had a hard time getting into the world of The Crowns of Croswald. I will not say that I disliked the writing style, but I find it difficult for me to grasp the way the author described the places and people in this book. The premise of the plot as a whole is very intriguing, yet I feel like there were too many info dump. I am aware that since this is a fantasy story, it made sense that there are to be many descriptive parts for its world building, but Ivy spent a lot of time alone on her own to discover things and the lack of dialogues to buffer the moments made my reading progress very strenuous.

Unfortunately, I did not like Ivy's character all that much either. I love outspoken and curious characters, but with Ivy, she just seemed too reckless and can be annoying at times as well. At some point, I find it hard to care what answers she wanted to seek, and wished that she would just lay low for once. I do however, like her interactions with Fyn, a senior who appeared to always be there for her (sometimes rather suspiciously too), and with Rebecca, her new classmate and roommate. The times that she spent with Fyn or Rebecca were some of the only moments where I do think Ivy is actually nice.

Although I found it hard to go through The Crowns of Croswald at first, the story is still enjoyable for me as a whole. The climax of the book is much exciting, and it was wonderful to see how Ivy used her power when facing the villain. I like how the book is concluded, and I actually do look forward to Ivy's next adventures in the sequel.

Many thanks to the publisher for reaching out to me, and thank you Netgalley for the e-book copy of The Crowns of Croswald. I only realised belatedly after accepting to review the book, that I actually won a physical copy of it before in a giveaway.


"How did you know I'll be here?"

"I didn't. I just...I had a feeling. Not sure why it is but sometimes I think of you and...it's as though, I don't know."

"Wait, you think of me?"


"And you didn't forget me?"

"No. I guess that's strange, isn't it?"

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Title: The Girl and the Ghost
Series: -
Author: Hanna Alkaf
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genres: Childrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Asian Literature
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: August 4th 2020
Pages: 288

Synopsis (Goodreads): I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.

My rating: 5 / 5 ★

The Girl and the Ghost is an endearing story about a sweet girl named Suraya, who inherited a pelesit—a familiar spirit in the Malay folklore, generally in the form of a grasshopper—from her witch grandmother. She later named the pelesit as Pink, and grew up only having Pink as her true friend. But then Jing Wei came along and the two girls bonded immediately. That was when Pink started to change and Suraya's life took a darker turn.

There are two main reasons why I love this book with all my heart:

1) The characters are extremely loveable! Suraya is the cutest little bean, and it was no surprise how protective Pink is towards her. I will literally sacrifice myself for Suraya too! At such a young age, she is very mature and she understood immediately how people view her differently from others. I love how she called herself "the durian of friends", like an acquired taste so only certain people will get her (it's not a secret that the taste of durian is an acquired taste, and not everyone will love it). I also love the fact that Suraya never wanted her bullies to suffer too; she refused to let Pink harm them using his powers, because she knew that would just make her the same as her bullies. I love Suraya so much—PETITION TO START A SURAYA-PROTECTION-SQUAD!

I also love Pink a lot too; he's very protective towards Suraya and it's so heartwarming to see how he tries his best to be gentle and kind just like Suraya. His character is just like an adorable puppy, sometimes creating mischief and when Suraya reprimanded him, he knew how to feel guilty. The dynamic between Suraya and Pink is just too cute! But there was a point where the two had a row and Pink's way of revenge can be quite petty, if not horrifying. 

And then there is Jing Wei, Suraya's new best friend. Just like Suraya, I willingly will sacrifice anything for Jing—she is too relatable! She is a literal ball of sunshine that simply seems to be excited for any new adventures. I love the point where Pink finally opens up about his origin story, and trust me that it is a horrifying story, but Jing just gets really excited about it. She does remind me of myself because I love me some horror stories! Jing is also quick-witted and fun, and I appreciate her so much for constantly being there for Suraya despite their different backgrounds.

2) The second reason as to why I love this book so much is the representation of local Malay ghosts! I am just so thrilled that I finally recognise the names of ghosts haunting in a book that I read. I love how Hanna Alkaf described each of the ghost mentioned in the story, and she even included how the ghosts are summoned. I think my favourite part will be the trio meeting the ghosts at the cemetery, especially with Hussein.

There were many other Malay things casually being mentioned in the story, and overall I just feel so happy reading this book—well, the horror parts are horrifying enough but this book still gave me a lot of happiness. I think it's safe to say that The Girl and the Ghost is one of my most favourite local books, and Hanna Alkaf easily entered my list of favourite authors. 

The Girl and the Ghost is a very endearing story that depicts the life of a girl living with a ghost in Malaysia, and there is nothing more perfect than that. It is a book great for all ages, and the writing style is easy enough for young readers to understand—if they are brave enough to read ghosts though. It's a quick read that can easily be finished in a single seating, and I definitely recommend this book to all readers.

Thank you to MPH Distributors for the copy of The Girl and the Ghost in exchange for my honest review. This book is available in all good bookstores, and trust me, you do not want to miss it!


“"I always wanted to know about my family," Suraya said quietly, and her voice was small and sad. "But all I've learned of my grandmother so far is that she was a horrible, mean person. And I have her blood. What does that say about me?"

"It says that the most beautiful blooms come from the darkest soil."

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'


Title: Haru's Curse
Original Title: Haru no Noroi
Series: Haru no Noroi #1-2
Author: Asuka Konishi, Hannah Airriess (Translator)
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Genres: Romance, Graphic Novel, New Adult, Josei, Contemporary
Format: Kindle Edition
Publication Date: February 16th 2021 (first published 2016)
Pages: 360

Synopsis (Goodreads): After Natsumi's younger sister and best friend Haru dies at the age of 19, she begins dating Haru's fiancee Togo - on the condition that he take her only to places he had taken her sister. Their relationship deepens as the seasons pass, but Haru's curse lies between them... 

Will there be happiness after Haru's curse is broken?

My rating: 4.5 / 5 ★

TW: depression, suicide

At the start of this manga, Natsumi was attending the funeral of her younger sister, Haru. She was seen discreetly slipping a picture of Haru with her fiancé, Togo, into the casket with Haru's body before the funeral ended. Natsumi later started dating Togo after he asked her out after the funeral ended, and she accepted with the condition that they visit the places he visted with Haru during their dates. Sounds horrible, right? I wholeheartedly agree, but Haru's Curse is more than just a story about a sister "stealing" her dead sister's fiancé.

Haru's Curse is a story about Natsumi and Togo, the closest people to Haru and how they dealt with grief and guilt after Haru's death. Haru and Togo were engaged for an arranged marriage, and while Haru helplessly fell in love with Togo, it seemed that it was not the same case for him. He ends up asking Natsumi out after the funeral, using his parents as an excuse. Shockingly, Natsumi agreed right away, giving him a condition for agreeing to it. Their relationship stayed as a secret between them, and while their feelings start to bloom towards each other, the guilt of betraying Haru continued gnawing at their hearts.

I saw a few other readers saying that Togo is toxic for asking Natsumi out, and not reciprocating Haru's feelings at all despite dating her for more than two years. While I agree to a certain level that that behaviour is toxic (I mean, how could you even ask your dead fiancée's sister to date you right after your fiancée's funeral?), I would not say that Togo is a bad person. For a start, he got engaged to Haru because of his parents, and he was kind towards Haru during their two years of relationship. Despite catching feelings for Natsumi, Togo did not acknowledge it and was ready to marry Haru. He only approached Natsumi when Haru was gone. Not exactly something applaudable, but Togo should not be blamed for wanting someone that he truly loves. And if Togo is toxic for asking Natsumi out after the funeral, who's to say that Natsumi is not toxic as well, for accepting to be in a relationship with him? 

The original manga in Japanese consisted of two books, but the English version is combined into a single book, in two parts. In the first part, the story is told from the perspective of Natsumi and Togo. From just a few pages, it was obvious how much they both wanted to care and love each other, yet the guilt held them back. In the second part, readers are exposed to Haru's perspective, which I really appreciate. I love Asuka Konoshi's artwork; not only are they beautiful, but the expressions for each character are so vivid and clear that you can easily understand their emotions.

Natsumi's character is easily likeable. She is attentive towards those around her, and she tries her best to be cheerful and happy around her family, despite knowing that her father doted more on Haru. She loves Haru a lot; she even confessed to Togo that she was probably in love with her sister, because Haru was the only real family to her. This caring part of her was what drew Togo towards her, without both of them realising it. While Togo may seem rather emotionless most of the time, I rather believe that he is just not good at expressing himself. Growing up following whatever his mother wanted, he never had any dreams of his own—and this changed when Natsumi entered his life. 

I like that Haru's character is present too, although she was no longer alive. Her character is portrayed realistically, which is proven in one of the online journals she left behind: she mentioned that she would not willingly witness Natsumi and Togo marrying each other. Perhaps she noticed earlier, the small accidental interactions between Natsumi and Togo, and she knew that she would never experience the same thing. My heart broke for her, but feelings are something that is very complicated.

I do not think that either Natsumi or Togo are at fault for accepting their feelings for each other. They respected Haru and only acknowledged their feelings after Haru's death, although the timing is still not great. It may be considered as a betrayal to Haru for some people, but Natsumi and Togo deserve their happiness as well. It's a very complicated matter, and both of them will carry the guilt for a long time. Despite Haru saying that she could never accept Natsumi and Togo to be with each other, if Haru lived, I am rather sure that eventually she would learn to accept it. Sure, she will resent Natsumi for it, but their sisterly bond is stronger than that and it would not easily be broken just because of a man.

The story has a rather open-ended ending; though readers will know that Natsumi and Togo are trying their best to make things work, there's no saying that another hurdle would be coming right at them soon. It is also clear that they still carry the guilt, or as they called it: Haru's curse. The story focuses a lot on their grief and guilt, and the romance are not strongly shown. I ended up liking this story more than I expected, because the topic of "stealing your dead sister's fiancé" is actually something I am uncomfortable with. But the way Asuka Konishi presented the story made me able to easily empathise with both of the main characters.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Kodansha Comics for the review copy in exchange for my honest review.


If you die, I will die too.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Title: Diary of the Cat Named Carrot
Series: -
Author: Erin Merryn
Publisher: Health Communications Inc
Genres: Nonfiction, Animals, Cats
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: March 30th 2021
Pages: 160

Synopsis (Goodreads): Celebrate a year in the life of the Cat Named Carrot, as she goes from humble beginnings in a shelter to a loving home with a family of three adorable little girls and internet stardom.

Bailey was certainly no ordinary cat—an orange tabby who gained fans around the world when his humanlike antics went viral. Sadly, when 14-year-old Bailey died, his family grieved their loss. They’d never find a cat quite like him—or would they?

Then along came Carrot, an orange tabby kitten born as a stray, who appeared just as Erin Merryn and her young girls Abby, Hannah, and baby Claire were mending their broken hearts. Written in the voice of Carrot, follow her remarkable journey from shelter cat to top Instagram celebrity feline. Much like Bailey did, she loves spending time with her human family: making mischief with her girl gang; going joyriding in a pint-sized pink Barbie Jeep; doing arts-and-crafts projects; modeling a pink tutu and flowery headband; enjoying a spa day complete with fluffy robe and cucumber eye treatments; celebrating Christmas, Easter, and every holiday in between. It’s no wonder that Carrot’s videos have gone viral—garnering millions of views on Ellen, the Dodo, Good Morning America, Access Hollywood, People, and many more.

Complete with four-color photos that will leave readers purring with delight, the journal of this sweet, adorable kitty with personality to spare shows us that the human-animal bond runs more than fur deep. It is love that will last a lifetime!

My rating: 3 / 5 ★

This is quite possibly the most adorable book I have ever read! I requested to read this book on Netgalley because not only am I a cat lover, but I also used to have a cat named Carrot too. I missed my old cat, so I was hoping this book could soothe my longings.

Diary of the Cat Named Carrot is a picture book with diary entries, supposedly from the perspective of Carrot, a female orange tabby cat. The entries are dated from when Carrot was born, and then was adopted into the family, continuing until around a year living with the family. Carrot is a very sweet cat; even without the diary entries, the pictures themselves showed how much she enjoyed living with the family that adopted her. The family has three young daughters, and the girls always included Carrot in whatever they did.

The fact that Carrot  simply let her family dress her up and take pictures of me really awed me. I have always wanted cats that love you so much to the point they let you do whatever you want with them (with love, of course) but unsurprisingly they never came to me. The cats that I had (and the strays that I fed) all had attitudes and would never give in to me! Seeing how gentle and well-mannered Carrot seemed to be made me love this book more.

I really had fun reading through this book—the pictures of Carrot and the girls are adorable, and some of the diary entries are hilarious too. It was a quick read as well, with only 160 pages and half being pictures of the cat. But personally, I probably would not have purchased this book myself. Although the contents are cute and fun, they were not that meaningful to me. Perhaps because I was not a follower of Carrot on her social medias, and also because I do not know the family of Carrot personally. I would think that this book would  really be lovely for those who have followed Carrot's journey prior to the publication of this book.

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.


Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'