Hello! I am excited today to announce that I have joined the team to reveal the book cover of Amok by Anna Tan. Amok is a story about faith, loyalty and war, rich with elements inspired by traditions and cultures that are familiar in Malaysia. This book has easily became one of my favourite books released in 2021, and I hope that more people will read it, especially Malaysians.

Details of the book are also available below, including my review on it. Now, let me present to you the glorious cover art for Amok!


Title: Amok
Series: Absolution #1
Author: Anna Tan
Publisher: Teaspoon Publishing
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Expected Publication Date: June 24th 2021
Pages: 345

Synopsis (Goodreads): What is faith, except hope in desperation?

All Putera Mikal wants is to gain the Amok Strength, the supernatural power granted by Kudus to the Mahan royal family. No matter how religiously Mikal keeps his vows, Kudus still denies him the Strength—whilst his father, Sultan Simson, flaunts the Strength despite his blatant defiance of the Temple and the priests’ visions of coming doom.

Then the prophecies come true.

Taken captive, Mikal must find a way to liberate his people and restore his throne in Maha—and the key to this is the Amok Strength. But what does it take to gain Kudus’ favour?


My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Trigger warning: abuse, violence

Amok follows the story of Putera Mikal, the prince of Maha, the first city-state of Terang. All Putera Mikal wanted was for his faith to be acknowledged by Kudus, the God of Terang, and finally gain access to the Amok Strength that all royals are supposed to possess when they come of age. Yet no matter how Mikal kept his vows to Kudus, he was still weak, while his father who defied Kudus continued to flaunt his Amok Strength.

When Maha was suddenly invaded and destroyed by their enemy, Mikal was thrown into sufferings and humiliation—especially when his best friend, Yosua, who used to be his servant, was suddenly revealed to be the enemy's Raja Muda (Crown Prince). And Mikal was forced to bow and turned into Yosua's servant. And no matter how much Mikal prayed, Kudus continuously denied the Amok Strength from him.

I just want to take a short moment to express my appreciation towards the elements of Malay traditions and cultures that were included in Amok. Reading so many Malay words and things like silat (a Malay art of self-defence), our clothings like baju kebaya and samping, titles/positions like Baginda Paduka, Bendahara, Laksamana, etc.—they all felt so close to my heart. They made me enjoy reading the book, and feel proud at the same time to finally see my traditions in a fantasy book.

Amok is quite a fast-paced read and I could not put it down as I kept wanting more of it. One moment, Putera Mikal was only whining because he could not gain the Amok Strength and the rest were at peace, but the next moment, he was betrayed by his very own best friend. It was easy to like Mikal; despite never having enough confidence in himself, he always tried his best for the sake of his people. There were times where he could be seen as a brat, but who can blame him? He was turned from a prince into a servant overnight, and to made it worse, he had to be his best friend's servant.

I loved Yosua from the moment he first appeared in the story. Unlike Mikal who was reckless and rough around the edges, Yosua is softer and much more patient than his prince. Just like Mikal, his position was changed overnight too, from being a servant, to being his best friend's Tuan (Master). Their friendship was put to a terrible test, because unlike in Maha, Yosua's people were more savage and cruel to their servants. In order to keep Mikal safe, Yosua has to play the role as a cruel Tuan. His fierce loyalty towards Mikal rather surprised me, but it still did not change the fact that he had betrayed Mikal.

Apart from Mikal's growth throughout the story, Amok also focused on the bond between Mikal and Yosua. I think there was nothing more heartbreaking than Mikal being abused by someone that used to be his confidant, someone that he used to consider as a brother. Mikal was broken to the point he lost all hope that left him as an empty shell, and at the same time, Yosua was torn apart because it was the only way to protect Mikal. It was agonising to see these two boys, forced to suffer the consequences of the actions made by adults. The amount of violence and abuse can be rather traumatising, and I find myself gasping and shaking when reading these parts.

I believe that the religion in this story was inspired by certain elements in the teachings of Islam and Christianity, perhaps even including bits of other religion. But I am glad to say that the author wrote it well without disrespecting any of the mentioned religions. The source of power for the Maha royalty's Amok Strength and the fate of Mikal's father were also similar to the story of Samson—who appears in the Old Testament of the Bible—an exceptionally strong hero of the Israelites of the ancient Near East. (More on that here: http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Pr-Sa/Samson.html)

Amok is a story of questionable faith, unending loyalty and hopeless rebellion in a war, all caused by the greed of someone with huge power. The writing style is impeccable, and I honestly loved every single part of the story with my whole heart. Although there were a lot of pain, the story was concluded very well. If you enjoy reading fantasy that focuses on the growth of the main character, friendship that are put to test in a terrible condition, powerless princes and changed positions (which is now my favourite trope), then Amok is perfect for you!

Wait, you know what? Whatever your reading preferences is, I am definitely recommending this book to you. This is a book that no one should miss!

Many thanks to the author, Anna Tan, and Teaspoon Publishing for the e-ARC copy in exchange for my honest review. Amok will be released on 24th of June 2021, and you can pre-order a copy now on https://teaspoonpublishing.com.my/shop/amok-paperback/ or https://books2read.com/amok.

I'm going to pre-order a physical copy for myself too after this!


Funny how your dreams can come true and you find that they weren't what you truly wanted.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Title: Bell Hammers
Series: -
Author: Lancelot Schaubert
Publisher: -
Genres: Adult Fiction, Humor, Historical
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: October 12th 2020
Pages: 346

Synopsis (Goodreads): Remmy grows up with Beth in Bellhammer, Illinois as oil and coal companies rob the land of everything that made it paradise. Under his Grandad, he learns how to properly prank his neighbors, friends, and foes. Beth tries to fix Remmy by taking him to church. Under his Daddy, Remmy starts the Bell Hammer Construction Company, which depends on contracts from Texarco Oil. And Beth argues with him about how to build a better business. Together, Remmy and Beth start to build a great neighborhood of "merry men" carpenters: a paradise of s'mores, porch furniture, newborn babies, and summer trips to Branson where their boys pop the tops of off the neighborhood's two hundred soda bottles. Their witty banter builds a kind of castle among a growing nostalgia.

Then one of Jim Johnstone's faulty Texarco oil derricks falls down on their house and poisons their neighborhood's well.

Poisoned wells escalate to torched dog houses. Torched dog houses escalate to stolen carpentry tools and cancelled contracts. Cancelled contracts escalate to eminent domain. Sick of the attacks from Texaco Oil on his neighborhood, Remmy assembles his merry men:

"We need the world's greatest prank. One grand glorious jest that'll bloody the nose of that tyrant. Besides, pranks and jokes don't got no consequences, right?"


My rating: - / 5 ★

I'm not rating this book as I end up DNF-ing it. (DNF = Do Not Finish)

Bell Hammers is not the kind of book that I often read, so it was no surprise that I end up unable to finish it. It is a little bit of a shame though, because while I quite liked the main character, Remmy, I probably could not get myself familiar with the writing style.

It is not exactly a bad writing style, but it has a touch of country-ish sound to it, and the satyr and sarcasm included in most parts went over my head. A lot of historical parts were mentioned too, and as I am not familiar with the country and place the events took place, I was not able to get them either. There were multiple times where I had to continuously reread the pages or chapters, because I did not understand what was going on.

In terms of the characters, they are quite likeable. The story started when Remmy is a young boy, and reading about him growing up made me able to warm up to him, and I like how respectful he is towards his father and grandfather. He was up to mischief most of the time, but it was fun to read about his pranks. Occasionally, I found myself laughing along to the jokes he made. I enjoyed his banters with Beth too—the girl that used to ignore him and ended up marrying him later.

Overall, I like the characters, but I could not get the story. Although this may not be my cup of tea, if you enjoy reading books with humour and country people, this may be a good book to check out.

Many thanks to the author for sending me a copy of Bell Hammers in exchange for my honest review.


Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Title: But for the Mountains
Series: -
Author: Erin Riha
Publisher: REUTS Publications
Genres: Young Adult, Romance
Format: Kindle Edition
Publication Date: June 2nd 2020
Pages: 346

Synopsis (Goodreads): Arden Thatcher wasn’t meant to be chosen.

But when her name is announced, she’s presented with something she never thought she’d have: a future away from her abuser. Shuttled off to attend the prestigious National Women’s Institute, Arden will receive Nordania’s highest honor, studying with other elite candidates to become leaders, diplomats, and ambassadors on the world stage.

Only, the institute’s not quite what she expected. Paraded around in gown after gown, the tests seem less about educating and more about a different competition, with a very specific prize at stake—the Nordanian Prime Minister’s son. Despite the dean’s protestations that angling for an engagement leads to expulsion, Arden sees the truth. There’s a secret bubbling beneath the institute’s refined surface, and those who refuse to play along may well wind up dead.

With the danger escalating, and the return of her abuser on the horizon, Arden’s shiny future becomes a gilded cage. And this time, she’s going to need powerful allies to escape.

Political intrigue, swoon-worthy romance, and a dash of dystopian flare, But for the Mountains begs the question, how do you change the world when you’re not allowed to try?


My rating: 4 / 5 ★

Trigger Warning: Rape and sexual assault/abuse, violence, physical abuse, mentions of suicide and self-harm, PTSD/panic attacks, alcoholism

But for the Mountains is a literal nightmare, especially for girls. It was confusing at first, but after realising with a horror, even the first page of this book started with the main character, Arden, being sexually assaulted.

Arden Thatcher grew up being sexually abused by the people that gave her a place to live. When she was given a chance to escape and enroll into the National Women’s Institute, she thought that her life would change. Instead, it was like she broke out from a prison, to yet another prison. The whole institute was simply a ploy for the Prime Minister's son to find a partner—and the rest of the girls will either be returned to their family or benefactor, or sent to a neighbouring country to feed the politicians' desires. Despite Arden's efforts to change the fate of the girls—and her own, changing something that was already ingrained in the society was a lot harder than anyone could ever think about.

This is a story about a survivor, a girl who had to suffer simply because she was born a girl. I love Arden's fierce character and her smart wits; although she was never prepared to be enrolled into the institute by her benefactor, she was clever enough to find matters that can help to her advantage. She was able to climb to the top spot on her own. I also love the no-nonsense side of her. When she realised the actual meaning of the whole institute, she despised the idea and rejected the Prime Minister's son's approach. She was independent, and with the way how she focused only on trying to bend the rules so that girls are allowed better lives, I believe that she had great leadership qualities.

Although I wish the story did not have a lot of focus on the romance, but I still do appreciate both of the male love interests. Declan, son of the Prime Minister, sounded sketchy at first and I had a hard time trusting him; he seemed too good to be true. But then his flaws were revealed, and though he was not a bad guy, his privilege as a Prime Minister's son also meant that he did not know most of the horrific things going on in the society. As for Beck, he might seem gruff and had a lot of hatred against everyone, but he understood Arden easily and did not hesitate to be there for her. Both characters are good male characters with realistic flaws.

The storyline was gripping, and as much as I loved it, I was also appalled by all the horrifying matters that Arden had to suffer. It had a rather open-ending, which I think could mean the author wanted readers to make their own conclusions, or perhaps giving room to a possible sequel. But for the Mountains was not an easy read, but an important one. It highlights the inequality when it comes to the treatment given between men and women, which still happens until this very moment. I hate that certain men still viewed women and girls as sexual objects and nothing more. This is just a proof that this book somehow portrays the bitter truth of this world.

I would love to recommend everyone to read But for the Mountains, especially if you love female characters that tries their best to survive their harsh fate, even if they have to overcome their fears. But please do note about the trigger warnings first.

Many thanks to Netgalley and REUTS Publications for this book in exchange for my honest review.


"I'm a survivor." The words come from a voice I'm not familiar with, from a girl I've never met, who's been quiet far too long. But I believe them—I believe her.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Title: The Dawn of the Witch, Vol. 1
Series: The Dawn of the Witch
Author: Tatsuwo
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Genres: Manga, Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: March 23rd 2021
Pages: 194

Synopsis (Goodreads): Saybil is a magic student with no memories of his life before he met a mysterious silver-haired woman in an alley. Now he travels with his teacher, Loux -- another student, Holt, and the beastfallen Kudo for "special training"... but this field trip may not be as routine as it seems!


My rating: 2.5 / 5 ★

The Dawn of the Witch follows the journey of Saybil, a rather dull magic student thanks to his memory less and expressionless face, who is on a quest for a special training. He is joined by a teacher, Loux, a seemingly non-threatening woman because of her childlike form, but is actually quite deadly, and two other students, Holt, a cheerful girl with huge...breasts, and Kudo, a human-sized lizard. After reading the somewhat negative reviews of this book, I decided to read it without any expectations.

Surprisingly, I quite liked the premise of the story. The main character, Saybil, may be a tad boring because he is unable to form any kind of expressions on his face, but I find the secret behind his past that caused his memory loss to be quite intriguing. It is also proved that he is not entirely emotionless, as there was a time where Holt noticed his hands shaking when they were in danger, although his face remained stoic. And another time when a betrayal takes place, Saybil forces himself to smile and accepts his fate, which I believe can be seen as a character growth, or perhaps his true emotions slowly emerging.

Despite having no problems with Saybil and the rest of the characters—Holt and Kudo appear to have dark pasts as well and it made me like them more—the main reason as to why I can only rate this book as 2.5 stars is because of the way the artwork was drawn. I admit that in some sense, the artwork is beautiful, BUT the way female characters were depicted is just too much. The characters were sexualised so unnecessarily that I find myself feeling disgusted almost throughout the whole story. Holt was drawn with breasts so big and her scenes were always drawn in a lewd way; her chest was always in the focus to the point I could not take her character seriously. Despite having a small body, almost resembling a child, Professor Loux was also sexualised. Her scenes were drawn from a low angle, just so that her underwear can be scene.

These extreme sexualisation to the female characters helped nothing in the plot, and it was absolutely unnecessary. Even though I find the plot to be acceptable and I am curious about what Saybil and his friends are going to face next, I do not think I will be able to continue this series. I just hate that the female characters are being made to be viewed as sexual objects.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Kodansha Comics for the e-copy of The Dawn of the Witch, Vol. 1 in exchange for my honest review.


Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'