Small but certain happiness

The term “small but certain happiness” was first coined, I believe, by Haruki Murakami in the English-translation of his short story Samsa in Love. Personally, I found this term through its Korean equivalent: “sohwakhaeng” (소확행). Its definition is self-explanatory: it’s when you have something small or trivial in your daily life that brings you great…

23 Things I Learnt Before Turning 23

Never say that nothing interesting ever happens on your birthday. Your favourite band debuted on your birthday and they’re one of the greatest things to ever grace your life. If anything counts, it’s this. You like cats more than you thought you did and they surprisingly like you back. Every day you become one step…

“The Half of It” Review

(This review contains minor spoilers. Please read at your own discretion.) ‘The Half of It’ features protagonist, Ellie Chu, who runs a business of writing her peers’ essays for a small sum of money. Her life switches gears when Paul, the school jock (more on him later), hires her to ghostwrite love letters to his…

“The Courage to be Disliked” Review

This is a tough one to review because it’s a self-help book that’s deeply rooted in psychological concepts (Adlerian psychology, to be exact) alongside real-world examples. How does one begin to review a book that’s meant to help people, a book whose content is based on scientific facts and subjective interpretation, where every individual will…

Lessons learned from having a Twitter break

This is my second attempt at writing this post. The first one I started a couple weeks into the break because I wanted to log my progress. It quickly went from me explaining my intentions to me revealing the deepest, darkest parts of my psyche. It wasn’t pretty. It was akin to giving myself an…

Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”

(This review contains minor spoilers. Please read at your own discretion.) My first Agatha Christie read! I don’t ever read crime or murder mysteries; I’m more of a fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction lad, with a hearty helping of non-white characters and diverse settings. Shoutout to my good friend, Len, for recommending this to me (coincidentally,…

Laline Paull’s “The Bees”

(This review contains minor spoilers. Continue at your own discretion.) What a peculiar book. It’s definitely not an easy one to review, largely because the entire story is told from the point of view of a bee. That’s one hell of a unique selling point if I’ve ever heard of one. I’ll start with the…

What I’ve Done During the Self Isolation Period (So Far)

I’d first like to preface this by saying that I’m lucky to be able to stay home and have this much free time at all. I live with my parents, who are able to financially support me, in an area where the risk of infection is relatively low (for now). I’m also currently unemployed. I…

25 Bookish Facts About Me

Some of you may know this about me: before this blog became what it currently is, it had its humble beginnings as a book blog. Summer 2016. I was home from my first year at uni and thought it would be a brilliant idea to create some original work as a potential portfolio. I’d spend…

What’s in a bucketlist?

I’m at a phase in my life, if you could call it that, where I know I’m meant for something bigger. I’ve finished my education, graduated with top marks, I have enough saved up in my account. I could do anything. But I’m not. Instead, I’m stagnant. I’m sat in bed with no cure for…

2018 Review and 2019 Resolutions

2018 has been nothing short of a joyride to hell. 2017 may have been turbulent, but this year was a whole new level of chaotic. I’ve had extreme highs and lows, sandwiched between weeks of absolutely nothing. I say this to myself and my friends every year: so much has happened this year, but also…

A dog and two pies

One time I made plans to go swim with a friend. Said friend told her mum about it, who then mistook me for a lad called Dave. This then led to an increasing number of male nicknames for me, courtesy of my friends, none of which I minded. It was funnier than it was offensive….

Music and my mental health

Music has been a form of escape for as long as I can remember. Plugging my headpones in and letting the beat fill my head has always been some form of protection from the endless cacophony the world creates (I’m not being melodramatic, I just have really bad social anxiety and sensory overload). It’s one…

From Bath, with love

I think as much as I try to love other places, no matter how much I prefer bigger, bustlier cities, there will always be a part of me that will be left in Bath. Its quaintness and smallness has both been a blessing and a curse—too many beings crammed in too little a space, too…

Celebration of Diversity

I came across a tweet one day by Kelsey Trevett @ Life of Blind: I’m planning a project on my blog to highlight the diversity and positivity of the online community. Whether or not you have a blog, I’d love for you to be involved; it won’t take long. If interested, please like this tweet,…

“Ori and the Blind Forest” Review

‘Ori and the Blind Forest’ is a single-player platform fantasy adventure video game, that tells the tale of Ori, a forest guardian, and its partner Sein, a forest spirit. Simply put, their job is to traverse through different areas of the forest and restore the elements of Water, Wind, and Warmth in order to bring…

“Wolf Children” Review

‘Wolf Children’ (or ‘Wolf Children Ame and Yuki’/Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki) is a Japanese animated fantasy film that heavily reflects themes such as family, loss, hard work and perseverance, acceptance, and unconditional love. It follows the story of a young, widowed woman, Hana, who is left to raise her two werewolf children following…

A.J. Colher’s “Potluck”

(This review contains minor spoilers and mentions of assault. Read at your own discretion.) Surprise! Have a second post this week! It was a shock when I received an email from author Skot Harris’ asking me to review his book, Snapshots at the Fontaine Motel. So imagine my surprise when I received a Goodreads message from…

“Depression Quest” Review

‘Depression Quest’ is an interactive game developed by Zoë Quinn and written by Patrick Lindsey. It deals with the subject of depression—hence the title of this game—and revolves around a simple, text-based choice gameplay. Much like a multiple choice quiz, but with no right or wrong answers. You control an unnamed character and are given…

“Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons” Review

‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ is a puzzle-adventure video game that tells the story of two brothers on a quest to save their dying father. This game is rather reminiscent of classic fairy tales, in my opinion, with various lore and legends spread throughout and mythical creatures lurking in their paths, and also revolves…

Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, is a young adult fantasy novel set in ahistorical Victorian London and revolves around the tale of a phantasmagorical circus called La Cirque de Rêves (‘The Circus of Dreams’). Unbeknownst to the circus’ visitors, the circus is powered and is the product of two magicians, Celia and Marco. The…

Elliot Wake’s “Cam Girl”

Cam Girl is another highly-anticipated new adult novel by Elliot Wake, published under Leah Raeder. Well, highly anticipated in my book, anyway. It touches on the subjects of sex trade, gender and sexuality, and toxic relationships. Vada Bergen is a talented artist yet she is struggling to make ends meet, and when her drawing arm is…

Elliot Wake’s “Black Iris”

Black Iris is a new adult novel by Elliot Wake, published under Leah Raeder, centring around sexuality, gender, mental illness, and not really being able to fit in. On top of that, it’s about intense friendship, sex, violence, and most importantly, vengeance. The story revolves around nineteen-year-old self-proclaimed Unreliable Narrator Laney Keating heading off to college…

“Queer Eye” Review

“Queer Eye”, once known as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, is a Netflix original series reboot of the early 2000s makeover show in which five gay men—Antoni Porowski (food expert), Jonathan van Ness (grooming expert), Tan France (fashion expert), Bobby Berk (design expert), and Karamo Brown (culture expert, though he is more of the…

Emily Carroll’s “Through the Woods”

Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods is unlike any graphic novel I’ve read. Granted, I’m still in the process of immersing my life with them, but that’s another story. It is a collection of five creepy and suspenseful short stories that tickles the more macabre side of your imagination and lures the darkness out of it. Like with…

Skot Harris’ “Snapshots at the Fontaine Motel”

(This review contains minor spoilers and mentions of rape. Read at your own discretion.) Snapshots at the Fontaine Motel is a novel about six teenagers—Kelly, Jill, Ford, Matt, Berger, and Fawn—who are inseparable since kindergarten. So inseparable, in fact, that when Berger accidentally murders bully and rapist, Mason, in an act of vigilante justice, they all…

Marie Lu’s “Warcross”

(This review contains minor spoilers. Read at your own discretion.) Marie Lu’s Warcross tells of Emika Chen’s journey from being a bounty hunter to becoming an overnight sensation and a wild card player in the international Warcross Championship Games—the virtual reality comba game played, loved, and watched by all. Emika’s been struggling to keep a roof…

“Finding Paradise” Review

(This review contains minor spoilers. Read at your own discretion.) ‘Finding Paradise’ is a sequel to ‘To the Moon’ and ‘A Bird’s Story’. It features our beloved Sigmund Corp. doctors, Eva Rosalene and Neil Watts, as they help fellow patient, Colin Reeds, fulfil his dream of a perfect life by righting his wrongs and erasing…

“A Bird Story” Review

‘A Bird Story’ is a video game short made by Kan R. Gao, creator of the highly-acclaimed indie game ‘To the Moon’. It tells the story of an unnamed boy with an overactive imagination caring for a wounded bird and flying the world in search for its home. I was rather skeptical of this game…

Brom’s “The Child Thief”

(This review contains minor spoilers and has mentions of sexual assault. Read at your own discretion.) As part of #ReadersCrossing, I’ve decided to take liberty and start reading the books that’s been sitting in my to-read list for far too long. One of those books is Brom’s The Child Thief. This is one of the books I’ve…

2017: A Review

2017 was a year—that much is factual. Whether or not it was fantastic or chaotic is completely subjective. For me, it was a mix of both with some meh-ness in between. I’m not going to yammer on so, in no particular order, here is my recap of 2017: I got in a relationship with the…

HamiltonLDN

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the hit Broadway sensation, Hamilton. No doubt it was one of the best of its time with its genius creator, diverse cast, unforgettable music and history and fiction all woven together into one impressive tapestry. I didn’t get into it until about a year or so after it boomed…

Working with TEDxBristol

Yesterday, on November 3rd, I had the absolute pleasure of working with this year’s TEDxBristol team as part of my publishing module’s industry project. The event was two days long, November 2 – 3, but I couldn’t make the first day as I couldn’t get time of from work. Being a part of TEDx was…

“Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa)” Review

Kimi no Na Wa is a Japanese animated movie surrounding the fate of high schoolers Mitsuha, who wants much more than her provincial life, and Taki, a privileged boy living in downtown Tokyo. The two start of as complete strangers living their individual lives—until they suddenly switch places. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen and they…

Summer 2017

I know I haven’t posted a monthly update in ages and I’m going to be honest: I don’t know if I want to keep going with it. It’s not because I don’t enjoy it—I’ve mentioned in the past that it’s one of my favourite things to blog about—but I struggle to find stuff to say…

Diana Wynne Jones’ “Howl’s Moving Castle”

(This review contains spoilers. Read at your own discretion.) The book, not the beautifully animated Ghibli movie*. That’s a review for another time. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of the most enchanting and creative fantasy books I’ve ever read. Part of me wished that I’d read it when I was younger; this is definitely something eight-year-old…

Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”

(This review contains spoilers. Read at your own discretion.) At long last, I’ve finished this behemoth of a book. I meant that in a good way, of course. It’s Neil Gaiman, what’s not to love? American Gods centres around ex-convict, Shadow Moon, who was released early due to the death of his wife, Laura, and best friend,…

Why we need more shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I’ll be honest, I had no interest in Brooklyn Nine-Nine the first time I heard about it. I dismissed it as another sitcom/cop show. I don’t remember what compelled me to finally give it a shot, but I can’t believe that I’ve been putting this show off for as long as I did. Not only…

Alan Moore’s “Batman: The Killing Joke”

(This review contains spoilers. Read at your own discretion.) In Batman: The Killing Joke, we learn of the Joker’s backstory. Fifty pages may not seem like a lot, especially when dealing with someone like Joker, but this is Alan Moore we’re talking about. If he doesn’t know his way around the medium, then I don’t know…

Alan Moore’s “Watchmen”

Watchmen is really something and a half when it comes to graphic novels. I don’t say it like a bad thing, but when this book has been hailed as ‘one of the most influential graphic novels of all time’, you know there is a lot to offer and dissect. Like most things in life, Watchmen may…

Where have I been?

I’m going to cut to the chase. I’ve been MIA from the blogging scene since May and I don’t really have a reason as to why. I just know that I didn’t feel like blogging anymore. At the time, anyway—not even a monthly update post, which what I’m usually most excited for. I even missed…

Surviving or Thriving?

This post contains mentions of self harm and suicide. Read at your own discretion. Another year, another Mental Health Awareness Week. Now I’m not going to go into the statistics of how many million people are affected by mental illness and what we can do to support them. There are a billion more informed websites…

On being brown and Asian

This is a topic that’s been swirling round my head that’s never been properly anchored down to a page. Part of me thinks that I might be the only person who thinks this. But I also know that there are seven billion people (and counting) in this world, so I’m probably not on my own. I’ll sum it up…

“Moonlight” Review

Moonlight is a coming-of-age story about a gay black man, focusing on three different stages of his life, chaptered by his many names: Little (childhood), Chiron (adolescent, also his real name) and Black (adulthood). The movie explores the difficulties he faces with his own sexuality and identity, including the physical, psychological and emotional abuse he receives as…

“One Day at a Time” Review

One Day at a Time (a remake of based on the 1975-84 show of the same name) is a sitcom that follows three generations of a Cuban-American family. It stars military veteran single (and newly-separated) mother, Penelope, who is now a nurse and trying to make ends meet; her headstrong feminist daughter, Elena; vain and sarcastic tween…

“Night in the Woods” Review

Taken from the official website, Night in the Woods tells the tale of college dropout Mae Borowski, who returns home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs seeking to resume her aimless former life and reconnect with the friends she left behind. But things aren’t the same. Home seems different now and her friends…

Rupi Kaur’s “milk and honey”

From the Goodreads blurb, milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. I wouldn’t compare it to the overused…

Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian”

(This review contains spoilers. Read at your discretion.) The summary as seen on Goodreads: Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision…

New Year’s Resolutions: Then and Now

The day has finally come. 2016 is finally coming to a close. And while I won’t be talking about how much of a shitshow it’s been for pretty much everyone, I will say something that I never thought I’d say before: Kylie Jenner’s right, you guys. 2016 has been the year of realising stuff. Yeah, you…

“Yuri!!! on Ice” Review

(This review contains spoilers. Read at your own discretion.) I’ve noticed something in common with the things that I love and rave about: they all start out as things that I hear about everywhere (and by that, I mean Tumblr) and I don’t expect much out of it in the beginning. Exhibit A, Hamilton. Same…

Why you should go see Moana. Right now.

This post originally started out as a review—until I realised that I was struggling for words. I have too many feelings. I’ve just finished watching this beautiful masterpiece and if I can say one thing about this movie it is that I am absolutely floored. Words can and cannot describe how ecstatic I was to see Moana and…

“Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)” Review

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (translates to Your Lie in April) is a Japanese animated series that revolves around Arima Kousei, a piano prodigy who lost his ability to ‘hear’ the sound of his own playing ever since his mother’s death. The story takes place two years after this incident, where he befriends Kaori Miyazono, a…

How strange is it to feel everything and nothing at once

I feel like I should say something, but my tongue is cable tied in the back of my head like it usually is, but today the bonds are drawn so tight, it practically draws blood. Yet I don’t feel a thing. And I feel like I should hear things, but I’m not listening. I mean no…

The Liebster Award

I was nominated by the awesome MJ (ages and ages ago, my bad 😅) to do the Liebster Award! Thank you, mi amigo! RULES – Post the award on your blog – Thank the person who nominated you – Answer the questions given – Nominate people and give them questions to answer QUESTIONS 1. To start,…

Too ace for this

“I’ve just discovered that Asexual Awareness Week is a thing that happens in October. Therefore, I demand to be continuously celebrated for the next seven days!” I say as the week draws to a close. Time management, what’s that? All jokes aside, I am GLAAD (overused pun, but whatever) that this something that’s celebrated because asexuality has always been…

Studying Abroad: A Survival Guide

Remember how I said I wanted to do more vlogging but wasn’t sure if I would ever get it done? Well, I finally got one out there. Do ignore the dodgy selfie/thumbnail. I have yet to figure out how to make one so this is the best I can manage for the time being. I also…

Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”

This is my second Neil Gaiman book that I’ve ever read and it didn’t take me long at all to fall in love with it. It opens with a middle-aged man on his way to a funeral but wound up in the place where he used to live as a child. He wanders down to the farm at the…

Whitewashing—my origin story

I experience a different kind of racism in Jakarta (I might make a post in the future about this). This took me years to realise despite having lived in the damn city (kind of) all of my life. Basically, I go to an international school and a majority of the curriculum was Western-based. I didn’t get…

On writing about people unlike yourself

As part of the creative writing course in my university, every week we’ll have a guest speaker come and talk about what they’ve published and how they’ve gotten to where they are now. One of these speakers, a cis-het white woman (and, yes, I need to point this out), wrote a book about the coming out of…

Summer 2016

I would be lying if I said the past four months haven’t been hectic and headache inducing. But damn, they were the best four months I’ve ever had in my life. Highlights I’ll start off with summer. I wasn’t planning on including it here because I reckon it would be a bit crammed fitting all of three months,…

Coincidence? I think not.

I’m the kind of person who looks for meaning behind coincidences, no matter how stupid or insignificant they may be. Sometimes I even obsessively read into it like it’s some English Lit novel. It goes beyond typical zodiac post that I come across on Twitter and Tumblr (shameless plugs cough cough); this is real life I’m…

#Blogwarts

So not only was I late to post my overall #ReadThemAllThon progress, I realise that I haven’t posted anything about this other blogging event that I’m a part of: The Bloggers’ House Cup! Forgive my tardiness; I’m not the best when it comes to time management. I need to get into the habit of scheduling posts ahead…

#ReadThemAllThon Wrap Up

It’s finally here, exactly five days after the actual event has concluded. I apologise for my tardiness as I’ve been quite busy for the past couple of days. I’ve also crossed off one of my top goals in my bucket list over the weekend, so I wanted to get that on my blog first. Anyway, if you…

The day I met the band that saved my life

I’m writing this post because a) I want to and b) I made a vlog, as you can tell, about my day with Simple Plan (well, not really. I hung out with them for about an hour, but you know what I mean) and if you can’t be bothered watching that, then you can just…

The Versatile Blogger Award

Hello! I was nominated for this award by the lovely Flavia many, many weeks ago. This is my first ever award so thank you for that, I’m truly honoured! RULES – Show the award on your blog – Thank the person that has nominated you – Share seven different facts about yourself – Nominate fifteen blogs of your choice – Link…

Matthew Quick’s “Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock”

(This review contains minor spoilers. Read at your own discretion.) In year 11, I did a presentation on the Columbine shooting. A lot of effort and research went into it. I did my best to explain what and why it had happened. I listed different reasons, possible causes, and the many impacts it had towards the future of…

Mira Jacob’s “The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing”

I’ve noticed I often go into books knowing little to nothing about it, so I read them with little to no expectations. So when the book I’m reading turns out to be a well-written and touching piece of work, I’m pleasantly surprised. Mira Jacob’s The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing happens to be one of those books. I’ve also…

Malinda Lo’s “Ash”

(This review contains minor spoilers. Read at your own discretion.) I love a good Western fairy tale retelling, especially when the author puts a spin to it like, say, if they made the main character a person of colour or made them not-straight. But for a book that aims to do just that (although it is unclear what race Ash is…

M. R. Carey’s “The Girl With All the Gifts”

(This post contains minor spoilers. Read at your own discretion.) I’ll be honest. The first time I found out about this book, I thought it was going to be about something different. Like mental illness or disabilities or something. How completely and utterly wrong was I. M. R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts tells a story…

#ReadThemAllThon

It was nearing midnight and I was bored out of my mind. Seeing how barren my WordPress homepage was, I started traipsing round the Internet looking for blogs to check out and potentially follow. Through this, I stumbled upon Read at Midnight (super awesome book blog, aesthetic as all get out, go check them out) and whilst browsing through their homepage,…

“Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey” Review

I just want to say before I start that I am currently having one of the biggest fangirl moments on my life. Basically, a few days ago I tweeted a post singing praises about one of the main characters, Saga. And while I was in the process of polishing up this review, actual Ragnar Tørnquist (aka founder of Red…

I See Myself

I see myself in interrogation through a one-way mirror. Eyes blinded, squinting at my figure bathed under the fluorescent lamp while I was shrouded in shadow on the other side. It was desolate, watching her as the inspector sways her down. In the dimness, I see myself in this mirror— like a window. But she only…

Balli Kaur Jaswal’s “Sugarbread”

This is only my second book by Balli Kaur Jaswal (though, to be fair, she only has two so far and is currently in the middle of writing a third) and she’s already made it to my list of my favourite authors of all time. As much as I liked Jaswal’s first novel, Inheritance (my review of…

Dee Lestari’s “Kesatria, Putri, & Bintang Jatuh” (Supernova #1)

Kesatria, Putri, & Bintang Jatuh (Indonesian for “The Knight, the Princess, and the Falling Star”) is the first in the Supernova series written by acclaimed Indonesian author, Dee Lestari. It recounts the stories of four groups of people: Dimas and Reuben → a young gay couple living in the suburbs of Jakarta. Dimas is a graduate English Literature from George Washington…

Balli Kaur Jaswal’s “Inheritance”

There are two reasons I was interested in reading this book. One, it had a simple, pretty cover (don’t lie; we all judge books by their covers) and two, I had bought Jaswal’s other novel (which I’ve yet to read), Sugarbread, which had been a finalist for the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. Needless to say, I…

An amateur traveller’s guide to travelling solo

I recently came back from a week-long holiday in Singapore. Despite what the title says, I wasn’t on my own—my sister was with me. But the real reason I was in Singapore in the first place was because my sister was a part of this summer program and I was there to make sure that she’d stay alive over the course of…

Death and other notions

So as some of you may or may not have heard, on June 10th, singer Christina Grimmie, was fatally shot at her concert Orlando, Florida and died in a local hospital. My sister told me about it, specifically the fact that Grimmie was in critical condition, over a plate of gado-gado after yoga class. All I said was ‘what?’…

The Loneliest Whale in the World

I listen and search for years. Four years since the colour blue burst forth, frothing from my lips, my chest spilling emptying whatever’s left of me. As if there was anything to empty at all. Dripping, dripping, dripping, like a leaky faucet, a minor inconvenience easily mended with a twist of a wrench and I…