Women’s History Month: Wonder Women that Help Shape Indonesia

Hi everyone!👋 So March is Women’s History Month, which is something I just found out mid-March because we don’t celebrate it in my country, which is sad. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t participate in celebrating women’s history month! I’ve seen a lot of stories about amazing women around the internet throughout the internet during this month, so I want to share with you some amazing women from my country, Indonesia. These women help to shape Indonesia into what it is and played important role in Indonesia’s history. This post might feel like reading a text book, but bear with me because studying about them are really interesting. Also, you got to know these amazing women from Indonesia better 🙂 Without further ado, let’s just get right into it.

Women’s right and education: R.A Kartini and Dewi Sartika

220px-collectie_tropenmuseum_portret_van_raden_ajeng_kartini_tmnr_10018776Kartini is definitely the most famous woman in Indonesia. She’s a pioneer for education for women’s education in Indonesia. In Indonesia, there’s this value that women don’t have to have high education because their main task is to taking care of the house. Kartini was born of Javanese aristrocatic family, giving her more access and privilege than usual. Her father was also more lenient, but this doesn’t mean that she can continue her education. She only studied until she was 12 years old, before she entered pingitan state, in which girls can’t leave their house or meet anyone until they are married. During this time, she kept communicating with her Dutch friends, which opened her eyes of how different women in Europe and Indonesia. She also read a lot. When she finally got married, luckily her husband support her goals. She created school for women in her town, Rembang. Sadly, she died because of childbirth at early age of 25 years old.

Her letter and ideas, which have great influence in Indonesia, were compiled into a book titled Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang (eng: Out of Darkness to Light). To honour her, her birthda220px-dewi_sartikay, 21st April, is nationally celebrated as Kartini Day.

Dewi Sartika may not be as famous as Kartini, but she’s also a pioneer in women’s education. Like Kartini, she didn’t receive much formal education, but she also created school for women in her town, Bandung, in 1904. After only 16 years, in 1920, all cities and regencies in West Java had one school. She died in 1947 during the independence war.

The school they made is not school for education like for men, but it’s more of school to do domestic things, like cooking and sewing. Even though it may not seem like much, their effort and initiatives allow women to receive further education, even though it may seem like only for domestic things.

Fighters: Cut Nyak Dien and Martha Christina Tiahahu

Most of our national heroes who fight during the independence war are men, but that doesn’t mean that women didn’t do anything. To give you a bit background: Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch (ever heard of VOC? maybe from Pirates of Caribbean?) for 350 years, in which they had given us up to the British for 5 years (EIC and Thomas Stamford Raffles anyone?) before took us back and finally, gave us up to the Japanese for 3.5 years before they lost the World War 2 and we declared our independence. During these colonialization time, our money and resources were squeezed out, which was why a lot of us trying to fight back. We even burned a city to avoid it being took over by the Dutch.

220px-cut_nyak_dhien_portraitCut Nyak Dien was an Aceh guerilla leader during Aceh war. She first got involved in the war as civillian, but after her first husband, Teuku Ibrahim died by the Ducth, she swore revenge. She got married again to Teuku Umar (another famous Indonesian hero, he was on the 1980s money), with one condition: he allowed her to fight. Together they boost the morale of the people, and lead the guerilla through the Aceh’s forests. When Teuku Umar was killed, she didn’t despair and continue the resistance with all the resources she had left. Unfortunately, as she got older, she suffered from near-sightedness and arthritis. She was captured in the end, but her daughter escaped and continue her resistance. She was exiled and died in West Java. To honour her, the government awarded her National Hero title posthumously and there’s an airport in Aceh named after her. She’s also featured on the 10.000 rupiah bank note, which we still use until now.

220px-martha_christina_tiahahu_1999_indonesia_stampMartha Christina Tiahahu may died young, at only 18 years old, but she participated in a lot of battles. She is a fighter from Malacca, an island known for its spices, which is also why the colonials tried so hard to control it. She joined her father in guerilla when she was 17 years old, and give backup for Pattimura, another national hero (he’s still on our money). Her troops succedeed in killing a Dutch commander and burning their main fortress, the Duurstede. She was captured twice, in which the second time she fell sick, refused food and medication, and died on the way to the exile.

Government: Megawati Soekarnoputri, Sri Mulyani and Susi Pudjiastuti

220px-president_megawati_sukarnoputri_-_indonesiaMegawati was our fifth president (we’re currently on our 7th) and our first female president. Some might argue that she was only elected because she is Soekarno’s daughter, which is our first president and the most famous hero of them all (he’s the one that lead the fight and declared our independence, also our first president). While her presidency wasn’t remarkable, she managed to stabilize our political and economical situation, after 1998 monetary crisis, fall of new order, short interim of BJ Habibie and impeachment of Gus Dur. I noticed a pattern in the world where women are given important job when there are a lot at stake (Theresa May after Brexit and Marissa Mayer with Yahoo!), but Megawati truly did her job. You don’t need to be Indonesian or know about politics to know how disastrous the situation was when she first came to the office. She had tried to run for presidency again for several times after her presidency, but so far she hasn’t succeed.

220px-foto-mk-smi_001As for Sri Mulyani, she was our minister of finance during SBY, our 6th president. I think she did an amazing job with her position, but some people tried to bring her down by involving her in a corruption scandal. But being the unstoppable amazing woman she is, she decided to step down and accept position as director at the world bank. Currently, she’s back in Indonesia and serve under the 7th president as minister of finance again. Our 7th president, Jokowi, is known for his continuous cabinet reshuffle, but so far, she held on. When your government offer you the same position twice, never got reshuffled and the world bank also offered you a position, you know you’re good.

220px-susi_pudjiastutiSusi Pudjiastuti is currently the most famous minister in Jokowi’s cabinet. She’s the minister of maritime affairs, and known to take no shit from anybody. She was expelled from school for protesting the new order’s rule and actually stared at the bottom working at fish factories. She grows her business until she can export her seafood to Asia and America, and expanded to the aviation industry. She’s not your ordinary minister. As I said, she was expelled from school; much of her knowledge come from her experience not education; and she’s also has a tattoo and known as a chainsmoker. But do not mess with her, because she’s strict and she’s actually take action against illegal fishing in Indonesia. In 2016, 2 years after assuming office in 2014, she already sunk 151 ships that stole fish from Indonesia. She’s also really humble, known to eat street foods and other shenanigans the elites usually don’t do.

Have you ever heard any of these women? Do you have any amazing woman for your country? Share them in the comments below! 🙌

tasya

 

The Mid-Autumn Festival Tag

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Hi guys, it’s that time of the month again for book tag! I was tagged to do this one by Puput @ Sparkling Letters in November, but only get to it now 😅 As I live in Indonesia, we don’t have 4 seasons. We only have rainy and summer. But then again it’s been raining a lot lately (to be exact, since beginning of 2016), and I heard it rains a lot during autumn, so I think it’s perfect to do the tag now 🍂 If we have autumn, I’m pretty sure it will be my favorite season. The weather seems cold, but not cold enough that I have to wear 7 layers of clothes. Not to mention the overall brown/golden hues are gorgeous! Autumn aesthetics are always my favorite🍁

🍂Reunion of Family🍂

Name A Book with Family Goals

I would totally answer The Weasleys, but since I’m trying to avoid the obvious and give other answer, I’m going to answer Song-Covey family from Lara Jean series. But that is also Puput’s answer, so I’ll just answer Finch family from To Kill A Mockingbird! That book is amazing, and I know why people has Atticus in such high regard. He’s like the ultimate father goals? Even though Scout is a girl, he loved her equally with Jem. He even let her play outside like Jem. Jem and Scout have realistic brother sister dynamics, and all of them really respect Calpurnia, even regard her as one of their own. I refuse to read and acknowledge Go Set A Watchman because I know it will dissapoint me🙈

🌕Full Moon🌕

Name A Book with A Werewolf

The first book that come to mind is Remus Lupin, so yeah, it’s the obvious answer of Harry Potter. But then I want to answer something different from the obvious, so my answer is the Dark Guardian series. It’s about werewolf pack who live inside national park, and all of them live a normal life nearby as park ranger or hiking guide. I think I’m already too old for this series, but when I re-read it, I’m surprised that I still like them! The story was easy to read- typical teenage contemporary with werewolf power mixed in- and the depiction of the park was so beautiful and vivid.

🎂Mooncakes🎂

Name A Kind of Food in A Book That You Wish was Real

I never eat Persian food, so I don’t know which food is real or not. But we all can agree that food in The Wrath and The Dawn are so delicious, and Renee Ahdieh talent’s with words made them very vivid when you’re reading, resulting in immediate hunger and need for food😹

🐇Rabbit🐇

Name Your Favorite Creature from A Book

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I really want to answer Phoenix, but keeping up with “no HP” theme, I’m going to answer Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. We’ll I’ve read the book, but I really love chesire in the movie! Those eyes, those shades of blue, that smile… It’s adorable!💙

🍁Change🍁

A Character that Makes a Significant Change to the Plot Since He/She Did Something too Many Times

Zeus from Percy Jackson (and Greek Mythology in general). It seems like he never get the memo that a) Hera is a jealous person and b) his mood swings create a lot of trouble because he keeps having an affair and create helluva trouble with his Godly mood swing. Not to mention he refuse to take responsibilites for all his action? Like, k Zeus. Thanks.

🏮Lanterns🏮

Name A Toy or Game in A Book that You Liked to Read About

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I don’t really understand what this question actually refers to, so I’m just going to answer some “toys” I want to know more about like the time turner from HP (eventually, we’ll have to use a HP answer); like how it came to be and how to made it.

🍁Autumn🍁

Name A Book Which You Feel is the Best to Read in Autumn

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I mean, it’s about ghost and mainly set in the graveyard, and each chapter is about a year later in Halloween. If that doesn’t scream autumn, I don’t know what does.

🎊Festival🎊

Name Your Favorite Festival in A Book

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The Warlord’s Ball from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It just sounds… magical? A whole town parade, dancing with different partners the whole way wearing mask being incognito under the 2 moons of Loramendi? It sounds amazing. (bonus point if you know what show that is!)

tasya

Book Aesthetics // 2016 Favorites

Can you believe we are at the end of March now? Because I can’t. 2016 has come and go, I think it’s a pretty mediocre reading year. There are so many dissapointing books, most of them are because of the hype, but there are some good surprises too. Even though I already posted my yearly wrap-up, I decided to pay a tribute for my 2016 faves by creating some aesthetics for them. I’m not exactly imaginative and visual person, so this aesthetics have 99% chance of being sucks, but this is how I see and imagine the books in my head, so enjoy!

The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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There’s no 2016 favorites list will be perfect without me mentioning this book. I just love love love this book, and until now this book remains my favorite series starter ever.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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I know some people saw it as problematic, which I will have a separate discussion post about, so we will not go there. I really love the author’s take on Achilles and Patroclus relationship, which has been a debate for thousand of years. I also love how it used Patroclus point of view instead of Achilles, it’s refreshing to see the war and Achilles himself not as the great demigod hero, but as a lover and friend.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I don’t know why, but I feel like this image really represent the book. Ghost/memory Finch and Violet remembering him. Also, that quotes is really my favorite and the one that made me cry in the book. What I love about this book is how it doesn’t have the “love cures mental illness” trope. It might seem that way for Violet, but it doesn’t for Finch. In the end, Finch save Violet but couldn’t safe himself. Even when he’s with Violet, he’s not always happy and still had his ups and downs.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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The amazing series ender. It’s still feel slow at parts, but overall I love it more than Six of Crows. We know more about the Dregs, not only Kaz and Inej, but also Wylan and Jesper. Also, Grisha cameo!!

Dracula by Bram Stoker

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My favorite classic of 2016! It’s dark and gothic, and the atmosphere is really suspenseful and creepy. Definitely a classic perfect for halloween, and I can see why it’s considered a classic!

tasya

A Peek Into My Bullet Journal + How I Use It

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Bullet journal is one of the biggest trend in 2016 (or was it 2015?). So many people are using it and showcasing their bullet journal, especially on studyblr and pinterest. According to the official website,

The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.

At first, I was reluctant to follow the trend. I mean, to do more with less sounds good to me, but all the bujo I saw on studyblr and pinterest don’t seem less to me, in fact they seem… more? It must have take more effort and time to create those pretty journals! But I’m in dire need of an agenda or to-do list to start uni, so during Ikea sale, I bought some empty books and in August, I finally started my bujo journey!

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During my first 5 months, I decided to create the layout in advance so it won’t be bothersome. I also decided to use different languages for the dates, so at least I could learn something from my bujo. Now I can mention the name of days in Spanish fluently! The first 2 pictures in the slideshow are my old layout, the new last one is the new one.

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I also create a tracker and gratitude pages at the end of each month, as well as some blank pages for things I just want to write down. I switch up some of the trackers each month, but some of them has been a permanent resident, like cleaning my place and eating fruit.

How do I use it

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The first page of my bullet journal is for key and yearly calendar. I started this on August, so I figure I just write the calendar until December in case I run out of paper or something. As for the key… they help making the journal easier to understand. By looking on the symbol only, I know what I have for the day, whether it’s event, homework, or just random task like cleaning up.

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At the beginning of every month, I have a monthly overview page. It has calendar, goals, and motivational quotes to motivate me through the month. If I’m feeling artsy, I will add doodle or picture, but most of the time… that’s it. Again, the format has changed since the first time I use it. I create a simpler one, with many spaces for pictures, doodles, goals, or anything, compared to the old one that only has calendar.

Daily, I just write my daily to do list the night before or early morning when I just wake up. It’s a really cathartic for me, sorting through the buzzing of ‘YOU NEED TO DO THIS TODAY” and actually know what you have to do.

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At the end of the month, I have some spaces for gratitude journal, tracker, quotes, notes.. basically random stuff. Sometimes they’re unused, but most of the times they are pretty full.

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For the transition of December 2016 to January 2017, I created some random lists and overviews, and things to do/watch/hear in 2017. You know, the usuall stuff.

And that’s it! Yes I know my photography skills are nonexistent, but I hope amidst the blurry pictures and instant process of VSCO, you got the idea of how my journal look and how it does its work. It’s not pretty, artsy, colorful, etc etc, but it does its job and made my life so much easier!

Your turn: Do you use bullet journal? How do you use it?

tasya

What Is Your Perspective While Reading?

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When reading books, there are usually 2 kinds of point of views: first person and third person. In case you never noticed, let me explain it to you. First person is when we get into the characters head, and it’s usually using the word “I” instead of the name of the characters. Third person, while we can also feel what they feel and know what they are thinking, use the characters name. It’s like we are more of a viewer of the story, but with knowledge of what’s going on with everyone at the same time (kinda useful in real life eh?). If you aren’t clear about it yet, here’s an example:

“Then what do you want form me?”

“I want to lie beside you and know the weight of your dreams,” he said, brushing his lips against my knuckles. “I want to share whole worlds with you and write your name in the stars.” He moved closer and a chorus of songbirds twittered silver melodies.

“I want to measure eternity with your laughter.”

Now, he stood inches from me; his rough hands encircled my waist. “Be my queen and I promise you a life where you will never be bored. I promise you more power than a hundred kings. And I promise you that we will always be equals.”

and

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.

“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.

“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

(If you can guess which book they are from, comment down below!😜) Both quotes have the same vibes, a lover who’s hesitating and the other half who’s trying to convince the other. But while both felt really deep, we connect deeper on personal level because we are INSIDE the girl’s head, while in the second quote, we are WATCHING the couple.

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Now now, no worries, I’m not going to talk about characters point of view, which one you liked better etc etc. It only serves as background or introduction, and a long one at that😅 What I’m going to talk about today is what is your perspective when you are reading?

No matter what povs im reading, I always become a watcher. I stand in the sidelines and watch the events unfold. Even when it is a first person point of view, I can connect deeper emotionally and physically, but I still can’t put myself as the characters, being in their head and heart. For some reason, you can say that I am a third person point of view, always being invisible and being an all-knowing entity in the stories.

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While it can get frustrating sometimes because I can’t always connect with the characters, being a watcher the whole time, it also has the good sides. I usually feel more immersed in the world building of the book. Like for example, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is set in Prague. When all hell broke loose, the angels appearing on the bridge etc etc, I can imagine myself there. I can imagine myself watching the angels and people around the bridge, while walking through those cobbledstone paths and touching the ancient buildings.

Pretty awesome huh? Well it also gives me a serious case of wanderlust sooo….

I can’t say which one is better, being in a character’s head or being a watcher. I guess both have advantages and disadvantages, and I think it varies for each reader! I think being a watcher works fine for me this whole time, it saved me a sensible amount of tears because I rarely cried while reading!😂

Your turn: Are you a watcher or the character? Which one do you think is better?

On Growing Up and Letting Go

Saving People, Hunting Things, Family Business // Top 5 Wednesday #12: Fictional Jobs I Want to Have

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Welcome to another edition of Top 5 Wednesday! Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Samantha and Lainey. You can check the group here for more discussions and topic!

This week topic is fictional jobs I want to have! The fictional characters always seem to have all the dangerous or fun job, so this is the chance for me to write down all the jobs I want to have.

Hunters

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Judging from the title, you know this one is coming don’t you? Other that the unhappy, lonely life of a hunter, the other thing is pretty great! You got to work with the winchesters, ride the impala, meet a cute angel in a trenchcoat, king of hell… the list goes on and on. But again, this job comes with the side requirement of prepared 24/7 to clean up the mess the winchesters made!

Grand Maester

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Other than the chance to live in Westeros, I think Grand Maester has the calmest life. Sure, all the Grand Maester has been male and none of them are married, but let’s preted that they allow women. All you do is read book! Have you seen the library of Westeros?? It’s awesome!

Teacher at Hogwarts

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A chance to spend the rest of your life in Hogwarts? Yes please.

Bridesmaid

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You know, like in 27 Dresses. Being a bridesmaid sounds really fun, like you’re a HUGE part in ensuring your friend’s wedding going out well! Also, the dresses 😀

Camp Supervisor

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Again, just like Hogwarts teacher, being a supervisor is a chance to stay all-year round on camp half blood! It’s like the best job ever???On Growing Up and Letting Go

The Slump is Strong Within Me // February Wrap Up & March TBR

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As the title of this post suggest… yes, I’m still on a reading slump. I think this is the worst and longest I’ve ever have, starting from December and still going strong. As you will see below, I *seemed* to read a lot this month, but 3 of them are HP novellas, and the rest of them I didn’t enjoy THAT much, even though I should.

October Wrap Up and November TBR

  1. THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi // ✰✰✰✰
  2. HELLO ME, IT’S YOU by Hannah Todd // ✰✰✰
  3. ARSENE LUPIN: THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE by Maurice LeBlanc // ✰✰
  4. SHORT STORIES FROM HOGWARTS: HEROISM, HARDSHIPS, AND DANGEROUS HOBBIES by J.K Rowling // ✰✰✰✰✰
  5. SHORT STORIES FROM HOGWARTS: AN INCOMPLETE AND UNRELIABLE GUIDE by J.K Rowling // ✰✰✰✰
  6. SHORT STORIES FROM HOGWARTS OF POWER, POLITICS AND PESKY POLTERGEIST by J.K Rowling // ✰✰✰
  7. THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS by Jason Rekulak {ARC} // ✰✰
  8. WICKED WITCHES by Scott T. Goudsward {ARC} // ✰✰✰✰

October Wrap Up and November TBR

  1. PHANTOM by Susan Kay // Read this book since the beginning of the year, really need to finish it soon.
  2. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden // Russian retellings with gorgeous prose? I’m in!
  3. NIGHT SHIFT by B.R Myers // Night At The Museum story… except it’s department store and not living mannequins.
  4. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor and DONE DIRT CHEAP by Sarah Nicole Lemon // Read it in February and only need around 20-30% left to finish the book.

October Wrap Up and November TBR

The slump is still on going this month, and while I read more books than January, I can’t really like them or care enough about them to give them 5 stars (they’re only for short stories). It also makes it hard for me to write a review on the blog because tbh, I don’t really remember what I read… Not to mention one of the books that I read triggered my anxiety and I really couldn’t concentrate on anything for the next few days. So yeah.

Valentine’s happened. I don’t really care for it tbh, I don’t do dates (I rarely go to one with mine) so I always saved valentine’s day for my friends, and just give candies to everyone. Another reason why I dislike it is because I don’t like sweet, and valentine’s is like a day of sweets! Enough rambling, my campus had this bind date event for valentine, and I signed up for it just for fun. And guess what? It was fun! It has more like meeting and talking with friends, but I don’t mind. I’m wondering if real-life blind date will be THAT amazing.

October Wrap Up and November TBR

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More post this month compared to last month, but still wasn’t back on my normal schedule. This month discussion post is whether insta-love is real or is it only in YA? I posted my first edition of Screen Rambles, where I talked about movies I watched last month. For Top 5 Wednesday, I managed to write 2 posts: current non bookish favorite and trends I’m tired of seeing. February is well-known as the month of love, so my valentine’s special this year is the book courtship tag. And finally, some book reviews! I made a mini review for the book I read in January/December and also The Star Touched Queen review.

On Growing Up and Letting Go

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi // When Greek Mythology Meets Indian Culture

27158779The Star Touched Queen

by Roshani Chokshi

Ebook, 325 pages

Published April 26th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

✰✰✰✰

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”

The Star Touched Queen is the type of book that has the potential to be my 2017 favorite, IF I read it at other time of the year. The writing is vivid and rich, filled with Indian mythological creature like Naga and Narasimha. It is a retelling of my favorite greek mythology, the story of Hades and Persephone, but the story is infused with Indian culture. I think the writing is both a strength and weakness, it gives really lush imaginery, but at the same time it’s bordering on purple prose and give too much information.

Our main character, Maya, is strong and intellegent. She loved her father, and even though she’s bitter against the Harem, she still worries about the women when the harem burned. She has a complicated relationship with her father; she loved her father, but at the same time he is the Raja and she knew her duty. When she first met Amar, she didn’t easily trusted him. She always willing to learn, but her intuitive nature, along with her suspicion with Amar and her need to prove herself (as the result of years in harem) proved to be her downfall. But she did not give up and tried to made everything right.

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Amar is so much more than the mysterious king. He truly loves Maya, but it’s not the kind of love that shelters and protect Maya. He let her explore her powers and limitations, and treat her as his equal. He respects her wants and decision, and fully support all her decision. He keeps all his promises, and true to his words, his soul remembers’ Maya.

“It is nice to be nice,” said Kamala with a sage nod. “And it is also nice to eat people.”

I really enjoyed the presence of Kamala, she’s sassy and witty, and likes to eat human flesh, but also trustworthy and can be wise when Maya need her guidance. Her presence is constant and essential for Maya throughout her journey, and no matter how hard the circumstance is or how many chance she got to leave Maya, she never did.

The Star Touched Queen is an exquisite retelling of Hades and Persephone, filled with familial interactions, friendship, and of course, man eating horse. The writing can be overwhelming at times, but all in all, it’s a delightful reading experience.

On Growing Up and Letting Go

Review Anthology: Books I Read in January/February

I know this is a book blog and I know how I never post review anymore these past months, but I am in a terrible slump guys. I barely read anything and when I do, I didn’t like them as much as I had to. So here are books that I read in December and January, in form of mini reviews.

DEATHLESS by Catherynne M. Valente

10841809Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

This book might be the reason of my huge slump. Or maybe it’s Red Rising. All I know is reading a book titled DEATHLESS, with an immortal main character, is not a good idea while planning your grandmother’s funeral. Firstly, it’s definitely because of the whole death(less) thingy going around in this book. The setting was depressing, during Russian Revolution I think? There were many deaths, the world felt very bleak and grey (which is a good thing considering the setting, but bad thing considering my situation at that time), there were war, both in real life and Tsars’ realms, and of course, the suffering of the people. Secondly it’s because of the writing style. It’s gorgeous. It really is. The writing has the fairytale quality that managed to capture the bleakness of Russia and the vibrant life of Koschei’s palace vividly. But it also borders on purple prose and it was hard enough for me to read anything at that time, lest they use purple prose! It disconnects me from the story and characters, while connecting me to the world they are living.

RED RISING by Pierce Brown

18046624The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Dnf at 44%

I’m so sad that I didn’t enjoy it. But dystopian and I haven’t been best mates for a while now. The thing is, I find the writing in this book to be very choppy and bland. It feels like fragmented sentences at time. It also has a lot of slangs and tech-talk without actually telling us what does those words mean. Like what is the difference between Lambda, Copper, Pixies, and Gamma? What the is a pulseshield? A gravboots? A highgrav? We have no idea how the houses, the system, the whole world work. And don’t tell me it’s because Red Rising is a first book because how can you even finish the first book if you don’t know any meaning from the fancy words? It is also very slow paced and the characters, especially the man, no matter who they are, just sounds very alpha-maleish for me. I’m sorry but I don’t think this book is for me.

THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Deb Loughead

29977282First she blamed herself. Now she doesn’t know who to trust.

When Kit disappeared at a party and was found drowned in the quarry the next day, Clem knew who to point the finger at: herself. She was the last person to see him alive, the last person who could have helped. If she had just kept a closer eye on him instead of her crush, Jake, maybe Kit would still be here. She knows she made a mistake, and wishes she could just forget about it — but Clem’s friend Ellie says she’ll expose Clem’s secret if she doesn’t play along with Ellie’s lies.

Jake seems to have his own difficult secrets, and when he and Clem start to talk, they make a plan to help themselves move on. But when an unexpected discovery at the quarry makes everyone question what they thought they knew, Clem and Jake decide it’s up to them to uncover the truth.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange from honest review

This is a very short and light book for mystery genre. I think it has “plot twist” but it wasn’t that twisted that it felt like no plot twist at all.

I get why the characters felt guitly about Kit’s death, but I can’t say I agree with the way they solve things, especially the ending. I also feel like the characters are just okay-ish, no depth, no personality, nothing. It’s like all that characterize them in this book is the part they play in Kit’s death.

This book also seemed like its aimed to lower YA or middle grade, the writing and plot are simple and I think it tries too hard in using the modern, catchy language. It has no climax or anything, and the ending was very underwhelming.

I like how even though it was simple, it’s sort of interesting that I can finish it in one sitting. I also like how positive her school is? Like they have this support group for Kit’s who’s “challenged”, and even though some are mean to him, it’s like 99% of the students genuinely like him and enjoy spending time with him! It kinda reminds me of WONDER.

If you’re not use to mystery, or just want to read something lighter, this book is definitely for you.

Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

25629358It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder…?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces…

I really don’t know how to rate this book. It has been a month so the shock had worn off, but I still don’t know how to react.

This book is a paradox for me to read. On one side, it’s very addictive. I keep turning the pages to see what, why, and how. I stayed up late to finish this book. On the other hand, the more I read, the more I feel sick and disgusted. The character, Oliver and Chloe are just awful, purely psycopath. Being inside Chloe’s head doesn’t help either, it made me anxious that I had to stop reading for a few times. Also, both Oliver and Ashton raised red flags for me, so how can Chloe not seeing it? I guess it’s a good thing this book made me twitchy and uncomfortable, considering the genre, but at some point it just felt too much.

That ending also really creeps me out. What was that even suppose to mean?

I don’t think I will be reading any Abigail Haas book anytime soon. I need time to fully recover.

UPSIDE DOWN by Jaym Gates

27905714Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories, poetry, and essays edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates. Over two dozen authors, ranging from NYT-bestsellers and award winners to debut writers, chose a tired trope or cliche to challenge and surprise readers through their work.

Read stories inspired by tropes such as the Chainmaille Bikini, Love at First Sight, Damsels in Distress, Yellow Peril, The Black Man Dies First, The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood, The Singularity Will Cause the Apocalypse, and many more…then discover what these tropes mean to each author to find out what inspired them.

Join Maurice Broaddus, Adam Troy-Castro, Delilah S. Dawson, Shanna Germain, Sara M. Harvey, John Hornor Jacobs, Rahul Kanakia, Alethea Kontis, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Haralmbi Markov, Sunil Patel, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Ferrett Steinmetz, Anton Strout, Michael Underwood, Alyssa Wong and many other authors as they take well-worn tropes and cliches and flip them upside down.

I receive this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for honest review. This does not affect my opinions or whatsoever.

Upside Down is an anthology of stories that contain inverted trope. Blind people who portrayed as physic turns our to be a normal person like us. Damsel in Distress who turned out to be not as in need as we thought she is, and so on. While I enjoyed reading some stories, most of them feel bland to me and I skipped a lot of them. If you expect some kind of creepy stories, because of the cover, I think you will get some, but not as much as you’ll like. So all in all… I didn’t like the stories.

BUT. I do like the essays. The introduction and discussion are amazing! It discuss how harmful trope can be, how to use it, etc. If this book is all about essays instead of stories, I’m sure I would enjoyed it more.

6b9d3-tasya

The Book Courtship Tag

book
Hi guys! So I found this interesting book courtship tag from Fiona @ A Girl Between the Pages ageees ago. I have a lot of old tags on my draft because I love tags, but don’t know when to post them. I think this is really fun to read, so without anyone tagged me I just do it 😀 LWithout further ado, let’s get into the courting process!

Phase 1: Initial Attraction | A book you bought because of the cover

I mean, just look at that cover? It’s the Indonesian edition and honestly it’s just so gorgeous. I love that shade of blue, and the pink colors just really stood out. It’s a shame I didn’t really enjoy the story though.

Phase 2: First Impressions | A book you bought because of the summary

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#Girlboss by Sophia Amaruso. One of my goal this year is to read more non-fiction, and the summary of this book sounds perfect for me. It looks like a great, empowering book for women, but the story fits everyone who’s in need of motivation!

Phase 3: Sweet Talk | A book with great writing

The Book Thief is one of those books that you read and haunted you. It’s just so beautiful, it’s bitter, it makes you cry, laugh and smiles, it’s easy to relate and sympathizes with Liesel and other characters. And Death is an extemely good narrator, the way he narrates feel other worldly, he feels like another entity watching the humans (which he is). It’s one of those books that I easily recommended to people.

Phase 4: First Date | A first book of the series which made you want to pick up the rest

This one is a real winner. The writing, the world building, the atmosphere, the characters… It tells the story of Shahrzad who seeks for revenge after a boy-king killed one girl every dawn, and one of those girls are her bestfriend. This book really makes me can’t wait to read the novellas and the sequel. I enjoyed the novellas (especially The Mirror and The Maze) but a bit dissapointed with The Rose and The Dagger though.

Phase 5: Late Night Phone Calls | A book that kept you up all night

Goddess is the only book I stayed up all night to finish it. I just want to read a few chapters, but ended up reading the whole book and can’t keep my eyes open at school the next day. After reading this book, it’s safe to say that I have policies of no reading before go to bed.

Phase 6: Always on my Mind | A book you can’t stop thinking about

Um.. I don’t know… Possibly all my e-arcs I need to read from Netgalley? I need to get to them soon😅

Phase 7: Getting Physical | A book which feels nice

Percy Jackson series feels 100000% nice. It feels familiar. The humour, the action, the characters, the mythology. It’s family. It’s home. I love it so so so much<3

Phase 8: Meeting the Parents | A book you would recommend to your family and friends

Percy Jackson I guess? As much as I love HP, my family and friends won’t want to read it because “why read when you can watch” thing. Percy Jackson only have 2 movies, and the books itself aren’t as huge and intimidating as HP, so yeah, no excuse. Read this book folks.

Phase 9: Thinking About the Future | A book you will re-read A LOT

I don’t really do re-reads.. And if I did, I never managed to finish that book. But I’ve been wanting to re-read The Night Circus for a while though, and it’s been raining a lot which is the perfect mood to read it. Hopefully I could read it soon!

Phase 10: Sharing the Love! | Whom do you tag?

Erika @ Books and Stars and Cloe @ Mornings and Epilogues!

On Growing Up and Letting Go