Book Review

Book Review | GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE, by Natasha Ngan

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Girls of Paper and Fire, by Natasha Ngan

Publish Date: November 6, 2018
Published by: Jimmy Patterson Books
Pages: 336
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.


My Review:

I really wanted to like this book. Going in, I was so excited for an Asian-inspired fantasy story about two girls falling in love while prisoners to a tyrannical King. It sounded inspiring and beautiful, and while there were moments of both, particularly in certain passages and quotes, I was just so utterly bored throughout the whole story that I can’t help but being disappointed in this book. The plot dragged, with characters that were only slightly interesting, and the twists were so predictable that I was completely unenthused even when the action started happening. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I made it past the halfway point and was not in the mood to start something new while I was in tech for a show, I would have DNF’ed this a lot sooner. But with all the positive reviews I just kept hoping it would get better, but it just never did for me. Continue reading “Book Review | GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE, by Natasha Ngan”

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Book Review

Book Review | THE CONFECTIONER’S GUILD, by Claire Luana

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The Confectioner’s Guild (The Confectioner’s Chronicles #1), by Claire Luana

Publish Date: October 23, 2018
Published by: Live Edge Publishing
Pages: 395
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mystery
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

A magic cupcake. A culinary killer. The perfect recipe for murder.

Wren knew her sweet treats could work wonders, but she never knew they could work magic. She barely has time to wrap her head around the stunning revelation when the head of the prestigious Confectioner’s Guild falls down dead before her. Poisoned by her cupcake.

Now facing murder charges in a magical world she doesn’t understand, Wren must discover who framed her or face the headsman’s axe. With the help of a handsome inspector and several new friends, Wren just might manage to learn the ropes, master her new powers, and find out who framed her. But when their search for clues leads to a deep-rooted conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, she realizes that the guild master isn’t the only one at risk of death by chocolate.

If Wren can’t bring the powerful culprit to justice, she and her friends will meet a bittersweet end.


My Review:

On reading the premise of this book I was immediately intrigued. It sounded both magical and mysterious and I was in the mood for a little bit of both. The Confectioner’s Guild turned out to be a semi-sweet tale that had a lot of intrigue and intricate world-building, some really interesting characters, and a unique blend of magic that added just the right touch to the story. Continue reading “Book Review | THE CONFECTIONER’S GUILD, by Claire Luana”

Book Review

Book Review | A BLADE SO BLACK, by L. L. McKinney

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A Blade So Black, by L. L. McKinney

Publish Date: September 25, 2018
Published by: Imprint
Pages: 384
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.


My Review:

When I first started this book I really enjoyed it. It pulled me in quickly and held my interest throughout the story. The writing is excellent, the storytelling very well done, and the characters were very lifelike and distinct. It had a bit of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibe which I digged a lot, and the action and intrigue kept me captivated throughout. My only issue, though, was that by the end it started to feel like things were getting dragged out, and with so many new issues occurring and adding up on top of each other, it felt like the plot would never end.  Continue reading “Book Review | A BLADE SO BLACK, by L. L. McKinney”

Book Review

Book Review | TWICE DEAD, by Caitlin Seal

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Twice Dead (The Necromancer’s Song #1), by Caitlin Seal

Publish Date: September 18, 2018
Published by: Charlesbridge Teen
Pages: 336
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through NetGalley and as an ARC at BookCon 2018, in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Naya, the daughter of a sea merchant captain, nervously undertakes her first solo trading mission in the necromancer-friendly country bordering her homeland of Talmir. Unfortunately, she never even makes it to the meeting. She’s struck down in the streets of Ceramor. Murdered.

But death is not the end for Naya. She awakens to realize she’s become an abomination–a wraith, a ghostly creature bound by runes to the bones of her former corpse. She’s been resurrected in order to become a spy for her country. Reluctantly, she assumes the face and persona of a servant girl named Blue. 

She never intended to become embroiled in political plots, kidnapping, and murder. Or to fall in love with the young man and former necromancer she is destined to betray.


My Review:

I really wanted to like this book. From the minute I saw the title, the cover, and read the synopsis, I was eager to read it. A book about necromancy told by the perspective of one who has been brought back from the dead? I thought it sounded interesting and unique. And while it was both of those, the world-building unfortunately was so confusing at times that it sadly ruined the whole story for me. Continue reading “Book Review | TWICE DEAD, by Caitlin Seal”

Book Review

Book Review | A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE, by Sangu Mandanna

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A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy #1), by Sangu Mandanna

Publish Date: September 11, 2018
Published by: Sky Pony Press
Pages: 400
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received an egalley of this from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back. 

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali. 

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart. 

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.


My Review:

On picking this up, I was immediately immersed and interested in the world Sangu Mandanna has created. With a wonderful mixture of both sci-fi and mythological magic, this book was an engaging and enticing read. It has intrigue and action, emotional struggles and political schemes, and an interesting cast of characters. There were some issues I had with it (mainly the romance which, honestly, did absolutely nothing for the plot and really could have been done without), but for the most part these could easily be overlooked for the rest of the quite enjoyable story. Continue reading “Book Review | A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE, by Sangu Mandanna”

Book Review

Book Review | THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE, by Lauren James

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universeby Lauren James

Publish Date: July 3, 2018
Published by: HarperTeen
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received an egalley of this from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents’ tragic deaths left her alone on the Infinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.

Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.

Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there’s more to J’s mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone….


My Review:

I really wanted to like this book. I thought when I read the summary that it was going to mostly be some bittersweet romance in space. But I was so wrong. I kind of glossed over that last bit at the end of the summary that was actually and BIG part of the story and I just…have mixed feelings about it. Continue reading “Book Review | THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE, by Lauren James”