In books fence rec recs stalking jack the ripper the cruel prince the gentleman's guide to vice and virtue the kiss quotient the lunar chronicles. trick

My Favorite Books of 2018

The year is coming to an end, and I'm already way past my reading goal of 150 books. I've read a lot of different types of books this year, from Adult contemporary to Middle-grade fiction, and there's a few that stuck out for me. I'll talk more in-depth about my favorite books that were published in 2018 on my youtube channel here (video coming later this week!), but there are some books I've read this year that weren't published in the last 12 months but deserve a shoutout nonetheless. Without further ado, let's get into 10 of my favorite books that I've read in 2018!

Trick by Natalia Jaster (#1 of Foolish Kingdoms) 
I discovered the existence of this book when scrolling through an artist's instagram, and decided to pick it up. The description for this sounded intriguing, a perfect mix between a romance book and a young adult fantasy one; the two genres I gravitate to most.

Trick follows Briar, the princess of the Autumn court, who falls in love with a court jester from Spring named Poet. Poet, however, may not be all that he seems, because he is guarding a secret that would cost him his life. 

This story took me by the throat. The story in this is so incredibly soft I HAVE to recommend it to anyone I meet. The secret poet carries around is wholly unexpected. The writing is beautiful and whimsical. This book deals with a subject that is barely written about in Young Adult literature, and especially not in a setting like this. Trick deserves all the praise it can get and I'm surprised this book isn't more well-known in the book community. What a great find! 

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I know what everyone's gonna ask; have I been living under a rock? The Lunar Chronicles series has been around for so long but I had never come to finishing it. I started Cinder (#1) when I was in high school (around 2012) and then never bothered to pick up Scarlet (#2). Biggest. Mistake. Of. My. Life.

These books each respectively follow their own fairytale retelling set within the same universe; a dystopian world filled with sci-fi elements and cyborgs. The protagonists of each book interact over the span of the whole series and each get their own POV's. 

The thing I loved most about this series that is on the longer side (5 books and a novella + graphic novel!) was seeing these characters develop over the scope of all these books and interacting with each other. My particular favorite dynamics are Cress & Thorne and Cinder & Kai. But, I have to admit all of the characters are great. 

Meyer knows how to write long series without dragging out the plot-lines. I loved every minute of this fairy-tale inspired adventure and I'm already planning my next reread!

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Stalking Jack the Ripper is a series I initially didn't think I would care about. I thought it'd be a crime-series set in an overdone time period with an overrated historical scenario. I couldn't be more wrong if I tried.

Stalking Jack the Ripper focuses on Audrey Rose Wadsworth, who is disguised as a boy to study forensic medicine. When she hears of the 'Ripper Murders' that are happening in- and around London, she feels the need to take action. Together with her classmate, and overly cocky friend, Thomas Cresswell, she sets out to find the serial killer who calls himself Jack The Ripper and tries to stop him from wreaking havoc. 

The characters in this is what made the book for me. Audrey Rose and Thomas are incredibly likeable as characters. The mystery-element is a nice touch, though kind of predictable. As said earlier, I'm not a huge fan of mysteries, but these books 100% worked for me.

Also, the book includes old and creepy pictures before each chapter, which is a cool element to the story! Though, maybe read this at night with the lights ON. :)

Fence by C.S Pacat and Johanna the Mad
Now, for something different, Fence is an ongoing comic series created by the writer of the Captive Prince series and one of my favorite independent artists. When I heard of this collaboration I immediately had to get my hands on these issues.

Fence combines Pacat's love for sports anime with her love for storytelling. The story is set around an elite boys school called Kings Row, where Nicholas Cox joins the fencing team. Nicholas meets friends, foes (a prodigy boy named Seiji) and has to try his hardest to make the fencing team.

The thing I love about this story is its diversity. Though set in an all-boys school, it has LGBTQ characters, relationships and a diverse cast of characters. Because of the comic format, they're really easy to get through. I always find myself eagerly anticipating a new issue.

Like I said, the art in Fence is done by Johanna the Mad, whom I followed before she even started working on this. Her style is influenced by Disney as well as Japanese manga which creates such a beautiful comic. I truly love everything about this series!

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is a book I will probably never shut up about. What a wild, hilarious and unique ride this book was. 

This story takes place in Victorian England and follows a British boy named Henry "Monty" Montague. Monty is done with etiquette and wants to leave the confines of his strict home to travel Europe with his best friend Percy. Together with his sister Felicity, they embark on a trip of debauchery and endless gambling. 

I whole-heartedly loved this book. The love-story between Percy and Monty was incredibly soft, such a joy to read. Monty's character is a mess at the beginning, but you just can't hate him. You can't. (Percy, you're an angel, always).

If you're looking for an incredibly detailed, historically accurate Victorian fiction novel, this might not be your thing. However, if you're looking for a lighthearted, but carrying serious undertones, Young Adult novel that will make you laugh-out-loud and roll your eyes a few times, this is absolutely something you should pick up. What a delight. 

All for the Game by Nora Sakavic 
All for the Game is one of those series I kept seeing on my Tumblr dashboard and my Twitter feed. I wasn't sure what to expect at first, but ended up enjoying SO MUCH, which is mostly due to the characters.

All for the Game focuses on a group of misfits that all form the Palmetto State Exy team. If you're now asking yourself if you're stupid because you've never heard of Exy, you're not, it's a fake sport completely made up by Sakavic, however I imagine it's kind of like Lacrosse. The book mostly follows Neil Josten, a homeless boy who accidentally ends up joining the team, and his journey with the Foxes (their teamname).

This book is the definition of the found family trope, which is one of my all-time favorite tropes, and will make you feel warm. Be careful and check trigger warnings before reading this series though, because the books don't deal with light-hearted subjects!

Red Winter by Annette Marie
Red Winter is another one of those underrated series I barely see anyone talk about but deserves more hype. It is set in Japan, and deals with Japanese mythology.

It follows kamigakari Emi who is set to ascend so that a goddess can take her body. After wandering around in the woods, she ecounters fox spirit Shiro, whom she rescues from mortal danger. Shiro now owns her a favor and won't stop until it is returned. 

The world-building in this is absolutely amazing. I'm fascinated with any type of mythology so this book fit right up my alley. I found it fascinating to read about the culture and made me want to know more about it. The characters in Red Winter, in particular Emi, were all so well-written and layered. 

ALSO, not unimportant, THIS BOOK HAS ART INSIDE IT! Yes, that's right, every time a pivotal plot-moment happens, there is a gorgeous accompanying image in the book. 

In short, this book has everything you look for, so check it out. It deserves a lot more hype and recognition!

Mirage by Somaiya Daud
A book that came out this year and has been on my most-anticipated shelf for a good part of 2018 is Mirage by Somaiya Daud. This Moroccan inspired fantasy (with a gorgeous cover!) features two girls who look exactly the same. 

Amani is kidnapped by the regime and taken to the royal palace to be a decoy for her doppelgänger the cruel princess Maram. Amani has to navigate her new life at court, while pretending to be someone else. Life at court knows a lot of dangers, and one mistake could cost her her head.

This awesome fantasy novel lived up to every expectation I had. I loved the story, the level of political intrigue, as well as the characters. The second instalment is expected to be released in 2019 so I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel!

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Surprisingly the only romance book that made this list, but a very very good romance book nonetheless. This won the Goodreads award for best romance this year, which is very very unsurprising.

The Kiss Quotient follows the autistic Stella, who has Asperger's syndrome. Stella has intimacy issues and wants to try to get rid of them to find a life-partner and to stop her mom from moaning about grand babies all the time. To get rid of these intimacy issues she decides to hire a professional escort named Michael. Michael is a Vietnamese American, trying to make ends meet while also paying his mom's hospital bills. He has a rule to never meet with the same client twice, but when he meets Stella this rule might have to be broken...

It is no secret I'm actually obsessed with this book and these characters. Stella and Michael have the cutest relationship ever. The book deals with subjects that are rare within the romance genre, and the fact that some of these subjects are inspired by Hoang's real life make this book all the more powerful. I love this, okay? Read it, please, thank you.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The last book I want to address in this list is a very hyped one. In fact, The Cruel Prince is probably one of the most popular 2018 releases. 

This book is about Jude, a human who due to a tragic thing that happened in her past, is now living in a High Court of the faerie kingdom. Jude feels like she doesn't belong there, which is due to the treatment of the other Fae. She is being bullied and ostracized by the people around her, and worst of them all is the cruel prince Cardan. When Jude learns what really goes on in the court, a lot of political intrigue ensues.

I didn't initially like this book. I only really liked Jude, but Cardan? I didn't understand what the hype was about this boy. He was mean, and evil, and unapologetic. Truth is, I still don't really like Cardan that much. He isn't a character I would go for, and I still think that the hype for him is a little too much. He's kind of a mess of a character. However, I love Jude. Love her.  Her character is worth 5 stars for me alone.

If you like Fae universes with a dash of political intrigue and some morally grey characters, this is probably something you'd enjoy. Who knows, you might love Cardan after all!


I've read a lot of great books this year, and there's so much more I wanted to put on this list. I've put most of my favorite 2018 releases on my Youtube channel, so if you want you can take a look over there. All in all, I'm looking forward to a new year of even more book releases and a new reading challenge in 2019. 

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In books cassandra clare the mortal instruments the shadowhunter chronicles

REVIEW: Queen of Air and Darkness

A cruel sort of bond, he thought,
that made one person out of two people,
and left such devastation when half was gone.” 

Title: Queen of Air and Darkness
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Young Adult
Release: December 2018
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

Prior to reading this book, I really, genuinely, thought that this would be the last Cassandra Clare book I'd ever read. Despite reading all of them, I wasn't a fan of the The Mortal Instruments series when I read them as a teenager, but her The Infernal Devices series is one of my all time favorite fantasy series. Her characters, and especially her storylines, are a hit or miss for me. Hence why I swore that The Dark Artifices would be my last Cassandra Clare series, ever.

.... I was wrong. 

What is this book about?
Queen of Air and Darkness is the third instalment in The Dark Artifices series, and follows the Shadowhunters of the Los Angeles institute. If you're not familiar with Clare's enormous universe; it basically centers around a group of "Shadowhunters" who hunt supernatural creatures to make sure the peace between humans and "downworlders" is maintained. 

This series in particular is set in Los Angeles and focuses on a significantly large cast of characters (some older faces from her previous series set in the universe, but also some newly introduced ones).

The plot of Queen of Air and Darkness begins where the previous instalment Lord of Shadows left off. With one of his siblings gone, Julian has to navigate his feelings of grief, as well as his complicated relationship with his parabatai Emma Carstairs. Together with their friends and family they have to prevent the Shadow World from succumbing to a dark power.

"Some lights were never meant to burn for long."

What did I think about Queen of Air and Darkness?
Okay, so, I can swallow my pride and say that I was wrong to go in with such an attitude. I was so ready for this to be the last Shadowhunters book I'd ever read. I was very ready to leave this world behind. Ever since reading the series in my teenage years, I've felt too little of a connection to the TMI characters, same as I've always felt too large of a connection towards the TID characters. Due to this large contrast, I've always felt Clare's other characters to fall a bit flat for me. Because I'm still so in love with the TID books, I wasn't sure I'd connect with any of her newer characters. I was convinced she'd already peaked with her previous series. The universe just kept expanding and expanding and I was tired of it. I've read the previous two books Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows back to back last year, and I didn't really remember much of them prior to reading QoAad. I didn't recollect the plot at all, and, especially minor characters, were a blur.

However ready I was to feel indifferent about this book and move on, I didn't. I picked this up in the hopes of reading about cameo's of my favorite Infernal Devices characters, and ended up LOVING it. It's no secret I always enjoy conclusions to book series; they're often the most action- packed and gratifying (with the exception of open or sad endings, we don't talk about those). 

Within the first few chapters, I already loved how fast-paced and exciting this book was. The balance between character moments and action scenes was well-proportioned, dare I say, perfectly done. Despite my expectations, I didn't feel myself getting bored of the action and plot throughout the, almost 900 page, novel. The romantic storylines were very nicely intertwined with the larger action plot, providing a nice break from the heavy stuff. Clare's writing does feature a lot of extensive descriptions, but they didn't necessarily bother me. She also has an almost 'formal' writing style at times, which I do really like and I find is able to add to the setting of the Shadow World.

Plot-wise, I enjoyed the personal relationships and character-driven subplots the most. There were times when I wanted to throw my book at the wall (Julian Blackthorn, looking at you, sir), and wanted to yell in joy (Jem announcing him and Tessa are having a baby! UGH, perfection!). I'm happy that most of the drama was resolved in the end, and the drama that wasn't will be focused on in future books. The only book I have ever cried reading is Clockwork Princess, but I almost shed a tear during the beginning of this book. The first half was heavy, and I mean... really d*mn heavy. However, the tone doesn't remain the same throughout the complete novel. There are jokes that are almost 80% funny (I just have a very particular sense of humor so they were only 80% funny. It's me, not you), as well as cute character moments.

It was also nice to see old characters from previous books reappear again. It's no secret that I think Jem is the best character Clare has ever written, and to see him and Tessa make a few appearances aside from his short stories in Ghosts of the Shadow Market was a real treat. The way the book ended in regards to him also satisfied me enormously, since I'm a huge fan of the particular trope and I can't wait to see what he's up to in The Wicked Powers (2022).

Compared to her first series, you can see the books have evolved in terms of diversity. The Dark Artifices includes a transgender woman, many LGBTQ+ relationships, a polyamorous relationship, as well as characters of various ethnicities (Latino & Asian, to name some) I don't think the representation is 100% perfect, but then again, there is no such thing as a perfect book. However, I thought it was worth noting.

Lastly, I want to give a quick shoutout because to a character that particularly touched me. Kit. I LOVED this boy. I can't wait to read more of his relationship with Ty in... wait for it...  the next series she brings out. I am officially converted to being a fan of this universe and will probably be reading her books until I'm 40 years old.... 

“The sky was a road and the stars made pathways; 
the moon was a watchtower, a lighthouse that led you home.” 

I don't know whether it is because I had zero to no expectations, or because it was just that good, but this book was a solid 5 star read for me. I guess I'm gonna be sticking around for the next 20000 books after all. 

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In arc books review the enchanted sonata

REVIEW: The Enchanted Sonata

"What makes music... magic?"

Title: The Enchanted Sonata
Author: Heather Dixon Wallwork
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult, Romance.
Release: October 2018
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

This book has such a promising premise; the nutcracker fused with the Piped Piper sounds like one of my new favorite things. This book brought upon all sorts of wintery goodness.

What is this book about?
The Enchanted Sonata centers around the young pianist Clara, who has a massive crush on the professional pianist Johann. Clara is so smitten that she has planned her entire future around him. She, then, hadn't planned to be pulled into a fairytale world where children are being transformed into toys and by an evil musician.

She comes to the rescue of Nikolai, a prince who has been turned into a nutcracker, to save his empire, and restore his citizens back to human beings.

"Light chords, staccato piano, or pizzicato strings, 
could lighten the heart. 
minor, legato melodies,
could depress and darken one's soul."

What did I think about The Enchanted Sonata?
First of all, I was enchanted by the entire atmosphere surrounding the book. The premise, cover and title pages made me want to add this to my TBR. The cover is absolutely stunning and reminds me of snowy Russia and the Christmas-feeling. 

I absolutely love the book's concept. The combination of the lyrical writing, the retellings of two famous tales; The Nutcracker and Pied Piper were absolute gold together. I loved the inclusion of the musical element and language in the story. I'm a musician myself so this absolutely added an extra layer to the story. 

The characters, too, were absolutely gorgeous. The antagonist, Erik, was very interesting to read about (I expecially liked the inclusion of his origin-story). As an audience, we witnessed Clara's growth as a character. She goes from the naive, dreaming, girl to someone who's sure of herself and someone who forms new resolutions. There's also Nikolai, the adorable prince, who both served as the ideal boyfriend and a good protagonist.

The pacing and length of this story I found enjoyable too. I liked the fact that the action came relatively quickly into the book. I personally don't find books that take ages to build up very attractive. So I was happy to see that the introduction and world-building in this book was done relatively quickly. The flashbacks, time jumps, and parallel universes were very nicely added to create a very fairy-tale like atmosphere, but were in no way confusing for the reader. Instead, they added to the story in the sense that the reader gets to read a story in a story in a story, which adds to the whimsical element of The Enchanted Sonata as well.

A downfall of this book though, for me personally, was the writing. I generally enjoyed the writing style and it was fine for the most part. There were also some good quotes here and there, but I don't know if it was because I received the non-final copy, some of the wording really didn't make sense sometimes. Some of the jokes too, fell a bit flat. I think the author's intention might have been to give the story a comedic spin, but that didn't fully work out.

Overall, I feel like I really enjoyed the story and I read it at the perfect time of the year. The book got me in a perfect Christmas mood. The concept of this, then, remains beautiful, even if the finished product might have some minor flaws. 3.5/5 stars.

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In adam silvera becky albertalli books review simon vs simon vs the homosapiens agenda what if it's us

REVIEW: What If It's Us

"He laces our fingers and shrugs. And I’m dead. I am actually dead. 
There’s no other way to explain it. I’m sitting in fucking Herald Square, 
holding hands with the cutest boy I’ve ever met, and I’m dead. 
I’m the deadest zombie ghost vampire who ever died. 
And now my mouth isn’t working. It's like I'm stunned into silence. 
That never happens."

Title: What If It's Us
Author: Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+
Release: September 2018
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

Let me start by saying that I'm generally not a huge YA contemporary person. I don't usually connect with the characters anymore, having passed the high school age. However, I make exceptions for books that are insanely hyped (on Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, wherever). The anticipation for this book, for example, was huge; two authors (who are big names within the YA contemporary genre) teaming up to write a LGBTQ+ love story? I couldn't really pass that up, could I?

What is this book about?

What If It's Us centers around two boys, Arthur and Ben, who both live in New York City. Ben has just broken up with his ex-boyfriend and goes to take a box of his ex-bf's stuff out. Then there's Arthur, who has just moved to NYC for the summer only. The two have a meet cute at the post-office, but they end up losing track of each other. After their fate meeting, the two start social-media stalking each other to see if fate will bring them together again. That's basically the gist of the story, and about all I can say without going into the book too deeply and spoiling aspects of it.

"I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship. 

You start with nothing and maybe end with everything."

What did I think about What If It's Us?

Firstly, I want to address the pacing of the book. YA contemporaries are usually quick reads for me anyway, but I really like how quickly this book handled the meet-cute and the events that took place after. It didn't take absolute ages before the romance aspect of the book came to frutition and there wasn't a bunch of very unnecessary drama (or, let me say this differently, there was drama, but not the annoying kind).

I think the struggles both Ben and Arthur faced were very representative for their respective ages and also kind of relatable in a way that doesn't necessarily have to do with romance. Arthur wants the relationship to succeed too bad, and Ben is the one who doesn't try enough, which isn't necessarily only applicable to romantic relationships but also to friendships. This made the book relatable for me, which, as I mentioned earlier, isn't necessarily something I find within this particular genre.

I really liked the pop-culture references within the book. Arthur is a huge Broadway fan, which provided some fun references and quotes within the story (SPOILER: The scene where they both end up listening to Hamilton in front of the building was so cute!). Despite a lot of the earlier reviews I've read for this book, the references didn't annoy me. They didn't feel forced or too much. I liked the inclusion of popular media within the book because it made the book feel realistic.

I also really like how they addressed Ben's ethnicity and his family dynamics, as well as Arthur's ADHD. The book really includes diverse perspectives, which is something I really liked reading.

The only major thing I had issues with was the ending. I'm not a huge fan of endings like these, because I, as a reader, look for gratification. I felt like a lot of things were left unanswered and open, and it didn't really satisfy me as a reader. 

“God, Arthur.” He kisses me. 
“Te quiero. Estoy enamorado. You don’t even know.” 
And I don’t speak a word of Spanish, but when I look at his face, I get it.” 

This book, despite its ending, was really really cute. The characters were cute, the romance between these two boys (the authors also included ADHD and made one of them POC!) was delightful to read. I really enjoyed this quick YA read, so I'm giving this 3.5/5 stars but I hope the authors will work on a potential sequel in the future! 

Goodreads | Amazon

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In arc books crown of wishes review roshani chokshi the gilded wolves the star-touched queen

REVIEW: The Gilded Wolves

"I don't want to be their equals.
I don't want them to look us in the eye.
I want them to look away, to blink harshly, like they've stared at the sun itself.
I don't want them standing across from us.
I want them kneeling."

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Fantasy
Release: January 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

This book. Oh, wow, THIS BOOK. Prior to reading the advanced reading copy, I'd heard some promising things about this story. People described it as having 'Six of Crows' vibes, which is another series I absolutely adore. However, the comparison sells this story short in my opinion. Yes, there are some similarities, but The Gilded Wolves definitely manages to set itself apart from other heist series. 

This is the second book by Roshani Choskhi I've read, (The Star-Touched Queen being the first), but this solidified my love for her writing. This book was all sorts of magical, unique and beautiful, wrapped within an insanely diverse and action-packed story! 

Also, before you continue to read, since the book releases in 2019, this will be a spoiler-free review, so don't worry! 

What is this book about?
Chokshi's newest masterpiece The Gilded Wolves centers around Séverin, heir to the fallen house of Montagnet-Alerie, current hotel-owner and part-time gang leader. He teams up with 5 allies: his brother in all but blood, botanical genius, pet-spider owner, and the definition of 'cinnamon roll,' Tristan. Then there's the Spanish-Filipino pretty boy, bisexual legend and historian, Enrique. The autistic, Polish-Jewish mathematician Zofia, who's also happens to be a huge overthinker. There's the super extra, very friendly, a little shady at times, but a gay icon nonetheless, Hypnos. And last but not least, my personal favorite, Indian performer, 100% kickass female and part-time baker, slash full-time angel, Laila.

The book itself takes place in historical Paris, and the main focus is a heist plot (but with loads of mythical and religious nods) set within a world of forging (the reshaping of objects but also seeing into its existence). In order to reclaim his lost inheritance, Séverin and his crew must find a magical artifact, and all sorts of awesome things ensue!

What did I think about The Gilded Wolves?
This book has everything. EVERY-THING. It is diverse, action-packed, character-driven (which I adore) and filled to the brim with mythological, religious, and historical nods. 

The first thing I want to address is Roshani's writing. The writing is gorgeous, seriously, absolutely fantastic. The world is intricately build, and she uses tons of beautiful descriptions to explain things like alchemy and forging. However, where other books that need a lot of world-building tend to take up half the book, I found this wasn't the case in The Gilded Wolves. Despite the many elaborate descriptions, I found the pacing in this book to be absolutely perfect. As soon as you open the book you jump straight into the action, which is something I love to read, but it wasn't confusing in any way. You learn that these characters all have a history together, which only adds to the appeal of their relationships.

"Everywhere he looked, he was surrounded by gilded wolves. 
And for whatever reason, it made him feel perfectly at home. 
Wolves were everywhere. In politics, on thrones, in beds. 
They cut their teeth on history and grew fat on war. 
Not that Séverin was complaining. 
It was just that, like other wolves, he wanted his share."

Plot-wise, the story was intense overall. The heist-plot in itself is a trope that is an automatic pull for me when it concerns books. I loved the atmosphere in which it was set; high-society Europe with its historical nods and mythical artefacts paints a very aesthetically pleasing picture. The book is filled to the brim with action, and there is a plot-twist at the end of the novel that I can honestly say I didn't see coming at all. 

Character wise, the diverse cast Roshani introduces is absolutely amazing. Each and every character manages to worm its way into your heart by the end of the book, and there wasn't a single character I didn't like. And yes, there is romance (love-triangles (the non-annoying kind!), LGBTQ+ relationships, angst) but romance by no means is the focus. The book is very character-driven, each of them having their own motivations and backstories, that come together to form the found-family trope that I adore in the YA genre.

To conclude, I thought this book was a super strong start to a series that I undoubtedly will enjoy. I think, but don't quote me on that, that this is the first book in a trilogy? Where most first books tend to take a lot of time with world-building and introducing the plot, this one jumped straight to action and introduces its characters along the way.

The comparisons to Six Of Crows and other heist stories absolutely sell this book short because it is a masterpiece in its own right. This is a definite five-star read for me, and I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel to this. This is a literal gem of a book and already one of my 2019 favorites!

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In books girls of paper and fire natasha ngan review

REVIEW: Girls of Paper and Fire

"We might be Paper Girls, easily torn and written upon. 
The very title we’re given suggests that we are blank, waiting to be filled. 
But what the Demon King and his court do not understand is that paper is flammable. 
And there is a fire catching among us."

Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Natasha Ngan
Genre (s): YA, Fantasy, Mythology
Release: November 2018
Rating: 4.5/5  ✭✭✭✭

This book has been on my TBR list forever, and the premise promised all sorts of awesome-ness. When I got an early copy in my Fairyloot box (which is GOR-GEOUS by the way, it has sprayed edges!), I immediately picked it up. And, let me tell you, I was in no way disappointed! Girls of Paper and Fire did it all... and more!

What is this book about?:
Girls of Paper and Fire centers around Lei, who gets taken from her village to become a 'Paper Girl' at the court of a demon king. The Paper Girls are eight girls that are chosen every year to become  concubines in the Demon King's palace. This year, the Paper Girls have already been chosen, but when Lei attracts the unwanted attention of one of the King's guards, she turns into the unexpected ninth girl. Lei is taken from her village by force, leaving behind her family. Determined to return back to her family, and find her mother who has disappeared a few years prior. Lei must navigate her new life as a Paper Girl and find a way to escape. However, the other eight girls and the king himself promise a great deal of trouble. [BEWARE, THERE'S A MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT]

"I don’t realize it until I speak it. And it’s different from the times I’ve said it before, or the way I’ve hoped it, as if dreaming something enough could birth it into being.
I know it now with a certainty that has fitted into the lost core at the heart of me,
as hard and angular as my hope was soft and shimmering.
The King will not have me."

What did I think of Girls of Paper and Fire?
First of all, I adored the atmosphere and the universe Natasha introduces. The world Natasha creates is based around Asian mythology, which was very interesting to read about in itself. The hierarchy in the book knows various different 'castes', which is what adds another layer to the story.

The plot of the book  itself, too, has a level of intrigue I really enjoy.  However, I did think the story could be a little too shocking at times. Again, there's a trigger warning for sexual assault at the beginning of the book, so be cautious, but I would've preferred for there to be one at the specific chapters.

 The characters (in particular Lei and Wren) really stole my heart. I adored Wren's character development. She goes from this seemingly stoic girl, to a very layered character within half of the novel. The book also gains bonus points for the main relationship. The romance in this is so sweet and refreshing. I adored that it was between two girls, since the YA Fantasy genre still severely lacks F/F representation.

Lastly, the pacing of the book was just right in my opinion. It did not drag in any way, and when I hit the 50% mark of the book the plot, was already full of intrigue and action. The writing too, was very enjoyable and nicely done. Unlike other books that contain elaborate descriptions, the plot didn't suffer from pacing issues (there's also tons and tons of beautiful and powerful quotes in there!).

All in all, I thought this book was a story of empowerment, diversity, and unlikely friendship, with certain plot-twists that took my breath away. I don't want to spoil too much of the book itself because I found I enjoyed it a lot when going in obliviously (I tend to not look up spoilers when I read new releases!), but this book is definitely worth a read. It gets a solid 4.5/5 stars from me, and I cannot wait for the second instalment.


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