Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Going into this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it was an LGBT read, and anyone who knows me knows those are my kryptonite, as in I will literally give any LGBT book or author a chance in the name of supporting LGBT becoming a future staple of the writing industry.

A lot of reviews of this book were on the negative side, bashing Ngan for writing a book containing a lesbian relationship. Because, god forbid gays find the representation they deserve in the writing community πŸ™„Β .

Let me start this review by saying this book has excellent worldbuilding. There were so many times where I sat here in silence processing the beautiful picture Ngan paints.

The moon caste demons are a feast for the eyes. Their descriptions are rich and wondrous. So are the steel caste demons and hell, even the descriptions of the paper caste humans were incredible.

I was so invested in the world Ngan created I definitely slacked off on reading all my other books. I have to say I was a little disappointed that Lei fell in love with a paper caste woman and not a moon or steel caste, but that’s just the teratophiliac in me.

There was one thing other than the world building and characterization I found to be incredible. And it isn’t something a lot of people think about, but there’s a scene in the book where Lei wonders why it’s okay for men to be with other men while it was taboo for women to be with other women.

To be honest, I think this reflects keenly on the writing industry as a whole. The entire reason I became an author was because of this whole mess of MM books being the only LGBT offerings when the world needed more FF representation (and rep for the more marginalized LGBT groups: trans, bi, poly, pan, ace, etc.). That scene really struck a chord with me because of this.

Now, Ngan may not have meant it that way, but that’s how I interpreted it and it made me feel really seen.

I cannot wait to read book 2.

Overall rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
4/5 stars

Rating breakdown

Prose: 😻😻😻😻😻

Plot: πŸ‘ΉπŸ‘ΉπŸ‘ΉπŸ‘Ή

Characterization: πŸ‘©β€β€οΈβ€πŸ’‹β€πŸ‘© πŸ‘©β€β€οΈβ€πŸ’‹β€πŸ‘© πŸ‘©β€β€οΈβ€πŸ’‹β€πŸ‘©

Boredom meter: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

The beginning was really slow to start and it took me a long time to get into it, but once I hit my stride, I listened to it every single night.

More about Girls of Paper and Fire

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.








Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

A lot of the reviews I’ve seen for this book on Goodreads and Amazon whined about how badly written Jazz was. And, to be honest, I was a little surprised by this.

I am very hard to please when it comes to female characters and I had 0 problems with Jazz’s personality. Yeah, she was a bit crass and really full of herself, but women can be crass and full of themselves.

I believe in equal opportunity, folks.

Plus, it helps that Jazz reminded me a lot of myself. Cause I’m kind of a little shit too, so I felt more than a little validated by her less than savory behavior. Maybe that’s a bad thing?

Usually, when I’m reading a book written by a man I get pissy when they write women this way, but that is not the case with Jazz Bashara. I mean, who doesn’t love a little shit smuggler with a heart of…uh…chloroform?

Maybe that’s not the right term? I don’t know. I just really liked Jazz Bashara, ok? Okay.

All this being said, there are a few problematic things that gave me pause, but no more than most books. There are a few racial-type things I was like “Um what?” on, but I don’t know if that was problematic or not because I’m not part of or educated on any of the cultures involved.

I do work with a few Ukranians though and they would be the first to tell you that if you want someone to perform a crime, you go to Moldova. Not Ukraine. Just saying Andy.

Though, the fact that Svoboda (the Ukranian in question) is a scientist and a damn good one at that, is exceptionally Ukranian. Considering both of the Ukranian dudes I work with are physicists and smart as heck.

Incidentally, Svoboda is my favorite character out of the whole book. Though, I’m a bit partial to Rudy too. Sorry, Jazz.

I genuinely enjoyed this story. I love science and I love science fiction so, every second of this book was exciting to me.

I loved Jazz’s letters to Kelvin and their whole relationship. I do wish Kelvin could be a bigger part of the story, but considering he’s on Earth while Jazz and company are on the moon, that’s understandable.

I think it might be interesting to read the story from his point of view, though. Where Jazz’s story is more actiony and life or death, Kelvin can be the doting best friend worried shitless about her and the entire colony of Artemis. It would be beautiful.

I was sad about Trond, but I do know you reap what you sow and even though he wasn’t a big bad, he did piss off some really influential people. Post-Trond, though, everything gets a whole lot more exciting. So it wasn’t completely in vain.

Still made me really sad though, especially for his daughter. Though she really stepped up after that. At the behest of one hardheaded Jazz Bashara.

At the end, when Jazz fucks everything up, it was such a big mood. I love how she is both completely clueless and way too damn smart for her own good throughout the book.

If she ever decided to team up permanently with Svobota they would own the entire settlement of Artemis. Fingers crossed?

Well, they would if Ngugi let them. She’s no force to be trifled with and other than Svobota, she was my favorite character in the book. She was just so super cool and smart as shit. I kind of even loved how manipulative she was.

This book was really great, honestly.

Overall rating: β˜… β˜… β˜… β˜… β˜…
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Plot: πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

Characterization: πŸ‘©β€πŸš€πŸ‘©β€πŸš€πŸ‘©β€πŸš€πŸ‘©β€πŸš€

Boredom meter: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Artemis was gripping and amazing from start to finish! (With very few boring parts in between).

Book Reviews: Fight or Flight by Liv Devereaux

This book was really interesting. Initially, I debated hard on giving it a higher rating, but I didn’t really like how this was a very thinly veiled fanfiction for the Freeform show “The Fosters” with a few of the names and situations changed.

In all honesty, the book wasn’t that bad. It was better (and longer) than the first I read of Liv Devereaux’s work, More Than Friends, but Devereaux could have done a little bit of a better job separating her narrative from the ongoing narrative of The Fosters.

There is nothing wrong with writing fanfiction, especially if it leads you to pursue a career as a writer (of gay fiction, especially. I see you, Devereaux), but I personally would prefer something a little more original. That is not to say that Fight or Flight is a direct copy of what happened in The Fosters, it isn’t, but it follows the narrative very VERY closely in a way that made it hard for me to see the characters as anything other than the ones featured in the show.

All that being said, I found the relationship between Hayden and Cameron to be an interesting one. A lot of the prose was missing a good bit of description, something I found eternally irritating, but it did make for a quick read. It also makes a lot of sense considering this was so obviously based on a fanfiction that there would be a good amount of description missing (as that is the writing style of fanfiction authors, something I know intimately).

I would actually recommend this book to anyone who likes quick, cute reads for WLW and lesbian romance. I genuinely did enjoy the book despite all its shortcomings and look forward to reading as much as I can by Liv Devereaux.

Overall rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…
3/5 stars

Rating breakdown

Prose: πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

Plot: πŸ•ΆοΈπŸ•ΆοΈπŸ•ΆοΈπŸ•ΆοΈ

Characterization: 🀷🀷

Boredom meter: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

The story had it’s moments that were heartwarming, but ultimately I found myself trying to finish it ASAP so I could move on to something else.

More about Fight or Flight

Cameron Hale had it all. A high school sophomore that was well on her way to being the best swimmer on the swim team, had excellent grades, and an amazing family. To anyone else, Cameron’s life was perfect. And it was. That was until this past summer when Cameron’s life changed forever. One night with one boy that she could never forget, as much as she wanted to. 

When Cameron starts buying Adderall from Hayden, the new girl in school, she’ll send herself down a spiral that will end in her having to make a choice. Does she fight and confront her demons? Or does she run and suffer the turmoil of knowing the boy that raped her is getting away with it?

Read it here, on Amazon



Book Review: Lucid Dreaming by Heather Blair

This book brought me to Quinn Kaneko levels of obsession. I rarely read anything this fast, but holy heck I devoured this book.

I don’t think the word “enrapture” is too strong a word for what this book dud to me. Every single word on the page screamed to be read. There was not even a single letter out of place and very few passages that gave me pause.

Every second I spent reading this book was rapturous. Heather Blair’s prose is delectable!

I absolutely adore Alison and her family (with one obvious exception). It is so rare that I find a book with a well-written female character in a story with a predominantly romantic plot, but Alison is IT. She is strong-willed, she is smart, she is everything I want my female MCs to be. She gives as much as she gets and even a little more to Quinn and everyone around her, but she is by no means perfect. Her flaws are what make her so well-rounded and incredible.

The love scenes were otherworldly good. Blair definitely knows her way around well-written smut. I have not read a smutty book I’ve enjoyed the way I enjoyed Lucid Dreaming in years. The love scenes were exciting and full of description and care between the two characters.

God, I especially loved how Blair handled the break up between Alison and her first boyfriend, Logan without demonizing him. Sure, Logan has his moments where he isn’t a great guy, but Blair never takes him too far. She never makes him abusive or shitty and she definitely doesn’t kill him off. That meant the world to me.

Thank you, Heather Blair, for your astonishing novel, Lucid Dreaming. I cannot wait for the sequel.

Review: Starlight Taxi by C.M Lanning

This book was actually a surprisingly entertaining read. I’ve known C.M Lanning for years, but only just managed to get around to reading his books and to be honest, I’m really mad about that because he’s an incredible author.

I seriously recommend his books to anyone who likes paranormal, but his foray into the world of science fiction with Starlight Taxi is, *kisses fingers*, delicious!

There are a few things I don’t agree with in the narrative, but I won’t focus on that since I know the author will update them when he rewrites this short!

First off, let me just say, I was not expecting to like this nearly as much as I did. A story about a taxi driver seemed really weird to me. However, from the very beginning I was hooked.

It kind of reminded me of the strange people you meet driving for Uber! I thought the writing was fantastic and the story was so compelling and interesting that it easily kept my attention.

The ending seemed weirdly rushed and I would have liked to see that expanded more, but you run into that a lot with writing novellas. I am no stranger to writing them myself and you are constantly running out of space.

All and all this is one of my favorites by Lanning. Or, at least, my favorite he has published on Amazon. Cannot wait to see what becomes of The Last Fire Mage!

5/5 Stars.

More on Starlight Taxi

Take a ride with the driver as he goes from planet to planet, picking up fascinating passengers and dropping them off at their destinations. 

Being an intergalactic cab driver isn’t the worst job in the world. He gets to meet new people every day as he adds their tales to his own. 

Set in the future, mankind no longer exclusively inhabits Earth. Instead, people left and terraformed other celestial bodies in the galaxy. When those people need a lift, they call Starlight Taxi, and the driver comes to pick them up.

Buy it HERE, only on AMAZON.

New Book! Call Me Eli

I have a new book out! Let me introduce you all to:

Call Me Eli

A part of Rags to Riches: A Cinderella Love Story Anthology.

Had a blast writing this! 

Get your copy here.

More about Call Me Eli:

After his father’s passing, Eli Tremont struggles to find acceptance in his hometown of Appleton, WA due to him being transgender.

His step-mother, Clarice Tremont, would rather try to erase him from existence than accept him for who he is and his step-sisters, Anastasia and Nina, follow her primitive way of thinking.

There are only a few people in Appleton that are on his side; his best friend Kelly Baum and his boss Alex Gilroy. They’re the only people who even come close to understanding what he’s going through.

When Kelly (with Alex’s help) pushes Eli to go to Seattle for an impromptu summer iteration of CosFest, a costume festival he and Kelly have been going to together for years, Eli is against it. He would rather pull out his own teeth than risk angering his step-mother. Though, when he finds out Clarice and his step-sisters will be gone for the weekend, he goes without their knowledge.

However, there’s something Kelly isn’t telling him; there’s a reason why CosFest was rescheduled. Eli discovers this when the international superstar, and his step-sisters’ favorite musician, Dustin Lightning takes the stage and the purportedly enchanted evening quickly begins to unravel.

Get your copy here.

Book Reviews: Love From the Barricade by Ashley Jean Granillo

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year and I recommend it to everyone! 

From my twitter account:

image

and this:

image

And now, without further ado 

The Review

This book is breathtaking. There’s no other way to describe it. I was swept up in Aijae’s story almost from the beginning. The storytelling is simply AMAZING. I couldn’t put the book down!

From Aijae’s false starts with all of her friends to her fanfiction to her obsession with ALL of my FAVORITE punk bands, I was LOST in the story.

Granillo is a fantastic writer and so true to her characters. Aijae’s voice is so real and raw and incredible that I spent most of the book thinking she was a real person. She is so likable and incredible that I read the book in less than 3 days which is the shortest time it’s taken me to read something in YEARS.

I am a HUGE fan of you, Ashley Jean. You’re incredible and I cannot wait to hear more from you.

Bravo. This book made me laugh, cry, and just THINK about the kind of life I’ve lead. There are so many quotable moments from this book like Aijae’s words have stuck with me. 

She’s an incredible character and I’m so glad I’ve had the privilege of knowing her. 

More about Love from the Barricade

For the majority of her teenage life, Aijae lived in her head, writing fanfiction about boy bands. In college, she meets an eccentric pair of friends who immerse her into the Los Angeles, emo music scene. But when she is noticed by Memorable Edition’s adorable lead singer, her dream life turns into a nightmare. 

Determined to work through the heartache and gossip, Aijae puts her past behind her and launches into a career as a music journalist. She also finds love again in a drummer for a New York-based indie band. 

However, in one night, Aijae has to make the biggest decision of her life: to stay with her friends in Los Angeles or relinquish the villainized image of herself and move to New York to be the woman she always wrote herself out to be. 

Get your copy here