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 🙄 .

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:★★
4/5 stars

Rating breakdown

Prose: 😻😻😻😻😻

Plot: 👹👹👹👹

Characterization: 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩

Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

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: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍

Plot: 😄😄😄😄

Characterization: 👩‍🚀👩‍🚀👩‍🚀👩‍🚀

Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

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:
3/5 stars

Rating breakdown

Prose: 🤔🤔🤔

Plot: 🕶️🕶️🕶️🕶️

Characterization: 🤷🤷

Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥

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: The Wild Ones by Louise Czarnobai

I was actually a beta on this story for most of last year! The BEST Beta. Ask anyone.

Where do I even begin with my praise for this excellent book? The way Czarnobai eases us into this incredible supernatural world astounds me. The lead-in at the beginning with what is, essentially, a state of the union address was absolutely sublime.

However, the real story starts when we’re introduced to the charming and handsome lawyer, Louis and we get to see him in action. He’s a secret super who tries to help other supers get off of insane charges with his law degree. However, because of this, he gets into a little trouble himself. This is what leads him to SINS and ultimately to the stunningly sexy, Lucas.

And once those two get together it is allll downhill from there. In a good way, that is. Their sexual tension and bantering really had me hooked! It was impossible to look away from all of their spicy encounters. I found myself almost to the point of frustration, screaming at my Kindle for them to kiss.

What a well-done romance story! I wish there had been more SINS stuff in there, though! I can’t wait for the second book with more epic action and romance.

An excellent debut for Louise Czarnobai.

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.

Book Review: The Witches of Dark Hollow Ridge by Rena Marin

The Witches of Dark Hollow Ridge was a great read!

In my opinion, there is so much lead up to the actual plot that felt a bit unnecessary, but I actually really enjoyed this book. The romance between Sadie and Dorian felt really underdeveloped, though. It seemed a little like it was thrown in there as an afterthought, when in reality Sadie’s relationship to her “coven” and her younger sisters was a lot more interesting.

Instead, I got a story where I had to follow a lot of (red herring) threads and an uninspired romantic plot to get to the meat of it. The most interesting things in the book were the betrayal of the coven, Cleo’s plot, and the High Priestess arc which I genuinely enjoyed. 

However, take everything I say with a grain of salt because if romance isn’t a long, pining slow-burn I have an intensely difficult time getting into it. So, if you like quick romances I would recommend this story. 

I rated this 4 stars, though because the actual plot of the story is really gripping. I intensely enjoyed the plot with Cleo and Ebony. Though, I imagined the characters a lot differently in my head. Ebony’s description was a huge surprise for me. 

I also intensely loved the relationship between Victoria, Veronica, and Vivian. Even though for most of the book I confused Veronica and Victoria because the names are very similar and it took me awhile to figure out which of them I needed to be angry at. (Short answer: both)

I hope the second book in the series will focus more on the coven and also better explain the relationship between Sadie and Dorian. Also less whining about how often the younglings were lied to. I get it, it sucks, but I got it the first 3 times you were outraged, Sadie. You don’t need to keep repeating it.

I’m also really interested to see how Sadie will grow as a person and as a leader throughout this series. I was heartbroken at the ending for obvious reasons (You broke my whole heart, Rena Marin, and you know why) and I know Sadie is heartbroken too. I wonder how that will change her in the future. 

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:
Prose: 👍👍👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄
Characterization: 🧙‍♀️🧙‍♀️🧙‍♀️
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

I look forward to reading more from this world.

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

This was very different from the Netflix Film. Which isn’t a bad thing. Netflix painted everyone in a really positive light to tie up things nicely in the end whereas the book had a little more time to make things messy.

I have to say, the Laura Jean in the book is a whole lot less responsible than the Laura Jean in the movie. Something I really liked. She’s a little selfish, a lot mean to her younger sister Kitty and she really struggles with her day-to-day life.

She actually gets into a car accident early on in the film and that’s when she reconnects with Peter. Not when the letters get sent out. Also, Josh is a lot more confused in the book than he was in the film and Laura Jean doesn’t avoid him all the way until Christmas.

Not to mention, neither he nor Margot approve of Peter pretty much ever. And the fight between Laura Jean and Margot was a whole lot more explosive and during a huge party Laura Jean and Margot planned. It was kind of heart-wrenching, but the Song girls pull through.

The relationship between the three sisters is probably one of my favorite things about the book. Of course, I also love romance, but there is something about a positive sibling relationship that always gives me the feels. This one is no exception.

The one thing I thought the movie did a little better was it made Peter seem like a better guy. In the book he seems kind of ew. Plus, there was a video to accompany Laura Jean’s psuedo-sexual encounter and they wrap that whole mess up really quickly with Margot taking the lead and accusing Gen of being a giant twat.

In the book, that was really open-ended and very upsetting. Like, Laura Jean’s reputation is ruined. And Margot, instead of being on her side, believes the rumor with no evidence whatsoever. It hurt me and shook me to my core that Margot could think that of her sister. Everything works out in the end for them, of course, but that part was really touch-and-go there for awhile.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄😄
Characterization: 💌💌💌💌
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

I can’t wait to see what happens in the rest of this series. I hear Netflix is doing another movie and I would 1000% watch that.

Get your copy of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Amazon!