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 Reviews: Axiom – The Last Hope by Rachel Marie Pearcy

I highly recommend this book. My review below contains spoilers, but if you like lesbians in space then this is the book for you. Pearcy is an excellent writer and her characters are fantastic. 

***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR AXIOM: THE LAST HOPE***

It’s been a while since I read a story so compelling I didn’t want to put it down.

Pearcy creates a dystopian world full of fear. A world where biological warfare and a war-ravaged Earth forced everyone to flee to the moon under a tyrannical regime.

Ella and Carly are incredible and interesting characters and the friends they make along that way that both accept them and abhor them make this book so complex and wonderful.

Every twist and turn brought new insight into the characters and Pearcy fleshes them out really well.

I will say there were a few times where I felt like Pearcy fell into some issues with stereotypes. Mainly when Ella and Carly speak ill of STEM subjects like math and science while their male counterparts excel at them.

And again, when Paige is made out to be a shrill mean girl with no redemption arc. I understand that Paige was a strong candidate for that arc while her counterpart and husband, Phillip, was easier to redeem just in time to save everyone in the end. However, those are the small nitpicky things I have to say.

The relationship between the two main characters is heartwarming and fantastically written. Pearcy is a compelling own voices author of lesbian romance, not to mention she truly captures the fear of abandonment and judgment people in the LGBT community can feel when outing themselves to their peers.

Carly is exceptionally well-written and Ella is an excellent narrator.

I am a little sad Ella never gets to see her parents again even once everyone is settled in their new roles, but the ending was so sweet and amazing I’m willing to overlook that little tidbit.

I can’t help but think her dad would have made an excellent grandfather, though.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a truly compelling coming of age story that takes place on the moon.

More about Axiom: The Last Hope

Finally, all parts of the Axiom Series come together in one book.

Generations ago, the human species was driven to the brink of extinction, forcing those who remained to flee to the city of Axiom; a utopian paradise where all your decisions are made for you. The house you live in, your occupation, and even your marriage arrangement are all regulated by the Assembly, leaving the pressures of free will far behind you.

As Annabella Bower enters her last year of schooling, and the final step to adulthood, she’s blissfully unaware of the horrors her perfect city hides, but all that’s about to change. A spark between ‘Ella’ and her new dorm-mate Carly turns her world upside down and opens her eyes to the harsh reality around them.

Suddenly she can see students are dying, there’s a rebel group rising outside the school walls, and if anyone discovers her relationship with Carly, the consequences are dire. With graduation quickly approaching, Ella will have to make the hardest decision of her life- either continue to follow the laws of Axiom or give up everything for love.

Get your copy of Axiom on Amazon

Book Reviews: Corin by Ava Burkhart

The writing needs a lot of work, but for a debut short story, this was fairly good. I couldn’t really get a grasp on the characters or the world they lived in, so honestly, from my viewpoint, it could have been longer. I’m not a huge fan of vampires, but I do like supporting lesbian romance. However, I think the romance between Corin and Lindsay moved very quickly. I know there’s a lot of joking in lesbian culture about how lesbian relationships move very fast, but I find it hard to believe that Lindsay would have chosen Corin over her mother after hardly knowing her for a few weeks.

There were a lot of things I felt were detrimental to the story. There isn’t enough description or time to grow to like the characters. Magical realms need time to be set up, there’s a lot of world building required to write these kinds of stories. Also, the way the book was designed left a lot to be desired. You shouldn’t have both a paragraph indentation and a double space between every paragraph. It looks bad.

All in all, I did enjoy the story. There’s nothing like a heartwarming lesbian story about two unlikely people falling in love, but I hope in the future Burkhart will continue to grow and persevere to make their writing better. I know from experience how hard it can be to publish something on your own without an editor, cover designer, or someone to format your book.

You’ve made incredible strides, Ava. I wish you all the best and may your stories become even better moving forward. I’ll be watching and keeping up with your work. One LGBT author to another, we need all the support we can get. 

More about Corin

The daughter of a vampire hunter falls in love with the same vampire her mother is hunting. Lindsay and Corin are soon forced to pretend to be dating to keep her mother off their trail.
A pulpy, cheesy novella about useless lesbians in love. 

READ IT NOW ON AMAZON