Review: Girls of Paper and Fire

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

The Girls is set in a world where there are three castes, Moon (reigning and demons), Paper (lower and human) and then Steel, a mix of the first two. Every year, eight girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. Lei is girl number nine. She’s forced back into the very place her mother was forced into years ago. Slowly, she learns the way of the palace, honing her skills to benefit the king’s comfort only. Until she falls in love.

Girls of Paper and Fire was surprising. I really enjoyed it a lot. Ngan’s storytelling skills are beyond amazing. It was so tense, and her writing is so elegant and smooth. The stakes are high in this, and I was quickly hooked from the first page. The vivid worldbuilding where Ngan creates this devastating but beautiful world and created characters that weave so well into it, and in all makes it an enchanting but compelling read.

I think the most powerful thing of this book is its message of self-empowerment and discovering one’s self while discussing classism and the objectification of women. Girls show the subtle way of how Ikhara, the fictional society, allows misogyny to flourish and aides its abuser by only viewing women as nothing but lesser beings. The Moon King is a disgusting man who uses his position of power to act out violence towards anyone around him. These girls groomed to believe they’re doing something good slowly come together and unravel the trauma they’re facing. Not everyone is exactly happy to be here. The strength of the friendship between all the Paper girls is beautiful – they grow into even stronger women and reclaim themselves and decide what they’re capable of.

Despite the moments of slowness, I would advise you to watch out for this new YA fantasy birthed from Asian mythology and Ngan’s own experiences from growing up in Malaysia. It’s a dazzling and immersive read with a pulse-racing conclusion that will leave you wanting more.


Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Content and warnings for rape, sexual assault, slavery, sex trafficking, loss of a loved one, murder, captivity, torture, branding, violence, physical abuse, graphic animal death, and war themes. (More to be added.)

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Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Longest Books I’ve Ever Read
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature once hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten (or your own amount) accordingly.

As per the title, these are the ten longest books I’ve read. I’ve excluded a couple for many reasons, for example, I didn’t put down Deathly Hallows because there wasn’t much of a difference between Order of the Phoenix and I excluded non-fiction books I’ve read for school and university.

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1. Les Misérables

Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.

2. A Game of Thrones

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Continue reading “Longest Books I’ve Ever Read”

Review: Sadie

Review: Sadie

Rating: ★★★★★

“And Sadie, if you’re out there, please let me know.

Because I can’t take another dead girl. “

After her little sister was murdered, Sadie goes in search for revenge. West McCray is a radio personality who stumbles across her story and begins his own podcast to track her down. Slowly, he starts to trace Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened before it’s too late.

Sadie hits hard. Words like perfect and amazing does not do this book justice.  Sadie is basically half book/half podcast. We follow Sadie as she leaves her dead-end town in search of the man who hurt her sister. Sadie having raised her sister, Claire, from a young age, she loved her sister fiercely. When she’s gone, she’s thrown in a path to find her sister’s murderer and kill him. Radio star West McCray follows a bit after, filling in the gaps that Sadie doesn’t mention and reveals all new information that she wouldn’t have known.

Sadie was a haunting read, a story of loss and betrayal, anger and grief. These two sisters relied on each other to handle the ugliness of the world around them, the world that failed to protect them. The sense of urgency you get and the feeling of rush, especially in the audiobook, is honestly exhilarating.

The podcast portions were so great and worked well, especially when you alternate from the messiness of Sadie’s mind as she’s coming to terms with the fact that her journey must end with a dead man. West McCray’s voice is soothing, and his podcast provides a different insight into Sadie’s life.

Overall, this story is uncomfortable and powerful. It’s cast of characters genuine and believable. I would recommend listening to the audiobook because it honestly was an experience.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | AUTHOR

Content warning: pedophilia, child sexual abuse, parental neglect, mentions and descriptions of substance abuse.

Mini-review: Soft on Soft and Women of Resistance

Mini-review: Soft on Soft and Women of Resistance

41212987Soft on Soft by Em Ali

Rating: ★★★☆☆(3/5)

June Bana is a growing make up artist whose looks are gaining traction by the day on social media. But to June, the real her is a quiet homebody and lives a life less eventful than the pictures on her feed. Then she meets Selena Clarke, drop dead gorgeous model, who loves June for who she is.

A soft sweet tale of two women learning each other and falling in love. A rapid contemporary read with little to none conflict. This title is very fitting. Soft on Soft is precisely what you get. This story centres two women of colour falling in love. The writing is simple and easy to follow. Pop culture references abound!

Its uneventful plot makes a bit tricky to read since you can hardly tell what is going on at the moment. I don’t expect something tragic to happen to make it interesting, but something a little more eventful would’ve improved the pacing a lot.

Overall, there’s something to love in this. Em Ali has a bright future in of them. I know I’ll read more.

UPDATE: Purchase links for Soft on Soft are not currently available as the author has taken them offline for further edits. I will upload a longer review once it’s available. 

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Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism – Edited by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
when a girl pronounces her own name
there is glorywhen a woman tells her own life story
she lives forever

A feminist poetry collection that discusses race, gender identity and sexuality. I really enjoyed the variety of poetry styles that each contributor used. There’s a variety in content and form. I am not sure each piece is beautiful and exciting. The collection encompasses the works of a diverse range of poets who I’ll definitely want to check out. I don’t read that much poetry, but this collection of works from such inspiring people was indeed a hidden gem. 

I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected by opinions of the book.


Monthly Rewind: September 2018

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B O O K S 

I am so impressed with the fact that I managed to read 14 books this month. It was most likely spurred by the fact that I start my second year of university in October so I really wanted to read as much as I could before it’s limited by deadlines and essays.  Also, I’ve been cheeky and just stolen snippets from my own reviews for this post.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon | (3/5) | TSIAAS is one of those books where I’m genuinely in the middle. Like I didn’t enjoy it, but I didn’t absolutely love it. I feel like there’s a bit of switch here for me. But it’s ending was really good and the way Nicola Yoon jumps into different bystander’s voices without affecting the main plot brilliantly done. I like how it showed we are all connected in some way or another

Circe by Madeline Miller |(4/5)| Miller’s ability to re-present the classics never fails to amaze me. Seven years since TSOA was first published, four years since I had read it, and I can definitely say that Circe was definitely worth the wait.

How She Likes It by Carla de Guzman |(5/5)| Isabel Alfonso is next in line to be CEO of her family-owned company. But she’s also risking her own business to take it. Single dad Adam Sevilla is just going by, raising his daughter while also allowing her to reconnect with her distant mother. Isabel and Adam are two very different people, but they work well together. And so does this story. Its pacing was well, and it was a relatively fun and enjoyable read.

Lions Can Always Learn to Roar (Until Lambs Become Lions, #2) by Charlotte Anne Hamilton |(5/5)| After nearly dying at the hands of the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood and her merry gang are on a deadline after the Queen Mother appears to have sent her people to Nottingham. Robin has no idea what’s ahead of her but she’ll do anything to keep her family safe. 

Margot & Me by Juno Dawson |(3/5)| Fliss and her mother move in with her cold grandmother. Fliss discovers the diary she kept during the war and learns all new secrets about her seemingly distant grandmother. I don’t know what, but this book just didn’t work for me.

Continue reading “Monthly Rewind: September 2018”

Review: Vicious (Villians #1)

Review: Vicious (Villians #1)

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Victor and Eli began as college roommates, almost friends, where curiosity leads to near-death experiences and development of supernatural powers. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison determined to exact revenge on his old friend. Both are armed with terrible controls, a product of their actions ten years prior, but who will survive? 

I think I’ve found a new favourite book. And I haven’t found one of them in a while. Vicious was a delightful surprise. I have never read a V.E (or Victoria) Schwab before, and Vicious sounded like the safest options out of all her books to try. And, is this what all her books are like? Because you can now count me in the Schwab hype train.

Vicious from the get-go was so different. A true twisted tale of a friendship gone wrong. Victor and Eli, former friends, now current foes, are reunited after Victor breaks out of prison for revenge. Both developed supernatural powers from experiencing near-death experiences. In their case, they forced it to happen to test a theory that Eli was developing. Eli believes his capability puts him above others and sees others like him as a rodent that must be exterminated. And Victor may be the only person that can stop him.

Victor and Eli both see themselves as the hero and the other the villain, but neither can be categorised as good or evil. And that’s what makes me them so appealing. Schwab really is a killer at this. The story unfolds in a way that would appear disorienting, but it’s deliberate, and it works well. The constant jumping back and forth between everything, it goes from their time at college, their time in prison before bouncing back to the present time.

Overall, I loved Vicious. It’s a grim tale that had me gripped from the beginning all the way to its sinister ending. A story of corruption with its evil moments and moments of sweetness that worked well. Extremely thrilling with a cast of complex characters, Vicious was a difficult book to put down and once finished, I never wanted it to end.


Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Content warning: self-harm, suicide, extreme violence, torture, murder.