Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha NganGirls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 6th November 2018
Publisher: Little Brown Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

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.

I wanted to love this one as much as everyone else does, I really did, but it ended up really disappointing me for various reasons. Trigger warnings for rape and assault. Representation wise, there’s a f/f romance and the main character is gay.

Continue reading

Contemporary-A-Thon TBR

After having missed every previous round, I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be taking part in the fourth round of the Contemporary-a-Thon! This round will take place from 11th February to the 17th, so we’ll have a full week to read as many contemporary books as possible.

The hosts for this round are CHELSEA, JULIE, NATASHA, and MEL.

There are seven challenges for this readathon, and I’ve managed to get my TBR down to four books that cover all seven challenges. I wish I could have gotten it down a bit more because four books is a lot for me to read in one week, but these are meant to be challenges, so it’s ok if it’s hard.

➽ 1. Read your most recently purchased or acquired contemporary

➽ 2. Read a contemporary with blurple (blue or purple) on the cover

➽ 3. Read a diverse contemporary

➽ 4. Read a dark, taboo, or emotional book

➽ 5. Read a contemporary you meant to read in 2018 but didn’t get to

➽ 6. Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format
I’ll be reading all of the above books as ebooks!

➽ 7. Read a contemporary with a picture on the spine

I’m really excited about taking part in this readathon! Let me know if you’ve posted a TBR and I’ll come and check it out. If not, hit me with your contemporary recommendations so I can make a note for next time.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max BrodskyThe Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 29th January 2019
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars
Born with the soul of a hunter and the spirit of the Wolf, Omat is destined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps-invoking the spirits of the land, sea, and sky to protect her people.

But the gods have stopped listening and Omat's family is starving. Alone at the edge of the world, hope is all they have left.

Desperate to save them, Omat journeys across the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she meets a Viking warrior and his strange new gods, they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world...or save it.

I received The Wolf in the Whale from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

I heard about The Wolf in the Whale from Jes when she gushed about it on her Booktube channel, and I thought I should give it a go. It’s set in the wilderness of what will eventually become Canada. The main character is part of an isolated tribe that is dying out, and one day strangers arrive and mess stuff up.

The parts I most enjoyed about this book were the writing style and the setting. It was incredibly atmospheric, and the author drew me in with her prose. I loved the incorporation of three different mythologies – Norse, Inuit, and Christian. It all wove together seamlessly.

I’ve realised that I need to read more books about the pre-colonised Americas, because there is so much that I know little about. I’ve read quite enough Roman and Greek history books, I think.

I loved that the main character identifies as both a boy and a girl. That was a really nice inclusion, and it worked really well with the story. Their struggle to accept themselves was tough to read in the beginning, but it all came together really well in the end.

While I did really enjoy this story, I have to say that I didn’t enjoy the way that rape and assault were handled in this book. There was a lot of talk of rape, and I felt that at times the detail it went into was unnecessary. I’m not usually that put off by it, but I think the fact that it came up over and over again and I felt like I was being beaten around the head with it.

I also really didn’t enjoy the relationship in this book. The main character saw the love interest rapes multiple women in a sort of vision sequence, and yet they still fell for him?? After seeing all of that?? After being raped herself?? Nah. It didn’t fly with me.

Overall, The Wolf in the Whale is an intriguing and atmospheric read. I would go into it cautiously due to the things I mention above, but if you think you can handle it then it’s definitely worth picking up.

New Book Releases: February 2019

I thought February was going to calm down after the craziness that was January, but nope! I’ve got exactly the same amount of new releases that I’m looking forward to, and February is a shorter month.

5th February

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Is there anyone who isn’t excited for this book?

The Lost Man by Jane Harper
I love Harper’s books so much! Read these thrillers!

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
This is a fantasy book about two people who are searching for a child.

Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers
A spin off to His Dark Assassin.

The Hiding Place by C. J. Tudor
This is from the author of The Chalk Man which was very well received.

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
This is a thriller about a woman who fell from a bridge.

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
The sequel to Ash Princess, which I haven’t read yet!

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
In case you need more fantasy in your life.

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West
A teen actor’s career is being sabotaged, and also this is Kasie West so it’s cute.

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
Historical fiction set in Malaysia!

12th February

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
I haven’t even read this series but I probably should?

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
I’ve got such a good feeling about this one! It’s about a planet where one side is constantly dark and the other side is constantly light. Yesss.

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
Phoenix riders!

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
A group of old school friends go on a trip and one of them dies.

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
This sounds like feminist science fiction!

26th February

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Everyone is excited for this one!

The Huntress by Kate Quinn
Historical fiction about a Russian woman and an English man who go searching for a Nazi.

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Sholte
A fantasy Divergent, perhaps?

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
I’m currently reading this one and I’m quite liking it. It’s about a girl who has been prepped to be a wife from an early age. And politics.

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
Vikings!

The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena
Bhathena’s debut was one of my favourite reads of last year, so I’m super excited for this one!

Monthly Wrap Up: January 2019

I know everyone was saying that January was going on forever, but now that it’s over, I kind of can’t believe it? I’m also not really looking forward to it now being the shortest month of the year because I never get much done in February!

For me, January was a pretty great month. I wasn’t too busy, I got a tonne of reading done, and I managed to balance “me time” with socialising quite well.

Quill and I met up with some friends in London at the start of January. We went to a food market where you grab a bench and then get food from whichever stalls you feel like eating from. I went for Lebanese, and Quill got Turkish and German. It was a really nice place to hang out, although it was expensive because it was in London!

At the end of January, we went to see Cirque du Soleil: Totem, and I had an incredible time. It was a birthday gift from Quill, and he unknowingly got us box seats, which was a nice experience! It was my second time seeing Cirque, and it definitely won’t be my last. I’m always in awe of the performers, and the soundtracks are always incredible!

I also went ice skating for the first time in a year, and I remembered how much I love it! We’re going to go again in February, and perhaps spend a bit more time in Oxford this time, because it’s a really nice city.

Other than that, I spent most of January reading, blogging, and Booktubing!

Books Read

  1. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus (review|booktube) ★★★★
  2. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay ★★★
  3. The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky ★★★★
  4. Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar ★★★
  5. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao ★★★★
  6. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson ★★
  7. Rosewater by Tade Thompson ★
  8. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel ★★★
  9. The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty ★★★★★
  10. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo ★★
  11. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan ★★★
  12. I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya ★★★★
  13. The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker ★★★★

Statistics

Okay, so I haven’t really decided how I want to look at my reading statistics this year so for now we’re just going to look at the basics. I’ll do a statistics round up some time in April so that it’s more in depth and interesting.

I read a total of 13 books in January, which I think is pretty damn impressive considering I’m also working full time, blogging, and doing Booktube. Go me! These added up to a total of 4302 pages, and 508 minutes. My average rating was 3.2, which I’m happy with because last year most of my monthly averages were below 3 stars!

I’ve also started keeping track of my Booktube statistics because I find it really interesting. I’m struggling to keep track of my blog stats because my damn website keeps crapping out on me, so I’ll work on that later. As of 1st February, I’m now at 3193 subscribers on my Booktube channel, which is up from 3161 subs at the end of December! Pretty good, I think.

From what I can tell, most people discovered my channel through my reading vlogs, then my thriller/horror recommendations video from October (which is still doing well!), and then through my review of Two Can Keep a Secret. I’m going to keep track of these analytics so I can see how people are finding my channel.

I’m also very pleased because my monthly views added up to 1368 in total, which was only down very slightly from 1513 in December. The difference is that I was doing Vlogmas in December, so of course my views were higher! I have to say though, that I’ve noticed in my years of blogging and Booktubing that January tends to be the busiest month.

That’s all for my stats! Let me know if you’d be interested in knowing anything else in future. I can incorporate my blog stats as well once I fix my website and it stops bugging out.

Looking Ahead

February is set to be a good month in terms of balancing life and socialising, which is what I wanted. We’re going to Windsor just before Valentine’s Day to see Ian McKellan do a talk, and we’re going to do some casual falconry that weekend. There’s a big family event happening towards the end of the month, but other than that I’m completely free! I’m hoping to do a lot of reading because I’m taking part in several readathons, and I want to continue to blog and Booktube as much as possible, because it’s a fun way to spend my time!

Let me know what your plans for February are in the comments below! Did you have a good reading month in January? Have you read The City of Brass because I’M STILL FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT.