3 stars

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.

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Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie WestFame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 5th February 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Lacey Barnes has dreamt of being in a movie for as long as she can remember. However, while her dream did include working alongside the hottest actor in Hollywood, it didn’t involve having to finish up her senior year of high school at the same time she was getting her big break. Although that is nothing compared to Donavan, the straight-laced student her father hires to tutor her, who is a full-on nightmare.

As Lacey struggles to juggle her burgeoning career, some on-set sabotage, and an off-screen romance with the unlikeliest of leading men, she quickly learns that sometimes the best stories happen when you go off script.

Kasie West’s newest book was super cute, as always. If you’re looking for something new and refreshing, you’re in the wrong place. But if you’re here for a cute contemporary that’s also a lot of fun, this is the book for you.

West has added a bit of mystery to the plot of this book, which was nice because it was an extra element that she doesn’t usually include in her books. This mystery sideplot made the book a bit more entertaining than her books have been lately, since I’ve been finding them to be quite repetitive.

Lacey, the main character, had absolutely no character growth at all, which was a bit disappointing. She was incredibly up herself the entire way through, and she didn’t seem to act any better towards her dad at the end. I mean, she’s alright, definitely not the worst, but I feel like there was a missed opportunity here and she could have developed a bit in 300 pages.

The lack of female rivalry was really nice. It was hinted at a tiny bit, but nothing ever came of it. I really appreciated this because I was fully expecting some cattiness or female rivalry on set of the movie.

The romance is also cute af, which really helped me enjoy the book more, despite it being quite generic and nothing standout.

Freefall by Jessica Barry

Freefall by Jessica BarryFreefall by Jessica Barry
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 8th January 2019
Publisher: Harper
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

When your life is a lie, the truth can kill you

When her fiancé’s private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, Allison Carpenter miraculously survives. But the fight for her life is just beginning. For years, Allison has been living with a terrible secret, a shocking truth that powerful men will kill to keep buried. If they know she’s alive, they will come for her. She must make it home.

In the small community of Owl Creek, Maine, Maggie Carpenter learns that her only child is presumed dead. But authorities have not recovered her body—giving Maggie a shred of hope. She, too, harbors a shameful secret: she hasn’t communicated with her daughter in two years, since a family tragedy drove Allison away. Maggie doesn’t know anything about her daughter’s life now—not even that she was engaged to wealthy pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, or why she was on a private plane.

As Allison struggles across the treacherous mountain wilderness, Maggie embarks on a desperate search for answers. Immersing herself in Allison’s life, she discovers a sleek socialite hiding dark secrets. What was Allison running from—and can Maggie uncover the truth in time to save her?

Told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter separated by distance but united by an unbreakable bond, Freefall is a riveting debut novel about two tenacious women overcoming unimaginable obstacles to protect themselves and those they love.

Freefall was nothing standout as far as thrillers go, but I enjoyed reading it and it’s one that I could definitely see as a movie. There was quite a bit of action, but barely any character development or in-depth plot, so it’s one of those books that are probably best read on an aeroplane or by the beach.

I was expecting a lot more survival stuff, since the main character Ally was stranded in the wilderness after her plane crashed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much of that, because the book is filled with flashbacks and it also focuses on her mother.

Ally was very underdeveloped, and it took me a long time to care about her at all. I feel like the book would have been much better if there had been more about Ally’s background, especially her job and the time before she met her fiance. I would have liked to have seen what led her up to that point in her emotional state, and why she was so desperate for love and approval. Her actions after getting engaged didn’t make much sense or have much impact, since I didn’t know too much about her character. I was just told that she was a good person.

I did like what Jessica Barry did with the mother/daughter relationship. It was a really good balance in terms of the relationship side of things and the thriller plot.

What It It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

What It It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam SilveraWhat If It's Us by Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 9th October 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

What If It’s Us was my first read by both Albertalli and Silvera. I know, I know, I’m a disappointment of a book blogger. I just never thought to pick up their books before. I thought this would be a good introduction to their work, so I requested it when I saw it was up on Edelweiss. While I wasn’t disappointed by the book, I don’t think it lived up to the hype that I had built up in my head.

This book is a really cute contemporary. That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s fluffy, it’s super sweet, the main characters (one of them, anyway) was adorable, and it was all just really nice. I was expecting something a bit more mind-blowing, considering how much everyone seems to love these authors. I’d be interested to see what fans of the authors’ previous books think of this one and how What If It’s Us matches up.

I don’t know how the authors went about writing this book, but I liked Arthur a lot more than I liked Ben. Arthur isn’t even the type of character I would gravitate towards or connect with, but I thought he was just lovely. Ben, on the other hand, was irritating as hell and I couldn’t get over the stuff with his ex-boyfriend. Just. Nope.

I’ve read that some people didn’t like the ending of this one but I ended up really loving it. Without spoiling things, I loved the way that everything wrapped up, I loved the epilogue, and I just thought it was done really well. I’m not a massive fan of everything wrapping neatly with a cute little bow, so this ending sat incredibly well with me.

To be honest, I was expecting a lot more from both of these authors, but I will still be reading their other books because I really enjoyed this one.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Mirage by Somaiya DaudMirage by Somaiya Daud
Series: Mirage #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 28th August 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

Mirage has been getting a tonne of hype lately (“lately” meaning pre-release, but I know it’s now October by the time this post goes up) and I totally fell for it. I thought it sounded like everything I loved. Science fiction about a conquered galaxy, a revolution, and some kind of fantasy other than English. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

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