Thursday, September 27, 2018

ARC Review: Girls of Paper and Fire

About The Book:

  Title:  Girls of Paper and Fire 
  Author: Natasha Ngan 
  Pub. Date: November 6th, 2018 
  Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books 
  Pages: 336
  Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT 
  Rate: 4/5 stars 

Synopsis :

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.


Girls of Paper and Fire is the start of new fantasy series by Natasha Ngan. It stars Lei, who is forcefully taken from her small village in order to serve the Demon King as a Paper Girl. (Usually) 8 Paper Girls are chosen yearly to serve the King and all of his nightly desires. Typically only higher class paper-caste are chosen, but Lei's golden eyes captured the attention of royal consorts and is given as a gift to the King. A threat on the only family she has left is keeping Lei from escaping, but she looks for other ways to defy the royalty at every turn. 

"The fear might be strong.
But my hatred is stronger." 

Like nothing I've ever read before, this book was completely original. There are 3 castes in this book, Paper, Steel, and Moon. Paper castes, like Lei, are full human and considered the lowest of the low. The members of the Steel caste are a combination of demon and human, while those in the Moon caste have full demon traits. The demons in this book look part human/part animal. The Moon and Steel castes treat the Paper caste like trash, calling them horrible names and giving them away as slaves. The world building is so lush, it's absolutely phenomenal. Miss Ngan submerges you in this new world and it's so wonderfully horrifying that you won't want to get out.

When Lei is taken to the palace, she doesn't expect to fall for anyone, let alone another one of the Paper Girls. Girls of Paper and Fire includes a romantic f/f relationship and so much diversity. The characters are vibrant, even the secondary characters in this novel are so well-developed it feels like you really know them. 

Girls of Paper and Fire is a beautifully written, Asian-inspired fantasy. It ties up many plot lines, but leaves some open for the next book in the series. One of those being the Demon Queen! I really want to learn more about her and her secret life. Considering this book is going to be marketed as YA, I was definitely surprised at the explicit content. It reminded me of ACOTAR in the way it has quite a bit of YA/NA crossover appeal. Anyway, I definitely recommend this book for all of those YA fantasy fans out there. I know you'll love this book as much as I did. Are you excited for Girls of Paper and Fire? Are you planning to preorder? 

Thank you to Jimmy Patterson Books for providing this book
in exchange for my honest review
- Jocelyn

Monday, September 24, 2018

ARC Review: An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose, #1)

About The Book:

  Title:  An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose, #1) 
  Author: Charlaine Harris 
  Pub. Date: October 2nd, 2018 
  Publisher: Saga Press 
  Pages: 320 
  Genre: Adult, Thriller, Urban Fantasy 
  Rate: 5/5 stars 

Synopsis :

Gunnie Lizbeth Rose has been hired by a pair of Russian sorcerers as both their local guide and muscle through the small towns of East Texas as they search for a distant relative of an infamous sorcerer whose bloodline can help save their emperor-in-exile as an ever increasing number of assassins tries to stop them.

After the assassination of FDR in the 1930s, the US collapses and is picked off by the UK, Canada, Mexico, and Russia. We find ourselves in the southwestern states now known as Texoma. It is here that the gunnie Lizbeth Rose tries to piece out a life, running security on runs from Texoma, across the border to Mexico where work and prospects are stronger. When two Russian magicians come looking for a man named Alex Karkarov, they hire Lizbeth to find him or his family, but there are problems: The man they're looking for is dead, but he has a daughter they now need to find, as an ever-growing set of sorcerers and gunnies do not want them to succeed. It’s a good thing Lizbeth is a deadly gunfighter; too bad she hates sorcerers, even the ones she has to learn to rely on.


When I found out Charlaine Harris was releasing a new fantasy series, I literally could NOT contain my excitement. I am a huge fan of her work and cherish both her Sookie series and Midnight Texas series. An Easy Death takes place in an alternate history where the Holy Russian Empire is still ruled by Tsars (THE ROMANOVS, EVERYONE!) and the US is no longer United. Our main character, Lizbeth Rose, is a gunnie in the Southwest (now known as Texoma) and she is tasked to find someone who could save young Alexi Romanov's life.

A major theme in this book are the Russian wizards. Outside of the Holy Russian Empire, citizens aren't a huge fan of them. In the book, you'll see themes where they are not widely accepted and even banned from some restaurants, hotels, etc. Lizbeth is obviously cautious when these two wizards hire her to be their gunnie, but she's not about to turn down their money. I look forward to learning more about the broken US and Holy Russian Empire in the future books. There is a lot of world building going on. We have territories New Britannia (the original colonies), Dixie (current southeast of US), The Holy Russian Empire (modern California and Oregon), New America (Canada Controlled), and Texoma (southwestern US). It's a lot to come to grip on for a 320 page novel, but  I definitely feel like we will learn more of the HRE in the next book because of that ending!

Lizbeth is a great main character. She's tough, snarky, and doesn't care what people think of her. Unlike a lot of fantasy heroines, she actually has flaws and isn't annoying. She is definitely the type of heroine who can drive a series. I can't wait to read more involving her!! The other two important characters in this novel are the two Russian wizards who hired her to be their Gunnie - Eli and Paulina. From the Holy Russian Empire, they are mysterious and have lots of secrets they don't want to reveal. Paulina reminds me of Pam from the Sookie Series! She's funny with that dry sense of humor. Eli, is a hot Russian wizard that reminds of Eric Northman. Ok - I'm reaching here a bit, but I LOVE Charlaine's characters!

Ultimately, An Easy Death is something new and fresh from seasoned author, Charlaine Harris. I'm not sure how many books are going to comprise this series, but I can't wait to see what comes next for Gunnie Rose. Sex, magic, and adventure - you can't go wrong with this novel. If you are a Charlaine Harris fan or love Urban Fantasy novels with magic, I hope you'll give this book a try.

Thank you to Saga Press for providing this book
in exchange for my honest review
- Jocelyn