Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper & Fire #2), Natasha Ngan

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Wren and I might not be Paper Girls anymore, but we are still capable of creating fire. And now we have a whole world to set ablaze

Slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Read my review of the first book in the series here.

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3 / 5

I adored Girls of Paper and Fire and I was delighted to receive a copy of Girls of Storm and Shadow. However, whilst the first book was a mesmerising five stars, this sequel is lacklustre in comparison. Ngan’s prose remains delightful and I still adore Lei and Wren’s difficult and morally grey relationship, but the plot was distinctly uninspired.

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The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #2), Seth Dickinson

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This is the story of Agonist. Baru Cormorant as a cryptarch: secret lord of the Imperial Throne.

Baru Cormormant’s world was shattered by the Empire of Masks. To exact her revenge, she has clawed her way up razor-edged rungs of betrayal, sacrifice, and compromise, becoming the very thing she seeks to destroy. Now she strides in the Masquerade’s halls of power. To save the world, she must tear it asunder…and with it, all that remains of her soul.

Read my review of the first book in this series, The Traitor Baru Cormorant.

* * *
3 / 5

I adored The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Several months on, that book has still stuck with me and I’ve been recommending it all over the place. If someone asks me, “read anything good lately?”, they ain’t gonna get me to stop talking for the next fifteen minutes as I tell them about Baru Cormorant, light of my life. The Monster Baru Cormorant is still beautifully written, lyrical and immersive, but suffers from middle book syndrome so bad.

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The Last Hope (The Raging Ones #2), Krista & Becca Ritchie

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We are together. We are one, and we are two and then three, and finally, we have found real, everlasting peace

Legend says, a baby—the first of her species—has the power to cloak and teleport planets. Tasked with retrieving the infant, Court fears the baby is just a myth, and if they fail, they’ll never find the truth about their origins. As Court and Mykal grow closer, their linked bond becomes harder to hide, and dynamics change when Franny begins to fall for someone new. 

Read my review of the first book in this series The Raging Ones.

* * *
3 / 5

I really loved The Raging Ones: I thought it was so creative, with a setting on a frozen world with a lilac sky where everyone knows the date that they will die, and a trio of soulbonded characters where the two men are in love. I knew it was going to be a hard act to follow and The Last Hope was a good book, but it was a little “far out”.

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The Binding, Bridget Collins

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Which was worse? To feel nothing, or to grieve for something you no longer remembered?

Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born.

 If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. Just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it.

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4 / 5

Sometimes a novel really, truly sucks you in. Enthrals you. The Binding is one such novel; it drew me in and left me spellbound, swept away in this unique world that Collins has wrought.

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The True Queen (Sorcerer Royal #2), Zen Cho

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I believe I should have liked that – to have been married to magic

When sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of Janda Baik, they can’t remember anything, except that they are bound as only sisters can be. They have been cursed by an unknown enchanter, and slowly Sakti starts to fade awayIf Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy.

 * * * *
4 / 5

I didn’t realise that The True Queen was a sequel Sorcerer to the Crown but it was the best kind of sequel – loosely connected to the first book, but exploring something new with new characters. In this case, we move to Janda Baik in Malaysia and two sisters, Muna and Sakti, who woke up on a beach with no memories of their past. ~ A mystery ~

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Love Like This (Seven Shores #4), Melissa Brayden

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“Follow me.” Spencer smiled. “Anywhere”

Hadley Cooper believes in happily-ever-afters with her whole heart. However, when her job as the assistant manager of Silhouette, a posh boutique on Rodeo Drive, is on the line, she realizes it’s time to pull her head out of the clouds and find a way to turn business around, and that just might mean partnering with the most stubborn up-and-coming fashion designer she’s ever encountered. 

Read my reviews of the other books in this series: Eyes Like Those (#1), Hearts Like Hers (#2), and Sparks Like Ours (#3)

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3 / 5

I felt like I ought to read the last book to round things out in this series. I liked how Brayden mixed things up a little bit, delving into the realm of fashion with her two main characters and throwing in some different relationship twists. But I also don’t think she went far enough to make it stand out: all four main characters of the Seven Shores series have the same kind of romance and life goals: all four want to get married and have kids, and it would have been great to have seen a more atypical relationship explored.

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What If It’s Us? Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

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You start with nothing and maybe end with everything”

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?

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2 / 5

I really enjoyed Silvera’s They Both Die At the End and many years ago (before it was cool!) I read and adored Albertalli’s Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Unfortunately, I didn’t very much like what these two excellent authors created when they worked together. I wanted to love it. I expected to enjoy it. Instead I constantly got mixed up between the main leads, Ben and Arthur, and felt cringed-out rather than captivated by their romance.
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Girls of Paper and Fire, Natasha Ngan

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Paper is flammable. And there is a fire catching among us

Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. 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. 

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5 / 5

Girls of Paper and Fire has already made my shortlist of best YA of 2018. This beautiful and tragic and explosive debut by Natasha Ngan takes a classic YA trope – a group of young, beautiful women serving an evil ruler rise up to rebel – and elevates it to something fresh. Using demons, Eastern Asian mythological influences, and a lesbian romance, Girls of Paper and Fire is a book not to be missed.

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The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic, F. Lukens

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Myths are unpredictable. Magic is troublesome.

Desperate to pay for college, Bridger Whitt is willing to overlook the peculiarities of his new job. When he discovers his eccentric employer Pavel Chudinov is an intermediary between the human world and its myths, Bridger is plunged into a world of pixies, werewolves, and Sasquatch. The realm of myths and magic is growing increasingly unstable, and it is up to Bridger to ascertain the cause of the chaos, eliminate the problem, and help his boss keep the real world from finding the world of myths.

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4 / 5

Myths & Magic is a simple, Skulduggery Pleasant-esque tale of a boy who answers a weird job offer (Craigslist, am I right?) and is dragged into a world of myths and magic. Add in a hefty dollop of teenage angst and a bisexual coming-out story and you’ve got a pleasant, easy read.

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Breakthrough, Kris Bryant

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“I was no match for her. I was a city girl through and through”

Kennedy Wells is desperate to get back her dream job writing for Mainstream, Waters Publishing’s celebrity magazine. A born and bred city girl, Kennedy is sent to cover fishing in Alaska, which has her feeling just like a fish out of water. When Brynn Coleman, director of Alaska’s Wildlife Rescue and Sanctuary, comes to her rescue time after time, Kennedy can’t help but lower her guard.

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3 / 5

Breakthrough is a classic story: city girl is sent to the “wilds” of Alaska and meets  a rough and tough ranger girl. They fall in love. It’s a sweet and readable story, but the writing is somewhat rough and awkward to read in places.

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