Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire#1)

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire#1) by Natasha Ngan

First thing, let me just gush over this cover. I have the Owlcrate edition and the cover is just gorgeous😍.
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With that being said, I’m just not sure how I feel about the book. Right now I’m giving it a solid 3 stars but maybe after more thought or a reread I’ll change my mind.

I know I’m in the minority here, but I just couldn’t immerse myself into the world or the storyline. The whole read I felt like I was waiting to fall in love with the story but it just didn’t happen. Perhaps it’s because the castes made me think of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series with all of the beast/human “demons” and it just fell flat in comparison.

After reading so many raving reviews, I feel like I must have read a different novel than my book buddies. Almost like my book must have been missing chapters because SO many things were left unresolved.

Both Audiobook & Hardcover

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The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #1)

The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #1) by Alice Hoffman

“Maria Owens did what she did for a reason. She was young and she thought damning anyone who loved us would protect us. But what she had with that terrible man wasn’t love. She didn’t understand that when you truly love someone and they love you in return, you ruin your lives together. That is not a curse, it’s what life is, my girl. We all come to ruin, we turn to dust, but whom we love is the thing that lasts.” 

So, every Halloween, I watch Practical Magic (& Hocus Pocus) on repeat.   I’m embarrassed to say that I never knew that Practical Magic was based on the novel by Alice Hoffman.  I’m just going to blame it on the fact that it was published when I was just a wee middle schooler and was totally obsessed with all things R.L. Stine.  I’m now patiently waiting for my turn to check it out from my library.

The Rules of Magic was perfectly magical.  It had the same whimsical, lovely atmosphere as Practical Magic and I just loved it.  This series is based on the lives of the Owens – a family with magical roots going all the way back to the Salem witch trials.  During that time, in 1620, Maria Owens cursed their family after she was wronged by the man she loved.  From that moment, any person an Owens loved would die.  This story is the prequel to Practical Magic and gives us all the backstory of Franny and Jet, and how their nieces came to live with them.   We also learn of their brother Vincent and the pivotal role he played in their lives.

I loved this so much that I might have broken tradition and watched Practical Magic in April…

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Ebook Only

 

The Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)

The Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh

“You are first and foremost a person. A reckless, foolish person, but a person nonetheless. If I ever say you are not permitted to do something, rest assured that the last reason I would ever say so would be because you are a girl.” 

When I first saw my Goodreads buddies recommending this Mulan retelling I just knew that I had to read it.  Strong female protagonist, Samurai, and magic…

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After reading it, I’d say that it definitely has a Mulan vibe but that it was more reminiscent of Mulan than a retelling.  Mariko is being forced to marry the Emperor’s son but on her way to the palace, her convoy is ambushed by a group of bandits called the Black Clan.  Being the only survivor, she swears revenge on the Black Clan.  She disguises herself as a boy and infiltrates their clan.   There she finds what she least expected – acceptance, friendship, and love.  During her journey she realizes that things aren’t always what they appear to be and she must decide who she wants to be.

It was a quick, entertaining read that I finished during a long, rainy day.  I will say that it took me a bit to get into but by the end I wasn’t ready for it to be over.  Now I have to wait until June for the next book – ahhhhh!

Ebook Only

 

The Kingfountain Series

The Kingfountain Series by Jeff Wheeler

The Queen’s Poisoner (Kingfountain #1)

The Thief’s Daughter (Kingfountain #2)

The King’s Traitor (Kingfountain #3)

The Hollow Crown (Kingfountain #4)

The Silent Shield (Kingfountain #5)

The Forsaken Throne (Kingfountain #6)

I’ll start by saying that I found this series while browsing the available titles in my Kindle Unlimited library.  None of my “on hold” library audiobooks were available and I was desperate to find something to listen to on my work commute.  I really wasn’t expecting much but was hoping it was good enough to get me through the long drive.  Wow was I pleasantly surprised.  I am SO happy that I found this series – I just loved it!  I was completely sucked into this story from the beginning and now I find myself so sad that it is over!

The narrator, Kate Rudd, was amazing and I feel she gave the story the life it needed.  It’s a slow building story that was like a mix of King Arthur mythology and Game of Thrones (minus all of the profanity, graphic scenes and sex).  Yes, you read right – no sex, graphic violence, or profanity… and I didn’t miss it one bit.  It was actually refreshing.  I feel completely at ease recommending this series to everyone without having to feel a little awkward about “those” scenes lol.

The world and character building was absolutely wonderful.  I found myself immersed in the world of Kingfountain and attached to every character, from the main protagonist to the lowly servant.  There’s lies, deceit, magic, love, and action.  The story begins with an 8 year old boy living under the rule of a tyrant King and continues through his teen and adult years.  It’s rare that I find a series that flows along beautifully and then ends completely.  This author does have other series that tie into this world and I plan on listening to them soon.

I highly recommend this series to fans of The Kingkiller Chronicles, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones, as well as, readers that love slow building stories.  Hope you guys like it as much as I did!

Kindle Unlimited (Audiobook Only)

 

No Man’s Land (John Puller #4)

No Man’s Land (John Puller #4) by David Baldacci

This is the fourth installment in the John Puller series and it was my least favorite.  I felt the dialog to be immature and I found myself trudging through the novel in hopes that the next novel will redeem this dud.  On top of the poor prose, the male audio narrator was different from the narrator of the the past three novels and his narration was pretty lack-luster.  The female narrator stayed the same and she did the best she could with the dialogue she was given.

Even with this novel being lacking, I still recommend the series as a whole if you enjoy military based thrillers.  The other three novels are action-packed and really suck you in.

Audiobook Only

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” 

I normally refrain from choosing books that, from the synopsis, I know that I’ll spend the majority of the book crying.  After reading all the hype and seeing this book win award after award, I decided to get on the waiting list at my library.  I figured that I’d give it a listen once it was finally available.  I was number 158 on the list so it was going to be a while.

It was worth the wait.

I feel like anything I say will be inadequate to describe how beautifully written and absolutely perfect this novel was.  It is one of the best books I have ever read.  It was heart-warming and powerful while tackling such an emotionally charged subject matter.  It’s an important story that is more and more relevant in our world today, but told in the way it should be.  This novel is full of humor and heartache and the world needs to read it.  Prepare to laugh, cry and cry some more but in the end you’ll feel empowered to help be the change that the world so desperately needs.

On a side note, I listened to this novel and the narrator, Bahni Turpin, nailed it.  She was just as perfect as this amazing novel deserved and I highly recommend the audio version.  I can’t wait to listen to the other novels she has narrated – there are quite a few on my TBR list.

Audiobook only

Force Of Nature (Aaron Falk #2)

Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2) by Jane Harper

Although part of a series, this was my first Aaron Falk book and it read great as a stand alone.  The writing style and story line is reminiscent to Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Everyone has their own version of the truth but what truly happened?

Five female colleagues go on a mandatory “fun” team-building camping trip in the Australian woodlands, but only four of the women return. We follow Federal Police Agent, Aaron Falk’s, investigation into the missing woman as we also follow each of the women’s memories of the events that lead up to her disappearance.

Oh this was just so good.  The description of the forest environment and what the women endured had me feeling “creeped” out.  Each character had her own little back story that intertwined into the present story perfectly.  There are twists and turns, lies, deceit, family-drama, betrayal, and heart-ache.

I highly recommend.

I’ve found a new go-to author and have already requested her first Aaron Falk novel, The Dry, from my library!

Audiobook Only

The Good Daughter

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

“Many people must have told you that you are lucky to be alive. I think you would have been lucky had you not been shot in the first place.”

I will start by saying this book is DARK and graphic, but oh so good!  It follows two different timelines and two different brutal crimes.  Years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn are brutalized, their mother killed, and their lives forever changed.  They rebuild their lives as best they can until 28 years later, they are struck again by violence and have to relive the nightmares of the past.  This new tragedy digs up the horrors of the past and unveils shocking secrets.

I loved the emotional, in-depth characters in this novel.  My heart ached for them.  I might have shed a few tears.  The two timelines and associated stories flowed and built up perfectly.   I read this book in less than 24 hours…I just couldn’t put it down.  I definitely recommend, but if you are sensitive to disturbing violent scenes I’d say this isn’t the story for you.

Ebook Only

 

Secondborn (Secondborn #1)

Secondborn (Secondborn #1) by Amy A. Bartol

“Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.”

So, this book was just okay.  Maybe if I had read this book before reading so many others like it, I might feel differently, but not the case.  I listened to it on Audible and increased the playback speed just so that I could get it over with.  Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t hate the book, I was just bored and felt like I was reading a mash up of a lot of other YA novels I’d already read.

Roselle St. Sismode is the second born child in her family which means that her first born brother will live a life of privilege and she will live a life of servitude.  Due to the fact that she is born into an “elite” family, she gets to transition into servitude much later than other Secondborns.  The fame of being a member of an elite family and her late transitioning cause other Secondborns to resent her and treat her like an outcast.  The story follows her as she becomes a member of the Fate of Swords military and fights in a war.

I found the world building to be lacking.  There were a lot of cool things introduced but there was no back story as to how and why.  Then, the characters – I just didn’t care.  The “love story” felt forced and there were a few really awkward scenes that made me cringe.  I kept thinking that I’d rather just read ToG or even Divergent again.  With that being said, it’s entertaining enough to be worth a quick read/listen if you have Kindle Unlimited and I’ll probably read the others in the series if they continue to be in their library.

Kindle Unlimited (Listen Only)

 

 

 

The Girl With All the Gifts (The Girl With All the Gifts #1)

The Girl With All the Gifts (The Girl With All the Gifts #1) by M.R. Carey

“It’s not just Pandora who had that inescapable flaw. It seems like everyone has been built in a way that sometimes makes them do wrong and stupid things.” 

I don’t want to say much because I do feel that going into this book blind is the best route.  I didn’t know anything about it other than the synopsis and I feel it really added to the experience.

This book was pretty close to perfect.  It’s very much like Justin Cronin’s The Passage, but more fulfilling and eerily realistic.  The story really makes you think about what it is to be “human.”  It’s pretty action-packed and sucks you in right from the beginning.  I found myself invested in the lives of each of the characters whether it was in love or hate.  I devoured this book and found myself thinking about it days after I finished reading it.  I highly recommend and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Audiobook Only