Girls of Storm and Shadow eARC Review

 

 

 

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

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GoodReads:
In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.
Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But 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.
Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

 

My Review

Content/Trigger Warning: This book has death, alcohol abuse, violence/gore, and the dealing with PTSD/Long term trauma due to sexual assault, abuse/violence.

Hi, my name is Haley, and this book broke me.

Which means 5/5 of course.

Onto the review.

This pretty much picks up where ‘Girls of Paper and Fire’ left off, just letting a bit of time lapse [like a matter of a weeks].

Lei escaped the Moon Ball, she had done a service to Papers everywhere with her actions that night, and now?

Now it’s time to prepare for War. The time is near to strike a blow to the Royal Court that will completely end the reign of terror that has been the life of papers everywhere since the first Bull King ascended to rule.

Wren and Lei must go on a ‘quest’ to get more allies for the Hannos and they’re joined by fellows all joined together for the same mission.

Bo and Nitta were hands down my favorite characters though I also really enjoyed Merrin our demon owl and flier extraordinaire.

Wren’s instructor Caen teaches Lei how to handle a weapon and I really enjoyed the fact that Lei is having to learn while surrounded by basically masters. But where she likes in weapons training, Lei makes up with heart, she’s still kind and strong in other ways.

One thing this book deals with is the long term effects of trauma, how, just because you’ve left/escaped a situation doesn’t mean that you can just leave it all behind. It will follow you in a lot of ways, so, while Lei and Wren are together and out of the clutches of the Hidden Palace, they’re still struggling to deal with the events they went through there.

This also means that while Lei and Wren are going on adventures and still having fun, they are in some heart breaking ways, not the same girls they were before.

Ngan’s handling of this was SO well done. Both girls deal with what happened to them in different ways, and with what they’ve been through, this also means that in a lot of ways they’re closer than before, as they’re no longer surrounded by girls who understand their situation but others who can’t truly understand what they’ve been through.

Still, as all couples do, Wren and Lei have their own set of relationship challenges. AND ON MY WORD THEY BREAK YOUR HEART. NGAN DESTROYS YOU BETWEEN THAT AND OTHER HAPPENINGS THAT I SHALL NOT SPEAK OF.

Anyway, this book is the lead up to what promises to be an epic showdown, and I’m 100% there for their mission and challenges they’ve faced.

The thing is, war comes at a cost, but what will the cost be for Lei and Wren, and who is willing to pay too much?

Pros:
– Lei and Wren
– Bo and Nitta
– Queer love to make your heart soar
– Desert ship
– More amazing world building
– Adventures galore
– Squad Goals
– Sobering look at what trauma can do to people in the long term
– Still get to have quick flashes of what’s going on in the Hidden Palace
– Lei who is a cinnamon roll, wielding a dagger.

Cons:
– This book will break your heart
– This book ruins your life [albeit in the best ways]
– Chapter 23. You know what you did.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder for a chance to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’re wondering how I’m handling this book, well, I’m not lol.

 

About the Author

Natasha Ngan

Natasha Ngan is a NYT bestselling author and yoga teacher. She grew up between Malaysia, where the Chinese side of her family is from, and the UK. This multicultural upbringing continues to influence her writing, and she is passionate about bringing diverse stories to teens. Natasha studied Geography at the University of Cambridge before working as a social media consultant and fashion blogger.
She recently moved to Paris, where she likes to imagine she drifts stylishly from brasserie to brasserie, notepad in one hand, wineglass in the other. In reality, she spends most of her time getting lost on the metro and confusing locals with her French.
She is represented by Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary. Her YA novels THE ELITES, THE MEMORY KEEPERS, and GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE are out now. GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW will be published in November 2019 by Hachette.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Spin the Dawn

I had to really take a moment after reading this, because I was so angry I have to wait for the next one, and I just died over the descriptions of pretty clothing. It’s my downfall and Lim delivered.

I also waited until today because I was late on reviewing my eARC and decided to wait to post here until it hit the one month anniversary of its release. [I also read and reviewed my own preorder so no disclosure needed this go]

So congrats to Spin the Dawn on having hit the shelves a month ago!

Let’s get this party started!!

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GoodReads:
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

 

My Review

With a beautiful start, this had my heart from the prologue. And I can’t help but want to completely and utterly root for Maia and contain so much faith for her! I enjoyed the story in its entirety but I really loved the scenes between Maia and Edan.

By the way, Edan is the cinnamon-est of cinnamon rolls, and I’ll fight anyone who argues this. [Not really, I suck at fights. I’d rather not but you all get the point]

The book is divided into parts and the first part deals with the ‘Project Runway meets Mulan’ vibe, and then it branches out after that and becomes a quest that is a perilous journey to try and deliver the ‘unobtainable’ to make the intended of the Emperor satisfied. [I have sympathy for her but I still dislike her lol]

The magical aspect was fun and really weaved in there, get it, weaved? Anyway, I thought it was all threaded together flawlessly. Okay, okay, I’m done with the puns. For now.

Being a sucker for pretty clothes, I loved the parts with the clothing best and those dresses though, if you haven’t read it, I won’t spoil it but man, I want to see those in real life!

Maia clearly loves her family and her ultimate goal for them and more importantly for herself has always been to become the greatest tailor in the land. When the opportunity arises, she only hesitates briefly before taking it in both hands and running with it.

So, what happens you no longer what your life long dream?

The struggle for Maia is genuine and I loved how Edan was so supportive, and I could go on and on about the two of them, but, I’ll try to contain myself.

Another thing I thought Lim just totally mastered were the landscape descriptions, I just wanted to close my eyes at times and imagine all the beautiful lands, she painted them out for you and I was completely engrossed in this world while reading.

If you’re looking for a magical fantasy with amazing landscapes, fun world-building, pretty clothes, determined tailors, and cinnamon rolls, well this book is for you.

Four cups of coffee from me!

I reviewed my own copy of this but I also read and reviewed the eARC as well, so: **I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion…so…Thanks for the free book, @PRHGlobal **

[TEAM MAIA&EDAN UNITE]

Descendant of the Crane eARC Review

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GoodReads:

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?”

It’s rare that I find myself so completely infatuated with a book. I gush about a few, sure, but I mean this one was the sort that from the first chapter you knew you were reading something quite amazing.

Not only does it engage you in the first chapter but there was not one character that I wasn’t completely interested in, there were no slumps or any boring filling, it was pure gold from start to finish. Usually, I do a pros and cons list when I write a review on my blog and this time the cons will be superfluous ones. I’m sure there are faults but anything that might have stood out to me didn’t due to beautiful prose and quite talented world-building skills. But more than anything, Joan He had a way of making you feel for her characters in a way that I really hadn’t in probably over a decade of reading.

This isn’t a ‘Chinese-inspired Game of Thrones.’ This is an amazing work of fiction all on its own, He’s story is her own with no shadows of GoT and she can clearly stand on her own two feet without such a comparison needed. I would dare say her story even had more heart than GoT and I’m a big fan of those books, but really, Descendant of the Crane is this incredible fantasy book that contains the sort of world that we don’t have enough of in books.

Hesina was relatable the whole way through, even if you didn’t agree with her decisions, you could completely understand why she made her choices. The love between her and her father also made me super emotional at times to the point where I was like ‘who is this person reading this’ I can connect with books and I’ll feel things lol I’m soulless [inserted another ginger joke, go me], not emotionless, but, it was just the exact sort of feelings I could connect with.

Pros:
– I love every single one of those nuggets in the book
– Mei kicks so much butt
– Hesina and her Father’s love
– Hesina and her siblings
– The politics are pretty much exactly the kind of horror you’d imagine in their time or our own, it’s very believable to the readers (well, to me)
– Akira

Cons:
– Could have been more Akira
– THAT ENDING THO (It’s not a con, just an OMG)
– Why wasn’t this book longer?
– My Soul is broken
-What do you do to me, Joan He?
– This book will destroy your soul and break your heart (maybe her and Wilson talked about the ways they could break hearts while writing their novels, Idk)
– Omg my heart

^ These are notes from my journal while reading it. So, take what you will, I really couldn’t come up with cons for it.

This was my first read for YARC2019!! Yay! And man what a great first read for the challenge! Also if you’re like ‘man I need to read this book now, here’s my info about what you get if you Preorder: Descendant of the Crane Preorder [Note: Bookmarks are all gone but you receive 5 character cards instead of four as compensation for the bookmarks being gone. Also, depending on when you read this, this offer may no longer be available, but as of me writing this on March 15, the preorder was still live and the form open. This giveaway is open internationally and does include library requests!]

I felt honored in being able to read an eARC of this and I’m grateful for the chance to read such an amazing book. This was also my first buddy read and it was a lot of fun! Of course, this is all my own opinion and others will not feel the same but, I stick by what I’ve said. It’s quickly been shelved on my favorites on GR and I will be closely watching for anything else Joan He will come out with from now on.

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion**

 

#YARC 2019

[***That Featured Image is not mine, holy cow I can’t do anything with graphics, credit goes to the hosts, all of whom I’ve linked below***]

I honestly don’t even know what I’m doing with my life anymore but after preordering Descendant of the Crane and then wanting to read Not Your Sidekick…I, I just realized I might as well at this point. Besides, it’s not like there’s any downside to joining such an amazing challenge!

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge is hosted by these lovely people:

What’s my current progress? 1! I finally got my first read done and it was so amazing and beautiful and wonderful. -Sob-

Current Badge:
Green and blue award badge with a brown Phillipines Tarsier in the center, and with one gold star above the award.

My Goal: 10!

I know that’s the lowest badge that little adorable Philippine Tarsier, but I’ve got so many reading goals that I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

What books am I hoping to read? (this=read)
The Night Tiger (I LOVED LOVED LOVED The Ghost Bride)
Descendant of the Crane
Not Your Sidekick
Not Your Villain
Not Your Backup
Brothers (I started this book a long time ago, but lost my place so, redo!)
Mao’s Last Dancer (I’ve had it for ages, it’s time)
Ignite the Stars
Jade City
Jade War
Want
-Spin the Dawn
-We Hunt the Flame
-Miracle Creek
-Enlightenment
-Shadow of the Fox
-Soul of the Sword
-The Girl Who Became A Goddess
-The Chosen
-Thirteen Months of Sunrise
-In Truth, Madness
-A Spark of White Fire
– A House of Rage and Sorrow
-Legend
-Prodigy
-Champion
-Girls of Paper and Fire
-Girls of Storm and Shadow
-Blood Heir

Total: 19

I will be keeping track of what I want to read and what I’ve read via a GoodReads shelf, but this will not be limited to this challenge, so I’ll not link it but if you have me on GoodReads feel free to check out the shelf!

Toodles!

UPDATE: I reached my goal of 10 but I will keep going as I did not get to most of the books on my premade list, so, I’ll keep on trucking!