[2018 Wrap-Up] 5-Star Reads

So I’m a little behind in my 2018 wrap-up series, but I really wanted to post this one, as I read some really great books in 2018.

My reading for this year has already started off really well: my first read was a 5-Star review! So let’s recap on those books which I gave the coveted 5/5 rating in 2018…


Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

This was my first read of 2018, and a wonderful middle-grade fantasy.

It takes place in a land called Erkenwald, which was created by the Sky Gods. However, the smallest star gets jealous and decides to claim the land as her own, lacing it with dark magic and capturing a young girl called Eska in a music box, as her voice holds a power which can either destroy or save the world… CUE ADVENTURE. Its brilliant.

Read my full review here.


A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

The gripping finale to the Darker Shade of Magic series.

So many twists.

So many turns.

So many precious Cinnamon rolls that needed protecting…

Read my full *spoiler free* review here.


Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

So I’ve heard many mixed opinions on this book, but personally, I loved it. It has music, beautiful descriptions, intense romance and a goblin underworld… cool, right?!

I absolutely flew through this book, although I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of the second book. But to be honest, you don’t even need to read the second one to feel like you’ve got everything out of this story.

I was rubbish at keeping on top of reviews last year, so I don’t have one for this book I’m afraid…


Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

This book was SO. MUCH. FUN.

The world is whimsical, intriguing and there are so many fun characters that I just loved reading about.

Morrigan is cursed and doomed to die on her 11th birthday. Or so she thought… until she gets whisked away to a land called Nevermoor, where she will discover her true destiny.

I really should have written a review for this(?!)


Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Told from 3 oppressed women’s perspectives and set in a Wintery 18th century (ish) Russia, we are spun a tale of strength, independence and courage.

A loose Rumplestiltskin re-telling, this book is magical and brilliantly written.

This book is dark and twisty, and full of political intrigue. It was wonderfully clever.

(No review to link again… wow I suck.)


Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

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Not into the whole super-hero thing?

Me neither, but this series seems to be hitting the mark for me!

So far I’ve read both this one and Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo, and both got 5 star ratings from me!

Did I write a review? Who are we kidding…

 


The Binding by Bridget Collins

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I am obsessed with this book.

It is incredible.

One of the best books I’ve read in so long, and I’ve not stopped talking about it to people. My poor non-reader friends are being forced to listen to me too…

I can’t of much else to say other than READ MY REVIEW because I actually wrote one!

 


Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

It’s no surprise to me that multiple Sarah J. Maas books have ended up on this list. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be…

Tower of Dawn was, in my opinion, the best book in the entire Throne of Glass series.

I’m not sure I can even explain why, but I loved the new characters, the Torre and all the dark goings on, and oh boy, the romance. DEAD.

 


Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

The epic finale.

Not only to the Throne of Glass series, but also the last 5-star book that I read in 2018.

This was such an epic conclusion to the series, and I still don’t think I’ve fully recovered from all that death…

I will be writing a review for this one before this month is out. You can count on it.


So that’s it, all of my 5-star reads of 2018 in one place! A whole NINE of them! Shame we couldn’t quite make it 10, though I did have a couple of very close 4.5 rated books.

There’s always this year…


 

[Book Review] Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Rating: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

39898847Synopsis:ย 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 ofย 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.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.


Could there have been a better book to open my 2019 reading? Absolutely not.

This book, in my opinion, was perfection.

An Asian fantasy with oppressed, abused young women who step up and take their lives back, even in the most dire of situations, with a beautiful f/f relationship, this book had everything I love in fantasy. It was thoroughly entertaining and had me gripped to its pages from the very beginning – I honestly didn’t want to put it down! It’s a shame I only have time to read on my commute, because otherwise I think I would have read it in one sitting.

I loved the social system:

  • Paper Caste: Fully Human
  • Steel Caste: Half Human, Half Demon
  • Moon Case: Fully Demon

This provided a class system away from race and nationality, but brought an equivalent that we can compare to in the real world. Paper Caste are seen as the lowest in society, oppressed and discriminated against highly by the Moon Caste. Some in the Paper Caste submitted to this, and others did not…

The thing I loved most about this book was the wide variety of characters; their personalities and backgrounds painted a technicolor rainbow, and it was a delight to read about each one of these women. One of my particular favourites was Lill, the young Steel Caste maid assigned to look after Lei in Paper House. She was bubbly, naive and witty, and honestly made me laugh out loud on several occasions. Her energy translated onto the page beautifully.

I have to say that I thought this book was incredibly well-written. The character developments were terrific, and the only thing I can ask of in the next instalment to the series, is even more world building. Whilst we got enough for this book to work, I would ideally like this to be built upon even more to create an fully immersive world, complete with all of the crazy politics and intriguing magic system that we started to get a sense of in this book.

I have so many questions left to be answered.

AND BOY, THAT CLIFFHANGER…

I sure do hope we don’t have to wait too long for Book 2!

I’m so glad I decided to open 2019 with this book, my only regret is that I didn’t read it when it was first published!