Blogmas Post Ideas – You Still Have Time!

Holiday-Themed Twitter Names

Over 30+ Blogmas Post Ideas If You’re in A Rut With Ideas

  1. Your December TBR
  2. Your 2019 Bookish Resolutions
  3. Your Winter Reads Recommendations
  4. 10 Bookish Facts About You
  5. Favorite Books Across Different Genres
  6. Top Authors Who Inspired You This Year
  7. 5 Books You’re Grateful for This Year
  8. Your Favorite Christmas Reads
  9. “5 Reasons I Love (Insert Genre)…”
  10. Top 10 Blog Posts This Year
  11. Top Favorite Books Read This Year
  12. Top Least Favorite/Most Disappointing  Reads This Year
  13. Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag (You can actually interpret this tag multiple ways. For instance, round up some literary characters and say if they were naughty or nice)
  14. What’s In Your Purse – Bookish Edition
  15. Last Month’s or This Month’s Book Haul
  16. Your Winter Bucket List
  17. Your Christmas Playlist
  18. Christmas Movie Recs
  19. A Life Update: What have you been up to? What are your plans?
  20. The Coffee Book Tag
  21. Your Bookish Wish List
  22. 5 Books I’d Gift
  23. Down the TBR Hole One Last Time – Clean up your TBR list and start 2019 fresh.
  24. How You Practice Self Care During the Holidays – Mental health can be hard to deal with if you aren’t around accepting family members.
  25. Discussion Post on anything holiday-themed
  26. Host a small giveaway
  27. 2019 Most Anticipated Book Releases + tell us why you’re excited for them.
  28. Your Pottermore Sorting Results
  29. Your Hogwarts House + Book Recs to Accompany Your House
  30. Get festive! Photograph your book spines (reds, greens, metallics, etc) or make a Christmas tree out of books
  31. Create your own Christmas-themed quiz or tag
  32. Bake something Lara Jean from TATBILB would approve of and photograph the results
  33. Round up your Top Favorite Book Bloggers of 2018
  34. 31 Things That Make You Joyful
  35. 31 Thoughts While Reading…
  36. Blogging Tips You Learned This Year
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Review | Girls of Paper and Fire

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Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Summary

“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…”  (via Goodreads)

The Paper Girls
  • Lei – a girl taken from her home and forced to serve the Demon King
  • Wren – a girl Lei becomes close with
  • Aoki – another girl Lei is closest to
  • Zhen and Zhin – a pair of twins
  • Blue – father is a high official who forced her to become a paper girl
  • Mariko – Blue’s “side-kick” friend
  • Chenna – (not too much is known yet)
The Caste System
  • Paper – Lowest caste. Humans.
  • Steel – Part human and part demon, some animal attributes
  • Moon – Highest caste. Demons. Most animal-like.
Review

My initial thoughts going into this was that this reminded me of The Belles meets Red Queen (though I haven’t read the latter). There’s a lush world full of beauty and looks and a caste system. I read an interesting thread by the author that indicates that this book has already been compared to The Hunger Games. She disputes this by pointing out that a “selection of girls to become a ruler’s concubine is rooted in real-life history.” I thought this historical background offers important context. This just goes to show how unaware many of us are of non-Western history and issues.

“…but here is the evidence before me, in ugly brushstrokes of destruction and scarred earth.”

This book was incredibly empowering. I loved that the author managed to put a group of girls together without too much girl hate. Sure, a few girls are more competitive than others but for the most part Lei bonds quickly with most of the other paper girls.  Before I forget, allow me to mention that this book is #ownvoices for both Asian culture and sexual assault survival. It also features a main f/f romance!  

I thought the writing was immersive and beautiful. The author has a strong affinity for poetic prose. Something I thought was interesting was the conflicting morals in the story. The girls are forced to be with the Demon King but you start to notice that some of the girls actually grow to like the Demon King. I don’t know if it’s because they are too naive to know better or because we’re supposed to feel sympathetic toward the Demon King. For the record, I despise the Demon King with every fiber of my being.

“I like to think there’s some good behind even the darkest sins. That death can be warranted if it paves the way for hope.” 

An interesting aspect of this novel is the meaning of choice. None of the girls choose to be there, but were forced into the situation for different reasons. Lei was forced to become a Paper Girl because one of the King’s officials wants to come into favor with the court. Another girl was forced because her own father made her. Other girls, while not given a choice, begin to like being a Paper Girl and believe it’s better than poverty or a harder life. There are conflicting desires and moral reasonings among each of the girls that makes the story and relationships feel more complex.

“You would think seven years would have dulled my wound. But still they burn inside me, a fire too bright to extinguish.”

One minor issue I had with the story is the ending. While there is cliffhanger, it didn’t do much to compel me. Not because I don’t plan to read the sequel, but because the very last pages were okay. Don’t get me wrong—there was plenty of climax and excitement! I just didn’t understand the importance of the special word that is finally revealed on her birthday. Maybe I felt like the ending was wrapped up too neatly.

I’m looking forward to the next installment and I want to see how the author explores the power of choice and fighting back against the system. I’m also curious to see how the roles change for each girl as the stakes increase. Girls of Paper and Fire has a strong message of feminism, sisterhood, and love. I’m ready to see these girls kick some more ass!!!

“But what the Demon King and his court do not understand is that paper is flammable. And there is fire catching among us.” 

Content Warning: sexual assault, rape, violence, abuse

Let’s Chat!
Have you read Girls of Paper and Fire? What did you think?

Blogmas | Winter Bucket List

Blogmas: Winter Bucket List

My “Winter Bucket List” is different from “December Goals”, which I already listed here. My goals are just a list of all the personal and creative goals I have for the month. My Bucket List has a list of seasonal fun activities I want to try to do this month.

Winter Bucket List

I’ve pretty much crossed most of these on my list in last years, but it’s fun to keep up tradition. The only thing I’ve never done is seen is The Nutcracker ballet. The performance happens every year near by and it’s my dream to watch the production.

What’s on your Winter Bucket List? Do you have an winter traditions?

Review | Hunting Prince Dracula, a snowy landscape with superstition and murder

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Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Summary

“Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.” (via Goodreads)

Characters
  • Audrey Rose Wadsworth – #strongfemalelead
  • Thomas Cresswell – Audrey’s boyfriend *ahem* I mean friend
  • Daciana Cresswell – Thomas’ sister
  • Anastasia – The daring and bold Headmaster’s daughter.
  • Ileana – The servant girl in a relationship with X (I don’t want to spoil it). However, I will say this book features an f/f romance.
Review

I’m finally posting my review of Hunting Prince Dracula, which I read during Blogoween but hadn’t yet finalized my thoughts. The sequel greatly improves upon it’s predecessor. While there were moments I wanted to DNF this one, I was actually pleased by the outcome. The reason why I wanted to DNF is because sometime the plot dragged on unnecessarily. I think my least favorite aspect of the SJTR books is the internal monologues of Audrey Rose. Regardless, she is still one of my favorite YA literary heroines. Ultimately, I really enjoyed the sequel despite the plot lagging some. I feel like I can justify my late review considering the setting of Hunting Prince Dracula is so wintery and I felt transported right into Romania in 1888.

Here are a list of things I enjoyed (or didn’t):

  • I love the slow burn romance!!! I am living for CRESSWORTH.
  • Also, I like how Audrey demands to be respected and seen as Thomas’ equal.
  • I love that Audrey is so compassionate and selfless. She’s never mean or snooty or “too good” for anyone.
  • I was SO pissed when Thomas screwed up the way he did though… the first time.
  • Then his prank later on is so F–CKING STUPID!!!!
  • The pacing is a lot better, but it’s still long. And if I never read a chapter where Audrey talks about how going out alone with Thomas would be scandalous in London, I will sleep better. It was SO repetitive.
  • I didn’t notice this issue in Stalking Jack the Ripper until someone pointed it out. The reviewer stated that they didn’t feel that the first book wasn’t particularly feminist because the other women in the story were more or less cardboard cut outs without a voice. So I liked that the female characters in the sequel feel less passive and that they were more significant to the plot.
  • I love the setting of Romania. The boarding school setting set in a magical country reminds me of Harry Potter. Bran’s Castle gave me Beauty and the Beast vibes.
  • I was happy for the inclusion of non-straight characters and the fact that they weren’t used as throwaway characters. Ugh. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think the author handled their characters well.
  • I was actually pleased with the villain reveal, but once again the build up was painstakingly slow with a somewhat anticlimactic conclusion. To be honest, I don’t remember the villain’s motives at all. It wasn’t particularly memorable.
  • Regardless, I loved the ending…that slow burn. Ahhh.
  • Since Escaping from Houdini is set in America, I hope we have more diverse representation. I’ve heard mixed things about the third book in the series in regards to the outcome with Thomas so I’m hesitant to even start it. Supposedly the ending is satisfying, but I only have so much patience for Audrey Rose, lol
Favorite Quotes

“Legends are meant to inspire fear. They must be larger than the life we leading order to maintain their lure for generations.”

“Flesh-and-blood men were the real monsters, and they could be cut down easily enough.”

“Humans were the real monsters and villains.”

“I was supposed to have a heart that hardened in the face of death.”

“I was a gruesome monster wrapped up in delicate lace.”

“Science was an altar I knelt before, and it blessed me with solace.”

Let’s Chat
Have you read the Stalking Jack the Ripper series? Which one is your favorite so far?