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Paper Crowns

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Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

192 pages, Paperback

Published April 14, 2016

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Mirriam Neal

2 books88 followers
Drop me a question, comment, favorite quote, riddle, or random remark here — mirriamneal@outlook.com

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Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Deborah O'Carroll.
477 reviews94 followers
February 8, 2017

I kid you not when I say that when I learned Paper Crowns was published, I spent the next day+ dancing ecstatically around the house making high keening happy noises and randomly shrieking "Paper Crowns is published!!" (You think I'm joking? Ha. Just ask my poor family who had to put up with my fangirling...)

I had the pleasure of beta-reading the story when it was first written, and I remember flailing with happiness whenever I found a new chapter in my inbox. THIS BOOK IS EXCELLENT, PEOPLE.

I recently got the published version (THAT was a happy day, aaahhh!!) and read it again and it was just as good -- or, well, BETTER BECAUSE IT'S PUBLISHED! (Aside from some typos. Which I have it on good authority are being fixed, so.) I plan to read it again very soon. Maybe tomorrow... And again soon after that. (What, I'm totally normal, honest.)

I AM NOT EXAGGERATING WHEN I SAY THAT THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS EVER. It's just... perfect. Mirriam Neal is a genius writer, and while I'll read anything she writes, this just takes the cake as the best ever because of its unexpectedly light fantasy faerie-tale feeling. The CHARACTERS are the best of ever (Halcyon! Azrael! Astryn! Ginger! Salazar! Asterope! I love them alllll!) and the humor and bickering and plot and setting are all just perfection.

It has everything: a sarcastic fey blue cat, a fire elemental, a grouchy wysling, a gingery heroine, friends and traitors, villains and lovable heroes, lots and lots of snow, muffins, forests, and a good deal of folded paper. It makes you laugh and wrenches at your heart and makes you fall in love and long to go on an adventure. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

I'm so very excited it's published now so that I can insist everyone reads it.

And I do, you know. I insist you read it, that is. You will NOT regret it.

Profile Image for mary liz.
213 reviews18 followers
August 3, 2018
*turns into Salazar* OH MY STARS, THIS BOOK WAS ADORABLE. *hugs it* EEP! IT TOTALLY DESERVES 1,349 STARS. <3

Just...no words right now.

// Re-read May 2017 //

I love this book more than is probably healthy. <3333
Profile Image for Christine Smith.
67 reviews74 followers
June 6, 2016

I’m part of an amazing writing group of Mirriam Neal’s and had the honor of reading Paper Crowns back in its earlier stages before publication. I only dreamed of it being released to the world, because everyone needed to read it. When Mirriam announced it was going to be published, well, squealing and flailing may have ensued. Receiving an actual, physical copy of this story I had so fallen in love with was a dream come true. I immediately devoured it two days after receiving it, and it was just as enchanting as I remembered, perhaps even more so.

What I love about Mirriam’s writing is her ability to seamlessly change her style to suit whatever book she’s creating at the time. Normally her stories are on the darker, grittier side, but occasionally she’ll take a break to write something lighter. Thus Paper Crowns was born.

This is not a deep book. It’s only 191 pages and very simplistic, but that’s the charm of it. This is a fairytale through and through, with an enchanting world, magical beings, humorous mishaps, and beautifully simple but fluent writing that sweeps you away right into the whimsy of it all. Then there’s Mirriam’s trademark loveable characters who warms your heart like a winter’s fire.

We’ve got. . .

Hal: The sarcastic, shapeshifting blue cat. Do I even need to say more?

Ginny: Our heroine who can make origami come alive. Is this not the coolest ability EVER?

Salazar: A fire elemental who talks in ALL CAPS. I think that explains his character well enough. He’s a riot. XD

Azrael: Just. . .Azrael. If nothing else, read this book for Azrael. He’s a “wysling”, similar to what we would call a wizard, who is always reluctant to help. But you know, deep down, he cares. Maybe.

Asterope: Another wysling who’s much more willing to help than Azrael and nice and fun and precious.


What really strikes me in this story is the. . .wistfulness of it all. Though most of it takes place in a wintry land of faerie, the first bits are in our world, but a more enchanting version of our world. Mirriam knows how to make life seem so beautiful, to make you see the delight in small things. The entire beginning is filled with coffee and origami and the smell of leather journals and double-decker buses and a cottage in the woods. This tale makes me feel so refreshed. Like all the bad and ugly in our world has been erased, leaving only the simple beauty of life. It makes me appreciate the little things and find joy in it all.

Once we leave our world behind and enter the land of the faerie, the story only gets more beautiful. Full of snow and magic and curious people. It’s a beautiful story all around. But it’s also funny. I adore Mirriam’s humor. The character interactions are so snappy and hilarious, and the ridiculous mishaps had me grinning all the way through.

This story is practically perfect. Really the only complaint I have is some typos, but I think that’s currently being fixed, so I suspect it’s only the early printings of the book that will have those.

The other thing is I wish there was more. Like I said, it’s a very short, simple book. But, really, that’s the charm in it. As much as I’d like a 500 page monster of this world and characters because I love them that much, it wouldn’t be the same. This is the type of book meant to be read in the sun on a spring day or curled up next to the fireplace. I think it’s very purpose is merely a breath of fresh air. It’s not deep or long or complicated. It’s a simple fairytale—enchanting and beautiful. And that’s just right.

But, not to fear, there are more books on the way! I’ve actually read the sequel, Paper Hearts, and love it even more than Paper Crowns. Which is saying something, let me tell you. I so very, very hope Paper Hearts will be out to the public in the near future!

Nothing really. Like I said, this is a light read. The violence is to a minimum and the content perfectly clean. There is magic though. People called wyslings are much like wizards, as I said. It didn’t bother me, it’s so light and fairytale-like, but I know a lot of people don’t do magic so I wanted to let everyone know.

I’d recommend this book to the young and old. I could easily see 10-year-olds very much enjoying it, but the heroine is 18 herself, so it’s got a slight YA feel as well.


Ahem. Okay, okay. It may not be everyone’s type of story. But if you enjoy light, whimsical fairytales, this one is absolutely for you! Deep, complicated books are my favorite, but I think we all sometimes need those little breaths of sunshine. Paper Crowns is just that.

Review originally posted on my blog: http://musingsofanelf.blogspot.com/2016/06/paper-crowns-book-review.html
Profile Image for E.F. Buckles.
Author 1 book8 followers
July 23, 2018
Oh my goodness I loved this SO MUCH! It was so short but so good! Why did it have to be so short?

To get a bit more detailed about what I liked, for one thing, I like that, at least when the characters were in our world, it was set in modern day times. I don’t read a lot of fantasy like that, partially out of not even knowing where to find it and partially because a lot of what I do find is too gritty for my tastes. Not the case here. There was peril and excitement for sure, but not the grit I don’t care for.

The characters were probably the best thing for me, though. They each had unique personalities and were so much fun!

Ginger was a realistic eighteen-year-old in that she was having to learn to be more confident and own her special talents, but also still had many things to learn and was realistically naive about some things, especially given the way she was raised. She was also refreshingly innocent despite being a modern character in our modern world. I get tired of these teenage characters that act like they're SO MATURE NOW THAT THEY’RE EIGHTEEN and know everything and act like they don't or shouldn’t need anyone, especially an older person to help them. I’m like, no, you're legally an adult, but you still have a lot of maturing to do both physically and mentally and need guidance, and SPOILER ALERT it's actually a part of maturity to know when you need help and humbly ask for it! You don’t have to do everything alone or be an automatic expert at everything! No one should look down on you for needing or wanting to learn from others, or not having the same experience in some areas as others, and if they do, those aren’t the kind of people you want to spend your time with! /end rant

This is why I especially appreciated that even as a "chosen one" figure, Ginger wasn't perfect or over-powered, and still was not perfect or over-powered by the end of the book. She learned more about her special skill and became more competent with it, yes, but she did not completely master it in an unrealistic amount of time as some chosen ones do, which was good given the short amount of time during which this story happened. In some books it's also like the chosen one is the ONLY one who can do the thing and while there is some support from other characters, it's ultimately up to the chosen one to do the important thing alone once they’ve gotten strong enough to whoop the villain’s butt all on their own. But in this case, Ginger, though she did become more confident over the course of the story, still needed her friends and her friends needed her. None of them got to steal the show all by themselves. Yay for teamwork!

Hal was my other favorite character. Oh my goodness, his dynamic with Ginger was ADORABLE . So sarcastic and loveable. He was amazing as a cat and a It was clear from the start that he and Ginger were great friends and truly cared about each other’s well being and it was so sweet how he protected her and she, in turn, did her best to protect him. I just want to hug them both, GAH! I am only mildly annoyed that the author managed to get me attached to Hal so easily that she was able to make me cry over certain things TWICE!!! I actually threatened in my updates to throw things if it happened a third time, but the book and all surrounding objects were ultimately safe from becoming or being hit by flying projectiles.

Azrael made for an interesting reluctant hero. I was never quite sure whether they should trust him or not, but I hoped they could because I felt like there was good in him, it was clear he had a softer side, though he would never admit it, and his magical abilities wysery was fun, as was his dynamic with the other characters.

Salazar…Oh my goodness, he made me laugh so much. I feel like the author had to perform a delicate balancing act with him because, as I fire elemental in a frozen world, he could have made things too easy for the other characters, but she managed to give him just the right amount of limitations that he was able to help without making things too easy, and that thing that happened with him near the end was unexpected, but hilarious. XD

Badger…blech. So slimy, but that was how he was intended to be and the author did well in making him a unique character that stood out from the rest.

Astryn…Can’t say much about him due to spoilers, but I enjoyed his and Hal’s snarky dynamic and what he added to the story.

Asterope was also cool and I like that, despite being another wysling like Azrael, was his own, unique individual. Truthfully, I would have liked to see a little more of him, but by nature of the book being short, I see why we didn’t.

The pug though. XD

The only character that could have used a bit more characterization was the queen. She was pretty much a straight-forward evil villain, and boy, oh boy, was she evil. That was kind of all she was, though, and I guess part of me wanted there to be a little more to her. Was she always so cold, heartless, and corrupt? Did something happen to make her so greedy and power-hungry? We never got an answer to that. I did appreciate that plan to defeat her was not automatically to kill her, though, as it so often is with villains. Ginger seemed to recognize that it wouldn’t make things better to take the throne back through violence of that variety, and, honestly, it would have been a little disturbing and out of character for and innocent teen like her to be all gung-ho about killing someone, anyway.

There also seemed to be quite a lot of geeky reference, which I LOVED. Among other things the frozen fey world and the winter queen felt Narnia-esque without being an exact copy (which is good because Narnia is Narnia and I don’t want an exact copy.) I could be wrong, but Azrael reminded me in some ways of Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, also without being an exact copy. Azrael was very selfish (and yet also somehow still likeable), had to convince himself to do something brave, and quite frankly, I’ve never seen a character other than Howl use the word “botheration” before. :p And yes, I did notice that blatant hobbit door at the end, thank you very much. XD I’m also wondering if there might have been a touch of influence from the Tales of Goldstone Wood as well because I notice the author has read at least some of those and certain elements reminded me of it a lot. Truthfully, that ToGW vibe I was getting is what initially hooked me on the story, so I’m glad it was there, if that’s what it was intended to be because I adore ToGW and it makes me happy that it may be getting referenced by other authors now.

There was also a light faith element. I both appreciated its presence and appreciated that the author just kind of let it be there without feeling the need to over-explain it to the reader. There’s been at least one book I’ve read (one I didn’t hate, but isn’t among my favorites) where the characters literally sat down and explained to the main character that the God and Jesus analogs were just that. As the reader it just felt like, “Yes, thank you, I was getting that impression before the info-dump. This is a Christian fiction series, after all, so I didn’t really expect them to be analogs for anything else.” There was definitely room to delve a bit further into “The Light’s” involvement in things had the author chosen to do that, but it also wasn’t 100% necessary to the story to do so. As it was, the mention of this God figure mainly served to show that there was something other than fate involved in making things turn out right and that the good characters had something they believed in that guided their actions and gave them confidence that good would win over evil.

My only real complain about this book is its shortness. I was enjoying it so much, it really did make me sad when it ended, and I especially didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters I’d fallen in love with so quickly! I truly hope the author might do more stories like this as it seems like there’s so much more to this world and its connection to our world that could be explored, and I would absolutely love to see Ginger and the others keep learning and growing and interacting and having adventures. Please don’t make me say goodbye to these characters forever, Ms. Neal! Please write more about them! I NEEEEED MORE!!!

I give this book 5 stars of great enjoyment and happiness.

Content advisory:

Language: No swears used.


The violence here never gets graphic, though there is plenty of action.

A fantastical creature’s throat is said to be ripped out by a talking animal, but nothing is described.

Someone gets stabbed in the side with a knife and there is mention of blood on the ground .

Blood is cleaned off a wound and the wound is stitched up, but neither the wound nor the stitching is described in graphic detail.

One character who is a warrior has no qualms about killing anything or anyone threatening the person he’s meant to protect and does kill several times without hesitation.

Blood on a shirt is mentioned when someone takes an icicle to the stomach.

Another person is impaled with a falling icicle that pierces them back-to-front, through the heart, and kills them. No blood described.

Bad characters are tackled, kicked, hit, and wrestled with by good characters.
Several “living” ice-sculpture-people are “killed” in various ways: Smashed by flying icicles, smashed by being shoved off a roof, smashed by being struck with a sword, smashed with magic, and sometimes melted with fire. As they are made of ice and not actually “real” people, there is no blood and the only thing described is chunks of ice breaking off.

A mouse that has been magically made to look like a human (as a decoy for the real human) is executed via being magically frozen to death in front of a crowd.

Someone tries to strangle someone else via hands around throat.

One character is dropped from a great height by way of execution. It is so high up it can not be seen when they hit the ground, but the implication is that they died.

Magic: All magic, sometimes a.k.a. “wysery”, seems to be a natural ability to those who are able to perform it.

Some fey characters are even said to have been “blessed” by “The Light” with a particular magical ability.

The wyslings are somewhat wizard-like and seem to be able to do just about whatever they want, though it does expend energy.

There is a powerful being that lives between the worlds and doesn’t seem to have any particular form that can do almost whatever she wants too, for a price. One thing she can do includes being able to “borrow” the form of another person/creature and live in it for a bit, meanwhile giving the person she borrowed from a different form as well.

One character was apparently given the ability to change between two different forms, though it sounded like they were not necessarily able to this before being given the ability and had to choose the second form they wanted to be able to take.

Another natural ability the fey have is to be able to permanently bond their minds with one other person so that they can speak to that person through thought.

Sexual/romantic: There is a light, sweet, romantic feeling between two characters that develops very slowly and naturally. The two characters were life-long friends before these more romantic feelings developed.

There are two brief kisses on the mouth. One kiss is just barely described in terms of an excited glow after the fact because the girl has never kissed anyone before, and the other kiss is not described at all.

Three forehead-kisses and a couple of times the characters pressed their foreheads together in a tender way.

One wink that results in a blush from the recipient.

One character with the ability to change forms at will apparently cannot take his clothes with him when he changes and therefore must stash them somewhere easily accessible. He always only changes forms “off screen” so no nudity is ever seen by the female main character whose perspective we are in. He is mentioned once as being sans-shirt, but only because of a bleeding injury, and his body is not described.

One character without the natural ability to change forms at will is changed by another character at one point, but, much to their relief, transforms WITH their clothes.
Profile Image for Ness Kingsley.
Author 4 books36 followers
May 12, 2016
Wonder Woman has all that super strength and wicked jewellery, Batman has banks overflowing with money and a really intense workout regime (for justice!), Disney Elsa has ice powers ... but what does Ginger have? I know. It's brilliant. Every time I thought about it, I felt a gurgle of laughter.

Halcyon stole a little piece of my heart

Azreal was funny and marvellously self-centred. (A twelve volume autobiography. Before he was forty. He has my respect.)


There were some rather touching moments and quite a few extremely funny and extremely quotable lines. Neal doesn't shy away from a bit of violence , which I quite liked because even in fairy tales (or rather, especially in fairy tales) things aren't always roses and butterflies and perfectly brewed cups of tea.

On the down-side, I did find some of the book's self-awareness to be a little jarring. There are three characters all beginning with 'A' which I found confusing. (But this is more the fault of my reading style.) I wasn't quite sure in what time period the book was set

The writing style itself is just right to indulge in on a sunny day (even though the book is full of ice and snow, but I digress) and if you want a light, amusing read that isn't too long or full of Dark, Deep Ponderings ... then snatch a delicious cake, grab a cool beverage and settle down with Paper Crowns in a pool of sunshine, for this is just the right book for you.
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,709 reviews394 followers
April 13, 2020
This relatively short novel deals with the eternal conflict between the two courts of the Fae, giving a wee bit of Snow Queen vibes (thematically, not plot-wise), and a traditional quest plot.

The small group of questers, made up of a girl with unusual powers, a talking cat, an irritating wysling (a mage), an ice warrior, a suspect baker, and a fire elemental, is rather comedic. Their mission is to stop the Winter Queen from utterly destroying the Summer Fae realm, and whilst they're at it, restore the legitimate heir to the Summer throne. They do look rather underpowered and outnumbered at first, but they prove a resourceful little band that fight and banter their way to the goal. And still have spare time for a bit of romance, too.

What I liked best about this story was the unique magical powers of the girl protagonist, Ginger. Paper magic? Have you seen that kind of power in mainstream Fantasy? Me neither, and I loved it. Loved it even more when the villain is shown to have basically the same power but with a different element, so it was like a deadly game of rock, paper, scissors between the light and the dark. Clever! Besides that, another positive is that the characters are lovable in their own quirky ways, even if the characterisation isn't all that layered. The banter between Ginger and Halcyon, the cat, is as good as hers with the other characters, perhaps especially so with the wysling.

On the other hand, I do wish the motivations of the Winter Queen had been expanded on and not left at just domination. This is one frequent issue in Faerie fiction whenever the Winter/Unseelie court goes for the Summer/Seelie court: it's always just for domination, a rather one-dimensional villainy. And also, the ending was abrupt. No, not bad or incomplete, just abrupt. Which, as I've noticed now that I've read her two books to date, is something of an authorial habit. Wouldn't be a bad idea to work on doing smooth endings, I believe, as Mirrian Neal has a lovely style and great ideas for plots.
Profile Image for Grace.
121 reviews21 followers
August 16, 2017
This was such a fun story! I enjoyed every minute of it. It's the kind of clean, fun fantasy that is so hard to find nowadays, with high stakes but a light fairy-taleish feel. Mirriam's writing is fantastic and I can't wait to read more from her!

I especially loved the dialogue. All of the fun banter was like my absolute favorite thing about this book, and it kept it interesting and entertaining all the way through. Dialogue is one of my favorite things to read and to write, and it was one of this book's biggest strengths.

The characters were so fun too! Hal was the best :) And Salazar!! Especially as a small child!! Their group was so different from a normal fantasy quest and it made for a lot of interesting dynamics between characters. (I think my favorite part was in the library when Ginny and Hal were trying to act like parents. That scene was so funny.)

Overall, such a fun book, one that I recommend to everyone! It's especially perfect if you have younger siblings that are always asking you for books to read (because I do, and I'm going to give this to them!). Completely clean, so funny, and cute and sweet. Definitely going to reread it often!

Full review on my blog: https://trueandpure.wordpress.com/201...
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 6 books101 followers
January 22, 2022
This was a delightful little book. Not quite as good as I was expecting, true- but that's probably because I was expecting something more like Howl's Moving Castle and didn't get it. (Admittedly, it does have a little of that feel at times, but not to the degree I expected.) All the same, I enjoyed this, mostly because of the characters. And by "the characters" I mostly mean Halcyon, Azrael, Salazar, Astryn, and Asterope. Especially Halcyon (who occasionally reminds me, just a bit, of Bard Eanrin, for multiple reasons). The main character didn't seem quite as vibrant as those surrounding her, particularly as she spends a lot of the story being pushed and pulled from one place to another without really doing much for herself, but, in her defense, she kind of doesn't know what she's doing for most of the book. And she does eventually start Actually Doing Stuff, once she get a proper grip on what's going on. And the whole time she's busy trying to keep everyone else from driving one another completely nuts- which is quite amusing, honestly, and quite enough to distract one from Actually Doing Other Stuff.

On the whole, Paper Crowns is a lovely, funny little story, quite nice for curling up on a winter evening with.
Profile Image for Elijah.
Author 5 books25 followers
February 8, 2017
My initial impression of Paper Crowns, in summary, was "this is a fun, wild romp through Faerie." That impression still holds true.

So why should you read Paper Crowns?
The main characters are vibrant (both in the sense of being three-dimensional, and in the sense of Hal being a blue-furred cat).

The secondary characters are worthy of their own books. (At least one gets his own sequel, still in the works.)

There's magic and mayhem and snark abounding.

There are wizards without hearts and wizards with hearts.

There are Celtic gods and elementals with large voices.

There are good guys and bad guys and several whose moral positions you won't ever be sure of until the last pages.

There are living creatures of ice and paper. Imagine origami on a grand, Gandalf's fireworks scale.

You will not want to abandon this book because it always keeps you laughing.

Basically, if you enjoy fantasy, humor, or faerie stories, you should try this book.
Profile Image for Kash Hatter.
1 review
August 10, 2016
You know when someone asks you what a book is about and you just can't even begin to describe the amazingness of it so you just kind of gape at them and shove it in there face saying, "Just read it, you'll see."? That is this kind of book.
It is short, but it draws you in and you gulp it down in a day and want to read it again the next just to make sure you got everything. It is fantastical and exciting, with characters that are just so lovable and snarky you can't get enough. The relationships are great and the characters have feelings, which is always a plus, I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Just read it so you can understand ;)
Profile Image for Stargazer R. L..
98 reviews26 followers
August 29, 2020
This book is a precious gift from God to one of His beautiful, talented, sturdy, and no-nonsense stewardesses, which she has presented to the world with heart, soul, skill, love, and whimsy. A work of art in words. A truly wonderful faerietale. It's a book I can recommend without the slightest hesitation to all who are children in heart, or wish to be again.
Profile Image for Madeline J. Rose.
Author 1 book31 followers
June 7, 2021
Initial Response

High Lights
- All the characters are just so precious and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH AGH. ^_^
- Ginger is HILARIOUS.
- Hal is the best thing ever. Period.
- Azrael...Don't even get me started on him! There are no words... <3 <3
Low Lights
- It was rather short, but that just makes room for a second book!
- The resolution was a bit rushed, but I could see how that would play into later problems
- I think the magic could've been explained a bit better. I understood what was happening, but a little back story would've been nice.

Favorite Quotes
"Is he safe?" I whispered as soon as the baker was out of earshot.
"I very much doubt it," Hal said in a low voice.
I frowned. "You're meant to say 'yes, I'd trust him with my life.' That sort of thing. Something reassuring."
He blinked twice at me. "I beg your pardon. Next time I'll read between your very vague lines, and lie. Will that make you happy?”

“Are you deliberately trying to waste our time," Hal asked in an icy voice, "or are you just being petty?"
"A little of both," said Azrael.”

“You can't rush art." I crumpled another lost attempt and tossed it behind me. "Besides, patience is a virtue."
"It's a virtue until it's a waste of time," he pointed out.
The cello unleashed a few notes that sounded strangely bright for such an instrument, and Hal nodded in its direction. "See; even a musical instrument agrees with me.”

This was a romping good time and I'm SO GLAD I picked it up! :D Please tell me there's a second book...? PLEASE!
Profile Image for Ophelia Flowers.
Author 4 books15 followers
November 3, 2016
I love this Author's work, and was overjoyed to hear she had published again. This story is full of witty characters that brought me lots of laughter - magical creatures, a fast-paced plot that kept me interested at each turn, and is overall a delightful read. I'm 21 and loved it - I plan to read it with my 10 year old sister as soon as I get a chance.
Author 4 books19 followers
May 4, 2016
While I highly enjoy Mirriam's writing, this didn't seem to be as deep as Monster and suffered from it. I would have loved (and I do mean loved) a deeper exploration of the world, characters, and morals involved, but it was far too short for me.
Profile Image for Ruth Dahl.
364 reviews
June 9, 2017
12-year-old me would have LOVED this. I would like to re-read it again some hot summer day when my brain isn't fried from school.
Profile Image for Juny.
201 reviews11 followers
December 28, 2017
It was surprisingly good. It was like a combo of Narnia, Howl's moving castle, with a bit of LOTR at times. Hal reminded me of Howl at first but then he wasn't and Azrael ended up being like him more. There is also what you might call a fire demon. Ginger was kind of like Sophie at times, and the winter wonderland and evil snow queen was much like Narnia.
I really liked the conversation however most of the book was conversation and needed a little bit more action. The conversations since there was a lot of it sometimes it was overdone where it was cheesy or wasn't quite realistic or right. Other times it was quite funny and witty.
There was also a lot of sarcasm, I like sarcasm but I'm not sure about too much. If there's too much you start not appreciating or wanting it. Like Hal, Azrael, and Astryn were are sarcastic. They also fought a lot which was fine except Ginger had to be a debbie downer and break it up all the time.
I liked Ginger for the most part but she was a bit irritating and cheesy at times. Also I felt a bit misled and her and Hal. Like in the beginning I thought the author had clearly stated and Hal was quite a bit older than her and it seemed he was more of a guardian sort of friend than love interest...I don't know I just don't like them together in that way. I was personally hoping for her and Azrael.
The plot and over all book had much potential but the real climax of the book was literally a few pages from the end because they were jabbering away or going around everywhere picking up new people to help them, or being betrayed by on of their "friends", or someone dying but not actually.
There were also grammatical errors and sometimes the names got mixed up where it said someone said something but it didn't make sense because it was actually someone else who said something. I also felt sometimes a character would start talking about something like they had been talking about it before but really they hadn't and so it was kind of confusing.
But hey overall it kept me enthralled and reading.
Profile Image for Catherine (Cather.reads).
544 reviews29 followers
November 1, 2017
I like reading and buying independently published book out of support for he authors. Usually I don’t like the stories that much so I need to stop, but I was glad I bought and read this.
Honestly, there are a few flaws. I felt like the story was a bit confusing in the beginning. I wasn’t aware that it was in a contemporary setting at first, and it’s a bit too short for a story of this size. There could have been a lot more scenes that delved into character development and interactions with each other. I would have liked to get to know the evil queen a bit more.
But the characters were lovely, sarcastically sassing each other left and right. I liked Hal, and the romance wasn’t too bad.
So four stars for a great story. 😊
Profile Image for Ashley Stangl.
Author 1 book19 followers
October 23, 2017
This book makes me happy. Just thinking about it relaxes me and brightens my day. It is the fluffiest of fairy tales, a middle-grade-style portal fantasy with a YA protagonist. It's filled with amusing characters, good humor, and lots of fun details. It reads like a summary of a story at times--we're often told things rather than shown them, the story seemed to leave out details that made me wonder if a line or a page had been lost during editing, and it ends really, really abruptly. But I can't give a logical analysis of this book, because it was precisely the bright and sparkling escapist story I needed at the moment, and I know it's a book I'm going to return to in the future.
Profile Image for Jenelle.
Author 15 books189 followers
June 8, 2022
This was a beautiful little fantasy adventure // I liked that Ginger was equal parts spunk and out-of-her-depth and made her quite compelling // Hal is a new favorite, what can I say? Clearly, I like snarky, loyal, noble types who hide their depth with a veneer of self-satisfied confidence that they are the best thing ever to walk the earth // I would have liked to see a little more of the resolution play out, the book ends kind of abruptly after the climax // I just wanted to linger in this world for a while longer...
Profile Image for Eleanor.
282 reviews43 followers
June 20, 2017
This was a book I was very excited to get in the mail, and, although it was somewhat good, it was an overall disappointment.

Cliches in fantasy can work - usually. And if you set out to write a cliche fairytale because that's what your little heart desires, by all means, go ahead. And you know what? Sometimes I really enjoy cliche fairytales. For me, they're like the comfort food of reading - but only if you know what you're getting into. It's rather off-putting when you're expecting something new and innovative and get chosen-one-feisty-heroine-predictable-romance-oops-someone-is-a-long-lost-princess plopped in your lap instead.

However, this story was saved by the pretty high-quality writing and the characters. THE CHARACTERS. Aside from Ginger (whom I found horribly annoying), I really enjoyed most of the characters - primarily Hal and Azrael (*whispers* I lowkey ship).

Paper Crowns is a nice story for a rainy day or when you're sad and need some cheering up. But if you're looking for a read that's thought-provoking, deep, or substantive, I'd turn elsewhere.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Olivia Gratehouse.
39 reviews22 followers
March 29, 2018
I really enjoyed this book! I love the magic of the story and the way the Mirriam weaves her words to paint a bold and beautiful picture of the word we delve into. The story is cozy and sweet. ALSO I ADORE SALAZAR. And Azrael. The only thing is that I feel like there could have been a little more depth and a little more world-building/character development. Otherwise, a very lovely read!
Profile Image for Maddie Morrow.
Author 1 book18 followers
July 12, 2018
I have been waiting for a new book from Mirriam ever since Monster came out, and she did NOT disappoint with this one.
Never before have I fallen in love with a talking cat, and I adore Ginny. I’m very hard to please when it comes to female leads, but this one hits the nail on the head.
Throw in some adorable, charming, sarcastic gentlemen and it’s the perfect read.
Profile Image for Ashlyn.
14 reviews1 follower
December 30, 2020
Yep. And just like that, I've found one of my favorite books of the year!
Profile Image for Sharla.
210 reviews6 followers
September 7, 2018
Light and fun.
The conversations between the characters are the highlight of this book. The plot lacked energy and purpose. While there were major problems that needed to be resolved, I did not feel that I understood why each character was personally invested in solving these problems. It seemed a little forced in that respect. The plot lagged and the characters were a little undeveloped because of it. I would have liked to see more insight into the motives and desires driving the character's actions.

Aside from that I thought the world-building was good and the characters were lovable. It is a lighthearted, humorous read. Quick and bright like a cupcake.

Review by the: honestavocado.wordpress.com.
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