Book Review: Want (Want #1) by Cindy Pon

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Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?

review

After all of the hype “Want” started receiving I immediately picked it up and my expectations were a little high since I’ve seen nothing but glowing 4-5 star reviews for it! A diverse, sci-fi read set in Taiwan sounds awesome! However, I really just don’t get it? Was it bad? No. Was it mind blowingly awesome? Definitely not. So unfortunately I won’t really be adding more to the hype or really be recommending it too much which is disappointing.

PLOT

My biggest problem with this book and why I didn’t enjoy it more is because of the pacing. It was unbearably slow and it took up until 65% of the way through for anything actually exciting to happen! I almost DNF’d this book several times because it was taking forever to get good and it also took 2 weeks to finish it which is a little ridiculous for me personally since that’s half a month spent on one book!

The beginning half of the book is setting Jason up to infiltrate Jin Corp and him fawning over Jin’s daughter who is technically “the enemy”. This trope works sometimes and other times it can get pretty damn boring which I thought was the case here with “Want” since it was also utterly predictable as well. As for the second half of the book that’s where things get far more exciting, faster paced, and action packed! Where was all that action at the beginning of the story?

I felt the world building had a lot of potential and it was also one of the better aspects of the book. It’s set in a futuristic Taipei where the environment is extremely polluted and most people don’t live past 40 due to viruses and lowered immune systems. I thought this was really interesting but would have liked a little more development.

I also didn’t really like that everything that occurred throughout the story felt too convenient, there were never really any obstacles at all because there was a friend or piece of technology there for every situation. Was it still cool? Yes. Just a little annoying sometimes since it felt too easy.

I also loved the setting, futuristic Taiwan, it’s really awesome to see a YA sci-fi (or any book really) set and inspired by the eastern world! And the topics Pon handles such as global warming, pollution, and the wage gap were also handled very well in my opinion and it was great to see some big, important, and serious topics such as these represented in YA.

characters

I think the characters were one of my favorite parts of “Want”! First of all they’re ALL diverse, we see Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, and Filipino characters which is amazing. I thought all of Zhou and his friends were really down to Earth, loyal, and just generally likable. However I didn’t feel that any of them developed at all or had any deeper level of complexity, besides Zhou they were all kind of just simple and there.

There weren’t really any other characters besides Jin and his daughter, Daiyu. Jin is your typical, cardboard cut out villain and really isn’t anything special and Daiyu is a bit of a Mary Sue. The instant Zhou meets her he’s all about how “unique” she is and “how she isn’t like any other girls” and that was a little bit annoying seeing how she is represented as being perfect the entire time as well.

romance

While I generally enjoyed the romance and I thought Zhou and Daiyu were really cute together I did not like how Insta-Lovey they were. That was my only problem with it though was the insta-love which was pretty heavy.

in conclusion

My overall thoughts are that this book had both good spots and weak spots in it which is the magic combination for a “meh” book for me. I really wanted to enjoy this one more but it fell pretty short.

What I Loved:

  • The diverse setting
  • The diverse and very likable characters
  • The world building (even though I wanted more)
  • The second half of the book which was action packed and fast paced

What I Didn’t Love: 

  • Super, slow pacing at the beginning
  • Not a whole lot going on plot-wise
  • Many things in the plot felt too convenient
  • Insta-Love Romance
  • Daiyu’s character was a “perfect Mary Sue”

RECOMMEND

If you’d like to read an awesome diverse read then definitely check this book out, however, maybe go in with some lowered expectations since I found it to be very slow paced and borderline a little boring.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

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Mini Book Reviews: Paper Princess, The Outliers, & Vicarious

Top Ten Tuesday (17)

Once again it’s time to review some books I read last year (whoops) that I just couldn’t get my thoughts straight on at first, but at long last here they are!

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From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. 

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees. 


“Paper Princess” is definitely not my usual cup of tea but holy crap was this addictive and entertaining as hell! This is probably one of the most unexpected surprises for me as far as books go and I didn’t know how to review it for the longest time thus the mini review instead of a full fledged review. Also while the characters are in high school this seems a little more mature than your usual YA so it could be considered more NA than anything.

The pacing is ridiculously fast and there is non-stop drama and twists, never a dull moment with this book! Considering this is a book all about a girl who was stripping to make ends meet and is suddenly dumped into the lap of luxury with tons of gorgeous dudes, this book is very fun but shouldn’t really be taken too seriously. The writing and story were just so addictive (sorry I keep using the same word but it’s the only way to properly describe it!).

Of course as much fun as I had with this book there were still quite a few issues with it such as implied sexual assault, slut shaming, and just how sexist the boys treated Ella for a majority of the book. This may be hard to get past for a lot of people so I’d like to toss this all out there.

I really liked Ella as a character, she’s full of spunk and can take care of herself. All of the Royal boys are spoiled and honestly act like such assholes sometimes, however, as flawed as they are I couldn’t help but find them very mysterious and enjoyable as well. Especially Easton, I loved him sooooo much more than the main love interest Reed! Speaking of Reed I really didn’t like him all that much but the romance is pretty steamy and that says a lot since I usually strongly dislike romance books!

This book will definitely not be for everyone but if you’re looking for a fun, fast read you don’t have to take too seriously than this is it. I also think it’d make a great summer read!


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It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?


I really, really wanted to like this book but I just couldn’t do it! It was all just so ridiculous and unbelievable, I wanted a mystery/thriller dammit not this!

There were some plot twists along the way but they just kept getting more and more insane, they were not good twists either. I honestly don’t know how this book could have gotten any weirder than it did in the end. I’ll tell you right now that this really isn’t the mystery thriller it’s made out to be and it’s more sci-fi than anything….not even a good sci-fi either. Nothing in the plot was believable and it all felt really forced.

The characters also made zero smart decisions the entire time! For example: Wylie and Jasper decide to trek across state lines alone to find Cassie and not tell any authoritative figures at all (seriously they ignore all parents and police officers here) and also Wylie suffers from agoraphobia but miraculously manages to just up and leave her house to go look for her friend who has become very distant over the years like it’s no big deal.

Overall my thoughts can be summarized into these three words: weird, ridiculous, and annoying.


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Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you—for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.


Trigger Warning: Sexual abuse

I have really mixed feelings about this book since I did enjoy it but it also didn’t live up to all I thought it would be.

Overall I thought the premise and the concept for the ViSEs were absolutely fantastic, I mean how can something like “Vicarious Sensory Experiences” not be awesome? Although I really wish there had been a bit more of these and more action like there was at the beginning and the end of the book. The mystery of Winter’s sister was interesting but I still wish it hadn’t overtaken so much of the plot and left more room for some real action. I definitely did not see those twists coming though!

Winter was a decent heroine she was very strong but also broken, however, considering what she went through when she is younger it’s definitely understandable. I really liked how developed and fleshed out her character was. As for the secondary characters, I did like Jesse but overall  they were all pretty forgettable.

I did enjoy this book and I’m kind of curious to see where the sequel goes but I just wasn’t as blown away with this one as I thought I’d be.

The Sassy

(Some Very Overdue) Mini Reviews: The Darkest Part of The Forest, Beware That Girl, & We Were Liars

Top Ten Tuesday (17)

As stated in the title of this post these are VERY overdue and I apologize for being so lazy! But here they are! These are books I read last summer that just didn’t make a huge impact on me, I felt there wasn’t enough to justify full length reviews.

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Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?


I really wanted to love this story and I really want to love Holly Black’s books in general as well. Sadly this just doesn’t seem to be the case as her writing style doesn’t suite me at all.

I thought the premise, the potential world building, and the whole “fairy prince eternally sleeping inside a glass coffin” thing to sound very, very interesting! Unfortunately those are really the only good things I have to say about this book, I found the execution to be very poorly done.

The world building, such potential! It could have been amazing with all of the fae, monsters, and magic! Sadly it was extremely lacking and completely underdeveloped I was left feeling more confused than when I started the book initially. I wanted more information to be provided because the world building easily could have been this book’s strongest point.

The overall plot was extremely messy and as I’ve already said, confusing and underdeveloped. The pacing was slow and I gave into boredom many a time, this book came close to a DNF.

The characters were “meh”. Not terrible but also not memorable in any way, much like this book in general. Was it horrible? No, I can see why it appeals to many other people. Was it bad? Yes.


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The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?


This book. This book! Easily one of the worst books I have ever read, seriously, not over-exaggerating here! First of all don’t ever, ever, ever compare anything to “Gone Girl” unless you’re going to deliver! This was nothing like “Gone Girl” and frankly I’m insulted by even seeing the words “Gone Girl” anywhere near this book!

This is, yet another, YA mystery/thriller book and guess what? It’s just like all of the others. There is absolutely nothing new or original about “Beware That Girl” and it’s honestly just the same old overdone YA thriller plot. The plot twists? Please. What plot twists? Everything in this story was so over the top, ridiculous, unbelievable, and messy. Not to mention it’s all so obvious. I was here to be thrilled, dammit!

Side note: that ending is honestly laughable it was so ridiculous.

I wanted something dark and gritty with messed up and twisted characters! I didn’t get ANY of that! The characters were just underdeveloped and silly! Plus abuse being used as a plot device in very poor taste? No thank you!


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A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.


This book is so, so hyped and of course me being me I had to at least give it a try. Plus it’s so short! I can’t pass up short books, it’s a weakness! I digress though. As I said this is a very hyped book and was it as good as everyone says? Yeah, sort of. Was it as bad as a lot of other people say it is? Meh. Overall my thoughts are that this was a decent book that is the perfect 3 star rating, right down the middle.

As far as the plot goes I have to say I was left feeling slightly confused about the whole thing, maybe a re-reading would help me out I don’t know! However, I did NOT see that twist at the end coming at all I was truly blown away! Honestly though that’s one of the only parts that stuck out with me.

The characters were all just kind of okay, I felt very disconnected from them but I suppose what else did I expect from a bunch of spoiled rich kids? That’s the part that bothered me the most was how much these kids wallowed in their privilege and how “beautiful” the whole family is. Boring and dislikable.

So as I said, I’m really split down the middle with this book. I enjoyed it while reading but other than that it wasn’t anything special to me.

The Sassy

ARC Review: Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

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description

All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife.

review

**** Big thank you to Random House Kids for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

I actually really enjoyed reading this book and finished it in one sitting but I didn’t like it quite enough to rate it more than 3 stars though. It’s the kind of book to just pass some time but won’t really have any lasting affect on me, I don’t foresee myself thinking about this book much after reading it.

PLOT

The plot itself wasn’t that special, the pacing did drag a lot especially in the beginning and then the ending felt really rushed. I was also expecting the witchcraft and magical bits to be a lot more prominent then they ended up being, I liked what parts there were but I wanted more. Overall I just thought the general story surrounding the magic was really under developed and didn’t have much depth, there just wasn’t enough plot!

The dream sequences Heather had of Prudence and Primrose were a little flat although they did add a lot of drama to the story, there were definitely a few shockers in there. Generally though I didn’t feel like I knew enough about them to care what happened to them, they were the major conflict in this book and they were just meh. Also the way things were resolved in the end with these two was quick and easy, talk about too convenient.

I also didn’t really like the way mental illness was shown in this book, used as a plot device and nothing more. It’s also like her self-harm problem is being thrown in our faces throughout the story, I’m talking screaming in your face “HEY SHE CUTS HERSELF” like we get it but you don’t need to mention it constantly to get your point across. Besides that the cutting isn’t because Heather really has a self-harm problem it has to do with the magical part of the plot (all I’ll say because of spoilers), she isn’t “crazy” and the book throws that word around like it’s nothing.

I think the part I loved the most about this book was the setting in Scotland and the inclusion of some Scottish folklore. I thought the author did a wonderful job with describing the places and the people and the culture, it just made me long for Scotland more!

characters

Heather was an okay MC, not annoying but not very memorable either. I did, however, love her friends especially Fiona she was feisty and added a big fun factor to the story. So basically all of the characters were good, not bad or great, just good.

I also really loved how female friendships and family relationships were portrayed in this book, it’s all about love and support with no abuse or hate.

romance

The romance in “Bad Blood” was another thing that was just sort of alright, nothing special. I liked the love interest, Robby, he was pretty adorable and that Scottish accent was swoon-worthy.

What I DID NOT like was the fact that Heather had absolutely ZERO interest in Robby her entire childhood and teenage-hood and loved his older, cuter brother more. Then Robby loses weight and “gets hot” and suddenly Heather is interested. I just thought that was unbelievably shallow of her since she couldn’t give him the time of day before.

in conclusion

I enjoyed this book but it did have a few problems and just wasn’t anything completely mind blowing. Like I said though it was still a decent read, just not anything that will be sticking with me for a long time.

What I Liked:

  • LOVED the setting in Scotland
  • The characters were pretty good, especially Fiona (she was awesome)
  • The portrayal of female friendships and family relationships

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Kind of slow paced and the ending was rushed and too convenient
  • I didn’t like the way Heather’s self harm was portrayed
  • Heather’s end of the romance was pretty shallow

RECOMMEND

I would say “meh” I’m not going to go around recommending it since it was just alright but if some of the points I made sound interesting to you then go ahead and give it a try. Like I said it isn’t a terrible book and it isn’t a fabulous book it’s just a good book that will give you a moderate amount of enjoyment.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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description

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

review

**** Thank you to Thomas Dunne for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

Okay so I know not a lot of people have been loving this book and when I first started reading I wondered why because it was so good! Unfortunately that didn’t last and I’m left somewhere in the middle with mixed feelings on “Wintersong”, it had both good and bad.

PLOT

With the way this book started out I would have thought it was for sure a 4 or 5 star book but once I reached 50% it all went downhill fast. I loved that at the beginning of the story we are drawn in immediately when Kathe, Elisabeth’s sister is kidnapped by the Goblin King and she must play a game against him in order to win her sister back. Now I love when there are wagers of life or death in books and the main character has to be cunning in order to beat the mythical/powerful “bad guy” and this was interesting and even a little dark too, however, as I said once I reached 50% this was all over. The sister’s kidnapping conflict is resolved at the half way point of the book and that’s what kept me reading to start with so with that done there wasn’t much of a plot left and definitely no more action.

The last half of the book is hellishly slow and tedious and focuses more on the characters of Elisabeth and the Goblin King than any real action or plot. Now character driven stories are all well and good but it only works when I’m not confused out of my mind, there just seemed to be a lot of plot holes and things missing so I never really understood the characters are what was happening and why. Sooooo many plot holes, I was left with so many questions at the end of this book!

Then that ending…..what? Remember the plot holes I mentioned? Those really came into play for the ending of “Wintersong” because I was really confused about a lot of things including why the story ended the way it did. Also the question “how?” comes into mind a lot too. It didn’t end the way you’d expect and I liked that it was unpredictable but overall it was unsatisfactory.

Another thing that kind of took away from the experience were the constant in depth descriptions of playing and composing classical music, now I was in band and choir while I was in high school so it’s not like all of it was flying over my head but it got really old really fast. They were CONSTANT and there is such a thing as too much detail…..

I’d also like to mention that this book is marketed as a retelling of the movie “Labyrinth”, which I personally have not seen but know the overall gist of. Keeping that in mind I would like to say that this book doesn’t seem to have much in common with the movie other the character of the Goblin King really.

The writing was very pretty and poetic which I liked and is honestly probably one of the few reasons I even made it through the second half of the book. I’d still be very interested in reading future books by this author.

I did like that while this book is YA it never really feels like your typical YA book while reading, it feels just a little more like an adult book or maybe even new adult. However, it’s nice to see a “YA” book that isn’t full of the usual cliches.

characters

As I mentioned earlier “Wintersong” is more of a character driven story, especially in the second half, so the characters are very important. Unfortunately as good as they were there was still a lot that I felt was missing and in the end I felt they felt a little flat, distant, and confusing. I did still like them overall though!

I really did enjoy Elisabeth’s character because she is plain but very talented. Not something we usually see in YA, which I liked. However, I didn’t like being reminded just how “plain and ugly” she is all the time….got a little annoying.

The we have the Goblin King and while I loved him for the most part throughout the whole book his character changed quite drastically from the first half of the book to the second half. We started out with the mischievous, dark, sexy, and mysterious Goblin King and then we got the mushy, almost kind of spineless Goblin King who also had a lot of problems making up his mind about stuff. He does however still remain pretty mysterious at the end of the novel which kind of frustrated me but also I appreciated it because I didn’t want the image of the mythical, immortal Goblin King being ruined.

The other characters that really made any other appearances were Elisabeth’s family in which only the siblings and grandmother were important. Each family member had a different and important effect on Elisabeth’s self esteem, the grandmother believes in the old myths (the Goblin King) and raised her grand kids to as well, Kathe is pretty and vain but still very much wants her sister to love her, Josef is her musical muse and helps her grow her talent, her father and mother both kind of put her down though. I still loved that after all her family puts her through, Elisabeth still loves them fiercely.

romance

The romance is a major factor in this book and while I really supported it and wanted it in the first half of the book, I found myself really doubting it in the second half. Overall I just sort of found it to be…..okay. Which it could be worse.

While this is not necessarily insta-love since the Goblin King and Elisabeth used to play together in the Goblin Grove I still feel that it resembles insta love because of the fact that we don’t really receive any backstory on this relationship they had before the current timeline in the book. There also seems to be a lot of angst and tension between the two characters and it kind of got old after a while and again I will say because of the second half of the book.

in conclusion

I REALLY LOVED THE FIRST HALF OF THIS BOOK! Seriously if the second half would have been anywhere near that level of goodness I would have easily rated this book higher but alas that wasn’t the case. The second half only dragged on tediously, made me start to question if I really liked the characters or romance at all, and just overall really confuse me. Seriously the confusion was real. I was given information that was never again talked about or resolved.

So in the end I can only give this 3 stars and that extra star is only because of how much I loved the first 50%.

What I Liked:

  • All of the characters were pretty well done including Elisabeth and the Goblin King
  • Did I mention the first half of the book was amazing yet?
  • The dark atmosphere
  • The romance was alright and I shipped it
  • The writing
  • Not a typical, cliched YA book

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Slow pacing
  • The second half of the book was soooooo boring
  • Over detailed explanations of music
  • Lots of plot holes and things left unexplained
  • Also lots of confusion in general about certain plot points
  • No real backstory on the Goblin King
  • Kind of unsatisfactory ending

RECOMMEND

Overall I can’t say I have an opinion on recommending this book, if there was a way I could recommend only reading the first half I totally would in a heart beat. I thought this turned out to be a little disappointing but the writing was very nice and if you can look past some of these negative points then give “Wintersong” a try!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: Fate of Flames (Effigies #1) by Sarah Raughley

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description

Years ago, everything changed. Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time four girls, the Effigies, appeared, each with the unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.

When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.

But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity is more important than their heroism.

But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle…

review

**** Big thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

This was a book that was hard to rate because I liked the concept a lot but overall “Fate of Flames” was really meh. So it gets a rating right down the middle because there were some things I really enjoyed and others that really infuriated me.

Also this is going to be a longer review than normal because I RANT quite a bit over the characters…….

PLOT

The story and world-building were pretty much the only redeeming qualities within this book. As I said earlier the concept is great even if the execution wasn’t the greatest.

“Fate of Flames” is set in a world where monsters called Phantoms are a constant threat to humanity. To protect themselves, humans, have Anti-Phantom-Devices to keep the monsters out as well as super-powered teenage girls called Effigies whose purpose is to kill the Phantoms. Concept sounds pretty badass, right? While the execution is okay it wasn’t as great and badass as I thought it would be. We are actually left with quite a few questions and plot holes.

The world-building with the mentions of the Phantoms and Effigies themselves was pretty interesting but I feel like there definitely could have been MORE. What exactly are the Phantoms and the Effigies? How are Effigies chosen? Where did the Phantoms come from? So the world-building is okay and has a lot of potential but could have used a lot more expansion, maybe we’ll see more of that in the sequel.

I really loved the idea of girls with super powers kicking Phantom-butt and while we do see that within the book I, once again, wish there would have been MORE. More action! What action we did get is actually really well done and were some of the most exciting parts within the book, BUT I wanted to see the Effigies use their powers more.

I also found the pacing throughout the book to be a little slow, I found myself really bored during certain parts. While the battle scenes are really great and fast paced, everything else is a little boring and repetitive.

characters

Okay, honestly a majority of the characters weren’t THAT bad but the main character is the WORST part of this entire book! RANT TIME!

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First of all Maia, the main character, has got to be the worst heroine I’ve ever read about! Not even exaggerating here people! Now I understand having super powers and super responsibility thrust upon you as a teenager all of a sudden isn’t the easiest thing to adjust to but you’re going to have to suck it up and get used to it because the WORLD NEEDS YOU. Maia is weak, cowardly, annoying, and foolish throughout the ENTIRE BOOK. As I said I get that being scared right away is more realistic than a heroine running face first into danger to save people but I’d much rather have that than MAIA who literally runs away from everything and lets people die.

Besides that, Maia is also a HUGE Effigy fangirl. I consider myself a fangirl at times and know a lot of you are as well but holy shit Maia has got to be the definition of ANNOYING FANGIRL. She literally brings up all her (slightly creepy) fangirl knowledge about the Effigies to the Effigies themselves all the time and it makes me want to hide under a rock because I’m so embarrassed for her. I think by making Maia a fangirl the author thought she was making the character more relatable but there is such a thing as taking it too far.

Speaking of things Maia says….her dialogue and thoughts are absolutely cringe-worthy at times. I found myself thinking:

“WHY? WHY WOULD YOU SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT? YOU’RE JUST EMBARRASSING YOURSELF!”

And then there’s the things she would do that had me thinking:

“WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? YOU’RE EMBARRASSING YOURSELF!”.

Do you see a pattern here? Seriously Maia is just awful.

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Another thing that drove me up the wall was the complete lack of character descriptions, if there’s one thing I loathe in books it’s when I don’t get a character described to me. Seriously, how hard is it? You write up a single sentence describing the character and I’ll be happy! While the other Effigy girls get a BIT of description it still isn’t enough to picture them all that well and you know who gets absolutely ZERO description? Maia.

As if I didn’t have enough to complain about her in the first place. I spent the first couple of chapters picturing Maia as a red-headed white girl, why you may ask, because that’s what my brain decided she would look like for the time being. Then we get a brief mention of her family having Jamaican roots and then all of a sudden my image is shattered because Maia I’m almost positive is African-American now. Kind of something that should be mentioned don’t you think? Especially considering I could go around saying this is a Diverse YA book, which is great! But also I’m actually still not 100% she is African-American because it’s never outright mentioned! Confusion!

The other Effigies were alright, nothing too special but still way more interesting and badass than our main character. I actually really liked them, especially Chae Rin! Now that’s who the main character should have been, someone who is actually badass.

Then we have the villain who will remain un-named due to spoilers. I don’t understand this book’s villain WHATSOEVER. I kind of understood the motive at the end of the book but I just don’t understand the villain itself, not explained at all. Very confusing and quite frustrating. Hopefully it will get explained in the rest of the series.

Also we do see a bit of a YA cliche in this book concerning adults. You know the one, right? Where every single adult on the face of the Earth is completely incompetent and absent? Yeah, not fun or realistic and very annoying.

romance

There really isn’t any romance in “Fate of Flames” which is a HUGE relief for me because I can foresee what a disaster it would have been. Basically what romance there is is simply Maia having a crush on a boy and the boy having a crush back. It was meh.

in conclusion

I actually am torn right down the middle about my feelings towards this book, I did really enjoy certain factors even if I do make it sound otherwise.

What I Liked:

  • The Phantoms (who were terrifying)
  • The slight world building
  • The Effigies and their powers
  • The few battle scenes

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The many questions I was left with and plot holes
  • Lack of character description (especially with Maia)
  • Literally everything about Maia, the main character
  • Incompetent adults
  • Pacing

RECOMMEND

Meh. I can’t say this is a book I’d go around recommending to anyone since I feel really indifferent about it, it had good and bad. Although if you were interested in this book beforehand I think you may still find it worth trying but other than that maybe skip this one.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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description

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

review

****Big thank you to Jimmy Patterson Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

This wasn’t a bad book but neither was it as fantastic as I had hoped it would be and I’m actually a little disappointed. Therefore it’s getting a 3 star rating, right in the middle which is exactly how I feel about it.

PLOT

The story itself was incredibly slow and boring which is why it took me a ridiculously long time to finish it, I didn’t want to DNF it but I came awfully close and even skimmed some parts. I mean the book is titled “Stalking Jack the Ripper” and obviously that sounds creepy, exciting, and suspenseful right? Well I didn’t get any of those things this book is neither creepy, exciting, nor suspenseful. We spend a majority of the book following Audrey Rose around as she pretends NOT to fawn over Thomas Cresswell, watch as she tries to prove to everyone that she is independent, and read about her day to day activities. That’s what the book was mostly about. Booooooring! Where the heck is the murder? The mystery? The creepy atmosphere? I wanted more of the mystery surrounding the Jack The Ripper murders and less romance and less about Audrey Rose’s mission to become an independent woman.

What was good were the descriptions of the murders themselves and the autopsies of the bodies they were gruesome, gory and detailed I honestly got a bit faint when reading. That was the kind of stuff I expected throughout the entire book! They were never scary or anything like that but they were interesting scenes and probably the most interesting parts within the book.

I enjoyed the writing as well I liked the descriptions and the attention to detail however at times I found it got a bit…long-winded and it was easy to lose my patience.

Some of the plot twists were easy to predict but I thought the ending was enough of a surprise although it wasn’t very shocking either. Overall I did think it was a complex, well-written story but it just never really grabbed my attention.

characters

The characters were one of the better parts of this book although they did get annoying at times. Most of them were portrayed has having flaws as well so the development was quite good. Audrey Rose made for an admirable heroine, with her peculiar interests (science and forensics) and independent thinking however I did not like being constantly reminded on just how independent of a girl she was. We get it: she doesn’t need a man and wants to think for herself! I liked the girl power sentiment but it got old after a while. One last thing that bothered me is that Audrey Rose is supposedly half Indian and half English which is never actually mentioned a lot and it definitely does NOT fit the cover of the book at all.

As for Thomas Cresswell he has got to be one of the most irritating and pretentious characters I’ve ever come across, he is NOT charming whatsoever! He’s an intolerable, condescending, arrogant know-it-all. Really I so no purpose in his character other than to be the love interest.

As for the secondary characters I rather enjoyed them and wished I would have gotten to see more of them and get a little more backstory and interaction.

romance

I thought the romance here was very unbelievable it also doesn’t help that I found Thomas more annoying than charming, I just wasn’t buying it. There was also a bit of insta-love, Audrey Rose started getting butterflies the minute she met the guy and then proceeded to say how annoying she found him. Honey, I found him annoying and you just fell in love. How about no? I also found the chemistry between them lacking and wished we would have concentrated more on murder and less on romance.

in conclusion

Overall this book’s pros and cons mostly balanced themselves out with me and although I was disappointed it was still a decent read. I’ll probably check out the sequel too.

What I Liked:

  • The Setting
  • The Characters (with the exception of Thomas)
  • The Descriptions of The Murders and Autopsies
  • The Writing
  • A Few of The Plot Twists

What I Didn’t Like

  • The Slow Pacing
  • The (Mostly) Boring Plot
  • The Ever-Annoying Thomas Cresswell
  • The Insta-Love Racked Romance

RECOMMEND

If you love Victorian settings with romance and a bit of mystery you may like this one! However, if you’re like me and are expecting more creepiness, more murder, and more horror this isn’t what you’ll find here. It’s definitely a decent book and worth checking out though!

Links : Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy