Book Review: Want

Title: WantWant

Author: Cindy Pon

SeriesWant #1

Edition: Hardcover (signed!)

BlurbJason 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: I picked up this book at YallFest this past year. Sometimes when I am surrounded by books, whether a bookstore or a library or event, I will look for something that I’ve never heard of, something completely new, and just buy it. I do this to push myself out of my boundaries, sometimes out of my comfort zone. And I had been looking for something that was dystopian with a more urban setting. This looked like it might fit the bill – a futuristic version of the city of Taiwan that has been destroyed by the environment and held in sway by a rich ruling class who barely even notices the poor struggling sobs at the bottom.

I had never heard of this author before, but saw her at one of the panels at YallFest and liked her, so I figured I’d give this book a try. And my review is . . . a bit mixed, I guess is the best way to put it. Did I like the book? Yes, but it didn’t grab me. It wasn’t one of those books where I couldn’t put it down. I’m still trying to get back into reading again (which feels weird to have to say, but it’s true), but the characters, while interesting, weren’t as engaging as I was hoping. The main character, Zhou, is pretty well-rounded. He has the classic “trying-to-get-in-with-the-enemy-then-falling-for-one-of-them” conflicts, which was obvious from the very first chapter, when he is tasked to kidnap Daiyu in order to ransom her for a lot of money. You knew they were going to end up together, even though the journey was complicated.

This book did have some really exciting parts. At it’s heart, it’s basically a heist story, with our ragtag team trying to infiltrate the company of the richest man in Taiwan. The stakes for these people are very high, but the pace of the book sometimes didn’t quite match that. I think I would have liked it more if some of the other characters were fleshed out a bit more. We don’t really get to know Zhou’s friends all that much. There was even a romance between two of them, and it seemed a bit forced in order to give them some depth. I would have liked to spend a little more time, or at least to know just a bit more about them.

There is a second book in this series coming out in 2019. I would definitely be interested in seeing where this was going. The ending was wrapped up pretty neatly, but there were definitely some strings that were left dangling. I’m curious to see where this is going, since the first book was tied up pretty neatly.

GoodReads rating: 3 stars


Teaser Tuesday – January 16, 2018


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“Tyene. Obara is too loud. Tyene is so sweet and gentle that no man will suspect her. Obara would make Oldtown our father’s funeral pyre, but I am not so greedy. Four lives will suffice for me. Lord Tywin’s golden twins, as payment for Elia’s children. The old lion, for Elia herself. And last of all the little king, for my father.”

~ Lady Nym, A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

I’ve moved on to the next GRRM book. I’ve read them all before, but they are just so good! Huge books, but they read surprisingly fast.

Please leave your teasers in comments!

Book Review: RoseBlood

Title: RoseBlood

Author: A.G. Howard

Series: none

Edition: Hardcover

Blurb: In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Review: First off, this review is going to have a LOT of spoilers. You’ve been warned.

To start, a bit of a story. I first fell in love with the Phantom when I was eleven years old. I found the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and spent hours upon hours listening to it. I had a crush on Michael Crawford. I wanted to BE Sarah Brightman.

I may have been a little obsessed.

As the years went on, I delved deeper into my Phantom obsession. I read the original novel by Gaston Laroux. I watched many movies and saw many Phantoms – Lon Chaney, Claude Raines, Charles Dance, Gerard Butler. I read fanfiction, both professionally written (Susan Kay’s book is genius) and amateur ( is a crazy, crazy place).

So I know this story quite well. I am almost protective of it, and very particular. I don’t like stories where the Phantom is scarred by outside means (acid, fire, etc.), for example – it has to be from birth, with his mother being terrified of him. He has to have some time in gypsy camps and spend a great deal of time in Persia. And, of course, he has to be a master architect, who has some involvement in the building of the Paris opera house.

Oh, and his name has to be Erik. Nothing else will do.

RoseBlood has most of these things, which is good. The fact that it doesn’t take place in the actual Opera Garnier was a disappointment – instead it takes place in another opera house that has been converted into a music school. The school is called RoseBlood, which to be completely honest, I didn’t like at all. It was too hokey for the name of a school. There were roses and there was blood, so they didn’t need to use it for the name of the school.

Also, just FYI, Thorn is not the Phantom. Thorn is Erik’s adopted son.

And it’s a modern story, not taking place in the actual original timeline. Is it the same Phantom? Why yes, yes it is. How does that work? Well . . .

The Phantom is a vampire.

Ugh . . .

This isn’t a new idea, especially since the Phantom likes to stay hidden (so clearly not in the sunlight). I just really don’t like this idea. I want the Phantom, who does do horrible things, to at least be somewhat sympathetic. In this story, he isn’t really. It’s not just that he was born disfigured and was hated – he is an actual monster. It cheapens the character, I think. Makes him less complex.

But the main problem I have with this is that none of the characters are particularly complex. Rune, our main character, is a bit blah, although she is also a vampire (these are psychic vampires, not the blood sucking kind). She doesn’t realize that she’s a vampire until she learns about it when she’s at RoseBlood. Her and Thorn are supposed to be the couple we cheer for, but they just don’t really do much for me. The other characters, mostly students and teachers at the school, are all very one dimensional and don’t leave a lasting impression.

I hate even saying all of this, because I absolutely love A.G. Howard. I’ve talked to her on Twitter a couple of times and she is a lovely person. Her Splintered series was amazing, the characters complex and unique, the world building beautiful and intricate. RoseBlood just doesn’t have this. I’m not sure what went wrong, and maybe I’m just too picky, but it really didn’t do it for me.

I’m not saying to not read it. It isn’t a terrible read, but I just didn’t care for it. GoodReads rating: 3 stars

WWW Wednesday – January 10, 2018


WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

I just started Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Not much to say about it so far – I need to get more into it to have a firmer opinion. This book seemed to be everywhere when I first heard of it. I’ve also had friends who have read this series and loved it. So I had to pick it up. Also still reading A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin as my bedtime book.

What did you recently finish reading?

Just finished Want by Cindy Pon. I have mixed feelings about it, to be honest. I need to figure out what I thought about it before I write a review.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My current plan is to read Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard next, since it’s the next book in the series and I don’t want to leave another series unfinished.

That’s it for this week! Leave your WWW in comments!

Teaser Tuesday – January 9, 2018


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Kilorn and I don’t really see eye to eye on the Feats of First Friday. For me, watching two champions rip into each other is not enjoyable, but Kilorn loves it. Let them ruin each other, he says. They’re not our people.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I just started this book, and by just started, I mean that my quote is from page 6. So I don’t know much about it yet. I had heard a lot of buzz about this book for a while now and it’s been sitting on my wishlist at GoodReads, but thanks to a Barnes & Noble gift card from Christmas, I now own it. So yay! Has anyone else out there read it yet? If so, did you enjoy it?

Please leave your teasers in comments!


Added to GoodReads – January 8th


Greetings, friends! Hope everyone up here in the northern hemisphere is doing their best to keep warm. It has been VERY cold where I’m at. Let’s just say the space heater under my desk is working overtime. No snow, thankfully, just lots and lots of COLD.

I’m not a fan.

So, since I am trying to stay inside as much as possible, it gives me a chance to look for new books to add to my ever burgeoning To-Be-Read list over at GoodReads. Here are some that I’ve found this past week:

  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin – I saw this one in a local bookstore newsletter as one of their recommended picks. I don’t always immediately add those to my list, but when I saw the beautiful cover and read the very interesting blurb, I couldn’t help it. What would you do if you knew the exact moment of your death? This book asks that question and, for four characters, we find out.
  • Fire in Frost by Alicia Rades – This is one of two books that I got for free through BookBub (and if you haven’t heard of BookBub, you need to go check them out right now, do not pass GO, do not collect $200).  A high school girl realizes she can see ghosts, which leads her to learn a bunch of secrets that maybe she shouldn’t know. The first of a series, this book sounds a bit creepy and exciting. Can’t wait to check it out.
  • A Throne for Sisters by Morgan Rice – The other BookBub book I picked up is also the first book of a series. Two sisters, orphans, desperate to find a better life, possessing the power to read other’s minds. It’s a YA fantasy that looks like it could have a lot of twists and turns, which is always fun.

Any new reads keeping you warm this winter? If you recommend them, leave them in comments!

Happy New Year!

It seemed like it would never get here, but holy smokes, here it is! 2018! We made it!

As is my custom, I like to try and look at the goals I set for this year and see how I did. This year was a little rocky (to say the least), but I did manage to get at least some reading done. Let’s take a peek and see how it went.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My goal was to read 50 books for the year on GoodReads. I fell . . . pretty short of that, but not too bad. I made it to 32. A definite reading slump towards the end of the year, but for a good reason, not a bad one. I got to do several wonderful theater shows this year, which were great experiences, but unfortunately cuts way into my reading time. Since I will be starting 2018 off with rehearsals and hope to do more than just one show this year, I’ll have to see what I can do to make time for my reading. But here is the list of books I did get to:

  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  3. The Plantation by Stella Samiotou Fitzsimons
  4. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  6. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  7. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  8. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
  10. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  11. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  12. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  13. Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
  14. Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep
  15. Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep
  16. Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep
  17. Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep
  18. Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep
  19. Dollhouse by Anya Allyn
  20. Paper Dolls by Anya Allyn
  21. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  22. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  23. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  24. Polgara the Sorceress by David Eddings
  25. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  26. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  27. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  28. Armada by Ernest Cline
  29. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
  30. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  31. Marionette by Anya Allyn
  32. Music Box by Anya Allyn

Which brings me to my next goal:

I have a bad habit of starting series and then just not finishing them. Usually it’s not because the first books are bad, but I have a very bad book attention span. I see the next shiny new thing and off I go! I have a list of series that I have started and not finished (see my 2018 Reading Challenge tab for the current list), but I did manage to finish some this year. I wanted to knock out five, but only managed to finish three:

  1. Dollhouse series by Anya Allyn – COMPLETED!!
  2. The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo – COMPLETED!!
  3. Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep – COMPLETED!!!

I had also set the goal to finish all new series started during the year. I didn’t do that, but there is only one new series to add to the list – The Plantation series by Stella Samiotou-Fitzsimons.

New goals for 2018!

I have set my GoodReads goal at 35 for this year, since I have been slowing down as of late. I will up the goal if it seems too easy, depending on how the year starts. I think I will keep my Complete the Series goal the same – complete five off the list and then finish any new ones I start. I probably won’t get there, but it’s worth a shot.

I’m also going to try and keep blogging more, at least three times per week. Maybe more if I can get my act together. I’ve missed it terribly, but it’s always so hard to find time these days.

Setting any exciting reading goals for 2018?