Book Review

American Panda by Gloria Chao

American Panda by Gloria ChaoAmerican Panda by Gloria Chao
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 6th February 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Borrowed
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

American Panda was a pretty solid debut. It was high on everyone’s most anticipated lists because it’s about a Taiwanese-American teenager who goes to college and tries to balance life, family, and two different cultures. I really enjoyed it, and I’d be interested in seeing what Chao comes out with next.

Continue reading

Missing at 17 by Christine Conradt

Missing at 17 by Christine ConradtMissing at 17 by Christine Conradt
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 1st May 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

For most of Candace’s life she never felt like she completely belonged. But nothing could prepare her for the shocking discovery that her parents have been concealing the truth about who she is and where she came from her entire life.

Feeling like her world has been turned upside down, and unable to trust the people she’s closest to, Candace runs away...right into the arms of an alluring stranger.

But while Candace and Toby have an undeniable connection, it's less certain what the future holds for them as Candace’s family and Toby’s less-than-legal lifestyle threaten to rip them apart.

As things start to spiral out of control, Candace must fight to understand her own identity...and who she can truly rely on.

Missing At 17 really wasn’t the right book for me. First of all, I was expecting an intense thriller, but the story was more of a relaxed contemporary. That would be fine if a) I had been expecting it, and b) it was written well. But it wasn’t.

Continue reading

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

Out of the Blue by Sophie CameronOut of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 22nd March 2018
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.

Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.

When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Out of the Blue considering paranormal books aren’t typically my thing. I picked this book up because I’d heard some amazing things from early reviewers, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint!

Continue reading

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca RossThe Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
Series: The Queen's Rising #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 6th February 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

Full disclosure, I went into this book thinking it was a standalone, and I spent the majority of my reading time still thinking that, so that affected my view of the book. I later learnt that The Queen’s Rising is the first in a series, so now my feelings are a bit off. Continue reading

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Heart of Iron by Ashley PostonHeart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Series: Heart of Iron #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 27th February 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

Heart of Iron was weeeeird, you guys. On the one hand, I enjoyed the space chase storyline and the action at the beginning. It did a great job of hooking me in. On the other, there was a weird romance that I’m unsure about, and then the plot got worse as the book went on. I have such mixed feelings about this book!

Continue reading