3 stars

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Mirage by Somaiya DaudMirage by Somaiya Daud
Series: Mirage #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 28th August 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

Mirage has been getting a tonne of hype lately (“lately” meaning pre-release, but I know it’s now October by the time this post goes up) and I totally fell for it. I thought it sounded like everything I loved. Science fiction about a conquered galaxy, a revolution, and some kind of fantasy other than English. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

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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.

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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah VaughanAnatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 23rd January 2018
Publisher: Atria
Source: Borrowed
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

I wouldn’t say Anatomy of a Scandal is entirely worth the hype, but it’s certainly entertaining and well worth a read. It’s an incredibly interesting courtroom drama that kept me reading.

I liked the different perspectives in this book. Multiple points of view don’t always work for me, but reading from the different characters’ perspectives was a really good insight into various characters and their feelings and behaviours.

The ending was a bit disappointing because something came about at the very end, leaving no room for resolution. I’m not a fan of open endings, even if the main plot has been resolved.

I wouldn’t describe Anatomy of a Scandal as a thriller, as it’s more of a quiet drama, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. FinnThe Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 2nd January 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Borrowed
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times--and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

As psychological thrillers go, The Woman in the Window is an intriguing one, but it’s not all that original. I feel like I’ve read most of these plot points before in various other books, and nothing really stood out here.

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Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann AguirreHonor Among Thieves by Ann Aguirre, Rachel Caine
Series: The Honors #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 13th February 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

Guys, this book was strange. I loved the concept, and I loved the space travel part, but bloody hell, there’s a romance developing between a human girl and a living alien spaceship. It’s the weirdest thing, and I can’t get on board with that.

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