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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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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya MenonWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 30th May 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

I bought this book when it was on sale for 99p, and I have to admit it was mostly because of the ~drama~ surrounding it. As far as I can tell, someone wrote a negative review, people didn’t agree with it, and it all kicked off on Twitter. Obviously I had to make up my own mind because jumping into the chaos (which I haven’t actually done because who has time for Twitter drama any more?) so I bought the book. Continue reading

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Bittersweet by Sarah OcklerBittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 3rd January 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances... a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life... and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last...

I read Bittersweet after Sarah Ockler reached out to me on Twitter and via email to say that her books are now going to be released in the UK. FINALLY. So being the awkward person that I am, I neither confirmed nor denied that I would promote her books until I read one of them. I had to see if I would like it, didn’t I?

So I waited and stealth-read Bittersweet in a matter of days.

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Hit by Delilah S. Dawson

Hit by Delilah S. DawsonHit by Delilah S. Dawson
Series: Hit #1
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: April 15, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-half-stars

The good news is that the USA is finally out of debt. The bad news is that we were bought out by Valor National Bank, and debtors are the new big game, thanks to a tricky little clause hidden deep in the fine print of a credit card application. Now, after a swift and silent takeover that leaves 9-1-1 calls going through to Valor voicemail, they’re unleashing a wave of anarchy across the country.

Patsy didn’t have much of a choice. When the suits showed up at her house threatening to kill her mother then and there for outstanding debt unless Patsy agreed to be an indentured assassin, what was she supposed to do? Let her own mother die?

Patsy is forced to take on a five-day mission to complete a hit list of ten names. Each name on Patsy's list has only three choices: pay the debt on the spot, agree to work as a bounty hunter, or die. And Patsy has to kill them personally, or else her mom takes a bullet of her own.

Since yarn bombing is the only rebellion in Patsy's past, she’s horrified and overwhelmed, especially as she realizes that most of the ten people on her list aren't strangers. Things get even more complicated when a moment of mercy lands her with a sidekick: a hot rich kid named Wyatt whose brother is the last name on Patsy's list. The two share an intense chemistry even as every tick of the clock draws them closer to an impossible choice.

Hit was not the best book I’ve read this year, which is a shame because Ms. Dawson is lovely and I was really intrigued by the concept. I mean, hitmen?! YES PLEASE. Give me alllll the hitmen. Unfortunately, I ended up having quite a few issues with this book and I didn’t really enjoy it after the first fifty or so pages.

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Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Killer Instinct by S.E. GreenKiller Instinct by S. E. Green
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 6th May 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

She’s not evil, but she has certain... urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.

Why?

Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim...

This book has the dubious honour of being the most unpleasant read that I’ve had to force myself to finish so far this year. Let me tell you why in one sentence: this book hates women. And I don’t mean that lightly; it really, really hates women.

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