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Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing WenLoveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 7th January 2020
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

In 2020 I’m going to be bringing back my Debut Showcase feature in which I showcase debut books and authors. Throughout the year there will be interviews, giveaways, reviews, and other fun things for you to take part in. Check out previous posts in this feature here, and take a look at my introduction post and my list for January’s debut books!

I think a lot of people will love Loveboat, Taipei but unfortunately it was not a good book for me. I was intrigued by it because I was promised a YA version of Crazy Rich Asians, and I’m always here for a bit of Rich People Drama, but instead the book dragged and was super boring the entire time.

I did really like the main character, Ever. She was headstrong and a very well developed character in many ways. Unfortunately, I didn’t like her relationships with the other characters. Some of them felt like fake friendships, and she was doing so much for them even though they were terrible to her, and one of the love interests was downright wrong for her.

I’m never a fan of cheating in relationships, and this book contained some lowkey emotional cheating that I was not here for. It really put me off during the first third of the book, and I couldn’t regain my enthusiasm as the book went on.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t love this one, especially as it has received so many glowing reviews!

Thank you for reading my review of Loveboat, Taipei! Let me know what you thought of the book in the comments below.

Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley

Three Things I Know Are True by Betty CulleyThree Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 7th January 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

This moving debut novel in verse about a teenage girl dealing with the aftermath of an accident that nearly takes her brother’s life is a stunning exploration of grief and the power of forgiveness.

The reminder is always there—a dent on the right side of Jonah’s forehead. The spot you’d press when you felt a headache coming on. The bullet tore away bone, the way dynamite blasts rock—leaving a soft crater.

Life changes forever for Liv when her older brother, Jonah, accidentally shoots himself with his best friend Clay’s father’s gun. Now Jonah needs round-the-clock care just to stay alive, and Liv seems to be the only person who can see that her brother is still there inside his broken body.

With Liv’s mom suing Clay’s family, there are divisions in the community that Liv knows she’s not supposed to cross. But Clay is her friend, too, and she refuses to turn away from him—just like she refuses to give up on Jonah.

In 2020 I’m going to be bringing back my Debut Showcase feature in which I showcase debut books and authors. Throughout the year there will be interviews, giveaways, reviews, and other fun things for you to take part in. Check out previous posts in this feature here, and take a look at my introduction post and my list for January’s debut books!

Three Things I Know Are True has the honour of being my first review of 2020, and my first featured debut book! I have to admit that I don’t usually care for novels that are written in verse. Something about it just stops me from connecting to the book like I would with normal prose.

This was still the case for Three Things I Know Are True. I really, really enjoyed it, but because I struggled with the format in which it is written, I couldn’t truly connect with it. That said, the book gave me a lot to think about and it has stuck with me for over a month after finishing it.

Three Things I Know Are True is a truly emotional story about a girl whose brother has been paralysed after playing around with a gum. It gave me so much to think about in terms of the topic at hand – gum control in the US. I don’t think the author advocated for either side of the debate overly strongly, but she did lay out the situation and the reasoning behind people’s opinions.

I really, really enjoyed this book, and I think if it had been written in normal prose, it would have hit me a lot harder. As it stands, I was still hit quite hard by the situation that the characters were in, but there was definitely some disconnect there.

I would highly, highly recommend reading Three Things I Know Are True, so please don’t be put off by my star rating. If you enjoy novels told in verse then this is a book that you should definitely read. The characters manage to draw so much emotion and the relationships between the characters was a joy to read about.

Review: What She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini

Review: What She Found in the Woods by Josephine AngeliniWhat She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 25th July 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Running from a scandal at her New York private school, Magdalena heads to her family home to recover under the radar.

Over-medicated and under-confident, she's fearful she'll never escape her past.

Until she meets Bo out hiking. Wild, gorgeous and free, he makes her believe she might finally be able to move on.

But when a mutilated body is discovered in the woods, Magdalena realises she can't trust anyone.

Not even herself.

I mean, What She Found in the Woods was a good book. It was decent. I enjoyed it a lot, and it kept me engaged. But I don’t think this is going to be an all time favourite, and to be honest the most memorable parts weren’t the thriller aspects at all.

I really enjoyed what Josephine Angelini did with this book. The main character, Lena, was enjoyable to read about because there were so many sides to her personality. She has a mysterious past, and she has apparently done something really wrong, and it’s a slow journey to learn what that is. I really liked the slow burn and revelations about her past experiences.

The love interest, Bo, is so sweet and cute, and while I didn’t SHIP ship it (I almost never do any more), I thought his relationship with Lena was adorable… for the most part. I had a few issues with it, that I won’t go into because of spoilers, but I will say there was so much insta-love. So much.

I’m also questioning the fact that Bo’s family were basically less aggressive anti-vaxxers but hey, let’s not be a downer.

Overall, this was a decent book, but it’s not one I’ll immediately go to to recommend to thriller readers.

Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins! The tour is hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Fantastic Flying Book Club, and a lot of other bloggers are taking part so you should check out the tour schedule and read their posts!

I received a copy of Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline FirkinsHearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 17th December 2019
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there's Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there's Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone's heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn't hers.

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things is a retelling of Mansfield Park, but if you haven’t read the original novel, don’t let that put you off. I haven’t read it either! I still understood a lot of the references, and I don’t think that missing out on the original novel impacted my feelings towards this book at all.

I knew that Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things was going to be a light and fluffy read as soon as I heard about it. It’s a YA contemporary about a girl who’s in a somewhat complicated love triangle, and who is struggling to fit in with her posh family and in her posh school. I love me some rich people drama, so I signed right up for this.

I have to admit that the main character, Edie, got on my nerves a lot. She’s what stopped me from truly loving this book, with her superior attitude and constant classic book quotes. I really couldn’t connect with her at all, and it was such a shame.

Edie spends a lot of time looking down on her cousins and their friends for wanting to go to parties and dress nice, which gave off SO MANY “Better Than Other Girls” vibes. In addition to that, she was always coming out with random quotes from classic novels, which seemed to me as though she was showing off her superior intellect and looking down on people who don’t read. This really got to me, and I was not here for that.

I did, however, get really invested in the love triangle. I’m going to have to be vague here, because my ship didn’t end up together, but in my opinion Edie chose the wrong guy. A guy who she barely knew or spoke to. Instead of the guy who was quickly becoming her best friend. That was about as vague as I could be, so I’ll leave it at that. I WAS DISAPPOINTED.

Aside from all of that, I loved the Rich People Drama and the parties and all of the normal drama that was happening. This was a fun and fluffy book that I think contemporary readers will really enjoy.