2 stars

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.

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London ShahThe Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
Series:
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 29th October 2019
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean's surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father's been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he's innocent, and all she's interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she's picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she'll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.

I am soooo disappointed with The Light at the Bottom of the World! I adore apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction, and with the current Climate Crisis, this book should have been exciting and topical and basically just something I would love. Unfortunately, my only take away from this book is that it is SUCH a boring book.

The setting of underwater London had so much potential, and I was very excited to dive in (lol) to this world and see how the country had changed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough description, and the characters just flitted from one place to another without really talking about it. I didn’t get a feel for the setting at all, and to be honest I got a bit confused about exactly where everyone was.

The characters also had ideas that came out of nowhere, with no build up or suspense, and it was as though I, as the reader, was supposed to be following along the whole time. Except I was unable to follow along because the writing was so chaotic and disjointed.

In addition to all of that, nothing really happened, and for some reason the story has been dragged into a duology. I feel like this could have been a strong standalone if the writing had been tightened up, but The Light at the Bottom of the World ended up being a whole lot of missed potential.

Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Review: Wilder Girls by Rory PowerWilder Girls by Rory Power
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 9th July 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Wilder Girls has received a lot of hype this year in the run up to its release. I think a lot of people were excited because a) it’s queer, and b) it sounds super weird. And it is super weird. I don’t normally go for weird books, but I picked up Wilder Girls at YALC and decided I should give it a go.

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Review: Suggested Reading by Dave Connis

Review: Suggested Reading by Dave ConnisSuggested Reading by Dave Connis
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 17th September 2019
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Clara Evans is horrified when she discovers her principal’s “prohibited media” hit list. The iconic books on the list have been pulled from the library and aren’t allowed anywhere on the school’s premises. Students caught with the contraband will be sternly punished.

Many of these stories have changed Clara’s life, so she’s not going to sit back and watch while her draconian principal abuses his power. She’s going to strike back.

So Clara starts an underground library in her locker, doing a shady trade in titles like Speak and The Chocolate War. But when one of the books she loves most is connected to a tragedy she never saw coming, Clara’s forced to face her role in it.

Will she be able to make peace with her conflicting feelings, or is fighting for this noble cause too tough for her to bear?

I picked up Suggested Reading because it said it was perfect for fans of Moxie (which I haven’t read yet but I feel like it’s one of those books that I should connect with, ya know?) and I was like “YES! A bookworm fights the system!” So I was super hyped. Unfortunately I was disappointed.
I had multiple issues with Suggested Reading, and they all began because I just could not connect with the writing style. First of all, it was all over the place. You know that writing style that feels really bitty and disconnected and unedited? That’s what this was. I struggled to follow the plot because the writing style just didn’t flow.

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Review: The Chain by Adrian McKinty

Review: The Chain by Adrian McKintyThe Chain by Adrian McKinty
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 9th July 2019
Publisher: Orion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

VICTIM.
SURVIVOR.
ABDUCTOR.
CRIMINAL.
YOU WILL BECOME EACH ONE.


YOUR PHONE RINGS.

A STRANGER HAS KIDNAPPED YOUR CHILD.

TO FREE THEM YOU MUST ABDUCT SOMEONE ELSE'S CHILD.

YOUR CHILD WILL BE RELEASED WHEN YOUR VICTIM'S PARENTS KIDNAP ANOTHER CHILD.

IF ANY OF THESE THINGS DON'T HAPPEN:
YOUR CHILD WILL BE KILLED.
YOU ARE NOW PART OF THE CHAIN

"YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST. AND YOU WILL CERTAINLY NOT BE THE LAST."

Honestly, I was expecting The Chain to be better. The Twitter campaign for this book had me absolutely invested, but once I started the book I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to be a hit for me.

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