American Panda – Book Review

 

American Panda by Gloria Chao

ISBN: 1481499106 

Published: February 6, 2018

Length: 311 Pages


An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

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?


My Thoughts: I Loved this book SO much! 

I always feel that I connect so much more to books where the characters are either immigrants themselves or their parents are immigrants. It’s a different life when you have to balance cultures. This book really shows those struggles.

Mei is doing what she feels she should do because of guilt. When you have parents that have been through so much and moved to the United States to give you a better chance at life, you do become overwhelmed with the feeling that you cannot fail. I connected with that.

For me the story was wonderful. Heartbreaking in some parts, and just made the characters seem real. I see many reviews from white Americans that say this is a stereotype, but it’s not. It happens with many immigrant families because typically immigrants have to work twice as hard sometimes three times as hard to get the same respect and privileges of white Americans.

People’s experiences aren’t tropes.

I think Gloria Chao wrote a real book, and finally, a YA novel that isn’t about a high school student. Mei is in University and struggling with what she should be doing with her life. I think Mei also had a great sense of humor and I just really enjoyed this contemporary read.

It reminds me of my own WIP, and it’s inspired me to finish proper edits and get my story out there as well.

I gave this book Five out Five Metal Horns!

ratefive

Also, If you really want to check this out but are currently on a budget, the Audiobook is available on Scribd. With the Link below you get Two free Months and can cancel at any time, and with your two free months, I get a free month as well! 

Click Here to Get 2 Free months of

Grit – Book Review

GRIT

I received this book from the publisher, this in no way impacted my opinion of the novel. 

Grit by Gillian French follows Darcy as she deals with an “easy girl” reputation and the aftermath of the fact that her ex-best friend Rhiannon went missing the previous year. The story follows Darcy as she works the fields with her sister and cousin raking blue berries. Within this story line comes an interesting message because the owners of the fields always hire foreigners and outside help, which Darcy’s aunt seems to have an issue with when someone states that the migrants need the money:

“So do the people of this town. People who live here year round and pay their taxes.”

“You see about as many year round residents turning out for berry raking as you do ditch digging. It’s hard work, and most people don’t want to do it.” 

This made me smile, because it is the most true statement I have seen in a YA novel in a while. While the book had a few “hell yeah!” moments, something about French’s writing kind of muddled the important messages within the book. The plot felt a bit disconnected  at certain points, not just disconnected but it felt like there was A LOT happening with a lot of different characters which made me unfocused.

The writing was good, but I think some more editing could have been involved to make it better. Still I would say the story is a good mystery and I enjoyed it for the most part.

This book will be released on May 16th. I gave it three out of five metal horns!

ratethree

Exit West – Book Review

IMG_6894

Summary: In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Review: The relevance of this book is why I decided to read it, and I kept reading because of the beautiful story. It’s poetic in a way I have never seen before. Exit West has an element that feels a bit like magical realism, but what was gripping was following Saeed and Nadia through their journey. Journey feels like too light of a word to use here though. The book isn’t very long and I flew through it. It’s heartbreaking, horrific, and motivating all in one go. The talks about refugees are so prevalent right now, especially here in Europe, and I have felt empathy beyond words for everything that’s been happening, but this book opened the flood gates. It may be a fictional story, but good fiction will further open our eyes to the truth that surrounds us.

This book got four out of five metal horns!

ratefour

 

A Monster Calls – Book Review

monstercalls

I bought a copy of A Monster Calls last year at a used book sale for 1 euro. It was the first Patrick Ness book I bought, but after reading this one, it certainly won’t be the last. It took me so long to finally pick this up and read it because sometimes when people hype up books too much my interest in them sort of wavers. I know I sound like a hipster that feels like they’re just not into anything mainstream, but the truth is I have had bad luck with overhyped books in the past, so I am always afraid that I am going to really hate something when all the hype is built up around it.

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

I was wrong in this case. A Monster Calls was an amazing story. It’s short and anything but sweet. The story follows Conor who is a 13 year old boy who wakes to find a monster outside of his window. The monster has seen the passing of time, as it is ancient and it has stories to tell. The Monster doesn’t wake just to tell Conor these stories, but to also get something from Conor in return–The truth! It’s a dark and twisted tale, and yet beautifully poetic. The idea for this story is actually from Siobhan Dowd, who passed away before being able to write the book herself, and so Patrick Ness finished it, and he did such a beautiful job with her idea.

It is heart wrenching and it will grip you in a way that not many books can. I loved it so much more than I ever expected to, and it made me so emotional while reading it. I think if you’re looking for something different to read, something that will touch your very soul, then you should give this a read.

I give A Monster Calls 5 out of 5 Metal Horns!!

ratefive

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Scriptbook Review

CursedChild

Before I get started I will keep the top half of this review completely spoiler free. I will write a HUGE warning when I am about to jump into spoilery territory so you can choose to bow out if need be. I am going to warn you NOW internet trolls, my comment section is moderated, and you can leave all the hate you want here, but it will never see the light of day, and I will never respond. YOU ARE WASTING YOUR ENERGY even trying to leave a nasty comment. I have very strong opinions about this story, and I am unapologetic about it. Are you ready? I am going in.

Stupefy

To start off I want to say that I loved this story. I went in knowing very deep in my heart, that this was always going to feel distant and apart from the original seven novels for me. I know that it is canon, and I can accept it as such, but it will still feel different for me. The reason for that right now is that I know this story is meant to be seen, and not read. I have never ever been a fan of reading plays. Watching them? Absolutely! Reading them? Not so much. Still I won’t be going to London anytime soon, and I needed to know the story. So my warning to you is, if you’re a hardcore fan but hate reading plays and scripts, I would advise you to steer clear. I on the other hand have a crazy and vivid imagination and enjoyed it anyway. I am going to make a controversial statement here, and take it or leave, really don’t care how it makes you feel but the people who I have seen complaining and saying this story is awful sort of fall into an age group between 16-24. NO I am not calling anyone stupid for not liking it, or saying that because they are younger that they have a hard time grasping the concepts. I do however think the age plays a huge impact on how this can emotionally affect you. Take that as you will, it’s what I have seen. The people most disconnected from this story, are really young.

shrug_snape.gif

I grew up WITH Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I was 12 when I read the first book, and then really got into it at 14 when Goblet of Fire was released, and I decided to read the entire series from books 1-4. I was 17 and angsty as hell when Order of the Phoenix was released and Harry was in the midst of his angsty teen phase as well. I felt a connection with them as they grew up, and it is a connection that runs deep in my veins. Now at 30, I was curious about how Harry turned out as an adult. A man who spent his childhood trying to stay alive and dealing with death left and right must have something going on in his mind and life. When you go through rough moments at a really young age, they stick with you, believe me. Sometimes all the therapy in the world won’t erase those memories. That’s what being human is all about. We are all flawed in one way or another for a number of reasons. Perfection, is not a real thing. Enter Adult Harry..in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

**** CURSED CHILD SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK ****

IN CASE YOU ARE STILL HERE JUST TO BITCH AT ME LATER THAT I SPOILED IT FOR YOU…SPOILERS ARE AHEAD AND YOU NEED TO BACK AWAY IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE CURSED CHILD!!! SERIOUSLY…BACK THE FUCK UP!!

 

I have now officially warned you to turn around and exit, so do not complain about spoilers. The script picks up exactly where we left off at the end of Deathly Hallows. Harry and Ginny are dropping their kids off at Platform 9 and 3/4. Albus, their son, is nervous…very very nervous about the possibility that he will be placed in Slytherin. This we already knew. What we see happening in the Cursed Child is that he IS placed in Slytherin. That’s right, the son of Harry Potter is a Slytherin, along with his new friend Scorpius Malfoy, YUP , the son of Draco Malfoy. Albus and Scorpius become the best of friends because they are both fast becoming the lepers of Hogwarts. Albus is being called a Slytherin Squib, and Scorpius is just being haunted by an awful rumor of his parentage. We  zoom through their first year, and I am sure it looks cool on stage. Harry and Albus are not getting along. I think Harry has trouble being a super understanding father, because he had a father figure for about 2.8 seconds as a child. This shines through very clearly. He is one deeply flawed man. Something that also still shines, is that trio’s friendship. I love them so much, and you can tell that now, they are indeed family. I also love this script because it shows Harry in a more realistic light for me. The “All Was Well” line in The Deathly Hallows always felt like such bullshit to me. You are telling me that a child that was abused for the first decade of his life and then spent the rest of his formative years simply trying to stay alive, and watched so many loved ones die around him turned into a fully functional adult? Fuck outta here! The way he snaps at Albus at one point is WAY more realistic to me, than some cookie cutter Harry Potter version we were all left with at the end of the last book.

A lot of things happen in this script, and I don’t want to give you a huge run down of everything, you read it if you are reading this portion, and if not then go look for a half assed summary elsewhere. I think there are some lines in the script that could be written better. I also think there are places in the story where Rowling really shines through. Some things seem to be really OUT THERE for my tastes as well. Like Voldemort and Bellatrix got it on and had an evil spawn of a daughter. I mean the man had practically no soul, but I guess that has zero effect on sperm count? :: Shudders :: Though the actual reveal of this information was done exceptionally well. She was in the shadows all the time like a creepy little Tom Riddle.

Riddle.gif

I do have to ask…HOW the hell did they brew Polyjuice Potion in a day? Or was it that it was already brewed and they were able to just quickly put the essence of whomever they were turning into so that it is ready to drink? I am guessing that it was already brewed. I don’t think Rowling would forget that it took Hermione a whole damn month to make that potion. Which brings forth my main argument about why I loved this book. People who seem to be hating this, are saying that it lacks plot, and we don’t get to see enough of each character, but I think people are forgetting that they are reading a script. A script contains actions to be seen on a stage, it does not and will not give you details or character depth. This is not a novel, and you need to go in knowing that, and realizing that or you are going to be sorely disappointed. Still, I enjoyed venturing into Harry’s adulthood. I think until I have the chance to see the play on stage I will still probably keep this a bit distant in my mind from the other seven books. I adored it nonetheless. I could go on and on about it, and would love to discuss it more with someone who has also read it and enjoyed it so I can really get into it. haha Follow me on Twitter and let’s chat about it.

I give Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 5 out of 5 Metal Horns!!

ratefive

 

Night Film – Book Review

night film

Night Film is a tough review to do without spoiling anything at all, but I AM KEEPING THIS spoiler free. It will be vague, and mysterious…kind of like this book.

Night Film Summary:

Everybody has a Cordova story. Cult horror director Stanislas Cordova hasn’t been seen in public since 1977. To his fans he is an enigma. To journalist Scott McGrath he is the enemy. To Ashley he was a father.

On a damp October night the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to hit a severely cursed dynasty.

For McGrath, another death connected to the legendary director seems more than a coincidence. Driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth, he finds himself pulled into a hypnotic, disorientating world, where almost everyone seems afraid.

The last time McGrath got close to exposing Cordova, he lost his marriage and his career. This time he could lose his grip on reality.

ONCE WE FACE OUR DEEPEST FEARS, WHAT LIES ON THE OTHER SIDE?

Night Film Review:

I will say this, this book had certain points and aspects that had me turning on every light around me when moving about the house at night. The characters were really interesting, especially Ashley, even though the whole mystery is around her and why she appears to have committed suicide. I read this book fairly quickly, or at least as quick as I could considering I had a lot on my plate. So you are going to wonder a little bit why my rating isn’t higher.

Well the truth is, while this book was creepy and I kept turning the pages wondering what was really going on, it also felt like it was over done. The book is quite long, and I think if I got to the end it was this glorifying “holy yes!! this is amazing!” I wouldn’t have minded all the filler moments in the book, but the ending pretty much ruined the book for me. It felt to me like Marisha Pessl also had no idea how to end it. It sort of flip flops a bit there. If you want a clear and concise ending, you may want to steer clear of this book. I kind of wish I had known that before diving in, but then again I still don’t actually regret reading this.

If you love mystery with a hint of horror I definitely recommend this book, but be aware that the ending may infuriate you. The writing was good, and it will keep you hooked.

I gave Night Film 3 out of 5 Metal horns!!

ratethree

Finding Audrey – Book Review

27823777

I bought this book because it seemed like a good short read for my flight to Portugal. Well it was short, but it wasn’t really good. I usually try to keep my reviews spoiler free, but please be WARNED: THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW. I had a lot of issues with this story, and they need to be discussed.

I’ve never read any novels  by Sophie Kinsella, and maybe this wasn’t a good starting point. The writing wasn’t the problem, but the plot and the characters certainly were. I will start with the parents. The mom was just over the top. Her anti-video game brigade against Frank was just too much, considering the kid had good grades, and didn’t seem like a bad kid at all. The dad was just in the background, smiling and nodding at everything the mom would say or demand from everyone.

And here’s the point of the story that really just pissed me off. As someone who struggles with anxiety, and had been put on Paxil for Social Anxiety in high school, Audrey did not feel like a genuine character with the same struggles. Especially since she’s having “such a hard time” to the point where she can’t go anywhere and can barely handle human interaction. ENTER Linus. The magical cure to social anxiety according to Kinsella. I HATE HATE HATE when female characters become “better” simply from meeting a boy. That shit doesn’t happen in real life, and IF suddenly there’s some kind of sense of euphoria from meeting someone new, it doesn’t last long. The way Audrey drastically changes after meeting Linus actually made me want to stop reading the book. I finished it, but there were a lot of things sort of just left hanging in the air, and I felt that Kinsella could have fleshed out the story a little bit more.

I give Finding Audrey 2 out of 5 Metal Horns.

Metal Horns