Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao // A combo of refreshing and realistic

Title: American Panda
Author: Gloria Chao
Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count and Format: 320 pages, Ebook
Published: February 6th, 2018 by Simon Pulse
Source: Purchased
My Rating:

Blurb (from Goodreads):

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 fulfil 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?

From debut author Gloria Chao comes to a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.


My Thoughts

American Panda was such a heartfelt read! There were some aspects I could really relate and Mei is bae! ❤

She is an early college student aiming for a doctorate degree when all she wants to do in dance. But she doesn’t have the heart to tell her parents about it as her brother already walked on their family. She develops a crush on Darren Takahashi who is actually Japanese. Another no go from their parents who only want Mei to marry someone of their choice who is also specifically Taiwanese. A breaking point comes into Mei’s life when she is forced to make a choice about how to live her life, according to her own will or her parent’s.

The plot of this book was refreshing and relatable. American Panda is a more of a character-centric novel which focuses on the life of Mei. Mei is a hard working above average students who are working towards a career path to be a doctor. Apart from being a germophobe, she manages to fall asleep in the core subject of medicine, a.k.a biology. She goes by the rule of her parents as she does not want to disappoint them at all cost. A chance encounter with his brother changes her aspect of living life. Her opinion finally clashes when she sees her brother’s life through her own eyes rather than their parents’ words.

“If I lied, the real me would disappear.” 

Her rebellion starts in a slow process but it takes a turn as she experiences a whole new world. Her crush towards Darren slowly intensifies. Mei actually tried to do everything possible to do that she had been taught. She really tried but the heart wants what it wants. Of course, Darren is by her side but she gathers the courage to stand up for herself. And on boy, she does! The most surprising as well as beautiful moment was Mei’s reuinon with her mom. I wish her dad felt the same but well things take time. Sometimes the broken pieces can be mend together and sometimes it’s just better left alone. Mei felt like whole different person when she danced. She truly felt like herself. I can totally get this point. All parents want their children to have a stable career but that doesn’t only come from money. Happiness is the other factor which goes hand in hand.

“I couldn’t go through life as a shadow.” 

Overall, American Panda was a beautiful lesson that one should learn about both sides of the coin before judging. The plot was fresh and kept me engaged. Although I couldn’t identify it but I felt something was missing but the characters made up for it. This book was not only diverse but also shone light on various cultural aspects. The pace was kinda slow and steady in different portions of the book an the words flowed smoothly. I will definitely be anticipating her next book.


Sooo guys, have you read this one? If yes, what are your thoughts on it? And if that’s still a no, are you think of picking it up anytime soon?

Also, yeeeeeah. I have no excuse of abandoning my beloved blog for so long. I am just too lazy and tired after coming back from work. But that’s a lame excuse. I am tryiiiiiiiing guys! Hopefully September will show its magic!

Review: The Curse of Damini by Debajani Mohanty

Title: The Curse of Damini

Author: Debajani Mohanty

Standalone

Genre: Contemporary, [Adult]

Heat Rating: Slightly warm

Page Count and Format: 200 pages, Paperback

Published: July 14th 2015 by Patridge India

Source: I received a printed copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: PicsArt_1444558511051


Blurb (from Goodreads):

The world seemed not enough for free spirited Renuka, when she married the highly educated Shashank hailing from the mightiest Zamindars of Bengal. However, soon her life turned upside down when a neighbor revealed her of their sinister past.

It’s a mysterious supernatural curse cast on their family almost a century back. Generation by generation, Damini’s enraged curse had passed on, declining their family clan from hundreds to a handful few. Who would be Damini’s next victim? And why innocent lives are at a stake for a crime committed by an ancestor a hundred years back? Renuka would not settle until she finds an answer and in her quest she struggles to eradicate all the evils that come in her way. Would she ever win a battle against an unseen enemy? Would the wrong done to Damini be ever avenged?

Set against the nostalgic era of 1940s, the story narrates the arduous journey of Renuka Pal, the protagonist, from a rash teen age freedom fighter to the seasoned writer of the 21st century India. In this thrilling saga of death, betrayal and power plays the narrative would cover a large chunk of twentieth century history. The passing of time, historical events and the changing country is so well-woven to the story that one would hardly differentiate between fact and fiction.


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This book… was simply wow. I didn’t think I was going to love this book this much! But I could relate to so much which made this book a great read!

The story deals about the free-spirited girl named Renuka and her journey from a teenage freedom fighter to womanhood where she experiences the various spices of life. We come to know about the British Raj, struggles of India’s independence, the Hindu-Muslim riot and the partition of Bengal which were cleverly interwoven with the main storyline.

I fell in love with the story and I absolutely loved the main protagonist Renuka. The story starts at the time before India has gained its Independence,  Renuka is just a teenage girl fighting to contribute as much as she can towards the freedom of India. This book highlighted the male dominated patriarchal society at its extreme which still somewhat prevents in India. It was so appropriately depicted and also the zamindari system and its injustices were highlighted as well.

Renuka is a not a person devoid of flaws but she is an idealistic woman with whom I could relate so much because of the values she believed in. I loved how she handled everythinh maturely or tried her best to do so. The plot was interwoven with the curse of an ill-fated girl named Damini which was handled realistically and were depicted really well. Shashank, Renuka’s husband was a really great guy, he was loving and caring and stood by his wife no matter what. He played an important part in her life, and he provided her the courage that she needed to go on without faltering. All the various other characters and episodes played an equally important part in this story.

Overall, The Curse of Damini was a great read! The plot kept me hooked from the very beginning and I loved the characters. So many important parts of India’s history was highlighted and I loved reading about them. I also loved the fact that there was a glossary at the end of the book which would be helpful for the people who doesn’t know Bengali. The writing was smooth and easy to read, I didn’t feel bored for even a second and the pace was even throughout the book. Overall, this was a pretty fantastic read that I enjoyed reading very much!

Recommend it?

Yes!


So guys, what do you think about this book? Do you want to read it? Or have you given this one a try? Share your thoughts with me!

Review: Memories of a Broken Girl by Harley Maye || Plus Interview & Giveaway!

Title: Memories of a Broken Girl

Author: Harley Maye

Series: Memories Series, book 1 [Can be read as a standalone]

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, [New-Adult]

Heat Rating: Warm

Page Count and Format: 208 pages, Ebook

Published: April 21st 2016

Source: I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: PicsArt_1444558321867


Blurb (from Goodreads):

What happens when a wedding planner no longer believes true love exists?

Laney McAdams is Austin’s rising star of wedding planners, and from the outside she looks like the perfect good girl. But when faced with the ultimate deception, her world comes crashing down around her, leaving her alone, afraid, and tormented by dark secrets and regrets.

Bodie Brooks is successful, dangerously good looking, and battling his own painful past. Having just returned to Austin, he’s hiding his own secret about the real reason for coming home. When their paths collide, he awakens her deepest longings, convincing Laney he is nothing but dangerous.

He’s always been unattainable and gorgeous.
She’s broken into a million pieces.

But after one afternoon of uncontainable passion, Laney is forced to decide if she will do what she promised she would never do again.


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You know you have a feeling that you’re going to love a particular book from the very first page. This book was that for me. If I had to say one word to describe this book, I would say perfection. I can’t believe that this is a debut novel because this book literally blew me away! It was sooo so good, I can’t even begin to say. And it was exactly what I needed, I simply fell in love with this book and it’s already made its way to my favourites list!

Laney is a wedding planner but she doesn’t believe in love anymore after she caught her fiance cheating on her. Callie, her best friend is her only support. Meanwhile  Bodie, Callie’s brother comes back to town. Callie always had feelings for him but when he got married and went away, she put that love behind and moved on but when she sees Bodie again she realises that feeling never really went away. Bodie has no one in his life after his wife’s death and they realise they both need each other. Can she really confess her feelings this time or will she let this chance get away once again?

The plot was so great and realistic! Laney was so invested in her relationship that she began to forget herself in the process. After she caught her fiance cheating on her, it was hard on her, she decided to stay away from love it but after Bodie arrives back in town, she finds it hard to stay away from him, all the repressed feelings for him comes back. The angst was absolutely perfect. They both wanted each other yet they couldn’t admit the fact at first. The plot was executed really well. I completely loved the romance, it was so, sooo good! Laney and Bodie were absolutely perfect together! Also a lot of truth comes out when they talk about the past and I was like holy shit but I loved how they processed everything and handled that fact. 🙂

The plot complication happened when Laney’s fiance wanted her back in his life. Although she’s over him but if Bodie was not in the picture there was a chance she might have gone back to him. So, naturally Bodie wanted that surety. I loved the fact he challenged Laney and made her much better. Actually, they both brought out the best in each other. It was so great to see them both grow as a person as well as a couple throughout the book. And that ending… *swoons*

Overall, Memories of a Broken Girl was a great read! The plot was executed neatly and I fell in love with the characters! The writing was beautiful and the pace was even throughout the book. This book kept me interested from the very first page and I finished it in one sitting! I’m really looking forward to read the next book in this series!

Recommend it?

Absolutely freaking YES!
Give this book a try, you are not going to regret it!


Interview!

I had the chance to interview the author, hope you guys enjoy it!

Hey there! I’m so glad to have you on my little blog today!

I’m super excited to be here! Thank you for having me.

1. How did the idea of Memories of a Broken Girl come to your mind?

How lucky am I to say that Bodie came to me in a dream? And, let me tell you, he was just as amazing and steamy. He stirred around in my thoughts for a long time before I finally sat down to write his and Laney’s story.

2. Which authors inspire you?

Oh gosh, where to begin! There are so many amazing authors out there who write beautifully, and I definitely geek out over their wordcraft and creativity. My most favorite author of all time is Shakespeare (he even has a cameo quote in Memories of a Broken Girl). As a NA and contemporary romance writer, I’ve been influenced by Molly McAdams, Ilsa Madden-Mills, Brittainy C. Cherry, Jamie McGuire…oh gosh, I could just go on and on. Jamie McGuire has also been a huge inspiration for my authorship. She has an amazing section for writers on her website.

3. Tell us a bit about your writing process.

Once I have an idea in my head, I draw out a timeline with my plot ideas and scenes, and then the writing takes over from there. Most of the timeline will change as the characters develop, but I do try to see the original integrity of the story through to the end.

4. I absolutely loved Laney and Bodie. They were both amazing characters. Were they particularly inspired by someone?

I’m so glad that you loved Laney and Bodie! While some of the experiences, and the places they visited in the story, were inspired by things I’ve seen and places around Austin, neither character was inspired by anyone in particular. However, Laney’s best friend, Callie, was loosely inspired by my very dear friend Crystal Cook, of The Casserole Queens, and some of our crazy conversations in her catering kitchen.

5. What was the hardest thing that you faced while writing this book?

This was my debut, so I learned a lot about writing as I went, and that was the most challenging aspect. My amazing editor, Jovana Shirley, really gave me some fantastic guidance in that department. Other than that, the ending took me several versions before finally settling on one. I really wanted these two to find an amazing happiness together and I think they pulled it off at the end.

6. Do you prefer absolute silence while writing or do you have a playlist? If yes, do mind sharing a few songs?

Oh no, music is a MUST. We always have music playing in our home. I’ve always thought the song “Clementine” by Sarah Jaffe is the perfect theme to Memories of a Broken Girl. I also love listening to a lot of Florence and The Machine (think “What Kind of Man”) while writing, and “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri was one of the first songs to inspire the bond between Laney and Bodie.

7. What do you have in mind for your next project?

Memories of A Guilty Girl is the second book in the Memories Series and will release during the holiday break! I’m so excited to follow Addy Cooper (who we met at the end of Broken Girl), as she moves away from Austin to try to start over again in a small town after a devastating mistake. There she is thrown into the torrent of the equally injured but beautiful Grady, and both their lives will shift forever. It’s a little darker than Broken Girl in the beginning, but as wonderfully risqué. I can’t give anymore away than that.

8. What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Write what you love, and write a lot of it. As an indie author, do your research to source out a great editor and support group to help you succeed with your goals. The Indie Author community is amazingly supportive, and there is a lot of wonderful literature out there to help direct aspiring writers. Stick to your plan, take one day at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be published!


Giveaway!

3 ebooks of Memories of a Broken Girl by Harley Maye.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


So guys, what did you think about this book? Do you want to read it? Share your thoughts with me!