Blog Tour & ARC Review + Giveaway: Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1) by Abigail Hing Wen

(Full Blog Tour Schedule here.)

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)   by Abigail Hing Wen

Published 07 January 2020 by Harper Teen

Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen, and praised as “an intense rush of rebellion and romance” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Garber, this romantic and layered Own Voices debut from Abigail Hing Wen is a dazzling, fun-filled romp.

“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.

And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turnGone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.

But not every student is quite what they seem:

Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.

Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.

Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.

And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.

When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.

GOODREADS 
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*ARC Kindly provided by Harper Teen thru FFBC in exchange for an honest review*

Starting this book on the first day of the year was really a good decision! I had a great time reading. Makes me more excited for my own Taipei trip this year.

Abigail Hing Wen have written a very promising and powerful debut which as the tagline says fits “For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land” Now, I love all of these three and have them altogether in one book, uhm yes please?

“This is Loveboat. One big party. All summer. And no one’s going to ruin it.”

On her last summer before college, Ever was sent by her parents to an educational program in Taipei. But what her parents don’t know is that this program also known as Loveboat often leaves the students unsupervised. This means a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop – things that are very new for Ever.

“My parents sent me to discover my heritage, but in the process, I’m also finding parts of myself, even if that self isn’t who they want me to be.”

The story introduces us to a unique set of characters that I enjoyed reading about. Ever is studying to be a doctor but her passion is really with dancing. She was introduced as this character who lives by her parents rules but as the story progress, we’ve read about her breaking every single one of those rules and along the way learned new things about her  heritage and herself.

I had fun reading about the bubbly character of Sophie – she’s boy obsessed and had a great fashion sense. She’s a bit wild and liberated; total opposite of Ever. Maybe that’s why they really matched up from the start. But there is really more than meets the eye on her character. I was surprised and hurt by the twist, but I know somewhere, that is bound to happen. Duh, a friend complication needs to arise somewhere. (lol) (I know I’m being pretty vague here, but I don’t want give out spoilers).

Rick aka Wonderboy is the Ivy League bound football player and Ever’s bane of existence. While I did not really like him on the first few chapters, Rick has somewhat grown on me, I guess. He was entirely just an okay character for me. Then, there’s Xavier, the sexy loner but a player character. I always fall for the dark bad boy types, so its again no surprise that I ended up rooting for Xavier. For some reason, I just enjoyed his brooding and mysterious character.

For the romance part of the story, you all know how much I hate love triangles. I was actually hesitant to continue reading when I felt that a triangle is approaching, but since I was hooked and I actually liked both parties involved, I continue reading. And I can say that in such a long time, this the only time again that I have honestly liked reading a story that involves a love triangle. (Yay me!)

The situations that these teens have went thru are pretty entertaining to read. It was like I’m there with them walking into the unknown. Though, there are times that it feels like the story tends to get all over the place especially with the Ever, Sophie, Xavier and Rick drama, I ended up loving that mess of complication.

The issues mentioned and included on this story are very relevant to today’s world. Family Pressures/Responsibility is one of the main topics of the story and as an Asian myself, I relate to this. Though, I was still given by my parents the freedom to choose my degree and other school and adult stuff that I wanted to do, the pressure that Ever’s parents were giving her felt so real and on point. Correct me if I’m wrong but parents especially Asian parents really tend to be dramatic and protective especially on the future of their children. I guess these types of parents are leaning more on the practical side of life that’s why they choose the way they do. The story also talks about several other relevant topics but as I write this review, I thought that they were somewhat brushed off. There’s a talk about leaked nude photos, cheating, depression – these topics were mentioned but I can’t really point out if they were properly addressed.

Overall, Loveboat, Taipei is one fun and enjoying book to read! It’s a whirlwind story of teenage romance filled with drama, heartbreaks, cultural and self-exploration and familial ties. If you are fans of contemporary reads with interesting and bold characters, this one is really for you!

4/5 Flower Rating

 “Rick and this summer gave me the courage to take charge of my own future. I can only hope that I’ve done the same for him.”

“My parents sent me to discover my heritage, but in the process, I’m also finding parts of myself, even if that self isn’t who they want me to be.”

“And as I lunge and whirl my bo staff, dancing to the ancient drumbeats, I feel all parts of myself coming together: glad that a part of me is Chinese, a part of me American and all of me is simply me.”

Abigail was born in West Virginia to a family of immigrants: Her mother is from the Philippines and her father from Indonesia, and her grandparents emigrated to those countries from Fujian and Shandong provinces in China.

Abigail grew up in Ohio and graduated from Harvard University and Columbia Law School. She worked in Washington DC for the Senate, as a law clerk for a federal judge. and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her husband and two boys, and hanging out with friends and over 100 family members in the Bay Area. She loves music and dances to it when no one is watching.

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Two (2) Winners will bring home  finished copies of Loveboat, Taipei (US Only). Enter on the link below.

download

Have you read, Love boat, Taipei? What do you think about it?

If not yet, are you interested to read it? What makes you want to pick it up?

Share your thoughts and comments below. 💚

Book Challenge: Series to Finish 2020

Hello everyone! Hope you are all having a good start this year! I’m so excited to share with you that this year, I have decided to join a book challenge called “Series To Finish”.

I first saw this from  Anna of Reader and Proud on twitter. She is actually one of the hosts and founder of this challenge. I tried doing this last 2017 but unfortunately I failed. 😅 But this year, I’m ready to redeem myself and tackle that Series TBR.

WHAT’S SERIES TO FINISH?

It’s a challenge in which we aim to complete series; it does not matter if you only have one book left or ten, the important thing is to finish them in 2020. Similarly, the amount of series you’re aiming to finish is not important; we’d like this challenge to be as chill as possible so as long as you try to read and complete more series, you’re already a winner!

The challenge will run from January 1st to December 31st and you can join at any point. ARCs do count for the challenge, as well as books published in 2020. You can also include comic books graphic novels and manga. Again, the only rule is to complete the series in 2020.

You can check more updates about this challenge on their blog page: Series to Finish.

BOOK SERIES ON MY LIST

As early as December last year I have already made a list of books that I will include on this challenge. Most of these books are back-back-list titles that has been sitting on my shelf for some years now (lol). I think, one of the main reason why I didn’t get to finish these series even though I have the complete copy of them sitting on my shelf is that I don’t have spare time to reread. Sequels or accompanying books to series are released almost or more than a year apart so I usually make it a point to reread the previous books before diving into the latest installment just so my memory of the whole series if somehow fresh. Now, I’m really eager to reread and finish these series. I have several more on my list but I don’t want to get too ambitious; if ever I’ll be able to finish these books before 2020 ends, I will make another post including a different set of books. But for now, here are the book series that I’m aiming to finish this year.

Empress of a Thousand Skies Series by Rhoda Belleza
(Book #1-2)

Passenger Series by Alexandra Bracken
(Book #1-2)

Riders Series by Veronica Rossi
(Book #1-2)

Starbound Series by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
(Books #1-3)

The Illuminae Files Series by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
(Books #1-3)

The Star-Touched Queen Series by Roshani Chokshi
(Books #1-2)

Are you joining this challenge as well? What is in your TBR? Share the series titles that you wanted to finish or if you have a TBR post, link them below.

Are you interested to join this challenge? You may sign up by doing your own TBR Post and tagging Anna (@readrandproud) or Tiffany(Tiffany_Jane13) on twitter. 💚

Anticipated Releases for January 2020

Hello! Happy New Year! It’s a new year filled with exciting new books! I have a really positive outlook that 2020 would be the year that I will finally get back my blogging mojo and finally be able to read books on schedule. My reading list last year was a mess! So I’m really looking forward to a more organized reading and blogging year. Yay!

So, January, the first month of the year. Gosh, it was just the first month and I already had a hard time trimming down my list to 10 books because there is a lot of awesome titles to be released this month! Decisions, decisions…

Okay, after almost 30-minutes of thinking this over, I’ve decided to list down titles that I already have advance copies of; I wouldn’t have requested these titles if I’m not excited for them, right? Almost all of them are YA Contemporary titles. I wanted to start the year right but somewhat light as well; I wanted to get the feel of it again – reading and blogging at the same time – slowly but surely, you get the idea? 😅 So, anyway, below are the titles that will be released this month that I’m really excited for.

A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison
Release Date: 07 January 2020

I’m so so excited for this title! I’m really a huge trash for summer romances and this just screams it!! Golden girl Nandy Smith has spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in when it comes to her hometown Pacific Hills where image is everything. After learning that her parents are taking in a troubled teen boy, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames. I’m excited to read the banters between Trice and Nandy and I’m so excited for the “angst” that I’ve been promised to get . 😛


Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson
Release Date: 07 January 2020

I have a gut feel that this book would make me cry. Two teens are struggling with their own familial issues. Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.


Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1) by Abigail Hing Wen
Release Date: 07 January 2020

I was immediately hooked with the  Goodreads’ tagline of “For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land” Now, I love all of these three and have them altogether in one book, uhm yes please?  I’m really into summer self discovery type of stories and I’m at least 90% sure that this will be up to my ante.

 


How to Speak Boy by Tiana Smith
Release Date: 07 January 2020

If you love enemies to lovers type of stories, this one is for you! And see for your self how cute this book looks –  The lead characters, Quinn and Grayson has been rivals in school debates for years. They can’t stand one another –  either in competition or in real life. But when their AP Government teacher returns their school assignments to the wrong cubbies, they begin exchanging anonymous notes without knowing who the other is. Despite their differences, the two come together through their letters and find themselves unknowingly falling for the competition.


Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin
Release Date: 07 January 2020

It’s fantasy. Has royalty and mystery. Sign me up please! One girl – a no one – is expected to inherit the King’s throne. It shouldn’t even be possible. She’s Nameless, a class of citizens so disrespected, they don’t even get names. Heck, dozens of them have been going missing for months and no one seems to care. But there’s no denying the tattoo emblazoned on her arm. She is queen. 

 


Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
Release Date: 14 January 2020

Look at that gorgeous cover! First look and I’m already in love!  Dark and Deepest Red is a Historical Fantasy novel that tells the story of  Rosell Oliva whose feet is sealed to a red pair of shoes that makes her dance uncontrollably. This draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago.  Interesting, right?

 


Gone by Nightfall by Dee Garretson
Release Date: 21 January 2020

Another Historical novel had made it on my list.  “A young woman is torn between her home and her dreams during the Russian Revolution.” 

It’s 1917, and Charlotte Mason is determined to make a life for herself in czarist Russia. When her mother dies, Charlotte is forced to put her plans to go to medical school aside to care for her unruly siblings. Just when she thinks she can get her life back, Russia descends into revolution and chaos. Now, not only does Charlotte need to leave Russia, she needs to get her siblings out too–and fast.


Layoverland by Gabby Noone
Release Date: 21 January 2020

I’m a huge fan of  The Good Place, so I was so surprised that a lot of people are saying that this book  would  be perfect for fans of said TV Series.

Though the premise of the Goodreads series isn’t similar to that of The Good Place, the whole gist was almost the same. Beatrice Fox awakens from a fatal car accident to find herself on an airplane headed for a mysterious destination. Once on the ground, Bea receives some truly harrowing news: not only is she in purgatory, but she has been chosen to join the Memory Experience team. If she wants another shot at heaven, she’ll have to use her master manipulation skills to help 5,000 souls suss out what’s keeping them from moving on. I’m excited how the whole story would be portrayed. The lead character – Beatrice Fox looks very promising so I’m really really excited!


Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles
Release Date: 21 January 2020

I’m following people on twitter who has been raving about this book. Basically, this book tackles several societal issues – pressure, anxiety and toxic masculinity. What got me more interested is that it is told in male POV. I’m excited to read why people are raving about it. Giving you a quick summary of the book below:

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want?


Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Release Date: 28 January 2020

The whole premise of this book is very timely especially with the continuous rise of online games. This looks very very interesting and promising. Giving you a little bit about the book below:

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line… And she isn’t going down without a fight.


What are your anticipated titles this month? Do we have similar books from my list? 

Don’t hesitate to comment and share yours below.

9 Best Books I’ve read this 2019

Header - Rambling Thoughs

I know, I know. The year haven’t ended yet so why am I making this list now?

Well, first, I no longer intend to read “new-ish” titles for the remaining days of the year. Actually, since the earlier parts of December, I’ve been mostly rereading titles from my shelf. For some reason, I’m just so excited for 2020 that I’ve been setting aside some books on my shelf to be read once the clock strikes 12 and it’s January 1st. (lol) Second, I also wanted to allot the last days of the year into drafting advance posts for this blog. I have several posts that I have to draft so they should be ready to published on the early weeks of January! Yay! And lastly, I wanted to catch-up with some movies and finish some series on Netflix before the year ends.

Originally, I was planning to do a list of the best 19 books instead of 9. But as I start to filter the titles that I’m going to include on my list, I realized that while I loved most of them, there are some that I just loved because it was simply a “fun” read. I wanted to make this list somewhat a challenge for myself thus I decided to narrow it down to just 9 books and let me tell you guys, it was a really tough decision!!

If we are friends on Goodreads you might have also noticed that most of the titles I’ve read this year are back list titles (titles that are released last year or a few years ago). For the past two months, I’ve really been trying to clean out my shelf of  books that I haven’t read yet and I was so happy that I was made a sizable dent on those back list titles that has been sitting on my shelf for years now.  That would explain why most of the titles below are not so new ones.

So, without further adieu here are the 9 Best Books I’ve read this 2019.

Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland

I’ve always been a trash for Vi Keeland x Penelope Ward novels and Dirty Letters just took it up a notch! I really enjoy the whole concept of childhood pen pal, reconnecting and falling in love plot. I just wanted to Griffin and Luca to finally see each other  in person to see if their chemistry also works outside the letters that they have written for each other. Of course, the steamy scenes are still steamy and spot-on as typical of Vi Keeland x Penelope Ward novels. Given that this book really fed my hopeless romantic heart, it deserves a spot on my best book list for this year.


Furyborn (Empirium #1) by Claire Legrand

This is the first book I’ve read this year and first 5-star rating that I have given as well! I’m off to a good start, right? Since I haven’t written a review about Furyborn, I honestly can’t remember little details about it (lol) but what I do remember is that this is one of the best Fantasy books I’ve read! I really appreciate the unique way how the book tells us two stories in one. I was excited to learn how these stories will merge or how one affects the other.  Overall, a superb fantasy read! I cannot wait to read Kingsbane; hopefully I’ll be able to get a copy early next year so I can finally get to reread Furyborn and continue with Kingsbane.


His Royal Highness by R.S. Grey

I’ve always been an avid follower of R.S Grey. For some reason, her novels are always a hit for me and His Royal Highness is one of those absolute hit!! I’ve been very vocal that I’m really a hopeless romantic and what more can feed my hopeless romantic heart than a romance story set in a dreamy theme park with a Princess and her Prince Charming. I really love the fresh spin to the Royal Romance Trope that R.S Grey have given on this story. Of course, it was more than just the romance, the story was packed with headstrong and lovable characters who are both struggling with their own life issues. I really enjoy as well the witty banters and engaging dialogues between the characters. (PS. There’s an epilogue and it was the most adorable one!!!)


Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Finally able to get around and read this book before the year ends! Save The Date was filled with funny wedding disasters after one another! I literally cringe at times because it feels like nothing is ever going into plan. But came in Charlie Grant to save her sister’s day. Charlie is a character that I easily liked. She’s a perfectionist and really loved her family. The whole Grant family dynamic was pretty interesting as well; every character in the family has it’s own edge and flaws. I also enjoy reading snippets from the Grant Central Station comic strip. Can I get more of that please?


The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

This is the first book by Kami Garcia that I’ve read and will definitely be not the last! Her writing was smooth and I was easily invested in it. It’s been some time since I’ve read a book with filled with angst, mystery, good girl falling for bad boy trope and I really missed it. To be honest, I really don’t find anything new or different with this book as to others with similar vibes (Beautiful Disaster, Crashing Into You, etc.) but there’s just something about Marco and Frankie’s story that really got me hooked.


The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

This book surprisingly broke my heart and made me cry! I got this book from a sale; the title and author was familiar and I’ve seen this on Twitter, Goodreads and Blogs, so I thought to myself why not get it, right? At first I thought this was some Fantasy kind of novel but I was mistaken. This book is everything! I cannot grasp the words that would best describe it. But for me, it was heartbreaking, inspiring, hopeful, beautiful, devastating – I just cant explain because I felt everything! I had a pretty rough start but as I get to know the characters, I fell in love with all of them. I love their own whole, sad lonely world and town. I can’t help but to root for all of them to get out of that hell hole because they don’t deserve it. They are a good set of characters that I will surely not forget anytime soon. I’m so looking forward to other novels of this author.


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

One of the most fun books I’ve read! Ami and Ethan was thrown together on a pretend honeymoon. Now, who wouldn’t like an all inclusive trip to Hawaii, right? When their siblings (who are getting married to each other) suffered a food poisoning on their wedding, they urge these two to go on their set honeymoon so it won’t go to waste. Ami and Ethan is such a pair – I love their banter, funny scenes and I just love reading about them falling in love with each other on every turn of the page. I’ve always been a huge fan of romantic comedies – movies or books – and Christina Lauren has always been a huge giver of such read.


The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I went on a Becky Albtertalli reading marathon last month and find myself loving this book among her other works. Molly is such a fun and relatable character (even with 26+ unrequited crushes). Where is this book when I was 15?? This would’ve helped me a lot especially with my confidence and self esteem then. This book greatly depicts how growing up can feel very very overwhelming and scary at times and how with good support (family, friends) you can get on with it one step at a time. Of course, I wouldn’t have loved it if it wasn’t for Becky’s fantastic writing!


Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

If I’m not mistaken, this was  the debut novel of Marisa Reichardt and a lot of my friends in Goodreads have given this book high ratings. And after reading it, I come to realize why they loved it. It was interesting, real, raw, heartbreaking but hopeful. Morgan intrigued me and from the get go she already got me interested. Though the romance part happened a bit fast, for me, it still helped Morgan conquer what she is going thru. Also, the whole book has this unique lyrical feel to it.


Have you read any of the titles I have listed above?

What are your best reads for 2019? Comment and share your links below. 💚

Hey, It’s me. I’m Back.

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So, hello! Wow. I’ve been sitting here in front of my laptop for almost 30 minutes now and I’m still grasping for thoughts and words on how to start this post.  Should I tell you some interesting stuff that happened to me this year?  Should I tell you why and how I’m finally coming back to blogging? I feel like I’m kinda out of my element and a bit rusty here because this is the first post that I’ve written since early 2018! I have too much excitement in me that I don’t really know how to start. (lol)

The past two years has been personally challenging for me especially in balancing work/reading/blogging. I’ve also struggled physically, emotionally and especially mentally. A lot of changes and shifts have happened in my life in just two years!

Probably one of the biggest changes I had to go thru was me leaving my day job as a travel agent this year. I’ve been with the company for almost five years, that’s quite a change, right? I’ve realized that while the benefits are good the work and the environment was no longer healthy for me. I’ve decided to finally take a break from the corporate world and try to recharge myself. Which, I’m definitely enjoying right now. 😉

I’ve been off from work for almost two months now and I find myself somehow healing. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m getting there. Given that big change in my life, I finally had the time again to do something that I’ve always enjoyed doing – reading and blogging. YAY!!

The last time I religiously blogged was I think early 2018, but I really can’t call it “religiously” because as I read back, most of the posts are reviews that I had to post because I was part of a Blog Tour. No new content really. That is something that I’ve been really looking forward to change this time. I wanted this blog to be filled more with newer personal contents aside from reviews/blog tours/tags. I actually had a bunch of ideas that I’m so excited to write and share with all of you!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I guess that’s it? I’m back. And I’m so excited to once again talk and interact with all of you. 2020 will surely be a another year filled with exciting book releases.

How was your 2019, so far? A couple of days to go & we’re welcoming a new year!

Care to share your most anticipated title for 2020? 💚