January 8, 2020

Friends with ARCS | Loveboat, Taipei + Woven in Moonlight

Loveboat, Taipei is like Crazy Rich Asians meets American Panda, but is also very much a contemporary YA that stands all on its own. Ever Wong’s summer plans are completely disrupted when her parents send her off to Taipei to attend Chien Tan, an educational program meant to help Ever with her Mandarin skills and appreciation of her culture. But what Ever discovers is that the program is affectionately known as Loveboat, a summer-long party where adults turn a blind eye and teens have the freedom to pursue nights out and hook-ups as much as they want. Ever is about to have an unforgettable summer that might just change the rest of her life... It’s worth noting that this novel has a couple of elements I’m partial to - a life-changing summer, a foreign ‘educational program’ setting and cultural details I’m personally unfamiliar with (Taiwanese and Chinese). I was predisposed to enjoy this one, and I’m happy to report that I loved it! It was fun to read about all the shenanigans (good and bad) that occur, and the experiences and relationships Ever makes in Taiwan. But what really made this novel a cut above the rest had a lot to do with Ever herself. Ever is upset with her parents, who never seem to understand or really see her, who are constantly boxing her into an ideal future that they’ve sacrificed everything for. This summer away is a chance for her to really be on her own, to rebel against the constraints placed against her and to decide who and what she really stands for. While I’ve never specifically had Ever’s experiences, the heart of them really resonated on a personal level (so much so that it made me emotional). I really loved Loveboat, Taipei, and I can’t wait for other readers to get their hands on this story and fall in love with it too!

If you could have participated in a summer abroad program to get fluent in another language and learn about another culture, where would you go and why? If you know me at all, you’d probably be able to guess my answer. I’d go to a summer abroad program in Japan! I’d love to become fluent in Japanese, and not just because I love Japanese anime and manga (though that’s a big part of it). I’ve always found their mix of modernity and history interesting too, and I’d be very attentive when it came to learning about their traditions and past (good and bad).

Loveboat, Taipei was released on January 7, 2020 by Harper Teen.
I received an ARC from the publisher for review.

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, who stands in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. When the usurper king Atoc demands the Condesa’s hand in marriage, Ximena goes in her stead, determined to use the opportunity to find the ancient relic that Atoc used to summon a ghost army and take the throne years before. But as Ximena gets to know the enemy and starts seeing them as actual individuals, she finds herself questioning what course of action is best for her kingdom – and whether that means betraying her Condesa and need for revenge. I’ll admit that it was the beautiful cover (designed by the author!) that caught my eye first! Happily, Woven in Moonlight ended up being a fun read! The plot structure and characters are typical of YA fantasy reads, but what does make this story stand out is the integration of Bolivian culture (particularly in language, fashion and food). It was enjoyable (particularly the last 30%) and I flew quickly through this book. If you’re in the mood for a lighter YA fantasy read, Woven in Moonlight might be an ideal choice.

Do you know how to do any clothwork? I had to study sewing and cross-stitch for an entire quarter when I was in high school, so I can say I’m proficient (though maybe a little rusty) at both. I also know the basics of knitting (but only for specific things). I’d really like to learn how to crochet one day though!

Woven in Moonlight was released on January 7, 2020 by Page Street Books.
I received an e-ARC via Netgalley for review.


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