Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

An exclusive Asian community for the ultra-rich, high-octane drama and swoony romance - Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: Kevin Kwan

Genre: Contemporary

Age Range: 18+

Published: By Doubleday on June 11th, 2013

Content Warning: Tough love parents, anxiety

Format I Read: Audiobook

Grade: Exceeds expectations

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (post graphic image)

Book Synopsis (section header)

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the ‘It Girl’ of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should – and should not – marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

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Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire

A group of enslaved girls rise up to fight for their dreams in this lush and diverse young adult fantasy | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: Natasha Ngan

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 13+

Published: By Hodder & Stoughton on November 6th, 2018

Content Warning: Sexual assault, rape, violence and death

Format I Read: Kindle e-book

Grade: Exceeds expectations

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (post graphic image)

Book Synopsis (section header)

Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after – the girl with the golden eyes, whose rumoured beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable – she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

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Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After

Family, grief, love, splashes of colour and magic - The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: Emily X. R. Pan

Genre: Contemporary, magical realism

Age Range: 13+

Published: By Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on March 20th, 2018

Content Warning: Depression, suicide, death of a parent

Format I Read: Hardcover

Grade: Outstanding

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, this is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

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Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Cutesy rom-com and so much more with wonderful Korean-American rep - To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: Jenny Han

Genre: Contemporary

Age Range: 13+

Published: By Simon and Schuster on April 15th, 2014

Content Warning: Dead and absent parents, breach of teenage privacy

Format I Read: Audiobook

Grade: Outstanding

‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

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Book Review: The Poppy War

Diverse military fantasy at its finest - The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: R. F. Kuang

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 18+

Published: By Gollancz on November 8th, 2018

Content Warning: Check out this comprehensive list by the author

Format I Read: E-book

Grade: Outstanding

When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

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Book Review: Empire of Sand

A Mughal-inspired lush fantasy with characters that make you fall in love - Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: Tasha Suri

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 18+

Published: By Orbit on November 13th, 2018

Content Warning: Death, genocide and abuse

Format I Read: Kindle e-book

Grade: Outstanding

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited. When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda. Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

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Book Review: Empress of All Seasons

Hunger Games-esque plot meets Japanese folklore - Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean | Review by Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

Author: Emiko Jean

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 13+

Published: By Gollancz on November 8th, 2018

Content Warning: Tough love parent, gory violence and death

Format I Read: Kindle e-book

Grade: Exceeds expectations

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

In each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, and you can marry the prince. All are eligible to compete – all except yokai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yokai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yokai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku.

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