Hello everyone! Today I have some bullet (mini) reviews over three vastly different books. I’ll start with Control Freakz by Michael Evans, Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski, then American Panda by Gloria Chao. Control Freakz was a slightly disappointing dystopian book written by a high school student. Dare Mighty Things was an interesting sci-fi read full of strange twists, and American Panda was a contemporary romance about a super smart Taiwanese American! It has been kind of an “eh” reading month for me, but maybe you can find something new to add to your TBR!
Control Freakz by Michael Evans
Thank you to the author for providing a review copy!
- Link to excerpt on Goodreads
- Ok, I was really excited to read this book. It had a cool premise and usually I like dystopian type books.
- However, I have been trying to finish this since January. I was intrigued by the beginning, but it quickly went downhill. If I am going to enjoy something, it’s not going to take four months for me to read it. Thus, it’s a DNF for me. (Which is rare…)
- The story was fairly slow moving. There were some action scenes (done quite nicely actually) but most of the story consisted of Natalie’s inner thoughts.
- Natalie (the main character) tended to talk only about how terrible her life was or how much she loved Hunter.
- Speaking of Hunter, he was portrayed as the perfect guy with perfect hair and beautiful eyes and limited personality. I became kind of tired of listening to Natalie talk on and on about him, as there’s wasn’t much to Hunter.
- Natalie herself was not a bad character, she just had too many thoughts. She is constantly thinking about everything going wrong, which gets very repetitive. Also, some of her thoughts were written in italics, which I found unnecessary. Those same thoughts would have flowed better without the italics.
- Frequently, the location or time would change without any warning, and I would be very confused as to what was going on. At one point, the story jumped forward three years, and it took quite a while for me to figure that out. Other times, there were small location changes, but the transitions were not solid.
- On a more positive note, I really liked the descriptions of the city and the surrounding areas. All of the settings were described wonderfully, and you could really get a sense of where the characters were and what they were seeing.
- I also liked the big idea of the story. It had great potential and had the start of something awesome. I like the idea of a futuristic place similar to our current world that has taken a wrong turn, and several elements mimicked aspects of our current society.
- Overall, this was just not the book for me. Just because I did not enjoy the book does not mean someone else won’t. It was a great foundation for a first novel, and I would be interested in seeing what else the author will create.
Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski
- Link to description on Goodreads
- I discovered this book at the library and found the description to be quite interesting. It sounded like a Hunger Games in space with some mysterious elements, yet there was far more to the story than that.
- Basically, my first ideas were wrong and I personally found the description to be a little deceiving.
- It is set several years into the future where technology is more advanced, but most other things are similar to today. For example, they can “choose” the genes of their children to make them better, smarter, faster, etc.
- Then there are the awesome science fiction outer space aspects! I loved reading about the science things (even though much of it went over my head), and it made me wish I knew more about space!
- Cassie is a pretty good main character, though she kind of lacks personality in the beginning. It is obvious that she is very smart and has the ability to be successful in the challenges she is faced, but I wanted more emotion and depth. She is supposed to be hiding emotion for the competition, but some more personal, inner thoughts would have been nice.
- Towards the middle/end of the story, we begin to see a bit more of Cassie and who she really is, and I liked those sides of her! I think it might have been better to start that growth sooner, but it is nice that it came eventually!
- As for the competition, it’s obvious that it is more than it seems. This adds a great element of secretiveness and mystery. Cassie is competing against many other talented, intelligent young people for a spot in a secret space mission. The people running this thing are very secretive and are obviously hiding something. I liked the added mystery, but it seemed more like a side thought instead of a main problem.
- As for the many other characters, we get to know a few of them better, and they bring out the more emotional, personal sides of Cassie. She makes a few friends, and they stick with her throughout the program. It is awesome to see that she was able to make friends in such a high stakes environment, and most were genuine friendships.
- Then there’s Luka. He’s the “best” at the competition, always ranked first. No one really knows what to make of him, and I really liked the secretive aura he was given. Cassie begins to break through to him, and it adds to both her person and Luka’s. There’s not really a romantic relationship between them, and that was very refreshing also.
- Without saying too much, I was quite surprised by the ending. That in itself made me want to read the second book, One Giant Leap, which is set to release on October 23, 2018!
- Overall, it was a pretty good story! I liked the characters enough, but more could have been done for them. The idea of a special competition for a top secret space mission is really cool, and I liked how the story played out towards the end of the story.
American Panda by Gloria Chao
- Link to description on Goodreads
- I was suuuupperrr excited to read this book because it reminded me a lot of When Dimple Met Rishi which I LOVED.
- Because of this massive excitement, I was a little disappointed, though I still enjoyed the story.
- I really liked Mei as a character! She had an awesome voice and was quite funny. Her thoughts and opinions were unique, and I truly enjoyed reading from her perspective.
- I am by no means familiar with any aspects of Chinese culture, but I loved learning about it! The story gave many insights into Mei’s culture and the traditions her family follows.
- Mei’s mother was a bit annoying. Mei has gone off to college a year early, and her mother has a specific idea on what she should be doing during her time in college. She is quite concerned about Mei, and though her efforts reflect her personality and upbringing, she is not respecting Mei’s opinions. I understand the point of her nagging, but it just became annoying after a while.
- I was expecting more romance throughout the story, but there wasn’t much. Darren is a nice guy, and he has a great sense of humor as well, but I wanted more between them. I actually really liked Darren, and the two of them had some great moments, but I could have used more.
- Xing, Mei’s brother, is quite interesting as well. He has been essentially removed from the family for dating the wrong girl. Mei seeks him out, and they begin to meet in secret. Mei learns quite a bit about him that helps her navigate both her mother’s opinions and her own.
- Mei has been sent to MIT to become a doctor, at the insistence of her parents. However, she has a fear of germs and has zero desire to become a doctor. Instead, she loves dance and would much rather open her own dance studio. She debates between satisfying her parents and following her own dreams. I actually really liked this debate, as it showed the depth of her character and revealed so much more of her personality.
- Speaking of dance, I was pleasantly surprised to find that she enjoyed dance! I did dance for many years, and I can understand why Mei enjoyed it. It is fun and kind of freeing, and Mei uses it as an escape from her daily troubles.
- Overall, I really enjoyed Mei and her story. I feel that I learned several things about Chinese culture, and I loved reading about it! I liked the depth of character in Mei, and I enjoyed watching her and the other characters change throughout the story. If you enjoy reading about other cultures and sweet, funny college students, you should check out American Panda!
Hey, I made some new graphics!! I made them all have a blue and bookish theme, and I think they look quite nice!
Chat with me! Have you read any of these books? What did you think?