Tag Archives: book

Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy

It took me till 2 am last night but I did it. I finally finished the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. 

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy): Kwan, Kevin ...

China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy): Kwan, Kevin ...

Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy): Kwan, Kevin ...

I kind of feel like I deserve an award now. I’ve been reading the series for a year and though nominally its only 1,190 pages…it feels like ten times that. 

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ve got a slight taste of what the books are like. I’d say the first book was the best and the third one was a very satisfying ending. The middle one was sensory overload, and I didn’t even know you could get sensory overload from a book.

Have you read the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy or seen the movie? What are your thoughts?


Little Women (2019)

Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women (2019)

I saw Little Women yesterday in theaters with my Mom, Signe, and Bethany.  Though I had my hesitations going in, I was was overall impressed with the movie. 

It does a good job with the Little Women story. As an ardent fan of K Dramas and BBC mini-series, I definitely felt it could have used more development. I thought Meg’s story line in particular needed more development and that the actress who plays Amy had too deep a voice to play a young teenager. Laurie never aged and remained wishy-washy till the end. But overall, it was well done.

The movie touches on many of the iconic scenes from the book. But it mixes them up in new ways. It had lovely costuming. And more importantly, it contained several memorable scenes that I think beautifully added to the story. (Jo’s loneliness being a particularly poignant one.) 

I certainly want to see it again and recommend watching it if you haven’t already. But if you did see it, what are your thoughts? 


Can’t Wait Wednesday

I’m too sleepy to think of a more in-depth blog post tonight, so here we go:

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released.

Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes, #2)

Title: Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev

Publishing Date: May 26, 2020

I just finished Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors by the same author and the way it ends definitely sets up for some companion books. So I immediately looked for said companion books…only to learn, they haven’t been published yet!

Recipe for Persuasion is a Persuasion by Jane Austen retelling which I am always down for. Not sure what to expect, as I had my hesitations with Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors. But overall, that was a good book and I’m intrigued enough to delve back into the world it created. 


Howards End

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Bethany and I finished Howards End. Mixed feelings…but mostly satisfaction. I think we both enjoyed it. It helped that we were predisposed towards Mr Darcy’s (I mean, Matthew Macfadyen’s) character. The ending perhaps felt perhaps a little rushed. But it was satisfying. 

At any rate, I bought us each a copy of the novel written in 1910 so we shall see if the book is as good! Grab a copy at your local Half Priced Books and join us! (Barnes and Noble did not carry it, much to our disgust.) 

Also, happy palindrome day! 02-02-2020 reads the same backwards and forwards! (Oh, and I guess happy super bowl day or however you celebrate it.) 


2019 Reading Challenge: My 5 Star Reviews, Part 2

Best reads of 2019…continued. 

Since You Asked… & Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Since You Asked… was Maurene Goo’s first novel and Somewhere Only We Know her most recent. I loved them both. But honestly, I have yet to meet a Maurene Goo novel I did not love. She writes about Korean-Americans and usually references Korean dramas which is the way to my heart. Since You Asked… feels very “first novel” but the snarky heroine, tight friend group, and lack of any overarching plot make up for it. It balances angst with character growth and I found it super heartwarming. Meanwhile, Somewhere Only We Know is the story of a K-pop starlet trying to take a day off and a paparazzi who tricks her into hanging out with him. The K-pop starlet carries the plot with a quirky, driven character and it made for some fun, fluffy reading while still maintaining an undercurrent of emotional punch. If looking for some good YA, I will always recommend Maurene Goo. 

From Buddha to Jesus: An Insider’s View of Buddhism and Christianity by Steve Cioccolanti

I recommend this book with a caveat: a formally Buddhist (now Christian) friend recommended it to me while I was studying in Thailand because I was struggling to understand Eastern Buddhism. (It is quite different from Western Buddhism.) The book does a great job differentiating the two. It perfectly fit what I needed at the time. But I would not recommend this to the casual reader hoping to compare the two religions. The main purpose of this book is to be a very short and to the point primer for Christians going on short term missions with the intention of witnessing to Buddhists in Asia. It might be an “insider’s view,” but it is a very select view with a very specific mission. 

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza (audio book version

This was an absolutely delicious audio book and if you decide to read The Knockoff, I recommend checking it out in the audio format. Katherine Kellgren somehow manages British posh, valley-girl, and start-up tech nerd without once making it feel forced or awkward. Delightful. The story itself is a novel about a middle aged woman who returns to her position as editor of a fashion magazine after a long leave only to find her boss turned it into an app. Now, surrounded by Millennials and baffled by e-mail, this Gen Xer must learn to find commonality with her co-workers and save her magazine. Despite a rather over-the-top villain, I found the story surprisingly thought-provoking and sweet. I really liked it. Very memorable. 

Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose

This memoir tells the story of an American missionary who was held in a Japanese POW camp for four years during WW2. While it certainly recounts God’s grace to the prisoners during a very harrowing time, my favorite parts were when Darlene Deibler Rose lets down her hair a little and lets you know what she really thinks. For as much grace as she shows to her Japanese captors, she might suddenly name drop someone and be like “Yeah, that woman was a skank who had 3 amazing kids and I have no idea how they turned out amazing with a Mom like her.” And you would think it would come across as offensive and maybe it does to some. But to me it felt genuine. The personality of the storyteller really shines through. This is an imperfect memoir that feels super genuine and honest because of its imperfections.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

So, Crazy Rich Asians made 5 stars. China Rich Girlfriend did not. Jury is still out on Rich People Problems. We shall see. But I sure loved this one. It is a not-so-subtle mockery of the glitzy, rich life of an elite few and I ate up every word. Like the movie, my favorite part is how the intertwining stories balance the soap opera of Nick and Rachel’s life with the [still soap-opera-y] but more hard hitting drama of Astrid’s crumbling marriage. Of course, it is not perfect. Definitely vulgar at times and more language than I like. But so fluffy and ridiculously over the top I could not help loving it.

 


The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

If you asked me a week ago why I added The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson  to my to-read list, I would say it recently took my Goodreads friends by a storm and someone or other recommended it to me. 

Image result for the accidental beauty queen

But I just checked and, in fact, only one of my friends has read The Accidental Beauty Queen. The rest simply marked it to read. So who knows why I picked it up. 

Image result for fate destiny a horse

The plot centers on Charlotte, a librarian whose identical twin sister competes in beauty pageants. The beauty pageant twin gets a chance to compete in Miss America  Miss American Treasure and invites Charlotte to come along. Of course you know what happens next. The beauty pageant twin has an allergic reaction and it is up to her Harry Potter-quoting, “nerdy” sister to carry the day and win the crown. 

Final rating: 3/5 stars.

Admittedly I kind of want to hate this book, but it was so fluffy I can’t.

The story represents sheer wish fulfillment. It is the idea that YOU (meek little bookworm) are one spray tan and hair extension away from being Miss America. And who doesn’t want to feel that way?

Further, you don’t even need the spray tan to gain the love of a Super Hawt Billionaire (who adores books and dogs and children) because he will take one look at you and fall for your makeup-less face and Quirky Nerd Girl T-Shirt.

Because Harry Potter is, like, so niche. It takes an English degree to get it.

But actually, Harry Potter references I can forgive. I mean, I cannot name all the dogs in the series at the drop of a hat which the male lead just randomly does. So, good for your super hot billionaire Mr. Gray. (Ugh, but his name is Gray. I don’t think I can forgive that. If your book makes fun of someone for calling 50 Shades of Gray her favorite novel, DON’T NAME YOUR HERO GRAY AND MAKE HIM A BILLIONAIRE.)

I also don’t think I can forgive Charlotte’s description of herself. You see, woe is her, she is the Lizzie to her identical twin sister’s Jane. The Jo to her sister’s Meg.

Such a failure.

But come on. We all know Lizzie is the one to be and Meg is an utter bore. So, you’re telling me this well read, articulate librarian ACTUALLY feels bummed that she is a Lizzie and not Jane? I think not. But then she wouldn’t be this totally down-to-earth, quirky, nerd girl if she ALSO had self-esteem, would she?

(Side note: can we talk about this girl’s genes because she eats however she wants and still can fit into her model sister’s swimsuit and evening gowns for this pageant. If I was the beauty pageant twin and never ate carbs, I’d be super salty.)

But all that aside, this IS wish fulfillment and not even the morally superior tone of our nerd girl, the in-your-face message about how beauty queens are great people too, and the rushed nature of the plot can ruin it. It is sheer fluff and fun. A fast, easy, light-hearted read…basically an adult Disney Channel original movie but as a novel. And for once, actually it is kind of nice to have a 29-year-old heroine take the stage and not another angsty teen or incompetent Sophie Kinsella heroine. 


Keep Moving: And Other Truths About Living Well Longer by Dick Van Dyke

Keep Moving: And Other Truths About Living Well Longer by Dick Van Dyke – 3/5 stars

If deciding between this one or My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business, an earlier memoir by Dick Van Dyke, read this one. It is shorter, contains many of the same stories, and actually was a little bit more interesting. Not that I consider that saying much. See my review of My Lucky Life.

Dick Van Dyke gives more opinions in this book. He takes a stand and I like that. He talks about his favorite presidents, historical events he lived through, and his daily routine. It actually provides a picture of who he is, not just people he knows.

But I think it falls into the same trap his earlier memoir does. I really feel like his earlier memoir lost me when he started justifying his divorce from his first wife. ‘She didn’t understand.’ ‘He was caught between two strong women.’ ‘Show business was his life! He needed someone who understood that.’ etc. etc.

Here the justification is not why he left his wife but why his third wife is 43 years younger than himself.

(Frankly, I’m more curious as to why he never “got around” to marrying the palimony woman. There is a good story there. You don’t live with a person 30+ years and just “forget” to get married! Especially not her!)

But anyway, if this book has a theme besides thoughts on growing old, it is a justification of his new wife (who is about the same age as his grandchildren.) 

I enjoyed it. It was a fast read. And I think my favorite takeaway came at the beginning where he says, I paraphrase, “When you are in your 20s, you have Plan A. When you are in your 40s, it is Plan B. And when you make it to your 70s, you finally realize there is no plan at all.”