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Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1) by Kevin Kwan

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

3 comments

Author: Kevin Kwan
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Published: June, 2013
Price: Rp238.000 (Periplus)
Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Date started: September 18, 2018 - Date finished: September 19, 2018

**

Rachel Chu is a university professor in New York living a normal life and is currently dating a colleague in her university named Nick Young. One day, Nick asked Rachel to take a trip back to Nick's home country, Singapore, because he'll be attending his best friend's wedding as the best man. But other than that he also wanted to show Rachel around Singapore and introduce his new girlfriend to his family & friends back home. Rachel agreed to the idea because being Nick's plus one at his friend's wedding means that she can also visit her college friend Peik Lin, even though she almost knew nothing of Nick's family and friends in Singapore.

During the trip and their time in Singapore, Rachel was thrown into a world unknown to her. From first class seats on the flight, staying in the most luxurious hotel and when she meets Nick's family and friends, it became clear that Nick and all of those people are filthy rich. Besides navigating this world she was thrown in, she also had to deal with Nick's mother who from the very start doesn't approve of Rachel. What Rachel thought was a simple vacation turned into a test of her wit, resilience, sanity and relationship.
"Welcome to Singapore, Rachel–where arguing about food is the national pastime," Araminta declared. "This is probably the only country in the world where grown men can get into fistfights over which specific food stall in some godforsaken shopping center has the best rendition of some obscure fried noodle dish. It's like a pissing contest!"
Well, first of all i'd just like to say it has been a hot minute since I posted anything on this blog. The truth is, I haven't been reading that much lately. Crazy Rich Asians was actually the first book that I finished in one sitting in a LONG time. Honestly, going into this book I expected I would finish with a 4 star rating or maybe even more than that, but truthfully this book didn't live up to my expectation and its hype.

What I liked about this book is the culture aspect, especially about life in Singapore, which I don't know much about from the local language, customs, tourism, food I think this book pretty much has it all. I also liked reading about the behaviors of rich people in this book, although sometimes some of their actions are too extravagant and got me to think "do rich people actually do this or is it just embellishment by the author since it is a story about the crazy rich".
“Just because some people actually work for their money doesn’t mean they are beneath you.”
“Doing nothing can sometimes be the most effective form of action. If you do nothing, you'll be sending a clear message: that you're stronger than they think you are. Not to mention a lot classier. Think about it.”
Another thing I liked that is also at the same time what I disliked, the book's characters. The author used multiple POVs in writing this story so we really know the value of some of the characters and are able to get to know some of them deeper than others as well, I particularly liked Eddie's and Eleanor's perspective. On to the problem I had in terms of characters, since there are a lot of characters in this book, the side characters were underdeveloped in my opinion. I even feel that some side characters only appear in one line only like the author was just throwing it in there for exaggeration sake.

A part that's true to what people say on this book is the fact that reading this was an entertaining journey. The story is pretty much plot-driven in the sense that the readers are taken on a journey to follow what will happen to Nick & Rachel's relationship, what kind of obstacles they'll face, etc.
Marriage was purely a matter of timing, and whenever a man was finally done sowing his wild oats and ready to settle down, whichever girl happened to be there at the time would be the right one.
I was actually one of those people who read the book after seeing the movie. In a way, I feel that this is the right way for me to read this book because when I started reading this book I was hella confused because there's like a million characters in this book and I was able to navigate reading this book without confusing one character over another because I already had a good grasp of some of the characters. If I had started this book before watching the movie, I would've hands down DNFed it.

Of course as with any book to movie adaptation there's bound to be differences between the book and the movie. In this case, I don't feel like the book was better than the movie or vice versa. Will I pick up the sequel? Yes, because I do want to find out some things that were left unanswered in the first book, but I don't think I'll be picking it up anytime soon.

That's all for now!
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Book Review: Twisted Palace (The Royals, #3) by Erin Watt

Thursday, September 27, 2018

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Author: Erin Watt
Publisher: Timeout LLC
Pages: 322
Format: E-book
Published: October, 2016
Price: $5.99 -> Rp79.571 (Kobo)
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Date started: September 10, 2017 - Date finished: September 11, 2017

Other books in the series:

WARNING: THIS REVIEW MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS OF BOOK ONE AND TWO

**

The third instalment of this series picked up right where the second book left off. A lot of drama ensue in this book from blackmail to murder. The main one being the death of Brooke where Reed Royal became the prime suspect of this incident. Reed is facing criminal charges as everyone is sure that he did kill her and the the ones that are close to him can't help but wonder is he capable of such thing?

We also follow how Ella Harper has to deal with the sudden appearance of his biological father, Steve, who after all this time was apparently still alive. The sudden appearance of Steve created a wedge on Ella and Reed's relationship as he doesn't approve of them being intimate with each other. Being away from Ella for so long, Steve is determined to make up for lost time starting from removing Ella from the Royal house to live with him. It seems that Ella got settled into her new life with the Royals just to be uprooted once again.

In school, things aren't exactly all good as the Royals family that was once respected by the students in it are now starting to believe that the Royals are nothing more than just common criminals. In this third book, we follow Ella and Reed fighting to maintain their relationship in the face of what might be their hardest obstacle yet.
“I’m a Royal, baby. I don’t run. I fight.”
Again, apologies if this review is not of high quality because as with the review of Mr. President, I read this book in 2017 but only started writing the review in 2018. I've probably forgotten most of what happened in this book but what I still remember clearly was how much I enjoyed reading this book and finding out about the "twist" in the story. The quality level of this book if I may sum it up is like an addicting soap opera where the romance is hot and the story is interesting.
“Because my goal for the weeks we have left is to make Ella Harper happy every second of every day.”
I am pleasantly surprised by this series, from the first book until the third one, all of them were able to snag a solid 4 star rating from me, which is rare for me in a series. I love how even in this third book, the authors still manage to create a highly addicting story to keep me glued to my e-reader flipping through the pages so that I can find out what happen. I had a great time following the story, how the characters deal with the conflicts presented in this book and seeing the characters grow.

This book is also the final book following Ella and Reed's perspectives, which is kinda sad because I really liked following the story through their perspectives. But, the Royal family story doesn't end with this book though because there's already a spin-off series following Easton's perspectives and oh boy am I excited to read it because Easton is one of my favorite characters beside Ella and Reed. I do hope I can get to reading Easton's story in the near future.
“But I’m not scared anymore, and I did find someone who sees me. Who really, truly sees me. And I see her, too. Ella Harper is all I’m ever going to see, because she’s my future. She’s my steel and my fire and my salvation. She’s everything.”
“Why does everyone always feel the need to make promises? Don’t they know that promises always get broken?”
The same positive things I can say for this book as well from how easy to read it is, how the chemistry between Ella and Reed was really well built up, how the steamy scenes were very well written to the point that you sometimes forget that you're reading sex scenes between teenagers (the scenes can match the quality of an adult sex scenes in other books). If you're not sure you can commit to this series than I suggest you give the first book a shot but I must warn you that after finishing it you'll definitely want to continue.

That's all for now!
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Book Review: Mr. President (White House, #1) by Katy Evans

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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Author: Katy Evans
Publisher: KT Publishing LLC
Pages: 334
Format: E-book
Published: October, 2016
Price: $4.99 -> Rp 66.372 (Kobo Store)
Rating: 2 / 5 stars

Date started: June 6, 2017 - Date finished: June 7, 2017

**

The Hamilton family can be described as the modern day Kennedys, The patron of the family was a president of the United States and he also died because someone shot him. Basically, the Hamiltons are American royalty. Matthew, the son in the family is now in the running to become president of the USA. If he succeeded he'll be the youngest president to be elected in history.

Charlotte Wells has always had a crush on Matthew Hamilton ever since she first met him during an event Matt's father held. At that time Charlotte was only 11 years old and she jokingly said that if Matt would ever run for office she'll help with his campaign. Fast forward 10 years later, true to her words she is now helping Matt with his campaign to become president.

She has always believed that Matt would be a great president. His father was in his short time and now he will be once he is elected. Being involved in Matt's campaign only solidify her opinion of this. As they worked together more frequently, their feelings of one another grew as well. One thing led to another and they end up developing a relationship with each other, which is a dangerous thing given what kind of damage a relationship like this can do to his campaign.
“I really hadn’t realized how much we missed a strong leader, an inspiring leader, until every time I stare at the one I want. He could make such a difference. A man like him could make such a difference.” 
First of all I'd like to say sorry for this trash of a review because I actually read this book in 2017 but this review was written in 2018! So yeah, a year later I looked at this draft and do not know what to write in it. Anyways, as I said, please excuse this pathetic review as I probably have forgotten most if not all of my thoughts on this book. The writings below are what I can gather from my dumbass brain on the book. Don't attack me.

This book had the makings of a great story. This isn't by far the most original story in the world since you all have probably read a story like this somewhere else using the trope of forbidden romance where the characters fall in love with each other even though they shouldn't because of certain circumstances.
“For years the public has come to believe every promise made by every candidate has been pure bulls**t. Nobody believes in them anymore. Politics has been totally tainted by propaganda…America wants a change. America wants to grow. America wants to be young and powerful again.”
I mean, this book is basically the show Scandal in word form with younger characters. We all know the great, complicated and frustrating romance of Olivia Pope and Fitzgerald Grant, which was what I kind of hoped would appear in this book since the romance between an aide and a presidential candidate is always a scandalous thing to read about. I did not get the drama that I expected from this book.

In a book that was 300+ pages long, I actually need more pages. If we're talking about romance, chemistry and steamy scenes I can say that this book does those three things justice. What I need more of was the political storyline, Scandal was able to make politics interesting and I had hoped that this book would do the same thing to me, but alas I was left wanting more.
“You can’t say Charlotte is beautiful, she’s too stunning for that. You just don’t forget a face like hers…Despite being raised as a senator’s daughter, she’s so far been untouched by political scandal…she loves the presidency—and she always has.”
Will I pick up the sequel? Umm, not sure as I have forgotten most of what happened on this book except the ending (I think?) but yeah, if you're in the mood for a quick read that you can just breeze through, give this a try.

That's all for now!
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Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Sunday, May 13, 2018

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Author: A.J. Finn
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 448
Format: E-book
Published: January, 2018
Price: $6.75 -> Rp94.163 (Amazon)
Rating: 4½ / 5 stars

Date started: May 5, 2018 - Date finished: May 6, 2018

**

This book follows Anna Fox, a child psychiatrist with agoraphobia after a traumatic incident. She doesn't practice anymore and is sequestered in her home all the time unable to go outside. She spends her days with therapy sessions, online chess games, exercising, actively participating in an online community of agoraphobes, and observing her neighbors through her windows with a camera.

Anna observes and knows every single movement of her neighbors. One day, a new family moved in, The Russells. They seemed like a perfect family, but one day when Anna was looking out through her window to The Russel's house she witness something horrible. When Anna told the police about what happened, nobody believed her because at that time she was hopped up on her medication and had drank some alcohol. It doesn't help as well that everything seems normal at The Russel's household, like nothing bad had happened. Fuelled with certainty that what she saw was real, she tries to prove that she wasn't hallucinating. This attempt later unearth dark secrets of Anna and The Russells.
“If there's one thing I've learned in all my time working with children, if I could whittle those years down to a single revelation, it's this: They are extraordinarily resilient. They can withstand neglect; they can survive abuse; they can endure, even thrive, where adults would collapse like umbrellas.”
It's been a while since I've read a good thriller and this was a really good one. It has solid storytelling and great characterization. This book definitely reminds me of The Girl on the Train because of the "unreliable main character witnessing something horrible and no one believes her" vibe. As with other mystery/thriller type of books, it's as good as its plot twist. I can for sure say that this one has a good plot twist happening. I'll say this one has more than one plot twist, one surprised me to the point where I yelled "WHAT?" loudly while reading and one I kind of suspected but the execution was very satisfying.
“You can hear someone’s secrets and their fears and their wants, but remember that these exist alongside other people’s secrets and fears, people living in the same room.”
The strengths of this book definitely lie on its writing and characterization. Seeing as this book is a debut, I'm pleasantly surprised by how well the writing was. The writing was easy to follow, not at all confusing, straightforward, descriptive enough to make you visualize the surroundings clearly but not too descriptive that makes you bored reading, and very atmospheric to me. I read this book in the middle of the night and the scenes that were supposed to be scary/thrilling worked on me, my heart was racing, and I felt scared as if I was the one in the scenes. The authors way of connecting the storyline from start to finish by dividing the chapters into the dates also worked well here as I can distinguish clearly between flashbacks and present events.
“The definition of insanity, Fox, Wesley used to remind me, paraphrasing Einstein, is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different result.”
Strength in characterization for this book lies in the way the main character is created and described throughout this book. I can't speak about the agoraphobia representation in this book since I'm not very well versed in that subject but I felt that I learned more about it from this book. In the first half of the book, nothing really happened that was especially thrilling as it focuses more on getting to know the main character. It may sound boring to you, but I think this is the author's way of making the reader understand Anna and I don't know about you, but it worked with me. I feel myself judging and critiquing her decisions that I felt were stupid and wrong. I also find myself rooting for her in times of crisis.
“This is classic therapist argot: It sounds to me. What I’m hearing. I think you’re saying. We’re interpreters. We’re translators.”
Definitely one of the top reads of 2018 for me. Highly recommend to mystery/thriller fans as well as beginners out there.

That's all for now!
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Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Saturday, May 12, 2018

1 comment

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 401
Format: E-book
Published: June, 2017
Price: $11.9 -> Rp166.273 (Amazon)
Rating: 4½ / 5 stars

Date started: April 23, 2018 - Date finished: April 24, 2018

**

Evelyn Hugo is an actress that started her career in the 1950s and was very popular until the late 1980s. She starred in several movies and went on to be nominated and eventually won an Oscar. She's essentially like on par with Marilyn Monroe mixed with either Joan Crawford or Bette Davis. When people call her, they refer to her with her full name. Besides her career, the other thing that's interesting about Evelyn is the fact that during those years she's been married seven times with seven different husbands.

Fast forward to present day and to another character, we have Monique Grant, who just started working as a journalist for a big magazine. One day, she was called into her boss's office saying that Evelyn Hugo, asked for Monique personally to interview her and she doesn't want any other journalist besides her. This was baffling because Monique is not that popular of a writer except for a piece she did before her gig with the magazine, but even though the request was unusual, Monique's boss couldn't pass up an opportunity to interview the Evelyn Hugo.

When Monique arrived to interview Evelyn, little did she know that Evelyn doesn't want to do an interview for the magazine, instead she offered Monique the chance of a lifetime, which is to write Evelyn's biography, a tell-all-no-holds-barred account of her life as a famous actress and the wife of seven different husbands. Monique was still confused as to why Evelyn wants her and only her to write this book, but on the other hand she would be stupid to pass up this opportunity.
"You and I will meet over the next however many days it takes, and I will tell you absolutely everything. And then our relationship will be over, and you will be free–or perhaps should I say bound–to write it into a book and sell it to the highest bidder. And I do mean highest. I insist that you be ruthless in your negotiating, Monique. Make them pay you what they would pay a white man. And then, once you've done that, every penny from it will be yours."
This was the very definition of an unputdownable book. I started this book at midnight and several hours later I was halfway through it, I would've powered through it but decided not to because I needed some sleep to prepare for an interview in the afternoon and during that interview all I kept thinking was that I couldn't wait to get home and finish this book. This book flows so seamlessly between past and present. The author really created this VERY interesting life for Evelyn. I loved how the chapters were written out to correspond with the people Evelyn married, so each chapter we follow Evelyn's life when from the start of her career to when she decided to stop acting.
Maybe I'm overthinking that photo, but I'm starting to notice a pattern: Evelyn always leaves you hoping you'll get just a little bit more. And she always denies you.
So many important topics were discussed here, most importantly about impact of fame, what people will do for it, love, domestic abuse, racism, death and dealing with grief and how people view sexuality in the 1950s-80s. I can't speak for the accurateness of those discussed topics but I personally felt I learned a few things from this book.
This is something that everyone should know about stars. We like to be told we are adored, and we want you to repeat yourself. Later in life, people would always come up to me and say, "I'm sure you don't want to hear me blabbering on about how great you are," and I always say as if I'm joking, "Oh, one more time won't hurt." But the truth is, praise is just an addiction. The more of it you need just to stay even.
"When you're given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn't give things, you take things. If you learn one thing from me it should be that."
My only problem with this book is that we didn't get to know more of Monique. I feel like the author could've made a little bit more of an effort into her characterization because Evelyn definitely stole the spotlight from her in this book. To me, Monique only purpose in this book was to listen to Evelyn's stories and react to them. Evelyn is just one of those characters that's fleshed out so well that you need to step back and realize that she's not actually a real person. I also really liked that as a main character, Evelyn is of Cuban heritage and Monique is biracial.
People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is "You're safe with me"–that's intimacy.
It's always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.
I bet you're wondering why I didn't give this book a 5 star rating because this review is full of praises for this book. Well, to answer your question, I had to duck down half a star because of Monique's characterization and how I wanted so much more out of her. No doubt, one of my favourites of this year and I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone. Just read it, period.

That's all for now!
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