Quick Take: China Rich Girlfriend

China Rich Girlfriend (#2) by Kevin Kwan
three-star-rating-black-hi

china rich girlfriendJust like the first book, “Crazy Rich Asians”, this was hilarious, touching and so full of scandal! I had so much fun with it! Definitely the perfect summer read.

This continuation of the story from the first book starts as the wedding of Rachel and Nick is approaching. We are seeing the fallout impact of Nick being cut off from his family and how his slightly overbearing, crazy mother is going to whatever lengths to figure out all the details that she can about this wedding that she was not invited to. We also see Rachel coming to terms with the story of her parentage and how she never got the opportunity to know her birth father, especially with the wedding approaching. Lo and behold, Nicks’ mother shows up with information about Rachels’ birth father! And hijinks ensues!! Rachel and Nick are swept off to Hong Kong by her birth father, but then are dragged into the drama of the rich and famous instead. Just like the first book, we follow all the adventures, see all the drama unfolding and of course, there are some big revelations revealed that definitely left my jaw hanging.

I had a super fun time with the continuation of this story and I cannot wait to pick up the concluding novel here soon! If you are looking for a fun read, I highly recommend these books! 🙂

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2017 BookTube-A-Thon TBR

booktubeathon

Look! It’s back! Back again! BookTube-A-Thon 2017!!!! The BookTube-A-Thon is running this year from July 24th-30th and I am so excited to get started!! I participated, just barely, in the BookTube-A-Thon last year and I didn’t do quite as well as I had hoped. I am definitely hoping for better this year! I definitely have quite the TBR for the week, but before I get into that, let me link the main video with the “Reading Challenges” for the week below!

And now for my overly ambitious TBR for the 2017 BookTube-A-Thon!! booktubeathon2017

  1. Read a book with a person on the cover
    • For this challenge, I will be reading “Windwitch” by Susan Dennard! I am so excited to finally be back in this series again!!
  2. Read a hyped book
    • Now, this is the overly ambitious part of the TBR, but I want to at least start “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor. I have been wanting to read this book for the longest time, so I thought that this was the best excuse to finally start it.
  3. Finish a book in one day
    • For this challenge, I will be reading “Matilda” by Roald Dahl! I have been wanting to re-read this childhood favorite of mine, so why not this week?
  4. Read about a character that is very different from you
    • For this challenge, I will be reading “If  I Was Your Girl” by Meredith Russo. I bought this last month with the intention to read it during Pride Month, but unfortunately never got around to it. This book is about a trans-female character and that is a very different identity and experience to my own, so I am so excited to get into this read.
  5. Finish a book completely outdoors
    • For this challenge, I am hoping to double-up with “Matilda”! I plan on reading this during my lunch break outside and then in the evening, since it’s summer and I can!
  6. Read a book because of the cover
    • For this challenge, I am also hoping to double up with “If I Was Your Girl”. I bought the UK version of the book because I fell in love with it!
  7. Read 7 books
    • Now, this is the challenge that I am not anticipating on finishing, especially since I cannot imagine that I’ll actually finish “Strange the Dreamer” this week, but if I do have some room to read more, I will fulfill this challenge with some graphic novels that have yet to be read on my shelf.

So, there it is! My slightly overly ambitious TBR, but I am excited for all of the books planned for the week!! Will you be participating this year? If so, let me know what your TBR is in the comments and we can cheer each other on!! 🙂 Happy BookTube-A-Thoning everyone!!

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Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag ;)

mid year book freak out tag

It’s July. Of 2017. Already. Commence freak out! 

I don’t know about y’all, but I am still so confounded about how it’s already half way through the year! 2017 has been a great year of reading so far for me and I’m happy to share that I’m about halfway to my reading goal! So I thought this would be a fun way to look behind at the reading that I’ve done and look ahead to what I’m still exciting to read!

I’ve seen this tag circulating around the BookTube for a little while now, so I decided to bring it to our little blog home! I’ll link below a few videos that I enjoyed watching and inspired me to do this tag. With that being said, let’s get on with the questions!

  1. Best book of 2017 so far // I think I’m going to have to go with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I’ve reviewed this book here on the blog already, but let me tell you…this was stunning, it made me feel all the feels and I think everyone needs to read this!! 
  2. Best sequel of 2017 // I think hands down it’s going to have to be Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. This was incredible for so many reasons, I’ve reviewed this book here too! This was such a huge sophisticated jump for Cassandra Clare and I adored it! 
  3. A new release I haven’t read yet // I think this has to go to Strange the strange the dreamerDreamer by Laini Taylor. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews, so I definitely know I need to get to this ASAP! 
  4. Your most anticipated release for the second half of the year // Most of my most anticipated releases have already come out and I’ve read them, but I am also really excited for Warcross by Marie Lu. I’ve just started reading Marie Lu’s other books and have been really enjoying them, so I cannot wait to pick up another one of hers later this year. 
  5. Your biggest disappointment // This is a sad question, but I was definitely let down by Shelter by Jung Yun. I thought that this was a sad book that didn’t have much more depth than that, which was hard to enjoy. 
  6. Biggest surprise // To be quite honest, I have to go with Lord of Shadows again. This is definitely part of one of my biggest guilty reading pleasures, but this one was so different! Like I said, this was so beyond sophisticated compared to the earlier novels, and I really appreciated Cassandra Clare using this book to make some much needed social commentary. 
  7. Your favorite new author // I think this has to go to Yaa Gyasi for Homegoing. Homegoing was her debut novel and it left me completely breathless. I cannot wait for more works from her, hopefully soon! 
  8. New fictional crush // I think this has to go to Nick from Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. These books are so much fun and Nick is definitely a breath of fresh air, as a male protagonist! I appreciate Kevin Kwan expanding on Asian story archetypes and creating characters that not only we can relate to, but characters that we don’t often see in media. Nick is a history professor who comes from a beyond wealthy family, but wants a life that is more than just your social status. I find Nick to be compassionate, empathetic, intelligent and kind, and I appreciate that in a male protagonist. There is no dark brooding or mood swings that shift whenever…he’s just an all around good guy and I so appreciate that. 
  9. Your new favorite character // I think this has to be Iseult from Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I have a full review of this up on the blog, so check it out! Iseult is smart, kind and has a dark past, which we don’t see too often in female protagonists. I am excited to see how her character continues to evolve through this series, as this was a great first book! 
  10. A book that made you cry // Oh, like a baby…this has to go to Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I sobbed my eyes out, particularly at the end of the book. I also have a review up on the blog for this one…but this one definitely had me surprised. You know the book is going in one direction and even when it goes there, it somehow is able to hit you with this wrecking ball of feelings that I couldn’t hold in while reading. Definitely sobbed like a baby. Like, full on ugly cry…
  11.  A book that made you happy // I definitely have to go with Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han. I was so beyond excited for this book and I read this nearly in one sitting. I love the way Jenny Han writes such beautiful, uplifting and sweet contemporaries. This book was the perfect wrap up to her trilogy of books and this book was as sweet as cotton candy! 
  12. Most beautiful book // I think this might be The Twelve Lives of Samuel the twelve lives of samuel hawleyHawley by Hannah Tinti. I have no idea what this book is about, but my boyfriend bought this for me on a whim and it is truly a beautiful book. Both the jacket and the hardcover…are just beautiful works of art!
  13. What books do you still need to read by the end of the year // Now, like most people, I have quite the extensive TBR list for the rest of the year…so let’s just say that I have a lot of exciting books to get to! 🙂 

So that’s it! That’s the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag! Hope you enjoyed reading through some of my bookish reflections for this first half of the year. What about you all? What has been your favorite read so far? What are you most looking forward to? I am going to share some of my favorite videos, for you all to enjoy as well! Happy reading!!

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Does Shelter Always Equal Comfort?

Shelter by Jung Yun
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I was so excited for this book when I first heard about it. This is a debut novel that sounded like it was going to address the Korean-American child experience with sheltertheir Korean immigrant parents. This story follows Kyung Cho and his wife, Gillian, as their debts and bad decisions catch up with them and begin to threaten their livelihood. They live very close to Kyung’s parents, Jin and Mae, who gave Kyung everything they could’ve, but never showed a shred of kindness or love or patience. Seemingly out of the blue, a violent act towards Jin and Mae force them to move in with Kyung and Gillian, which also forces out the many issues that the family has bottled up over time.

In reading the synopsis for this, I was strangely excited for the opportunity to read about a struggle that I could partially relate to. My parents were much kinder and more loving growing up, however, we still had to learn the tricky balance that immigrant parents and their American-Born children typically need to learn. How does the family balance the importance of culture and the new culture that they live in? How does the child balance honoring where their ancestors come from and figure out making a new life for themselves? These are so many questions that don’t get addressed or represented in books, so I was excited for a Korean author to take a leap in addressing these issues in this debut novel. Warning: Spoilers ahead and trigger for abuse/rape. 

Continue reading

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Quick Take: ADSOM

A Darker Shade of Magic (#1) by V.E. Schwab
three-star-rating-black-hi (.75)

a darker shade of magicI first fell in love with Victoria Schwab’s writing when I read her Archived duology
back in 2015. Since then I had been meaning to read some more of her books, particularly the ones written under her V.E. Schwab pen name. I’ve read that she was branching off into adult books under her V.E. Schwab pen name and I was excited to read about her venture into Adult Fantasy from the Young Adult Fantasy world. On top of that, I’ve heard some rave reviews about her books!! So I was so excited to finally get my hands on this one and I was happy that I got to read it.

In this book, we travel through four different parallel Londons with Kell, who is one of the last Antari (magicians). The different Londons are denoted by color which reflects the main characteristics of each one; Red, the vibrant magic-filled London; Grey, a London like ours that has lost all its magic; White, a London ruled by power and manipulation; and Black, the London that has been lost. Kell is an ambassador, traveling between the Londons carrying messages to each of its rulers. However on the side, Kell is also a smuggler…bringing back and forth little artifacts for people who are willing to pay. In Grey London, he meets Delilah (Lila) Bard, a pirate who earns for a ship of her own. In Grey London, however, he also stumbles upon an object from Black London that shouldn’t even exist…and this is where all the trouble begins.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. To start, of course, I loved V.E. Schwab’s writing! As I knew I would! V.E. Schwab has such a magical way of writing that absorbs you right into the world and makes it all feel so real. It’s not overly flowery, but it’s also not lacking in anyway either. Secondly, I loved the magic system in this world! I thought it was unique, but also V.E. Schwab wrote it in a way that makes the magic seem real and like it could happen in our world. Another hallmark of V.E. Schwab’s writing is how she writes her characters and I loved all of the characters in this book! There was not a single character that I couldn’t enjoy in one way or another. Kell and Lila, as our two main protagonists, are written in such a relatable and fallible way, that it absolutely makes you feel for both of them throughout the story. The slow-burning romance is also absolutely delectable! I am not a huge fan of romances in my fantasies, so when they are done right…I can hands down appreciate it! Lila is also a wonderfully strong and complex female protagonist, which I definitely have to thank V.E. Schwab for! She is ambitious, vulnerable and not afraid to speak her mind, which I can absolutely appreciate in a female protagonist.

The one critique that I have of this book is that I could’ve used a bit more world building. I wanted to understand the four Londons a bit better, particularly Black London. We get a few sneak peeks in this book, but I wanted just a bit more. I am hoping that we will get to explore more behind the four Londons as the books continue, though!

Like I said, I very much enjoyed this first book and I cannot wait to continue on! I’ve heard that this trilogy gets better and better, so I cannot wait to keep going!

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Dualing Quick Takes: The Handmaid’s Tale

the handmaid's taleSo happy to share with you all a little dual quick takes style review of “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood! 🙂 Christina and Rachel have both recently finished it, and with the Hulu adaptation currently airing how timely these reviews seem! 🙂 We hope you enjoy our dual reviews of this book!

Christina: four-star-rating-black-hi

Y’all!!!! First of all…I am definitely slightly disappointed in myself that it’s taken me this long to read this. Shame on me. Alright…now that my self-shaming session is over, let’s get onto my MAJOR feels on this book! I will say, it did take me nearly 60 pages to really get into the book. I think this happened for two reasons: one, I had just finished a YA-fantasy book which was just paced so differently; and two, this book is shrouded in a strange sense of mystery/uncertainty and the pace of the book definitely matches that. This book was gripping and creepy, only in that this book just feels way too close to home right now…le sigh. I really can’t summarize my review/thoughts in words very well…so let me leave at this: Margaret Atwood’s writing is beautiful, gripping and incredibly thought-provoking. I can’t wait to watch the Hulu adaptation to see how it translates to the screen!

Rachel: four-star-rating-black-hi

Unlike Christina, I’m actually happy I read this when I did! Apparently like everybody and their mama, I picked this up because of all the happenings in the news we hear about on an almost daily basis. As a result, the story felt all the more timely and compelling. Atwood does seem to drop readers into this world with no apparent introduction, so the first portion of the book is a bit jarring. That being said, it seemed to add to the storyline as a whole. What is going on here? Why is this happening? These are the questions you want to be asking as you progress through the pages. I think it offered a very unique take on the dystopian genre, and it’s one I believe everyone should experience. I also thought the way the ending was designed was very unique–don’t miss that afterword type chapter like I almost did! Audiobook–yay or nay? Yay! Claire Danes narrated, and she did a marvelous job. She really helped bring Offred to life, especially in passages where she is expressing her reactions to events. The chapters also start out with muffled clips of old songs, which adds to the tone of the novel. Definitely worth a listen!

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Quick Takes: Milk and Honey

milk and honeyMilk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
 ijss5

poetry is not just
hitting enter on the keyboard
so that quasi-
original thoughts
might all of a sudden
sound profound.

if that were
the case
i would take all
my high school
poetry and become
a bestseller.

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