Tag Archives: Adult Contemporary

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. 

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Quick Take: CRAy!!

Crazy Rich Asians (#1) by Kevin Kwan
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crazy rich asiansI am so behind in my reviews, so the next few are going to be “Quick Take” styles just to get myself caught up on everything! But, I have definitely read quite a bit and have enjoyed all of it! 🙂

Up first for my “Quick Take” reviewing marathon: “Crazy Rich Asians”!! I definitely very much enjoyed this and had so much fun with this book. Yes, I did partially pick this up because of the INCREDIBLE news about the all-Asian cast film adaptation coming here soon!!

As an Asian-American woman, I am always excited when I see movies or books centered around Asians/Asian-Americans and attempting to broaden the narrative around Asians/Asian-Americans. So, I am all about this book and the upcoming film – I cannot wait! 🙂 Continue reading

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Quick Takes: After You

After You (#2) by Jojo Moyes
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I’m going to go down the “quick take” review route for this read, mainly because there isn’t a after youwhole lot to say and this book pretty much speaks for itself. This definitely isn’t a knock on the book because as you can see from my star rating…I obviously enjoyed this book.

I read “Me Before You” last month and I absolutely loved it. Oh how I loved it. I sobbed for nearly 15ish minutes after I finished this book. The book was unbelievably sad and while I knew how it was going to end, Jojo Moyes did an incredible job of weaving together the most heartbreaking of love stories I’ve ever read. So of course, I NEEDED to pick up this continuation of the story. I literally couldn’t resist.

As this is a continuation of a story, I can’t say much without spoiling the first book. If you want a good love story that tugs at all of your heartstrings, I highly recommend picking up Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes or you can also check out my review of it on the blog. And then, if you want more fun romance, woman trying to find herself and hot guys, pick this one up for a light beach read 🙂

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One Cranky Man, One Charming Story

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
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a-man-called-ove-9781476738024_hrWell, that was just the cutest.

This is one delightful, feel-good story. It is the equivalent of that favorite, well-worn DVD you pop in when you wanna remember there’s still some good in the world.

Ove (pronounced “OOH-vuh” apparently, based on the audiobook) is one curmudgeonly old man that seems to get bombarded by annoyances that take the form of his neighbors, when all he wants is some peace, and to be with his recently-departed wife. What follows is a charming, sometimes cheesy set of events that slowly work to warm both Ove’s and readers’ hearts. Continue reading

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Pass on The Passenger

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (Out Today!)
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the-passenger-9781451686630_hrNot gonna lie, I’m pretty bummed! I totally thought this book would be right up my alley, but there were a few things that kept it from holding the same rating as Gone Girl or Girl on the Train–two books this one’s often been compared to. Ultimately, I think the reason I wasn’t wowed by this book was because our leading lady simply wasn’t as interesting as her counterparts in other bestsellers.

Tanya (the first name she goes by) is a woman on the run from both her past and mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of her husband. In an attempt to remain anonymous and out of the hands of authorities, she takes on multiple identities throughout the book. It made sense to the story, but it only added to the sense of her total lack of true identity. Even physical appearance like hair and eye color, easy ways to picture a character, changed throughout the book. Continue reading

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Top 5 Books of 2015

2015

We’ve done a lot of reading this past year and we have to say, we’ve read some really great books. It’s very hard to pick favorites when it comes to books, but here is what made our top 5 lists this year!

Christina

  1. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone: OCD is something that is so inaccurately portrayed in mainstream media, so I always appreciate an author that can get it right.
  2. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Race is an important issue in today’s society and we need more books like this that directly address the issues of how race is portrayed/perceived by people today.
  3. The Archived by Victoria Schwab: I loved the magical realism of this book – it was haunting, beautiful, and captivating. Super quick read, but so enjoyable. (Quick note: my review was a dual review of the duology – read with caution!)
  4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: I don’t typically love alien books, but this one is an exception! Plus, the movie is coming out soon!! (Quick note: my review was a dual review of the duology – read with caution!)
  5. Cress by Marissa Meyer: The Lunar Chronicles is definitely one of my favorite series now, hands down, and this third installment was my favorite!

 

Rachel
I can’t bring myself to rank them, so here they are in no particular order:

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: this is the kind of YA that I think we all crave. It’s action packed, has just the right amount of romance, and is chock-full of interesting characters.
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: this has everything I love in a good book…beautiful writing, a compelling setting (France in WWII), and a heart wrenching ending.
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: in case you can’t tell, I like WWII stories, and I don’t think you can find one more compelling than this.
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: this book renewed my faith in YA lit. If the world of Six of Crows could be defined as gritty, this one would be defined as cruel.
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: this book included so many things I don’t normally read about (love, disability, a quieter plot), and yet I absolutely loved it–so much, in fact, that I read it all in one sitting (with a box of tissues nearby)

 

Val
I am also incapable of ranking these in any order, so here they are in the order they come to mind:

  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: A great companion read to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and a fantastic mystery/thriller read.
  • The Real Thing by Ellen McCarthy: I think when I read this, I was desperate to see something in my own relationship that wasn’t there. What it really taught me is what I should be looking for instead.
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon: A whirlwind romance and exploration with a great surprise twist.
  • Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb: a great twist on my favorite series. Can literally pick these up any time and enjoy the crap out of them, every time.
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: One of the heaviest books I have ever read, but also one of the best told stories that really pushes on all the right emotions at the right time.
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Undone by Unbroken

Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrandfive-star-rating-black-clip-art-hi

unbroken_by_laura_hillenbrand_coverI was a little apprehensive at the start of this book. Though I hadn’t seen the movie, stories from those who’ve read this meant I knew what I was coming up against–one majorly depressing book.

To my friend, I likened this book to kale salad–you may not necessarily look forward to it, but you feel the necessity of taking it on. Well, I’m happy to report that this is the best “kale salad” type book I’ve ever read. The writing and Louie Zamperini’s remarkable story made this an incredibly compelling read.  Continue reading

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