Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1)Published: May 20th, 2014

Publisher: Anchor

Format: Paperback

Pages: 527

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction

Rating: 3/5

When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.

On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.


Where do I even start with this book?

I definitely didn’t love this, but I can’t say that I hated it either. I mean I did finish it after all, but you certainly have to be in the mood to read something like this. Like the kind of mood where you just want to completely disengage your brain and maybe kill off a few cells while you’re at it. It’s sort of how I feel when I sit down to watch an episode of The Housewives of Beverly Hills.

There was something strangely addicting about the drama that unfolded and it certainly lives up to it’s title. Crazy Rich Asians follows the scandal and drama of some of Singapore’s most wealthiest families. And by wealthy, I mean disgustingly wealthy. In their world, it’s totally normal to buy a pair of $200,000 earrings that you don’t even plan to wear. Shocking.

Most of the characters in this book are terrible people, except for Rachel whom you kind of just wish would run as far away as possible and not look back. Nick is kind of an idiot. I mean he has to be to honestly, not even for a second, think it was a good idea to NOT warn Rachel of his insanely crazy family back home. Poor Rachel, totally blindsided.

I gave this three stars because I actually did get sucked into some of the drama, enough that I wasn’t willing to give up reading. But I really felt like this book was to long. At some point I started to skim a little because I was so over the endless paragraphs of descriptive haute couture and designer name dropping that I was ready to tear my hair out.

I’m not entirely sure yet if I’ll continue with the series. I’m morbidly curious so anything is possible, but for now I think I’ll move on.

Have you read Crazy Rich Asians? Love it or hate it?

 

 

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Mid-Year Review

Okay so technically speaking, I’m a little late to the party seeing that it’s July already but I thought it would be fun to share all the great books I’ve read so far this year. I set a goal to read 50 books and I’m well on my way to surpassing that!

I’ve always been a big reader, even as a kid, but sometime last year I fell in love with reading all over again and have made it a priority to set aside time for myself to do it. Which isn’t always easy as a working mom.

I’m pretty happy with everything I’ve read so far. I started the year following a few challenges but of course I started to drop off after the second month into it. I’m a mood reader so, as fun as challenges are, they’re really hard to stick with.

I did however make it a point to really branch out and read more genres and pick-up books I might not otherwise read, and I’m so glad I did! I started reading graphic novels and discovered that I really enjoy them! I’ve also realized I really love a well written fantasy novel (in fact I’m really in the mood to read one now). Here are a couple of the best and worst books so far:

What I Loved

The Wise Mans Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Okay so I only gave this book three stars on Goodreads but hear me out. This book is long and incredibly detailed. At times it can even feel a bit arduous, but I can not stop thinking about this book! I think we can all agree that the man really knows how to write a story and maybe it’s just because I’m really in the mood to read another fantasy novel, but I keep looking at these books on my shelf feeling desperate for the third book. A couple of days ago I broke down and spent my Audible credit on the audio version of The Wise Mans Fear and that’s saying something.

You by Caroline Kepnes

I don’t even know what to say about this book. Or Hidden Bodies for that matter. Kepnes writing is incredibly witty and sharp. Somehow she manages to make you love Joe Goldberg who is actually a psychotic, obsessive killer. Masterful. I love a good serial killer novel and I love them even more when they’re written in their perspective so this was such a treat to read. In a dark and creepy kind of way.

What I Didn’t Love

Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy

I am probably in the minority here but this was actually a DNF for me. This was the second time I tried to read a book by McCarthy and I think my problem is that I really don’t enjoy his writing style at all. Why oh why does this man hate punctuation!? The lack of quotations really irks me in a big way. Am I missing something here? Something profound? I just don’t understand…

American War by Omar El Akkad

This was my only one star. It actually would have been another DNF if it hadn’t been for the fact that I read this with a couple of a girlfriends. This was tagged as a Dystopian novel, taking place in 2095 amid the next Civil War, only it felt like a re-write of the Civil War in 1865…just add in some drones flying over head occasionally. The character development was terrible and there were SO MANY plot gaps.  I also think the author was more focused on pushing his political view then really putting the effort into writing something amazing.


So that’s where I’m at so far: the good and the bad. I’ve got a lot of books on my shelves I’m dying to read and some upcoming releases that I’m also really looking forward to! It’s going to be a good year for reading.

I’m curious: have you read any of these books? Any you loved or hated? Any Fantasy must reads that you would recommend I check out? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

Somebody’s Daughter by David Bell

Somebody's DaughterPublished: July 10th, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books

Format: eBook

Pages: 448

Genre: Thriller / Suspense

Rating: 4/5

When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep pleading for help, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Erica’s nine-year-old daughter is missing – and Michael is the father. Unable to quickly determine if Erica is telling the truth, and unwilling to leave the little girl’s fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted and never knew he had.

But finding Felicity comes at a price – the closer Michael gets to the truth, the further into jeopardy his marriage falls and the faster his family begins to unravel. As lies that span a decade bubble to the surface and the window for Felicity’s safe return closes, Michael will have just a few short days to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This is the kind of book you pick up when you have a whole afternoon or evening to read completely uninterrupted because once you start, you’re not going to want to put it down. The chapters are short and leave you with a sense of urgency to keep going which makes this a quick read.

The story is told from multiple perspectives: Michael (the potential baby-daddy), his current wife Angela, and Detective Erin Griffin (who sadly felt a little under developed as a character). Multiple POV’s can sometimes be difficult to follow and/or be a little distracting but I felt it was really done well here. Kudos to Bell.

Given the speed of the book, the characters aren’t overly deep but that didn’t really bother me here. The story was so gripping and interesting that I just wanted to know what was happening. The only character that I felt totally disconnected from was Detective Griffin, I even wanted to skim over her parts at times because she just wasn’t very interesting.

As a whole though, this book was a really fun read and the perfect summer thriller! Not every book has to be super deep with over developed characters. Sometimes we just want a show-gun plot that keeps us burning for more and that’s exactly what this book delivers!

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Releases

 

My TBR is longer than I know what to do with (which is an excellent problem to have in my opinion), but here’s a look at some upcoming releases that I’m really excited about! Now if I can just get Mo Hayder and Paul Clave to release something new, I’d be the happiest little reader on the planet!

The Cabin at the End of the WorldExpected Release Date: June 26th, 2018 (ahem, TOMORROW!)

Publisher: William Morrow

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 288

Genre: Horror

“Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

I’m pretty sure that right there is a sure sign that something terrible is going to happen you guys. A cabin in the woods with no one around? Classic horror.

Your dads won’t let us in, Wen. But they have to. Tell them they have to. We are not here to hurt you. We need your help to save the world.”

Somebody's DaughterExpected Release Date: July 10th, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 432

Genre: Thriller

When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Her ten-year-old daughter is missing – and Michael is the father.

Over the course of one night, lies that span a decade come bubbling to the surface, putting Michael, his wife, and his whole family in jeopardy. And as the window for a little girl’s safe return closes, Michael will have to decide who can be trusted and how is hiding the truth…

I just started reading the ARC of this and I’m really enjoying it so far. David Bell is a new-to-me author so I’m not very familiar with his other novels however I do love a good gut-wrenching suspense novel!

Pieces of HerExpected Release Date: August 21st, 2018

Publisher: Harper Collins

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 480

Genre: Thriller

What if the person you though you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all…?”

“Pieces of Her” follows Andrea Cooper and her mother, Laura. Andrea thinks she knows everything there is to know about her mother. But after a trip to the mall ends with violence, Andrea realizes that there is a completely different side to her mother. Because it turns out her mother wasn’t always Laura and for nearly thirty years, she’s been hiding from her previous life hoping that her past won’t find her. Now that it has, the police want answers and Laura won’t speak to anyone, even her own daughter Andrea.

I’m a big fan of Slaughter’s work, especially the darker novels because my soul itself is a little dark. I’m really looking forward to this new standalone novel even though I keep hearing it’s not a typical ‘Slaughter novel’. My guess is it’s a slight departure from the darkness but because I really love her writing style, it’s bound to be awesome.

The CraftsmanExpected Release Date: October 16th, 2018

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 432

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Grassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago in a small village in Lancashire. Like something out of a nightmare, the victims were buried alive in. Florence was able to solve the mystery and get a confession out of Larry before more children were murdered.

But now, decades later, he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves. Is someone copying the original murders? Or did she it wrong all those years ago? When her own son goes missing under similar circumstances, the case not only gets reopened…it gets personal.

You guys, I LOVE Sharon Bolton and this sounds like one of her creepiest novels yet!!  I am so excited about this release I can’t even begin to tell you! Whoever got there hands on advance copy of this, I’m so jealous!

The Witch Elm

Expected Release Date: October 9th, 2018

Publisher: Viking

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 528

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

I’ve read all of Tana French’s books, most I’ve really enjoyed and others I didn’t like as much but regardless, I never fail to miss one! She writes beautifully – the prose, the characters and ingenious plots, she always finds a way to surprise you. Really looking forward to this one!

So there you have it! Some great new releases coming out this summer and fall be sure to have star status at the top of my TBR pile.

Any new releases you’re looking forward to?

 

 

 

Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

Paper GhostsReleased: May 15th, 2018

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Length: 368

Buy: Amazon

Format: Kindle

Genre: Myster & Thriller, Fiction

Rating 7/10

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

An obsessive young woman has been waiting half her life – since she was twelve years old – for this moment. She has planned. Researched. Trained. Imagined every scenario. Now she is almost certain the man who kidnapped and murdered her sister sits in the passenger seat beside her.

Carl Louis Feldman is a documentary photographer who may or may not have dementia – and may or may not be a serial killer. The young woman claims to be his long-lost daughter. He doesn’t believe her. He claims no memory of murdering girls across Texas, in a string of places where he shot eerie pictures. She doesn’t believe him.

Determined to find the truth, she lures him out of a halfway house and proposes a dangerous idea: a ten-day road trip, just the two of them, to examine cold cases linked to his haunting photographs.

I have to start by saying that this totally wasn’t planned, that my first post back into the book blogging world would be by the same author as my last post back in July of 2015! Total coincidence.

Julia Heaberlin’s new novel, Paper Ghosts, is such a unique and captivating tale. Throughout the book I found myself questioning not only Carl and his motives (his he lying or is he really losing his mind), but of the woman whose taken him; because let’s be honest, who in their right mind would think it’s a great idea to take a killer on a road trip, albeit an aging one? She has trained for this moment since she was twelve years old, an obsession so deep that it is all she knows about herself. What happens if she’s not right? Scarier yet, what will happen if she is?

I wouldn’t classify this as your typical serial-killer novel but instead a psychological game of cat and mouse. It’s a slow build, written beautifully with an eerie-edge. A mystery that makes you question everything you think is happening at every turn of the page.

I enjoyed this book more so than I did Black-Eyed Susans and if you’re looking for an emotional and clever mystery, than I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Paper Ghosts. The ending was clean and poignant and I felt happy with the conclusion. Like a perfect little present. I look forward to seeing what Heaberlin has up her sleeve next!

 

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

23746004Expected Release: August 11th, 2015

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Length: 368

Pre-Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Format: Kindle

Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Rating 6/10

 I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Seventeen-year-old Tessa, dubbed a ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ by the media, became famous for being the only victim to survive the vicious attack of a serial killer. Her testimony helped to put a dangerous criminal behind bars – or so she thought.

Now, decades later the black-eyed susans planted outside Tessa’s bedroom window seem to be a message from a killer who should be safely in prison.

Haunted by fragmented memories of the night she was attacked and terrified for her own teenage daughter’s safety, can Tessa uncover the truth about the killer before it’s too late?


Julia Heaberlin is a new author to me but I have to say that I really enjoyed her new upcoming thriller, Black-Eyed Susans.

Tessa is the victim of a serial-killer, left for dead on a pile of bones and bodies, who manages to send her monster to jail where he’s waiting for the death penalty. Now, years later, she is haunted by her past, the “Susans”, and desperate to keep her teenage daughter, Charlie, safe.

She has never been able to recall the details of her ordeal and as the execution date of her monster draws near, she’s beginning to have doubts. Has she let the wrong man go to jail?

The narrative switches between the past and present as Tessa relives her experience, therapy, the trial, and interactions with her best friend, Lydia, who hasn’t been seen since the trial ended.

The beginning was a little slow for me and I didn’t really become engaged in the story until a quarter of the way through. It was even a bit confusing in the beginning which I attribute to having to adjust to the narrative style and the constant flip-flopping between the past and present. It was a bit distracting, but eventually I was able to get into the flow of it.

I also felt that there was a huge emphasis on the court proceedings/death penalty process and less on some of the really key moments, like the explanation of ‘what really happened’ to Tessa, so that was bit of a letdown for me. Though I can appreciate the care and research that went into making those trial moments ‘real’.

I was intrigued by Lydia’s character and wanted more of her. Think manipulative, dark and very secretive. Tessa’s daughter, Charlie, and her eccentric neighbor, Effie, were likeable characters that I felt really grounded the story. And for a teenager, Charlie handles getting dragged into her mom’s crazy world like a champ!

Overall, though, I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to a friend. There were great twists and revelations that made it truly enjoyable in the end! It might even be worth a second read to see if there were things I didn’t pick up on before.

Definitely worth adding to your “to-read” list.

Bargain Friday: Serial Killers Abridged by RJ Parker and JJ Slate

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First, Happy Friday! Not only is it one of the best days of the week, it’s also a gorgeous spring day here in Boston.

Just a quick update to kick off a new weekly series that I thought would be fun to do.

Welcome to Bargain Friday’s!

A new series where I’ll share the books I’ve picked up, either for FREE or on super sale, during the week (not including books I’ve received for reviews).

This week I picked up Serial Killers Encylopedia of 100 Serial Killers by RJ Parker and JJ Slate

Where to buy: Amazon

Kindle Price: $0.99

The ultimate reference for anyone compelled by the pathology and twisted minds behind the most disturbing of homicidal monsters. From A to Z, and from around the world, these serial killers have killed in excess of 3,000 innocent victims, affecting thousands of friends and family members. There are monsters in this book that you may not have heard of, but you won’t forget them after reading their case. This reference book will make a great collection for true crime enthusiasts. Each true story is in a Reader’s Digest short form.

So here’s the thing – I’m not really a big fan of true crime. True Crime novels are too procedural for me, generally dry and a little sterile. Perhaps I just haven’t found the right ones, but that has been my experience.

That aside, I am fascinated by the pathology of a killer. Have you ever seen that show Deadly Women? Or those serial killer documentaries on Netflix? I love that shit. A book detailing some of the deadly killers that have roamed our streets? I’m all over it.