Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5 going on 3/5)

Rachel Chu agrees to come to Singapore to celebrate her boyfriend’s best friend’s wedding. She expects a traditional wedding like any other. But what she doesn’t realise is that Nick comes from one of the wealthiest families in the world. And she has no idea how big the target on her back truly is.

Crazy Rich Asian was weirdly entertaining and strangely absurd. And I think that is the best I could say about this book. I wouldn’t call this the best book ever, but it was reasonably entertaining. The way these characters behave are so over the top. Reading this was like looking into a whole new and different world. It was fascinating to read. Kwan has a talent for writing interesting descriptions of this affluent society, its architecture, fashion, cuisine and goods. I read this frustrated at every single of these characters, but there is some humour within. It’s more outrageous than it is funny.

When it comes to the flaw of this book, I don’t know what else I can say that hasn’t already been said. (x, x – note that these articles are about its 2018 movie adaptation but nonetheless they can still be applied to the novel) I didn’t expect this book to the answer to all Asian representation and I don’t think it can be done in one book. But here it’s evident that Asian effectively means east Asian or ethnically Chinese. And there’s a whole lot of ugly in this book. That includes racial slurs towards Black people, Indian people and Romani. A ton of classism and loads of prejudice from Asians towards other Asian ethnicities.

Overall, there’s a lot that goes unchallenged, but the sheer outrageousness of this novel was probably why is it so well received. The plot is a rollercoaster ride, with one bad thing happening after another with this group of wealthy elites. I’m entirely sure if I want to continue the series yet.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | AUTHOR

Content warning: TBA.

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Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post begins at the end of her parent’s life. Cameron is relieved because now they’ll never know she had a kissed a girl. But the struggle doesn’t end there, we follow Cameron from the ages of 12 and as she grows to 16. Life is different, but Cameron is an expert at blending in. Until she meets Coley Taylor. And then one thing leads to another, and Cameron’s forced to join a conversion camp by her ultrareligious Aunt to “fix” herself.

This was a very detailed and passionate read. The story shifts with its array of characters, each vibrant and different from one another. The story starts off with a summer fling, a more happier vibe, where everything seems to be going well. Until it takes a dark turn and punches you straight in the stomach. While I didn’t find it emotional, but nonetheless, it was difficult.

For me, there are two parts to this story. The first is Cameron coming to terms with her sexuality and learning who she is. The second is where its all ripped away from her, and she’s forced to join a conversion camp. There’s a middle lull in this book where nothing really seems to happen. And this is where, from other reviews, everyone seems to drop off from the book. I’m not going to lie, even my interest started to falter after a few chapters but I held on and I’m glad I did, but I don’t expect anyone to force themselves through a book they find slow.

I can’t speak for certain rep in the book, like the Native American rep. I’ll link to this post that speaks on it much better. There’s a lot of language that’s quite negative towards Native Americans and very ableist so watch out for that.

Overall, Cameron Post was an intriguing read, while I didn’t love it, the story is important.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | AUTHOR 

Content warning: ableism, anti-Indigenous language, use of multiple slurs (f*g, d*ke etc.), lesbophobia, sex scenes, a lesbian character being outed, underage drinking, conversion therapy, self-harm with a suicide attempt that is graphically described. (TO BE ADDED)

Review: The Darkest Minds

Review: The Darkest Minds

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

A sickness spreads across the United States, killing a majority of its children and leaving its survivors with something uncontrollable that has the government shaking in fear. Swiftly taken from their parents, children are quickly taken away and placed in rehabilitation camps. Ruby was ten when she learnt that suppressing her skill keeps her alive. Six years later, Ruby escapes and on the run to find others like her.

The Darkest Minds has such a captivating concept. It’s a shame that it is so painfully slow. I’ll give applause to Chubs and Suzume who technically saved this book for me. The two that stood out the most for me. Without them, I wouldn’t even question my decision to not finish this series.

There’s a lot of confusion, especially when it came to worldbuilding. They gain these powers and are then categorised according to how much of a threat they are. Maybe the reason why these powers happen are revealed later down the line in the series, but there’s not much to keep you hanging but just completely confused. How a world is seemingly wiped out but still existing in some places like normal despite having locked up a majority of its youth population.

What even was the point of the romance in this? Honestly, I give most romances the benefit of the doubt but like how did Ruby and Liam even happen. She spends most of her time ignoring him, which is fair enough, but then suddenly with no warning, they’re all over each other. I just don’t think enough space was given to develop these two the way they deserved.

The narrative is an actual snail pace after Ruby escapes the first camp. There are multiple flashbacks. And even when it’s at a point where it should speed up, it’s just chapter after chapter of them on the least exciting road trip in the world. There’s a couple of car chases scenes to give us the illusion that something is happening.

There is a lot of good to this book, it wasn’t exactly terrible, I think the pacing just dragged this book to hell for me. I don’t understand how a book with a lot of plot aspects that I usually enjoy disappoint me like this.

I’m sort of in the middle of this series right now. TDM didn’t really do much for to compel me to want to continue its series. The ending was a bit of disappointment considering it chucks Ruby straight back to where she was 15% of the novel. But there’s a lot to like, a bit and pieces of it was really intriguing to me. The variety of powers and the shocking treatment these children receive. The found family aspect was a sweet shining moment in the rest of the dullness. I’ll sit on it, for now, maybe I’ll be interested later down the line to finish the series.


GOODREADS | AMAZON AUTHOR

Content warning: Violence, sexual assault, murder, gun violence, physical violence, PTSD, unchallenged ableist language.

 

Review: How She Likes It

Review: How She Likes It

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

* I received an ARC of this book from the author. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

Isabel Alfonso is next in line to be CEO of her family-owned company. But she’s also risking her own business to take it. There are a hundred things that need to be done before the deal is sealed and Isabel is in dire need of an assistant. It’s not her fault the first person in the door happens to be the same man she had a one night stand with the very night before. Single dad Adam Sevilla is just going by, raising his daughter while also allowing her to reconnect with her distant mother. 

There’s a lot to this book that I really liked. Isabel is a cool and unapologetic career-focused woman who doesn’t want to risk falling in love because of how it will affect her career. There are mentions of the double standards women face when they’re in the place of a CEO versus a man in the same position. “They were expected to have it all, but just enough that their partners didn’t feel intimidated.” Despite being raised to those closest to her as the enemy, her best relations are with them. She’s very quick-thinking and witty. I would definitely read more of her story if we’re ever given a chance.

Adam is a pretty interesting love interest, a single dad who adores his daughter. He’s continuously facing belittling comments from his ex, who questions his ability to raise their daughter. He really tries to do well by his daughter and is a sickly romantic at heart – with a penchant to quote one too many Star Wars related things. What else do you expect from a man who names his daughter Leia?

Isabel and Adam are two very different people, but they work well together. And so does this story. It’s pacing was well, and it was a relatively fun and enjoyable read that’s body-posi and tackles working against cultural norms. It gets pretty steamy in some moments, not really my thing, but I understand other readers will definitely have a different experience.

I think #romanceclass is something I’ve seen floating around Twitter for ages and Carla mentions it in her acknowledgements, and I finally had the good sense to find out what it means. The good thing is I’ve got a new list of people to read from, bad news for my TBR but we won’t mention that. 


 

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Review: Circe

Review: Circe

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Madeline Miller creates a new voice in her second novel which follows the life of Circe, daughter of Helios, a goddess born with a human voice. Mocked for her lack of power in a world of Gods, Circe accidentally uncovers a skill that sees her banished forever to the island of Aiaia. She is upset, outcasted forever and alone, Circe turns to take revenge on those who wish to exploit her by transforming any ship of men who enter her island into a herd of pigs. But as time goes by, Circe finds that she can’t escape the world forever.

Miller clearly has a talent in giving a voice to characters not usually heard. I really loved how she reinterpreted the role of Cire. While making nods to other parts of Greek Mythology, Circe is clearly a story of its own, unpeeling the layers of Circe that make her a more substantial person than we see in The Odyssey.

The story of Circe explores the use of power and how it can be easily abused and while Circe’s transmutation power play an essential part so does her transformation as a character as she goes through independence, love and motherhood and how, despite it all, she still had hope. Like in The Song of Achilles, other key figures from Greek mythology are mentioned and also take centre stage without overpowering Circe’s story, including the well-known arrival of Odysseus and how their lives are changed from then on.

This book is thrilling with extreme drama Circe, and despite the constant presence of well-known characters like Zeus and Athena, Circe stands strong and finds her real place in a world where she’s told she’s nothing.

Overall, Miller’s ability to re-present the classics never fails to amaze me. Seven years since TSOA was first published, four years since I had read it, and I can definitely say that Circe was definitely worth the wait.


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Review: The Sun Is Also a Star

Review: The Sun Is Also a Star

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

Natasha has 24 hours to save her family from being deported to Jamaica. Daniel has 12 hours to decide whether he really wants to follow through with his Korean parent’s life plan for him. Moments after moments leads to the two meeting on a crowded New York street and the moments after show how they go on to change each other’s lives.

TSIAAS is one of those books where I’m genuinely in the middle. Like I didn’t enjoy it, but I didn’t absolutely love it. I feel like there’s a bit of switch here for me. In Everything, Everything, I really enjoyed the beginning of the novel but found it’s ending was a bit disappointing but in TSIAAS, I found the beginning rather dull but it quickly picks up and finished quite well.

I’ll start off with the good. And there’s plenty of that in this book. It’s quite a touching read. I was more heavily invested in each character’s side story than their romance. Natasha and her rush to save her family and Daniel’s clash with his love for poetry and his parent’s approval. Natasha is logical while Daniel is a dreamer. It really is beautifully written. There are even inserts of other perspectives who intersect with the main lead, which would’ve been a distraction if I actually enjoyed the romance, but they enhanced the story, in my opinion, and added to the message of how everything impacts everything. Despite Natasha and Daniel being at odds with each other and their immigrant families, they find a connection which allows them to indeed be truthful to themselves.

The immigration aspect of this novel was what shined the most. It covers and explains how flawed the system that can be to those who are the least danger to it. Natasha’s whole life is being torn down because she’s forced to leave because of her father’s mistake.

What really put me off this book for so long was the romance. Of course, it was going to pull off an insta-love plotline when Natasha and Daniel only have twelve hours together. If you’re a reader that enjoys whirlwind and fast-paced romantic stories, then I have the book for you. But I just didn’t buy it. But I did appreciate the ending a lot, and I was actually really pleased with how it ended. Daniel, while a dreamer and sweetheart at his best, is literally quit obsessed with Natasha from the second he sees her. Their meeting and beginning scenes felt very off and borderline creepy.

Overall, there is clear praise for this book, and I can’t deny it of that. I just don’t think it was a strong enough book regarding its romance. But there’s a lot that I can’t deny that was great. TSIAAS discusses race in regards to the American Dream and the impact of parent-child relationships. The way Nicola Yoon jumps into different bystander’s voices without affecting the main plot brilliantly done and how we are all connected in some way or another.


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