Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Over. The. Top. That’s the best way to describe Kevin Kwan’s novel, Crazy Rich Asians. When I brought this one home from the library, the title was met by raised eyebrows from my family members. And no, the title is not some cutesy inside joke you’ll get once you read the book – it’s pretty literal.

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The novel went perfectly with my traveling color scheme, too 😉

The characters in Kwan’s novel are the antithesis of minimalists. The story follows a seemingly never-ending family tree that has three main branches: the Youngs, the T’Siens and the Shangs. When Nick Young decides to bring his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend, Rachel Chu, home to Singapore with him for the summer, chaos ensues.

You won’t get bored reading this one, as the perspective changes from character to character. You’ll laugh, gasp, and cringe at the riches and rituals that Rachel is thrown into. You’ll learn about all the idiosyncrasies of the family and their culture right alongside her.

I’m a little late on the Kevin Kwan train, as the novel became a bestseller back in 2013. Better late than never, though. It is certainly a colorful read! I can’t wait to read the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, next.

Have you read Crazy Rich Asians? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

Book Review: Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper

Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper…by Hilary Liftin.61qLRcOOXGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

That’s a mouthful, huh? Upon further inspection you’ll realize that Lizzie Pepper is a fictional movie star, but the novel is written as a faux tell-all by the character. The cover jokes that the novel is “ghostwritten” by Liftin, but she is truly the only author.

I started the book when I needed a reprieve from the heaviness of the historical fiction I’d been reading. I expected it to be a typical, superficial beach read. And for the first half of the book, that seemed to ring true. Lizzie Pepper is a B-list movie star who somehow falls into the arms of Hollywood’s most sought-after A-lister, Rob Mars. Their whirlwind romance takes place on private islands and private jets.

In fact, I wasn’t planning on reviewing it at all, because it was one of those books that isn’t necessarily bad in that it kept my interest but it wasn’t exactly good, either. The writing seemed to skim the surface rather than delve into any of the characters or events at great length, and parts seemed quite redundant.

In the second half, though, I was majorly sucked in. The novel turned from a mindless romance to a pretty dark drama. It turns out that Mars is part of an exclusive Hollywood group that walks like a cult and talks like a cult, but denies that it is a cult. Scientology, anyone?! The organization is called “One Cell” and is known as a “Studio” as opposed to a church, but the author clearly took a page out of Leah Remini’s book. In fact, several things about Mars and Pepper seem kind of Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes-y.

As the novel progresses and Lizzie gets sucked into One Cell, she starts to realize that she may be in too deep. The ending was actually giving me anxiety as I read it because I felt like the Scientologists – uh, I mean One Cells – were watching me.

I don’t want to give any more away – I’ll let you read for yourself. But I will say that if you’re into celebrity romances with a creepy twist, this is the book for you. I know I am.

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

Book Review: The Last Letter from Your Lover

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember one of my first ever book reviews. It was for the novel Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, which I have raved about to anyone that will listen for the past couple of years. Yes, years. I read it during the winter of my senior year of college, and it still sticks out in my mind as one of the best books I’ve read. And in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I read a lot of books!

At the beginning of the fall season, I stocked up on a ton of used books that I had been meaning to read. One of them included another by Jojo Moyes, called The Last Letter from Your Lover. I was a little hesitant to read it as I’ve often experienced that pang of disappointment that comes with the second book of a bestselling author. A one novel wonder, shall I say.

Well, Ms. Moyes does not fall into that category.

The Last Letter was nothing short of amazing. The best part is that the novel didn’t even feel like it was written by the same author as Me Before You. The storylines and writing style were completely different, which kept the experience fresh and unique.

The novel is a double love story, flashing between 1960 and 2003, with the ultimate collision of the two. The reader is tasked with putting together the pieces of the original love story alongside the protagonist, whose memory is compromised after a serious car accident.

The Last Letter from Your Lover also gives an unusual perspective on an extramarital affair. Although we usually find ourselves rooting against cheating characters, Moyes’ story flips the typical storyline on its head. I won’t give any more away – I want you to enjoy this read as much as I did!

Moyes has recently released a sequel to Me Before You, called After You. I will be adding that to my reading list – stay tuned!

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

I know I’m late to the game on this one. About eight years late, in fact. But no new, trending novel has compelled me to write a review as strongly as this one has.

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As I read Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, one word kept repeating itself in my brain:

Perspective.

We all need it, and Hosseini knows how to supply it.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we’ve all prejudged something we know little about. It doesn’t necessarily make us bad people; it’s just inherent in human nature. Usually, it comes from a fear of the unknown.

That’s why I’ve recommended A Thousand Splendid Suns to everyone I’ve spoken to lately. Not only is the novel eloquently written, up-all-night suspenseful, and historically informative, it is, above all, eye opening.

The novel follows two Afghani women with very different lives – or so it seems. It spans thirty years in the war-torn country and leads us to the ultimate collision of the two women’s stories.

Hosseini, the Kabul-born author, flawlessly takes on the perspective of women in his home country. He expertly incorporates historical facts and information about the turbulent journey of the nation with the raw emotion of the women’s personal stories.

Although the main characters are fictional, it is obvious that Hosseini’s portrayal of the treatment of Afghani women throughout the years is ever-too real.

“Mariam remembered Nana saying once that each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. As a reminder of how people like us suffer, she’d said. How quietly we endure all that falls upon us.” –Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

The details are jaw dropping and heart wrenching, from domestic abuse to atrocious medical care and everything in between.

The tumultuous relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan may have colored your perspective of the country’s inhabitants, but this novel will remind you that we all have something in common: we are all human.

A Thousand Splendid Suns reminds readers that regardless of our location or circumstances, three things remain strong: the resilience of the human spirit, the importance of hope, and the power of love.