Welcome to the Longest Day of the Year

I absolutely love today because of a few reasons:

  1. Today is my mother’s birthday
  2. Today is the longest day of the year

I sometimes imagine what it must be like to live in the Arctic circle where they have the longest days of any place in the entire world and that’s because it doesn’t get dark. Ever.

But for those of us that live in a slightly bigger city (or adjacent), we only get one day of the year where the sun stays out for a little bit longer than it would any other day.

And you all know what I’m going to be doing; reading.

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

If you haven’t noticed from my Instagram, I love being indoors. But B and I made it a point to get ourselves an apartment with a balcony so that we can spend some outside.

While not every reader is an introvert, I just happen to fit into the stereotype very well. I like my home and sitting on my green couch and staring out windows at the people enjoying the sunshine. Having a balcony really helps me to get my much needed Vitamin D without having to converse with other people or spend money on a ridiculously large cup of coffee.

IMG_3568

Also, the privacy gives me the quiet I need to get some reading done. Sometimes when I go to a cafe or to the park, I get so distracted by all the people around. I want to people watch and not be buried deep in the passages of a novel.

Have you ever experienced this? Have you ever wanted to spend time outside and find yourself stuck on the inside?

Well, if you have, I dare you to step outside for a little while today before the sun goes down on this beautiful day. Or, you can always wait till next year.

Happy Solstice, everyone!

img_1460

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

IMG_2311

This is probably the first story I’ve read where I don’t understand the Asians in the story. It’s because they’re super rich and I’m not super rich. It’s because it takes place in Singapore and honestly, I don’t know much about Singapore outside of their food.

However, what I did understand is that this story is about a couple who is ready to take their relationship to the next level and really being met with some pretty huge hurdles to jump. I think that’s something everyone can agree on.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)

18373213When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

Rating: 4.5/5 mother-in-laws

My thoughts

I thought a lot about this book after I put it down. I thought a lot about the lives they lived and the sacrifices they’ve had to make. And while I don’t fully understand the whole importance of money with these families, I do understand the pressures of marrying the right person. I understand the pressures of having a life set out by you by your family, by your parents, by the constant peer pressure. And I bet you that you’ve felt the same way too.

Writing wise, it’s beautiful and eloquent. Kevin Kwan tries to immerse you in the culture speaking both in English and using some popular phrases in all the different dialects. Even the little footnotes to give a little background on some of the meanings and food that’s mentioned is just a little opportunity for you to understand a little bit more.

I want to give this book its full marks, but I don’t think it’s 100% perfect. It’s really well done and a great read, but I honestly wish it was a bit more from the perspective of Rachel. This book is almost like reading Game of Thrones. There should have been a family tree at the beginning so I can refer back to it. There are so many family members interconnected with each other in some way, I’m surprised that Kevin Kwan was able to keep track of all of it in the way that he did.

IMG_2202

I think that’s the one thing you can definitely get out of this; understanding. If you go into this book with an open mind and a learning mind, I think you’ll find yourself learning a little bit more about Asian culture. While I didn’t fully resonate with the story going on, I did understand some of the biases and thought processes because they are the same as the ones my family has.

That’s the thing with diverse reads. You end up learning way more about yourself and how you’re not so different from the person sitting next to you. We’re all the same people with the same kinds of lives. And if it’s not the same or if there’s nothing in common, then you’ve just learned something unique and different about it.

Anyway, I really did enjoy this book despite my chagrin on social media (if you follow me on Insta, you might know what I mean). When you finally get a chance to sit down with it, you find yourself engrossed in the story. It’s like watching a little Korean drama. Every vignette feeds into a bigger story and everyone is so involved with each other it’s a little scary.

I’m super excited about the movie! It’ll be the first all-Asian cast coming out of a major Hollywood production company. And also starring my favorite actress, Constance Wu! I can’t wait!

What were your thoughts on Crazy Rich Asians?

 

 

2017 Valentine’s Day Reads

I don’t know about you, but I had a lot of fun watching 50 Shades Darker this weekend as my own little Valentine’s Day gift!

With the opening of 50 Shades Darker over the weekend and a very popular romantic holiday coming up, I figured I’d give you a few of my favorite Valentine’s Day reads.

Whether you’re spending the day solo or with someone you love, nothing gets you in the mood like a good old fashion romance novel. The idea of quivering members and heaving bosoms doesn’t really get me in the mood, but if you’re in the mood for love you should definitely check out these reads. I decided to go with the ones that have a little bit of complication, but in the end everyone gets that happily ever after.

Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey

33037374Lucas Thatcher has always been my enemy.

It’s been a decade since I’ve seen him, but our years on opposite coasts were less of a lasting peace and more of a temporary cease-fire. Now that we’re both back in our small town, I know Lucas expects the same old war, but I’ve changed since high school—and from the looks of it, so has he.

The arrogant boy who was my teenage rival is now a chiseled doctor armed with intimidating good looks. He is Lucas Thatcher 2.0, the new and improved version I’ll be competing with in the workplace instead of the schoolyard.

I’m not worried; I’m a doctor now too, board-certified and sexy in a white coat. It almost feels like winning will be too easy—until Lucas unveils a tactic neither of us has ever used before: sexual warfare.

The day he pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips to mine, I can’t help but wonder if he’s filling me with passion or poison. Every fleeting touch is perfect torture. With every stolen kiss, my walls crumble a little more. After all this time, Lucas knows exactly how to strip me of my defenses, but I’m in no hurry to surrender.

Knowing thy enemy has never felt so good. 

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

17788401When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

25486998While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

 

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

13132816Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

17838528Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

 

Also, you can just read 50 Shades of Grey if you’re not doing anything special and have a few hours to waste :/

 

December 2016 TBR – #readthemargin

img_0764

Recently, a fellow book blogger going by the name of @ladybookmad created a new hashtag called #readthemargin for the month of December.

What’s the point of the tag? Well, because there’s a want and need to read more diverse books. As an Asian American woman, I want to educate my fellow readers on the different cultures and backgrounds . Also, it feels good to relate to the people and places I read about.

So, I’ve dedicated my December TBR not only to reading authors on the margins of society, but also to read a little bit of the people that make up a huge part of my being. I hope you’re reading the margin, or at least taking some time to read.

The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang

28114515

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. the World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America—and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could.

 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

18373213When 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.

 

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

23398763“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, drama, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

 

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

22822858When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever. 

 

November 2016 Book Wrap Up

I knew this month was going to be pretty light on the reads, but I didn’t think it would be this light.

I’ve been blaming the weather for everything lately, so I’m going to call weather for this one too. I read only two books. TWO.

It’s always during this time of year when I get slower and slower to read books. It picks up again when the new year begins, but I’m much more interested in hanging out with friends and family during the holidays than isolating myself with my books.

I remember one time an aunt of mine decided to read at the table during a family meal and my grandma chewed her out for it afterwards. I have two things to say to that:

  1. More power to you. If you can pull off reading and eating at a table filled with your other family members, kudos.
  2. I wish it was me. The thought of my 90-year-old grandma yelling at me for being rude is probably the worst punishment you can receive in life. It’s like being waterboarded, but with guilt and senility.

But I’m not going to be that person. Nope. I guess for me, two books is all I can handle. Anyway, here’s my books:

28686840Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven – Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

31823218A Place in the Sun by R.S. Grey – When her mother’s incessant matchmaking hits an all-time high, Georgie Archibald does what any sensible woman would do: she flees the country.

Seeking refuge in the picturesque seaside village of Vernazza, Italy, Georgie’s only plan is to lie low, gorge herself on gelato, and let the wine and waves wash her troubles away… that is until she wakes up in a bed that belongs to the most romantic-looking man she’s ever seen.

Gianluca.

After going out of his way to rescue her, the former London financier turned mysterious recluse makes it clear that despite acting as her white knight, he has no plans to co-star in her fairytale.

But Georgie isn’t asking for his heart—she’s merely intrigued.

After all, Gianluca isn’t just gorgeous—tall and tan from days spent in the sun—his touch sets her world on fire. With him, Georgie experiences the most intoxicating passion she’s ever known, and it only takes a few steamy nights for her to realize that sometimes running away from trouble is the best way to find it.