Monday, July 15, 2019

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

Title: China Rich Girlfriend
Author: Kevin Kwan
Genre: Fiction

Other books I've read by this author: Crazy Rich Asians

Synopsis: Rachel Chu and Nick Young are finally getting married! Nick's mother finds Rachel's mystery father in order to make amends and the newlyweds decide to honeymoon in China to get to know Rachel's new family. Little do they know the whirlwind they are about to be sucked into when they meet Rachel's half-brother Carlton and his famous girlfriend Collette. 


My Thoughts

This book may even be better than the first in the series. While this book is totally great for a fun summer read on the porch or at the beach it is not because it is pure fluff. The characters have depth and there are several interwoven storylines featuring favorite characters from the first novel and a few new characters to love.  
I am also intrigued by the way Kwan uses several methods by which to communicate with the reader. The majority of the novel is written from a third person perspective but there are also potions written as newspapers/magazines, Rachel Chu's diary, and my personal favorite, a very specific list from Kitty Pong's agent on how she can improve her image. The footnotes add context and humor that makes this series unique. This author understands the subtleties of human interactions and conveys them to the reader effortlessly.

If you are looking for a summer read that is smart, funny, and keeps you engaged this is a book for you! 

Comment below if you have read this book or have suggestions for others like it!


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Saturday, June 29, 2019

Short Stories II by Rich DiSilvio

Title: Short Stories II
Author: Rich DiSilvio
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories

Synopsis: A collection of short stories featuring mysteries, thrillers, and historical stories.

My Thoughts

I don't often read any short stories so I was looking forward to reading something new when DV books sent me this book to review. Unfortunately, these short stories were not my cup of tea. The writing seemed amateurish at best and the storylines were not fresh. Those that were to be mysteries or thrillers lacked suspense and were predictable. The only thing that made any of the stories "historical" was the mention of Nazi's in every story, none of them set in Nazi Germany or during WWII. I found myself having to stop and re-read entire pages because it simply could not hold my attention.
Overall, not a book I would recommend.

Comment below if you have read this book or have suggestions for others like it!


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To see more from the author, visit the website linked above
I received this book in return for an honest review from DV Books.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Wallis in Love by Andrew Morton

Title: Wallis in Love
Author: Andrew Morton
Genre: Non-fiction, biography

Synopsis: A biography of Wallis Simpson, made infamous by her relationship with Edward VIII when he chose to abdicate. This book tells the story of her life through her three marriages and various other romantic relationships.

My Thoughts

I was happy to find that this biography began well before Wallis ever met her infamous husband Edward VIII. This is a book that is really about Wallis from birth to death and tells her life story through her romantic relationships. She is a complicated character who uses her social skills to make herself famous and to never have to really work a day in her life. 
The way that this book is written it feels like you are reading a story and not just a list of facts about the Duchess of Windsor's life. It is a very captivating story up until after she and the Duke of Windsor marry and then it becomes a bit repetitive about how unkind Wallis was to Edward. Their diminished existence as husband and wife post-abdication is tedious and so the story follows. 

If you love the British Royal Family as much as I do this is definitely worth a read! 

Comment below if you have read this book or have suggestions for others like it!


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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Order of Darkness Volumes II-III by Philippa Gregory

Title: Stormbringer and Fool's Gold
Author: Philippa Gregory
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Synopsis: Luca, Freize, Brother Peter, Isolde, and Ishraq continue their journey conducting inquiries about the end of days and trying to get Isolde's inheritance back. When 'Milord' shows up after the group meets who they believe to be a slaver and asks them to lie to find out more about counterfeiters in Venice Luca and Freize start to question the authenticity of the goals of their mission. 

Other books I have read by this author: The Other QueenThe Boleyn InheritanceThe Constant PrincessThe Last TudorThe Taming of the QueenThe Queen's Fool, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Lady of the Rivers, The White Queen, The Red Queen, The Kingmaker's Daughter, The White Princess, The Red Princess, The King's Curse, The Virgin's Lover, Three Sisters, Three Queens, Changeling


My Thoughts
I accidentally bought Stormbringer first, thinking it was the first in the series, so I borrowed Changeling from the library. It was almost impossible to find Fool's Gold anywhere on its own, so I bought the reprinted version that has all 3 novels in the same book. I think this is the way to go if you are interested in reading this series because it really feels more like one continuous story than three separate novels. 
Volume II, Stormbringer, is interesting at first, slow in the middle, and then picks up again at the end enough that you are still intrigued enough to continue on into volume III, Fool's Gold. In volume III the young characters begin to explore the freedom being on the road gives them. Leaving the monastery makes Luca reconsider what he wants from life. Not being held to the standards of a lady running an estate allows Isolde to dream of a life where she can choose with whom she wants to be friends.  
The end of volume III wraps things up nicely but also leaves a bit of mystery to set up for the next book in the series, published this past year. I look forward to reading it soon, but will be taking a break to read something a little different first!

Comment below if you have read this book or have suggestions for others like it!


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To see more from the author, visit the website linked above

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Changeling by Philippa Gregory

Title: Changeling: Order of Darkness Volume I
Author: Philippa Gregory
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Synopsis: Italy, 1493: Luca Vero grew up in the church after being orphaned Asking too many questions got him noticed by the Order of Darkness, a secret society within the church seeking out signs of the end of days. Luca becomes an inquisitor and is sent out with Brother Peter and their servant, Frieze. Their first mission is to inquire about strange happenings at a convent on the property of Lord Lucretilli, whose sister had been sent against her will to become the Abbess. 

Other books I have read by this author: The Other QueenThe Boleyn InheritanceThe Constant PrincessThe Last TudorThe Taming of the QueenThe Queen's Fool, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Lady of the Rivers, The White Queen, The Red Queen, The Kingmaker's Daughter, The White Princess, The Red Princess, The King's Curse, The Virgin's Lover, Three Sisters, Three Queens


My Thoughts
I was thoroughly entertained by this novel. Even though this is categorized as YA, it doesn’t feel overly like YA that is currently being written. True to form, Gregory includes diverse female characters who work against the social norms of the time. Unlike most of her novels, the story also follows a young male protagonist and it is set outside of Medieval England. 
I find the storyline of a secret church society very intriguing and it is incredibly well done. I have already started the second book in the series because I was so excited to read more after finishing this one.


Comment below if you have read this book or have suggestions for others like it!


To buy this book from Amazon now, click on the image at the top of the post.
To see more from the author, visit the website linked above

Friday, May 3, 2019

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling


Title: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Original Screenplay
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Fantasy

Other books I've read by this author: The Harry Potter Series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Synopsis: Newt Scamander tries to save Credence while Grindelwald wants to use him for his own benefit and The Ministry of Magic wants him dead.

My Thoughts
I haven't read a screenplay before and it is similar to reading a play but still a bit different. Both of them require some getting used to, but once you get into it you start to see the story in your mind like when I'm reading any other book. 
If you have seen the movie you know exactly what to expect, but it is helpful to read it. Reading it allows you to notice all the small details you may have missed or might not have come across the way it was intended in the film. For example, completely missed that the woman who was cursed to turn into a snake was named Nagini, the name of Voldemort's snake in the Harry Potter Series.
I got this as a Christmas present and am glad that I saved it for when I needed a Harry Potter fix. If you haven't seen any of the Fantastic Beasts films, but you like Harry Potter, they totally stand up and are a fun way to get back into the Harry Potter Universe.


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Monday, April 29, 2019

Dollface by Renee Rosen

Title: Dollface
Author: Renee Rosen
Genre: Fiction

Other books I've read by this author: White Collar Girl

Synopsis: Vera's main goal in life is to not end up like her mother, a single business owner of a slaughterhouse with no time for fun. Ordinary is the last thing she wants to be. Working and living downtown in 1920s Chicago is expensive but Vera and her friend and roommate, Evelyn, are determined to live a glamorous life. When their hunt for glamour introduces Vera to Shep and Tony it might lead to more excitement than she and Evelyn could ever imagine.


My Thoughts

When I saw this book on the shelf and read the back cover I just wasn't excited enough by what it described to buy it. Then recently it was lent to me by a colleague who has similar taste in books and I figured it was worth a try. I was pleasantly surprised to find a story with much more depth and complexity than is portrayed by the back cover. (Insert book judging cliche here.)
Dollface is more than just a 1920 speakeasy and gangster story, it's about a woman coming of age in a time where women weren't supposed to make it on their own and those who had to were looked down upon. This book examines the different versions of oneself and what it means to choose one over the other. Don't worry, it has all that depth and also the speakeasies and gangsters you hope for in a roaring twenties novel.

The last few novels I was reading were set in Europe and this was a great book to bring me back state-side. 



Comment below if you have read this book or have suggestions for others like it!


To buy this book from Amazon now, click on the image at the top of the post.
To see more from the author, visit the website linked above