BOOK REVIEW: Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

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I had heard and read so many good things about this book and I AGREE! Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto was quite the page turner – I absolutely could not put it down! This story follows main character Meddelin Chan (Meddy) and her Asian-American family. The beginning of the book starts off with every other chapter alternating between Meddy’s college days and present day. When Meddy was in college at UCLA, she fell in love with Nathan Chan (not related), and kept her steamy and intimate relationship hidden from her very traditional family. When Meddy and Nathan graduate from UCLA, they go separate ways after Nathan invites Meddy to move to New York with him as he takes on his career and Meddy can’t find it in her heart to leave her family.

Fast forward to present day and Meddy still hasn’t found love since Nathan and her mother “Ma” decides to set her up on a date – but not in a traditional way… She impersonates Meddy on a dating site and agrees to go on a date with a wealthy hotel manager “Jake.” Well, Jake takes things a little too far with Meddy for their first date together and Meddy ends up tasering Jake while he’s driving her car and they end up in an accident. Once Meddy comes to, Jake is dead… or is he?

Meddy and her family – Big Aunt, Second Aunt, Ma, and Fourth Aunt – have a family business as wedding vendors. They have one of the biggest weddings they’ve ever done tomorrow, and yet, Meddy just killed her date. Her date that is the hotel manager of the resort the wedding is taking place in… or is he?

Then comes the infamous cooler. Meddy calls on her family to help her with the body of Jake. She can’t believe she accidentally killed her date, nor can she believe her family is so willing and ready to help her. They decide to bring the body to Big Aunt’s bakery and place it in a cooler to preserve it while they work the wedding and figure out what to do next. Well, the next morning, the cooler is gone and has been shipped off to the wedding venue. WHAT?! A dead body heading to the wedding venue?! The body of the hotel manager?! Who’s supposed to be working the biggest wedding of the year?! AHHHH!

I don’t want to give any major spoilers, but “Jake” is not the hotel manager… but someone very significant is. And the body, is not the body of a hotel manager, but the body of whom…? A family friend? A thief? A con artist? All of the above?!

If you enjoy a good laugh, but also a thrilling, addictive page-turner, look no further than this right here! Dial A For Aunties is incredible and truly captures Asian-American family culture, especially through dialogue.

If you’ve read it, let me know what you think!

BOOK REVIEW: This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry

Never have I ever read a Katie Henry book until This Will Be Funny Someday after it came up while browsing on my Kindle Paperwhite. The reviews said it was “laugh-out-loud funny” and I knew I just had to give it a shot. WELL… let me tell you… this book was absolutely hilarious. I think part of me found it even more funny because I relate to the main character/narrator more than anyone could possibly understand! Let’s get started on what I thought…

Isabel Vance (or Izzy V to the comedy club world) is not your typical 16 year old girl. Born and raised in Chicago with her hot-shot attorney mother, hard-working father, and older twin siblings Charlotte and Peter, Isabel feels isolated from people, including her family. She’s not too social, other than around her boyfriend, Alex, who is extremely controlling and specifically chooses her friends. She’s been made to feel like her voice can’t be heard, so why try speaking? Everyone talks over her – her parents, her siblings, classmates, even Alex sometimes.

Until one day, when plans with her ever-busy mother fall through and she had already told Alex she couldn’t get together, Isabel is hiding from him when she sees him out on the street so he doesn’t catch her in a lie. She runs to hide in a small building, which we soon find out is a comedy club. Next thing you know, Isabel is on the stage.

After, she meets some friends, local college students – Mo, Jonah, and Will. They hit up local comedy clubs in their free time and perform stand-up. After seeing Isabel “perform” that day, they invite her to tag along sometime on their next comedy excursion (assuming she’s also a fellow college student, and not a 16 tear old high school junior).

Long story short, so as to not ruin the whole story, we see “Izzy V” transform through this book. She learns how toxic her relationship is with Alex, recreates an old friendship she had with her classmate Naomi, and also has relationships blossom with both her sister Charlotte and her mother. Eventually, after many nights out together, helping Izzy prepare for stand-up gigs, and performances in different clubs, the truth comes out about Isabel’s real age and real life. Will Izzy and Mo remain as tight knit as they were?

GO READ IT! This book made me LOL on multiple occasions. I read 20 pages one day and a few days later read the other 380. SO so awesome.

Follow Isabel Vance, the shy, quiet, isolated teen on her journey to becoming Izzy, the bold, confident, outspoken woman she always should have been.

Has anyone else read this one?! What’d you think??

Weekend’s just about over. Keep reading!!

BOOK REVIEW: Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman

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Hello, readers!

I’m sure many of you have read this book, as it was one of the top books of 2020 on many different lists. That happens to be why I read it – many raving reviews, top rated, etc. Well… here is my review of Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman.

On Goodreads, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars, which overall, is a pretty good rating. I thought long and hard before I rated and reviewed this book because I wasn’t sure what to think or say. It took me over 100 pages to finally be drawn into the story; over 210 pages to finally say “OH! WOW!” and want to binge read the rest.

This story follows the life and thoughts of a young woman, Eleanor Oliphant. She lived a traumatic childhood and is learning how to finally navigate society and have a social life as an adult after isolating herself for many years. While the writing style of the book makes it entertaining as you follow Eleanor through drunken stupor and fantasy-like thoughts, I felt as though throughout the whole novel I was left wondering why she was this way. She has weekly Wednesday phone calls with her Mummy readers are led to believe is in prison, which we (SPOILER) later learn, towards the end of the book, are not real and have been a figment of her imagination this whole time.

Most of this story revolves around Eleanor’s secret fantasy of meeting and falling in love with local “rockstar” Johnnie Lomand – as readers learn as the story goes on, Eleanor truly has no idea how real life works and how the social world works, and come to find out, Eleanor learns too, the very hard way. She turns to alcohol as her coping mechanism on many occasions and you read through many pages of wondering how this could possibly end if this is how bad she truly is.. Lying nude, alone, on the floor of her apartment looking for at least one bottle of vodka that isn’t empty. WOOF!

I think my favorite character I met and followed in this story is Raymond, Eleanor’s coworker and eventual “pal.” Raymond helps Eleanor adjust to social life and the real world, without even knowing Eleanor is afraid of the world or why she is the way she is. We are also introduced to Sammy, the elderly man Raymond and Eleanor find lying in the street with his groceries. He’s not a long-lived character in the story, but he brings a lot of joy and love by welcoming Raymond and Eleanor into his life and family, and Eleanor grows a fondness to him as well.

Let’s just say, I felt like this book was all over the place, much like this review. I’m spitting out my thoughts because I felt like the book spit out pieces of the true story, while we tiptoed around it with Eleanor. The whole time I’m thinking, “Just get to the point already! Why is she like this? What happened to her? Why does she have a scar on her face she keeps mentioning? Hellooooo??” BUT by the end, everything finally came together and I thought, “Ok, that all makes sense, but there was really no reason for it all to be drawn out that long for that point.”

It’s a great story, written in a very odd manner, in my opinion. You might find you think differently! (Also, maybe I should’ve given it 3 out of 5 stars based on my actual review…?? I’m still confused on my own level of love for this book.)

Happy Thursday!

Keep calm and read on! The weekend is almost here 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Best of Friends by Lucinda Berry

*SPOILER ALERT – THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

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The Best of Friends – by Lucinda Berry is one of THE BEST books I have read in a long time. I had never read anything by Lucinda Berry before, but this was amazing and I will definitely be checking out more of her books.

Again, THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.

This story revolves around three best friends – Dani, Kendra, and Lindsey – and their families. Each woman is experiencing something different in their marriages, and each one is a secret. These secrets eventually come out after one night, when their three teenage sons – Caleb, Sawyer, and Jacob, respectively, are hanging out together at Dani’s house when they get their hands on a gun.

The story takes you through the parents’ woes of trying to piece together what happened that dreaded evening and who shot who. The gun belonged to Bryan and Dani, the parents of Caleb, who swear their son would never shoot or use their gun irresponsibly or recklessly.

BIGGEST SPOILER – The boys were very drunk and high when it occurred. Caleb (Dani’s son) shot Sawyer (Kendra’s son) in the abdomen, killing him. Jacob (Lindsey’s son) took the gun and shot himself in the head, which ultimately made him braindead and killed him by the end of the book.

Throughout trying to figure out how this all happened, Dani experiences domestic violence in her home and finally calls it quits and tells once her husband Bryan physically hurts their daughter, Luna. Lindsey experiences her “perfect husband” emotionally cheating online with a woman he’s never met when they have two children at home and one in the hospital in a coma. Kendra ends up having to admit to her husband after many years that she has been giving her son Reese prescription Adderall for his ADHD even though Paul forbade it due to being against medicating children. This infuriates him as they find out their son Reese has been selling Adderall and possibly taking it on top of the secret dose his mother has been giving him all these years.

Also – who would’ve thought that two of the boys were gay and in love with each other?

A lot of reviewers say the parents seem super clueless in this book, but I find it to be pretty accurate with today’s times! There are plenty of kids that lie to their parents about where they are and what they’re doing and plenty of parents that are unaware. I thought it was perfect. I was on my toes the entire book WITH these characters trying to get down to the bottom of what happened that evening their lives changed forever.

There are so many more spoilers I could give – such as why the other children of the women (Reese and Luna) feel involved in the incident with the boys or what happens to Dani in her escape from Bryan and Lindsey in her battle of learning to let go of both her son and her husband. BUT I am SO not doing that because I want you to READ IT! I read it on my Kindle Paperwhite and I loved every second of it. I could not put it down.

I can’t wait to read more by Lucinda Berry and share my thoughts with you!

Long Time, No Post! (Ft. Review of The Identicals)

HELLO!

I am sincerely sorry for my absence. No one likes a blogger who’s inconsistent and doesn’t post… but when depression strikes, everything is left behind.

SO… what have I been up to? Well…

Last week I read The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand… in approximately… 8 hours total?

AWESOME read. Honestly, probably one of her best ones. I am an avid Elin Hilderbrand fan – the only books of hers I haven’t read are her winter short stories and Silver Girl, which I just picked up at my library today! Oh and Winter in Paradise, but it’s new enough that it’s acceptable that I haven’t read it yet… and the library didn’t have it so… boooooo 😦

Here is my Goodreads review!

The IdenticalsThe Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Physically identical, but polar opposite personalities.

Hilderbrand depicts a story of identical twins Tabitha and Harper Frost who were separated from each other when their parents decided to divorce as they went to college. Before they left, the two played a game of rock-paper-scissors to decide who was going with their father Billy and who was staying with their high-strung, money hungry, designer mother Eleanor Roxie-Frost.

That game of rock-paper-scissors changed their lives forever.

Separated by 11 miles of ocean, Harper resides on Martha’s Vineyard with her father while Tabitha resides on Nantucket with her mother and her 16 year old daughter Ansley. When tragedy strikes the family, it’s time to reconnect and work together as a family to get through their hardship.

After 14 years apart (with a small meet-up in the middle when Tabitha had struggles with a premature baby), Tabitha and Harper are forced to reckon with their past and have each other’s backs. Will they reconcile or will it all blow up in shambles?

Hilderbrand writes, yet again, another novel that pulls your heartstrings and keeps you turning the pages. As a long-time fan of Hilderbrand, I have to say this was one of my favorites. One of my favorite things about Hilderbrand is that she knows Nantucket and the state of Massachusetts so well that when she writes a setting in her story, it is so ecclecticly vibrant in description that you feel like you’re right there in the story.

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I recently decided to obtain a library card because I am currently unemployed due to medical reasons and I can no longer afford my book obsession. Today, I had myself a little library mini-haul.

What did I pick up?

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Finding Emotional Balance: A Guide for Women by Merry Noel Miller

 

Some may think – that last one seems a little out of place considering the genre of the other three. I decided to pick it up becuase I am currently experiencing one of the worst bouts of depression in all my years of life. Sometimes, not even a book can take me away from the reality of it all like it usually does for me. I had to do something… So I’ve decided to start with that one. So far, so good. I’ve only read 42 pages and I’m completely enlightened about the woman’s body and mind. I don’t feel out of place or alone; so many others are going through exactly what I am.

I was reading All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner… I did not finish (although I probably will at some point because one of my pet peeves is leaving a book unfinished regardless of whether or not I enjoyed it). I ordinarily adore and admire Weiner’s writing, but this one seemed redundant more than anything.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you, especially during this tough time.

Happy Friday! TGIF

xo – liv

Reviews of A Spark of Light and How To Walk Away

Wow, it’s been about a week since I’ve posted. I’ve been recovering from my surgery and busy with school and honestly hadn’t truly noticed how much time was passing.

Also, during this busy time, I’ve been reading, reading, and reading.

In the past 6 days I read Jodi Picoult’s A Spark of Light and Katherine Center’s How to Walk Away.

Both were complete life-sucking pageturners, so, clearly I’ve been occupied.

Here are my Goodreads reviews!

A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a longtime fan of Jodi Picoult, I was pretty excited to pick up this one. Picoult writes a thrilling story that attacks a very controversial issue: abortion. I loved every character in this story. Wren, a 16 year old girl who’s just exploring the world of sexual activity and adulthood… Bex, Wren’s aunt who steps in as a motherly figure, only to find herself thrown into the woes of a gunman in the clinic where Wren asked to go. Olive, the 60 year old lesbian who is sweeter than apple pie along with Izzy the young nurse, Dr. Ward, the abortion doctor, Janine the activist and Joy who has just received her abortion and of course, Hugh McElroy. I love that each individual character was completely different, but all connected due to the subject of pregnancy, abortion, or and the clinic. This nailbiting story, I’m sure, hit hearts of many readers.
My only reason for 4 stars was due to the fact the novel was written in reverse order. I never quite understood the main reason as to why it was written backwards. But, nonetheless, great read!

How to Walk Away

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I give it 6 stars?
This novel made me laugh, cry, smile, and feel raw emotions that I’ve never felt.

Margaret Jacobsen is a 28 year old, hard-working MBA grad who has just (about) landed a dream job. Totally in love with her long-time boyfriend Chip, she envisions a beautiful life with him. Until tragedy strikes. After a lifetime fear of flying, Margaret is convinced by Chip to go up for a special ride in a Cessna, as he is just about to become an official pilot. As their life together is truly about to begin, they approach a storm and their new story begins.

Throughout the novel, Center provides readers with stories of healing, family drama, falling out of love and back in again, and my favorite, a sisterly love that recreates itself from shambles to an inseparable bond.

A story of love, heartbreak, tragedy, and family, this page-turner is worth every minute.

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Today I’ll be delving into my schoolwork like a ravenous beast because it’s the end of the term and all my final papers are due! After that I will continue reading The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand, which I’m sure I’ll be hooked on as well.

Happy Thursday!

xo – liv