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!

Do Narrators Make or Break the Audiobook?

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I don’t know about you guys, but for me, the narrator is one of the most important factors in the quality and enjoyment of an audiobook. If the narrator is boring or hard to understand, I find myself daydreaming and not listening to the book and having to go back over and over and over again; usually, I end up not finishing/deleting said book.

Some audiobooks I have loved are pretty much any Debbie Macomber book – her narrators are absolutely phenomenal. They truly know how to portray different roles in a story and have wonderful inflection and tone that make it easy and interesting to listen to. Some of my favorites by Macomber that I’ve listened to on Audible are An Engagement in Seattle, A Walk Along the Beach, Cottage By the Sea, and the entire Rose Harbor series. I’ve read the hard copies of some as well, but the audiobooks just make you feel like you’re right there with the characters, experiencing everything with them.

Other audiobooks I have enjoyed are the books in the Sweet Magnolias series by Sherryl Woods. If any of you have seen the Sweet Magnolias series on Netflix, you should definitely read or listen to the book series. It’s spot on with the show and it’s just an amazing story of growth, change, love, and more. Check out the first book Stealing Home and let me know what you think!

Now, some audiobooks I did not enjoy and just couldn’t finish due to the narration are Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell and My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni. I found both narrators to be extremely hard to listen to as they kind of droned on and had no intention or enthusiasm to what they were reading. UGH. I ended up reading Then She Was Gone the paperback and it was amazing. Seriously, the narrators make a whole world of difference.

Does anyone agree with me?! Disagree?? Share your opinions and some of your favorite audiobooks!

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 🙂

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

Reviews of Heron’s Landing and Girl, Wash Your Face

I’m back after a few day hiatus. I had surgery (again) on Tuesday so I am still recovering. Today, I am much more awake and ready to post!

During the past few days, I completed reading Heron’s Landing by JoAnn Ross, and in 3 days I knocked Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis right off my October TBR. Awesome, quick little read!

I have posted my reviews on Goodreads, but I will share my thoughts here.

Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor, #1)Herons Landing by JoAnn Ross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The synopsis of this story made this book sound like a quick and easy, truly intriguing read.
It was and it wasn’t. In the first few chapters alone, you are introduced to so many different characters it’s hard to keep track of who’s who. As the book went on, I caught on and actually grew to love the story. I have a love for some of the characters that I hope to see again in a continuing novel.

Brianna Mannion – Our main girl in the story. She has returned back to her quaint, quiet little hometown after years of working in Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. Her reasoning for returning home is to purchase the local Heron’s Landing and turn it into a Bed and Breakfast. Brianna, a young, single woman with a strong head and stubbornness as hard as concrete, can’t fulfill her dreams all alone. Heron’s Landing is in shambles and needs lots of TLC.

Seth Harper – The ever famous town contractor, Seth, of the well known Harper family, is one of Brianna Mannion’s best friends from adolescence, and also the widower of her best friend Zoe. Brianna comes upon Seth in Honeymoon Harbor (whom she has crushed on since the dawn of time) and they decide to revamp Heron’s Landing together. Does that lifelong crush of Brianna’s become a mutual feeling? Or do past memories keep them apart?

Kylee and Mai – LOVE THESE TWO. Not your average lesbian couple. So much love between these two as they prepare for their wedding, new home, and incoming baby. I don’t want to give much away about them, but I loved whenever I’d turn a page and they were in the scene. Follow these amazing women seeking a life of love and success.

You also have Seth’s parents, Brianna’s parents and brother Quinn, who owns the local burger and beer joint.You also have Doris and Dottie who own the local shop, The Dancing Deer. There are a slew of characters, but these are the ones who were the most important to me and I hope to read about again.

 

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to BeGirl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FABULOUS!
Hollis is straightforward, very blunt, and honest. I loved her personal stories and how open she is with her readers. I grew up Roman Catholic with a strong belief in God. Today, that is no longer true in my life, but I support her Christian beliefs and I agree with them to a certain degree.
I thought she did a great job addressing the most crucial issues in women and she truly hit the nail on the head with the lies we believe. I commend her for all she has achieved and chosen to share with her readers.
She made me laugh, cry, and everything inbetween. Bravo!!! Loved this one!!!

Now, I am currently reading A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. I know many of you are reading it or have just finished it! Thoughts?!

 

Happy Thursday!

xo – liv

 

Online University.. Anyone else out there?

I attend university online… Are there any other bloggers out there that are on that journey too?

Allow me to rant for a second.

ONLINE. SCHOOL. SUCKS.

I have never so desperately wanted to sit in a classroom and have a professor lecture me. It is absolutely impossible to find the motivation to sit down, on your own time, open up your computer, and do the readings and assignments that need to be done.

I don’t know about you guys – but when it comes to reading a 31 page article, I can’t read it all on a computer screen. I have to print it so I can write on it, highlight, take notes, etc.

Do. you. know. how. much. ink. I. go. through…?

At this point, I may have spent more money on ink than my tuition.

Also, online school is so impersonal. I don’t know what my classmates look like, half of them are halfway across the country/actual Earth, and the most I know about my professors are from a shpeal they write at the beginning of the term and a little tiny icon picture of them.

As an actual physcial college student, I used to love to go to my professors after class or during office hours just to get that extra leg of help or confidence I may have needed. Now, it literally feels like I am on my own. To teach myself. To be the professor and the student.

Not to mention, these online classes are 8 weeks long when a real semester is 16. SO you’re doing DOUBLE the work.

And my not-so-smart self decided to take 2 classes at a time (which categorizes you as a full time student) and MY OH MY is it a LOT of work!

So this whole thing brings me back to my Time Management post… because I SUCK at it. Any advice on time management and how to organize my time to include homework, blog posts, and reading?

I’m personally feeling unmotivated, unproductive, and completely debilitated. Someone motivate me!

On the upside to all of this, my new books came in yesterday:

  • How To Walk Away – Katherine Center
  • Girl Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
  • A Spark of Light – Jodi Picoult

I am so excited I don’t know which one to start with! Most of the bloggers I follow have either read these or are currently reading them and no one has had a bad thing to say about any of them, which makes for a harder decision! Thoughts on these reads?

I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Saturday!

xo – liv

New Books on the Way!

Hi everyone!

So… In yesterday’s post I talked about my October TBR… well… One of those books doesn’t hit shelves until 2019 and I was just too amped about the story to notice that…

With that being said…

I just ordered How to Walk Away by Katherine Center, which I had listed as one this month’s TBRs and Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis because it’s been on my TBR for awhile and I’ve heard nothing but incredible things so I thought, why not now?

I am SUPER excited for these to come. I usually go to Barnes and Noble for my books, but unfortunately I’m rather busy this week – my mom is in town from Florida for the week due to a death in my family and I am hosting her.

Now I’m like a giddy little girl who’s going to jump for joy when I get that package and it’ll be like a mini Christmas morning! I would’ve ordered more books but I would’ve gotten myself in trouble AND I’d much rather enjoy a day to myself in B&N soon.

My B&N Membership is my best friend. I love the coupons I receive in the mail and the deals I can get in store. Plus the free express shipping? Yes please!

Also this month, I want to gather supplies for a fresh bullet journal and practice some ideas so hopefully next month I can start! Does anyone bujo? Any tips you can share?

I’ll let you know when I receive my package! I can’t wait to smell the fresh books! (Call me weird, I don’t care)

Short post today! Happy Tuesday!

xo – liv

New Week, New Month, New Post!

October 1st… already?!

Anyone else feel like we were just ringing in the New Year?

Time flies. With that being said, we are entering my favorite month of the year because I love the weather here in New England. The leaves begin to turn their rustic reds and oranges, the air starts to cool down, perfect weather for apple picking, football games, and walks or hikes in the woods!

So, to start this month off, I am going to finish reading the 3 books I recently began and then place a list I want to check off from my TBR by the end of the month! I am a full-time student, so as much as I want to finish all of these books, I know that might end up being really hard and impossible.

Currently Reading

Heron’s Landing – A Honemoon Harbor Novel – By JoAnn Ross

Paperback – Amazon

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As of a week ago, I mentioned in my post that I wasn’t thoroughly enjoying the story and that it wasn’t drawing me in. I take that back. I actually love the story. The only problem I have is that there are way too many characters right off the bat. I felt like I had to write them down in order to keep them all straight. I’m just about halfway through the novel and I’ve probably met or met the idea of over 10-12 characters. Many of them are accessory and don’t matter to the true, raw story. Otherwise, yes, love the story, her writing is very descriptive and gives you some of those feels, and I cannot wait to hear how it ends!

Two By Two – By Nicholas Sparks

Audiobook – Google Play (I have provided the link for Amazon’s audiobook)

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Currently loving this story, but the audiobook narrator is a little cut and dry. I have a feeling I would have finished it quicker had I read it on paper. I find myself rewinding sometimes because his voice drowned me out. BUT… the story a heart-pulling story of tough love, family struggles, and the strife of raising a child in a troubled marriage. I look foward to finishing the story, not the audiobook itself.

I also just started a novel by Jill Sanders Return to Me that I downloaded from NetGalley. It is #7 of a series, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the understanding of the story. I downloaded the ebook just to read the prologue before I went on to something else in my day and before I realized it was 25 minutes later and I was chapters in. Completely immersed into the story. DEFINITELY looking forward to swimming further to that painful story.

Once I finish those three… my goal is to dive head first into these three that were in my GoodReads recs.

To Be Read

Please, Daddy, No – By Stuart Howarth – this novel stuck out to me with its cover alone, making me click on the title and read the description. A story of overcoming the depths of child abuse, this is one I’m sure to be hooked on. I couldn’t put David Peltzer’s A Child Called It down for a second, so if this is any similar, which the description (click the link) provides it to be, I’m in trouble!

How to Walk Away – By Katherine Center – this one was not only on my GoodReads recs, but it’s EVERYWHERE. I’ve seen it on umpteen vlogs, blogs, and GoodReads profiles, so safe to say, it’s just on my list for sake of following suit of a good read (I hope). It has almost 5 stars, so let’s give it a go.

The Mother-In-Law – By Sally Hepworth – I always love a good murder mystery, especially when it involves a family twist. Rated on GoodReads with 4.7 stars and described as “A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…” it sounds like a juicy one for my TBR!

Update: I’m a moron. Hepworth’s book isn’t even out till 2019 so looks like I’ll be searching for another read for my October TBR!

What are you reading? Has anyone read any of these? Let me know! I’d love to hear your opinions!

Happy Monday and Happy October!

xo – liv

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