BOOK REVIEW: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

18158562._SY475_Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Author: Kevin Kwan

Book Length: 546 pages

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary

Read Start Date: October 27, 2019

Read Finish Date: November 4, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: When 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.

Series: Crazy Rich Asians is the first book in the 3-part series.

My Review: The book starts in 1986 with a bedraggled 8-year old boy named Nicholas Young who sits, soaking wet with his cousin Astrid Leong, in the lobby of a posh London hotel, the Calthorpe. Astrid’s mother had forced everyone to walk from the nearest subway stop because “it was a sin to take a taxi nine blocks” and so you can imagine how they must have appeared.

Nicholas’ mother and aunt attempt to check in to the Lancaster Suite, but are turned away by the racist general manager because they are Chinese (and being soaking wet hides the fact that they are stinking rich). When Astrid’s mother calls her husband to tell him of this outrage, Mr. Leong calls the owner of the hotel (they played golf together only the month before). A few minutes later, Lord Rupert Calthrope-Cavendish-Gore himself is guiding the Young / Leong families through the lobby. Harry Leong had bought the hotel, the racist general manager was surreptitiously fired (ha!), and we are introduced in a very fun way to the wealthiest families in Singapore.

The real story begins in 2010, when Nicholas Young is 32 years old. He works in academia, and his girlfriend Rachel Chu has NO IDEA that he is ridiculously rich. When his childhood friend is getting married, Nicholas invites Rachel to accompany him to the wedding in Singapore (and to stay for the summer), and of course, while they are there, to meet his family. What he doesn’t tell her, is that his family’s’ house rivals that of Queen Elizabeth, and that he is Singapore’s most eligible bachelor. Oops.

This book was just simply fun, amazing, and at the same time heartwarming. I felt really bad for Rachel who is thrust head first and without a clue into the shark tank of single ladies all vying for Nicholas’ attention. Rachel has to go through all sorts of trials and tribulations that would have scared off anyone — from being called a gold digger, to the dead fish in her luggage, Rachel has to overcome some pretty awful harassment. I really liked that there was no fairy tale ending, and that the relationship was left with a question mark (I guess to be answered in the 2nd book in the series).

I also liked that this book didn’t only center around Nicholas and Rachel, but was also very much about the other characters. I especially liked Astrid Leong and the fact that even though she was also super rich (she easily spends more on one dress then I make in a year) she is also, somehow, down to earth.

Would I recommend this book? 5 times yes!

BOOK REVIEW: The Dirty Ones by JA Huss

The Dirty Ones

They told me to write what I know so that’s what I did. I wrote dirty. I wrote erotic. I wrote the truth. And then they called me a liar. But it’s not me who’s lying. It’s them.”

The reviews on this book were SO good…lots of 4 and 5 stars. Therefore, I really wanted to like this book too, but I am sad to say, that I just didn’t. I don’t want to say this book was terrible, because at least the writing itself was decent. The plot however was awful and I found myself getting extremely bored and I definitely rolled my eyes every five minutes. Maybe it’s me (I don’t read so many romance or erotica novels), or maybe this book is like Sharknado — so bad it’s good? I just don’t know.

The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Connor Arlington and Kiera Bonnaire (Connor is on track to be a Senator (his father’s dream not his) and Kiera is an erotica writer – but more on that later).

The book opens with Connor finding a book called “The Dirty Ones” at the airport. And I guess since this name was uber original / unique or something, he immediately knew that the book was about his time at college, when he and five other people (who called themselves “The Dirty Ones”) were blackmailed into performing sexual acts on each other…or were they?? Was it all in their heads?? End of book nonsensical plot twist alert! Connor becomes very angry because he thinks that Kiera wrote the book (which could ruin his chances at being Senator (which he didn’t want to be anyway, so what’s the real issue??)), and so he goes to confront her at her cottage in Vermont.

The plot unfolds from there. Essentially, “The Dirty Ones” were a group of rich kids from prominent uber rich families, all except for Kiera who came from a “long line of erotica writers” (what???). She was only included in the blackmail to write down all the “dirty” acts the group performed on each other…because the blackmailers knew she would be an erotica writer too(?). What qualifies as “dirty” is pretty “normal” stuff like hetero sex, sometimes in a three-some or a four-some (honestly, I thought the 50 Shades kind of sex was dirtier). The group of blackmailers was not known until the last 10% of the book, and I was super disappointed in the big reveal. I thought it was going to be some mason or other fraternity cult stuff, but alas it was not.

The sex scenes were steamy, but didn’t seem to fit with the plot…actually they confused the plot even more. The characters were one-dimensional and not very engaging. There were a lot of things that didn’t seem to make sense in the book, but I can’t really go into them without spoiling the ending, which I will not do.

If you decide to read this book, I would recommend going in with very low expectations for plot or storyline, and just enjoy the steamy scenes for what they are!

Check out this book on Goodreads: The Dirty Ones http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42361309-the-dirty-ones

Professional Reader

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Story of Us by Lana Kortchik

The Story of Us is a book about Nazi Germany’s occupation of the Ukraine city of Kiev.  “The only thing Natasha Smirnova knew for a fact on the 19th of September 1941 when Hitler invaded Kiev was that life as she knew it was over.”

The Story of Us: The sweeping historical debut of 2018 that you will never forget

Within a short period since the arrival of Hitler’s troops, Natasha was assaulted by a German officer, and her grandmother was shot in an attempt to save Natasha.  The would-be rapist soldier was killed by another solider, Mark, who was conscripted into the army in his native country of Hungary.  He helped Natasha bring her wounded grandmother home, and although he was the enemy, Natasha could not help but to find him attractive.So, when she runs into him again on the street, she strikes up a conversation with him, only to find that he may not be the enemy after all.  His philosophy was that “the issue is that [the Hungarians] are unwilling participants in a capitalist war none of [them] can identify with.  That [they] are dying for a principle [they] do not believe in.”  Hitler’s war is not Mark’s war.

Natasha and Mark start seeing each other on a regular basis, and she finds herself falling in love with him. Seeing each other in secret, they know the dangers of discovery, but are like moths to the flame.

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The Story of Us by Lana Kortchik”

BOOK REVIEW: Sugar: My Life as a Sugar Babe by Monique X

40667863Title: Sugar: My Life as a Sugar Babe

Author: Monique X

Book Length: 328 pages

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Erotica, Autobiography, Memoir, Romance

Read Start Date: October 28, 2018

Read Finish Date: November 5, 2018

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: After her divorce, Monique decides to inject some fun into the drudgery of life as a single mother, by dating a wealthy older gentleman, which is known as ‘sugar daddy’ dating. It all starts quite innocently, but when Monique finds a thousand pounds in her wallet after one night of hot, steamy sex, she realises that sugar dating could be her way to survive as a single mother.

Soon life is a whirlwind of wealthy men, luxury hotels and glamorous experiences. She goes skydiving in Dubai and flies to Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, Milan, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Thanks to her sugar daddies Monique can take care of her children, she gets a new sense of independence, discovers her sexual drive, and experiments with a whole new range of sexual fantasies.

But when she loses her job and her ex-husband stops paying alimony, she is prepared to do anything to safeguard her children and keep a roof over their heads. Money becomes her main focus and she starts living on the periphery of the escort world. Now she realises the truth: she needs to find a way out.

My Review: I received an advance copy of this book via Netgalley.  As with all books that I read, I went to Goodreads to mark that I was “currently reading” the book.

However, the cover of “Sugar” by Monique X, is basically exactly the same as “Sugar Daddy” by Sawyer Bennett.  So, that’s super confusing.  Are these by the same person?  Or did one copy the cover art of the other??  I have included both covers for comparison.

Anyway, this book (told as a memoir) is about a single mom raising two kids after her divorce from her deadbeat husband.  In order to make ends-meat, the main character “Monique” joins a sugar daddy dating site called “Seeking Arrangements”.  Basically, a “Sugar Babe” is a woman who receives money from older, wealthy (sometimes married) “Sugar Daddies”.  In general, from what I understand, a Sugar Babe is like a kept mistress who gets a monthly allowance, and in return,  accompanies the guys on fancy dinners, trips abroad, and of course, engages in very illicit sexual activities.

Sugar Daddy (Sugar Bowl, #1)

As the author says: “what all men really want: a lady on their arm and a hooker in their bed.”

I haven’t really read many erotica books, except for maybe 50 Shades of Grey 1-3, and like 50 Shades of Grey, this Sugar story is more interesting than the writing is good.  But, as Stephen King says, a book is about the story, and not the writing technique — and this story is fast paced, entertaining, adventurous, and full of very sexually graphic scenes (which are exciting).  The men Monique met were fun and exotic and took her around the globe on world-wind adventurous filled with fine dining, high priced wine / cocktails, and mind blowing sex.

If you have ever fantasized about what it could be like to live dangerously or on the edge, this book will definitely intrigue you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”