Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Book and Movie Review: Crazy Rich Asians

I have not written a book review on my blog in over a year so I'm really rusty at this. I also read the book about a month ago so that doesn't help either. I've never written a movie review before so this is something completely new for me.

The Book Review

Here is the book blurb from Amazon:

When 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.

My Review:
The last time I had to keep this many characters straight was when I read Game of Thrones. I even tweeted this...

It just took forever for any story to actually begin. However, I wasn't bored. I loved reading about this Asian superrich culture. While Kwan didn't pack in much story he blew me away at his world building. This was a deep dive into the culture. As a lower middle class white woman I have to admit I had culture shock. I'm someone who is impressed by Jeffree Star's boujee lifestyle but this was about people that have more money than God. I also wasn't prepared for the control the parents exercised over who their children married.

While there was a deep dive into the culture, there wasn't into the characters. I think this is because there was so many. We don't even get to know the main characters, Rachel and Nick, very well. What disappointed me the most is that while we get to know how they met, we don't see what their relationship is really like. It's clear that Rachel loves Nick with or without his money and Nick is nothing like his snooty family, but I had trouble believing this was a couple in love. Still the main characters are really likable. You can't help rooting for these two because they are morally so different from the other snobby, elitist characters in the book. I also wonder if Kwan knew this would be a book series and knew we would get to know Rachel and Nick over time.

As for the plot, at one point I cared more about what was happening in Astrid's life than I was in Rachel and Nick's. The story also takes a strange turn about two thirds through the book and suddenly becomes a serious family drama regarding Rachel and her mom. I understand plotwise why this happened but it felt so out of place in the book. Once this is somewhat resolved the book returns to its original mood and romantic story. I don't like to give away spoilers so I won't share any of the details.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the sequels. My rating is Photobucket

The Movie Review
The movie plot was slightly different than the book, especially regarding Rachel and Nick's mother. The scene with them playing majong was absolutely brilliant. I'm glad the bachelor party location was changed. The characters were all absolutely wonderful and played well. Peik Lin Goh played by Awkwafina really stole the show and was so funny. The family drama between Rachel and her mother was played down and resolved in a touching mother daughter scene. Their resolution wasn't quite so neat and tidy in the book.

Rachel and Nick weren't any more believable as a couple in the movie to me than they were in the book. I just never really saw any chemistry between the actors. The way they did the proposal was really disappointing to me.

Another thing that disappointed me is that there wasn't the same deep dive into the superrich culture. After reading descriptions of the lavish clothes, locations, cars, and private planes I really hoped the movie would show all of this. To be honest, I cared less about the love story in the movie and more about seeing the lifestyles of the families. It just didn't live up to my expectations. The book was about the most expensive wedding in modern history but did they show us this in the movie? Nope. Not even close.

Then again, is any movie ever better than the book? It rarely happens. I expected to be disappointed. I also haven't seen a really good romantic comedy in years. It's kind of a dead genre.

My rating is Photobucket .

This book was read for my own 2019 Book to Screen Reading Challenge. For more info please visit this post.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd Like to Switch Places With

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl

 The topic this week is Characters I'd Like to Switch Places With 

It was suggested by A Gingerly Review. And I'm cheating a little and only listing five. I admit I also have only listed books that were made into movies because...gifs. 

1. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding


I relate to Bridget Jones so much. Sure she's a little awkward and makes a lot of mistakes. But the perks are she has so many friends that love her "just as she is" and she gets Mr. Darcy. 

2. Julie from Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

First, the main character Julie and I share the same name. Second, R is hot and this is one of my favorite love stories. 

3. Tiffany in The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick 

I have a lot of the same mental health issues as Tiffany so I really relate to her. And she gets Pat played by Bradley Cooper who is my future husband. He just doesn't know it yet. 

4. Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Is there a rule that we have to be the same gender? Because Magnus Bane is absolutely my favorite character. He's lived forever. He's been everywhere. He's the High Warlock of Brooklyn. He has the best clothes. And he gets Alec.

5. Art3mis from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Art3mis was one of the best players in a virtual reality game. I would love to be able to be in this world. I grew up in the 80's so I'd fit right in. I'm terrible at video games in real life though so hopefully I could keep her skills. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

My Favorite Books Bingo

I was on Twitter and saw this meme going around. The idea is to make a Bingo card of your favorite books and see how many others have read them. It was created by Novel Thoughts. At least I assume so since the Bingo card was. I couldn't find the original challenge. 

This was really fun to do. I was able to see how I really do read a variety of books and which genres are my favorite. There's memoir, self help, adventure, classic, romance, fantasy, young adult, and science fiction on my list. There's also two Stephen King books. I was honestly surprised to see romance and science fiction where the two genres I liked the most. Maybe it seems odd to some that I didn't know this about myself but in all the years I have book blogged I have never before made a list of my all time favorite books. This is honestly the first time I've ever done this. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday/Can't Wait Wednesday: Upcoming Releases I’m On the Fence About

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl

 The topic this week is Upcoming Releases I’m On the Fence About

I'm only listing five books and this post is being combined with...

Can't Wait-Wednesday is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read and is hosted by Wishful Endings.

1. The Winds of Winter (A Song of Ice and Fire #6) by George R.R. Martin
(Release date unknown)

Will he ever actually finish it? Is there any point if Game of Thrones will have it's last season this year?

2. The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale #2) by Margaret Atwood
(Release Sept 10, 2019)

Again...it seems kind of weird to write a sequel when the TV show answers the question of what happens. Was Atwood unsatisfied with what happened in the show?

3. Once & Future (Once & Future #1) by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
(Releases March 5, 2019)

Why am I iffy? This blurb...

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager...

Crash lands? Is she an alien? Why is Merlin aging backwards like Benjamin Button? Seems weird.

4. The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renée Ahdieh
(Releases Oct 8, 2019)

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet.

You have vampires...but add a serial killer too? It's a romantic paranormal historical murder mystery. So many genres!

5. Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
(Releases No 9, 2019)

Another Shadowhunters series....yawn. By the angel, can't she write about anything else?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Announcing the Pay Yourself to Read Challenge!

I've been searching for some kind of motivation to get me to read and write more. I was on Twitter and I came across the #642Writes challenge created by An Average Life.

Basically you pay you yourself a dollar every time you complete a "tiny" writing project from the book 642 Tiny Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.

Roxanne mentions another challenge. She describes a tweet from Pretty Purple Polka Dots (@PrettyPPD) about paying herself a dollar for every book that she reads. This is what gave her the idea for the #642Writes Challenge.

I certainly credit Aoife of PrettyPPD for the idea but I personally feel I have to make this an official challenge. I bought several books this month (and last month, and the month before that) so the idea of paying myself to read them feels like one of the most brilliant things I have ever heard. It's motivation to read and it helps me collect a small savings that I can use however I want. Honestly, I'll probably use it to buy more books.

I will be calling this the 2019 Pay Yourself to Read Challenge.

Rules for the 2019 Pay Yourself to Read Challenge:
  • This challenge runs from Jan 1, 2019 - Dec 31, 2019. You may retroactively count any books you have read in January.
  • You may sign up anytime during the challenge. 
  • You set your own reading goals and amount of money awarded per book. Read 10 books at $10 each or 50 books at $1 each. The choice is yours!
  • Create a special savings account or go old school and keep your dollars in special made jar or piggy bank. Find some way to keep this money in a special place because the most important rule is you cannot spend this money until 2020! 
  • Pay yourself as you finish each book. Please do not wait until the end of the year. It's a lot easier to put away a dollar every so often than it is $50 after the holidays!
  • Share photos of your jars, piggy banks, or whatever on social media using the hashtag #PayYourselfToRead. 
  • Books can be any genre including fiction, nonfiction, comics, or graphic novels.
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.
  • You may reread books.
  • Books may be purchased or borrowed. However, if you want to make it a rule that you can only get paid for reading purchased books that it up to you. Another option is to pay yourself more for purchased books than borrowed ones.
  • Books may count towards other reading challenges.
  • Use the hashtag #PayYourselfToRead on social media.
  • If you could be so kind, please place the 2019 Pay Yourself to Read banner on your blog to help spread the word. 
  • Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.
  • Please sign up using the link below.

Paying Myself to Read and Write (and You Can Too)

It's happening again this year even though I promised myself 2019 would be different. I'm struggling to read a book and write...well anything. Again. Perhaps it's more accurate to say still. I don't know what I expected. It's not like after the midnight countdown to 2019 my bipolar II would just disappear in the New Year. While my mood has been stable for a long time it feels like my cognitive issues have been growing worse. (For an explanation of my struggles with keeping my focus and motivating myself to read click here.)

Because I am still struggling with these issues I've been searching for some kind of motivation to get me to read and write more. Then tonight I was on Twitter and I came across the #642Writes challenge created by An Average Life.

Basically you pay you yourself a dollar every time you complete a "tiny" writing project from the book 642 Tiny Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.

Roxanne mentions another challenge. She describes a tweet from Pretty Purple Polka Dots (@PrettyPPD) about paying herself a dollar for every book that she reads. I guess this is what gave her the idea for the #642Writes Challenge.

I tried to find this tweet but I could not. (If you can find it please leave it in the comment or tweet it to me.) I will still credit Aoife of PrettyPPD for the idea but I HAVE to make this an official challenge. I bought a bunch of books this month and the idea of paying myself to read them feels like one of the most brilliant things I have ever heard. It's motivation to read and it helps me make back the money I have spent on books. I will be calling this the #PayYourselftoRead Challenge.

I will be creating an info and sign up page in a day or so be sure to look for that!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

My Bout of Books TBR

About Bout of Books
The Bout of Books Read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple at Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog

There are no actual reading challenges but there is a Bout of Books Instagram challenge. You can find my Instagram at @juliecornewell.

There are also other challenges:
**This is the overall list for the challenges offered during Bout of Books 24. Make sure you check the blog each day of the read-a-thon for instructions and details on how to complete the daily challenges**

Monday 1/7
Introduce yourself #insixwords

Tuesday 1/8
Character dinner party

Wednesday 1/9
Six degrees of separation

Thursday 1/10
Synopsis rewrite

Friday 1/11
If this, then that

Saturday 1/12
Dream cast

Sunday 1/13
Stretch goal

Twitter Chats
(chats last approximately one hour)
TZC = Time Zone Conversion

Monday: 8pm CST (TZC)
Saturday: 10am CST (TZC)

Other Readathons
I am also participating in the monthly challenges January Jam Jar and Tome Infinity and Beyond.


I also have begun my own yearlong reading challenge The 2019 Book to Screen Challenge.

My Bout of Books TBR
I am still finishing up Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

After that I will let my January Jam Jar decide. I will update this post with my other books.