Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Sunday, August 19, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #85 - Crazy Rich Asians

Today's review is for

Crazy Rich Asians
Author: Kevin Kwan
Pages: 544

This story is about the ultrarich in Singapore.  Rachel Chu, is a middle class Chinese American whose boyfriend, Nick, invites her to spend the summer in Singapore with his family.  He has not prepared Rachel for his family who is among the Singapore elite.  Nick's mother is already trying to sabatoge their relationship because she is sure Rachel (who went to Stanford and has a Ph.D) is no where good enough for her son, since she doesn't come from a wealthy family.  But Nick doesn't care. 

The two are in Singapore to attend a wedding for Nick's best friend, who is Singapore royalty.  Rachel is thrown into a huge 3 family triangle of aunts and uncles of Nick - all whom seem to have enormous fortunes.  There are few who are accepting of Nick and Rachel's relationship, and she has to decide if this is a world that she wants to be a part of.

I didn't like this book.  I thought it was long and boring, and had too many characters.  And that is saying something because I have read Game of Thrones.  This book had no character development and just spent the entire 500 pages talking about designer labels and jewelry.  These billionares never did anything but spend money on themselves and complain about anyone who was less rich than they were.  The writing was juvenille and when I saw a picture of the author I was surprised to find that it was an adult male.  Reading about nothing but designer labels and fake rich people got tiresome quickly.

Skip this.  I was hoping that because it was being turned into a movie I would give it a try.  But it was a waste of time.  Hopefully the movie will be completely different from the book.

Stars: 2

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #84 - Still Me

Now that company is gone and school is in session, I am hoping to be able to read more.  Although the weather is still beautiful, so it makes it hard to stay indoors.  Thank goodness for long tram rides around the city to help me have time to read.

Today's review is for

Still Me
Author: Jojo Moyes
Pages: 400

This is the 3rd book in the series "Me Before You".  Our main girl - Louisa Clark -has moved to NYC to work for a wealthy family as an assistant.  The wife is prone to depression and the husband feels that if she had an ally she would be more willing to go to public events that are required for their social status.  Louisa likes the power couple, and her new living situation on Fifth Ave, right from the start.  The wife - who was an immigrant to America herself - finds Louisa refreshing.

Louisa struggles with being far away from her boyfriend, Sam, and when he visits her in NYC their weekend is a disaster.  She is torn between her old life in England and her new life in NYC and she isn't sure how Sam and their relationship fit.

Then Louisa is told a secret by the wife, and soon that comes back to haunt her.  She is torn between keeping the secret and revealing it and keeping her job. 

This was a pretty good book.  ACtually - I liked about 3/4 of it very much - couldn't wait to get back to reading it.  But the ending....not so much.  It felt rushed and it felt like she was just filling space.  I was disappointed especially when she starts filling pages with letters back and forth between Sam and Louisa.  I saw this as a waste and I have never liked this style of story telling.  And the ending was very "cliche" that it made me roll my eyes.

I would not skip it - especially if you read the other books before this one.  I just think Moyes probably should quit this character now. 

Stars:  4

Monday, August 13, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #83 - The Story of Arthur Truluv

Today's reivew

The Story of Arthur Truluv
Author: Elizabeth Berg
Pages: 272

This is the story of Arthur Moses whose wife died 6 months ago.  He visits her grave every day to have lunch and speak to her.  While at the cemetery he meets a young girl named Maddy Harris.  Maddy - who is picked on at school, whose mother died and father is less than affectionate, befriends Arthur.  When Maddy finds herself in trouble, it is Arthur who takes her in and gives her a safe place.  Both who are lonely find comfort in their friendship.  Maddy - who nicknames Arthur "Truluv"- is moved by his eternal love for his wife.  And when Arthur's lonely neighbor - Lucille joins their clan, they become a family that depend on each other.

This book was....fine.  It was sweet, and the underlying story was cute.  It is no "Ove".  The story is so similar, but not as well written.  I find myself wanting to skip over passages due to them being boring or seemingly unnecessary.  And the story of the young Maddy borders on ridiculous.

I don't really recommend this book unless you feel like reading something that doesn't take much time or much thought.  Otherwise - stick with "Ove"

Stars:  2

Friday, August 10, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #82 - The Godfather

Today's review is for

The Godfather
Author: Mario Puzo
Pages: 468

This is the story of the Mafia family - the Corleones.  Don Vito Corleone is the most powerful mafia boss in New York City.  Tragedy strikes, and the Don's sons - Sonny and Michael - need to take over the Family operation.  The Corleones are desperate to hold on to their power in New York but it proves to be challenging.  The Corleone sons try to bring the other mafia Dons together to keep the peace, but find that this isn't as easy as their father made it look.

This was a pretty good book.  It is a bit surprising that I have never read it before - considering its popularity.  There are a lot of characters, and a lot of side stories that make it a slow read.  Don't mistake that for a slow story - it just takes time and patiences - not a story you can really skip or skim over.

I am sure I will read the next several books in the series, but I am not sure I will do that this year.  I was not drawn, by the end of the book, to see what came next.  So we will see.

Stars:  4

Saturday, July 28, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #81 - Perfect Match

Today's review is for:

Perfect Match
Author: Jodi Piccoult
Pages: 368

This is the story of lawyer, Nina Frost.  She and her husband has a five year old son named Nathaniel.  One day after church, Nathaniel stops talking.  His parents have no idea why, so they take him in for counseling.  After a few weeks, there is no success, so they start to teach him sign language.  The counselor - after Nathaniel has learned some basic signs - ask Nathaniel if someone hurt him.  He is able to sign whom has abused him, and this sets off a wirlwind of events.  Nina finds herself in a position that no mother should ever have to be in as she watches her family fall apart.  It will take all of their resolve to start to heal.

This book was....okay.  That is a lot of okayish books for me this month, and I am not happy about it.  I like many of Piccoult's books, but this one was a bit of a miss.  Positives - I had to keep reading it because I wanted to know where the story was going .  (Jodi is famous for some twist endings and crazy story lines).  But in the end, I was disappointed in the direction the story took.  Without giving away too much, all I can say is that there is a 1% chance that in real life, this story would end the way it ended in the book.  Just too unrealistic.

I don't NOT recommend it, because it had some reall great mystery parts that would keep the reading engaged.  It was just the overall ending that did it for me.

Stars:  3 1/2

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #80 - Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties

Today's review is for:

Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties
Author: Camilie Pagan
Pages: 251

This is the story of 53 year old Maggie.  She is a wife and mother who has led a full and busy life.  After 28 years of marriage, her husband comes home one day and says he wants a divorce.  He has met a younger woman and he is moving out.  Maggies world is suddenly turned upside down.  She starts to rebuild her life by taking a trip to Rome.  This was a vacation she was supposed to do with her husband, so she decides not to cancel and take it by herself.  She meets a woman on the plane who she befriends.  This woman is spending 6 months abroad, and offers Maggie her home while she is away to Maggie and start her life over.  She starts to figure out how she is going to live alone when her husband approaches her with new information.  Then Maggie has a choice to make that throws her into trumoil.

This book was fine.  It was a fast and easy read.  It was predictable and Maggie wasn't that likable.  The ending was predicatable and disappointing.  I was hoping for a funny, light summer read, but all I got was light and boring.

Eh - I would skip it.

Stars: 3

Thursday, July 19, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #79 - Educated

Today's review is for

Author: Tara Westover
Pages: 352

This is the true story of the author and her upbrininging in Idaho.  Her mom and dad "lived off the grid" and refused to put their kids in public school - or any school - because of the government involvement.  She and her brothers and sisters didn't even have a birth certificate until they were older.  Her mother was an untrained midwife who relied on herb concoctions to heal her patients and her children (they never went to a hospital unless it was forced on them), and her dad was a scrapper.

By the time Tara is 17, she is ready to get out on her own.  She is encouraged to try and take the ACT test (Even though she hasn't ever had formal schooling - not even home schooling) and she scores high.  She is accepted into BYU and it starts her journey to Cambridge, Harvard, and a Ph.D.  Now she recalls what it was like for her growing up as a mormon whose parents didn't want anything to do with the outside world, and how she felt torn between where she came from and where she ended up.

This book was okay.  It was a bit frustrating, but I kept having to remind myself that I was having a hard time putting myself in her shoes.  I would get angry every time she returned to her family and their "crazy notions" as I like to call them, and a brother who had threatened to kill her.  I was surprised how hard it was for her to separate herself from her old life even though it was clear to the rest of us that she was being abused.  It wasn't until she finished her Ph.D. that she finally parted from her parents and the abusive brother and told the readers she hasn't seen them in a few years.

The other problem with this book is that it just wasn't well written in my opinion.  It has only been a few years since she finished that Ph.D program, and it didn't feel like she has put enough distance between the end of her "saga" and writing an memoir.  I think if she would have waited another 10 years, she could have collected her thoughts and her notes and reflected better to write this novel.

I cannot say I don't recommend it.  I know her situation is rare, but any time you get a chance to look into the lives of people who don't trust the school system or the hospitals or anyone, really, it is a fascinating experience.  It is hard not to judge, but it gives you insight into another way of thinking that obviously exists - even in the year 2018.

Stars: 3