Why You Should Read Crazy Rich Asians Now
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Crazy Rich Asians is a hilarious, quirky read about social class, love, and family loyalty. It is definitely a novel that stands out as "one-of-a-kind" because of the premise as well as the writing style.
The book follows Rachel Chu from New York to Singapore as she goes home with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, for the summer. However, once there, Rachel realizes there is so much she doesn't know about the man she's shared her heart with--especially when it comes to his family. She is swept up in a world of extravagance, wealth, and culture as she navigates the fact that her boyfriend is from an excessively wealthy family with high social standing.
The book was difficult to get into at first just because there are so many characters, family histories, and cultural aspects to get used to. I had a hard time navigating the family trees as well as understanding some of the references, but I think that was sort of the point. The author, Kevin Kwan, sort of overwhelms the reader just as Rachel is overwhelmed at the beginning of the trip. It made me realize how social classes really do have their own culture, and the crazy rich certainly have their own rules that outsiders do not understand.
The book definitely had a "Prince and Me" vibe but with a modern twist. I loved Rachel and Nick as a couple and enjoyed watching Rachel navigate the difficult situations. I felt like she was easy to relate to and also a strong character. I also loved seeing all of the lavish events she went to. The writer made me feel like I was actually there.
The side stories with the other characters were also very engaging. Overall, I really liked this read because it was part romance, part family saga. I thought the ending was perfect and made me want to read the next book in the series.
This book is definitely one I will remember for its ability to stand out in a crowd of love stories and for bringing light to social class differences in a unique way.
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As an English teacher and author, I am always on the lookout for booknerd merchandise; totes, shirts, and mugs with my favorite classics always get my attention. Thus, when I came across the website for Literary Book Gifts, I knew I'd found my own version of bookworm heaven.
I love that the site carries totes (a bookworm must, as you know), and T-shirts for men and women. They also have backpacks with a laptop sleeve and some hoodies. The website is super sleek and easy to maneuver, which is a plus when you're browsing for the perfect gift or just a treat for yourself.
There are a lot of bookworm merchandise stores online these days, but I always have two problems with them:
1. They are usually super expensive.
.2. They never have a huge variety of authors and books.
Literary Book Gifts is different on both accounts. T-shirts and totes are $28, and there is a flat $5 shipping fee for the U.S. The selection is crazy amazing. I found a tote for Kafka's Metamorphosis, a text I teach, that I've never seen anywhere else. I browsed the designs, all of which are classy and very trendy, and saw so many designs I desperately want--Alice in Wonderland, Wuthering Heights, Dracula, Dickens, and Poe just to name a few.
If you're a literary lover like me, be sure to head over and check out some of their amazing designs. If you use the code SATINROMANCE20 on your order, you'll get 20% off! You can use the coupon on anything in the store, no minimum, and you can use it an unlimited amount of times.
Check out some of my favorite designs below, and be sure to comment and tell me what you think of their shirts and totes.
Key Investments To Make as a Woman
Every young woman gets to the point in her life where she has to part ways with old cherished items she’s been holding onto since they were a little girl. Because, you know, that teeny tiny crop top from high school or dusty journal containing magazine clippings of your favorite 90’s boy band probably hasn’t come in handy in the past ten or so years.
Getting rid of items that aren’t necessary for your future and making room for those quality investments may significantly help you embrace who you truly are.
Here are five important investments for all women entering the next phase of adulthood:
1. High Thread Count Sheets
Having a good night's sleep is one of the most beneficial things we can do for our health. Not only does sleep do amazing things for us physically and mentally, but it can especially come in handy when starting new experiences, such as starting a new job. Getting rid of the old bed sheets that may have acquired a few holes and stains over the years and purchasing high thread count sheets is a great investment! Your sheets will feel softer, last significantly longer and most importantly help you sleep sounder through the night!
2. Skincare products
You can never be too young to start taking care of your skin. The good ol’ bar of soap and washcloth method isn’t going to make your fine lines disappear. Making an investment in quality skincare products will have your skin (and wrinkles) thanking you for years to come! Skincare brands like Drunk Elephant and Tatcha are highly recommended, but if you’re looking for more cost effective skincare products, here are some great affordable options!
3. Quality Undergarments
Did you know that wearing a supportive and comfortable bra can give you that extra bit of confidence you’re looking for? Having quality pairs of underwear and bras that actually fit you are the best investments young women can make in regards to their wardrobe. Considering that women should be updating their bras every 6 months, it’s time to stop waiting on that hand-me-down bra from an older sister. Online bra company, True & Co. makes it their mission to create bras that last a lifetime. Not only are they comfortable and supportive but they’re also created with a soft fabric that perfectly hugs your shape. As we get older, comfort should be a priority when it comes to what we put on our bodies.
4. Trips With Friends
There’s nothing quite like traveling with good friends and creating long, lasting memories. Whether it’s a European sabbatical or just a weekend getaway, investing in a trip with some close girlfriends is a great way to become worldlier, more cultured and have unforgettable experiences. If you’re feeling the itch to take a trip, Travelocity has plenty of suggestions for the best kinds of trips to take in your twenties that will successfully check off the travel section on your bucket list! Although the old school family vacations you’re used to are still beneficial (a vaca is a vaca in my opinion), taking a trip with your friends allows you to explore places that are of interest to you and the ones you choose to surround yourself with!
5. A Keepsake Box
Okay, I get it. You might not want to get rid of a few sentimental items from your childhood, teenage years and college. Afterall, your future children might find some of your old belongings useful. But they don’t need a place on your shelf anymore. Finding a box, like these weathertight storage bins from The Container Store are perfect for those keepsake items. Your belongings will be kept clean, dry and safe while their stored away until you find the right moment to bring them back to life!
What are some of your ideas when it comes to essential investments that every young woman should make when taking that next step of adulthood?
Here's How to get your $25 Stitch Fix Credit Now
I love, love, love clothes and updating my wardrobe, and I love getting mail. So when my friend told me I had to try Stitch Fix, I gave it a go.
Stitch Fix is a fun subscription box. Here are some of the features:
I'll admit, I'm a bit cheap when it comes to my clothes...but you can totally specify that you are on a budget, and they'll adjust the box accordingly.
If you want to earn a $25 credit, here's what you do:
Let me know in the comments if you've given it a try and what you thought.
Every Love Story Is Spotlight-Worthy
Over the past three and a half years of my writing journey, I've been fortunate to meet so many people in person and online. I've had so many wonderful women join me in celebrating real, genuine love stories. Along the way, I've come to realize that so many of us don't realize one thing: Every single one of our love stories is magical and novel-worthy.
That's not to say our relationships are perfect. Far from it. If you know my husband and me, you know we fight a lot. We are often caught in the grocery store in a heated battle about snacks or ribs or something equally as ridiculous. We struggle with adulting, and we sometimes have different visions for our lives.
Our life is also far from glamorous. Most weeks, we spend our evenings watching Netflix, playing video games, and eating the simplest foods we can microwave because we're just too lazy to cook anything. Date nights usually involve staying in or hanging with our mastiff, Henry. Candles, rose petals, and fancy getaways just aren't in the cards for us right now.
When I started writing love stories, I knew I wanted to see my own love story in the pages of books. I wanted to read about realistic couples who went on simple dates, who dealt with budget issues, and who didn't always have glamorous lifestyles. Sure, it's fun to read about the alphas who can whisk away their women to one-of-a-kind adventures. But for some of us, that's just not reality. I wanted to write love stories that showcase reality... and prove that love of all kinds can be beautiful.
Along the way, so many of you have joined in my vision and shared stories of your own journey to love. The thing I've come to learn is this: So many of us have similar love stories, similar experiences with married life, and similar struggles.
So while it can be easy to discount your own love story and fret about how it pales in comparison to the sexy heroines and heros of romance novels, I think the message is that you have to celebrate your own reality. You have to embrace the journey you are on when it comes to love, no matter what stage you are at.
Whether you're still searching for "the one" or you've found him or her, I think we all need to realize that every single love story is beautiful. It's worth celebrating. It isn't about the size of the ring, the glamour of the dates, or the perfect moments you collect. Sometimes what makes a love story magical are the struggles, the trials, and the fact that even when things are falling apart around you, one look from your person makes you feel like it's all going to be okay. It's about how you love each other even when you're both sweaty and your makeups melting from a broken air conditioner and 100 degree weather. The beauty of love happens in all of the little moments that don't make it onto the big screen in Hollywood--the simple dinners, the memories, the inside jokes, the play.
I am so glad you are all here to share in your journeys to love, no matter what that looks like. I'm so glad we have a place we can be candid about what love and marriage look like.
Most of all, I'm so thankful that I'm not alone in believing that all love stories are beautiful, noteworthy, and magical in their own way.
I hope this week you can think about the magic of your own journey to love, no matter what that looks like. I'd love to hear about your own love, too, so feel free to hit comment below or join the conversation on Facebook.
99 cent preorder on this Hot Texan Romance, Coming Soon
Coming August 11th, the next installment in the popular Lines in the Sand series!
Book three in this romantic comedy follows Jodie and Levi back to Texas for the holidays. If you haven't read books one and two in the series, head over to Amazon and check them out. Book one, Inked Hearts, was named a Romance Times Top Pick upon release.
Scroll down to learn more about Texan Hearts, find the preorder links for only 99 cents, and if you're ready, add it to your list on Goodreads.
Will a rowdy Texan Thanksgiving be too much for even this wild couple to handle?
Join hot cowboy Levi and quirky author Jodie this Thanksgiving in a fun short story of heat, cringe-worthy families, and dramas of the heart.
“You’re out of control,” I say as he leads me back to some cryptic place behind the rodeo. “And you love it,” he murmurs, turning to kiss me, his hands wandering, making me thankful in all sorts of ways for a very Texan and very scandalous Thanksgiving rodeo.
When Levi Creed, the sexy cowboy, takes Jodie Ellison home for a true Texan Thanksgiving, she has no idea what kind of rowdy holiday she’s in for. As Levi and Jodie’s families unite for one crazy dinner, Jodie uncovers Levi’s roots. Will the scorching Texas heat unite their already smoldering hearts, or will elements of Levi’s past prove to be too much for the new couple?
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LqmABA
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2LqmoSS
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2L9YETW
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2L5ZRLX
Why Flynn's Sharp Objects is one of the best psychological thriller reads
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Sometimes I think illness sits inside every woman, waiting for the right moment to bloom."
Sharp Objects is an engaging, intriguing thriller by Gillian Flynn. Although fans of Gone Girl may find this book to be a little tame and a bit more predictable, it is an excellent read due to the character development. Furthermore, it gives a deep, gritty look inside the mind of a character who struggles with mental issues.
When Camille Preaker goes home to Wind Gap to cover a story about two girls who are murdered, she is filled with an ominous sense of concern. This is mostly because of her mother, Adora, a woman who is both complex and poisonous in her own ways. The relationship between Camille and Adora has always been tense, but Camille's return to town only heightens the anger surrounding unresolved issues. When Adora's youngest daughter, Amma, is added to the mix, toxicity at its finest is unleashed. Camille's coverage of the story coupled with her family issues creates a masterful plot sure to intrigue every thriller reader.
I found the plot to be predictable in this book, but I was completely okay with that. This book isn't about the twists and turns; it is more about the character development. Flynn does an outstanding job at developing her characters, the family narrative, and the relationships in the book. As the plot is revealed, all of the backstory and family dynamics fit together like a puzzle, providing a satisfying narrative.
I also thought Flynn did a great job at portraying mental illness in the main character while also providing the reader with a clear understanding of why Camille struggles with the things she does. It was a raw, realistic, windy portrayal of the human mind, and I enjoyed the writing style that highlighted the realizations uncovered while reading.
I found the epilogue satisfying and thought Camille's story was wrapped up in a fulfilling way. There were many eerie, chilling aspects to the tale, which I found to be original and engaging. I also liked the focus on females in this book as it provided an interesting dynamic.
All in all, I recommend Sharp Objects to any psychological thriller fans. I am excited to check out the HBO series, Sharp Objects, to see if it holds up to the book.
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Here's How to Spark the Romance on a Budget
When you're young, you picture married life or dating life as an adult to be this magical whirlwind of an experience. There will be nightly surprises, red roses, enough candles to start a forest fire if you're not careful, and frequent trips to private islands.
And then you grow up and realize: So much of that just doesn't happen.
Adult life is hard and exhausting. Love as an adult isn't the thing the movies make it out to be. It's a daily struggle to battle the drudgery of adult life, beat exhaustion, and find enough energy to spend time together. And those private islands? Well, for most of our budgets, those are few and far between.
So how do you keep the spark alive when you can barely keep yourself alive some days? How do you keep the romance, the unexpected in your relationship when you're living a paycheck to paycheck kind of existence?
After being with my husband for 18 years and being married for a total of 7 of those years, I've discovered that it can be done. It just takes some effort, some creativity, and some willpower. Here are our 4 tips for keeping the spark alive in a relationship, even if you're on a budget.
1. Groupon has affordable date options
Recently, I realized Chad and I hadn't done anything new or special in a long time. Still, we were trying to save money, so a random weekend getaway wasn't really in the cards.
Enter Groupon. Especially when they have a sale, they have such great deals on local or semi-local adventures. I was able to get us a brewery tour for $26 total for the two of us. The brewery was a 2-hour drive, so close enough to not be too expensive or taxing but far enough away to be something new. We spent the day wandering around the quaint and adorable vineyard, Chad drank a lot of beer, and we just had a good time focusing on each other.
Groupon is a great place to find brand-new adventures that you've never done. It isn't always about what you're doing, either--sometimes it's just the fact that it's a new experience that can bring back the spark and the memories.
2. Think Local For New Adventures
You don't have to venture far to find new things to try. Is there a new restaurant in town you've been wanting to try? Or are there menu items that usually scare your predictable tastes at your local haunts? How about a new ice cream stand or a park nearby you've never been to?
If you look, there are probably places you've overlooked in your own hometown. Scope out newspapers for upcoming events that you can explore together, or venture into a new business.
One of our favorite dates was on a winter day when the whole town was shut down. We walked up to our favorite Chinese restaurant and saw a consignment shop we'd never been in. We've walked past it hundreds of times, but never took the time to stop by. We spent an hour browsing relics from the past and laughing about what we could buy. That will always be one of my favorite days because it was simple, spontaneous, and just about us being together.
Don't be afraid to search your own hometown for new experiences.
3. Stay Home for True Date Savings
You don't even have to leave the house to reignite the spark...and no, I'm not saying you have to whip out the lingerie for this one. Sometimes it's just about breaking the routine. Try a new recipe together from a different country. Do the shopping for the ingredients together, the meal prep, and of course, the eating, together.
Stay up later than normal and go stargazing on your back porch. A cheap bottle of wine, some stars, and some good conversation might just be the reconnect you need.
Do a no-tech night where you put away all technology and spend time together. Pull out an old school board game and start your own competition.
4. Remember What It's Really About
I'm a firm believer that extravagance does not equal love. Sometimes the best kind of dates, the ones that can re-spark our connections, are the simplest. Sure, it would be nice to be surprised with a trip to a private island. But when that's not possible, know that you can find ways to reignite the spark without spending a ton of cash.
You just have to remember what romance is really about... it's about having someone beside you in this crazy thing called life who makes you smile, who makes everything a little bit more fun, and who grounds you in the beauty of your reality.
It doesn't take loads of cash, candles, or roses to remind you of that. It just takes some creativity, some dedication, and most of all, time.
Do you have any great date ideas on a budget? How do you keep the spark alive? Post in the comments below. I would love to hear your ideas!
Honest Movie Review of A Quiet Place
Overall rating: 3/5 stars
A Quiet Place is a creature horror movie that follows a family as they try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The creatures hunt through sound and have super sensitive hearing; thus, the new world the characters must survive in is a silent world. One of the children in the family is deaf, creating an intriguing conflict in a world where hearing equates to survival.
Let me say that I wanted to love this movie so much. I was thrilled to see it on DVD since my husband and I didn't make it to theaters to see it. I sat down, drink in hand, ready to be wowed.
And I was wowed.... by the issues with this movie and major inconsistencies.
There are amazing things about this movie. The acting was phenomenal, and the cast worked well together. I adored the concept of a movie where there was little dialogue. To watch a horror movie that had to be visually exciting and stunning was a unique concept, one I enjoyed very much. I also loved the overall concept. Putting myself in the protagonists' shoes was intriguing; would I survive in this silent world? How much would my life change?
Also, the opening scenes are exciting, scary, and well-done. The conflict is immediately expressed as well as the family dynamic. I settled in and expected an intricate plot, exciting events, and thorough explanations of this new world.
However, the movie fell short for so many reasons. Below are some of my issues with the movie. Please feel free to disagree with me in the comments or tell me what you thought! I'd love to hear from you.
1. Inconsistencies with sound
One of the biggest issues with the sound inconsistency. The creatures could hear a raccoon scuttle across the field, but they couldn't hear heavy breathing of the main character when they were right next to her. Also, in this kind of world, wouldn't everyone die unless they never sneeze? The family is super quiet in certain moments, but then show everyday living in other scenes.
In addition, the one scene shows the family by the river and waterfall, talking about how it is a safe area because the noise from the water covers their own noise. Wouldn't it be smart to set up a base/home somewhere near the river or a similarly noisy area?
2. So many questions
I am okay with a movie leaving certain aspects up to interpretation, but this movie left way, way too many unanswered questions. Where did the creatures come from? How did this family survive when few others did? Why didn't scientists find out about the weakness uncovered at the end when they had newspapers full of other information?
There were other smaller questions, too--like where all that sand came from for the trails and how the main character managed to make an entire town of sand paths with just one bag for carrying.
3. Can we please be more careful?
For being one of the few families to survive, this family was reckless in their survival methods. Children were allowed to just roam the farm aimlessly and play outside. In a world this dangerous, wouldn't there be more precautions? In one scene, a boy plays in a truck outside, the horn precariously close to his small fingers. In addition, the family never closes doors. Ever. I think that may go back to the family trying to be quiet, but couldn't you take precautions to cover doors quietly or close them very carefully? At various points, creatures just slip into the house because no one shuts doors.
4. The ending
I know a lot of people like the twist ending, but I didn't really think it was that much of a wow factor. We all figured it out earlier in the movie when the daughter had several encounters with the creatures. I also hated how the movie just stopped....there needed to be more closure.
All in all, I had way to many questions about this movie to give it a high rating. I liked the concept, but there needed to be more answers and more attention paid to some of the inconsistencies.
Don't take my word for it...check out the movie yourself. If you use the link below, I do get a small amount from Amazon.
Best Dark Romance of the Summer: Pepper Winters The Girl and Her Ren
The Girl and Her Ren by Pepper Winters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm always hesitant about a sequel because I always worry it won't stand up to the first book. Pepper Winters' The Girl and Her Ren not only stood up to the first book but enhanced it. I loved book one even more thanks to this second book.
This book picks up where book one left off, and I was so happy to see the story continue because I was definitely left wanting more from book one. This series is so unique because it really does explore how love is multi-faceted and really doesn't care about rules. There is a constant back and forth to the plot and the emotions in book one; this continues in book two. I found myself weaving in and out of emotions, from anger to joy to sorrow and back again. Pepper Winters really makes you invest in the characters and their love story in a way few other authors can manage.
The formatting of the book is also unique in that it is told not only from the male and female perspective but also from the format of a manuscript. As a writer, I enjoyed that tie-in and loved how Pepper Winters tied up the series.
I really can't say anything negative about the series. I don't have any critiques. It wrapped up the series in a satisfying way, leaving an impression on me about Della and Ren like no other romance couple. I also love that in the book, Winters highlights that this was never intended to be a romance story, necessarily, but a life story. She accomplishes just that by showcasing how life is a winding, unpredictable journey of pain, sorrow, loss, regret, and guilt. However, through Ren and Della's story, she shows us that love always makes it worth it.
There is certainly a unique aspect to Ren and Della's love story. If you read book one, you understand that their history is very different. Some may even get a bit of a taboo vibe from their union. However, I thought Winters did a great job at acknowledging how their relationship is different but also at not backing down from the love story. Love doesn't follow the rules. It doesn't even follow our own rules. The heart wants what it wants, and it was satisfying to watch Ren and Della experience that very sentiment.
I applaud Pepper Winters for her candid writing, her unabashed look at some darker themes, and the ability to weave such a heartbreaking and beautiful tale about a couple I won't soon forget.
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