Hey! Hope you all are well and staying safe in the Lockdown 2.0.
Here is the new monthly feature on my blog, where I share and review that books that I’ve read this month – Here is September’s post if you missed it!
Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce
Allison has it all.
A loving family and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend.
But all is never as it seems…
Trigger Warning: Topics of Abuse, Substance Abuse, Rape
Following the perspective of Allison, the books starts off with her receiving her first murder case to defend and her struggling to keep her marriage from falling apart. At the beginning of the book I absolutely disliked Allison and I thought to myself that this is the first time that I’ve really disliked the narrator and character and not rooting for them throughout the book. I found her very selfish, I hated her affair with Patrick and felt so sorry for her husband, Carl and her daughter, Matilda that she continually neglected using her work as an excuse. But as the book went on I started to feel sorry for her, saw that she was trying her best with her daughter and wanted to do better as a mother.
The murder case that she’s given is a domestic violence case where Madeleine has confessed to killing her abusive husband, Edwin. Even though the book is about Allison, I actually found this part of the story really interested – I wanted to read on and find out the secrets that Madeleine was hiding and why she was so adamant on pleading guilty.
The books had many twists, makes you think that two people have different sides, darker sides to their personality that you don’t always see at first. With nearly all the characters in the book, my first opinion of them is different to my final opinion of them.
The ending – OMG – I had to read over it multiple times to confirm what I had read, the twist happened so quickly and I didn’t see it coming at all. If you’re looking for thriller to keep you on your toes, I highly recommend this book to you!
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
‘Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.’
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese-American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfil the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them all into chaos.
This book I actually started in the summer and stopped reading – I found the beginning bit sooo slow and I got attracted by the other books on my book shelf. I looked up some reviews to see if I was the only one who felt like book had a slow beginning and I wasn’t – other people said exactly the same but that the story picked up and it was worth getting to the end. So I gave it another go and I agree with my fellow reviewers! It was worth giving it a second try; the story was very sad and I carried on reading to find out what happened to Lydia.
The Lee family, a Chinese American family are on the surface a happy family but when struck with tragedy with Lydia’s death the cracks in their family become evermore visible and have to be acknowledged and dealt with. But as we all know feelings can be hard to discuss and deal with and hiding emotions and keeping secrets is what the Lees do very well.
The book begins with Lydia being missing and the family realising that they didn’t know her as well as they thought they did; they don’t know that she didn’t have many friends, she wasn’t doing as well in school academically, she wasn’t as happy in her life as she made them believe. Her parents, Marilyn and James put immense pressure on her and she took upon their hopes and aspirations that they failed to achieve and pushed herself to make them happy. James wants his children, Nathan, Lydia and Hannah, to be popular and ‘fit into society’, when he was a child he didn’t have any friends – you could describe him as being ashamed of his childhood, not being popular in school himself. Marilyn had high academic expectations of herself, being one of the only females on her university course – she pushed passed the gender barriers and aspired to be a doctor. When her plans to become a doctor was put on hold to raise her children she put all her hopes and dreams onto Lydia, her first daughter, from a young age.
Ng explores the topics of racism towards Chinese Americans in American society, even though this book is set in the 70s, it brings the debate as to whether much has even changed in our present society.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
The only thing crazier than love is family.
When 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 rising 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.
Like many others I watched this movie when it came out a couple years ago and found it a cute funny movie, a nice watch whilst snuggled up on the sofa. When I saw the book in the store I thought let’s tackle the classic question – what’s better the film or the book? And the answer to that is most definitely the book!
Kwan creates this whole wonderful world that you become immersed in and fall deeper in as you read. There are many characters in this story, the family is big and has three distinct branches – The Youngs, The Shangs and The T’Siens – who are all related in some way. If you get a little confused (which I did at times) when a new family member gets introduced, there is a family tree in the first few pages that you can refer back to as many times as you’d wish!
The story mainly follows Nick and Rachel and her being introduced to his world and much to her surprise his family is incredibly rich; it follows the aftermath of her introduction and how his family and friends respond to her. When meeting your partner’s family it is your absolute nightmare to not be accepted and that’s what Rachel faced with Nick’s mother, Eleanor. Rachel wasn’t really given a chance to impress Eleanor, she immediately disliked her just from the first mention of her name before Rachel even stepped off the plane. I loved Nick and Rachel’s relationship throughout the book, I was rooting for them to last and stay together even with his mother’s disapproval.
Nick’s gorgeous glamorous cousin, Astrid Leong is featured in the book, following her struggle to deal with her failing marriage and questioning her husband, Micheal Teo’s faithfulness. Astrid is idolised in society, seen as a goddess, everything she does and everything is wears is noticed and adored. With her storyline I felt like it shows that everyone, even the ones you hold so highly, are human, have emotions, have insecurities and low moments.
This book has absolutely hilarious moments, I found myself having a little giggle out loud on the train! The family reaction to Alistair Cheng (Nick’s cousin) dating a risqué actress, Kitty Pong, and their attempts to break them up made me laugh. It had such sweet romantic moments with not only relationships like Nick and Rachel but family bonds – the strong love within the family.
As soon as I finished this book I wanted to read more and I was over the moon to find out that this book is part of a trilogy series and the story carries on! Definitely my next book purchase!
Hope you all have a peaceful lockdown and all stay safe.
Happy reading over this month!
Thank you for reading!