Beautiful, Dirty, Rich || Crazy Rich Asians Review

Initial Thoughts: 

Alright, guys. GUYS. I was going to rate this a full mega five star but then I watched the movie and I absolutely loved the direction they went with it, along with the curtailing of subplots. But still. STILL. This book was fab. And I mean, timing, am I right?

Because beautiful, dirty, dirty, rich, rich, dirty, dirty, beautiful, dirty, rich.


CRAZY RICH ASIANS

by Kevin Kwan
Anchor Books, May 2014
Romance, adult contemporary fiction, humor
Rated: 4.5 / 5 cookies

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.

If I could quote the entire beginning of the book, I so would, because if the prologue was any indication of how the book would go, it certainly opened up with a bang. As is, I really enjoyed the story, as dramatic and rife with frustrating characters as it was, it was a helluva summer read, and I honestly want to visit Singapore now (not that I didn’t before…now it’s just a more immediate desire).

“They may not know the first thing about him, but they are all vying to become Mrs. Nicholas Young.”

Rachel took it all in quietly. It felt like Sophie was talking about some character of fiction, someone who bore no resemblance to the man she knew and had fallen in love with. It was as if she were Sleeping Beauty–only, she never asked to be awakened by a prince.

But honestly, I couldn’t have found a better timing to read this book. Eleanor Young was a firm believer that timing was everything for many reasons, and I think I agree. If I wasn’t in such a mood to read a rom-com book like Crazy Rich Asians I probably would not have had as much fun with it as I did. As is, when I finally did get cracking at the book, I realized this book was just for me, solely for the fact that every few pages there was food involved.

I got so food-hungry reading Dirty Rich Asians that I ended up making scones, clotted cream, and scoured the grocery stores for some lychee to make myself a lychee cocktail. Word. Food and fandom up this biznatch!

Nick stood at one end of the desserts, wondering what to have first: the goreng pisang with ice cream, the blancmange with mango sauce, or the chocolate chiffon cake.

Seriously, I was in Singapore food heaven. And it didn’t help that I was recognizing a lot of the goodies as SEA staples. (I mean, they talked about frying bananas in batter and I immediately went and fried myself a pack of turon to have for snacks…)

The street food alone… *drools*

Not only that, but the culture itself was a lot more relatable as far as the family values went. As someone whose family network is predominantly in Southeast Asia, a lot of the gossip and judgmental drama that occurred in the book mimicked what it is like growing up in a heavily SEA-oriented lifestyle. Of course, I could only imagine the stakes in the drama of the dirty rich, but again, similar focus.

The book is also heavy with commentary of lifestyle in the SEA community. There are problems with how the rich view the world, and yes, there’s a shitton of racism and social injustice even in the East. And if you take a deeper dive into the book to see how the society in Singapore work, you’d find that a lot of the SEA folk actually represented turn out to be live-in servants, nannies, and generally that of the working class.

“Did you hear me? Mainland China!

Philip was baffled. “Doesn’t everybody’s family ultimately originate from Mainland China? Where would you rather she be from? Iceland?”

“Don’t be funny with me! Her family comes from some ulu ulu village in China that nobody has ever heard of. The investigator thinks that they were most likely working class. In other words, they are PEASANTS!”

That being said, the book is first and foremost a romantic comedy. It is an Asian Pride and Prejudice. And let me tell you, I’ve been having my fair share of P&P binges this week. Too much Mr. Darcy is never too much, and I can now also say this about Nicholas Young. Yummy.

Hubba hubba indeed. Hello, TDH of the month.

(On a related note, I’ve also gone to see the movie this weekend, and I will have to agree with many others who’ve clamored and sang the movie’s praises: it was tremendously done, hilarious to a fault, and I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am to see a great rom-com back on the silver screens. Also, the curtailed plotlines with Astrid and Peik Lin were SO MUCH BETTER DONE in the film, not gonna lie. So. Yeah. WATCH IT!)

4.5 out of 5 cookies! Honestly, it should just be a 5 out of 5 if you combine the ending of the movie to the book itself. All the same, I’d totally still read the sequels.


Have you read this book or watched the movie? What did you think?

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Bookademy Awards

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Whoo Academy Awards! If there’s anything else I love other than books and video games (and baking and reading…), it’s definitely watching movies. So imagine my excitement every year when I turn to my friend and start watching as many of the award-nominated movies as possible in order to cast in our own predictions of which movie will rake in the gold.

Well, considering tonight IS Academy Award night, I figure I could do a list of “Bookademy” Awards to commemorate it. Because, heck, this blog is largely book-related, right? I suppose I *could* throw in my movie predictions as well, but I can throw that in at the end. Um. Maybe.

So yes. Books. For the sake of saving time and not having to go back to all of my favorite reads, I’m going to be basing this year’s Bookademy Awards to what I’ve personally read in 2016.

2017 Bookademy Awards

Best Male Protagonist

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I talk of Kell in the second book because he’s become much more multi-faceted after his showdown with Holland. Plus, he pretty much went into an entire spectrum of emotions in this book, considering the situations he’s had to deal with.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Kaladin Stormblessed (The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson)
James Fraser (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon)
Parzival (Ready Player One by Ernest Cline)
Khalid Ibn al-Rashid (The Rose & and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh)

Best Female Protagonist

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It’s always difficult to just pick one female protag amidst the plethora of female main characters I’ve been reading about in books. They’re all so friggin’ awesome in their roles! Yelena, though, remains my favorite of 2016, because she has undergone so much throughout the Study books, and at the prime of her power, she still remains adamant in her quest to continue learning. Plus, while she’s probably one of the few fantasy females I know who is shown to balance both her work and love life well.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Cress (Cress by Marissa Meyer)
Maika Halfwolf (Monstress by Marjorie Liu)
Lada (And I Darken by Kiersten White)
Shahrzad Al-Khayzuran (The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh),

Best Secondary Male

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Four books of sass-mouthing and motivational speeches. I don’t even need to say anything else.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Scorpius Malfoy (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany)
Murtagh (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon)
Warren (Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs)
Alucard Emery (A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab)

Best Secondary Female

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Limelight Ladies galore! Reagan takes the cake because of her dialogue. She’s pretty much that character that prods and goads the protagonist into action for the most part, and honestly, she made me laugh way too much throughout Fangirl.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Iko (Cress by Marissa Meyer)
Ivy Tamwood (Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison)
Minny (The Help by Kathryn Stockett)
Ilsa Flynn (This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab)

Best Villainous Villains

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I’ve mushed together male and female villains, because honestly only one of them took the cake. Astrid friggin’ Dane. I would have also put her brother here, but honestly, I remember Astrid much more because she’d been crueler, subtler, and more conniving with her actions. Athos was pretty straightforward cruel. Astrid, on the other hand, was straight-up psychotic.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Naughty John (The Diviners by Libba Bray)
Eli Ever (Vicious by V.E. Schwab)
Queen Levana (Winter by Marissa Meyer)
Pernicia (Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley)

Best Graphic Novel/Manga

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The first volume of this female-centric graphic novel packed such a punch that everything else paled in comparison.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan
Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 3 by Jinsei Kataoka
The Way of Shadows: The Graphic Novel by Brent Weeks
The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon

Best Adaptation of a Book

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I still love watching The Help movie whenever I can. It was done so well.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Best Retelling

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It was a tight race between Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn and Cress, but Cress won out because the tale stayed true to the fairy tale amidst a science fiction world.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Winter by Marissa Meyer
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher

Best in Magical Systems

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Was there any question? Sanderson has always been stellar at telling the story and creating in-depth magical systems. And heck, he doesn’t just make one. Oh, no. Sometimes books will have multiple magical systems.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Best in Worldbuilding

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Same vein as the above category. His worlds are superbly vivid, and his descriptions have often made it so easy to get transported into the middle of the scene.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Best “Must Buy” Author

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Seriously, Schwab. Just stahp.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Renee Ahdieh
Patricia Briggs
Marissa Meyer
Brandon Sanderson

Best Books of a Humorous Nature

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I believe Whil Wheaton’s narration had a lot to do with me finding the story geeky and adorable, but yes, I did laugh a lot with this book.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Best Books of an OMG Nature

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Alright, so there are just going to be those books that have the flair for the dramatics. Fire Touched was pretty much a turning point for Mercy and her family, and for that, the book takes the cake on dramatic events.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Best Squee-Worthy Book

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I still sigh and squee over this duology. The first book had some of the best lines, though let it be said that I also squeed lots over its sequel.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

And as a bonus, my Academy Award movie predictions.

Best PictureLa La Land

Best Actor (Leading Role) – Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Actor (Supporting Role) – Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Actress (Leading Role) – Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Actress (Supporting Role) – Viola Davis, Fences

Best Animated Feature – Zootopia

Best Cinematography – Linus Sandgren, La La Land

Best Costume Design – Madeline Fontaine, Jackie

Best Directing – Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Documentary FeatureO.J.: Made in America

Best Documentary ShortJoe’s Violin

Best Film EditingHacksaw Ridge

Best Foreign Language FilmThe Salesman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Star Trek Beyond

Best Original Score – La La Land

Best Original Song – “City of Stars,” La La Land

Best Production Design – La La Land

Best Live Action ShortEnnemis Interieurs

Best Animated Short – Piper

Best Sound Editing – Hacksaw Ridge

Best Sound Mixing – Hacksaw Ridge

Best Visual Effects – Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Adapted Screenplay – Fences

Best Original Screenplay – La La Land

Do you have anyone you would have awarded Bookademy Awards to? And how about movies? Do you have an Academy Award prediction?

TTT: Loose Adaptations

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For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

I think I may have done a movie-book adaptation list a while back, so this time around, I’ll get specific. So that means adaptations of specific books. And off the top of my head, I’ve decided to go and talk about movies and mini-series based off of Jane Austen books. Oh yes. This is happening, guys. So happening. And yes, there’s a lot of Pride and Prejudice adaptations I’m going to throw in here, because why not.

Top Ten Movies and Mini-Series Adapted From Jane Austen Novels

 

Sense and Sensibility (1995) – There’s just something about that last Emma Thompson scene where she breaks down that’s absolutely fantastic. It’s pretty much the culmination of all that repressed emotion in the book, boiling down to blubbering when she finally gets proposed to. Definitely one of my favorite scenes, both in the book and movie.

Clueless (1995) – Quite possibly one of my favorite of any modernized Austen retellings ever. Ever. And time and again, a number of films have tried, but for the most part, they don’t really match the quirky caliber of Clueless. It is ultimately Emma if it took place on Beverly Hills with a bunch of high school students who don’t know any better.

Emma (2009) – Honestly, I’ve liked all the Emma adaptations that I’ve seen so far, but after seeing Romola Garai’s version of Emma, I see no one else in the role. Her face is absolutely expressive in that snooty Emma way, and you honestly don’t need her to spell her reactions out when you can see it plain as day.

Mansfield Park (2007) – I actually haven’t paid much attention to this book until recently, but it has started to grow on me after a time. I know the 2007 version adds a bit more backstory of the book, but I liked where the movie went with it, and I actually like Billie Piper as Fanny Price!

Bride and Prejudice (2004) – Because “no life without wife” pretty much sums up the beginning of Pride and Prejudice so well. Also, the songs in this Bollywood movie are so. damn. catchy. I might have to find a copy just to watch it again at the risk of getting all the songs stuck in my head for days to come.

Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) – Also another Pride and Prejudice retelling that I loved (yes, I have a lot of those). And I mean…Mr. Darcy is being played by Colin Firth, and he is the modern iteration of Austen’s Darcy…just, a lot of yes to that.

Death Comes to Pemberley (2013) – I’m very picky with my Mr. Darcys, so when I saw this little retelling of Pride and Prejudice on Netflix, I was intrigued. I love Matthew Rhys to begin with, so it wasn’t very hard for me to get won over by his version of Mr. Darcy. This story isn’t really so much an adaptation of a Jane Austen book as an adaptation of somebody’s continuation. Death Comes to Pemberley was penned by P.D. James.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) – This is such a hoot and a half, and honestly Matt Smith as Mr. Collins is just perfect. That said, again, this adaptation is of a parody written by Seth Grahame-Smith, and shouldn’t really be taken seriously. It’s just P&P with zombies and a group of fighting Bennett sisters.

Pride and Prejudice (1995) – Easily my favorite adaptation of anything Austen. Yes, it’s a six-hour long mini-series but I seriously can watch this several times within a given year and I’d be okay with that. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth are THE Liz and Darcy for me, and there’s yet to be a P&P adaptation that’s come close.

Lost in Austen (2008) – Now let me talk about this gem of a mini-series. This gem puts a modern woman into the story of Pride and Prejudice and by some twist of fate, said woman gets whisked off into the world of P&P while Elizabeth Bennett gets thrown into the real world (and is loving it, btw). In this particular mini-series, Amanda takes Lizzie’s place, and it’s sort of like an Austen version of Outlander, except, you know, not. Um. I’m losing my point here, but that’s me getting distracted.

I mean, um, what?

Anyway, there’s my Austen showing. Maybe next week I’ll tone it down a bit, lol!

What’s YOUR favorite TV show or movie adaptation of a book?

 

Mini-Reviews: Felicia Day, Neil Patrick Harris

I usually don’t read nonfiction outside of necessity, but having access to a ton of audiobooks via my library is a blessing, and I’ve increased my nonfiction book count this way. Which is why, when I saw memoirs of Felicia Day and Neil Patrick Harris, I totally went for them. Now, these audiobooks aren’t my favorites in the world, but I did come to respect the celebrities who penned these down more than I did before.

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Have you read either of these? What did you think?

Of Disney Book Tags

Disney and book tags. Yespls! Again, wasn’t tagged for this, but I thought it looked fun and honestly, how could I resist?

1. The Little Mermaid – a character who is out of their element, a “fish out of water”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – Arthur Dent is the epitome of a fish out of water. After trying to defend his little plot of land and realizing there’s no point because Earth is going to get destroyed anyway, Arthur is whooshed into a rather eclectic space adventure with his friend, Ford Prefect.

2. Cinderella – a character who goes through a major transformation

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Main character Nieshka certainly goes through a major transformation, but I was mostly thinking of her best friend, Kasia, who had been severely altered in both physicality and mentality after being attacked by the Wood.

3. Snow White – a book with an eclectic cast of characters

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Frankly, any of the Harry Potter books fit this category. I went with the first one because it really was the first to introduce the reader to most of the main and recurring characters of the series.

4. Sleeping Beauty – a book that put you to sleep

Inda by Sherwood Smith – A lot of readers have remained stalwart in recommending Smith’s books to me. For some reason, I tried to read Inda, but I never get past the first few pages. It’s like they were naturally-occurring soporifics for me. The sad part is I’ve trudged through longer and more tedious high fantasies.

5. The Lion King – a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett – I swear every single POV character has the most tragic back stories ever. Occupational hazard, especially when you’re living in a world filled with demons. Of the three in this book, Rojer’s backstory definitely wins in “most traumatic.”

6. Beauty and the Beast – A beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful

You mean every high fantasy book ever? Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson hands down. I’ve read longer books, of course, but none I enjoyed as much.

7. Aladdin – a character who gets their wish granted, for better or worse

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – Does revenge count? I recall Edmond Dantes wanting revenge the most and eventually he gets it, though through a great deal of effort upon his person. Still, it is something he’d wished for after being imprisoned. And he did get it in the end, to lukewarm results.

8. Mulan – a character who pretends to be someone or something they are not

Maledicte by Lane Robins – I’m putting Alanna to rest as my ultimate crossdressing knight and going with Miranda’s story. Miranda sells her soul to a dark-winged goddess in order to save her childhood friend from noble captors. In doing so, she disguises herself into Maledicte, an effeminate man who eventually makes waves within courtly life. Lots of assassinating going on, too.

9. Toy Story – a book with characters you wish would come to life

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs – Oh, one can only wish, right?

10. Disney Descendants – your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – THE DARKLING THE DARKLING THE DARKLING. ‘Nuff said.