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The Wangs Vs. the World by Jade Chang

The Wangs Vs. the World by Jade ChangThe Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang
Published by Houghton Mifflin on October 4th 2016
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 368
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
one-star

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. the World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America—and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could.

Seriously. This book is awful. I read that this was supposed to be funny (I didn’t laugh at all) and hey if you want to read about a self absorbed rich family who consist of Chinese people, I say go read Crazy Rich Asians instead. One of this books’s genres on Goodreads is “Abandoned” so I should have looked into that before I spent money on this thing.

This book takes place in 2008, of course for us Americans, we know that is when the housing bubble in the US burst, and then we had a recession set in and millions of people were without work and or lost their homes. “The Wangs Vs the World” follows a millionaire (maybe billionaire) family living in L.A. who lose everything when the family patriarch (Charles Wang) decides to put up his home and businesses as collateral to start a new line of makeup products. When the economy takes a tumble, Charles decides he will pack up his second wife (Barbra) and pick up his two kids who are at school (Grace and Andrew) and make his way to his oldest daughter’s (Saina) home in Helios, New York. We get not only Charles’ POV during this mess of a book, but also Grace, Andrew, Barbra, and even the POV of the freaking car they are riding in for the majority of this road trip.

I can honestly say that I didn’t care for one character at all. These people suck. Charles is just a terrible father and husband. It’s understood he has affairs, but you know, don’t get upset about that. That’s just the world or something.

Barbra was obsessed with Charles when she knew him in China and just bides her time to get him after his first wife dies in the weirdest accident ever. She’s not worried about being a mother to his children that he had with his first wife and is just barely present it seems in anyone’s life.

Saina was okay at first, but she’s dumb when it comes to love and it gets old reading about her romance problems.

Andrew was a hot mess. I just…reading about someone’s comic stand-up is not interesting. At all. Wait, I take that back, I did laugh while reading Chelsea Handler’s books, so maybe once again it’s just that this book is not funny.

Grace was inoffensive. I wish I cared more, but honestly since the whole rest of their family was exhausting, I just wanted to be done with them all.

The writing was not that great. Between the run on sentences that lasted whole freaking paragraphs sometimes which was bad enough; Chang also had some dialogue I think either in Cantonese or Mandarin and doesn’t translate it. I say I think since once again she doesn’t bother to translate what people are saying.

Also, FYI authors, there is nothing endearing about reading how prejudiced and racist in some cases the whole family was about people who were African American. Also be prepared to read about how if you have a mixed race kid who is cute, that makes it okay to be with a black man or woman. Shoot they even had some comments towards white people. I just didn’t find any of it clever. I found myself cringing throughout and sighing.

Also there is a point in the story where Chang goes into a fixed rate loan he takes out which took me out of the story. Dumb me, but didn’t the whole housing crisis happen cause people everywhere had adjustable rate mortgages that overnight went from being several hundred dollars to several thousand? It just didn’t even make sense to me why Charles took out a loan when he supposedly had money to burn.

The book settings moves around a lot, the family is traveling by car from California to New York and all I have to say is that the route they take seemed to be making the trip longer, but I am too lazy to look up potential routes. That is way too much effort for me to be putting in towards a book I seriously disliked. The action at one case even moves to China.

The ending was just a question mark to me. I don’t know what I was supposed to think and honestly I didn’t care. I was glad to be done with this book so I can freaking count it towards Booklikes-opoly. FYI, that is the only reason I kept up with this.

Electronic edition: 368 pages (via Goodreads)

201 to 400 pages: $3.00

Bank: $23.00

one-star

Bridges: A Daphne White Novel

Bridges: A Daphne White NovelBridges by Maria Murnane
Published by Kindle Press on April 4, 2017
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 194
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-stars

It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here's to the power of friendship!

Please note that I received this book from the author via NetGalley in return for a honest review.

I previously read the first book in this series, Wait for the Rain, and really enjoyed it, you can see my review here: Wait for the Rain review at Goodreads. So I was happy to see that Maria Murnane had a follow up with Daphne, Skylar, and KC. The only reason why I gave this four stars and not five was that I wish that Murnane had explored going with another POV with this one like Skylar. I would have really enjoyed that. And I thought the ending with things working out for Daphne would have been better if Murnane had actually kept up with the theme of how hard it is to break into being a published writer.

In “Bridges” it’s been about a year since our 3 Musketeers got together and had a vacation in the Caribbean. After the three women have a video conference call and Skylar lets them know that she is engaged and she wants to fly them to NYC in order to celebrate with her. Daphne is happy to celebrate Skylar’s good news, but hoped that she would have good news of her own to share. She took a year and started to write her own novel, based on her adventures with her friends in the Caribbean as well as the relationship she found after her divorce. Unfortunately, Daphne is getting a lot of rejection letters and is worried that maybe her dream of being a published author will never be realized. And she doesn’t know if she is going to be able to fake being happy surrounded by her two friends who are the moon about different things in their lives at this point.

I have to say that once again Maria Murnane nails female friendships. I really enjoyed how she showcased them in this book and her Waverly Bryson series. A lot of the conversations and ability to read your friend when something is off reminds me of my togethers with my two best friends. I also felt for Daphne while reading this book. Feeling stuck after a divorce, and in a so-so relationship with a guy with her daughter about to go to college leaves Daphne at a crossroads. With her best friend seeming to hit pay dirt and finding the one and living the high life in New York would be a lot to take in and be happy for at the same time. What I liked most about Daphne in this one, is that she comes to a couple of different realizations about herself and also about letting go of things with regards to her daughter.

I have to say that I love Skylar the most in this group. Maybe because I am dancing towards 40 and at this point I have not met one guy who has made me even think about forever. I loved that hard nosed Skylar who had a dating rotation fell hard and fast for what appears to be a really great guy. And I got serious house envy reading about how her home was set-up. I can get why Daphne was jealous.

KC is still the uber cheerleader who loses her shine a bit in this one. No spoilers, but there’s a reason.

We also get introduced to a best friend (in NYC) of Skylar’s that I would love to read more about. Her dating adventures had me laughing out loud. Maybe because I have a few stories as well and I think that this fictional character has gone out with real life guys i have went out with too.

We also get some reappearances of secondary characters in this one that Daphne knows. Once again no spoilers. I will say that I was happy with how things resolved though.

The writing was really good. I have to say that it was just nice to read about a group of women being themselves with each other. You can see why these three women have been friends since college. And I am very excited to see if there will be another story starring them in the near future.

The flow was really good. This was a pretty short book for me, so I was able to finish it in under about 3 hours all together.

The setting of New York really comes alive. We have Hamilton references, discussion of the High Line in New York (it’s really fun to do if you have a chance) Shake Shack which had me hungry, and just a dozen or so more references that shows that the author has been in the city and has explored these places. It really makes the book come alive. Due to this, i emailed one of my friends and now we are trying to set up a trip sometime this year to go to NYC and catch a show. Not Hamilton, I do not have Hamilton money, unlike Skylar.

The ending was great, though as I said above, I think it would have been better without the neatly wrapped ending. Not every book has to be wrapped up in a bow at the end. Or at least I prefer it when they are not.

four-stars

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