What I’m Reading: The Nest

25781157From the bookjacket:
A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

My review: 
I picked up The Nest on a bit of a whim/because it was on sale after hearing some pretty decent reviews about it. Who doesn’t love a story about a dysfunctional family?

So yes, the Plumbs are certainly dysfunctional, but I would hardly say that they’re testing the power of family. The Plumbs, in my opinion, are nothing but of snivelling, whiny WASPy-types with a sense of entitlement. How ironic that they put all of their eggs in this one financial basket they call “the Nest” only to have it fail.

Beware for beyond lay spoilers!

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What I’m Reading: Truly Madly Guilty

26247008From Goodreads.com:
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

My review:
This is the 4th book by Liane Moriarty that I’ve read and once again, she didn’t disappoint overall.

My first reaction after finishing the book? Whew! Like many other readers have noted, it took a while for things to take off and get interesting, but once you hit that point in the book it was hard for me to stop reading! The flash-forwards and flashbacks made me constantly scream inside my head, “WHAT HAPPENED?!!??” And then when it did my heart dropped and well, you’ll just have to read the book to figure out why.

This book also tugged at the heartstrings a little bit and makes you really think about people’s behaviours – a “don’t judge a book by its cover” sort of situation. It also made me think of how friendships are made and slowly evolve over time, changing as we do.

While I didn’t really connect with any of the characters they were still relatively likeable, although I would’ve liked more background on why Clementine decided she needed to do those talks of hers … the rest of the story could’ve went on without that part.

Still, I’m giving Truly Madly Guilty 4 stars out of 5. If you have the patience to get through the first half of the book it’s definitely worth picking up! 

What I’m Reading: China Rich Girlfriend

28503789From Goodreads.com:
It’s the eve of Rachel Chu’s wedding, and she should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond, a wedding dress she loves, and a fiancé willing to thwart his meddling relatives and give up one of the biggest fortunes in Asia in order to marry her. Still, Rachel mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be there to walk her down the aisle.

Then a chance accident reveals his identity. Suddenly, Rachel is drawn into a dizzying world of Shanghai splendor, a world where people attend church in a penthouse, where exotic cars race down the boulevard, and where people aren’t just crazy rich … they’re China rich.

My review:
As the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, I was excited to read China Rich Girlfriend and to see what was next for Rachel Chu and her extended family, and it didn’t disappoint.

Light but still hilarious, I loved the outrageousness of how materialistic the characters were. It’s all completely over the top and hard to believe that people actually live this way, but I suppose when you’re a “simple” North American you’d never be able to catch a glimpse of their lavish lifestyle.

I do wish that there was more story development with Rachel and Nick, rather that just plopping them into the various chapters that involved more of their new-found “China rich” friends. And I really didn’t quite understand the point of including Kitty Pong/Mrs. Bernard Tai in the story as the only tie-in to the rest of the characters was minuscule.

Still, my Asian half related to this book just as it did with Crazy Rich Asians, which only made it more enjoyable for me. I’m giving it 5 stars out of 5, and I’m looking forward to the third instalment coming out in May this year!