Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang - Book (Spoilers)

The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang


Spoilers throughout the post


    First of all, I want to say that I can relate to this book. A brief synopsis of the book: a Chinese-American family goes bankrupt and the dad goes around collecting his children so he can go back to China to reclaim the family land stolen by the Communists. My family is Taiwanese and we also have 3 children; during the entire book I worry about what if the same thing happened to us? Would we have enough money to go back to Taiwan? Will we have anywhere to go back to?
Each chapter of the book is from the point of view of a different character. In the Wang family there is Charles, Barbra, Saina, Andrew, and Grace.

    The chapters are each numbered with Chinese characters instead of numerals. Also there's some conversations in Chinese that are in pin yin so you might need to get someone to help you translate if you don't know Mandarin. 


   Charles Wang – Chinese name Wang Da Qian. Family fled to Taiwan away from the Communists when he was young. He went to school at National Taiwan Universitu. Before senior year, his parents sent him to America with “a list of fertilizer manufacturers” to help earn the family fortune back. Instead, he got into the cosmetics industry and grew big. He married his first wife May Lee who was a model. They had a house in Bel-Air. May Lee died getting onto a helicopter to view the Grand Canyon in order to rekindle their marriage after the third child was born. After the death of his first wife, Charles married Barbra who he knew back in Taiwan.

   Barbra – Chinese name Hu Yue Ling. Full Taiwanese, her family worked in the University where she met Charles. She always had a crush on him. One summer she decided to work on her appearance and lose some weight but when school started back up, Charles had already left for America. After awhile, one of her classmates heard from Charles that he was going to be marrying a model. When she had heard about May Lee’s death, she took all of her parents’ savings and flew to America to find Charles.

   Saina – The oldest child and daughter lives in Helios, New York by herself. She lived in Manhattan for a while as an artist until she had a failed show and her then fiancĂ©, Grayson, cheated on her and got another girl pregnant. Saina moved to Helios as a personal exile from society and also away from everything that reminded her of Grayson. But he came looking for her saying that the other girl lost the baby and Saina was the only one for him. After being together for awhile, his son was born. She found out that Grayson had lied to her and he went back to his baby-mama. Besides Grayson, Saina was dating Leo – a local – who took her back after Grayson left.  

   Andrew – The second child and oldest son. Goes to school at Azusa Pacific University and wants to be a comedian. He believes in waiting to find love before having sex. He has his car repossessed the day everything happened. As Charles goes around picking up the children, they stop in New Orleans and he meets the thirty-five year old Dorrie who not only gets to him to have sex but also to stay in Louisiana with her instead of going to New York with his family to get Saina. After a few days of being with Dorrie he realizes that they don’t love each other (blinded by the sex) and he leaves her behind. Andrew goes around the state trying to figure out what to do and finally performs a comedy routine that goes well. He ends up having to fly to Beijing when their father ends up in the hospital.

   Grace – The youngest child and daughter. She is away at boarding school in Santa Barbra. She’s only able to pack up the basics of her possessions when she finds out. Grace is in the teenage rebellious stage and she wants to be a fashion designer. Grace is the first one to be picked up by the dad and is on the journey the longest.



   Charles has about $10,000 stowed away in cash and that is the money the family uses to travel across the country. At one point, they stop at one of his factories (and break in) to pick up a shipment of some cosmetics for a small town general store that Charles personally helped kick start. Unfortunately, the products had melted by the time they reached the destination. Another stop along the way was to New Orleans where one of Charles’s longtime friend Nash lives. This is where Andrew leaves the journey. And somewhere in North Carolina the family get into a car crash. They get a rental car and Grace drives the entire way to New York while her dad and stepmother sleep. 






Keep scrolling to see how the book ends.
If you don't want to know then the post ends here for you.
You have been warned.















































After getting to Saina's house, Charles leaves Barbra and Grace there to fly to Beijing by himself and find his land. When he gets to his land he finds out that his grandparent's friend had been pretending to be him (Charles Wang) for years and had already claimed the land. But the impostor is a gambler so he gambled the deed to the land away. Charles gets into a fight with the man and ends up in the hospital - as a result of the fight and the mini strokes he has been suffering from.

The three children and Barbra all fly to Beijing to see Charles in the hospital. The book ends with Charles dying while surrounded by his family and his last words are "Daddy discovered America!" This was his way of saying that he found his place in America and was able to prosper. 

It was a happy-sad ending. I cried a lot afterwards and wished the book were longer so I could find out what happens when the kids get back to the States. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Girls by Emma Cline - Book (Spoilers)

The Girls by Emma Cline

There will be spoilers in this post and it will be clearly marked.


This book is loosely inspired by Charlie Manson and his "girls".

I was very sad when the book ended where it did. It didn't feel like anything was resolved. The story is about Evie who meets this group of people the summer before she goes to boarding school. They live on a ranch together and don't believe in worldly possessions and they share their clothes and food. They go dumpster diving in town because they don't have any money since most of the people are runaways from life or family. The book has four parts and each part starts with a short narrative of present day and then the chapters will be about Evie's time with this group of people.

The group is led by Russell Hadrick who convinces them that they can all love each other and he loves all of them. Most of the girls there probably didn't get enough love/attention in their own lives so they thrive when they are with Russell. Russell is all about putting out a record because he wants to share his message with the world and he believes he is the next big thing. He relies on Mitch Lewis, a musician, to get him a record deal and help him along.

Evie is drawn to the group by Suzanne, one of the girls there. She understand Russell's message but isn't as mesmerized by him as the other girls are. Evie spends the summer going off to the ranch to visit the group and eventually stay there when she gets in a fight with her mother.

It ends with something big happening with the group, Evie goes off to boarding school, and how she's dealing with life now.
































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The whole story leads up to a major crime that happens with the group. Turns out, Mitch "betrays" Russell and doesn't get him a record deal. (Mostly because the recording session with Russell went horribly.) Russell plans revenge by "suggesting" to Suzanne and some of the other girls to go to Mitch's house and make a statement.

Evie tags along because she's attached to Suzanne but is kicked out of the car on the way to Mitch's house. When the group gets to Mitch's house, Mitch is not there but his ex-girlfriend, her child, the groundskeeper, and the groundskeeper's girlfriend are all sleeping. Suzanne and the girls take the people sleeping in the house and brought them to the living room eventually killing them one by one.

I thought the ending was kinda terrible. Evie wasn't there, she was afraid that the group would come to find her and she would some how get into trouble. She also goes to boarding school and everything eventually returns to semi normal. She makes friends, she enjoys life. (That's all it says about this.) Now that she has had this experience, she can tell when a girl hasn't had enough attention in her home life because she will crave the attention of others. The book ends with Evie seeing a man walking towards her and thinking he is here to get her. Turns out it was just a stranger taking a walk. THE END













































SPOILERS OVER
THE SPOILERS HAVE ENDED
SPOILERS END HERE
THERE'S NO MORE SPOILERS






I wish there had been more to the book and it hadn't ended where it did. That's all I can say right now.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena - Book SPOILERS


 The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena




when the spoilers part starts there will be bold letters stating "start spoilers" and "end spoilers"


 I'm ashamed to say, I definitely judge a book by its cover. And by the first page/paragraph/sentence of chapter 1. I was debating between reading this or The Girls (which I received in my August book of the month box) and this book jumped out to me right away.

First sentence:
"Anne can feel the acid churning in her stomach and creeping up her throat; her head is swimming".


Yup, I definitely want to find out what happened to her (next sentence "she's had to much to drink"). I'm hooked!



First of all, I thought it was going to be a drama novel with a small bit of who-dunnit mystery involved. Also I thought there was going to be murder but you find out at the end of the first chapter that it's a kidnapping.

Now about the characters involved. No spoilers yet but we will be revisiting the characters in the the spoilers section.


Anne and Marco Conti - They are the parents of the missing child Cora.

Richard and Alice Dries - Rich parents of Anne. Richard is the step father.

Cynthia and Graham Stillwell - Anne and Marco's next door neighbors.

A short plot summary: Cora goes missing while Anne and Marco are over at Cynthia and Graham's apartment for a dinner party. The entire book is finding out what everyone is hiding, where the baby is (if she's even still alive), and who took the baby.




SPOILERS START HERE
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I cannot reiterate enough that there will be SPOILERS below. The end of the spoilers will be marked with an "end spoilers"

































Everyone wants to know who did it. Marco set up the kidnapping but Richard set Marco up. Cora is fine and alive.

Details:

The Conti family are over at the Stillwell apartment until after 1am. They go home and find their 6 month old daughter missing from her crib. They were checking on her every 30 minutes.

Anne - She has a dissociative condition where she sometimes blacks out and doesn't remember what she has done. Also has postpartum depression. She doesn't remember anything during the time she checked on her daughter at 11pm. She only remembers breast feeding, the baby being fussy, and slapping the baby.  (She ends up killing Cynthia at the end for something else)

Marco - He set up the whole thing with his friend Bruce Neeland (whose real name was actually Derek Honig). Marco had planned to hand the baby over to Derek briefly after 12:30 and Derek would call asking for a 2 million dollar ransom about 12 hours later.

Something goes wrong and a package arrives a few days after asking for 5 millions. Marco goes alone because he knows the baby will be there nice and safe. When he gets there, there is an empty car seat and he gets hit over the head and blacks out. Marco and Derek had become friends over the (doesn't say how long) and after Marco asked Richard for money and was denied, Derek suggested fake kidnapping Cora so they can both get money from it.

Richard - Turns out he was having an affair with Cynthia (yes, Anna's neighbor). It's implied that he was the one who set Derek up with Marco because he ended up with all the money and the child. Richard's assistant was the one taking care of the child while it was missing.

Alice - She's pretty innocent throughout all this. She's the one who tells Anne that her stepfather was cheating with Cynthia.

Cynthia - Came onto Marco during the party at the beginning of the book. Turns out she and her husband Graham like to watch her having intercourse with other men and they film it. They have hidden cameras all around to record whenever she's with someone else. They end up having video footage of Marco taking the baby out to Derek in the garage.

Graham - Graham is against giving the video footage to the police because he would get into trouble for filming people without their consent.

Video footage: Showed Marco going into the house at 12:30 to "check on the baby" but then he comes out at 12:33 and brings Cora into the garage where Derek is parked in a Prius.








































END SPOILER
SPOILERS ARE OVER
NO MORE SPOILERS
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YOU CAN READ AGAIN
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I think that's everything anyone would want to know about the book. I finished reading it in four house. I could not put it down.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Siracusa by Delia Ephron (Book) Spoilers

Siracusa by Delia Ephron


There will be spoilers in this post but it will be clearly marked.



 So I got this book Siracusa (by Delia Ephron) in my August Book of the Month Club shipment. (Link here) And I started reading it right away and it took me about a week to finish. The chapters are each told by a different character in the story.

Short description of plot: Two couples and one daughter go on a vacation to Italy and something dramatic happens at the end.


Longer description:
 The four main adult characters and the one teen character are: Finn, Taylor, Snow, Michael, and Lizzie. Side adult character Kath.

 Details about each character:
 -Finn: used to date Lizzie, married to Taylor, father of Snow. He is a restaurant owner.

 -Taylor: Married to Finn, mother of Snow. She works with the mayor's office in Portland, Maine on the city's tourism. She babies Snow and believes her to have extreme shyness syndrome. Can "decipher" what her daughter is trying to say even when no words are used.

 -Snow: a shy teenager, she goes through a transformation throughout the book - or maybe she was already like that but didn't show her true self until Italy.

 -Michael: Married to Lizzie, having an affair with Kath (you find out in Michael's first chapter about her so this isn't really a spoiler). He's written plays and is currently writing a play.

 -Lizzie: Married to Michael, used to date Finn. I think she's a freelance writer for newspapers and stuff but I don't really remember. She's the one who plans the Italy trip for the two couples.

 -Kath: Having an affair with Michael, she's the hostess at a restaurant Michael goes to frequently (where they met).

The story:
 The five main characters go to Italy on a vacation together, Rome is nice, Siracusa is next. Michael and Lizzie rekindle the romance in their relationship. Taylor is overprotective especially when Snow starts to be more engaged in her surroundings because of Michael (but Taylor not so secretly loves this). Snow is weird but that's the point. You're not supposed to be able to figure out what she's thinking. A mysterious thing that all of the online reviews mention happens. But you'll have to read the spoilers below to find out what it is. The spoilers will be clearly marked when it starts and ends. There will be some final thoughts afterwards. You'll see the "end spoilers" if you keep scrolling




SPOILERS!!

SPOILERS BELOW!!

SPOILERS!!

SPOILERS STARTING NOW!!











 Kath shows up on the trip. She surprises Michael in Siracusa. She used his plane miles by using her spare key into his office and accessing his password and other information. She gets a room at the same hotel as the rest of the group. And she makes him buy her a ring as a sign of commitment.

 Snow, who has been smitten with Michael this trip (not sure if romantic or as a father figure), finds out about the affair and allegedly pushes Kath onto the rocks by the sea. No one knows for sure but Kath is definitely dead.



















END SPOILERS!!

SPOILERS OVER!!

END OF SPOILERS!!

YOU CAN READ THIS PART IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS!!




Final thoughts:
 I like when a book has chapters each based on a different day (like Dracula's journal format) or each is a different character narrating like this book is. It gives us multiple points of view of one situation and we can see how each of the characters interpret the situation.
 I can totally see the author writing this book from Snow's point of view. Her thoughts should be quite interesting since she barely speaks throughout the book.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Leaving Netflix February 2016

Here are the shows and movies leaving Netflix in February 2016. What do you need to watch before they're gone?

February 1

  • “Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein”
  • “Asylum”
  • “Bad Santa”
  • “Benny and Joon”
  • “Big Fish”
  • “Blue Crush”
  • “Classic Doctor Who: Collections 1-18”
  • “Crocodile Dundee 2”
  • “The Dancer Upstairs”
  • “Daylight”
  • “Doctor Who,” Seasons 1-8
  • “The Firm”
  • “Fletch”
  • “Gifted Hands”
  • “Gothika”
  • “The Hurt Locker”
  • “The Naked Gun”
  • “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult”
  • “Rain Man”
  • “Ray”
  • “Secrets and Lies,” Season 1
  • “Sorority Row”
  • “The Terminator”
  • “Terms of Endearment”


February 2

  • “Pokemon the Movie: BW Adventures in Unova and Beyonce”
  • “Pokemon the Movie: Black: Victini and Reshiram”
  • “Pokemon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened”
  • “Pokemon the Movie: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice”
  • “Pokemon the Movie: White: Victini and Zekrom”
  • “Pokemon: Black & White,” Seasons 1 and 2
  • “Pokemon: Indigo League,” Season 2


February 3

  • “Bottle Shock”


February 7

  • “Compliance”
  • “Jack and Diane”


February 11

  • “Bridezillas,” Season 10
  • “Stephen King’s Bag of Bones”
  • “United 93”
  • “Were the World Mine”


February 13

  • “The Fourth Kind”


February 15

  • “Kitten Party”


February 16

  • “The Pitch,” Season 2


February 17

  • “Violet & Daisy”


February 19

  • “North Sea Texas”
  • “Problem Child: Leslie Jones”
  • “Side by Side”


February 21

  • “Jesus Camp”
  • “Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas,” Season 1
  • “Nobody Walks”
  • “Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning”


February 24

  • “Chicagoland,” Season 1
  • “Death Row Stories,” Season 1


February 25

  • “The Guild,” Season 1


February 27

  • “Crooked Arrows”
  • “Halloween: Resurrection


February 28

  • “Sabrina: The Animated Series,” Seasons 1 and 2
  • “The Sea Inside”
  • “Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series”

Coming to Netflix February 2016

For those of you who have Netflix or access to Netflix, these are the shows and movies coming out next month. What are you most excited about?

February 1

  • “Armageddon”
  • “Better Call Saul,” Season 1
  • “Charlie’s Angels” (2000)
  • “Collateral Damage”
  • “Cruel Intentions”
  • “A Faster Horse”
  • “Full Metal Jacket”
  • “Game Face”
  • “Jennifer 8”
  • “Johnny English”
  • “The Little Engine That Could”
  • “The Lizzie Borden Chronicles,” Season 1
  • “Losing Isaiah”
  • “Masha’s Tales,” Season 1
  • “My Side of the Mountain”
  • “Para Elisa”
  • “A Picture of You”
  • “Pokemon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction”
  • “Pokemon XY,” Season 1
  • “Scooby-Doo”
  • “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed”
  • “Sin City”
  • “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”
  • “Stardust”
  • “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”
  • “Teen Witch”
  • “Tin Man: Search for the Emerald”
  • “The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom”


February 2

  • “Land Before Time XIV: Journey of the Brave”


February 3

  • “I Love You Phillip Morris”


February 4

  • “Love”


February 5

  • “Care Bears & Cousins,” Season 2
  • “Hannibal Buress: Comedy Camisado”
  • “Mad Men,” Season 7 part 2
  • “Turbo: F.A.S.T.,” Season 3


February 6

  • “Lila and Eve”


February 10

  • “Dope”
  • “The Girl in the Book”


February 13

  • “The Face of Love”


February 15

  • “Open Season”
  • “XXY”


February 16

  • “Asthma”
  • “Atonement”


February 17

  • “The Returned,” Season 2


February 19

  • “Cooked,” Season 1
  • “Love,” Season 1


February 22

  • “3rd World Cops 2”


February 23

  • “Bare”


February 24

  • “Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight!”


February 26

  • “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny”
  • “Fuller House,” Season 1
  • “Theo Von”


February 28

  • “Finding Vivian Maier”


February 29

  • “Ashes and Embers”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Flesh and Bone

 There's a new show on the Starz channel called Flesh and Bone. I've started watching it and I am hooked. It's about 21 year old Claire Robbins who runs away from her sexually abusive brother to join the American Ballet Company in New York.
 She obviously has a tragic backstory because of her brother. She is portrayed as timid and shy because she has a secret to hide which gets annoying at times but it comes across in her dancing as passionate.

  I'm not going to summarize each episode but I do recommend everyone to check it out. Disclaimer, it is really dark and emotionally scarring so if you're sensitive to things, maybe skip this show. (After each episode I do need to get up and hug my dog or look at cute animals online. It is really dark.)

Female nudity involved (and one instance of male nudity so far). Also rape/sexual abuse.