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Eat A Peach
by David Chang

Please note, I received an Advance Readers Copy via NetGalley. David Chang is gifted but his bad temper and his battle with depression are his downfalls. He's made plenty of mistakes, has royally gone beyond pissing people off, passed up excellent opportunities due to his stubbornness and ill-temper, and ... no wonder his Omma calls him "Baby King." Not because he is entitled but because he acts like a spoiled, entitled brat, but in a loving way.  That's the thing about this book is he comes clean about who he is and doesn't beat around the bush or make any excuses. He'll tell you straight up, "I'm an a$$4013." What I enjoy is how he explains why he is one and owns up his s4it. He's a massive depressant, OCD, solar visioned for his visual way, self-doubting, and not comfortable in his own skin. Word of advice to Mr. Chang: you are fine. You're not a Twinkie but a fusion. Remember how you described what fusion food is. I do love the moments where he reflects and talks about his time with Anthony Bourdain and how much he influenced and centered David Chang. They both are so similar and that scares Mr. Chang. "...How I'm still alive?" asks David Chang. It reveals now matter how successful you are, you are still never good enough in your own eyes but in the eyes of others, you are a winner.

Polite Society
by Mahesh Rao

Much like Jane Austen's original Emma, this is a retelling of her book but it's updated in the modern world and set in India. We meet Ania, Khurana, who is just like Emma, a socialite, the only daughter, self-indulgent, proclaims herself to be grander than she truly is, but good hearted when not being spiteful or naughty. She too loves to partake in matchmaking. Just ask her bau (auntie), Renu! She creates a profile for this online dating app in which Ania monitors for Bau Renu who's in her 50's and is fine about staying home and doing the things she loves to do, like reading wine catalogs that she can't order barrels or cases of since she lives in Dileep (her brother and Ania's father) house. It was through Ania's picnic gathering that Bau Renu met Colonel Suraj Singh Rathore. They encounter and can't tear themselves away from each other. They honeymoon in London and Ania tags along. One good deed done, now Ania needs to occupy her time and find something else or someone else to ....oh hello Dimple, my newest friend. Once again, Ania seeks out the "Mr Right" for Dimple, even though he's already there (Ankit), Ania declares,"Aim higher!" Dev Gahlot (family friend throughout their childhood) decrees Ania is not always right and sometimes unknowingly cruel.  The rest reads parallel to the original but this has much more richness of india to give its grandeur. I have to come clean...I read Jane Austen's Emma, saw the movie to see if it would entrance me to want to reread it with better appreciation and read this retelling tale. I've drawn to the same conclusion. I just don't care for Emma, the book, movie nor the retelling. If a graphic novel even came out, I will opt to skip it. I'm done with Emma. I've tried and I'm done more than my share to give it a fair chance. Yet if I had a baby girl, I'd consider that name because I do love that name. Oh wait, there's the name Chloe too. Nvm. ;)

Treasure Hunters Book 1
by James Patterson

This was a cute, exciting read. It is great for a 3rd - 5th grader because it is action packed and also has great illustrations.

Murder & Mayhem in the Highlands
by John P. King

This book is about older crimes in the Highlands area. Includes parts of Middletown. Very interesting. Anyone that is long time Jersey resident will recognize some of the areas as well as some of the names.

The Leavers
by Lisa Ko

The Leavers follows Daniel as he grows into a rudderless young man, torn between wanting to pursue his own dreams and wanting to please his parents, or he's afraid they'll leave him as his mother did. It also traces Daniel's struggles to understand what happened to his mother and deciding if he should try and follow some leads that might have presented themselves to him. The book also follows Polly from her childhood in China to the day she disappeared, and outlines the difficult choices she is forced to make. Ko's storytelling is truly breathtaking, as she has created two characters who capture your heart and will stay in your memory. Neither character is 100 percent admirable, and at times their actions are frustrating, but you understand their struggles and feel for them. And while some of the other characters may make decisions that anger or frustrate, you see that they're also very complex, no matter how much time they're in the book.

Shadow Of The Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

If you ever wanted to read a love letter to those who love and treasure books, this is a must read. It was originally written in Spanish and translated into English. Now onto the review: An antiquarian book dealer's son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author's other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax's books in existence. Soon Daniel's seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

Big Summer
by jennifer weiner

I loved Jennifer Weiner's early books. Now, they seem predictable and formulaic. I guess, if you haven't read any of her previous novels, this one would be more enjoyable.

Girls In Pants: Third Summer of the Sisterhood
by Ann Brashares

Now high school graduates Lena, Tibby, Carmen, and Bridget should have it all figured out, but with changes on the horizon they face another summer of the world as they know it being changed. Since the death of her grandfather, Lena's father has been pretty strict and now he's not sure his daughter's art talents are a promising future. Tibby feels guilty when a mishap at home has devasting consequences for one of her siblings and threatens her relationship with Brian. Carmen's thrown for a loop when she finds out her mother and stepfather's secret,but is she ready for her own romance? Then there is Bridget who comes face to face with her past at soccer camp. Although I must confess that book 3 is a little bit of a letdown in terms of the first two books which had a lot of plot development, I have to say that Carmen really redeemeed herself in this one. I think I loved her storyline the best. But admit to always having a soft spot for Tibby who really needs that heart to heart with her parents.

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

This multi-talented author can hardly do any wrong and wrote another pure delight book to read. I heard it was very similar to The Jungle Book so I was expecting that with the same ending. Loved that it stands on its own and loved the unexpected ending. Recently, I have been complaining bitterly I could read a book and half way tell you how it ends and be 98% correct. I abhor that. Love it when the ending is unexpected and goes with the story line. Thank you, Mr. Gaiman.

The Gentleman's Guide To Vice And Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue follows Henry "Monty" Montague, a young man who loves gambling, drinking, and sex. He embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend, Percy, whom he has a huge crush on, and his younger sister Felicity, an intelligent and headstrong young woman. Monty expects the trip to entail tons of fun and consequence-free debauchery. But when he makes a rash decision early on in their trip, the trio's journey turns a lot more sinister, forcing Monty to confront some devastating challenges, including his feelings for Percy. I liked a lot of things about this novel. Mackenzi Lee paces the plot super well, such that I always wanted to know what would happen next. Amidst a literary landscape filled with insta-love and/or unhealthy relationships, I found Monty and Percy's connection adorable, sexy, and believable. Lee shows enough of their backstory and their current chemistry to make readers root for them. I also appreciated how she addressed issues of white privilege, sexism, abuse, and stigma surrounding illness within this book. I sense that I would give this book five stars instead of four if Lee had gone a little deeper, either with Monty's character or some of the social justice topics. Monty is pretty awful throughout the book, in that he makes ignorant comments and lacks the ability to communicate his emotions. This latter fault drives a lot of the conflict in his relationship with Percy. Thus, I wish we could have seen more of Monty's process in working through his privileges, his past ignorant remarks, his issues with communication, etc. I get that Lee may have spent that time more on the adventure-based aspects of the plot, though.
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