Blog Tour | Love and Other Moods by Crystal Z. Lee

Authour:
Crystal Z. Lee 
Format:
eGalley
Publication date:
December 10th 2020
Publisher:
Balestier Press
Source:
Received as part of a The Colored Pages Team’s blog tour

Review:

Crystal Z. Lee’s  debut novel, Love and Other Moods, takes its reader on a journey through modern Shanghai. Besides getting a glimpse at the sights, sounds, food and culture the city has to offer we get more acquainted with the young third-culture professionals who came to China for the opportunities they couldn’t have gotten in America. 

While I’ve seen this book being compared to Crazy Rich Asians, I honestly think it’s more than that. For instance, while the characters are definitely privileged and some are even quite wealthy, we actually see them hard at work. There’s Joss a food writer, and engaged to be married to Tay, a furedai aka “trust fund kid” whose father was a former military official and who founded a renowned auction house and then there is her best friend, Naomi Kita-Fan a young woman with Japanese and Taiwanese heritage who followed her boyfriend to the “City by the Sea”.

Naomi and Joss’s friendship was one of the best parts of this book. I loved seeing two young expat professional women supporting one another and being there for each other. It was nice to see the two of them remain friends throughout the years and eventually experiencing some major milestones together. It was also refreshing to see Naomi facing several of the same struggles that any other expat in her situation would in the real world. 

Dante was the most likeable male character in the book. I was sympathetic to his family situation, and I felt that the way he dealt with everything was not only realistic but fairly reasonable. The only character that I couldn’t care about was Logan, throughout the book even though he was supposed to be “fun” I honestly just thought he was an entitled loser. So while I didn’t hate him, I didn’t like him either. 

There are two romances in the book, though the central love story is the one between Naomi and Dante since Joss and Tay get married at the start of the novel and remain a reasonably stable couple for the rest of the book. Dante and Naomi’s relationship had quite the romantic beginning though they do end up facing some challenges from Dante’s family who have suffered in the past at the hands of the Japanese and with Naomi being half Japanese, they unfairly projected their mistrust and hatred onto her. I was fine with this conflict for their love story. What I disliked though was the extra drama involving Logan that I felt was shoehorned near the end. It honestly was an annoying and depressing damper on an otherwise lovely relationship. That being said, I appreciated how the book normalizes both how relationships and marriages evolve. While both Joss and Tay and Naomi and Dante’s relationships grow out of their rose coloured, honeymoon phases, it causes them to emerge as stronger partnerships in the end.

Taking place over seven years, Love and Other Moods was an exciting and fast-paced story of young expats carving out their place in life and in the city. It is also a realistic look at family, relationships, motherhood and fidelity to one’s family. The book definitely captures the busyness and excitement of Shanghai, and it makes me wish I could travel to Shanghai right now to visit the locales and try the various foods that are mentioned in the book.

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About the Author:

Crystal Z. Lee is a Taiwanese American bilingual writer and a member of the Asian Authors Alliance. She has called many places home, including Taipei, New York, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She was formerly a public relations executive who had worked with brands in the fashion, beauty, technology, and automotive industries. Love and Other Moods is her first New Adult novel. Her debut children’s book is forthcoming in 2021

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crystal.z.lee/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20927312.Crystal_Z_Lee 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/crystalzlee319

 

 

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above reviews consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Authour:flames
Sarah Raughley
Format:
ARC, 353 pages
Publication date:
November 22nd 2016
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
The moment I heard it about a book that was pitched for fans of Sailor Moon, and Avatar in addition to featuring a group of kick butt female leads, I was in and Fate of Flames became probably my most anticipated YA title from Simon and Schuster’s fall catalogue.

Fate of Flames is about four girls who all have control over an element resembling fire, water, or air. What’s intriguing about these girls is that there are always four of them, when one dies, another girl comes into her powers in addition to all the memories of her predecessors. This brings us to our protagonist, Maia whose effigy powers awaken during a lockdown at her school. This causes her to realize that her predecessor, the fire effigy has Natalya has died. She is at that point quickly thrust into the world of the effigies and fighting phantoms.

What I enjoyed about Fate of Flames was that it incorporated modern elements in a fantasy/science fiction story. Social media is a major element in the story, as are online forums which Maia tends to go on even before she became an effigy. I also liked the fact that Maia existed as a fangirl before she became an effigy as it makes this more relatable. Interestingly enough, I think the book took a realistic approach to how someone who is a fangirl transition into become one of the “heroes” they looked up to. Maia is definitely out her comfort zone, and it was refreshing to have a protagonist who doesn’t just easily adapt into her new powers and her role as a fighter, especially since it’s clear that Maia did not have any pre-existing badass attributes or abilities. Unfortunately, not much happens in Fate of Flames, the reader is thrown a great deal of history/backstory and information with little explanation. Furthermore, there isn’t much fighting until the near the conclusion of this book. Maia, the protagonist is incredibly useless for the majority of the book and instead her role is relegated to gathering the other effigies. Once the four girls, Belle, Lake and Chae Rin are gathered that’s when the story proceeds to move forward.

Overall as a first book in a trilogy, I’d consider Fate of Flames to be a decent read. I just hope all the hints, back stories, and mysteries lead up to a thrilling and satisfying story. My interest is definitely piqued, at least for book two which I hope will focus more on the girls learning to work more effectively as a team. Fate of Flames is a book for those who desire a female group focused fantasy novel that is refreshingly light on the romance.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

[Blog Tour] Book Review | Shimmer by Paula Weston

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Authour:shimmer
Paula Weston
Format:
Trade paperback, 400 pages
Publication date:
March 8th 2016
Publisher:
Tundra Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“The piazza is in chaos. It seethes with more Rephaim than I’ve ever seen in one place: punching, kicking, and wrestling each other with blinding speed.Shouting, swearing, Grunting.” – p. 154

I’m fortunate to once again have the opportunity to be on the blog tour for another book in Paula Weston’s Rephaim series. (I will also be on the blog tour for the final book in the series as well) However, while I absolutely adored both Shadows and Haze I was surprised to find that I was not as enthusiastic when it came to Shimmer. I believe this may have to do with the fact that Gaby and Rafa are separated for the majority of this book and since their dynamic is such a core element of the series it didn’t feel the same. Nevertheless, I did appreciate that this book focused on the twins and the other Rephaim relationships and dynamics. Furthermore, we do learn more about the other players in the conflict, and once again it appears that things are not as the initially appear. All of this makes Shimmer a necessary addition to the Rephaim series.

On a whole other note, it’s been awhile since I read the previous book, Haze that I completely forgot how short the chapters were since it makes for an excellent work commute read. I also loved the chapter titles that they are (usually) appropriate and always hilarious. Shimmer also has one hell of a cliff-hanger ending, as just when things are starting to pick up again the reader is thrown a major curveball. As a result, I am eager to read Burn as soon as possible in order to see where this new development takes our characters. Additionally, I am looking forward to seeing how Paula Weston concludes her Rephaim series. Having invested a great deal in the series that I initially thought wouldn’t be my cup of tea, I am both curious and excited to read the conclusion. Hopefully since all the key players and pieces are now gathered, Burn will be filled with more action and excitement.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.