Sunday, March 28, 2021

Rent a Boyfriend


Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.

Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.

When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.

But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?  - excerpt from Goodreads.

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao  is not only a sweet YA romance book, it is more than that as it talks about cultures, family values and also breaking out from expectations. I quite loved this book as it highlights how the typical Chinese beliefs on marriage and love. Chloe struggles with letting her parents to know the truth and her resentments of their choices made for her. She started as trying her best to avoid their judgements and decisions by hiring a fake boyfriend to bring him for the holidays. This is quite common as in big family gatherings of festivities, the elderly be it a relative or your parents' friends will always ask "When are you getting married?" if you have a boyfriend. If you are single they will ask "Why are you single?" and then comment on the things that they think makes you single. They really think they know you or they have the wisdom to judge these things, I definitely have experienced these many questions and I always answer politely but inside me I'm pretty hurt and upset.

I could easily resonate with this book because I understand how parents have expectations and they think they know best. Although my situation is entirely different but the concerns from my parents are similar. They want what's best for you but they never asked what is it that makes us happy. They try to give you the best they can but also at a cost that we didn't ask for and if they asked us we would gladly share that burden with them. This is a barrier that is quite hard to be broken and it lives strongly in a Chinese upbringing.  

The characters are definitely real and have justifiable reasons for their actions and feelings. I love how they can grow and confront their fear. I also love how the small steps Chloe took are able to also help her parents grow as well. Having the whole family grow together and come out stronger is a plus point for anyone. The interactions and conversations in this book was great and much needed to hopefully help readers understand their backgrounds better. I love how the point of views were alternated between Chloe and Drew. Another plus point is the author putting in effort of giving each chapter a title as it serves as a sneak peak as what's to come., although I never could have guess what's next.

Generally, the timeline of the book is paced quite well, it doesn't feel rushed. Even though there are time gaps here and there but you get the gist of a normal day happened for them. Ultimately the use of mandarin words gave this book so much character and life because those words carry culture, acceptance of heritage and knowledge that where ever in the world you are, however you grew up, the commonality of language is our similarity and also a type of bond we all can understand together. This is a great book and I truly wished those who read this that aren't Chinese will understand us a little bit better. I am definitely looking forward to more books by this author as to how she can continue to share our culture to the world.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

99% Mine


Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers. - excerpt from Goodreads.

99% Mine by Sally Thorne is my second book of hers. After reading such a good one, this one was not up to my expectations. I felt that the lead female had too many issues that she needed to deal with on her own but instead acted in a way that was quite annoying.  I find it quite hard to give a longer review of this book than usual because I don't really have a lot to say. The character itself was rebellious, quite immature and her lack of growth made it those books that sometimes I want to skip her thoughts. The plots were good, the premise is not bad but her behavior which is justified by her upbringing is not relatable and certainly not likeable as well.  I would commend that the author did a great job portraying her as a bitch. Her interactions with the male interest was the only thing that kept my attention as I wanted to know how he would react. I quite like the male interest and was hoping for more family involvement as well but it was not enough. The banter is fun at times but it would turned into annoying after a while. 

The plot was unpredictable but there wasn't a lot happening at once. It was something quite straightforward without too many plot twists. Once I completed the book, I didn't feel blissful neither did I get any butterflies in my tummy from this book. It was just mediocre and something I wouldn't read again. If I'm being honest I think what the author was doing was to present a deeper, more emotionally stressed character that made her who she is from her decisions as well as her upbringing. I felt that she chose to think the way she thinks and the actions she made, in someway yes family plays a part but she has separated them from her for such a long time I would have expected growth. Instead this character went downhill and needed a lot of repair and revelation to move forward. I understand that there will be character struggles but this one is just too unrealistic.  Overall the characters' interactions are what kept her reading, it was fun at times, sexy as well. It's definitely not fantastic like 'The hating game' so no loss if you miss out on this title.

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