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You are here: Home » Audience: Adult

Fresh Off the BoatFRESH OFF THE BOAT by Eddie Huang Book Review
Publication Date: January 29th 2013 by Spiegel & Grau
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations  |

Book Summary: Eddie Huang is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus—the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night—and one of the food world’s brightest and most controversial young stars. But before he created the perfect home for himself in a small patch of downtown New York, Eddie wandered the American wilderness looking for a place to call his own.

Eddie grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando, raised by a wild family of FOB (“fresh off the boat”) hustlers and hysterics from Taiwan. While his father improbably launched a series of successful seafood and steak restaurants, Eddie burned his way through American culture, defying every “model minority” stereotype along the way. He obsessed over football, fought the All-American boys who called him a chink, partied like a gremlin, sold drugs with his crew, and idolized Tupac. His anchor through it all was food—from making Southern ribs (and scoring drugs) with the Haitian cooks in his dad’s restaurant to preparing traditional meals in his mother’s kitchen to haunting the midnight markets of Taipei when he was shipped off to the homeland. After misadventures as an unlikely lawyer, street fashion renegade, and stand-up comic, Eddie finally threw everything he loved—past and present, family and food—into his own restaurant, bringing together a legacy stretching back to China and the shards of global culture he’d melded into his own identity.

Funny, raw, and moving, and told in an irrepressibly alive and original voice, Fresh Off the Boat recasts the immigrant’s story for the twenty-first century—it’s a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be American.

Book Review Overview:

  • Laugh-out-loud funny
  • I couldn’t relate to his ramblings on hip-hop and basketball, but his story-telling was far too amusing
  • Eddie Huang knows his food; this will make you have lots of cravings

Ever since I started my new job a few months ago, I’ve been listening to a lot more audiobooks. Lucky for me, I can work and listen to audiobooks at the same time. My work day on the computer goes by a lot faster when I have an interesting book to listen to.

Memoirs usually aren’t my thing, but I thought I would give Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang a try. Aside from being a total book nerd, I’m also a huge foodie. Baohaus, the restaurant owned by Eddie Huang, is one of my favorite places to eat.

In Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie Huang combines his experience in growing up as an Asian-American with his love of food. What makes this audiobook so fun to listen to is the fact that he narrates it himself and he talks as if he is talking to one of his very good friends. His casual prose makes for entertaining story-telling. There were a handful of times that I wanted to laugh out loud, and I had to remind myself that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to do that at work.

There were times where I found myself unable to relate to Eddie’s story. Eddie Huang loves to talk about hip-hop and basketball – two things that I’m not very familiar with. But his anecdotes are always mixed with humor, so even if I cannot relate 100%, I can still find his stories entertaining.

Furthermore, don’t let his love of hip-hop and street-talk fool you. Eddie Huang is quite smart and thoughtful. His thoughts on growing up as an Asian-American are quite provoking. Plus, there is no doubt that he knows his food. Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang will make you hungry. I craved all kinds of food while listening to his audiobook. I couldn’t get the thought of eating a bao out of my mind until I made my way downtown to Baohaus.

I’m so glad I went out of my comfort zone and picked up Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang. Fresh Off the Boat is eight hours of non-stop laughter and food cravings.



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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , | Words 872 words



You are here: Home » Audience: Adult

Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa JamesONCE UPON A TOWER by Eloisa James
Series: Fairy Tales, #5
Publication Date: May 28th 2013 by Avon

Summary: To win her love…

As an extremely wealthy laird, Gowan Stoughton, Duke of Kinross, can have any of the maidens at the ball he attends. The only problem is they are all English and Gowan is not so certain they are suitable. He is accustomed to the hard-working lasses from his Highlands, not these dainty noblewomen who spend their days drinking tea or some other such nonsense. But then he makes the acquaintance of Lady Edith Gilchrist. Utterly bewitched by the emerald-eyed beauty with lush golden locks, he knows he must have her.

He must free her from her tower…

“Edie” had the misfortune of being dreadfully ill at her debut ball and barely remembers what Gowan looks like. Even worse, she accepted his proposal the following day. Edie’s only true passion is playing music—until Gowan writes a scandalous letter and stirs the most irresistible desire. Yet when they marry, Edie realizes her husband needs a lesson and locks herself in a tower. Somehow Gowan must find a way to enter the tower and convince his new bride that she belongs in his arms.

Heroine: Edie will be quite a memorable heroine to me because of her passion for music. I love that her marriage did not do anything to alter that. She doesn’t give up her love of music to run a household. I also loved how the story revolved around her insecurities in the bedroom. I think that this is very realistic, as opposed to other romance novels who kind of sugar coat one’s first time. This is one of the rare occasions in romance where the long awaited event goes horribly wrong.

Hero: One of my favorite parts of the novel is the fact that Gowan isn’t your stereotypical romance hero. Unlike most romance heroes, it turns out that he’s only 22 (a few years older than the heroine, as opposed to a decade or two) and that he’s inexperienced. He reminds me a lot of Jamie Fraser from Outlander, which is a huge plus. Also, Gowan isn’t a tortured hero, which is so refreshing. His problems are a lot more realistic.

Supporting Cast: It’s not that often that I find secondary characters that intriguing, but I really enjoyed the subplot that revolved around Edie’s father and her stepmother. Lord and Lady Gilchrist’s subplot provides another look at problems that one might encounter in a marriage – which complements nicely to Edie and Gowan’s story. At the beginning, I even found myself more interested in the subplot rather than the main story. I’m glad that Lady Gilchrist plays a big role in the novel.

Plot: I enjoyed the fact that Once Upon a Tower is loosely based on both Romeo and Juliet and Rapunzel. The storyline didn’t mimic either stories, but instead, parts of their stories inspired scenes in Once Upon a Tower. Instead of a kind of predictable retelling, the plot was kept a lot more interesting.

Romance: For a lot of the book, there was no “wooing” that needed to be done. Once Upon a Tower is about the romance of a young, newly wedded couple who have to overcome a lot of communication and intimacy issues very early on into their marriage. They do fall in love fast, but they certainly have chemistry. The romance is believable and I found myself rooting for their happily ever after.

Love Potion Strength:

–  Exceeds Expectations

I can’t believe I waited this long to start this series – even if I didn’t start at the beginning. I am definitely getting my hands on the rest of the series as soon as possible!



Comments 1 comment

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , | Words 802 words



One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLeanONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER by Sarah MacLean Romance Book Review
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels, #2
Publication Date: January 29th 2013 by Avon

Summary: The second in the incredible new Rules of Scoundrels series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean.

Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she’s never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London’s most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.

Like any good scientist, Pippa’s done her research and Cross’s reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion—the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it’s more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts—and giving the lady precisely what she wants.

Heroine: I like that Philippa Marbury is exceptionally different than other romance heroines. For instance, she wears glasses. Secondly, she likes science! I’m usually a sucker for protagonists who go out of their way to learn – even if this isn’t something that’s expected for women in the time period.

Hero: My main issue with this book is Cross. His reasons for being a “tortured” hero just didn’t compel me enough. I can see why he would feel guilty over his brother’s death, but it didn’t make sense to me for him to put that much burden on himself. I just wanted him to stop feeling sorry for himself as opposed to empathizing with him. I like the fact that he was noble enough to not want to ruin Pippa, but I wasn’t falling for his reasoning of him not being a worthy suitor.

Supporting Cast: I’m really looking forward to learning more about the rest of Cross’s friends in the upcoming books. I really like their dynamics as a group in the Fallen Angel.

Plot: I really love romances where the novel starts off with the protagonist propositioning the hero. I just wish that they could have gone through the Scientific Method or something because you know, Pippa is so brainy. (or did the Scientific Method not exist back then?)

Romance: No complaints on the romance aspect. As can be expected from any Sarah MacLean novel, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is steamy.

Love Potion Strength:

Acceptable

This is the first Sarah MacLean book that was just average for me. I guess not all books can be winners. I’m still definitely looking forward to reading more of her books in the future though!



Comments 1 comment

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , | Words 635 words



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