book blog, book review, chick lit, funny book

Family Trust

thumbnail_Family Trust cover


Stanley Huang has just received the news that he has pancreatic cancer. He’s lived a wonderfully interesting life, with two marriages under his belt, as well as a couple of kids. That doesn’t mean everything will be all good once he dies, Stanley knows he needs to get his affairs in order, but what happens when his children’s inheritance isn’t all that they thought it would be? Family Trust by Kathy Wang is a hilarious and real-life look into the average Asian-American family.

If you’re thinking this is going to be the next Crazy Rich Asians you may be pleasantly surprised that it’s not much like that book at all. Although I liked Crazy Rich Asians, I had a hard time identifying with the characters because, well, I’m not crazy rich. However, in this book, the Huang family is your typical Silicon Valley family, one with secrets, lies, and regrets mixed in with the fun family moments we all live for.

Each character in the family has their own ways of dealing with the impending death of Stanley, as well as their individual personality that shines like a diamond. Fred, Stanley’s son, hopes that the inheritance he’s bound to gain after the death of his father will help him recover from his lack of work ethic. His daughter, Kate, thinks there’s more to life than the small family she’s helping to raise but isn’t sure how to get what she really wants.

Then there’s Stanley’s wife and ex-wife. You’ll just have to wait and see how they act in this hilarious novel. The situations that this family gets put into are believable yet create one humorous last days of life for Stanley. If you are in the mood for a funny book with a slightly morbid undertone, then definitely go pick this book up, it’ll be perfect for a weekend read. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was a lot of fun to read, and the characters were entertaining.

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Photo by Nina Subin

About Kathy Wang

Kathy Wang grew up in Northern California and holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two children.

Visit Kathy’s website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

book blog, book review, chick lit, funny book, romance, women

Mixing It Up


A couple of months back I did a release blitz for Mixing It Up by Tracie Banister, between then and now I was able to sink my teeth into this lovely novel, and I really enjoyed this treat! Cecily is the host of a French food cooking show, which is creatively named Serving Romance. She loves her job, and her show is on top of the ratings for the network, so she knows that she’s doing pretty darn well at it as well.

Then the CEO of the television network informs Cecily that she will be working with someone new to get more juices flowing and to get a bigger audience, Dante Marchetti. He’s an incredible Italian chef, who just happens to be incredibly handsome and a womanizer as well.

Of course at first Cecily isn’t into this idea, but she wants to keep her job so she stays hush hush about her real feelings. The fact that Dante is always trying to one up her (I also hate people like this!) drives Cecily to almost wring his neck. Their on air antics create a buzz, and the audience is loving their charisma. This makes it hard for Cecily to keep her head on straight, because she loves the attention, but she wants to keep the integrity of the show and herself intact. Can she survive all that the show is throwing at her? Or will she crumble under the pressure?

With delectable recipes, incredible dialogue, and oh the relationships, this book is one that you will adore if you are into romantic comedies, food, and cracking up. It just seems like there is so much depth to each part of this book, and the characters are so real. That is one of the things that I love about Tracie Banister, she knows how to create such three dimensional characters, and you can find yourself in at least one of them.

It was refreshing to read another wonderful book from Tracie, because it always seems that I get lost in her words, she has a way of writing that makes you feel as if you are watching a movie, and the scenes just flow like water. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was exceptional, and it made me super hungry. Thank you Tracie for sending this book to me so that I could read it! If you are looking for a hilarious, creative, and fulfilling book, then this is definitely the one for you. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, pure awesome.

book blog, book review, chick lit, funny book, romance

I Wish For You

I Wish For You by Camilla Isley is a magical experience. It’s not your typical “find a genie who grants wishes” novel, oh no, it’s full of heart, laughter, and magic of course. But, it’s also fell of love and unexpected realizations. An interesting little trinket shows up in Ally’s bag when she gets home from a day at the flea market with her mom. Unbeknownst to her, a genie named Arthur lives inside. When he is summoned, he explains to her that she has 5 wishes, and that there are specific rules she must follow in order to wish for certain things (You have to read the book to find out the contingencies!) Of course, Ally picks beauty (rather shape-shifting), and money, but she also picks some unexpected wishes. Wishes that could help her get her now engaged ex-boyfriend back into her arms.

When all bets are off, Ally has to decide if she wants her ex-boyfriend back, or if she was just pursuing him because of the fact that they never had any actual closure in their breakup. He’s getting married after all. Will Ally find love with her ex, or is she looking in the wrong place? What happens when she gets all her wishes fulfilled? Find out when you read this intriguing book!

What I really enjoyed about this book is that it is not your average genie book. There’s no “You get your three wishes and then you regret them because bad things start to happen to you.”, like the usual magical books like this one. I was expecting it for the first half of the book, but I really enjoyed that the author took it in a different direction.

This book sets itself apart from others in the same genre. This one definitely gets a 5 out of 5 from me, it was a fun, light, and charming read. I really enjoyed seeing what Ally did with her wishes.


book blog, book review, chick lit, funny book

Goddess of Suburbia

Thanks to the site Netgalley, I was provided the opportunity to read a really great book called Goddess of Suburbia, by Stephanie Kepke. This novel is the perfect example of this generations ability to use social media to create something out of nothing. I absolutely adored this book, partly because it was a bit of a mix between the Real Housewives television franchise, and also a little of the author Liane Moriarty’s novels, without the murder mystery aspect.

Stay at home mom, mother of four, former pastry chef, PTA member, sex tape star. Wait what? Maxine wasn’t planning on having that last one on her life’s resume, but there it is. Thanks to one little romp in the sack with her husband his and camera phone, their entire love making session (even though it’s only four minutes long) is all over the internet. The only thing is, Max doesn’t know how it got there, and is only privy to the information because she walked in on her fourteen year old daughter watching it. Now Max has to figure out who got the video, and why they posted it all over the internet for everyone to see. When she finds out who is behind it, she feels very betrayed and doesn’t know who she can trust or turn to, thankfully her best friend is by her side through the entire ordeal. Not only can she not trust others, she finds it hard to not care what other people think of her. Especially with the paparazzi following her, and the entire world watching. Max finds it difficult to get back into the swing of things after the scandal becomes headline news. This book is one of my favorites of the summer, and there are many reasons why. First of all, it’s very connected with today’s society. We are always on Facebook, or twitter, doing things with our phones, and that is what the back drop of this book is, social media and all the good and bad things that can come from it. Also, I love that it’s taken in a more charming and funny way than you would normally think a book about such a serious topic would be taken. I like that the people in the book are very real, every day mom’s and children. They aren’t perfect, they have cellulite, they worry about their gray hair, and they have houses that aren’t perfect Mcmansions in a gated community. Lastly, the characters are very intricate, and they are all different in subtle ways. You get a feel for their personalities from the very first page. I was so deeply immersed in this book, I was rooting for Max from the beginning like she was my next door neighbor, or sister.

Thanks to Twitter, I was able to connect with the author of the book Stephanie Kepke, who did a Q&A with me! I love the fact that I am able to get in touch with people that are inspiring and creative, and I am able to talk to them, get to know them, and pick their brains a little bit! Read on to get a glimpse into Stephanie’s mind:

Kerrie: Is this your debut novel, or have you written something before Goddess of Suburbia?
Stephanie: Goddess of Suburbia is my debut novel. I do have a short story that came out as an ebook this past February. It’s called A New Lifeabout a young couple who are new parents. It’s the story of how their marriage changes after their baby is born and all the challenges they face.
K: This book deals a lot with social media, are you a social media addict like myself, or do you try to stay away?
S: Good question! I’m kind of in between. I love interacting with readers on social media, but when I’m working, and especially when I’m on a deadline, it can be too much of a distraction, so I’ll stay off for a few days. And then I’ll binge tweet, as I call it. I try to catch up on all of my mentions at once, because I really try to answer every mention and thank people for retweets. That could take me an hour and then I won’t go on again for a few days and concentrate on just writing. Facebook is a bit quicker to catch up on usually, but I also put effort into my writer page there. It’s a great way to interact with readers. I started writing this book when I first joined Facebook several years ago and I found it so fascinating – how you could see people you hadn’t seen in years with just a click. I actually added in the scenes with Twitter later on. I had never even heard of Twitter when I started writing Goddess of Suburbia!
K: If you could choose an actress to portray Max in a movie, who would you choose?
S: That is a fantastic question! My first creative writing teacher in college told me that my stories read like movies and suggested that I take a screenwriting class, so when my books get turned into movies, I can have control. She had a lot of faith in me! It actually took decades for my first novel to be published, but I’ve always thought of my novels as possible movies. I even did a “dream cast” Pinterest board for Goddess of Suburbia. I’ve always thought Kristen Wiig would be the perfect Max.  She’s gorgeous, but you can believe that she might not realize it – just like Max. Plus, she’s shown sensitivity and depth in her movies, while being hilarious, of course. I also think Leslie Mann would make a great Max. She’s also gorgeous and can be vulnerable. She seems real, which Max definitely is. I think they both could play an imperfect heroine perfectly.
K: Who was your favorite character to write about? 
S: Hmm – another good one! I liked writing Andi – she gets a lot of the good lines. She’s cooler than I am and way taller. Andi was inspired by my strong girlfriends who will have my back and cheer me up and “smack” some sense into me, if needed (not literally, of course). One of her stories actually happened to me – but I can’t say which one! Not on the record at least… I always liked the sidekicks in movies and I wanted Andi to be a strong, fully realized character in her own right.
K: What is a day like in your life?
S: I get up, make lunches, get my kids off to school (and then generally have to drive to one or more schools to drop off something they forgot). I try to work in the morning after my kids are in school. I’m a “pantser,” not a plotter, so I can work anywhere – I don’t have boards with post-it notes or outlines. If it’s nice out, I try to sit in my backyard and work. If I don’t have any errands to run, I’ll try to work from about 9:30 or so until my oldest son gets home at about 2:30. Then the afternoons are crazy – I have to drive my kids to various activities, catch up on laundry, perhaps do some food shopping. The evenings get equally hectic. One thing that takes up my time, but is very important to me – I have a rescue page on Facebook called Lucky Dogs (and Cats) and I post animals in need on it. Most are in the New York City kill shelters. It’s never ending – there are always dogs and cats on the euthanasia list who need homes, so I work that into my day. I write again after my kids are asleep. Somewhere along the way, I need to weave in promotional work, as well (social media, planning launch parties, etc.). I know – not very interesting! I wish I could spice it up a bit!
K: What is one of your all time favorite novels? And what is one that inspired you to write?
S: Oooh, my favorite thing to talk about – books! It’s so hard to pick just one. I’d have to say Tending to Virginia, by Jill McCorkle. Everything she writes is amazing, but this book is so layered, so brilliant. It’s about family, secrets, leaving home and going back. It’s emotional and humorous. I read it once and then I read it again a year later when I was pregnant for the first time. The main character is pregnant and returns home to be cared for by the women of her family. I was living far from my own family during my first pregnancy and this novel was just so comforting. I will add that Jill was my writing teacher (but this isn’t biased, it’s really good!). She influenced my writing more than anyone.
A book that inspired me to write – that’s even tougher to choose, but a great question! I was a voracious reader as a child and I loved escaping into a good book. I’ve wanted to be a writer since second grade, so I’d have to say Anne of Green Gables. I remember feeling like I was really in Prince Edward Island and thinking that Gilbert was so romantic. Or perhaps it was The Phantom Tollbooth that inspired me or The Secret Garden. Ugh, that’s three. Sorry!
K:  I love Max’s personality, she reminds me of myself a little bit, did you create her after you or is she completely different than you?
S: I’m so glad she reminds you of yourself! That’s my favorite thing to hear about this book. I’d say she’s more like me than different. I’m also a tired PTA mom who is always behind on laundry. She has one more kid than I do and I have all boys – that’s one difference. I basically wrote a character I’d like to read about. Most heroines have a perfect house – their living rooms don’t look like a Toys ‘R’ Us exploded in it. Typical love scenes in books don’t involve the heroine worrying about buckets of laundry ruining the moment, but to me that’s real and every mom who has read it told me that they relate to Max. I have a tendency to ruminate on what other people think of me – that’s a similarity. Another thing that is like me – Max dresses a lot like I do. I did try to give her a different physical appearance – blonde hair, rather than dark brown. BUT – my hair is blonde now too! I became allergic to my “espresso” hair color last year and have been blonde ever since. I never anticipated that my author photo would resemble Max’s description of blonde hair and brown eyes. I do tell everyone that the book is not autobiographical – I’ve never been a tabloid darling with a sex tape whipping around cyberspace, thankfully!
K: What is one thing that you want readers to get out of this novel?
S: Very thought-provoking question! I’d love for readers, especially women, to realize that they don’t have to be so hard on themselves. We are our own harshest critics. Max worries constantly about what everyone else thinks about her and it drives her crazy – until she realizes that the only thing that matters is how she feels about herself. She was exposed in the most unflattering light and yet, she didn’t die of shame.
K: There are recipes at the back of the book, which was a very interesting and original touch, are you a baker like Max?
S: I’m so glad you like them! I do enjoy baking, but I don’t do it nearly enough any more. The apple cake was always my go-to dessert to make. I would even put it in holiday gift baskets. It looks really nice when it’s sliced. It’s my mother’s recipe. Orange juice is the secret ingredient that separates it from other Bundt cakes. The rugelach is my late grandmother’s recipe. I chose those two recipes, because they are original and there were no copyright concerns. Also, the act of making rugelach was perfect for deepening the scene. It’s a very intricate process and requires a lot of concentration.
K: When you’re not writing, what is your favorite thing to do?
S: I like to spend time with my family – I have three boys and two dogs. (And yes, I consider my dogs part of my family Emoji) My dogs are my best stress relief. They are rescue dogs from Puerto Rico and so sweet, even if they are slightly crazy (or maybe a bit more than slightly). If I can spend time with my family by the water, that’s even better. I love being on the water – the ocean or the Long Island Sound – just like Max. Her favorite ices stand is based on a real ices stand called Bonanza in Oyster Bay, NY.

Goddess of Suburbia is a great summer read, I guarantee that you will be rooting for Max the entire way through the book. This one gets 5 out of 5 stars from me!

book blog, book review, chick lit, funny book

Twin Piques

I got the chance to read a really awesome book called Twin Piques by the lovely Tracie Banister. I haven’t read a novel this fun and hilarious in a long time. I think that  you can get a real sense of the author’s personality through their work, and Tracie seems like she would be so fun to hang around.

This novel takes place in San Fransisco, California, where we meet Willa and Sloane. Twin sisters that are as different as they can be. Willa is a charming, sweet and caring pet psychic (I mean, how cool of a job is that?), while Sloane is a buttoned up forensic accountant ( who isn’t so buttoned up around her boss, if you know what I’m saying).

Willa is on the look out for the man of her dreams, and Sloane doesn’t really seem to care about having a relationship. Like I said, opposite as opposite can be. They may look alike, but these twins are definitely on their own path in life. Not only that, but they will show you how sisterly love goes beyond their differences, and that they will come together in times of need for each other.

This novel was chocked full of quirky metaphors that had me chuckling the whole way through. It also had romance, and steamy sex scenes (blush). The full, descriptive writing style painted the perfect picture while reading. All I want now is to read more of these twin’s lives. I also want to be a part of it!

If you are looking for a light hearted summer read, look no further because Twin Piques has it all, and then some.

I give this one 5 out of 5 stars for making me cry with laughter.

One of the best parts about being a blogger and a book reviewer is that you get connected with some really great people, such as authors. Tracie and I had some good conversations, and she also did a Q&A with me, which was so fun. Doing these types of things really gets you into the mind and life of the author, and it makes you more interested in reading their novels, at least in my opinion.


Kerrie: The saying goes “write what you know”, so are you a twin? Or better yet, are you a pet psychic?

Tracie: I think one of the best parts of being a writer is getting to delve into characters who are nothing like me. I am not a twin; I don’t even have a sister! Of course that doesn’t mean I haven’t been exposed to twins throughout my life. I’ve always been fascinated by the twin dynamic and knew I wanted to write about it someday.

As for being a pet psychic, I wish! My three dogs are a total mystery to me, which is why I thought it would be fun to write for a character who knew what was going on in the heads of her furry friends. I did visit a pet psychic with two of my pups as research for Twin Piques. I’m sorry to say that it was an underwhelming experience. I was expecting a Patrick Jane (The Mentalist) type psychic who would put on a show and “wow” me with her observations, but what I got was someone who just asked a lot of questions, then made innocuous comments that really didn’t help me gain any insight into my dogs. So, I decided to take creative license and ramp up the fun factor when I wrote about Willa’s unusual ability and her sessions with clients in the book.
K: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

T: I really like the early stages of a writing project when I’m super excited about creating a new world and populating it with a variety of interesting people who all have a story to tell. Before I start a book, I write (by hand) really in-depth profiles for my lead and supporting characters. These profiles are full of all kinds of tidbits about their histories, likes/dislikes, relationships, education, even things like their favorite color, movie, ice cream flavor, etc. Half that stuff never ends up in the book, but that info still informs the characters and helps me to make them three-dimensional.

K: Is there any of your own personal life in the novel?

T: My love of animals, especially dogs, is reflected in the Willa character. And I was able to explore some of my feelings about not having a fatherly presence in my life though Sloane’s abandonment issues in the book.
K: Who designed the cover of this book? (I think it’s adorable)

T: Thank you! I was incredibly fortunate to have the very talented Lyndsey Lewellen do my cover art. Not only did she do an amazing job bringing my creative vision to life, she added many of her own special touches that really made the cover unique.

 Fun fact: Lyndsey was pregnant with twins (and on bed rest) when she was creating the illustration of Sloane and Willa for the book’s cover, which was either an amazing coincidence or fate! Lyndsey’s twin boys, Digory and Emeth, were born shortly after the cover was completed.
K: As you wrote this book, did you work with an outline or did you just go off the top of your head?

T: My writing process is pretty much the same with every book. I’m not an outliner; I hate the damn things and feel like they stifle creativity. As I mentioned earlier, I write very detailed character bios before I start work on a book. I always write in chronological order and know the beginnings and endings of my books, but I get hit with most of my best ideas once I set the characters down on the page. I like to let things develop organically in a story; the characters always tell me where they want to go and what they want to do. And now I sound like a crazy person! LOL But it really is true. I feel like if I have a really good handle on the characters when I start a book, they will show me the way.
K: What was your favorite part to write and why?

T: I have to pick just one? YIKES! Okay, a chapter/scene that stands out for me as being not only a blast to write but also serving as a good snapshot of the sisterly relationship in the book is the one where Willa is shopping for fabric for a party dress she’s going to make for Sloane and she gets a phone call from her sister. Their bickering back and forth on the phone interspersed with Willa’s search for the elusive perfect fabric was a fun way to showcase how they are poles apart in almost every way, but there’s still an incredible bond between them and they’d do anything for each other.

K: Are you writing a new novel at the moment? If so can you speak about it a bit?

T: I don’t like to reveal too much about my books while I’m working on them, because things are subject to change along the way. However, I can say this about my next book – the story is set in New York City and involves a pair of antagonistic chefs who are forced to work together in a very public venue. There’s a love triangle (actually, a quadrangle), a very colorful and unique group of supporting characters (some friend, some foe to the heroine), and lots of scrumptious food (If I could cook any of these amazing dishes myself, I would have already gained twenty pounds writing this book!). I’m about halfway through my first draft of the story and am hoping <crossing fingers> to release it in Spring 2016.
K: What do you do when you’re not writing?

T: When I’m not doing book-related work, I like to spend quality time with my three Cocker Spaniels (Hallie and Victor, my two special needs seniors, and Reggie, my six-month-old puppy who is a handful!), get caught up on all the shows on my DVR (I’m a television addict!), read (of course), and do crossword puzzles.

K:What book has most influenced you and what book are you reading now?

T: Has to be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I consider Austen to be the mother of Chick Lit as she was the first to combine romance with comedy. Her characterizations were so detailed and vivid they practically jump off the page, and no one has ever written wittier dialogue.

I’m taking a little bit of a reading break right now while I focus on writing my fourth book, but the last book I read was Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr. I loved the heroine’s snarky sense of humor and was totally crushing on the male lead, Nicholas. <swoon>

K: If you could say one thing to your readers what would it be (and not thank you!)

T: I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them!

Thank you so much Tracie for letting me interview you, and for letting me read your book!