The English Wife

It’s no surprise that I love Lauren Willig. Especially her Pink Carnation series, but her standalones as well. I love how readable her books are, while still being full of historical information and literary references. Kind of like reading “chick lit” but with much more substance. When I saw Willig was coming out with a new standalone novel, I knew I had to try and get it off Netgalley, and I was lucky! I downloaded The English Wife a month or so ago, but didn’t start it until last week.

The English Wife opens with the death of Bayard Van Duyvil, the heir of an old Knickerbocker family in New York City in 1899. The rest of the story follows his sister Janie trying to discover the truth behind the murder, and also jumps back in time to when Bay meets his English Wife.

It took me a while to get into the book, but once I got through the introduction I was hooked. Willig does a wonderful job weaving together the two storylines and maintaining the mystery and making (almost) every character sympathetic (or at least understandable). Usually, when a book has two different storylines I like one better than the other, but not here. The mystery kept me on my toes, and remained true to the era and the story. I also love the amount of detail Willig puts in her novels, from the copious amount of research to the inclusion of other pieces of literature (in this case Shakespeare).


Rich People Problems

I discovered the Crazy Rich Asians series well after the second book came out, and devoured them in days once I got them from the library. That’s the advantage to coming to something (be it a TV series or book series once all parts are available). I did not think Kevin Kwan would write a third book, but once I knew a third was in the works, I immediately began impatiently waiting. Lucky for me, I was approved to read an Advanced Reading Copy through NetGalley!


Once I started reading Rich People Problems I realized I’d forgotten a lot of what happened in the first two books. This is what happens when I read too quickly. However, Random House has the family tree available on their website and Wikipedia has a pretty good summary of the first two books with character descriptions.

Despite needing some refreshers on character connections, reading Rich People Problems felt very familiar, but in a good way. I love Kwan’s writing style and the humor he exudes. Generally, I’m a sucker for footnotes, and I love Kwan’s. Although reading footnotes on an e-readers is obnoxious. Also, when most authors try and describe fashionable people, or what their characters are wearing, it sounds like a What Not to Wear episode. Kwan, on the other hand, makes me believe Astrid is as fashion forward as she is portrayed. I also really enjoyed re-connecting with Astrid. She is by far my favorite character in the series. Learning more about Su Yi and the history of Singapore was a nice surprise. I wish I knew more about the area’s history and culture. Lastly, Eddie and Kitty were just as annoying as always. Which was perfect.

Popsugar Reading Challenge: A Book Involving Travel

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A Book that is set more than 5000 from your location

Heartwood Hotel: A True Home

A friend of mine from grad school posted on Instagram that she was approved for a NetGalley copy of Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan and I decided I had to try as well. I am so pumped about the third installment of Crazy Rich Asians! Anyway, once I got into NetGalley (it had been a while) I poked around and found a few more books that might fit into my goals of 1) reading more juvenile books this year and 2) could fit the PopSugar Reading Challenge checklist. One of which is Heartwood Hotel: A True Home by Kallie George.



The story centers around orphaned mouse Mona who finds herself carried away in a storm and finds refuge in a fantastical hotel called Heartwood Hotel. Readers meet sweet woodland creatures (like Mrs. Prickles the cook, Tilly the squirrel maid and owner Mr. Heartwood the badger), go on brave adventures with Mona, and learn about Mona’s family and past.

One Goodreads reviewer compared Heartwood Hotel to The Wind in the Willows, and while I see his point, I disagree. Mostly because the writing and characterizations are lacking. While Heartwood Hotel is no The Wind in the Willows it is a sweet and enjoyable read. I foresee those who like Critter Club and Puppy Place and The Saddle Club snapping these up. The fact that the book is an ARC and already a “book one” tells me publishers are also seeing the connections.