Books That Will Make You Want to Buy a Plane Ticket Right Now: Diamond Head

May 14, 2015

2015-04-18 21.35.15

I’m starting a new series, you guys! It’s going to combine two of my favoritest things: books and travel. Basically, I’m going to read books set in far-flung places, so that I can tell you all about them. And then I’m going to resist the urge to promptly pull out my credit card and spend about a billion dollars on an airplane ticket.

This will probably end horribly.

For my credit card.

The book:

Diamond Head by Cecily Wong

Where you will want to fly to as soon as you can get your credit card out of your freaking wallet:

Hawaii. And maybe China. But mostly Hawaii.

What it’s all about:

The blurb on the inside of the dust jacket of the book describes Cecily Wong’s first novel as a “sweeping debut.” And sweep it doesΒ  — from the early 1900’s in China to the mid-1960’s in Hawaii.

The book tells the story of the fabulously rich Leong Family, who move from Guangdong to Oahu at the turn of the century to avoid the fallout over some shady business dealings. Shortly thereafter they end up losing the whole farm when the head of the family dies under mysterious circumstances.The family attempts to make it as normals, but things don’t work out so well for them. Probably because they’re cursed. For reals.

The story is told from the perspective of three different women from three different generations of the Leong family — the graceful matriarch, the sullen and self-entitled daughter-in-law, and the family’s only grandchild, a pregnant eighteen-year-old.

Why I liked it:

First, I’m a huge history nerd, but I have absolutely no patience for non-fiction books. So I love when I can learn historical stuff while reading a fiction book. This book was packed full of historical events — from the Boxer Rebellion in China to Pearl Harbor.

Secondly, the descriptions of all the settings, especially Oahu, were so incredibly vivid that I almost felt transported to the island itself.


I mean, I think I would feel a lot more transported if I were to actually transport myself there. Like by plane. Using a plane ticket. THAT I REALLY WANT TO BUY WITH MY CREDIT CARD RIGHT NOW.


Also, you know how some books have a character that you CANNOT EVEN STAND? And you get so frustrated reading about her because you just want to shout at her or at least slap her upside the head a few times? And you’re tempted to stop reading the book because she’s making you so angry and WHY WON’T SHE JUST LISTEN TO YOU ALREADY??? But you can’t stop reading because the book is so good and has you totally sucked in even though, GAH, THIS ONE CHARACTER IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST!

That’s how the daughter-in-law character was for me.

I totally hated her.

But I couldn’t stop reading about her.

And when you’re actually yelling out loud at a book that you can’t even put down, I think that’s a sign of a really good book, don’t you?


What book has recently made you feel like buying a plane ticket?

P.S. Disclaimer time! I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. Although I assure you its free-ness did not sway my opinion in any way. It was a really good book, even though, GAH, THAT ONE CHARACTER!


I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On May 14, 2015 at 7:31 am Courtney said:

    I’m excited about your new series! Books and travel are two of my favorite things as well, so I’m always looking for new inspiration πŸ™‚
    Courtney recently posted..Inspiration for the week

  2. On May 14, 2015 at 9:34 am Kelly said:

    I’m going to order this book! I’m going to Oahu in December! Thanks for the tip.
    Kelly recently posted..Trubel: Concrete & Glass House

  3. On May 14, 2015 at 12:13 pm Mary said:

    Oahu is absolutely wonderful. You must visit when you get the chance. I’m sure words don’t do justice to the beauty of that place. It has something for everyone – beaches, mountains and city life.

  4. On May 14, 2015 at 12:52 pm Ken C. said:

    I love vicarious travel! [it’s one reason I’m a fan of your writing] In fact, I just finished John Burdett’s “Vulture Peak.” The main character is a detective in Bangkok, but also travels to Phuket, and onward to Dubai, Monte Carlo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

    I don’t know that Wong’s “Diamond Head” is my cup of tea [yes, I did notice the “tea cup” in your photo of the book’s cover], but your review was interesting reading.

    Don’t forget to post your review to Amazon.

  5. On May 14, 2015 at 2:35 pm Marge said:

    Are you aware of this site?

  6. On May 15, 2015 at 12:07 pm Priya said:

    I’ve been more into non-fiction books over the past few years. But I need to start getting back into fiction reading.
    Priya recently posted..10 Random Places I Want To Travel. Just Because.

    • On May 17, 2015 at 10:07 am Sally said:

      I wish I had more patience for nonfiction books, but I really can’t do nonfiction unless it’s a memoir (or reads like a memoir… meaning lots of juicy personal tidbits). I think this is because I usually read at night before I go to bed so I need something that can keep me up!

  7. On May 15, 2015 at 3:55 pm Daina said:

    Great idea for a series!!
    Daina recently posted..Takoma Park Historic Homes Tour

  8. On May 15, 2015 at 6:34 pm Ceri said:

    I love this new series idea. πŸ˜€ I’m always on the lookout for book recommendations because I’m a book nerd too. πŸ˜› I already have an unhealthy obsession with wanting to go to Hawaii – I’m not sure I need more encouragement. BUT, I’ve now put this on my Amazon wishlist thanks to you. πŸ˜€ Haha
    Ceri recently posted..Thoughts From the North of South Korea

    • On May 17, 2015 at 10:04 am Sally said:

      I also have an unhealthy obsession with wanting to go to Hawaii. One of my coworkers is from there, and I so want to pack myself in her suitcase every time she goes to visit.

  9. On May 16, 2015 at 10:59 pm The Cranky Traveler said:

    haaa!!! Oh yes, very true… but like you said, sometimes those very same books you can’t put down, even with the most annoying of characters. I am the same way with some interesting reads.

    I haven’t been able to read any book recently other than text books for my certification. At the same time, these very books make me want to close them up, get my credit card to buy a ticket somewhere and get the hell out of town.
    The Cranky Traveler recently posted..Welcome to HEL. Helsinki, Finland, short and sweet. Part 1

  10. On May 17, 2015 at 12:11 am Choi Kum Fook said:

    I seldom read book, may be due to the interesting and lacking of time. Anyhow I had read a book, “The World Of Susie Wong”. The story talked about a girl from Shanghai,China, how she challenged her life in that particular time………….. Have you read it, Sally?

  11. On May 17, 2015 at 2:30 pm zoe said:

    Tove Jansson’s short story collections (The Summer Book, The Winter Book) make me want to go and spend a summer on an island in the Gulf of Finland.
    zoe recently posted..Cultural stereotypes and a trip to Zurich.


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