Book Review

Book Review: Four Aunties and a Wedding (Aunties #2) by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Mystery
Length: 304 pages
Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name.

Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can’t believe Staphanie and her family aren’t just like her own, they are The Family–actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene–over their dead bodies–and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.

The aunties are back, fiercer than ever and ready to handle any catastrophe–even the mafia–in this delightful and hilarious sequel by Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties.

SCATTERED.

Ohhhh sequels. I LOVED the first book in this series, and while I enjoyed this read, it’s not a favorite.

The wedding idea was fun. I liked seeing all of the Aunties and Meddy again. The setting was the perfect event for plenty of antics and hijinks. I laughed here and there at some of the wild things that were happening. But alongside that, I thought the theatrics were a bit over the top. A lot of it felt like filler to create a second full length book and I just wasn’t into it. I also reallllly missed Nathan too!! He’s BARELY in this and I thought he could have added a great counter balance to Meddy if he was allowed some more page time.

This was another great audiobook and I love the way it’s narrated. There’s some great lower key scenes where Meddy realizes and appreciates just how much her family is willing to do for her and I love the strength of the bond all of them have together. And when Nathan did make an appearance I love how he backed up Meddy as well. Really great familial connections and that’s the best part of this series.

Overall audience notes:

  • Cozy mystery
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, physical altercations

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Just My Type by Falon Ballard

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Falon Ballard
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s
Release Date: February 7th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

To win the job of her dreams, a relationship-prone journalist needs to learn how to stay single in this heartwarming and hilarious new romantic comedy from the beloved author of Lease on Love.

Lana Parker has never been single for long. After a disastrous break-up with her high school boyfriend, Seth Carson, Lana’s bounced from long-term relationship to long-term relationship. She’s an expert girlfriend, even acting as the resident dating and relationship columnist for one of Los Angeles’s trendiest websites. But now, at the age of thirty, Lana suddenly finds herself single again, and she’s determined to stay that way, no matter how challenging.

That is, until her high school ex, Seth, now a journalist in his own right, takes an assignment at Lana’s site. Ready to put down roots after years of traveling and freelancing, Seth becomes not only Lana’s colleague but also her competitor. With their combative relationship history–and undeniable chemistry–they quickly find themselves pitted against each other in a battle of wits: writing an article series that goes against dating type. For Lana, that means writing about staying single and embracing it. For Seth, it’s learning to settle down and become boyfriend material. Whoever’s is most popular wins a highly coveted columnist spot that either could only dream of. But when the two square off against one another, it’s not only their careers on the line–it’s also their hearts.

Thank you to PRH Audio for the gifted audiobook.

NOT MY FAVORITE.

Audiobook review notes: I had no issue with the audiobook! I liked the narrator and thought it was well paced. I was able to keep up with the story easily.

After enjoying this author’s first book, I was hoping to like this one too. Aaaand I did not.

This was a poor execution of both enemies to lovers and second chance romance. I thought both Lana and Seth acted pretty childish for most of the book and I hardly saw any growth. I don’t mind a hot mess type of character to start with, but Lana needed a lot more change by the end for me to like her. And I never found that moment.

Themes of positive therapy and mental health were the high points here. There were multiple therapy conversations and working through past trauma that allowed the relationship to at least develop by the end. This also helped the weird boss situation that I’m not sure was ever truly resolved??

I wish at some point I felt like cheering on this couple. I’m feeling all sorts of disappointment over this let down. Lack of true chemistry, lack of character arcs and that competition just didn’t do it for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: two open door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: emotionally unavailable parent, sexual harassment, parental abandonment, alcohol consumption

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Book Review

Book Review: The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Author: Katy Birchall
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: May 3rd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Freya Scott is getting married. Her wedding to Matthew, her long-term boyfriend, is the first of eight in her calendar this year, and as someone who prides herself on being meticulously organized, Freya is intent on making it the perfect day to remember.

But when Matthew calls things off hours before they walk down the aisle, Freya’s entire life plan goes up in smoke. Humiliated and heartbroken, the last thing she wants is to attend a summer of other peoples’ nuptials on her own.

Fortunately, her friends have an idea: together they devise a series of outrageous challenges for Freya to complete at each event, designed to distract her from Matthew and what might have been. From getting stuck in an old church bathroom and needing to be rescued by the vicar to making out with a barman at a French chateau, Freya realizes that despite herself, she might just be having fun.

By the time the final wedding arrives, she will discover that the road to a happy ending sometimes has unexpected detours, that “I do” is only the beginning––and that perhaps her own love story isn’t over just yet.

GREAT READ.

I’m not really a fiction reader. I either lean towards fantasy or romance, but I picked this up on a friends recommendation and it did not disappoint!

I really loved the vibes of this entire book. I found myself laughing out loud and cheering Freya on after a devastating break up at very much the wrong time.

Her friends were lovely and they were incredibly supportive and just there for her. I looove a good friend moment and this delivered. There’s also a subtle romance that had me smiling too.

I do wish the ex plot line didn’t take up the ENTIRE book. I thought we had essentially moved past his awfulness until he showed up late in the game which made me give a big sigh.

Still a great read about moving on when plans drastically change. Leaning in to the chaos of life and trying new things, and just maybe falling in love.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary fiction
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: make-outs

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Book Review

Book Review: In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer

Rating: ★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Kate Spencer
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: March 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A clever, tender, and romantic “Nora Ephron romp for the modern ages” (Christina Lauren) for readers of Jasmine Guillory, Abby Jimenez, and Sophie Cousens, this laugh-out-loud debut is a perceptive reminder that fate can have a sense of humor, and that love can happen . . . In a New York Minute.

Franny Doyle is having the worst day. She’s been laid off from her (admittedly mediocre) job, the subway doors ripped her favorite silk dress to ruins, and now she’s flashed her unmentionables to half of lower Manhattan. On the plus side, a dashing stranger came to her rescue with his (Gucci!) suit jacket. On the not-so-plus side, he can’t get away from her fast enough.

Worse yet? Someone posted their (entirely not) meet-cute online. Suddenly Franny and her knight-in-couture, Hayes Montgomery III, are the newest social media sensation, and all of New York is shipping #SubwayQTs.

Only Franny and Hayes couldn’t be a more disastrous match. She’s fanciful, talkative, and creative. He’s serious, shy, and all about numbers. Luckily, in a city of eight million people, they never have to meet again. Yet somehow, Hayes and Franny keep running into each other—and much to their surprise, they enjoy each other’s company. A lot. But when Franny’s whole world is turned upside down (again!), can she find the courage to trust in herself and finally have the life—and love—she’s always wanted?

NOT AMUSED.

What started out humorous with a wild disaster of a meet-cute that I was totally here for eventually felt completely flat.

I thought there needed to be a lot more interaction between Franny and Hayes. There was some of that in the second half and I was at last feeling more invested in their relationship, BUT OH MY GOSH. I threw my kindle (okay not really, but I was upset) when the conflict came around. It was completely unnecessary drama fueled to add those last 50 pages and I’m still cranky about it. That did not work for me on every level. I think I enjoyed the side characters and their relationships more than I did the main couple.

A New York setting with an interior designer were all small aspects I looked forward to reading about. There’s plenty of potential within these words, the execution was very poor for me though. Some of the other sub plots took over a lot too. And while I didn’t mind that [for the most part], I wish the focus was different.

Not one I would recommend even a little. It’s fast paced and I’m grateful I didn’t spend too much time on it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: heart attack (off page, side character)

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