Posts By: Rashika

Friday, July 19, 2019

So Much Food and Softness: Natalie Tan’s Book of Fortune by Roselle Lim

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So Much Food and Softness: Natalie Tan’s Book of Fortune by Roselle Lim
Natalie Tan's Book of Fortune
Roselle Lim
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Publication date: June 11th, 2019
by Berkley

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At the news of her mother's death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn't spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco's Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She's even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother's restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant's fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around--she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.
-A copy was provided by Berkley for review-

Here is the thing about Natalie Tan’s Book of Fortune, it is sweet with a dash of magic and an incredible amount of food porn. For those reasons, I was immediately drawn in and enjoyed the book. But, the writing is not quite there so even though the story itself is wonderful, the way it is written and told isn’t? 

First things first, this book is not a romance for those romance readers eyeing this book. It is a story about love but not necessarily romantic love. 

Natalie Tan comes home for the first time in years after her mother passes away. They parted on bad terms and Natalie never got to bridge the gap that emerged between the two. A letter her ma-ma left behind for her imparts her blessings to reopen her laolao’s restaurant and finally reclaim their family legacy. Opening a restaurant is never easy but factor in a dying neighborhood, desperately counting on her restaurant to bring in more business into the area and Natalie has her hands incredibly full. 

When a well-meaning neighbor prophecizes that the restaurant’s success is rooted in Natalie’s ability to help three neighbors through her food, she gets to work and reconnects with a neighborhood she didn’t realize she loved. 

One of the things that stuck out to me was that there while there was a plot there wasn’t really much conflict? Which is to say that there was conflict but it wasn’t really creating tension within the book. Yes Natalie’s recipe’s aren’t working which is cause for concern but there are a lot of other plot points resolved without truly exploring them. At the beginning of the book, I got the sense Natalie definitely resented her ma-ma a little but by the end of the book that is brushed under the rug and their relationship is presented as perfect could be. At another point, Natalie fights with a friend and it is quickly resolved. 

There were other issues with the writing too but at the end of the day, they didn’t truly take away from my enjoyment of the book. Natalie Tan’s Book of Fortune is a very soft book and sometimes you need a soft book to breeze through. 

This story of a grief-stricken girl rediscovering her love for her neighborhood, pursuing her dreams, and trying to heal people through food will appeal to many and leave all feeling incredibly hungry. I highly recommend Natalie Tan’s Book of Fortune to anyone who appreciates good food porn and anyone looking for a soft book full of magic. 

3.5 Stars
3.5 Hot Espressos

Cute But The Science is Lacking: Blastaway by Melissa Landers

Cute But The Science is Lacking: Blastaway by Melissa Landers

Posted by on 07/15/2019 • 1 Comment

While I never got the chance to read Alienated, I have read Lander’s romance novels so when I heard about Blastaway, I was immediately onboard. I expected something akin to Alienated (even though I hadn’t read it) and in my excitement, missed that Blastaway wasn’t YA. It is middle grade. I read middle grade so that didn’t really turn me off but this book wouldn’t really hit the mark for adult middle grade readers the way it would for middle grade middle grade readers – aka the intended demographic of the book.

Blastaway is incredibly cute and I love that it uses its sci-fic setting to draw attention to very real world issues in an accessible manner to younger readers. My biggest issue – keeping in mind that I was…

Heartbreaking, Swoony & Funny: Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra

Heartbreaking, Swoony & Funny: Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra

Posted by on 07/10/2019 • 0 Comments

Remember how back in 2012 the only book anyone ever talked about was The Fault in Our Stars? I wish Symptoms of a Heartbreak was around back then because it is infinitely better and hits a lot of the same emotional notes that TFIOS hit for many people. While this book is pitched as a medical romcom, I’d actually describe it as less of a romcom and more of a family comedy with a smidgen of romance and a lot of growth and development. 

Saira is Girl Genius and the youngest doctor ever. But all that genius cannot prepare for her first year as an intern at the place where it all started – when she diagnosed her best friend with cancer at the age of 6. It also cannot…

A Soft, Low-Stress Book: Some Like it Scandalous by Maya Rodale

A Soft, Low-Stress Book: Some Like it Scandalous by Maya Rodale

Posted by on 07/05/2019 • 0 Comments

I will fully admit to not reading book 1 in this series but I have read Maya Rodale before and when I saw that Some Like it Scandalous was hate to love, I was sold. I did go in expecting good romantic tension but I was a little surprised by how much I was taken in by this book. Rodale must have done a lot of research to help immerse us within the gilded age. 

I wouldn’t categorize it as a true love to hate because their dislike is based on misunderstandings and apologies are made quite early on but… their relationship is still amazing. It is founded on their mutual agreement that they do not want to get married, then they become business partners and finally something more. They…

Potentially the best Pride and Prejudice Adaptation: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Potentially the best Pride and Prejudice Adaptation: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Posted by on 07/02/2019 • 6 Comments

I’ve been going through a reading slump lately and starting a book takes a lot more effort than I would like. When, I picked up Ayesha a couple days ago, I was really sad I couldn’t get into it so I put it down and continued binging Brooklyn Nine Nine. Because I had it for review though, I decided to pick it up again  and push through. I ended up going to bed at 5:30 AM because I legitimately did not want to put Ayesha at Last down.

I first read P&P in 10th grade and watched the BBC adaptation alongside reading it. I thought the Colin Firth adaptation was the peak of P&P adaptations. Reading Ayesha at Last has made me completely reevaluate that opinion. This thoughtful, creative retelling…

Best of Dogs and Humans: The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Best of Dogs and Humans: The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by on 06/19/2019 • 0 Comments

I truly feel blessed anytime I finish a book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Over the past year, she has quickly shot up to one of my favorite authors. Her talent for writing some of the best relationships to grace YA draws me in and I cannot help but finish any book I read by her with my mouth hanging open and desperate for a sequel. If flawed characters, found family, trauma handled well, the best of dogs and a bit of a mystery are your thing, The Lovely and the Lost is the book for you.

Kira does not trust many people except for her family. It took years after Cady rescued her for Kira to learn how to trust again and now she is following in Cady’s footsteps…

Thoughtful and Adorable: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Thoughtful and Adorable: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Posted by on 06/12/2019 • 0 Comments

I am still recovering from this book as I write this review so excuse the rambling but oh my god??? Why did this book want to HURT ME LIKE THAT??? I am genuinely feeling a little nauseous lol.

The nausea has nothing to do with how the book was, just about certain events I won’t dive into. Rest assured, if you do read this book and have some serious feelings afterwards, please talk to me so we can all cry together. A HAPPY CRYING CIRCLE.

If you are not a fan of any kind of angst, you should probably skip this book because there is a lot of it. Sometimes it felt unavoidable, other times it was frustrating but honestly it wasn’t actually an issue for me. I…

Don’t Read on An Empty Stomach: Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond

Don’t Read on An Empty Stomach: Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond

Posted by on 06/07/2019 • 0 Comments

If you, like me, are a great lover of both food and books, this anthology will immediately appeal to you. There are a ton of anthologies published each year and sometimes it’s hard to keep track all of them but what makes this one worthy of being on your TBR is that it isn’t just a collection of stories. It’s a collection of stories that is intertwined. Main characters from individual stories make appearances in stories outside of their own, secondary character from individual stories will make appearances in stories outside of their own. It’s quite marvelous and I cannot imagine the amount of work the authors must have put in to make something as cohesive as this.

Hungry Hearts is set in the mystical Hungry Hearts Row. A…