Silly romance two-fer: A pair of mini-reviews

While traveling for a few days this past week, I read two romances that were very silly — one silly but entertaining, and one silly and annoying. Which is which? Read on…


Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto: This is the silly and entertaining one! Four Aunties and a Wedding, the follow-up to Dial A for Aunties, continues the hilariously ridiculous adventures of Meddy, a wedding photographer, and the four aunties who dominate her Chinese-Indonesian family. In this sequel, Meddy is finally about to marry the man of her dreams, but when she overhears her own wedding photographer plotting a murder and realizes that there’s going to be a mafia hit on her big day, she and the aunties spring into action to foil the evil plans. Shenanigans ensue — kidnappings, spontaneous Tai Chi, komodo dragon fascinators, and marijuana-laced cocktails, to name but a few of the outrageous obstacles that interfere with Meddy’s dream destination wedding.

This is a light, fast read, and I enjoyed it overall, but did find myself getting annoyed eventually by just how over-the-top the plot became, how the aunties and Meddy jumped to one false conclusion after another, and how these ridiculous circumstances completely ruined the wedding day. Fortunately, Meddy’s groom is far more understanding and loving and, well, just plain perfect than any ordinary man might be, so the couple gets their happy ending… and so what if zipties, druggings, and assassination attempts get in the way?

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos: Obviously, that leaves this book as the silly and annoying one! This Austen-inspired romance centers on a 39-year-old single mother whose business is failing. In desperation, she makes the obvious choice — to go to England and participate in what she thinks will be a documentary about Regency life, but turns out to be (drumroll, please…) a Regency-themed reality dating show. The prize is marriage to a wealthy British hottie (and $100,000), and Chloe is determined to win. To get to the prize, though, she must live in total Regency style, meaning chamber pots, no technology, food-based cosmetics, and constant chaperonage. This book was published in 2012, and feels a lot like an Austenland retread — and also feels pretty dated, in terms of attitudes toward relationships and female competition.

The plot really doesn’t make sense, the Regency affectations are applied inconsistently and weirdly (for example, the woman playing the role of Chloe’s chaperone is very pregnant, and has agreed to give birth Regency-style… WHY?). There are slapsticky misadventures, mistaken identity, and plain old nonsensical decisions. I finished the book, and I suppose it held my attention enough to make me want to see how it turned out, but I can’t say I recommend this one.

Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.


And there you have it! Fun romance, not-so-fun super annoying romance… and now I’d better switch up my reading for a bit and tackle something with a bit more there there.

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Travel reading wrap-up (fall 2022): A batch of mini-reviews — all sorts of love!

I’m back from a one-week trip, which was fabulous… and while I read quite a bit, I don’t have energy just yet to write full-length reviews. So… here’s a quick look at what I read while I was away. Lots of love stories — some dramatic, one that’s utterly silly, and one charmer that includes love, friendship, and pure delight. Read on if you want to know more!


Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory: A steamy story of workplace romance, set amidst the wineries of Napa Valley. Margot Noble, co-owner of a family winery, has a one-night stand with a hot guy she meets at a bar, only to discover the next day that he’s her new employee. The book explores the intense connection and chemistry between Margot and Luke, but also delves into family dynamics, career frustrations and expectations, and issues around honesty and self-awareness. The romance is steamy but also sweet, and I loved the dynamics between Margot and Luke.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Heading Over the Hill by Judy Leigh: I’ve been seeing other bloggers’ rave reviews for Judy Leigh’s books for quite a while now, and finally had the chance to experience one for myself! Pure delight — this is the story of Dawnie and Billy, a married couple in their early seventies, who decide to move to a new town and focus on starting over again, just the two of them. Between his Harley and her colorful wigs, they’re a shock to their conservative neighbors, but soon end up making a huge, positive impact on everyone they encounter. The story is engaging, funny, but also quite heartfelt — there are elements that explores the characters’ sorrows as well as joys, and at one point, it even brought me to tears. Overall, I loved it — and I just wish I had a Dawnie in my life!!

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto: After having this paperback on my shelf for about a year, I finally picked it up — and I have to say, this is quintessential vacation reading! Super silly, not at all intellectually challenging, and just oodles of fun. When Meddy and her meddlesome aunties get involved in an over-the-top Chinese-Indonesian wedding, they also find themselves dealing with an inconvenient corpse, stolen jewels, and the reappearance of Meddy’s college boyfriend — her one true love and the one who got away. The escapades here are preposterous and outrageously unbelievable… but so much fun to read and laugh over! I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series, Four Aunties and a Wedding.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo: This is the most dramatic and serious of my batch of vacation books — the story of Dunni and Obinna, high school sweethearts with an intense bond who were cruelly separated by their families, as they reunite at a friends’ wedding in Nigeria twelve years later. With alternating timelines showing their present reconnection and the traumatic events of their past, the book gives us a deep understanding of how these two characters ended up where they are. I loved the exploration of the class differences in their society and how their families’ histories influenced how they were treated, as well as the insights into their individual decision-making and struggles. There are some truly painful revelations, as well as lovely moments of connection and understanding. This is a beautiful, sad, complicated story, well worth checking out.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

What a week! I enjoyed every book I read… now comes the hard part — deciding what to read next!

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