Midweek Mini Reviews #31

This Midweek Mini Reviews post features two books to whisked you away to magical and romantic France!

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim
Fortune tellers, matchmakers, romance and delicious pastries! These can be found in Filipino-Chinese Canadian writer, Roselle Lim’s delightful sophomore novel Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop! While I enjoyed Lim’s debut, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune I loved Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop more! This is probably because I connected with the character of Vanessa more than Natalie. I loved her close and quiet relationship with her father and I could definitely relate to having to deal with nosy aunties who are always trying to get involved in her personal life. The aunties were all memorable in their own unique way and it was hilarious yet sweet how they all looked up Vanessa’s Goodreads account to ensure that the romantic “inspirations” they gave Vanessa were books she hasn’t yet read. Vanessa’s Aunt Evelyn intrigued me from her first appearance, and I loved her even more once I got to know her tragic back story and why she is so secretive and hell bent on the “rules” of fortune telling. Unlike Lim’s last book where food was central to the story, Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop focuses more on the characters’ relationships and the magical realism element is not as flashy. That being said there are still a few magical elements such as the lovely visual of the red threads connecting some of lovers as well as several mouthwatering descriptions of the meals and pastries that Vanessa indulges. However, here the food helps to move along the relationships and reveal some things that were previously hidden. Speaking of relationships, I adored all the romances in the book. I appreciated how Vanessa and Marc got to know each other at a more organic pace, thus making their relationship more believable. The perfect escape read for when it feels like everything is out of our control, I appreciated how fate versus free will was a constant theme in this book and how Vanessa was always questioning things.Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop has converted me from someone who didn’t have any immediate urge to visit the City of Love to someone who eagerly awaits a time when it is once again safe to travel so I can go out and have my own magical Parisian adventure!

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux
by Samantha Vérant

Sophie Valroux in The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux is a protagonist that you can’t help but cheer on as despite her tragic past she truly works hard to prove herself to others. This makes her professional setback at the beginning of the novel even more heartbreaking. Fortunately, Sophie has two amazing friends Walter and Robert who are there for her. And once she hears her Grand-Mère (Grandmother) has been hospitalized, she pulls herself together so she can be with her. I loved Sophie’s relationship with her Grand-Mère and wish we got more scenes of the two of them together. It was sad that both were too scared to see each other even after Sophie’s mother died. Misunderstandings and miscommunications were unfortunately common in this book, and you couldn’t help but be frustrated by how some people treated Sophie. This was why Remi as a love interest never won me over completely. It annoyed me how he went from being rude and dismissive of a confused Sophie to suddenly complaining about why she didn’t immediately return his feelings with the same “passion” that he had for her. That being said, I’m Team Sophie and want her to be happy so if he was part of her finding happiness again it was something I could live with. The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux makes it obvious how much the author loves France and food, especially French cuisine. Variant’s writing immersed me in Sophie’s world, first in the kitchen of a Michelin Star NYC restaurant and then in a Château in the south of France. If you can’t hop on a plane for a summer escape to France then this modern fairy tale of family, food, friendship and reconnecting with your past is the next best thing.

 

 

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above reviews consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Things to Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapley

Authour:
Marissa Stapley
Format:
eGalley
Publication date:
February 6th 2018
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Marissa Stapley’s debut, Mating for Life was an interesting read and after being asked to do the cover reveal for Things To Do When It’s Raining I was excited for her latest book. Recommended for fans of Nicholas Sparks, I can definitely understand the appeal of Things To Do When It’s Raining. After all, there are childhood sweethearts, forbidden love and of course families complicated by secrets.

However, the romance isn’t the main focus of Things To Do When It’s Raining. Instead, told from various perspectives, readers receive all sorts of hints regarding the complicated family history of both Mae and Gabe. And while the stories are compelling, the various chapters felt a bit jumbled up and confusing after some time. Understandably, although this may be due to both Lilly and George’s old age and deteriorating state of mind it made it difficult to connect with either of their stories. As for Mae and Gabe, I adored their relationship and wished it received more time, especially since the epilogue glosses over what could’ve been a compelling story of how their relationship evolved over time.

Stapley’s writing as always is incredibly vivid and descriptive and it’s always refreshing to witness her approach serious topics in a realistic and occasionally heartbreaking way in her books. I also love the quirkiness that is infused into the story, for example, in Things To Do When It’s Raining each chapter starts with a suggestion of actual activities the characters can do on days where it’s raining making it an amusing nod to the title of the book.

Things To Do When It’s Raining is a quick read, however, I personally felt that I was given an abundance of little clues and details that did not truly add up to anything conclusive. In the end, it felt truly like nothing happened or was revealed despite the massive information overload. And while this made it the story more true to reality, it felt unsatisfying to me. Nevertheless, Things To Do When It’s Raining is well-written and would make for an excellent cozy read.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.