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

Title: Four Aunties and a Wedding (Aunties #2)
Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance / Mystery
Publication Date: March 29th, 2022
Publisher: Berkley Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“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.” (Goodreads)

I was happy to see that I had been approved for this one on Netgalley. After reading about Meddy and her family in the first book I was curious to see what would be in store for them in the sequel. I will say that these books can be over-the-top and if that’s something you don’t like seeing then it may not be for you. It’s definitely a series that is in a whole category of its own when it comes to mixing rom-com with mystery.

The beginning of the book starts off with a note from the author. This sets up the story nicely as she shows us how she found her inspiration for what is to come in the book. It also gives us incite into what is was like to grow up for her and how her husband grew up even though their families came from the same place but moved away. It can be referred to as English diaspora which I can’t recall learning about before but glad I know about it now.

Meddy and her aunties are still funny as ever as they take on the task of a wedding. It is a big task but the aunties are ready to get the job done and find everything Meddy needs. This does cause some issues as she doesn’t want to shoot them down since they are trying to be helpful. I liked seeing how Meddy dealt with it all and still remained fairly calm, haha.

Since this book was to deal with another mystery, I was curious how it would play out especially with a wedding going on. I will say that it was better than what I had expected even if it had over-the-top drama. I think it helped me going in knowing that it would be the case after reading book one. This is why these books stand out so well. They are fun and a unique twist to the genre. I didn’t expect the plot twists that were to come which made it even better.

There is a great conversation to be had when it comes to people and how they are perceived by others as well as how upbringings can be different for everyone. Meddy’s aunties are a wild bunch but it is what makes them special. I’ve always liked that they stayed true to themselves. It gets hard for Meddy when they have to meet Nathan’s parents and they just don’t understand them or their mannerisms. I would definitely have no problem telling them their wrong like Meddy did as well as Nathan sticking up for them too.

Overall, this was another fun read by this author that I liked!


Arc Review: Bound by Firelight (Wickery #2) by Dana Swift

Title: Bound by Firelight (Wickery #2)
Author: Dana Swift
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: January 18th, 2022
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa’s punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals—many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay.

Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante . . . but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources—a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk.

Time is running out, and the horrors Adraa faces in the Dome are second only to the plot to destabilize and destroy their kingdoms. But Adraa and Jatin have saved the world once already. . . . Now, can they save themselves?” (Goodreads)

I’m always curious how a sequel/conclusion is going to go. Sometimes it feels like a completely different story than the first book and doesn’t always mesh well together. For this sequel/conclusion, I had no issue! It was a rollercoaster of intense plot twists and people finding their voice in a world filled with political turmoil. It was an enjoyable read.

The book is told from two point-of-views: Jatin and Adraa. This is the same as the first book and I am glad they continued on with it. It did help, especially within this book, because they are in different places a lot of the time. Each of their plot lines flowed together nicely and I liked seeing the thoughts they struggled with.

Adraa is going through a lot when it comes to her reputation and what the city will put up with when it comes to her magic. Her being the Red Woman was a way for people to see her as a different person and were kind and understanding to her cause. She is also dealing with a strained relationship with her sister. The worst is being tried for for the death of 129 citizens. It only gets worse for Adraa as the book goes on but it was good to see her resilience throughout.

Jatin is dealing with his own feelings when it comes to the city wanting revenge for what they believe Adraa did. He stands behind her but the city and those truly involved will do anything, which doesn’t make his job any easier. He really tries hard to figure out what he needs to do and the understand the situation. He wants to help Adraa, but he also want to fulfill her wishes of not coming for her. He has to make tough choices because of it.

When it comes to the romance between them, it was the sweetest. You can tell how much they care for one another. I love that even though they know who each other is now, they still have the banter between them. It’s also cool that they started backwards with an arranged marriage to actually wanting to be boyfriend and girlfriend. Sometimes relationships can be very unconventional!

There are new characters introduced and my favorite out of all of them being Harini. She has a very interesting background! I liked learning more about her and the friendship that grew between her and Adraa.

The plot is filled with a lot of political turmoil. The city is up in an outcry against Adraa’s family, the Belwars. They want change and they want a choice in who is in power. The book also does a good job of showing us how those in power abuse their power to be in power or to even gain more for themselves. You could also say that the plot dives into human trafficking, although it is minor compared to everything else. The one thing that brings it altogether is giving a voice to those who have been voiceless. You can also expect a lot of plot twists that keep you reading continuously because it’s just too good to put down.

Overall, this was a solid conclusion and one that I really liked. If you haven’t read this duology yet, I’d suggest giving it a try!

Monthly Wrap-Up | January 2019

Hello, fellow book lovers!

January was a crazy month for reading! It was my best month ever when it came to how many books I actually finished but not great for how many were 5 star reads. I doubt I will ever read 29 books plus 11 mangas in a month again but when there’s a will, there’s a way!

5 stars:
Escaping from Houdini
Vampire Kisses (reread)
A Torch Against the Night
The Poppy War
Sky in the Deep
A Reaper at the Gates
The Last Namsara
The Winner’s Curse
A Clash of Kings

4 stars:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Give the Dark My Love
Six of Crows
The Devouring Gray (eARC)
The Governess of Penwythe Hall (eARC)

3 stars:
Ruin and Rising
The Wicked King
Shadow of the Fox
Fire & Heist
A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Sense & Sensibility
The Witch’s Kind (eARC)

2 stars:
Shatter Me
Dance of Thieves
Spin the Dawn (2.5) (eARC)

1 star:
Never-Contented Things (eARC)

The Demon Prince of Momochi House Vol. 4
Yona of the Dawn Vol. 15
Stepping on Roses Vol. 1-9

My favorite book for the month was The Poppy War. I am not usually drawn to adult fantasy but with such great reviews I decided to give it a go and it didn’t disappoint! The worst read was Never-Contented Things.

Overall, I would say I did pretty good. I wanted more 5 stars but hopefully February will be better! I will have reviews coming for all listed if there isn’t a review yet for the title.

Have you read any on this list? What was your favorite read of January?