Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune

Roselle Lim

Natalie finds out that she has inherited her grandmother's restaurant. The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant’s fortune: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to aid her neighbors for the restaurant to succeed.

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Lush and visual, chock-full of delicious recipes, Roselle Lim’s magical debut novel is about food, heritage, and finding family in the most unexpected places.  

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.


PRAISE FOR NATALIE TAN'S BOOK OF LUCK AND FORTUNE

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune is for every reader who likes a side of magic with their foodie fiction. You’ll want to move into the Chinatown neighborhood for the mouth-watering dumplings and the charming, eclectic neighbors. Exquisitely written, Roselle Lim sifts through the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, the freedom in unraveling family secrets, and the power of resilience.”—Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go
 
“Roselle Lim serves up a feast for the senses and the heart with this magical tale of love, loss, and redemption in San Francisco's Chinatown. Filled with luscious, mouth-watering recipes, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune explores the hidden ties of family, mental illness, and desires lost and found, through the delectably transformative power of food. I had to stop myself from running out to buy juicy roast pork, plump crispy dumplings, and sweet pea sprouts!”—Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghost Bride and The Night Tiger
 
“A truly delicious page-turner, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune is a magical feast for the mind, the heart, and the senses. With mouth-watering prose, crystallized characters, and a healthy dash of magic, Lim has created the perfect recipe for a truly delicious page-turner. I devoured this book. Sign me up for seconds!”—Samantha Verant, author of How to Make a French Family
 
"Vivid and lyrical with a touch of magic. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune explores culture, community, and the complex love between mothers and daughters, leaving your heart full…and your belly hungry. I absolutely loved it."—Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient
 
“What a treat! Reminiscent of Joanne Harris’s bestselling novel, Chocolat, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune is heaped with heart and topped with the sweetest sprinkle of magic, creating a literary and culinary feast. Infused with ancient traditions and tantalizing recipes, Roselle Lim cooks up a mouth-watering tale that’s sure to delight!”—Lori Nelson Spielman, New York Times bestselling author of The Life List


Advance Galley Reviews

Roselle Lim’s new book is such a delightful and enticing new read. I read “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune” in just a few days time because I couldn’t put it down. Lim’s mix of wonderful characters, delicious recipes, and wholesome story of self-love and love of family and friends truly made for a great end of the day as I read her novel before bedtime. O can’t wait to read more from this author. Thank you!

I was really looking forward to reading this book, but time got away from me and I wasn't able to read it.

This was a sweet story of a young woman following her dreams and finding her place in the neighborhood she grew up in. It also delved into heavier topics including grief and depression. I liked the touch of magic in the story, as well as the Chinese culture and tradition throughout the book. It made me want to explore San Francisco's Chinatown more thoroughly the next time I'm in town. The descriptions of food made me so hungry. However, I didn't care for the love interest and felt disconnected from that storyline entirely.

DNF @ 20% This was a book I wanted to love but I was unable to connect with it. While I love the synopsis of the book and I think I understand what the author was trying to achieve with the story, the plot felt forced to me. I felt the author spent too much time explaining the rich cultural traditions described in the book and not enough time immersing the reader in the culture. I also struggle with the magical realism in this book as it felt forced and unnatural. The moment where Natalie examined her crystal tears was over the top and took me out of the story. Overall, I loved the idea of what the author set out to accomplish but the book fell flat on execution for me.

This book was not at all what I was expecting. It's a magical and hopeful story but also very sad in certain places too. I connected to Natalie and her story in so many ways. Natalie failed out of culinary school and I quit culinary school. Her connection to her family's food is also very similar to the way I feel about Jewish food. And don't get me started on her relationship with her mother. This book helped me look at what life might look like after I lose my mom. It's something I've not wanted to face, but also something I know I need to think about so I am not shocked into a mental breakdown. Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune helped me deal with those feelings a little bit. Alright, before we all start sobbing, let's get to the review. Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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. Natalie Tan is returning to the place she grew up. She hasn't been back in years, but now she must. Her mother is dead and she has to pick up the pieces of their strained relationship. As Natalie goes through her mother's things, looks into the restaurant connected to their home that her grandmother used to work in, and talks to the people in her neighborhood, she decides to do exactly what her grandmother did. Fix people's problems with amazing food. And with the help of her grandmother's recipe book, how could she go wrong? What she doesn't expect is for the recipes to backfire disastrously. Couples are on the verge of breaking up, she is very close to losing the closest friend she has, and others are thinking of selling their businesses. And to top it all off, the restaurant catches on fire and is almost destroyed. Shit gets real and Natalie hits bottom. But once you hit bottom, there is only one way to go. (I've been there. I know lol). After losing the man she was beginning to have strong feelings for, Natalie decides to fight through her problems instead of running from them. And the results are delicious. She comes up with her own recipes and decides that she can't be responsible for fixing everyone's problems. All she can do is cook, be active in her neighborhood, and take the good and the bad as it comes. Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune is such a magical book. There is a magical realism element that really surprised me. I wasn't expecting it and I had to reread to make sure I was understanding correctly (no spoilers!). And of course, I loved the addition of the recipes. They are sprinkled throughout the book and really brought me fully into the world of this story. My one critique is about the romance. It felt like it happened too quickly and I didn't feel the chemistry between Natalie and Daniel. They just didn't click. I was happy they dealt with their issues by the end of the book, but, for me, it was the least interesting relationship. That being said, I was so focused on Natalie's relationship with her mom, I might've not been picking up on their connection as much as I normally would. I am giving Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune 3.5 out of 5 stars. The mother-daughter relationship (despite the mother being gone), the food, the magic, and the coming together of community makes this such a beautiful book. If you've been on the fence about reading it, DO IT! It's worth the tears (or maybe I just cry at every book lol). Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim comes out June 11, 2019. Thank you to First to Read and Berkley Books for the free ecopy in exchange for my honest review.

DNF at 20% because the file randomly expired as I was reading it which is a shame because the story had hardly just begun. From what I did get to read, I thought it was decent though I wasn't feeling the main character, Natalie. She didn't have much of a personality outside of her grief and regret and I think that's why I couldn't really get into the book.

DNF at 46% I hate to be mean but I'm pretty sure I requested an ARC, not a cookbook. While there is a certain amount of magic described by Lim and the healing art of cooking and connection as found in Chinese culture, I'm sorry to say I was bored instead of bewitched. This would probably make a great tv adaptation or movie but it fails to enthral as a novel.

I loved this book with its fairy-tale plot and magical realism elements based on Chinese culture and mythology sprinkled throughout. Granted, the plot at times seemed overly simplistic and magical realism could have been more effectively integrated into the writing overall to greater effect. But this is not a fluffy novel, and was perhaps at its most effective and powerful when dealing with issues of death and unresolved grief. I highly recommend it and look forward to this author's next book.

4.5 stars for me. I found the start of this book a little slow, and am so glad I stuck with it. As I got used to the gentle pace, I found myself relaxing into the story. Natalie is back in San Francisco's Chinatown after her mother's unexpected death. Her neighborhood is threatened by gentrification, and Natalie is tempted to put down roots and re-open her family's restaurant. As she works through her grandmother's cookbook, she learns some lessons along the way. This reminded me of both Chocolat by Joann Harris and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. There's a lot of delicious descriptions of food and recipes. And there's some magical realism regarding the properties and effects of the different dishes. I Enjoyed Natalie's journey of self-discovery. This book was also about community, family, a little romance, and knowing and valuing yourself. I enjoyed it and finished it with a smile on my face. Thanks to Penguin's First to Read program for an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

It's a cute book, but it's just okay. In some months i wil probably not remember much about this book, it was just a lazy read (even though, the writing was really good!)

I adored this story. I would recommend it to anyone. The writing had an allure and honesty about it. I liked the imagery that the author, Roselle Lim, was able to portray. She brought the characters, setting, and plot to life as insights of cultural perspective intertwined with stories of self-discovery, intrigue, grief, sorrow, guilt, shame, happiness, and joy. It was touching and charming. And it included lovely recipes, I'm looking forward to trying them all! FTC disclosure: I would like to thank Penguin Random House for providing me with an advance reader copy via access to the galley for free through the First to Read program.

This book had a couple elements that made me excited to read it--interesting and in-depth cooking descriptions and various elements of magical realism--but for some reason it just never grabbed my attention. The whole book revolved around Natalie's relationships with the people in the neighborhood, but none of them felt very deep. Even the romance with Daniel seemed to be in fast-forward. Maybe that was the reason halfway through I started to skim to hit the plot highlights. I kind of half mixed emotions about this book and none of them are particularly strong.

Oh no :( I hate to DNF books, especially books I'm really excited about. And especially especially when I can't put my finger on what exactly wasn't working for me. To me the book was...fine. It was fine. It was okay. But there was just nothing pulling me along, making me want to read more. I was picking it up because I wanted to finish it to review it, not because I was invested in the story. I mean, I'm assuming there will be a happy ending for Natalie and the community, and I'm happy for them. But I got to page 189 and don't really feel like I need to read 100+ more pages to see it. I liked the touches of magical realism in the book -- they came on with emotion and were done in a way that were just the perfect extension of what the characters were feeling. They weren't too much. But perhaps the fact that the tone wasn't magical enough was one reason I wasn't fully pulled into the world? I'm not sure. I do think, I am sure, in fact, that this book will have readers who really love the cuteness, the magic, the community. I'm just sorry it wasn't me.

whelp. that was a bit of a letdown. how gorgeous is this cover? the synopsis sounded great. i was super excited. nowhere in the synopsis does it say anything about magical realism though, except calling it a magical debut, which didn't prepare me for the magical realism. and i like magic and stuff! but this was just weird, with the tears turning to crystals and the steaming skin. and whats with all the birds. i love romance. i read other genres, but mostly romance. i did not pick this up for the romance but thought it would be a bonus. no. so, so, so cringey. instalove, unbelievable, cringe city. why is he paying so much for the food? how are they in love after saying 2 or 3 things to each other? also, how is she able to cook in this restaurant that has been closed for decades, how is everything clean? how does everything magically work? nothing broke down in a couple of decades? really? i am okay with recipes in books, not my fave but not a big deal. but this one is so centered around food - which, i am okay with - that every time she is cooking, we got the recipe AND a page or two of cooking details. way too much. i wanted a story, but i felt like i was reading a cooking show. natalie was hard to like. i felt she was selfish and naive. she is very self absorbed and i felt like the daddy/abandonment issues got old. all in all, this was a bummer. i wanted to love it but the main character and the story did not work for me. the writing also wasn't my favourite, i felt like it was way too tell and not enough show. overly descriptive and underdeveloped. the dialogue felt stilted to me. i try not to DNF arcs and i kept hoping it would get better but ultimately, not a fan.

What a wonderful, feel good story! Natalie Tan returns to her mother's home in San Francisco in the wake of her mother's death. There, she strives to find what she's spent the last seven years of her life traveling to find - the means and courage to open her own restaurant. Before Natalie can live her dream and reopen her grandmother's restaurant, she must repair the cracks in her community and relationships with her family. There's fantastic magical realism in this, and also infused with a number of delicious-sounding recipes that made me hungry when reading. There was a strong element of female strength throughout, with Natalie getting such great support from women in the community, as well as understanding the strength of her mother and grandmother. I recommend not reading this book for the romance, as while it's present it's not very well developed. Natalie's relationships with her family and community far outshine the romantic lead, but it was still a cute addition and I enjoyed. Overall, a very fun read. I loved the details on the food and the cooking, and how important food plays a role in connection and communication.

I enjoyed the food elements and magical qualities of the food and recipes. I loved how Natalie developed her own recipes for the missing pages from her grandmother's cookbook. Natalie strived to help with the revitalization of the neighborhood even after her own kitchen was destroyed by fire. I was inspired by how the neighbors helped each other when times were bad.

The writing in this book is exquisite, the imagery rich as the food that Natalie makes. I loved the sense of community she and her neighbors have. Overall, this book is cathartic and has such a gentle tone. However, it was not the book for me. I'm not much of a foodie nor am I much of a cook, so the food descriptions grew tedious just because of how detailed everything, cooking and eating, was. Again, that's a personal preference! You could definitely still enjoy this book even if I didn't love it.

Cooking, magical realism, and facing family secrets combine in this well-seasoned tale of a wandering daughter who returns home to re-open her grandmother’s fabled neighborhood restaurant. The novelty in this tale involves Chinatown and the ceremonies and traditions unique to that location. The problems with this book involve the protagonist’s constant insecurity and the author’s inability to find ways to convey it other than through the same chronic internal monologue; it becomes grating and tiring. There is a wonderful surprise at the end that is well worth the wait and moves this book up a notch in review. Although there are ‘recipes’ in this book, they are not accompanied by amounts, so they are mostly meant to inspire hunger, which they do! I received my copy from Penguin’s First to Read Program.

I probably would have passed on this book if I had read that it had magic realism in it before picking it up, but I'm glad I didn't! It's a sweet, heartwarming story about family, community, and filled with lots of tasty recipes!

Disclaimer: I received an eARC through the First Reads program in exchange for an honest review. One day, the birds begin singing a familiar song. Natalie, recognizing it, knows immediately that her mother is dead. She buys a ticket, and she returns home to San Francisco for the first time since leaving over a disagreement about her future with her mother. At home, Natalie begins to regret that she missed her mother’s last years, and she begins to feel a sense of obligation to her neighborhood which is dying. Gentrification is a real threat to her neighborhood in Chinatown, and while she hadn’t been heavily rooted here, she doesn’t want to see that happen. With her love for cooking, the very thing that tore apart her relationship with her mother, she decides to reopen her grandmother’s long-closed restaurant. She decides to consult one of the neighbors for spiritual guidance about what she must do to be successful. The neighbor tells her that she must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s old book to help three struggling neighbors before she opens her restaurant. With her grandmother’s cookbook providing advice about which recipes to cook. Natalie thinks that she has this in the bag–until everything starts to fall apart, and she’s left with the decision: stay or run. I don’t frequently read adult fiction books that aren’t thrillers, but because this was not a romance, I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed it. Sprinkled with recipes and bits of fantastical elements, this story is heart-warming. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune releases June 11, 2019.

5/5 stars!! I really enjoyed this delicious and fantastic story about self-discovery and how food played an important part in Natalie's past, present and future. Natalie is surrounded by many wonderful characters, that through her cooking, their lives changed. It was through this process of helping others that Natalie was learning about her past. I admired her determination to see her neighborhood change for the better, but it was a lot of work for her after so many things happen to prevent it from happening. I enjoyed the fantasy element added to the story. The description of what was happening to them as they ate her food was pretty cool. The addition of the recipes made my mouth water! Great story and highly recommended!!

I enjoyed the characters and plot of this book but some of the details just didn't work for me and detracted from my enjoyment of the story.

3/5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of food and the magical realism woven throughout the plot. This was a lovely book, very easy and enjoyable reading, however I think overall the novel lacks some depth. The romance plot line didn't quite work for me - it felt like an afterthought and like it wasn't fully fleshed out. The dialogue and some of the interactions between the characters also felt too simplistic and forced to me. The focus on family and cultural connection through food and sense of place felt like the strongest elements of the story to me and I enjoyed them immensely.

Thank you First to Read for the opportunity to read this book. It was a delightful read for me though at some points throughout the story, I found myself feeling the flowery writing a bit much, it was also magical as well. It touched and addressed some important topics such as grief and it was an enlightening read. Also it was quite well written and enjoyable. It was like a breath a fresh air for me - I would definitely recommend it to others to read also.

I was so excited when I got a copy of Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune. I mean food, San Francisco and magical realism just scream a me book. While it started off promising I just didn't love this one the way I wanted to. I am always in for food in books, this kind of went too far. While I loved all the luscious descriptions of the food (they made me sooo hungry) there was a lot of recipes included and it was just a lot of info I didn't need or care about. Also sometimes the writing was just too much - overly descriptive or flowery. The magical realism element didn't always work for me either. It was confusing. The other thing I had issues with was the dialogue. It felt too stiff somehow. And the romance was eh. It wasn't all bad though. I loved all the rich culture the book had to offer. Also, the community and how they came together for each other was lovely. Those characters from her block were some of my favorites and really added so much to the book. While this wasn't a big winner I would pick up more from the author. I definitely saw some great spots that made me think I could like something from her.

What a charming book! Through lyrical words and touches of magical recipes and customs, we read how Natalie's finding her grandmother's book of recipes leads to a better understanding of the past and reconnecting with family, friends and her San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood. Lim has invented some delightful characters and has very good descriptions of food and surroundings. It is a very fun, quirky book that I hated to ever stop reading. Roselle Lim is an author I'll watch in the future. Thanks First to Read for the advance copy.

Thank you First to Read for giving me a copy of this book to review. This book was difficult to put down. I loved the magic of Natalie's life and putting the pieces together for a new life she wanted to build for herself and her neighbourhood after her Mother passed away. The characters were flawed but loveable. The book made me smile the entire read, it was truly a book of luck and fortune! Excellent book!

This was a cute story about a young woman who returns to her neighborhood after years away. She returns only after her reclusive mother has died. The neighborhood is falling apart and families are seriously contemplating selling their businesses and leaving. Natalie, although initially angry at her neighbors for leaving her with her shut-in mother and never helping them, is now in a position to help her neighbors by reopening her grandmother's restaurant. Along the way, she rediscovers herself, her confidence, and a feeling of belonging. This story has a lot of heart and deals with love of self, love of a neighborhood, and love of food. Plus there are some mouthwatering recipes in the book that make me wish the book came with a full meal. If you're looking for a light and fun read, this is a great book to pick up. Thanks to First to Read for the advanced copy!

This was a cute story that worked quite well as a lazy Sunday afternoon read. And while the cultural aspects certainly enhanced the story, I do think some other elements fell flat in terms of providing substance. I guess what I'm trying to say is I didn't feel a meaningful connection to the main character and storyline as much as I assume the author was aiming for. Natalie Tan left the San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood she grew up in with dreams of attending culinary school. Years later she returns after the death of her mother and is shocked to discover the neighborhood is falling apart with families leaving and businesses failing. Natalie has some animosity towards some of her mother's neighbors as she feels they provided no help in assisting her with her mother's agoraphobia. But with plans to reopen her grandmother's restaurant, she's going to need their help and she might get some assistance in ways she least expected. I do love the role cooking and food played in the story. I've been very fortunate and have had the opportunity to travel to many different countries and some of my favorite memories are tied into all the delicious food I gotten to try. And so it was cool to see how passionate the main character was about cooking and recognizing food really can feed your soul. While I did like the inclusion of recipes within the story and the notes that followed, I do think perhaps there were a few too many. I probably would have loved them though if measurements were provided rather than just ingredients and vague instructions. Regardless, the strengths of the story were for sure food and the cultural aspects. I thought the story could have used some sprucing up as not everything felt fully developed. I almost wish Daniel would not have been included as there really weren't that many interactions with him so his presence didn't feel all that necessary. In general, this was a decent read but I wish there was a bit more here so this would have been a memorable read. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

I really enjoyed this book. Full of love, culture, tradition, family, friendship and food. I loved reading about the neighborhood dynamic. I did find myself slipping a bit towards the middle, waiting for the juice of the story. But, I've already recommended it to another friend.

Along with the description of delicious foods, the relationships and friendships within the neighborhood are a treat. Goes to show we do not all exist alone and are connected by tiny threads of life. Just enough romance and love to be comforting. Enjoyed the time spent within the pages of this book and would recommend to any reader.

I am a Book Blogger at For The Southwest By The Southwest Book Corner. I chose this book because it takes place in San Francisco in China Town. In the beginning I found this book to be very interesting, but before long I started to loose interest. If I wanted a recipe book, I would've checked out one.. I found that the recipes took up way too much time in the book. The further along I went in the book, I found myself, thinking, how much longer before I get to the end. Sorry, can't really recommend it to anyone.

First and foremost, THANK YOU first to read for giving me the opportunity to read this early and write this review of this book because this book was absolutely amazing. I am so honored that I was able to read this and it has been my favorite book of 2019 so far. I have been in a bit of a slump the past month and this book has awoken my love and passion for reading once again. Roselle Lim hit the nail on the head about what it's like being a second generation child of immigrants. Growing up, I never had any stories like this, so being able to read this was an absolute treat. I don't want to give too many spoilers, but the story was just so beautifully written. I love the additions of the recipes within the books- not only were there Chinese food recipes, there were recipes from other cultures as well. I loved that was incorporated because as a Filipina-American, seeing recipes that are from my culture and have been cooked in my home is the best treat. Ms. Lim did an impeccable job of writing this story SO BEAUTIFULLY!!! She captured what Natalie was feeling and portrayed it in such a beautiful way that could be relatable and understood - something that her readers will really appreciate and can really relate to. I loved the addition of magic because what is life without a little magic? All of the characters were so beautifully created, and even though I had a few hunches and predictions about who was what - Ms. Lim still managed to surprise me with their portrayals in the story!!! Her addition of culture in the book was interwoven beautifully throughout the story, she was able to share the Chinese culture within the book, without having to explain too much or make it seem like a history lesson. Also- Daniel, SWOON. I am happy with how the story because I think it was pretty accurate to life... but also very romantic still. It gives me hope that love is out there waiting for me somewhere. I could relate to Natalie's fear of rejection and was glad that their attraction wasn't forced or really automatic, Ms. Lim gave them time to really adapt and grow to one another - which I loved! This book was a love letter to San Francisco's Chinatown, to mothers&daughters of immigrants, to family and the grieving process of losing someone, and to finding yourself. I absolutely loved it, and believe that Roselle Lim is a new generation of writer that I can't wait to read more from. Thank you again for sharing this beautiful story with us!

If you're the type of person who enjoys watching Hallmark movies, you will probably enjoy this book. A sweet, somewhat predictable story with incredibly cheesy dialog that no one actually says in real life. The story itself was sweet and original. I love magical realism, and the magical element in this was unique and interesting, which I enjoyed. The food descriptions were another fun part of this. I liked how recipes were sprinkled throughout the book! I could not connect to the characters. The dialog a lot of the time seemed unrealistic to me, as well as the "romance" portion. Many of the relationships seemed forced, but especially the love interest. The writing was super descriptive. At times it was beautiful. I always appreciate when an author can describe something in a way that I have never thought of or a new way to bring a commonplace occurrence to life. Lim did that, but a lot of the time, she over did that, so that the descriptive writing just turned out to be distracting and took me out of the story.

The type of book either meant to savor or devour. Filled with vivid descriptions that will leave you able to taste the food as you read about it, it's a beautiful story about family, friendship and love. You will laugh and cry and there isn't a page that doesn't leave you filled with emotions. Thank you First to Read for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

I thought this book was sweet, but underdeveloped. The writing about magic and food is beautiful, but a fair amount of the dialogue and emotions fell flat for me. The romance was kind of odd, because they had short conversations about three times and were then in love and deeply hurt when they "broke up," despite only going on one real date, where they barely spoke--the relationship felt very underdeveloped and kind of shoehorned in, to be honest. I'd give this a 3/5, as it was fun and sweet, but lacked some depth.

Filled with delicious descriptions, vivid characterization, and whimsical magic, Natalie Tan swept me off my feet. The experience of reading this book can be likened to eating your favorite treat: you savor each bite and smile at the taste. I cannot wait to see what Roselle Lim cooks up next.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a light read with great recipes!

This was beautifully written and wholly magical. I loved the characters and the story, and I am excited for more from Roselle Lim.

“Light and magical to read” an excellant review by another reader. Recipes are amazing. Learned about Chinese/American way of life

This was such a lovely, magical book. Almost every page had me drooling. The descriptions of food and recipes are mouthwatering. A great story about community, food, and family. My only criticism is that I wish the romance would've been more fleshed out.

Natalie Tan returns home years after a fight with her mother sent her running away from Chinatown. Her mother's death brings her back home to the neighborhood she grew up in with her agoraphobic mom and to the restaurant her Grandma ran but her mom closed. Natalie learns that what we want is not always what is best for everyone. As I stated to read this, I kept thinking what a sweet little story about coming home and learning about community. The recipes were an added bonus. However half way into my sweet story it became so much more. After mishaps and adversity, Natalie is ready the throw in the towel and do what she does best... Run. But an old friend calls her out on it and Natalie has to decide what does she want, what does community mean to her and also learn her past in order to go forward with her future. For this story to work, you need to release your beliefs in the ordinary and let yourself believe in magic. I LOVED this about it! Those who can't do that, they may not enjoy this as much as I did. There is some romance in this. A lesser author would've let it take over but here it is just one facet of the story. I truly enjoyed this book! 4.5/5 stars

This book is as delicious as a warm comfort meal. I genuinely loved each character in this story. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for something light and magical to read.

 


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