Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q Sutanto

Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q Sutanto

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Bruh. This is somehow even worse.

After killing a guy and covering it up at the last wedding they worked, Meddy is now marrying her own man, Nathan, in London – and the aunties are up to their usual antics. Having hired a Chinese-Indonesian family of wedding vendors they are somehow related to, the Chans now face down the fact that they have hired the mafia, and they’re looking to kill someone at Meddy’s wedding. Trying to salvage the day, they identify the target and dedicate themselves to protecting her. And, you know…craziness ensues.

I just hate that these books have so much genuine potential and it is WASTED by how cringey the writing style is – I really thought in my last review that the problem must be the narrator, but I think it was a combination of her and the writer herself. There are just *unnecessarily placed sentences* here and there that just reiterate previously made points that were cringey the first time, and continue to be cringey a second time around. Not to repeat myself, but if this was written with more of Finlay Donovan‘s humorous situational irony, with regard and self-awareness for how ridiculous it is, I think it would be much better. Instead, Sutanto leans into it, and makes the book borderline uncomfortable.

The plot in this one was also lacking substantially in comparison to the first one. I thought the storyline in book one was far more well-developed; this book felt much like running in circles and repeating the same “issues” over and over (like we’re worried about Nathan, we’re worried about the uncles, we’re worried about Nathan, just over and over again in circles like that the whole book with no real plot developments). I think it lacked originality and dragged on too long.

I like Meddy, but she made some poor decisions in this book. Like, worse than accidentally killing a guy, I guess – since that is the standard here. Her relationship with Nathan is unbelievable because it’s built on far too many lies. She treats him like garbage this whole book, and yet he’s kind and polite and patient with her. No one is that patient! Wild.

The aunties remain funny and witty and enjoyable – even if you are crying a little every time they use a British accent or insist on komodo dragon fascinators. They just make the book a bit more warm and a bit less forced. I think this is what Sutanto draws from real life; the aunties of this book are based off her own family and you can feel a better sense of authenticity from them than from the rest of the characters. I know this isn’t supposed to be a wildly realistic story; they’re meant to be humorous and a bit ridiculous and I get that. But when you’ve read humor that still jibes and makes sense without being over the top, it’s hard not to compare the two. This one just falls short in that department.

I don’t think I feel the need to continue this series at this rate. I wish I was enjoying it more, but it’s not a good fit for me I guess. Have a fabulous weekend!

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This one was kind of a letdown from my expectations and at least half of that was the narrator’s fault. I made the mistake of *listening* to Dial A for Aunties instead of just reading it, and the narrator’s bubbly, over-hyped voice made things that could’ve been humorous, even if a little weird, sound just plain cringey.

Meddy works for the family wedding business as their photographer, with her three aunties and mom. The family is apparently cursed to be left by every man in their lives, so it’s just the five of them remaining in California and working many of the Chinese-Indonesian weddings in the area. Leading up to a huge and fancy wedding they’re working, Meddy is convinced by her mother to go on a blind date, and *accidentally* kills the guy. Literally. And she looks pretty guilty, so instead of going to the police, the aunties help her cover it up…

But dragging a body around a luxury wedding in a hotel owned by your ex is kind of a lot.

I know you all know I’m going to say this, but I picked this book up because I was told it’s like Only Murders in the Building and it’s not. Story of my life. I never watch television, leave it to me to find the one show I adore and yet cannot replicate the vibe of in my reading habits. I’ve liked most of the picks I got from that list, but they are really not the same. Dial A for Aunties was pretty cute and pretty hilarious, but yea, not Only Murders. Nothing ever will be, lol.

I do have to give credit where credit is due, I loved the antics and the hilarity of this book. Like Finlay Donovan, you need to maintain that suspended disbelief, but if you can, it’s a laugh out loud riot. The aunties were hysterical. The situational irony, totally on point. And Meddy was both real and likeable, so that said, I really enjoyed this book.

I absolutely should have been reading my paperback, and not listening to the audiobook. The narrator made this book sound really childish and immature, which I guess it was, but she just made it so much worse. Read in the correct tone, I think this could’ve landed closer to a Finlay Donovan, but I don’t even know what I would call this. Romance plays a larger role in this story, and it’s not exactly a mystery who killed the guy…so it’s more of a comedy with a romantic element. Suffice to say this is not a genre I would typically pick up.

I think I will definitely be reading the sequel, Four Aunties and a Wedding, and hopefully I will settle into that story a bit better. I’ll keep you posted. 😉

Have a fabulous weekend.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Hey all! I’m going to preface this review by saying…this book is wicked sad. I cried several times. It was reminiscent of reading In Five Years, but I was very taken with Lydia’s story and the beautiful cast of characters that make up her life.

Lydia Bird’s fiancé has died in a car crash. In the months after Freddie’s death, Lydia is struggling hard to move on with her life in her emotional turmoil. And then, miraculously, some sleeping pills she never intended to take connect her to a world where Freddie is still alive, and their world keeps spinning. She falls quickly down a spiral of sleeping just for the chance to see her love, and live her life as it should have been.

But as she falls deeper and deeper into this fantasy, the real world is slipping away from her. It can’t compare to the hours she spends in another universe, even when it shows that this world, too, has its faults. As Lydia is forced to confront her grief with this added curveball, it becomes clear she cannot exist in two lives, as two Lydia’s.

The plot of this novel is absolutely artful. It’s truly a masterpiece. I want to follow Josie Silver around and just clap for her for like a straight 24 hours. I’m in awe of her ability to not only portray grief and loss, but for her ability to navigate the question “what would I do with one more chance?” with creativity and heart. It. Is. Beautiful.

Another thing I’m absolutely loving about Lydia Bird is the messiness of it. The plot can feel a bit scattered at times, but when you step back and process those pages, it becomes obvious that Silver has simply crafted real-life. Which is messy, and sad, and you don’t always make the right decisions – but you eventually get where you need to be. The cast of characters Silver has created, from Lydia’s mother and sister, to her lifelong friend Jonah who was Freddie’s best friend, and with him at the time of his death, to her coworkers, and Kris and Vita, who provide friendship exactly when Lydia needs it. Looking back, I’m shocked by just how many characters actually do play a pivotal role in this story…which only reinforces the idea that grief, loss, and life are messy, and it takes a village to get through it.

Lydia is lucky. The people around her are here for her, 100%, and they lighten the load of the real-world as she slowly adjusts from these shell-shocking events. The familial love laced in every page makes this book warm to the heart, despite the cold and sad loneliness that haunts it. I cannot stress enough that this is a work of art! Amazing.

I’m warning you now, this book is dense. It took me days to get through primarily because of its emotional weight. Take time to process, and take time to take care of yourself. Lydia’s feelings feel so real, which is a positive thing, but feels heavy for the reader.

I am just absolutely enthralled by Lydia Bird. I highly recommend! Special thanks to Willow for letting me borrow her copy ❤ ! The Two Lives of Lydia Bird was released on March 3, 2020 and is available now. Enjoy! 🙂