Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Vincent Yang is thankful to David, his best friend, for being a nosy matchmaker. David introduces him to Anthony Lim, and there’s an instant attraction and chemistry between them. Not only is Anthony good-looking and sexy, the man is also the successful owner of a popular bakery. Vincent agrees to a date with Anthony without any hesitation.
One date leads to another, and before he knows it, the two of them are officially together. They have so much in common, especially when they find out about both their respective families being less than pleased about their sexual orientation. Their relationships with their families take a turn for the worse a few days before Lunar New Year. Now, both of them have no families to celebrate the holiday with. It’s both heart-breaking and stressful.
Can Vincent and Anthony’s relationship survive the holiday season?
I really was hoping for good things from this book. One, it had a new author, then a storyline full of elements that called out to me. Ah, well, it was not to be. Lunar New Love by Casper Graham showed such promise as a synopsis yet just didn’t deliver as a contemporary romance.
There are things I enjoyed. Insight into Chinese family dynamics, which I have made journeys through via other authors. Here they felt just as authentic and painful in the cold rejection that Vincent and Anthony have felt as they came out to their traditional Chinese families. Also wonderful? All the Chinese customs and traditions followed for the Lunar New Year, and the history behind them. Even if they often felt as though we were being given a history lesson, it was no less interesting because of that factor.
It did, however, make the dialog seem ever more painful, stilted, and unreal between Vincent and Anthony or Tony. The latter who’s name swapped back and forth while alternating with “baby” and “stud”. I could never figure out who was calling who what names. That dialog really sunk this story for me. Especially as dialog figures largely when not having descriptively visual sex (“Vincent was on him like a beast”). These men were 28 and 32 in age yet they spoke as if they were teenagers or almost tweens. That was the level of immaturity in their wording and sentences. Except of course when Anthony was explaining something about the Lunar New Year customs to Vincent then he came off like a professor. That was totally out of character , a real disconnect for someone who more often sounded like a highschooler. Then he made a switch to appearing as he was teaching a class on ancient Chinese religions. A really startling change in dialog for that character. It would have been more in line with his age had he spoke like that all along with no, just when certain Chinese cultural elements needs to be trotted out for the readers enlightenment (and Vincent’s).
There is also a case of instant, and I do mean instant love by the first date and moved into the apartment by week three. Even by instant love standards, this is quick!
Unfortunately, for me there is so much that just missed the mark here, from the dialog to the romance to the characterizations. Which is a shame because framed around Chinese families and the Lunar New Year the promise it held out was so tempting and lovely.
Cover art full of red with the handsome Chinese models and characters works.
Published February 5th 2019 by JMS Books LLC