A Happy Catastrophe by Maddie Dawson

Have you ever been disappointed to see a sequel for a book you loved? I wasn’t expecting a follow-up to Matchmaking for Beginners and, more than that, I didn’t really want one. Matchmaking for Beginners was close to perfect in my eyes and I didn’t want the author to mess with that. I just wanted to settle down and grow old with the memory of the magic that had originally captivated me. Anything more felt silly.

So I was not happy to see A Happy Catastrophe in my recommended section. I felt oddly betrayed by it. Why was she going to mess with this perfect world she had created for me? I didn’t want the love story of Patrick and Marnie to get bogged down with the mundane events of normal life. Why would I? When you can have the memory of magic, why would you want a mundane life?

Because of that feeling, I had low expectations. Really, really, really low expectations. I didn’t want this book. I didn’t want to like it. I didn’t even really want to read it. I started it out stubborn and determined not to like it.

But then the magic came back and I just couldn’t help myself. I fell in love again. Maddie Dawson has a gift to bring love into even the most normal of scenes. Her characters are charming and they have a way of weaseling right into your heart. Even when you don’t want to like them, you absolutely love them.

Plus, even the beginning of this book was absolutely enchanting. The love magic never ends! When Marnie introduced Graham and Winnie to each other, I knew I was a goner. And I even loved the fact that everyone thought Marnie could “magic” a baby into existence.

More than that, though, I loved Marnie’s personal development since the first book. She comes across as way more self possessed and exponentially happier. Character growth always appeals to me and there’s something magical to be found in self improvement, too.

Of course, I was a little bit confused by her personality becoming more free-form so to speak. She had a more hippie-like nature if that makes sense that I didn’t remember existing in the first place. Maybe the magic of matchmaking got to her. I just don’t remember her being as vibrant or as trusting in the universe. She seems to have absorbed more than a good of Blix’s personality. Not that that’s a bad thing. I love her all the more for it.

I did find myself loving Patrick a good bit less for the majority of this one though. He puts so many limits on himself. Comparing him to Marnie became a bit of a habit for me this book. Marnie was so amazing that it made him feel kind of bleh. Until, of course, he didn’t anymore.

And I’ve got to say I really loved this book in general. I recommend reading the first book and then this one, of course, but both are worth a read. The book ended perfectly (maybe a little predictably), and even though I didn’t want it at first… A Happy Catastrophe was everything I could have wanted if I had just been smart enough to know I wanted it! An absolutely lovely book.

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians #2)

Is it read-worth? China Rich Girlfriend was even better than Crazy Rich Asians. It was fun, exciting, and a super easy read! I really enjoyed watching Kevin Kwan progress as an author and I really enjoyed this book overall. So much fun!

China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy Book 2) by [Kevin Kwan]
Picture sourced on Amazon.com

Summary (Spoiler-Free)

On the day of Rachel Chu’s wedding, a shocking revelation on the behalf of Eleanor Young reunites her with her father and transports her into a whole new world. There, she meets Carlton – a young man with a troubled past behind the wheel, Colette – Carlton’s celebrity girlfriend, and her father. 

At the same time that’s happening, Astrid Leong finds that her husband’s newly found financial success comes with a lot of downfalls. He’s a completely different man!

China Rich Girlfriend comes with so many plot turns and twists and is SUCH a fun read, even compared to the first book!

HE GETS BETTER! (Spoiler-Free)

My main selling point with this book is that Kevin Kwan’s writing style has hit its stride- finally. The first book, where I struggled to find myself emphasizing with the characters, was NOTHING like the second book.

I could relate to the characters!

And, beyond that, I loved the plot twists that made this book deviate so much from the first one. As with the first, my favorite part of this book was Astrid and Michael’s relationship. I just find Astrid so completely interesting.

But, unlike the first book, I wasn’t skipping pages to get back to them. 
I really thought this was a rather good book. It was hilarious, fun to read, and I could finally, finally, finally relate to the characters the way I wanted to!

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson

Is it read-worth? “Whatever happens, love that.” And I loved this book. I absolutely loved it. The magic, the romance, the warm fuzzy feeling in your chest. I’ve never read a book where I read it smiling, put it down smiling, and spend the rest of the night smiling. Truly magical, enchanting, lovely. I am in love with this book.

Summary (Spoiler Free)

Marnie MacGraw wants a normal life more than anything else. She wants the husband, the kids, the white picket fence, and the house in the subpoards. And, when she’s planning the wedding with her fiance, Noah, she knows she’s going to get it.

That is until she meets Noah’s dying matchmaker great-aunt, Blix, who tells her that everything is about to change. 

Noah almost leaves her at the altar and they breakup officially during their honeymoon! 

Left in a state of shock, Marnie’s life feels like it’s falling apart and just when she starts to pick up the pieces another big shock happens. Great Aunt Blix passed away and Marnie’s inherited the house and all of Blix’s unfinished “projects.” Of course, those projects are people who need help finding love too.

And, luckily for them, Marnie’s the right person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps and it’s time for everyone in the neighborhood to learn how to love love

Whatever Happens, Love This Book

I’ll be honest with you – I don’t usually rant and rave about romance novels. I don’t reach for feel-good books. But this book? It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

It was funny in the right spots, heart-warming in the right spots, and even included just the right amount of heartbreak to make it 100% believable. 

The quirky, complex characters were completely to die for. No one was perfect, not everyone was likable, and every single character was overwhelmingly realistic. Maddie Dawson knocked it out of the park with character development! 

And this book ended up feeling like a hug. It was so warm and it made me believe in the power of love. Heck, I’d even say it made me believe in magic. 

And it kind of made me want to move to Brooklyn!

One Day in December by Josie Silver

Is it read-worth? Yes. I got to see romance grow up, getting to know Laurie, Jack, and Sarah and their twisted love triangle over a decade. I really enjoyed seeing the way love changes as you age. I loved it.

Back of Book Summary

“Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.”

10 Years of Love

I’m just going to say this: I wish a book like this had fallen into my hands when I was 16. The way One Day in December displays love is so, so realistic and, at the same time, doesn’t lose that magic associated with young love (even as it ages over a ten year time period.) I feel like this is a great book – no matter your age – to show how relationships develop and how, sometimes, you miss out on things that could have been great because it doesn’t happen in the right way or at the right time… But, in the end, something good always works out. Truly a magical book with super relatable characters, an interesting storyline, and a beautiful take on what real love is.