Cover Image: Donut Fall in Love

Donut Fall in Love

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Member Reviews

Jackie Lau is a go-to author for me, and I was excited to get a sneak peek at her traditional publishing review. Donut Fall in Love is textbook Jackie Lau - full of food descriptions, strong family relationships, and steamy love scenes. 

Although the cover suggests this will be just another rom-com, the story also deals with deeper themes of grief and, in a secondary character, post-partum depression. There are plenty of light moments throughout, and loads of descriptions of delicious food. 

As in many of her books, the older generation really shines here. Both the MMC's father and the FMC's mother stole the show for me. It may be a reader-side problem but I was sometimes less interested in the MCs than what was going on around them. I also find that Lau's style of writing sometimes comes across slightly stilted to me (and I was noticing that in this ARC), though her emotional impact and funny situations far outweigh that for me. 

It's full of heart. And donuts. Yum. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me an e-copy of DONUT FALL IN LOVE to review. Ahhhh, this book will make you want to work in a bakery and have a movie-star boyfriend. If nothing else, you will crave a donut. The dessert descriptions were scrumptious!

This book deals with different levels of grief for the two characters Lindsay and Ryan. Both have lost parents, but while Lindsay's father died years ago, Ryan's mother died only four months ago. Their grief are the things holding them back from romantic relationships.

The two meet in Lindsay's bakery and sparks were immediate. While I loved their story, I think there was not enough conflict until the end. 

I enjoyed seeing the characters change for the better - through each other. Their faults were things they acknowledged and worked to improve so they could be better girlfriend/boyfriend/friend/daughter/son/sibling. The family dynamic was huge in the plot.

I give DONUT FALL IN LOVE four out of five stars.
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First off, this was super sweet-you know, being based in a a bakery ;) And the fact that it’s in Toronto, my hometown, made it even better for me! As the title implies, the characters shouldn’t make sense together being as different as they are, but that’s where the fun comes in. 
Lindsay is running a fun bakery with her best friend and struggling to deal with the loss of her father a few years ago. Ryan is a working actor with abs of steel and a huge social media following. When he’s asked to appear on a celebrity bake off show, he asks Lyndsey to teach him how to bake so he doesn’t embarrass himself on tv. In spending so much time together, they find they have more in common than they first thought and their attraction each other is off the charts. Can they make it work even though their lives are very different? 
There’s a couple of triggers-loss of parents, postpartum depression but they’re dealt with in a very compassionate way. And the steam factor is pretty high so buckle up! 
Thanks to Berkley Publishers and Netgalley for this Arc in exchange for my review.
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This was a cute story of a baker and a movie star who meet over a pile of destroyed donuts.  He needs help prepping for a Nailed It style baking show and she takes him on for baking lessons.  Meet cutes, fun friendships, family struggles and threads of walking through grief add depth and heart to this story.  While it moved a little slower than I prefer, I thought it was the perfect read for a  night at home and a fun treat for my brain.
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There's a lot to enjoy about this book. I liked the meet-cute, the Canada setting, the baking, and the dad's Twitter posts (you'll see what I mean), All very fun. I also liked the more serious elements of Asian rep, grief, and a glimpse into a secondary character's postpartum depression. All in all, a very enjoyable, quick -- and sometimes rather steamy -- rom com.
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Ryan Kwok is an actor, fresh off filming a movie that’s bringing in mediocre reviews. Afraid of being known as that Asian actor with abs that won’t quit, he decides a career rehab is in order. That’s when he agrees to be a celebrity participant on a reality baking show. 

The show, entitled Baking Fail, doesn’t require you to know how to bake. In fact, given it’s title, it’s quite the opposite. But Ryan, the ever dedicated professional, still wants to prove his worth. So when he runs into baker Lindsay McLeod- literally- he starts to cook up a plan. The only problem? His idea is half baked as Lindsay isn’t too fond of the cocky movie star who is used to getting his way. But as Lindsay gets to know Ryan better she starts to see him differently. Can these two whip up a batch of sweet success or will attraction ruin their recipe?

Donut Fall In Love is the latest in a long line of books marketed as one thing, but are something else almost entirely. Everything from its cutesy cover, meet cute premise, and punny title promises sweet romance. There is romance, don’t get me wrong, but this is one test kitchen whose heat gets turned up a lot more than the reader might bargain for. The story also touches upon serious topics like Asian American representation and the loss of a parent. However, if the story itself was a donut, I’d consider this portion to be the frosting or the glaze rather than the dough.

In other words, Donut Fall In Love is an enjoyable enough one off, but I wouldn’t necessarily come back for seconds.
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A huge thank you to Penguin Random House, Berkley Pub & NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

4.5⭐️ 4🌶 

Despite the title, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this book and its amazing characters!

It was no surprise that I loved this as I’m obsessed with the recent abundance of romcoms mixed in with baking-related things! 

I enjoyed the whole premise of their meet cute with actor, Ryan Kwok, literally bumping into Lindsay of Kensington Bake Shop causing her donuts to fly everywhere. Then later on when Ryan signs up to appear on the celebrity episode of Baking Fails (their version of Nailed It!), he asks Lindsay to give him baking lessons and their love story starts there!

I absolutely loved the main characters in this! With Ryan being this up and coming, hotshot actor and Lindsay, a baker and owner of Kensington Bakery, exploring the differences in their lifestyles was so interesting to me! I’m always a fan of actor characters and learning more about the ups and downs of their life of casting calls and fame. I also really love bakers and seeing their creativity go wild with their mouthwatering baked goods. I enjoyed seeing them bond over things they had in common and being able to relate to their being fellow Asians!

Their friends to lovers, celebrity/non-celebrity romance was perfectly swoony! Their chemistry and banter all througout their relationship from being friends to student/teacher to lovers was so EVERYTHING! I was entertained in their every moment together may it be in the kitchen, their bubble tea dates or in bed. The sexual tension was palpable which led to the most unexpectedly steamy smut! (I went into thinking it would be sweet and swoony but the spice factor was WOW.)

Also, I wasn’t expecting to love the family dynamics and friendships in this so much! Both characters had such interesting relationships that it was hard not to be as invested with the side characters. Firstly, I LOVE Ryan’s Dad! He was one of those characters that wasn’t even trying to be funny but had me cackling so much! Their father/son relationship was a huge part of Ryan’s journey and I just loved it til the end. Ryan with his sister and her new baby was so wholesome and his friendship with Melvin Lee was so comical. As for Lindsay, I liked exploring her relationship with her mother and her friendship with Noree and especially her new roommate, Vivian. (I can feel a possible next book between Vivian and Melvin Lee though 🤞🏼)

Alongside the sweetness of the love story in this book, I appreciated how it dealt with such serious topics with ease that it was both informative and relatable. Some of those topics include racism and discrimination especially in the entertainment industry, internalized racism among asian families and dealing with the overall issue of being not enough or too asian. This also explored the struggles of celebrity life or dating a celebrity and having to deal with the changes that comes with it. Lastly, grief and dealing with the loss of a parent was also a prominent subject present in both the main character’s stories.

I was pleasantly entertained by the role of Twitter in this story starting with the whole hashtag with Ryan’s abs and his dad’s growing popularity on the app.

Overall, this book was can only be described as “sweet, spice and everything nice”! It had everything I could want in a romcom from the mouthwatering baked goods, swoon-worthy and laugh out loud moments to the heartwarmingly relatable character stories! I loved this so much and I’ll definitely be on the look out for more from Jackie Lau!
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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.

Donut Fall in Love is the trad pub debut for Jackie Lau, and I find myself feeling very mixed upon finishing it. On the one hand, some of the signature elements of her writing continue to shine through here. As the title and blurb imply, this is a very food oriented romance, and that’s one of Lau’s strong suits. From the scrumptious donuts and bubble tea the couple bond over to dim sum and more, it’s hard to not be hungry when picking up a Jackie Lau book. 

I really liked Ryan as a hero, and felt he really shined here. I loved the depiction of his grief for the loss of his mother, and the weird way his father has distanced himself, preferring odd Twitter communications over speaking in-person. And the online  trolling in the wake of his new film, and later, his relationship with Lindsay felt so realistic, I was prepared to smack some of these fictional people across the face. Lau definitely did her research into the invasive ways consumers of media pick apart the lives of their favorite celebrities online. 

On a similar note, I liked the depiction of how it impacted Lindsay too. It was great to see the conflict from both of their perspectives, as while some of these “well meaning” commenters may be doing so due to idolizing the cis male celebrity, they often would be crueler to any partner of his, particularly if it’s a cis woman. 

But I also feel like I wasn’t given enough about Lindsay to really be invested in her. On some level, I love the wish-fulfillment fantasy of an everygirl getting to date the superstar, but I felt like there was nothing to distinguish her and verify that her insecurities were invalid. What does he see in her? How is she truly different from other women he meets, both famous and not? I also couldn’t help but feel the conflict was dragged out for the sake of page/word count, without really elaborating on it, resulting in my investment in their relationship suffering. 

This is a fun, enjoyable read for the most part, which also touches on some tough topics. While it did fall apart a bit in the execution for me, I still mostly enjoyed it, because of Jackie Lau’s distinctive blend of food, culture, and heart. Whether you’re a new Jackie Lau reader who loves multicultural romance, or a longtime reader excited for her new career milestone, I think you’ll enjoy this one.
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A solid romantic comedy about a baker and an actor, brought together by donuts. Ryan is an up-and-coming actor trying to deal with the loss of his mother and be there for his father and sister. Lindsay is co-owner of a bakery trying to get back in the dating scene and get her personal life out of a rut. Sparks fly when they meet and things get even hotter when Ryan gets her to give him baking lessons before he goes on a baking competition. 

There was a lot of emotion going on in this one and not all of it romance- Ryan in particular was dealing with grief from losing his mother, frustration at trying to connect with his father (who seems to be disappointed with all Ryan's life choices), his sister has a newborn and is completely overwhelmed, his new movie is not making a good impression at the box office, there's the never ending mental and emotional assault of social media to deal with . . . he's certainly not in the right headspace to start a relationship with someone. But Lindsay might be just the right person for him if he is willing to take a chance. And if she is willing to learn how to handle all the social media attention that comes with being Ryan Kwok's girlfriend.

Well written, full of heart, "Donut Fall in Love" is a great blend of romance and comedy, family and friends and all the things that make us who we are- both the good and the bad. The positive and negative worlds we create for ourselves in social media, racism and how individuals try to defeat stereotypes one step at a time, and how sometimes we need to be brave and re-think what we know when communicating with our own families to see things in a whole new light.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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This was such a sweet, fun, light book, even with the themes of parental loss & grief both Ryan & Lindsay share. I particularly loved the side storylines of Ryan’s relationship with his dad and his sister’s struggle with postpartum. This book will also make you VERY hungry.
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What a delicious (ha!) romance!

This story was better than a box of fresh apple fritters!  Jackie Lau is known for utilizing food in every romance (the way to a guy's heart, amirite?) and she hits it clear out of the park on this one!  

I was immediately drawn in to the story by the relatable characters and adorably messy meet-cute, and the story just flowed all the way through the flirty baking lessons and angsty family relationships.

Ryan is an up-and-coming movie star who is sweet and down-to-earth.  Still grieving his recently-deceased mom, he's struggling to connect with his dad while navigating the ups and downs of celebrity social media.  

Lindsay is instantly relatable, a little in awe of Ryan's public persona but she soon realizes he's not so different after all.  I loved her dedication to her craft and how she shared her enthusiasm with Ryan.  I'm pretty sure I gained five pounds just reading about all the fabulous baked goods they produced.  I really enjoyed the side storyline of her relationship with her roommate, Vivian.  

This author always delivers a strong emotional impact, and this book is no exception.  Both Ryan and Lindsay are dealing with insecurities and family drama.  I adored the careful way they discussed their feelings, and I especially loved their conversation after their first intimate time together.  

This is a heartwarming story with plenty of steam and even more heart.  There was a heartbreaking but necessary transition period on their way to their HEA, making their eventual happiness all the sweeter for it.  Ms. Lau is not afraid to show her characters' vulnerabilities, making their romance a truly unforgettable journey.  I sighed, I nearly cried, and I rejoiced at the end.  It's everything a great romance should be.  I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
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3.5 rounded up. This had a lot of great components: a sweet meet cute, steamy scenes and a great plot - actor needs baking lessons before entering a celebrity baking contest, but something was slightly lacking for me. I don’t know if it was just the banter or lack of chemistry but I just wasn’t too invested in the relationship. I liked how it dealt with PPD, grief, loss of parents, familial relationships and racism so maybe it was more of a contemporary fiction read than a romance. I definitely want to go get a donut or bake a cake now 🤣

Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley for an advanced copy. Opinions are my own.
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Thank you to Net Galley, Jove and Jackie Lau for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.  

I will write anything Jackie Lau writes.  They are lovely, sweet but also steamy romances that feel like a nice hug.  They are pure comfort.  I have been a hard core fan since her Kwan sister series and everything she writes is so great.  I was so excited for Donut Fall in Love; a regular person falls in love with a celebrity?  Also diverse characters? Sign me up immediately.  But be warned: one thing that Jackie Lau excels at is writing food; you will be starving anytime you pick up one of her books and Donut Fall in Love does not disappoint.  Upon finishing I ran out and bought myself some donuts. 

The story of Lindsay and Ryan was beautiful.  I really liked the exploration of grief; how it lingers and comes up at odd and unexpected times.  I liked Ryan's progression through his grief and the ways that Lindsay and he bonded over shared experience.  They felt real and natural as characters and their arc was nicely done.  

This was a steamy yet sweet book with low angst and richly drawn characters.  I can't wait see what comes next from Jackie Lau.   Do yourself a favour and go buy this book or borrow it from your library!
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I ate up DONUT FALL IN LOVE (pun intended)! Jackie Lau delivers a super sexy rom-com filled with humor and heart that is more addictive than a dozen jelly donuts.

In honor of his mother, famous actor Ryan Kwok accepts an invitation to appear on an amateur baking show (think Nailed It!). He hires local Toronto baker Lindsay McLeod to give him baking lessons so that he doesn't appear a total fool. The mutually attracted couple bond over grief over lost parents and the racism faced by Asian-Canadians.
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Despite some fatigue with the reality baking show romance, Donut Fall in Love is a book I SHOULD have loved.  From the reality baking show element of the premise to the Asian Canadian rep to Ryan's dad's unintentionally funny tweets about his actor son. All things I'd put in the PRO column. 

But there's a huge CON that undermined my read of the book: 

I just did not buy that Lindsay and Ryan had chemistry/were attracted to each other at all, let alone that they should be in a relationship.

It's like when someone *says* all the right things, but you still don't believe them.  Add to that the baking training occurs over 8 weeks (it's tooooooo looooong, let's just get to the Baking Fail taping already), and I had to start skimming.

It just wasn't for me. 

CW: Emotionally distant father, death of a parent for both MCs, (at 22 for Lindsay, just 4 mos before the start of the book for Ryan)
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Such a wonderful, soft, and well written book! Full of chemistry and heart. But be careful, it will make you crave a donut!
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Two Donut Books in 1 month!!  😱😍 The desserts and the sexual tension 😋 😚👌🏼 (chefs kiss) the comedy though! That’s what takes the (cup) cake in this book! Ryan’s character is so adorable! I love his effort in his relationships he tries with everyone and is pretty down to earth with him being an actor. Lindsey character is pretty relatable. I really enjoyed this book.
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This was a sweet (pun intended) romance. It was light and fun. It hit on the topic of grief as an adult and how losing a parent can throw things off balance.

I enjoyed seeing Ryan and Lindsay’s relationship develop. This one was a bit of a slow burn with the romance not coming into play for 40% of the story. But then it was pretty steamy.

It was an easy read and there were some elements that felt unnecessary (unless there will be another book focused on Vivian). But overall an enjoyable one.

Now give me a donut, or cupcake, or slice of cake!

(3.75ish)
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Ryan Kwok, semi-famous Hollywood actor known for his abs, stumbles upon a local Toronto bake shop—literally. He knocks over boxes of craft donuts. Shop owner Lindsay has no idea who Ryan is until her roommate enlightens her. When Ryan takes on a role on a celebrity baking show, he figures Lindsay would be an asset in teaching him how to bake. But… he’s also attracted to her other assets.

Lau did a swell job of incorporating the serious topics of grief, Asian stereotypes and racism, blending in humor, steam, and delicious pastry descriptions. I became fully invested after the first half, as I got to know the characters, Ryan’s dad especially. It was overall a delight!
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I love the Asian representation in this book. There needs to be more in Romance Fiction. Also loved the Canadian location. I was happy to read something placed in a locale I don't see much in Romance. However, the book itself fell flat for me. There just wasn't any tension in this book. The characters felt wooden and I didn't buy that there was any chemistry between them. The last 10% of the book is literally when some sort of conflict appears. It's very quickly wrapped up in such a pat way that it's not satisfying.
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