Cover Image: Circling Back to You

Circling Back to You

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Member Reviews

This book was missing something for me. The writing was a bit choppy, it made things harder to follow. Then the plot just was not really ideal, it was jumping around a bit and then the ending just wasn’t all that satisfying to me. 

I did love seeing the representation, it was great to see different cultures discussed openly and seeing different traditions on paper as well. The banter was also wonderful and I did enjoy their friendship. 

Overall, this book was not my favorite but it was not that bad all in all. 

Thank you Netgalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for the opportunity to review!! All thoughts are my own! 

Review will be posted on goodreads soon.
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I was so suprised to find out that this is Julie Tieu's debut book. Her writing is engaging and interesting and the world she's built is so accurate. For anyone living in that corporate world, no matter your field, you'll relate to the ins and outs of Cadence and Matt's struggles trying to balance their careers and moving up in your field with finding who you are and a partner and spending time with your family. 

Cadence Lim has transformed from behind-the-scenes number cruncher to an integral part of the sales team at Prism Realty. But despite moving up the corporate ladder, her complicated relationship with her estranged elderly father weighs heavily and she can’t seem to shake the desire for a new beginning.

At least Cadence can always lean on her favorite co-worker and co-conspirator, Matt Escanilla. A top broker with an unsuccessful love life, the forever single Matt is constantly being nagged by his loving Filipino family to settle down.

Their relationship takes a turn when a business trip lands them both in their hometown and Matt enlists Cadence as a pretend girlfriend for a family gathering. The new after-hours setting forces the two friends to see each other in a new light, and their previously buried feelings rise quickly to the surface. When competing promotions threaten to separate Cadence and Matt, these office besties must work together to round up their ambitions and families to pursue their overdue romance.
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This is honestly a new favorite! It was so sweet and clipped along at a great pace, and the romantic moments were really sweet. I wouldn't classify this as fake dating necessarily- I think that their dynamic was really refreshing, I love that they were "work spouses" before the book began and they were already in a flirty space, and so the way it progressed felt kind of new and fun as a reader. I was a little worried about the 11th hour conflict (Matt tells a lil fib and I was unhappy with him for it) but it ended up working out in a way that felt satisfying. If you love work place romances, this is not one to skip!!
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Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for this e-ARC! I ended up really enjoying this workplace rom-com.

I got a feel for Matt, the MMC, immediately, and I loved him right off the bat. It took a while for me to get an identity/personality in my head for Cadence, the FMC, and it also took me that long to start liking her as a character. She was (I hate to say it) the stereotypical closed off Asian female—hard to read and harder to crack. Cadence eventually grew on me, and I was rooting HARD for her and Matt professionally and personally. 

The AAPI representation was SO GOOD. I loved reading about the area I grew up in, the references to Import Tuner magazine, the Chinese Aunties, 626 Night Market, and “those Asian guys with the popular YouTube channel” (my brother’s friends were actually friends with them). Never have I felt so connected to a book before! I grew up off San Gabriel Blvd. and this book felt like home.
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Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu was super cute workplace romance that will be coming out on July 12th! With two Asian main characters, this book has wonderful representation which was really refreshing. The characters were so lovable, and though there are still some edits that need to be made for the final draft, this ARC copy was a pleasure to read. Plot wise, this may not have been one of my favorite reads lately but ultimately if you want a cute romance that tackles issues of love and loss, I recommend giving this book a read when it comes out this summer!
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This book had a lot of potential and I was really hoping this would hit the mark, especially with the Asian representation. However, things moved way too fast, the plot got boring for me, and there were many things that felt like filler. It started off VERY strong but the momentum and desire to continue reading just kept slowly fading away. I made it to about 50% before I started to feel the wants of DNF'ing but I pushed through.

The ending was very sweet and honestly the type of ending we don't get very often and something I always crave. So props to that. Overall, this was still a good read
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To me, this was essentially the Hating Game except instead of enemies to lovers, it was friends to lovers. However, I must be honest by saying, I liked the Hating Game more than this. I will say that the book was fast paced and had a lot of diversity to it. It was refreshing to see representation in this book that is not present in others. 

With that being said, I did not hate this book. But it was not my favorite work space romance I have ever read. I think it could have benefited by having more of an introduction of the characters with more background closer to the beginning. 

All of that being said, I will always be a sucker for a cute, fake dating troupe. Would I recommend this to a friend? Unsure. Would I read books by Julie Tieu again? Absolutely.

Special thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this ahead of time in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for an arc of this book! This was really cute but I didn’t like Matt for a good portion of this book, towards the end I loved him but he wasn’t my favorite. I loved Cadence though!
TW: death of a parent
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I was so hopeful for this romance with AAPI  characters, but was left pretty disappointed. I had a difficult time connecting to the characters, and felt lost trying to figure out the nature of their relationship. The storyline wasn’t particularly compelling, and I think the hardest part for me was that there was very little humor to make me want to keep me reading - it was a struggle to finish.
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I seem to be on a weird reading slump because I read a lot, but I don’t love anything. This book felt a bit flat, and past the 50% mark, I had lost my attention.
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I was very excited to get an e-arc of this workplace enemies to lovers vibe book, but unfortunately it fell a little flat for me.

The story follows Cadence and Matt who work together at a brokerage firm. Cadence is an analyst who keeps to herself and is work driven. Matt is a handsome, charismatic broker who has a long dating history. Cadence has a crush on Matt, but keeps him at arm’s length. Matt wants to be friends, but is often confused by Cadence’s off putting attitude. When the two are sent to LA for a work trip and forced to spend a lot of time together, even sharing a suite, Cadence is no longer able to stay away from Matt as their personal and professional lives collide.

There were parts of the story that I really enjoyed. I like the diversity of the characters and getting to see both their families and the traditions unique to their respective cultures. That really added to the complexity of the story and the family dynamics at play. When Matt and Cadence are together, they have some really sweet moments and I even enjoyed the ending, but it seemed like a confusing road to get there.

My first issue is that I get Cadence has a crush on Matt yet thinks he is a playboy, but she says they are friends while she treats him like she can’t stand him. I was confused by how mean she often is to him when he treats her well and there doesn’t seem to be a justifiable reason for her attitude aside from liking him and not wanting to? I found their whole dynamic hard from our first introduction to them through until they actually get together.

I also felt like things jumped around a lot and I wasn’t sure why certain scenes were included as they didn’t really add to the story. Parts of the story felt abrupt. Even the beginning we are kind of just dropped right into it and have to work out all the characters as the story unfolds.

To sum it up, this was a miss for me. Cute premise and loved some aspects, but overall it left me feeling kind of disoriented.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon for the e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Disclaimer: I'm very picky when it comes to romance and I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to the genre! If you aren't annoying like me and are looking for a workplace romance, I'd recommend this one!

But here's what didn't work for me:
1. Too much exposition. I love to have some context for a romance, but I never realized that there was such thing as too much context. It doesn't really surpass the initial work crush phase until halfway through the book.
2. I hated how this book characterized adoption, which I understand is very specific and only was brought up twice in the book, but I hated it! There was a weird demonization of birth families and adoption/fostering was centered around the foster/adoptive parents and not the child and I am *not here for that*! I know this is, like, so specific, but it ruined the whole thing for me and almost made me give it a worse star rating.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is everything you could want in a colleagues to friends to lovers story. I enjoyed the banter between our two main characters and found Matt to be a spoon worthy main character. I found myself really enjoying the dual POV's between characters. The pacing in this book I found to be really even throughout and I did not find it rushed or too slow in any parts. My only critique would be that if the characters had just communicated a little more they could have avoided a lot of their issues and I found this to become annoying at times. Overall I loved this book and will be purchasing a physical copy for myself.
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The first half of this book was fast paced and showed good character development between the two main characters, Matt and Cadence. The tension, the banter between the characters, the backstory of their families all kept me engaged in the story. But at around the 50% mark things began to slow and the events felt like filler. Overall I liked the story, but I wish it was engaging throughout the entire story instead of just the first half and the last 15% of the book..
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Circling Back to You is a forced proximity, frenemies-to-lovers workplace romance that follows Cadence and Matt as they navigate the hardships of meddling families and conflicting career ambitions while unpacking their newfound feelings for one another.

Julie Tieu's latest release is one of the lighter romantic comedies of 2022 and was exactly what I needed as a mid-year pick-me-up. The friendly banter between Cadence and Matt really complemented the plot and made for a seamlessly entertaining read.

The take of a couple leaning more on the side of friends rather than enemies was so refreshing, and I'm finding more and more that I much prefer reading about cinnamon roll men over alphamales. In this case, Matt was the whole cake.

For diehard fans of the guy-falls-first trope, diversity, and fake dating, Circling Back to You is a fun-filled read of twists and turns you won't want to miss.

Thank you to Avon and Harper Collins for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Honestly, I found this book pretty disappointing. I was excited for an office romcom with AAPI rep, but this book reads like a Harlequin category: incredibly fast paced, little room for nuance or exposition, very little character-building. We are thrown in with Cadence and Matt declaring that they are friends, when in reality they seems to have at best a respectful, distant working relationship. We are told Matt is one of the top Bachelor's of the year and a top realtor, but he still comes off as insecure. Cadence, we are told, is amazing at her job, but her expertise goes unrecognized and unrewarded, despite the fact everyone asks for her help. Honestly at this point, I don't want a romance, I want a story of career success. But we are then given a romance without any heat, where the only foundation seems to be professional respect. Both characters feel flat to me when I wanted to see some chemistry. I don't believe the world or the characters honestly.
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DNF - just wasnt for me :/ i can see the appeal for others but i just wasnt about it unfortunately. maybe i’ll pick it up again one day
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My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This is the story  of Cadence and Matt, coworkers who develop into something more. It’s a sort of friends to lovers/office romance trope. I liked the summary and that’s why I requested the book—I also was looking forward to the Asian representation and inter generational family dynamics.

I wasn't really drawn to either main character, which was disappointing. I’m here for strong and determined female leads, who don’t feel compelled to be perky or sunshiny but can be themselves. But Cadence never got out of the basic grumpy state and I honestly agreed with her dad when he kind of called her out on it.

Her dad was the side character who stood out the most. He was funny and endearing and interesting, Her brother was pretty much a cipher and the other secondary characters were very two dimensional and somewhat cliche.

I didn’t feel a real spark between the two leads. The story was a bit slow although the ending managed to tie most things up. I had to push myself to get to the ending though. 

The writing was fine but it did feel a bit more being told how characters feel rather than seeing it.

Overall I think it had potential that it didn’t reach.

2 1/2
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Thank you Avon and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

This was a cute romcom! If you love The Office and Jim and Pam, pre-order this one. Enter The Hating Game + Selling Sunset and you’ve got Circling Back to You. You’ve got banter, meddling families, and best friends figuring out how to be together.

Read if you like: 
The Donut Trap - see my review for it!!
Jim and Pam from The Office
Selling Sunset
Co workers/friends to lovers
Light spice
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Workplace romance, sign me up!

I had to pick this up after reading The Donut Trap last year and I am glad I did. All of you grumpy/sunshine trope fiends will be very happy with this one! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for my ARC!
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