Cover Image: Return to Cherry Blossom Way

Return to Cherry Blossom Way

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This is a sweet second chance romance, the second in the Blue Cedar Falls trilogy. It is a standalone novel, but I do recommend reading the first one, if possible - you might miss out on some of the nuances of the family dynamics.

May is a travel writer for a magazine that sends her to exotic places all over the world…her new assignment? Her home town. May left right after high school and never looked back. She does does not have fond memories of her home town where she was bullied for being of Chinese heritage, she felt smothered by family responsibilities, and where her first love broke up with her and told her not to come back - so how will she write a compelling travel article about it? In a small town, it is nearly impossible for May and her ex Han to not cross paths, and it is obvious that their feelings for each other aren’t all in the past. Even though they now live in different worlds, can they make their way back to each other, with giving up on their individual dreams?

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3.5 stars rounded up.

More than ten years have passed since May Wu was a bookish teenager chomping at the bit to leave her small North Carolina town after graduation. She’s become a successful travel writer who’s up for anything, but that gusto is put to the test when her latest assignment sends her back to Blue Cedar Falls. She immediately runs into her ex, Han Leung, the guy she still uses to measure all other dates against and he’s still even more handsome now and just as easy to talk to as ever.

Han has always put his duty above everything else, setting aside his dream to open a restaurant of his own so he could keep his family’s business afloat after his dad’s passing. But when May rockets back into his orbit, Han finds it harder to keep ignoring all the desires he’s been tamping down for over a decade. Unfortunately, nothing about their circumstances has really changed and the reasons they broke up before are all still valid, or so it seems.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was very excited for this follow-up, especially as a North Carolina native myself. There were parts of this I loved and it had me longing for a visit to the mountains, but there were also bits that were very lackluster for me, most of them stemming from the heroine. May and her struggles with fitting in and being bullied were very relatable; though I wasn’t bullied for the same reasons, her resultant insecurities were definitely familiar to me. What was frustrating and disheartening for me was how long she allowed that high school experience to define every aspect of her life. Her insistence on shaming and bad-mouthing an entire town because of the behavior of one person, an ignorant child no less, was a bit much and grew to be repetitive after a while.

May’s bitterness just began to seem like hypocrisy with a huge lack of empathy. She blazed onto the page with the same sort of judgmental mentality she had wanted so desperately to leave behind. She had no awareness of anyone else’s feelings but her own and it was pretty sad to see how little Han’s emotions mattered to her and how aware he was of that fact. Han’s character arc was also a bit puzzling to me just because he’d made this huge mistake that I would’ve struggled to forgive myself and, though I understand why it happened given the timing, it still just felt like an unnecessary addition to a story that was already drowning in angst. Some of that angst did grow repetitive as Han and May seemed to have the same conversation/argument over and over again and between that and the deep examination of May’s lasting scars from her high school bullying experience, the romance definitely took a backseat.

Also, I’m tired of reading about this idea that hometowns are poison and anyone who wishes to remain and make a place for themselves in their hometown is some sort of loser. The first half of this book especially was laden with this ambitious ideal that quickly becomes toxic as it sews this insidious idea that one must always strive for more and better. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with desiring more, but it is all too easy to become obsessed with this ambition and fail to be appreciative, or to even notice, what one has already gained or been blessed with. Fortunately, I think this is something May recognizes in the end, and it saved the book for me. Achieving her dreams had not made her truly happy and she took steps to correct this and follow her heart in a way that made her much more fulfilled by being true to herself. I was satisfied by this ending and it definitely felt like Han and May would have a firm HEA together, but I still would’ve liked to see a bit more romance in their story.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog link:

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I absolutely love and enjoy this series. And this book is no exception. May doesn't come back home very often, but her boss sends her back for her latest travel writing assignment. She runs into the one that got away, Han, and tries to hide her feelings, and fails miserably. Han is determined to get his ideas for the restaurant he wants off the ground, and is determined to ignore the naysayers, including his mother. When the two of them are reunited, it sends them on a course of rediscovery.

This was such an enjoyable second chance romance, from the two main characters, and their chemistry, to the antics and conversations from the supporting family members. This was an enjoyable, cute and charming read. One of my all time small town favorite families and story.

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review of my own thoughts and opinions.

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This second book from Jeannie Chin is a really beautiful second chance romance featuring May Wu, a travel writer living her dream around the globe, and her high school love Han Leung, who took over his family's restaurant in their hometown. May and Han's reconnection when May ends up back in Blue Cedar Falls for an assignment feels so authentic- they have to figure out how to deal with their past and how to forge a new relationship going forward. May also reckons with the racism and isolation she experienced during her teen years in Blue Cedar Falls, and Han with his family responsibilities and relationships. I loved Jeannie Chin's writing in this one just as much as the first.

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Talk about a sweet, family filled story!!! This was IT 👏🏻

I have loved this series from the start! And book 2 really brought it! Book 3 has my attention already 🥰⭐️

I am a sucker for a small town, second chance love story, & this couldn’t have been better. May & Han were everything I wanted them to be! Realistic, relatable, ambitious, loyal! And the growth they went through, both individually & together, was fantastic to read 💕

Once again with this small town, the other characters kept you entertained, & only added to the appeal. I especially loved getting a little check in with June & Clay (from book 1), & a tiny peek into what book 3 has in store 😍

This story, & it’s marvellous characters, we’re everything I wanted & needed 💕 I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, while at the same time trying to read slow 😂

Overall verdict: A sweet, kind hearted, small town romance that will tug on your heartstrings in all the best ways ❤️

Thank you so much @readforeverpub for the #Gifted finished copy!

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I was so happy to be back in Blue Cedar Falls with Jeannie Chin's latest novel, Return to Cherry Blossom Way.
This romance novel is a second-chance romance between another Wu sister, May, who works for a magazine in New York.  She's constantly traveling for work which gives her the perfect excuse to rarely return home, which holds a lot of memories she'd like to forget, and people she'd like to avoid.  One of those individuals is her ex-boyfriend, Han Leung, who still lives in Blue Cedar Falls after the death of his father.  

After her mom's cat becomes a quick internet sensation, May takes a job that brings her back home.  It isn't as easy to come home as she thought as one of her sisters is giving her the cold shoulder, but she easily reconnects with Han.  She'd be lying to herself if she said her love for him was gone.  As they continue to spend more time together, her feelings for him get more confusing especially since she knows he'd never leave home and she's never seen herself living in North Carolina.

I fell in love with Blue Cedar Falls last year with Jeannie's debut, The Inn on Sweetbriar Lane.  Return to Cherry Blossom Way was just as delightful as her previous endeavour.  Jeannie Chin has easily become an auto-buy author for me.  Her characters are so relatable and I love the town that she has created for them.  The secondary characters in this novel are also well rounded and fleshed out that they stood out easily on their own.  I can't wait for the final book in the Blue Cedar Falls trilogy and whatever she'll write when she does afterwards.

Thank you to Forever for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you so much to Forever Pub and Netgalley for an arc of Return to Cherry Blossom Way by Jeannie Chin.

I really enjoyed this novel! I love Chin’s writing and it was so nice to return to these characters. I loved seeing the development of May and Han- both as individuals and as a couple. There were a lot of heavy themes in this book including racism, death of a parent , grief, gaslighting, strained family relationships, but I loved how they were all discussed and this added so just to the book. I’m so looking forward to reading more from this author in the future!

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May hasn't been home in a while working as a travel writer in the city. Now she's sent by her job to go back to her hometown to write a piece and of course she'd run into her ex and things are being complicated. Its certain that old feeling are still there but there is so much to unpack when it comes to her short stay there.

This was an enjoyable read. I liked getting to know the characters. Then theres the reasoning why May didn't want to stay in town dealing with bullies, and then there was the feeling of betrayal when Han broke it off with her and just going her own way. There was so much more to what was going on if May and other peoples lives and it was interesting seeing things as they come out. I liked the romance between May and Han and couldn't help but root for them and wondering how the outcome would turn out. Then there was Han's side of the story of what happened and why he broke it off with her. You can't help but want things to go his way for once, he took on so much and gave up so much and deserved so much more. This was a pretty great book I really enjoyed it. Pretty much binge read it from start to end. Highly Recommend.

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Return to Cherry Blossom Way brings readers back to the small town of Blue Cedar Falls for Han and May's story. I have been curious about them since their past relationship was mentioned in previous books.

Their second chance romance was emotional and realistic as they dealt with why they broke up in the past, family and small town drama, and if they can make it work now. There was so much familiar between them but they had both grown and changed while apart, too. It was interesting seeing them face the difficulties they encountered both individually and together.

This was a really nice addition to the series and I love how it set up the next book for Elizabeth.

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Chin is one of my new favorite small-town authors. Her stories are fun and relatable, while still taking on serious subjects. If you are a fan of Annie Rains or Debbie Mason this is the perfect read.

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I discovered the first book in this series earlier this Summer, and jumped at the chance to read this. I love Chin's little world so much. The stakes are real, and the lead is very relatable. I've gotta seek out the novella!

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It's a small town second chance romance for May and Han, high school sweethearts who broke up after high school. Growing up in Blue Cedar Falls was difficult for her, so she's made an effort to go home as little as possible. A work assignment forces her to return to the small town where she'll have to face her family as well as Han.

The book is character-driven with May and Han constantly in their heads obsessing over the same thing--seeing each other and the return of feelings long thought resolved. The majority of the book is the two making eyes at each other and somewhat denying how they still feel about each other. The feelings evoked, from fear to nervousness, were deftly done. I could feel them gravitating toward each other, and I was all for it--well, mostly.

I connected easily with May and was adamantly on her side throughout the book. I understood why she was reluctant to return home. Han, on the other hand, was immensely frustrating here. I liked him in the previous books, but learning about why they broke up made me like him a little less. I wanted just a bit better closure to their past before they embarked on looking toward what the future could be like. (Mostly, I just needed him to stop feeling like he was the one left behind because he played a role in their breakup too.)

If you're a fan of small town romances and second chances with a lot of character introspection, Return to Cherry Blossom Way is a wonderful summer read.

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Jeannie Chin's storytelling continues to shine in this second full-length book in her new small-town series. There are so many things I'm enjoying about Blue Cedar Falls. The western North Carolina setting is beautifully described, evoking wonderful memories of days spent winding my way along lush mountain roads, leisurely exploring small, quirky towns. I can easily visualize the festivals, Han's family's Chinese restaurant, the new bar on Main Street, and the Wu family's B&B.

I love the Asian-American representation in Chin's books, placing the Wu and Leung families front and center. It's something that's still an exception rather than the norm in contemporary romance but I'm happy to see that's slowly changing.

Second-chance romance is one of my favorite tropes but thirteen years is a long time. Han's and May's reunion could have easily felt forced or unrealistic, but it doesn't. Chin navigates them through the ups and downs of a reignited relationship with finesse, humor, emotions that feel organic, and believable challenges. Not only are they getting to know one another as adults, they are also each individually dealing with complex family dynamics, career concerns, the life-altering effects of teenage bullying, and dreams delayed. It's a journey of growth for both Han and May. I love the ease between these two, the sizzling chemistry, the fun and sweetness that speaks to their long-time - if interrupted - friendship. But I also appreciate that there are issues needing to be addressed. Kudos to the author for tackling those difficult topics head-on, especially within their family units.

The secondary cast in this book is large, colorful, and necessary. I especially enjoyed Han's friend group, the people who are there for him, supportive but not afraid to be brutally honest when necessary. I love how they support his food dreams (oh my gosh, the food!). Yes, there was a good deal of drooling on my part as I read those scenes. ;-)

If you enjoy small-town romance with humor, heart, emotional depth, and positive cultural representation, give Jeannie Chin's Blue Cedar Falls series a try. Return to Cherry Blossom Way stands well on its own but for a full understanding of the Wu and Leung families, the complex dynamic among the Wu sisters, and the issues facing the town of Blue Cedar Falls, I recommend reading the stories in order.

Book 1: The Inn on Sweetbriar Lane
Novella: Only Home with You
Book 2: Return to Cherry Blossom Way

The third book, The House on Mulberry Street, is scheduled to be released March 7, 2023 and is available for pre-order. It's the youngest Wu sister's best friends - to - lovers story and I can't wait to dive in.

4.5 Stars

*ARC received for fair and unbiased review

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Return to Cherry Blossom Way is the second book in Jeannie Chin’s Blue Cedar Falls series but can be read as a standalone. When travel writer May returns to her home town of Blue Cedar Falls for an article she is brought back into who she was before she left for New York 13 years ago. She must face the realities of her family’s inn, being reunited with her high school boyfriend, and the fact that her former bully keeps popping up around town. Chef Han is struggling with balancing his family’s Chinese restaurant and his dreams of opening a restaurant of his own when his high school girlfriend suddenly returns and throws his life into chaos. The pair agree to an emotionless fling while May is in town but old feeling bubble to the surface.

This book was darling. Second chance romances are hit and miss with me, but this one worked. I adored both May and Han. I really liked that this book was dual POV because I felt like I really got to know both characters and fully understood their motivations. This was a book with a lot of heart and also the ugliness of life. I liked that May was able to confront the racism she received without having to forgive those who tormented her. I liked that both May and Han had complicated family dynamics because it just made their situations more realistic as familial relationships are always complicated. This book just made me happy and was a nice, fun, relaxing read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Forever for the ARC and Forever for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

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This is the 2nd Book in the series and my first. It can be read as a stand alone but I'll definitely be going back to find out more about May's sister June. I really enjoyed the romance between Han & May. Even though May was a tad annoying sometimes. The writing is great and I love the small town charm.

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I've been really enjoying this series. I love when I start a new author and they just work for me. That's how I felt with Chin. Right away I loved her characters and want to know more about them. You've already learned about the Wu family from the first book. They are the main characters so far in the series. I really love them but haven't really gotten to know June's sister as much as I would have liked in her story.

Not a big deal we've got May's story now and I will tell you for the most part I really enjoyed it. I understood why May felt the way she did about her hometown. She hadn't had a great life growing up and it really molded her as an adult. I do feel that at times her anger was missed placed. She like so many of us take it out on easier targets, like the ones you love us.

I love Han. I liked him from the first book. He's one of those characters that grab you and make you want to know their story. I felt for him. The way his life turned out wasn't really what he wanted but that didn't stop him from stepping up and taking charge when he has to. I loved that about him. It's not always easy to not become bitter when life steps on your dreams and wants.

These two have so much going against them. I sometimes wondered how they would get together and stay together. Out of the two Han is the more likable person. He's a lot less selfish and thinks for others before himself. May his a problem with that. She thinks of herself first then maybe others after.

As the story moves on you see them both grow as characters and find them learning to deal with their past. As a whole, I enjoyed this story and can't wait for more in the series.

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This book is a classic second chance romance with a small town feel. May Wu left town after high school for NYC and really hasn't looked back. She loves her job traveling the globe and writing for an established magazine. What she doesn't expect is that her job will lead her right back home. When May arrives for her weeklong assignment she doesn't expect to quickly run into her first love, Han. Han has never forgotten May and how she broken his heart by refusing to stay for him all those years ago. These two find they still have that same chemistry but also find themselves tied to two different places.

I enjoyed May and Han's story. Each had completely believable reasons for separating when they were young as they wanted to branch out in their own ways. I admired May for being true to herself and going for what she wants. I also appreciated Han's dedication to his family and home. It was nice to see these two talk through things and overcome some of the emotional challenges they had gone through in their past. I love the small town aspect to this book and found the ending satisfying. If you are a fan of second chance romance, you will love this one. Chin's writing is so easy to read that you can imagine yourself sitting at the Junebug bar or behind the desk of the Inn along with the characters in the book. This is the second in the series but reads completely fine on its own.

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Charming about a second chance with the guy that got away. May Wu is a travel writer and I loved the setting and the chemistry between the two

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Blue Cedar Falls is a bucolic community. May wants nothing to do with it. She fled after high school and hasn’t really been back since then. Her heart was shattered when her love, Han stayed and treated her harshly, severing the relationship.
May returns on a job assignment and begins exploring her past.
I love,the characters in this little NC town. I thought June actually went easy on May about not being there when she was needed.
Han still carried the torch for May, but can they resolve their differences?
Sometimes the dreams we had at a younger age fade and new possibilities emerge; things we couldn’t see ourselves during earlier.
The cover art is exquisite.

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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.
Return to Cherry Blossom Way is the second in Jeannie Chin’s Blue Cedar Falls series. It can be read as a stand-alone, although I did also enjoy the previous full-length novel and novella, and what the series so far has brought to the Southern small-town romance subgenre in terms of more expansive racial diversity, of Asian characters in particular.
May is the second sister of the Wu family, who first appeared in book 1, and she’s intriguing in that she works as a travel writer and has a bit of a complicated relationship with her hometown. Through her we get the standard “big city woman reconnects with her small-town roots,” but I love that there was a bit more to it than I expected. The commentary on racist bullying is particularly cathartic to read, given how the standard small-town-set books (and their real-life counterparts) have often alienated BIPOC.
Han is a wonderful love interest, and I appreciate there’s a balance between showing he has always had good intentions, while also not always being aware of the true extent of what May was and still is going through, although he tries to be there for her once he is made aware. It’s wonderful to see them really have to confront the issues of their past, and whether their current feelings for each other merit confronting those issues.
This is another sweet read, and I’m excited for what’s next for the Wu family and Blue Cedar Falls in the next book! If you’re looking for more diverse small-town romance, I recommend keeping an eye out for this one!

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