Cover Image: The Stand-Up Groomsman

The Stand-Up Groomsman

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed this book. With the work I do for Fat Girls in Ficiton I am often asked about books with fat representation for man and for whatever reason that representation is even harder to find than representation with women. I'm glad to have another one to recommend to people when they ask. I really enjoyed his character. It was also a good romance, I was able to see why the characters made the choices they did and it was a good read.
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I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was that Vivian and Mel were getting a book--their opposite-of-a-meet-cute in Donut Fall in Love was absolutely everything--and I am so glad to say their story did not disappoint. Ms Lau is absolutely amazing at giving us delightfully complex characters who somehow manage to find the one person who is completely wrong for them only to eventually (after a lot of delicious food, LOLing, a healthy helping of angst and a stuffed animal or two) discover that they are somehow actually perfect together.

I loved that Vivian and Mel very much make their own path to an HEA that will work for them. Their romance is slow burn--Mel finds himself fascinated with Vivian even when he isn't sure that he likes her all that much, and Vivian's journey to reconciling IRL Mel with his professional persona is rocky, to say the least. But his ability to see and understand Vivian (the karaoke scene, OMG!) helps, as does the way they are each able to accept and even (eventually) enjoy each other's quirks. And gah! that ending... <3

You really don't have to read Donut first to love this book (you should, though, because it's awesome); the disastrous meet cute is replayed here for those who missed or forgot it. Seeing Donut's two characters plan their wedding and get married is extra fun if you've read their book, but since this is really Vivian and Mel's story it stands perfectly well on its own too.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
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The first book I read written by Jackie Lau was Donut Fall in Love and I like the story although I did find it hard to connected with the two MC. So, yeah. As for this second book, I really do enjoy reading the story. If you have read the first book know that this is the story of Vivian (Lindsay’s roommate) and Mel (Ryan’s good friend). Vivian is working in finance sector while Mel is a comedian. Their first met is not as how Vivian expected to be. The two does not get along that well. The thing is they are now having to cooperate as they both are the bridesmaid and groomsman to their best friend, Lindsay and Ryan.

What I like in this book more than the first one is that this is not a usual relationship. Hating each other than fall in love kind of trope. No, it just not working into that one. Vivian has going through a lot in her life with her family’s problem and her past relationship isn’t working that well. So, to fall in love that easily is not happened for her. Mel also facing the same thing as Vivian. His relationship with his family is not that good and even though, he always ends up in a short relationship. Anyhow, he has a strong personality and care for other people. He really cares about Vivian’s feeling. I like the fact that they two might start at a bad foot but they two progress really well.

This is a slow burn and very complex, surprisingly I do enjoy every little thing in the story. The fact that the age gap of siblings is really relatable to me. Just like how Vivian has to babysit her sister that is how I did when they were little. It never easy but I put that as a lesson in my life and try my best to get along with my sibling despite the huge age gap. Things might not be the same to Vivian. I love Vivian’s character as she came out strong and determine with what she wants and with her career. Mel is a funny man, always put a smile on every people’s face.

Overall, I like how Jackie Lau portray the issues that happened in real life into these characters. Its feel alive. How not every relationship is easy as ABC, not as simple as that. The story is full of emotions. It is definitely a heart-warming and splendid story that I enjoy.
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I'm a fan of this author and was definitely up for reading Vivian and Mel's story, especially after having been introduced to Vivian in Donut Fall in Love. They both have some issues (truth be told, all the characters in Jackie's books do) - Vivian was a surrogate parent to her younger sibling Amanda and has never been appreciated by her family for all she gave up for them, and Mel is a comedian who has insomnia and occasional bouts of depression. They're definitely an opposites attract couple who don't strike a good note together when they first meet (Mel thinks her job sucks and tells her so, something he later regrets and apologizes for). But somehow, upon repeated exposure to each other (since their good friends get married and they are in the wedding party) they get to know each other better and Vivian finds herself attracted to Mel. This initiates a long distance relationship between them. I loved how they work through their issues, communicate with each other (though on Vivian's side it takes her longer to open up) and their family dynamics are quite different, making for other challenges. There's always a funny Po-Po around though! (Mel's grandmother is a hoot). The ending is a happy one that suits this unique couple.
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The Stand-Up Groomsman is an opposites-attract meet-disaster contemporary romance pairing a buttoned up maid of honor and a stand-up comedian best man for their best friends' wedding. I didn't read the first in the series, but I found it easy to get to know the characters and catch up. I liked that this is a wedding book, but it's not a Wedding Book. It's not an endless parade of dress fittings and last minute panic, it's simply a really useful device for getting two people a second shot together.

I wondered how Jackie Lau would handle the stand-up in the book and I was so glad that it worked for me. I found the stand-up to be funny. The rest of the book is standard contemporary rom-com fare, with the family, occupation and mental health insights I've come to expect from Lau, but the stand-up was a major risk. I think it paid off. While Mr. Hotshot CEO still holds a special place in my heart for the depiction of treatment-resistant depression, this might be my second-favorite of Jackie Lau's books.

If you're an audiobook reader, I highly recommend checking out the audio on this one. The narrators did a great job and the comedy translates really well in that format.
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Unfortunately I clicked on this one too late and didn’t get a chance to download to read. I was approved for this one when I was part of Berkeley’s influencers program and thought that I was going to be abele to still download the widget now.
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This was an ARC given to me by the author. It has not affected the contents of my review. 

Vivian Liao used to be a huge fan of comedian Melvin "Mel" Lee, and one of her hobbies was making fan art about him. Then she actually had a chance to meet him one evening, since her roommate is dating his former castmate and friend. Unfortunately, they don't seem to get along at all, and Lee spends quite some time questioning Vivian's career choices and values, deeply upsetting her. About a year later, Vivian discovers that her roommate is marrying her movie star boyfriend, asking Vivian to be one of the bridesmaids. There's only one problem. Melvin Lee will be the best man, and he and Vivian will need to spend a lot of time together. Her roommate Lindsay (the heroine of last year's Donut Fall in Love) is worried that it'll be too uncomfortable for Vivian, but she assures her friend that she'll manage just fine. 

This being a romance novel, Vivian manages more than just fine. After meeting Mel again after one of his comedy shows, and having a much nicer conversation with him, the two strike up a long-running messaging thread, and by the time the bachelor and bachelorette parties are being held in New York, they are in fact quite good friends, Mel's unfortunate social gaffe during their first meeting a non-topic between them. It turns out that they have a lot in common, like being bisexual Asians with difficult family backgrounds, and they frequently suffer from insomnia. Quite a few of their text changes take place in the early hours of the morning when they are both unable to sleep. 

As their friendship grows, so does their mutual attraction. By the time of the wedding, it's quite clear that Vivian and Mel want to jump each other's bones, and they just need to get through the ceremony and wedding feast before they can do the deed. Initially, Vivian is determined it will just be a one-night stand, but Mel convinces her that they should try giving a proper relationship a try. Since Vivian lives in Canada and Mel in the USA, it'll have to be a long-term thing, but they're both hung up on each other enough to give it a go. Unfortunately, Mel has never successfully managed to stay in a relationship long-term, and Vivian only has one previous serious relationship behind her, which ended terribly. Is it likely that they can ever have a happy ending?

A lot of Jackie Lau's romances are self-published, but this is her second one being released through a traditional publisher. Thankfully, I don't think there are really any major differences except the money backing the books. There's the really comforting portrayal of supportive friendships, both male and female. While that's not always the case, in this book, both characters are openly queer, and mostly accepted by their families anyway. There are meddling match-making relatives, at least on Melvin's side. There's excellent banter and a lot of descriptions of delicious food. Vivian is very open about not wanting children, and her previous relationship dissolved partially because she felt she pretty much needed to mother her boyfriend. Both protagonists have some serious baggage they have to work through before they can settle down together. 

Vivian comes across as cold and reserved to people who don't know her well, and because her parents expected her, as the eldest child, to step in and help take care of her younger siblings from a relatively young age, she didn't really get to enjoy a proper childhood and after her unsuccessful previous relationship, she's convinced that the only way she can be of value to anyone is for all the things she can provide for them. No one has ever really taken care of Vivian before, and she finds it incredibly difficult to believe herself worthy of such care and affection, afraid that it could never last.

Mel suffers from depression, and as a comedian, feels like everyone always expects him to be funny. His grandmother is determined to find him a partner, not really caring whether they're male or female, and keeps surprising him with crazy matchmaking schemes. Having never had a relationship last more than six months, he's also a bit wary, but he really thinks things could be different with Vivian.

Basically, if you've enjoyed Lau's romances in the past, there really is no reason why you won't like this one either. If this is your first thing you hear of her, this is an excellent place to start. While it's a follow-up to Donut Fall in Love, it works perfectly well on its own. 

<b>Judging a book by its cover:</b> I really like the yellow and pink colour scheme, even if it's yet another cartoon cover. It's also nice to see a hero who isn't tall, dark and chiseled.
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This was opposites attract story where it was an enemy to lovers' story. This was sweet and very light-hearted and funny. SO easy to get lost between the pages!
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The Stand -Up Groomsmen is a laugh out loud funny romantic comedy. If you like books that make you feel as if you’re in a rom com, then pick up The Stand-Up Groomsmen!
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✨He never had fantasies about vanilla cake before, but things were different now.✨

1. Thank you for the vanilla cake appreciation. Girls who get it get it. 

2. I loved their relationship so much but there were so many small things about this story that really resonated with me and made me very smiley and this a fantastic read. 

**Potential spoilers ahead**

- I really appreciated how not everything was perfect with Vivian’s relationship to her family (mainly mother and brother) at the end. I think there’s always the need to wrap such things up with a bow when it doesn’t quite fit the rest of the book. She set boundaries and knew how she wanted to be treated and I really respected her. They were working on the relationship, but it wasn’t magically solved so the book could end. 

- This is also one of the only contemporary romances where I’ve seen the two end up in a long distance relationship (at least for now)! Again, they’re making it work and making sacrifices, but neither had to sacrifice everything (which happens a lot of the time). Thank god she didn’t randomly change careers or something like that because it would’ve felt so disingenuous to her character. 

- I loved that since neither wanted kids, THEY ALWAYS WORE A CONDOM. There was no funny business! Thank you! I did think she was pregnant at one point but it was just the stomach flu thank the lord. I also thought her reasoning behind not wanting kids was so interesting and it was actually one of my favorite dynamics in the book. (She’d watched her siblings so much growing up that she never got to have a childhood.) 

- There was a sick scene!!! The above point is why the sick scene worked so well!! She was hesitant to accept his help at first but my GOD it was so sweet. He is such a love muffin please 😭

- I also didn’t expect the amount of steam we got! There were 3-4 shorter scenes with explicit language and fun settings/positions. I didn’t expect to be sweating while listening to this during work! I didn’t read the summary and even if I had I probably wouldn’t have trusted the “steamy” buzzword. I mean it’s not the steamiest book ever and there were a few more closed door scenes than I’d have liked, but I was so pleasantly surprised. 

- On the topic of sex, I also really loved how assertive Vivian was in the bedroom for her own pleasure! The line about her being a grown ass woman and understanding how to make herself come was so good. Basically, she doesn’t come from penetration and her past lovers had tried to “fix her” but Mel just accepted it and asked what else he could do/what she liked. He was like bet and ate her out. 

Overall, this was so charming and fun. The stand-up bits were a nice pause in the story and I liked how they became entwined with their little relationship milestones. I’ll definitely be reading more by Jackie Lau!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 🌶️🌶️🌶️/5
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Thank you so much to Berkley and Netgalley for an arc of The Standup Groomsman.

I loved this book so much! The writing was great and I loved so many of characters. I loved seeing Vivian and Melvin develop individually and together. I also loved the representation and discussions about mental health. Cant wait to read more from this author!

Pick this one up if you’re looking for:
-enemies to friends to more
-character reflection and development
-one of the main character pair is a celebrity - stand up comedian 
-bisexual male and female characters and discussions
-discussions about mental health
Trigger warning for parent not accepting 
Child’s sexual and their reaction to coming out
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Vivian and Mel started on the wrong foot after Mel tried to meddle with how Vivian chose to live her life. But when their best friends are about to get married, they are forced to work together peacefully.
 Mel is used to charming audiences as an actor and stand-up comedian. She's a smart, talented artist-which is why he thinks she's wasting her life as a corporate finance drone.

I enjoyed reading this book. Although the first few chapters were a bit slow, the following ones made up for it. Mel and Vivian are interesting characters with different personalities. They are complete opposites, but somehow they click. I love their chemistry and how their relationship developed. I also love how everything turned out in the end. It was not the usual type that you see in other books. But for me, it was the perfect ending for this story. If you are in for some light, steamy, romcom novels, then you should try this one!
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So I read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, but I was ready for it.

Vivian Lao was a fan of comedian Mel before she met the best man as her roommate's nuptials were being planned. What she didn't expect was that he would disappoint so throughly in real life. Going forward, she planned on definitely staying away from the hero who was not what she had hoped he be. Mel, on the other hand, was throughly enticed yet annoyed by Vivian. Every time that met for wedding planning, things seemed to get tense. Until finally they realized, they couldn't keep their attraction at bay.

Holy crap. I actually think this might have been better than the first one. I loved the interchange between these two. The fact that Mel respected some of Vivian's boundaries and realized she needed a minute at times. And woo boy, was it hotttt. I may have re-read some things. I think these two really in some ways maybe shouldn't have worked, but the fact that they tried and failed, and yet couldn't stay away from each other. I just loved it. I may just have buy this. Seriously.

Thank you so much for this ARC. One of my favorite books of the year. No kidding.
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I am at that point in life where I would much rather read about strong women, than damsels in distress. Don't get me wrong, I like those types of romance novels too. It just isn't the same though, as reading a wonderful rom com that makes you laugh...about a woman and her opposite learning to trust. Love!!!

Definitely recommend reading. This is book 2 in a series, but can be read as a standalone.
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Jackie Lau is a fantastic write and does such a good job within the rom-com genre. She's so funny and witty and it really shows in her characters. I can't wait to read what she does next!

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review!
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This book sounded super cute so despite the fact that I hadn’t read Donut Fall In Love (the first book in the series) I decided to give this one a read anyway. You definitely do not have to read the first book in order to understand this one or to enjoy it. It does give some spoilers for book #1, but overall it acts as a standalone which is often the case with romance book series like these. I will say reading this one made me want to read the first one though.

There was so much to like about this book. It had a really diverse cast of characters with a strong focus on the LGBTQ+ community. There was also a focus on mental health which was also great to see in a romance book.

Melvin and Vivian are total opposites. Mel is a comedian who is always looking for a laugh, has trouble dating, and struggles with depression. His family means everything to him and despite his grandmother always trying to set him up on dates, he loves them and would do anything for them.Vivian works in corporate finance, loves to draw, also has trouble dating, has a complicated relationship with her family, and feels best in a pant suit or jumpsuit. While Mel is liked by most people, Vivian on the other hand typically comes off as cold. Although Vivian has a cold persona, she loves to laugh and is a huge fan of Mel’s comedy and loves to draw him. When her best friend gets engaged, she learns that Mel will be the best man (as he’s best friends with the groom). And then she finally meets Mel and it goes very poorly. Mel criticizes Vivian for not pursuing art as a career even though Vivian is happy with her career and her life. Thus starts a hate-love relationship between the two.

I really liked Vivian’s backstory with her family and how that influenced who she is as a person. I would have even liked to have had a bit more of it. I also liked that she was a strong female character who is unapologetically herself and feels sexiest in pants. I’m a total dress girl in my own life, but I absolutely adore when writers actually create a female character that shows that you don’t have to be girly to be sexy. I enjoyed Mel’s relationship with his family and really enjoyed his openness about being bisexual. I could also relate to Mel’s mental health struggles. I wish Lau would have gone deeper into this topic because I did feel like it stayed mostly surface level.

Although there was a lot to like about this book, there was also some things that fell flat for me. This book had all the makings of a good novel – family issues, mental health issues, opposites attract/enemies-to-lovers romance, diverse characters, etc. Unfortunately, I found it really hard to fully connect with the main characters. I enjoyed their stories, but for some reason I felt like they weren’t fully developed. I wanted to really root for them and although I wanted them to get together, I didn’t feel like I had a huge stake in it. There was just something that didn’t entirely hook me and make me excited to read it. Overall, did I enjoy it? Sure. Would it be a book I tell my friends they need to read or I would re-read myself? Probably not.

Even though this book wasn’t a home run for me, I would absolutely still read other books by Jackie Lau. I plan on reading Donut Fall In Love at some point.

Rating: 3.5/5
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I thought this was a great contemporary romance novel, with likeable characters! I would definitely recommend!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
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I love comedy and I really enjoyed this book! It was a great follow up to the first one. Once again, the grandmother stole the show for me! Funny and cute.
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Overall, I enjoyed this book. I loved Vivian and Mel’s bickering and fighting. They way it was very clear that their life events played a huge role in how they viewed themselves and relationships. I also enjoyed the texting back and forth, that is definitely a favorite addition of mine to any story. The pacing was a little slow for me and while I enjoyed reading it I didn’t love reading it.
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MELVIN LEE. I wanted to wrap him up in a hug and never let go. I want to be Vivian's best friend and make her love me. These characters were so lovable and I was so happy with them and their story I wanted to keep reading forever. 

Thank you #netgalley for an early read of #thestandupgroomsman
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