Cover Image: Fake Dates and Mooncakes

Fake Dates and Mooncakes

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 

Dylan helps out at his aunt’s takeout, but they are struggling financially. The publicity from winning a mooncake making contest could help them save the shop. When he meets Theo, he also agrees to help the shop in exchange for fake dates with Dylan. 

I could tell that this book was a debut, but I thought it showed potential. Some of the dialogue felt stilted and a little unnatural for teenage boys. I liked the food and culture elements, but at times it sounded like a travel guide. The fake dating story line got more attention than the cooking competition for the majority of the book. The drama around Theo's wealthy family was a little over the top for me, but I did think Dylan and Theo were sweet together. 

While it was a sweet young adult romance, and I enjoyed some of the Singapore cultural elements, it felt a little clunky and overly dramatic overall.
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Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians is the perfect way to describe this story. Theo comes from wealth & Dylan is trying to win a baking contest to help keep his Aunt’s takeout business afloat. While some of the plot was far fetched and there are moments of sappy, cheesy young love, I really enjoyed these characters, their connection, and I learned a lot about Chinese culture. 

Sincere thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Fake Dates and Mooncakes has an adorable premise, and an even cuter cover. Unfortunately, I didn't find that the execution of the premise lived up to all that adorable potential. 

The prose and writing style was the weakest point - it felt flat and insipid, with dialogue that rarely sounded natural or like real people speaking in the real world. But the plot was a bit of a flop, too, being oddly paced with either nothing going on for too long or something suddenly dramatic happening too much. Both the marketing copy and the story itself promise Crazy Rich Asians-esque hijinks, but the escapades of the rich and famous are largely just some tacky wedding decoration choices and one young woman's unfortunate drinking problems, while every obstacle and conflict is solved easily and sentimentally. I just didn't really care about any of it, in the end, despite the delicious descriptions of food (usually surrounded by that unnatural-sounding dialogue educating me on an element of Chinese cuisine or culture) and the cutely romantic set-ups...that typically fizzled out. Ultimately, a cutely decorated mooncake with a bland filling. 

Thank you to the publisher for the advance review copy.
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Definitely a favorite read of 2023! I adored the characters and was all in for the romance plot. I’m also a sucker for stories that explore family dynamics, shared experiences, and fighting to keep everything afloat. Such a fun, beautiful read!
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I absolutely adored this witty, heartwarming, m/m romance!⁣
It has a beautiful covers, queer love stories, fake dating, rich culture, yummy food, lovable characters -and their adorable pets. This book is perfection and it's the book is for everyone. It's happy and beautiful...everyone will fall in love with Dylan, Theo and, of course, Clover!
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Fake Dates and Mooncakes was a charming read! It was just as cute as the cover. The characters were well written, and the story felt like a warm hug. The romance was sweet, and I especially enjoyed all the culinary aspects of the story. A pretty standard YA Rom-Com debut.
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I really enjoyed reading this! Dylan and Theo’s story was absolutely adorable and a treat to read. The writing read a little young for me, which is why I’m giving it a 4 star rating instead of 5, but I enjoyed it nonetheless! 

Not only was this book full of relatable queer representation, but it also featured fake dating! One of my favorite tropes. It was so well done in this book.
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Thank you Netgalley and publisher for this advanced copy.

This book was an okay for me. there was nothing special but still enjoyable. I would like to read more from Sher Lee
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If you love food, you need to pick up this adorable, fun, endearing book today! Fake Dates and Mooncakes is out in the world, and I’m so happy for Sher Lee getting to see all of her hard work to come to fruition today! 

This is a sweet contemporary YA romcom, with shades of Crazy Rich Asians, Heartstopper, and a serious love and respect for food. 

It is also a tender look at grief and how it can still unite us despite differences, an authentic look at Asian culture, and a sweet story of fake dating and opposites attract at its heart. I loved so many moments in this book, the writing was witty, snappy, and fun. I cannot wait for more from this author and hope this is just the start! 

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an arc of this book!
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If I were to describe this book it would be if hallmark made a gay version of Crazy Rich Asian. It was a cute story and I really enjoyed reading it. Although the lack of communication between Dylan and Theo was a bit frustrating but was totally understandable especially for Dylan who didn’t feel like he belonged with Theo due to their difference in socio-economic standing. Also, I loved reading about the different cultural aspects shared in the books from the importance and process of making mooncakes to the Mid-Autumn festival. It was so interesting to read and learn about. Besides that I wish there was more focus on the Mooncake competition, especially when it is supposed to be super important to the family. It kind of felt like an afterthought in the plot and if it were not there it wouldn’t have changed the plot that much.
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A cute book with great culinary imageries, i enjoyed reading about Dylan and Theo and all their fake dating escapades and cultural displays. at the same time, i couldn't be invested in the story completely because the writing style was very straightforward and the typical insta love + third act breakup path didn't sit well with me.
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thank you to netgalley and getunderlined for an eARC of this book. all opinions are my own.

being disappointed by one of your most anticipated releases has to be one of the worst feelings in the world.

i really wanted to love this book ever since it was announced, because it sounded right up my alley: queer crazy rich asians x fake dating x making mooncakes!! what's not to love! i thought it could be similar to CAFE CON LYCHEE by emery lee or THEY HATE EACH OTHER by amanda woody, another may mlm release with fake dating, a rich LI, and baking.

however, less than 20% in, i knew i was not going to enjoy this book unless something drastic changed. i honestly considered dnfing, but i thought i owed this book a full read-through since i was so excited for it before. i don't think my opinion would be any better if i had just stopped reading at the 20% mark, though.

the first thing that stood out to me was the dialogue. there are maybe two (2) natural-sounding conversations within the 272 pages of this book. except for those two conversations, which were both flirty and lasted around five lines, the rest of the dialogue is dedicated to exposition. this can be okay in some contexts, but when *all* the dialogue is that? and none of it is actual character- or relationship-building? it becomes so unnatural so quickly. because of these stilted convos, i did not buy the attraction between theo and dylan, which is bad because the entire book hinges on them caring for each other wayyy too much for two people who just met. i don't dislike insta love/insta lust because sometimes it can work, but it only works when the characters have chemistry. i don't think we get a single personality trait from theo other than "rich" for the whole book, and while money can be attractive, that doesn't create the strongest romance for a romance book.

dialogue and chemistry aside, the plot is also weak. we have two concurrent plots: theo and dylan fake dating at theo's cousin's wedding, and dylan preparing for a mooncake contest. even before reading, i was skeptical of how these two plots would intersect, and unfortunately, they do not really. theo gets involved in the mooncake stuff seemingly randomly, and its not believable that he wants to help dylan because again, no chemistry.

the fake dating was probably the most disappointing part, though. fake dating is probably my favorite trope of all time, and when it's executed well it can be life-changing. however, one of the big pitfalls of fake dating is that the characters need to have a reason to fake date. this can be to appease family members, friends, or a PR scheme, but it has to be believable. in this book, i thought the fake dating would be happening because theo's rich family was putting pressure on him to "settle down" or something. wouldn't be the most original fake dating plot, but it's reliable. instead, the reason we got was... nothing. there was absolutely no reason for theo to 1. bring dylan to the wedding as his date and 2. pretend that they were already in a relationship. at no point did any family member comment on theo's relationship status past "oh look you have a bf cool." it was just so frustrating to read because again, fake dating is my favorite trope and one of the reasons i was looking forward to this book.

there are other reasons i disliked this book, such as the bland side characters, poorly written classism, under developed daddy issues, racial tokenism, and casual moment of bi-erasure, but i think this review is already too long. if you want to read a well-written mlm fake dating book with a rich MC that actually addresses parental and class issues, please read THEY HATE EACH OTHER by amanda woody.
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I absolutely adore this book. I loved the characters and the storyline! Definitely recommend to all my friends and followers
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I wanted to love this book a whole lot but was able to get my expectations down so I don't get too disappointed (I do that with every book) 

Started it, and from the very first page was glued to the story of Dylan and Theo. 

I adored Dylan and his character, his t-shirts, his love for his family, and the way he is as a person, I was able to connect with him with his grief. 

His Aunt and his cousins were just so lovely and it was so nice to see the interactions with them and Dylan as well as Theo. 

Theo though is a whole other kettle of fish. This boy is just up there trying to be the best book boyfriend and is probably succeeding in a lot of ways because how the hell could I not fall in love with this boy 

Dylan's and Theo's love and relationship blossoming was so so lovely!! 

I was not expecting this book to also make me cry!!! I was just bawling my eyes out near the end. 

Clover the Corgi was the star of the show, I would have loved more of that doggo. 

I loved finding out where mooncakes came from and other bits and pieces of the culture and language.

5 outta 5 stars
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From the moment I started reading 'Fake Dates and Mooncakes', I was hooked on the heartwarming love story between Dylan and Theo. Sher Lee has crafted a delightful romantic comedy that is sure to put a smile on your face.

“Dylan Tang, a teenage chef who dreams of winning a mooncake-making competition in honor of his late mother and to bring attention to his aunt's struggling Chinese takeout restaurant in Brooklyn. However, his plans are derailed when he meets Theo Somers, a charming and wealthy customer who convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding in the Hamptons. Dylan begins to fall for Theo, but as Theo's true colors are revealed through his wealthy and dramatic family, Dylan must navigate his feelings and remain focused on the competition”.

The characters are lovable and relatable, and their chemistry is palpable. I especially appreciated the way the author handles themes around identity, the Asian American diaspora, and the challenges of navigating a new relationship. This book is a perfect blend of swoon-worthy romance and sweet humor, with a dash of delicious food descriptions thrown in. If you're a fan of 'Heartstopper' and 'Crazy Rich Asians', you won't want to miss this charming novel.
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This was a fun YA read set in NYC. An awkward encounter has Dylan, a high schooler working at his aunt's restaurant, flustered but noticed Theo, someone who has anything but a similar life.

Add in awkward family gatherings, tensions, and a mooncake competition - and a corgi :) - and this was just a really fun book to escape in for a few hours!

Thank you to Random House and Netgalley for the ARC.
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an extremely adorable title! I really loved the relationship between the two main characters and also it was so cool that food was a major part of the story :) Cannot wait to read more by Sher Lee
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Dylan, living with his Aunt Jade and cousins Megan and Tim, works at their family restaurant Wok Warrirors. Wanting to help bring publicity to the struggling business and also honor his mother's memory Dylan decides to compete in a mooncake making competition where the winner is featured on "Off the Eaten Path". On top of that, while out on a delivery, Dylan runs into the attractive, Theo Somers, and agrees to be Theo's "date" to a family wedding in the Hamptons. Let the fake dating commence!

🥡Fake Dating
🥡Only 1 Bed
🥡Baking competition 
🥡Two Different Worlds
🥡Connecting over the loss of a parent
🥡All the family vibes
🥡An adorable adopted corgi 

Y'all this was so stinking cute!!

It's being compared as Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians and I would have to absolutely agree! I loved Dylan and Theo together and even though there was a bit of insta-attraction the topics and discussions these two bonded over made the connection feel genuine. I honestly forgot how short of a time they had known each other while reading.

Another highlight is the closeness and support that Dylan has with his Aunt and cousins. I adored them all and could not wait for this family (and their business) to get the recognition they deserved.

Speaking of, I wanted to eat all of the food described in this book and I need to find a snow skin mooncake ASAP 🤩 

Published May 16, 2023 - OUT NOW - I ordered a gorgeous special edition from @dazzlingbookishshop and cannot wait to revisit this cast of characters when it arrives!

This is Sher Lee's debut novel and I'm excited to read more of her work 💙

Thank you @netgalley @penguinrandomhouse and @sherleeauthor for providing an egalley copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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i’m going to start this off by saying that i thought this book concept was adorable. gay people and baking? sign me up! 

however, the execution was lacking at times. it was insta-love, so we didn’t have much connecting before they jumped right into their relationship. i have multiple notes where i just questioned why they are trauma dumping despite not knowing each other. it’s just not realistic. i also had some complaints about the culture aspect. as an asian person, i didn’t see much of asian culture being reflected through. even small things like how he calls his aunt “aunt jade” seems off because most people have an ethnic name for their aunt to call them by. 

for the majority of the book though, it was cute. it was definitely cheesy and had the cute fluff that we all like. overall, it was alright. it’s not my favorite book i’ve ever read, but i definitely don’t regret picking it up.
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I am not the biggest fan of insta love books.. I just feel like it’s the worst romance IN MY OPINION. 
I went into this w very high hopes. Normal annoying this happening throughout the book that we’re probs just more annoying because I for real hate insta love. Trauma dumping as soon as they met, the third act break up was so annoying. I just was NOT FEELING this read.. 
I think the idea of this book was really cute.. It just wasn’t developed well & again, I think it’s because of how much I do not enjoy insta love. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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