by Lauren Kung Jessen
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Pub Date 10 Jan 2023 | Archive Date Not set
Always a matchmaker, never a match...
Olivia Huang Christenson is excited-slash-terrified to be taking over her grandmother’s matchmaking business. But when she learns that a new dating app has made her Pó Po’s traditional Chinese zodiac approach all about “animal attraction,” her emotions skew more toward furious-slash-outraged. Especially when L.A.’s most-eligible bachelor Bennett O’Brien is behind the app that could destroy her family’s legacy . . .
Liv knows better than to fall for any guy, let alone an infuriatingly handsome one who believes that traditions are meant to be broken. As the two businesses go head to head, Bennett and Liv make a deal: they’ll find a match for each other—and whoever falls in love loses. But Liv is dealing with someone who’s already adept at stealing business ideas . . . so what’s stopping him from stealing her heart too?
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Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 80 members
Lunar Love by Lauren Kung Jessen is a wonderful contemporary romance that is truly delightful. I really enjoyed it.
Liv and Bennett are an awesome couple that are a great example of an opposites attract/ enemies to lovers done right.
With the unique concept of rival businesses and bets involving traditional and modern modes and concepts in the ancient art of matchmaking, the author has presented a fresh, new, and entertaining narrative and angle to the romance genre.
I really, really liked it. Well done.
Thank you NG and Forever ( Grand Central Publishing) for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 1/10/23.
WOW. This book sent me into a tailspin. I loved every single moment. The witty banter, sexual tension, family love, and just journey to self-discovery was amazing.
Okay, I loved Olivia, but I need to start with Bennett. I LOVED HIM. God, I wish I had one of those in my life. He was so sweet, so sexy, and just such an amazing person. I wanted to bundle him up and keep him safe from harm. He cared so much about Olivia and I just couldn’t get enough!! Now, back to Olivia. I really loved her, but at times she annoyed me so much I couldn’t take it. I think since I’m just not such a type A person where I am stubborn to change it pissed me off sometimes. She was so reluctant to just let herself feel even though literally all of her closest people told her to let it go. I understood why and I felt for her, but there were times I just couldn’t stand it. However, this isn’t me saying the book was bad or that it took away from the book. I think that her being insufferable at times is what shaped the book. She was meant to be guarded and just stubborn because that’s what her character called for.
I cannot stress enough how much I loved this. I loved Po Po so much and her wisdom really resonated with me. I loved how accepting she was and how she never pressured Olivia to be a certain way. I feel like sometimes authors have this tendency to make grandparents who are passing down a legacy hard asses who never let them deviate from the path. Especially POC grandparents. It was refreshing to see Po Po be so warm and accepting of change.
I hope that when this book releases everyone will get a copy and experience the joy of this book. I know once it’s released I’ll be buying myself a copy.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
Lunar Love was one of those books that I could tell was going to be a favorite after just a few chapters in. I loved the characters and the family, and the FOOD! It had me laughing and crying and hungry. So good!
This book places a matchmaker that uses traditional Chinese astrology to find perfect matches against a dating app developer who takes a more modern approach to the ancient art. As they enter into a competition to see who’s method is superior, sparks fly as this imperfect on paper pair find that they might just be made for each other.
I cannot say enough about how much I loved this book! It is my new favorite comfort read and I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy next year! I highly recommend! 5⭐️
Olivia Huang Christenson believes love is like the moon: waxing bright when it's new and ever-present even when it's comfortably hidden. She's more than ready to take on the mantle of leading her family's Chinese zodiac matchmaking business, Lunar Love. But when it comes to finding love for herself, she just doesn't think romance is in store for her.
A chance meeting with a handsome man at her favorite bakery sparks interest in Olivia's heart, though another encounter with him at a matchmaking conference snuffs out those embers. When she finds out that Bakery Guy is Bennett O'Brien, hot LA bachelor and the man behind the new dating app ZodiaCupid, she sees him as a rival and is determined to stop him from taking away her own clients. And what better way to find out his plans than to match with him on his own app?
While the rivals-to-lovers trope generally ensures that ethically questionable decisions and misunderstandings will pepper the plot, the author manages these elements deftly by slowly revealing the characters' past emotional traumas that have affected their present behavior. She also gives the main characters opportunity to make amends: for example, after Olivia vents her anger at Bennett in a listicle that accidentally gets published, she does (when caught) apologize to Bennett straightaway. Olivia's hesitancy to trust and her panicked reactions lead to other miscommunications, though Bennett has his own flaws that prevent truly open communication as well. It takes time for them to learn how to see things from each other's perspective and to learn how to compromise to find a way forward, and that path felt realistically depicted here.
Where the communication between the main characters shines, however, is when they discuss the difficulties of running a business, whether it's a new app or an older, established business that needs to be made relevant to today's society in order to keep going. They slowly become business friends more than rivals, speaking openly about some of their struggles and finding empathy from each other rather than a malicious determination to use the information against each other. I also appreciated their discussions about being half-Chinese and how that impacted their connection to their culture (and often feeling "not Chinese enough" for some). With such vivid descriptions of cultural elements such as food, family celebrations, and traditions in the book, these discussions added nuance to both Olivia and Bennett's characters as well as brought the reader closer to other members of Olivia's family.
While the final resolution of the book was one that I fully expected, the path taken to get there was satisfyingly rich and moving. Like Olivia's grandmother, I wanted to see these two come together but knew they had to make their own way to that happy ending, and it was well worth the wait.
Extra points for the book's many mouthwatering descriptions of food, plus bonus recipes at the end!
CW: death of family members (past and present)
Thank you, Grand Central Publishing (Forever) and NetGalley, for providing an eARC of this book. Opinions expressed here are solely my own.
“I’ve never felt more myself than when I’m with you. And life’s too short not to be with someone you feel most yourself with.”
Olivia and Bennett. They’re both owners of a matchmaking business. Traditional vs modern. Olivia’s family has owned Lunar Love for the past fifty years and Bennett is about to launch his new dating app, ZodiaCupid. The only problem is that they both use Chinese zodiac animal signs for their matchmakings. They make a bet to match each other up with someone using their own methods and the winner will receive more clients/sponsors. Sometimes the matchmaker needs a matchmaker of their own.
🌙READ IF YOU LIKE🌙:
- rivals to lovers
- witty banter
- zodiac matchmaking
- crescent moon
- opposites attract
- astrology & baking
- dating app
- Chinese culture & traditions
- Asian-American rep
- You’ve Got Mail vibes
- random but interesting fun facts
cw: death of loved ones, manipulation from past relationship,
Thank you to @netgalley and @readforeverpub for the advanced copy! Lunar Love is available on January 10, 2023!
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