I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
Published by Berkley on 2021-10-26
Length: 358 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2022, 2022 Beat the Backlist, COYER 2022
A baker provides the sweetest escape for an actor in this charming romantic comedy.
Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After years of constant work and the sudden death of his mother, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn't know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him on Twitter instead of meeting him for dim sum.
Innovative baker Lindsay McLeod meets Ryan when he knocks over two dozen specialty donuts at her bakery. Their relationship is off to a messy start, but there’s no denying their immediate attraction. When Ryan signs up for a celebrity episode of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him how to bake and she agrees.
As Lindsay and Ryan spend time together, bonding over grief and bubble tea, it starts to feel like they’re cooking up something sweeter than cupcakes in the kitchen.
This one had so much promise, but did not live up to my expectations. Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau is billed as a rom-com, diverse/own voices, and (for me) set in another country so I was excited to dive in. If it wasn’t for the fact that this was an ARC read that I was buddy reading, I would have DNFed it. I hate doing that to any book, but I just didn’t enjoy it at all. Donut Fall in Love follows Lindsey, a local bakery owner, and Ryan, a Hollywood celebrity, as they navigate first friendship and then something a little more.
What I Liked:
I really enjoyed the banter between Ryan and his dad. Losing his mom suddenly a few months prior has left Ryan to fill her shoes. Ryan and his dad do not understand each other, and as a result butt heads at every turn. I have to give his dad credit though. He is trying, in his own roundabout way, to connect with his son.
I also liked Lindsey’s interactions with her friends and roommate. This is the only time I felt like Lindsey was fully fleshed out. Vivian and Noreen made me feel something for her. I also enjoyed the baking scenes…made me a little hungry to be honest 😆
What Left Me Wanting More:
This story is told in a passive voice, very little action happens on page. Instead the writer adopted to use a “tell me” instead of “show me” approach. What do I mean by that? For example, instead of writing about how Ryan was developing feelings for Lindsey, I was simply told that he had feelings. There was little lead up to anything in the story. Most things happened, as I already said, off page and then discussed later. This really hindered the romance of the story. Romance should make the reader feel what the characters are in that moment, and instead I was bored.
Ryan and Lindsey were not fully fleshed out. While I liked and enjoyed Ryan’s perspective (at least more than Lindsey), Lindsey’s scenes were very dull. Emotion and action were missing which left me disconnected from the story, like an outsider looking in. The transitions from Ryan’s POV to Lindsey’s were also disjointed which sometimes made me feel like I’d skipped a page.
Then there was the climax of the story. Ryan sought Lindsey out after he was asked to be on a baking show. He didn’t want to appear totally clueless so he hired her to teach him the basics of baking. The filming of the show was (in my opinion) a big part of the book. Like it should be a part of the climax as this was what they were working towards in the first place. However it was given as much detail as the rest of the book, meaning that I was told what happened instead of experiencing it through Ryan which was a big let down.
While I didn’t hate it, Donut Fall in Love was a disappointment. I was expecting a fluffy rom-com with a sweet meet-cute and something that would make my heart go pitter-patter. What I got instead was not much comedy, some steamy (yet awkward) scenes, and flat characters. Rarely do I say this, but here goes…I would not recommend this one.