Aunty Lee's Delights by Ovidia Yu
Published by Harper Collins on September 17th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Cultural Heritage, General
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This delectable and witty mystery introduces Rosie "Aunty" Lee, feisty widow, amateur sleuth, and proprietor of Singapore's best-loved home-cooking restaurant
After losing her husband, Rosie Lee could have become one of Singapore's "tai tai," an idle rich lady. Instead she is building a culinary empire from her restaurant, Aunty Lee's Delights, where spicy Singaporean meals are graciously served to locals and tourists alike. But when a body is found in one of Singapore's tourist havens and one of her guests fails to show at a dinner party, Aunty Lee knows that the two events are likely connected.
The murder and disappearance throws together Aunty Lee's henpecked stepson, Mark, his social-climbing wife, Selina, a gay couple whose love is still illegal in Singapore, and an elderly Australian tourist couple whose visit may mask a deeper purpose. Investigating the murder are Police Commissioner Raja and Senior Staff Sergeant Salim, who quickly discover that Aunty Lee's sharp nose for intrigue can sniff out clues that elude law enforcers.
Wise, witty, and charming, Aunty Lee's Delights is a spicy mystery about love, friendship, and food in Singapore, where money flows freely and people of many religions and ethnicities coexist peacefully, but where tensions lurk just below the surface, sometimes with deadly consequences.
I chose this for my South-East Asian author task for Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge.
It was an enjoyable murder/mystery book which follows the investigations after a body is found off Singapore. Aunty Lee – a mix of Jessica Fletcher and Agatha Raisin – decides to “help” the police with their investigations once the victim is found to have been a customer in her cafe.
The characters in this book are great, with some you love and others you loathe! The book is a gentle, cosy mystery with no guts and gore to it. But its a lovely read and one which I enjoyed.
Once again, this is a book that I probably wouldn’t have discovered it without the Book Riot challenge!
The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern
Published by Harper Collins on October 9th 2014
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Fiction
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A thoughtful, captivating and ultimately uplifting novel from this uniquely talented author
Jasmine know two things: one, she loves her vulnerable sister unconditionally, and will fight to the death to protect her from anyone who upsets her. Two, she's only ever been good at one thing – her job helping business start-ups.
So when she’s sacked and put on gardening leave, Jasmine realises that she has nothing else to fill her life. Insomnia keeps her staring out of her bedroom window, and she finds herself watching the antics of her neighbour, shock jock Matt, with more than a casual eye. Matt is also taking a forced leave of absence from work, after one of his controversial chat shows went too far…
Jasmine has every reason to dislike Matt, and the feeling appears to be mutual. But not everything is as it seems, and soon Jasmine and Matt are forced to think again…
I usually love Cecelia Ahern books, so I deliberately chose this read after finishing (what I thought was) the mediocre Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Unfortunately this just didn’t do it for me.
It’s a decent enough story about Jasmine, who is put on a year’s gardening leave after being fired from her very busy job; and Matt, a seemingly obnoxious, alcoholic, “shock jock” DJ who’s under investigation at work after an on-air stunt. Jasmine and Matt are the only “young people” in their cul-de-sac of retirees, and the story follows not only them meeting each other, but their respective awakenings from their previous lives.
However, unlike previous Ahern novels there is no magical element, and nothing meaningful or exciting happens to twist or turn the story. There are some nice characters – Dr J and Heather are two that spring to mind. But I didn’t warm to Jasmine and couldn’t get on board with her love interest, Monday, either.
The book is also written in the second person which is not only irritating but which also adds to the feeling that Jasmine is selfish and self-absorbed, adding to her unlikability.
I was so looking forward to this read, and just ended up being disappointed.