Thursday, April 30, 2009

Playing With Matches
by Cathy Yardley, Katherine Greyle, Sebeeha Johnson and Karen Harbaugh

Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: March 2003
ISBN-13: 9780451208309

These four stories were written by an Asian American authors for a romance anthology, published from NAL/Signet. The theme for Playing with Matches, is about four tales of modern matchmaking with the Asian traditional culture as a backdrop. Kathy Greyle, Karen Harbaugh, and Sabeeha Johnson, the authors who wrote the first ever anthology collection featuring Asian-American stories by Asian-American authors.

1. Romancing Rose by Cathy Yardley
*Back Book Blurb*
Rose Parker decides to take a crash course in Vietnamese culture to avoid her grandmother's incessant matchmaking attempts. But when her hunky tutor offers to teach her about her heart as well as her heritage, Rose wonders if her grandmother isn't on to something after all
*End Back Book Blurb*

- What I like about this book is that everything mention of the Vietnamese culture are true. There were lot of stuff I recognized that made me really excited to see that it was written as real. Such as the name of the Vietnamese foods: Beef Pho Soup, Rice cake, Eggs roll..etc. And than the spicy stuff that are used to eat soup. And than the formal dress-paint suit that Vietnamese people wear call Ao Dai. And the rearrange marriage. It just seem like when am reading the story, I'm living in it. The writing was fast pace reading and enjoyable. I like how Rose come to terms with the disconnect she feels from her cultural identity. And learning about her cultures. The only thing I want to complaint about is how insulting the Vietnamese grandmother was about Rose is half Vietnamese. I felt I want to scream at her. And than there were some insulting thing being said about other stuff too from other character. Other than that the story were good!
Grade: 4 stars

2. Dragon For Dinner by Katherine Greyle
*Back Book Blurb*
Su-Ling Chen will do anything to rebel-including show up at her father's birthday bash with motorcycle riding bad boy Mitch Kurtz. But when true passion is ignited, will she defer to the expectations of her family...or choose the man who has stolen her heart?
*End Back Book Blurb*

- Su-Ling Chen met Mitch Kurtz, when her family had a birthday gathering for her father at the Yen Ching’s restaurant. She used him to pretend to be a FBI agent so that she can horrified her family in the men she chose as boyfriend. Never did she realized that Mitch bring out some unexpected sensual feeling in her. Chemistry and lust lead their affair to take side: family or their heart.

What I like about this story is that both main characters learn something from each other. I think they do bring out the best in one another. I love how Mitch was bad boy, only to prove to his parent that he can live the way he wanted without them choosing his life for him. But he realized that families are important to him and is part of his life no matter what happen.

I love to see them try to fight to stick together, especially when Su-Ling think family come first. The chemistry between them was hot! And some of the scenes made me chuckle a couple of times. The writing was well written and romance developed between them were emotionally written in way that true to Asian cultures way of life.
Grade: 5 stars

3. The Spice Bazaar by Sebeeha Johnson
*Back Book Blurb*
When Nalini agreed to meet the Indian accountant her family picked out for her, she had no idea he'd be so...irresistible. But what will she do when she discovers that the man she met was not her intended, but his friend instead?
*End Back Book Blurb*

- I thought that both characters were written so vividly drawn that when they fell in love you can just feel for them. Even when they were promises for someone else, they just didn't want to lose each other even if Lokesh felt he must tell her the truth or else feeling the guilt for the rest of their life just weren't do.
Grade: 4 stars

4. by Karen Harbaugh
*Back Book Blurb*
Thrilled that her mother - the Blind Date Empress of San Francisco - had no hand in her meeting Kyle Nakagawa, Amy Miyazaki finds herself falling hard for her new boss. Until she learns that Kyle's father was just as responsible for their first encounter as her meddlesome mother!
*End Back Book Blurb*

- I think I like the set up between the two characters. Both were set up from their family and after the meet up, fell in love. Unknown to them that both parents were planning a matchmaking schemes, when Amy took the opportunity to take a website-designing job in Seattle.
Grade: 4 1/2 stars

The books as a whole was a great reading! I enjoy it and hope to read more stories from these authors. I learn lot of things about other cultures and hope to learn more about the people who I have became friends with over the years :)

I also want to thank my friend Darla for recommended and sent me this book. I weren't have discover these stories if it wasn't for you. There really isn't lot of Asian authors but if I ever come across some, I be reading them! :)


Alice Teh said...

"Dragon for Dinner" sounds like a great title. I'm glad you like the book. Thanks for the review, Julia!

Julia said...

Alice, thanks for your comment. I honesty think that you will like rading this book. Especially, DRAGON FOR DINNER, I think you will like :)

Melody said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this book, Julia!

Gosh, I haven't been reading an anthology for some time!

Julia said...

Like I said to Alice, I think you would have enjoy reading all these short stories from this anthology, Melody. The stories are all Asian culture romance. :)