Thumbs up for The Stand-In by Lily Chu. Contemporary romance.
Gracie Reed is living an ordinary Millennial life, trying out one to-do list app after another in an effort to keep it together. Then she’s approached by a famous Chinese actress: Wei Fangli wants her to be her public events stand-in while she’s in Toronto for a theater production. Which means that Gracie will be on the arm of Fangli’s leading man, Sam Yao, one of the hottest men in the world….though he does NOT approve of this plan. A friend of mine listened to this in the original audiobook form, and sent it to me as soon as it came out in paperback, despite having been repeatedly warned that I don’t like contemporary romance. Well, she was right. I ended up reading it in one sitting. There’s a satisfying slow-burn antagonists-to-lovers romance with Sam, but there’s more going on here than just the romance. Gracie’s growing friendship with Fangli, her dream of designing the perfect to-do app, and her determination to get her mother into a better living situation, make this a nicely balanced book with just the right touch of extra depth under the fluff. I keep very few books these days, but this one’s a keeper for me. Highly recommended.
Thank God the food comes quickly because Sam’s newly professed sociability does not extend to cheerful conversation. Wo zai chi fan (I am eating; finally I have a phrase that matches what I’m doing) but the food’s so good I slow down to savor it. I was initially worried that it would be one of those platter-sized dishes with a thimbleful of food and a drizzle of some pomegranate-pine needle reduction, but I was wrong. The poached fish with ginger reminds me of my childhood.
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