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Weddings and Wasabi (novella): Book 4 in the Sushi series (Volume 4) Paperback – August 23, 2015
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About the Author
Camy writes Christian contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance as USA Today bestselling author Camille Elliot. She lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of the Sunday worship teams. Visit her websites at camytang.com/ and camilleelliot.com/ to read free short stories and subscribe to her quarterly newsletter.
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I needn't have worried. At the end of chapter 1, Jenn, the "good" cousin is thinking, "Sure, she knew him. Knew the next time he came for his goat she'd ram her chef's knife, Michael Meyers style, right between his eyes."
Yep, same old cousins, same old Sakai family.
The title of my review comes from the famous line so frequently uttered by Bugs Bunny when he has been pushed too far and is about to invoke his own version of Shock and Awe. First uttered by Groucho Marx and others in Duck Soup it was a signal to the audience that peaceful and placating Bugs was about to massively retaliate, a deliberate attempt on the part of director Chuck Jones to justify to the audience the mayhem that was about to ensue.
Camy Tang performs something similar here. Jenn, the quiet cousin, the good cousin, the one who liked everyone to get along,... the doormat, finally rebels against the selfish expectations of her censuring and crying and arguing and yelling and nagging family after they ruin her culinary degree celebration party by inviting the thug who beat her up in college and trying to force her to go to work at the family restaurant. So they respond by trying to bully her.
With the help of her four cousins: Lex, Trish, and Venus, the heroines of the first three books; Mimi, finally fighting on the right side this time; and Edward Castillo, the (in Jenn's opinion) dreamy, Hispanic, Harley-riding but secretly nerdy farmer who rescued her from a couple of flat tires, Jenn will wage a war of increasing retaliation against her vengeful and uncaring family, and before I give you the wrong impression, let me assure you that every minute of it will be falling down laughing on the floor funny. According to the Author's Note, Ms. Tang was listening to the album Every Time I Breathe for inspiration while she was writing this book. As for me, I was hearing The Carl Stalling Project: Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons, 1936-1958 playing in my head while I was reading it.
So thus ends the saga of the screwball Sakai Family, or does it? After the events of this novel I can see the makings of a 5th book: cousin Mimi's story. In a Customer Discussion on the Sushi for One? Product Page Ms. Tang contemplates it, and the observant reader will notice that in this novel Ms. Tang places her Sushi Series and her Deadly Intent series into the same universe.
Note: Ms. Tang is also the author of the start of another Asian-American Christian suspense romance novel series: Protection for Hire.
Note: For full disclosure I was given this ebook by the author rather than purchasing it.
A Story About Many Things!
What a surprise! The story is about many things. In a way, it is a coming of age story about the heroine, Jenn, who at 30-something, comes into her own as an independent family member and self-actualizing individual. It's an intriguing story of an extended Asian American family. Jenn has over fifty cousins living close by that she can call by name. It's a culinary story with lots of cooking. Jenn has just earned her cullinary degree. It's a wacky story with motorcycles and a central character who is a goat named Pookie. (Seriously).
Inspiring, Intriguing, Good Times & Sad
It is also an inspiring and intriguing story that weavs prayer and Christian values into complex family relationships where Buddhism is still practiced. It's also a sad story because life can be sad at the same time the good times are happening.
It's One Big Novella!
"Weddings and Wasabi" may be a novella but more happens in the story than you'd expect to find in a 300 page novel. (In fact, the author has indicated that"Weddings and Wasabi" would have been a novel if she had had the time to write it. She's now writing mysteries under contract for Love Inspired but still wanted to finish out this series for her Sushi fans.)
What Kind of Book Is This?
I did ask the author, who was doing a blog appearance at the time, what kind of book "Weddings and Wasabi" really was. She called it a "humorous contemporary romance". I differ a little with this description. I think "Weddings and Wasabi" is somewhere between a genre romance, where the central focus is on the relationship between the hero and heroine and women's fiction, where the central focus is on issues important to women.
There Is a Romance
There is a budding romance going on with Edward but it is not the central focus of the novel. Jenn and Edward seem ideal for each other and given more time they should find love and happiness. Edward looks the part of a bad boy with his new Harley motorcycle and leathers but he really works with his hands in the family vineyards.
Gateway Book -- Well Edited!
"Weddings and Wasabi" is a fun and easy way to sample Camy Tang's Sushi Series. It is an easy read. The editing is excellent. I did not find one typo or have to read any sentence twice to derive its meaning. I hope the author has time to give us Mimi's story!
Five Stars & Highest Recommendation!
When Jenn finally realizes that her family does not care what Jenn's desires are she decides that she is going to take control of her life and branch out on her own. She decides to open her own catering business instead of going into Aunty's business. This brings the wrath of her Aunty onto to her. With the support of her cousins Jenn plans her first catering job for her cousin Trish's wedding.
While heading to a wine-tasting vineyard Jenn and her cousin Trish are passed by Edward on his Harley. They get a flat tire and Edward turns around to help them out. His family owns another vineyard nearby. He and Jenn are immediately attracted to each other. He too comes from a large family that can get very loud! After meeting Edwards's family she realizes that she has neglected to pray for her business, she has neglected going to church and she has neglected reading her Bible. She soon remedies those things just as her dreams seem to start falling apart.
As always Camy Tangs books crack me up! Filled with a crazy family, a water gun attack, an Aunty bent on revenge, and a goat, Weddings and Wasabi is one wild ride! I do have one complaint though, Weddings and Wasabi was not as long as the other books in the series. I think that Jenn's story could have been more detailed. It was over too soon!