Review: He’s Not My Boyfriend – Jackie Lau
by Jackie Lau
Series: Chin-Williams #2
Also in this series: Not Another Family Wedding
Publisher: Jackie Lau Books
Publication Date: November 20, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Now that her cousin has tied the knot, Iris Chin—structural engineer, party girl, and queen of kitchen disasters—is the last single grandchild. Her mother and grandmother are desperate to play matchmaker, though Iris doesn’t understand why. They had miserable marriages, and she doesn’t want to be like them. She enjoys her independence, thank you very much. One-night stands are more her style.
Unfortunately, she soon discovers that she’s working on a project with her latest one-night stand, Alex Kwong, a construction supervisor. She’s determined to stay professional on the construction site, but things get off to a bad start when Alex lets slip to a co-worker that they slept together.
To make matters worse, Iris is now living with her grandmother, who keeps stealthily setting her up on dates and sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, and her mother is just as bad. But more than anything, it’s her unwanted feelings for Alex that are derailing her plans to have an exciting single life…
Another Jackie Lau book, another hit out of the park. Like previous books, the title’s pretty accurate for what you get, and it’s a cozy read, though it doesn’t shy away from harder topic, in this case, the loss of a parent and the difficulty of being a woman in fields traditionally dominated by men. Also, lots of yummy food!
“Iris looked at her watch. It had taken seven minutes and thirty-two seconds from the time she’d entered her grandmother’s house for someone to mention her single status.”
After her cousin Natalie’s marriage, Iris is the remaining unmarried holdout of her generation in her family – something her mother and her grandma, Ngin Ngin, are trying to remedy as quickly as possible. Iris, however, is perfectly happy being single and has no interest in a relationship longer than a one-night-stand. Part of that stems from watching her grandma and mother’s relationships, and comparing how much more outgoing Ngin Ngin was after her husband’s death and her mothers 70s-era single escapades to her staid married life, and part of it is just that she’s never met anyone that she wanted more with. Of course, this being a romance novel, things change when she meets Alex at a bar. For whatever reason, neither can stop thinking about the other, and after a workplace encounter, next thing they know, Alex is having dinner with Iris and Ngin Ngin, even while they’re still insisting they’re not in a relationship.
“You know, I won’t be around forever. Am very old. One day, I will be dead, and you will say, ‘I wish I told Ngin Ngin about hot Chinese man I slept with!’”
I was so happy to see Ngin Ngin again! There’s lots of her in this book, as Iris ends up moving into her house. She’s quite hilarious, and I hope I’m just like her when I’m 91! Honestly, I loved the family relationships in this book, from Alex’s dad’s weekly grocery deliveries (every single guy needs 3 freezer bags of wontons!) to Iris’ mom’s and grandma’s romantic machinations. The matchmaking attempts by both Iris’s mom and grandma were hilarious, though frustrating from Iris’ point of view. Iris’ and Alex’s relationships with their respective dads were an interesting contrast to their relationships with their moms, and I think it’s something that a lot of readers will empathize with.
“Rather than giving up a part of myself, I found a part of myself when I was with you.”
I understood Iris’ reasons for not being interested in a relationship – honestly, she sounded like she had a good thing going – but I did find her incredibly stubborn. She based a lot of her self-identification around being a cool, no-strings-attached single woman, and the clash of that and another stressful event led her to be quite cruel to Alex. Alex, for his part, is trying to learn to live with his new normal after his mother’s short battle with cancer. He’s survived it so far by basically burying his emotions and being the go-to guy for going through the motions. Iris is the first person in a long time who brings out his playful side, and he can’t resist needling her. Also, holy crap, this book is steamy. Maybe it’s my own advanced age and soccer mom status, but it was refreshingly sexy how direct Iris and Alex were about getting down to business after meeting at a bar.
Overall, I enjoyed this very much and recommend it highly to anyone looking for a sexy, sweet romance, and Jackie Lau continues to be one of my most recommended authors!