While cozy mysteries are my favorites some days it is good to switch it up and read a romantic comedy.
Let me tell you about Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat.
Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat
Contemporary Multicultural Romances/Romantic Comedy
Setting – Alaska Cruise
Berkley (April 18, 2023)
Paperback : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 059344065X
ISBN-13 : 978-0593440650
Kindle ASIN : B0B6YNGMD7
An impulsive decision to join an Alaskan cruise getaway brings the chance for an onboard romance in this new enemies-to-lovers romance from the author of A Holly Jolly Diwali.
Jasmine Randhawa likes everyone to think she has it all—great job, perfect Seattle apartment, and a handsome boyfriend. But she’s not as confident or successful as she seems, and her relationship is at a breaking point.
When Jasmine finds herself single and tagging along on her parents’ vacation, she’s not sure her life can get any farther off course. It’s a nightmare for someone who’s been so fiercely independent to find herself on a cruise full of family friends who’ve judged her since childhood. Things only get worse once the ship leaves the harbor and she realizes that this is a seniors’ cruise, and the only other person under fifty on the entire boat is her childhood acquaintance, cocky and successful Jake Dhillon.
Jasmine and Jake clash right away, with Jasmine smarting over how their South Asian community puts him on a pedestal as the perfect Indian son, whereas her reputation as a troublemaker precedes her. Except they can’t avoid each other forever during the ten-day cruise, and they soon recognize a surprising number of similarities, especially in how many secrets they’re keeping hidden from their families. Their restlessness seems to disappear whenever they’re together, but is this relationship strong enough to last on land?
Jasmine Randhawa’s life is far from ideal. She has had a rocky relationship with her parents for years due to some behaviors they did not approve of and the local South Asian community holds it against her too. Her sister is the favored one. Jasmine can’t seem to quit her romantic ex either even though she should have long ago. She is also living well beyond her means but an impulsive decision has her going on a 10-day Alaska cruise with her parents hoping to reconnect with some old friends. It isn’t until she is onboard the ship and looks around that she realizes she is on a Seniors’ Cruise and the only person close to her age is a kid she used to babysit, Jake Dhillon.
Jasmine really wants nothing to do with Jake but she loves how much any time they spend together upsets the organizer of the tour who happens to be his biological Auntie. They end up spending more and more time together but she is still afraid to take another chance on any man, let alone a younger man.
This is definitely Jasmine’s story of trying to get her life on track but reading about how she was raised and ridiculed was heartbreaking. I know it is a cultural thing but a whole community of people judging you has to be so hard. Behavior held against her would have been praised if she was male. I was so happy Jake was on that ship. Could you imagine how hard 10 days would be if she was there by herself with all the seniors and their snide looks and comments?
Both Jasmine and Jake grow over the course of the book. It is easy to root for them but mostly for Jasmine. I enjoyed the way the author had Jasmine take a hard look at herself and allowed her to try to make inroads with her parents. Jake seems to be the “golden boy”. His father and Auntie heaped praise upon him throughout his life. That is pressure too. Both characters didn’t want to disappoint their family. The author did an excellent job of shining a light on the double standard within the South Asian community.
I really enjoyed that the story took place on a cruise ship and the main characters were surrounded by seniors that they had grown up with and for the most part respected. It gave everyone excellent opportunities to mend fences and get to know Jasmine for who she really is. It also gave Jasmine and Jake to get to know each other pretty well in a short amount of time. Jasmine’s roommate had a lot of spunk and gave Jasmine some good advice. I enjoyed learning more about South Asian culture too although hated the way Jasmine and I suppose other women like her were treated. It felt very much like bullying.
Sonya Lalli has given readers a very well-written story that is much more than a contemporary romance. Jasmine has a lot of depth with many layers to be peeled away. Jake while almost secondary in many parts of the story turned out to be the right person in the right place at the right time. I was very happy with the ending.
I found Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat to be very entertaining with spirited characters, a clean romance, some nice bits of humor, and views of the Northern Lights all aboard a wonderful cruise ship. I enjoyed my virtual vacay with Jasmine and Jake.
This is the 1st book I have read by Sonya Lalli but am very interested in reading more of her stories.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About the Author
Sonya Lalli grew up in Canada and now works as a journalist in London. She was inspired to write her debut novel by the strong Indian women in her life, including her real-life Nani – who thankfully is yet to play matchmaker.
Visit her website www.sonyalalli.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”