May 8, 2019

Friends with ARCs | The Key to Happily Ever After + There's Something About Sweetie

The Key to Happily Ever After centers around the de la Rosa sisters, Marisol, Janelyn & Pearl, who have just stepped up to take over their parents’ successful DC wedding planning business together. But in the middle of planning weddings and budding romances, will these three sisters be able to find a way to work together without their family falling apart?

Three sisters (of Filipino heritage) running a wedding planning business? The Key to Happily Ever After immediately grabbed my attention when I first came across the synopsis a few months ago, and finding out that it was penned by Tif Marcelo (who is a Filipino author and one of the kindest women I’ve ever met) sealed the deal on my need to read this one. Unfortunately, perhaps it was a combination of my own expectations being a little too high and laboring under the misconception that this was going to be romance-centered (spoiler: it’s actually not, and I should have known this based on the summary if I’d remembered to check it), but this one was just fine overall. I enjoyed the de la Rosa girls, specifically because they reflected myself, my sisters and our relationships in so many ways, as well as the touches of Filipino culture (especially the food!) and the wedding planning aspect of the story. But I felt like the actual story was a touch underdeveloped, particularly when it came to developing the relationships (the romantic ones, sure, but also the ones between the sisters), and also suffered from a case of having too many things happening and not enough page time to cover them. Still, even with my reservations, I thought it was a decently entertaining women’s fiction read.

What is your favorite rom-com film featuring a wedding aspect? While I have major love for 27 Dresses and The Wedding Planner, I knew immediately that I was going to pick Bride Wars. I’ve seen that movie so many times, and I still love it just as much every single time. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt and I just truly enjoy it.

The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo | Publisher: Gallery Books | Publication Date: May 14, 2019 | Source: e-galley downloaded from Edelweiss (Thank you!)

Sweetie Nair is a top-notch track athlete, an incredible singer and an all-around wonderful girl. But all her mother seems to care about is the fact that Sweetie is fat and how that needs to change so that Sweetie’s life will ultimately be better. Ashish Patel, on the other hand, is still heartbroken after being dumped by his cheating ex-girlfriend. Determined to call his parents’ bluff about them being capable of finding him a better match, Ashish agrees to have them set him up with an Indian-American girl… complete with contracted, parent-approved dates and all. That is how Sweetie and Ashish meet initially, but neither one expects the spark between them. As they grow closer with every date, will they be able to stay true to themselves and find a way to really be together?

Friends, I have a new favorite Sandhya Menon novel: There’s Something About Sweetie. I binge read the entirety of this novel in an afternoon because I just could not put it down once I started it. Menon’s compulsively readable writing, the fun and mostly realistic teen rom-com plot, the humor and heart of this story and a very strong cast of secondary characters played their part in making me fall in love with this book. But it was our two main characters – Sweetie and Ashish – were what cemented my deep appreciation for this story. Sweetie was a delight, Ashish was equally enjoyable, and both were people I’d love to be friends with – each of them kind, clever, intuitive, confident and all-around just wonderful. I felt so deeply for them as they faced their individual struggles (though I admittedly felt a little more strongly about Sweetie’s versus Ashish’s), and I was rooting for their relationship to work out right from the start. My only reservation lies in something that happens towards the end, but even that’s not enough to deter me from thoroughly loving and recommending this story. I laughed, I cried and I finished this one with the biggest smile ever on my face, and would 100% recommend picking this up if you’re into young adult contemporary romance.

Was there something at school you were really passionate about? This is a little difficult for me, as I was interested in a lot of things we did as a batch (school trips, sports festivals, theater & drama) in school. But I guess, were I to mention something I was particularly interested in (and excellent at), it was the SRA sessions - because I used to be sorted into the top level and once I finished that, I could read whatever I wanted.

P.S. If you want more of Dimple & Rishi, and a teensy bit more of Ashish & Sweetie, you might want to check out As Kismet Would Have It! It’s a delightful short story that takes place after the events of When Dimple Made Rishi, and it made me so happy when I read it.

There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon | Series: Dimple and Rishi #2 | Previous Book in Series: When Dimple Met Rishi | Publisher: Simon Pulse | Publication Date: May 14, 2019 | Source: e-galley downloaded from NetGalley (Thank you!)


  1. Great reviews! I have a copy of The Key to Happily Ever After, and totally thought it was a romance. I'll go into it knowing that, and hopefully will help me enjoy the story more now that I know that.


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