Hello my lovely followers,
I am happy to have you on my blog today for the Release Blitz + Review of Natasha Washington’s first book in her new series LA Teachers Teach Me Tonight (out October 6).
If you’re a fan of a good, slow building romance between an Asian American single dad who’s also a hard working restaurant owner and a kinergarten teacher who’s originally trying to achieving a music career but hasn’t succeed well and found now passion in teaching this book is totally your cup of tea. 🙂
Read also further for my review and all the other necessary book details.
Title: Teach Me Tonight
Author: Natasha Washington
Series: LA Teachers # 1
Genre: M/M Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Strangest of Places Press
Length : 244 pages
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Nic Moretti teaches kindergarten at Bridges Elementary, a private school in LA’s Santa Monica Mountains. He likes being a teacher, but he misses playing and writing music. Since he basically gave up on pursuing music as a career a year ago, he hasn’t been able to write anything decent, and it’s driving him crazy. Add to that the pressure he’s getting from his family and friends to find someone to date, and Nic’s feeling pretty frustrated.
Kim Junseo owns two Korean fusion restaurant he built from the ground up, and he keeps himself busy running it and taking care of his 5-year-old daughter, Hee-Young. Though on the surface he seems successful and happy, he’s also lonely – and terrified of relationships, since his marriage to his ex-husband Noah ended in disaster three years ago.
When Junseo comes to Nic’s classroom to throw Hee-Young a birthday party, sparks fly. Nic thinks Junseo is impossibly handsome, funny and sweet. Junseo’s drawn to Nic’s goofy, gentle spirit and thinks he’s beautiful. Junseo doesn’t even think twice about volunteering to teach Nic’s class about food and cooking. One thing leads to another, and soon they’re bonding over kimchi fried rice at Junseo’s restaurant and salami and cheese sandwiches at the Getty Villa as the heat builds between them.
Nic can feel himself opening up to Junseo, even telling him about his abusive father, a part of his past that he never shares with anyone. Nic’s writing music again, and Junseo is finally letting down his guard. Then Junseo’s abusive ex-husband Noah re-appears in his life, claiming good intentions, but Nic’s afraid that Noah’s going to try to worm his way back into Junseo’s life and hurt him. Junseo, struggling to deal with old demons he thought he’d buried, pushes Nic away. He doesn’t like anyone telling him how to live his life, whether it’s Noah or Nic.
“Probably good to get everyone cleaned up before anyone has any food,” Mr. Moretti told him, wiping his own hands on his jeans, which were as hopelessly stained as his shirt. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t even introduce myself. Hello, Mr. Kim. I’m—”
“Mr. Nic, this is Mr. Nic!” Hee-Young exclaimed. “The best teacher in the whole entire world.”
Nic turned a very attractive shade of pink and held out his hand. His grip was strong, his fingers slightly rough with callouses.
“You can call me Junseo.”
“Everyone, Hee-Young’s father has brought some snacks for us, but you can’t have snacks until you have clean hands. Let’s do this quietly and—”
There was an explosion of noise as fourteen kindergartners leapt out of their seats and made a mad dash for the sinks. Nic caught one boy by his collar when he went to press his red and green-streaked palms into a girl’s back, and two boys nearly went down in a pile after tripping over each other. There was paint literally everywhere. Nic looked like he regretted all of his life choices.
“The kids are a lot, huh,” Junseo said.
“I am supposed to be the captain of this vessel, but I am constantly reminded I’m just a passenger,” Nic said, mournfully, and Junseo laughed.
But ten minutes later, all of the students had miraculously clean hands, and Junseo was handing out snacks on little silver plates. While all of the students were eating, he uncovered the cupcake tray. At the center was a special pink one decorated with a sword-wielding little girl. He was proud of it – he wasn’t really that good at icing, but he’d gotten his pastry chef to help teach him how to do it, and it looked pretty professional.
“Where did you get these?” Nic asked. “They’re beautiful.”
“Oh,” Junseo said, and he felt his cheeks heat. “I made them. I—I’m a chef. I mean, I don’t usually make cupcakes. Just for special occasions. Normally, though, I own a Korean restaurant. Um – two restaurants, actually.”
“That’s…amazing,” Nic said. He cleared his throat. “That’s so cool.”
Junseo placed a candle in the cupcake’s shimmery frosting and lit it, and when he put it in front of Hee-Young, her face brightened so she looked like a small, exuberant sun.
“Appa, is it Mulan?”
“It is, my warrior princess,” Junseo said, and he felt like his heart was going to melt out of his ears.
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
I would lie if I’d say that this book wasn’t picking my interest because of its tropes and topics.
When I read it was about a single dad, who is on top a restaurant owner I was halfway in love already. That combined with the fact the love interest is a kindergarten teacher, a kind soul who’s trying to achieve a music carreer but unfortunately had to press pause on his dreams was what ultimately let me rush to get this book. And I wasn’t dissapointed. Not at all.
The chemistry between Nic and Junseo is on point. There’s a mutual attraction between them from their first meeting, both are well aware how delicate their positions are: Nic is the kindergarten teacher of Junseo’s daughter Hee-Young and it’s not appropriate to pine after each other. But feelings know no limits and soon they are spending more time together.
I was very intrigued by the fact that Nic is originally trying to achieve a music carreer and how this was involved in the storyline, it was well balanced, gave the story a few emotional moments and it helps the reader to understand Nic as a character better, how he is so gentle and kind, but how through the music he expresses a side of himself that’s mostly hidden under the appearance of a role model for the younger children.
The idea of including Junseo to Nic’s teaching routine in being a co-teacher for a while was a sweet addition, I really liked how well they’ve got along.
The aspect of Junseo having a (cancelled) TV show wasn’t necessary in my opinion, though it explained a few bits of Junseo’s past. I still think this could have easily edited out or included better. In the overall storyline it felt a bit out of place.
Another aspect I like to criticise is, as indicated in the blurb, another subplot going on, the re-appearance of Hee-Young’s father and ex-husband of Junseo, Noah, and while I got that he brought the necessary drama and anxiety, especially towards the end, I was a bit unsatisfied how it was fleshed out, hence the reduction of half a star in the end.
The book definitely shone because of the main characters but as well as the side-characters, startinig with Junseo’s daughter Hee-Young who’s a delight going on to the close friends of Nic, the other teacher friends who are all – without any exception – on the queer spectrum. I really loved how their relationship was so open and welcoming towards Junseo he instantly felt at home.
The book was a pleasant read and good introduction of a new series that I am excited to read more about. The tropes and topics were executed well despite a few bumps in my opinion in some parts. Overall it was a solid read that definitely deserves the 4.5 stars I give it ultimately.
Author bio – Natasha Washington
Natasha Washington lives in Philadelphia, where she writes queer love stories in both YA (as Sonia Belasco) and romance. When not writing, she is likely cooking, taking long, meandering walks, or listening to dance music or 90s hip-hop.
Blogtour materials provided by A Novel Take PR