Audiobook Review: Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

Posted August 12, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Audio Delight, Reviews / 23 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho
Last Tang Standing
Narrated by Catherine Ho

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
three-flames


Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Penguin Random House Audio
Released on June 9, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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The Delight

Desperate times and all that for hardworking, high-achieving Andrea Tang as she faces the traditions of her Chinese-Malaysian family.  She’s lost herself along the way and when facing the moment when all she has worked for is on the line, will she choose family expectations or personal happiness?
I was thrilled to come across this debut story laced with humor, but featuring the difficult internal journey of a middle class career woman in southeast Asia.


Review

Andrea Tang faces another family Chinese New Year celebration that is pure torture if one is still single.  The older aunties take sadistic pleasure in hassling her and the few others to get with it and find a rich Chinese man to settle down and start a family with.  Andrea isn’t opposed to such a thing and even wistfully dreams of it, but she hasn’t come across a man fitting that description who stirs her enough to commit marriage with.  She puts all her efforts into making partner at her law firm and is in competition with Suresh Aditparan.  They share an office and swap witticisms.  For a competitor, he’s fun to be around and she is not unimpressed with his side interest of writing a comic that is growing an audience.  He’s all wrong for her and besides, he’s got a marriage contract with an amazing medical professional.

Through life’s up and downs of cousins finding their someones, friends’ lives, and trying to get a handle on her handbag collection and drinking habit, Andrea grows disgruntled with her life even when she finds the perfect man in Eric Deng, wealthy businessman.  Instead of feeling free and happy from being on the verge of impressing her critical family, she feels a panic attack coming on.  But, the pressure is really and Eric really is something special.

Andrea is a sparkling, pretty, and driven person and there is something engaging about her willing to put up with unhappiness to care about her family’s wishes, but at the same time, she can party hard with the booze, jump to conclusions and be somewhat self-absorbed (who isn’t, right?).  She lives in a cut-throat world where social climbing and power-networking mean she has to be a shark, too.  I found her both funny and frustrating at the same time.  She had a personal journey to take, but she wasn’t immediately changed and had some set backs and detours.

I’m not a fan of love triangles, but this one made sense to the type of story it was because both men fit with the opposite choices, too.  And, it didn’t feel like much of a love triangle most of the time because one was unavailable.  I liked both men and felt both were worthy in their ways just not necessarily both were right for Andrea.

The lush descriptions of life in Singapore was interesting as was the description of Andrea’s family traditions and the traditions of other Asians living there and around Malaysia.  It’s a very different world from my own and expanded my knowledge.  I was glad the author took the time to explain various things to the members of her reading-listening audience who knew little of the culture like myself.

I loved the way Andrea came to know herself and see her private strength and determination emerge as well as her eventual journey to love, but along the way, I had a great time with her in situations with her friends especially her old college roommate, Linda.  Together, they get into some hilarious situations though, my stars, I can’t believe neither need a liver transplant as much as they drank.  It was also fascinating seeing Andrea in her work setting that involved contracts with big international businesses.

My only niggle is that it had several places in the story that lagged and didn’t move forward.  I skimmed a few times to get past those moments.

This was my first time listening to Christina Ho’s narration work.  Her voice was easy listening and I enjoyed her moderate voice acting that went beyond narration work to include lots of emotion.  Her Andrea cackle of glee made me laugh each time.  I thought she was very versatile with elder voices, male, and even the accents of the non-Chinese characters.  I want to hear more of her work.

In summary, it was an engaging character-driven story, a heroine on a personal journey, and a setting that sparkled with color and spice.  Those who enjoy chick lit, women’s fiction, romcoms, and light contemporary romance should give this one a look-see.

My thanks to Penguin-Random House Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.


Challenges Met

Audio #62
Literary Pickers #96 Southeast Asia
New Release #113

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Crystal
1 month ago

This sounds like a great read. I love that this book features Asian culture. I can relate to or know of some of the things the MC goes through, like familial pressure to find the right man and the drinking culture.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Crystal

It was highly entertaining and Andrea was a well-written character. I thought it was neat learning about modern Asian culture, too, Crystal. That is interesting to get your take on the way the culture was described. I figured it was accurate since the author is Asian, but nice to get confirmation from someone I know, too.

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
1 month ago

hmm new author and narrator to me. Thanks Sophia Rose I enjoyed learning about this book!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

This is a debut story, I believe. I loved that an Asian narrator was picked to read it. She did fab. Glad to put you onto it, Debbie!

Anne - Books of My Heart

You do such a great job of reading diverse cultures and genres. I am too moody this year to do that as well. I’m sticking to some old favorite genres.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

LOL, stress gets me to grabbing old favs, too. I read or listen to my go-to authors as well. But, I also have fun reaching for the new to mes to get a taste of the unknown. This was a run blend of romcom and women’s fic.

Sharonda
1 month ago

Oh I’m going to have to check this one out. I love books like this!
great review as always Sophia!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Sharonda

Isn’t it fun exploring the new authors? I saw this was a debut book and set in southeast Asia so I dove in with excitement. It was funny even while hitting the serious stuff all in one.

Sam@wlabb
1 month ago

I have this book on my TBR but have been on the fence, so I am very happy to see such a positive review. I like reading books set outside the US too.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam@wlabb

It’s probably one of those right mood sort of books for many people. That’s how it was with me. I set it down a few times to wait for the right mood since it was funny, but Andrea was a hand full. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

I hate triangles, so I am glad this worked for you. One day I am going to get the romance bug back and have a list that is out of control!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

Yeah, it was touch and go a few times with her and those men, but it wasn’t really a romance and was more women’s fic much of the time so I was able to be patient until she had her lightbulb moment. 🙂

Oh man, that is so tough when a genre that you love is just no appeal for a time.

Rachel
1 month ago

It’s nice when a book can pull you in and educate on a different culture. Sounds like an intriguing story. Glad you enjoyed the audio! 🙂

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Rachel

Yes, exactly, Rachel! It was neat to see how people on the other side of the world live. Her audio work was great.

Jen
Jen
1 month ago

This one was not on my radar, but it sounds very interesting. Thanks for the review.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen

Yay, glad to introduce you to it, Jen. 🙂

Lover of Romance
1 month ago

I have been really curious about this one and so happy to see you enjoyed this one so much. Its always so fun to see a character go on a personal journey, it adds such depths to the experience of reading it.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

Happy to give you the down lo, Renee. I agree. Seeing her go through so much and come out on the other side was my favorite part.

vvb
vvb
1 month ago

Cool, I’ve been eye-ing this one. I’ll go for the audioversion too 🙂

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  vvb

Yes, Catherine Ho, did such fantastic narration work. I think you’ll enjoy it even better. I look forward to seeing what you think, Velvet.

Carole Rae
1 month ago

Ooooo Singapore! I do not think I’ve read any set there

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Yeah, that was what got me jazzed right away.

vvb
vvb
1 month ago

Love the location. I think I want to do the audio for this one too.