Sep 28, 2023

East Asian Traditions: Red String Theory, Lunar Love, Moon Cakes


Just read

Red String Theory by Lauren Kung Jessen, January 9, 2024; Forever, NetGalley
Genre: romance, contemporary, Asian literature

The Red String of Fate is an East Asian concept based on Chinese mythology. The belief is that a red string connects two people in life, regardless of place or time or circumstance. Finding the person at the end of your string means finding your soul mate or life partner. The string may stretch or tangle, but it never breaks. 

In Red String Theory aspiring artist Rooney Gao meets Jack Liu while they celebrate the Lantern Festival during the Lunar New Year in New York. 

They are both handed a large paper lantern to light and release into the air, and on a whim, they follow the path of the lantern floating above the New York streets. 

Rooney keeps wondering if Jack is the person at the end of her string, her string mate, the one she is meant to be with in life. Jack is a NASA engineer who is all science and hard facts and he doesn't believe in myths or legends. 

This is also the story about artist Rooney who uses red string to create her art, both small and large. How she moves away from the shadow of her famous artist mother to establish herself as an independent artist is one of the main themes of the book. 

Love and her belief in the red string of fate leads her on in her quest for artistic independence. She and Jack try to test if fate and destiny are real, as opposed to hard and scientific facts. They create the Red String Theory, a list of activities to see if or how fate does intervene. The first activity is to do something they wouldn't normally do, and see where it leads.

A cute and entertaining romance with myth and belief in old traditions leading on the two characters, Rooney and Jack. A five star read, for all the cleverness in character delineation and plot devices.

Now reading

Lunar Love by Lauren Kung Jessen, published January 10, 2023; Forever

Genre: romance, contemporary fiction, Asian traditions

I decided to read the author's first book, Lunar Love, which is independent of the second novel I reviewed above, with different characters. It uses Chinese astrology and traditions for its theme.

The publisher's description:

This sweet, enemies-to-lovers debut rom-com (is) filled with Chinese astrology 

Always a matchmaker, never a match...

Olivia Huang Christenson is excited/terrified to be taking over her grandmother’s traditional matchmaking business. But when a new dating app threatens her Pó Po’s Chinese zodiac approach, she becomes furious. Especially when L.A.’s most-eligible bachelor Bennett O’Brien is behind the app that could destroy her family’s legacy . . .

            As the two businesses go head to head, Bennett and Liv make a deal: they’ll find a match for each other—and whoever falls in love loses. But Liv is dealing with someone who’s adept at stealing business ideas . . . so what’s stopping him from stealing her heart too? (publisher)

Chinese tradition:  it's Moon Festival time now in September, when the mid-Autumn Festival with the Harvest Moon is celebrated with moon cakes. Moon cakes are made of sweet red bean paste and an egg yolk to represent the harvest moon. Some moon cakes are made with lotus seed paste, which is yellow in color. 

I got my tin of four moon cakes from Costco! I wanted to get more as I found them not as sweet as the traditional red bean cakes. But still delicious!

What's on your reading schedule this week and/or the rest of the month?injuly202

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday


  1. Red String Theory sounds like a charming read. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed this book so much that you sought out the author's backlist. In general, I find that, while first books can be amazing, second books sometimes disappoint, so it's lovely to see that is not the case here.

  2. All your books sound interesting and are new to me.

  3. Our library had only one of her books, Lunar Love, which I've requested.

  4. Just about to start 'D-Day Through German Eyes - How the Wehrmacht Lost France' by Jonathan Trigg. Next up will be a buddy-read of 'The Sign of Four' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

  5. Those both sound lovely. What a great way to celebrate the Moon Festival!

  6. Red String Theory looks like a book I'd love! I love learning something new with my romance :)

  7. I have not read any of these but they sound interesting. Happy Sunday, Harvee!

  8. I love the sound of Red String Theory - it sounds as if it's a romance with a sprinkling of scientific theory thrown into the mix. And those moon cakes look intriguing - thank you for sharing:)).

  9. I thought Lunar Love was a sweet if predictable romance. And I really like the sound of Red String Theory! :D

  10. I was wondering why our Costco had so many mooncake packages on display — there seemed to be a variety of types or flavors, I couldn’t tell. Not having been accustomed to red bean paste early enough in life, I don’t really find it very palatable. I do realize that red beans have a sweet taste, but I still can’t think of them as a confection. But that’s symmetrical: We once gave a Japanese girl her first taste of chili, and she was shocked to find red beans in a savory context.
    best, mae at

  11. Red string Theory sounds delightful! Adding that one...

  12. Lunar Love has a great cover and both sound like good reads. Thanks for sharing them.

  13. Those books look great. I'm glad you are enjoying them. If I like a book, I hunt out the author's backlist too. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  14. I love the concept of "finding the person at the end of your string." That's a beautiful way too look at life.

  15. Red String Theory sounds like a great read!

  16. Red String Theory sounds like a good read. Hope you're having a good week. Happy Reading!


I appreciate your comments and thoughts...