by Amanda Usen
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication: January 1st, 2012
ISBN: 1402259824 (ISBN13: 9781402259821)
Sparks between love 'em and leave 'em pastry chef and poker sharp Marlene Bennet and traveling chef-for-hire Joe Rafferty when the two culinary perfectionists are forced to share a kitchen. But several suspicious accidents at the restaurant convince Marlene and Joe to work together to uncover the saboteur. Maybe a little intrigue and high-stakes poker will be the perfect ingredients for these commitment-phobic foodies to whip up a happily ever after.
Review courtesy of netGalley
This book combines two of my favorite things: cooking and romance. My mouth was watering reading about all the delicious dishes that were being cooked, I would have loved to see some of the recipes either included in the back or maybe even at the beginning of each the chapters. I would have liked to try my hand at some of them.
Although, I am savvy enough around the kitchen, I am not up on much of the lingo used in the "kitchen". I was confused on some of the wording used, which I can only ascertain are found in many diners and restaurants. Unless the reader has ever worked in those environments or watches Gordon Ramsay some of the slang used was hard to decipher. Fortunately with my kindle I was able to search for "Diner Lingo" to help me along. The term "in the weeds" was used more than once, until I looked up the meaning, I thought the characters were indulging in marijuana to keep their appetites stimulated. Silly me.!!
There are some great banter going back and forth between the characters. Some readers may take offense, but I couldn't help but laugh out loud with the dialogue between Joe and Keith about "the monkfish".
Here's some good ones...
Olivia's looking for someone who can actually do the job, not just the female employees."
"Don't expect much from her, Rafferty. She's like ice in the sack" . "You can't melt ice with a limp torch, Keith" Olivia pointed out.
Joe and Marly had chemistry right from the start. I enjoyed the interaction between the two. There were some very hot love scenes, some of the scenes sizzled off the pages.
I didn't like the ending, don't get me wrong, there was a HEA, but the last part of it didn't fit the whole story, it was as if the author didn't know how to wrap things up. I won't give it away, but the part which included Nooni and Big Daddy seemed out of place and lacked a cohesive structure.
There were parts of this book I truly enjoyed, and others that I didn't. I plan on reading more by Amanda Usen, if she continues to combine her love of cooking and romance, I enjoyed this unique combination.
I received this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amanda Usen knows two things for certain: chocolate cheesecake is good for breakfast and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. They live in Western New York with their three children and an ancient beagle.