If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She's been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father's barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she's accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can't wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she's on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn't figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good.
With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.
This was kind of an impulse read for me. I just recently found out about it and thought it looked like a fun read, so I picked it up! And it was a fun read! It was cute, shippable, with a little bit of mystery.
Nora knows how to cook. She's been helping her father out with his barbecue joint all her life, so when her favorite cooking reality show starts looking for new contestants, she signs up. She gets accepted and has to leave her hometown to participate in the competition. She has to prove herself against other chefs, including her snooty new roommate and the infuriating Christian Van Lorten. But in the mist of things, mysterious accidents in the kitchen are knocking out the competition, and they may not be accidents.
Going into this book, I was not expecting the mystery element, despite the fact that it's in the synopsis. I was expecting cooking, reality TV, ans shipping. I got all of that, but there was more to it. First of all, this is a fun read. I was really immersed in this book and finished it very quickly, not only because I wanted to know what would happen, but I was really enjoying it! This book definitely feels like a contemporary romance, but the mystery is there. The mystery element grows as the book goes on, until the very end, when it becomes more of a major part of the story. I liked the added mystery element because it did add something else to the book (besides romantic tension) and it didn't feel too overly done or dramatic.
I liked the characters in this book. Nora was a great MC, but I really liked her friendships in this book, both new and old. As well as her other interactions with characters. I thought it was well done.
As for romance, I very much enjoyed it. I shipped it. Of course, it's a hate-to-love romance, which is my favorite, so I had to ship it! My favorite part of these kinds of romances is the witty banter and yes, there is witty banter. Now, the romance is really predictable. Heck, a lot of this book is predictable, but it's still really fun!
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book! It was enjoyable, with a fun idea, reality TV, cooking, ships, and an added mystery. It's predictable, but who cares, it was fun. It won't go on my all-time favs list, but it does get a spot on my "feel-good reads" shelf!