I was SO close to rounding this up to 5 stars; it’s the kind of book that has a rocky start before slowly simmering into something very satisfying. I loved that it had so much personality – these feuding food critics had great chemistry, and all of the food descriptions had my mouth watering. Don’t read this one on an empty stomach! It’s an interesting mix of romance and women’s fiction, told exclusively from the heroine’s (sometimes overly judgmental) perspective. The two leads are in most of the book together, but it still very much felt like the heroine’s story. And that’s ultimately what held me back from bumping this up to 5 stars – the romance felt like it was pushed to the backburner just after the slow burn finally paid off. Don’t worry, it’s still got an HEA, but a more satisfying ending would’ve been appreciated. I had a great time reading this overall and I binged it in nearly one sitting, so it was a strong read, despite some smaller issues.
The story follows Julie, a social media influencer who loves to post food reviews. Julie is disappointed and a little salty when she discovers that she was passed over for a position as a food critic for a highly respected newspaper… so she overreacts when she bumps into the new critic in person. Bennett seems to be like every other rich, privileged guy she’s met, and it’s clear that his family connections got him the job. Their first interaction doesn’t go well (to say the least), and the feud soon makes waves online. Realizing that their heated interactions actually benefit both of their careers means that these two foodies reluctantly team up for a series of reviews… that bring them closer than either would’ve expected.
Now, I’m not going to deny that Julie does not make a great first impression. She makes some major assumptions and is super judgmental. But once these two started their reviews together, I really started enjoying the book. We don’t get Bennett’s POV, so we’re stuck trying to figure out how he feels, and that was a lot of fun. I’d like to know what he thought of Julie at the beginning, lol, and when she started to win him over. There were also a couple things about his history that were briefly mentioned but never fully discussed, and I could’ve used more of that. But when they were talking about food and in their element, I was totally engaged in the chemistry. It’s a slow burn that takes its time to fully develop, but there were plenty of romantic breadcrumbs along the way that kept me hooked. I thought the middle was excellent, and the food references just gave it a unique feel. And I ended up really loving Bennett, even if I wanted to know more about him. He’s a buttoned-up sweetheart who could’ve easily stolen the show. The end… eh, the end was alright. It got a little preachy for me and the romance came together in an underwhelming way, but I was mostly happy with how it turned out. So this was very solid overall and could’ve been fantastic with a few tweaks.
Two restaurant critics learn their opposing tastes might make for a five-star relationship in the next foodie romantic comedy from the author of Sadie on a Plate.
By day, Julie Zimmerman works as an executive assistant. After hours, she’s @JulieZeeEatsNYC, a social media restaurant reviewer with over fifty thousand followers. As much as she loves her self-employed side gig, what Julie really wants is to be a critic at a major newspaper, like the New York Scroll. The only thing worse than the Scroll’s rejection of her application is the fact that smarmy, social-media-averse society boy Bennett Richard Macalester Wright snagged her dream job.
While at the Central Park Food Festival, Julie confronts the annoyingly handsome Bennett about his outdated opinions on social media and posts the resulting video footage. Julie’s follower count soars—and so does the Scroll’s. Julie and Bennett grudgingly agree to partner up for a few reviews to further their buzz. Online buzz, obviously.
Over tapas, burgers, and more, Julie and Bennett connect over their shared love of food. But when the competitive fire between them turns extra spicy, they’ll have to decide how much heat their relationship can take.
About the Author:
Amanda Elliot lives with her husband in New York City, where she collects way too many cookbooks for her tiny kitchen, runs in Central Park, and writes for teens and kids under the name Amanda Panitch.
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This sounds delightfully fun!
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I loved how different it felt, and the food descriptions were awesome!
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