As sister of a gastronomy graduate and a lover of murder mystery, I had to read this book. Not only the cover looks delicious, but the idea of two cheAs sister of a gastronomy graduate and a lover of murder mystery, I had to read this book. Not only the cover looks delicious, but the idea of two chefs trying to solve a murder was most compelling. Restaurant owners, celebrity chefs Jordan Kelly and Tilly Danes are called to be judges for a cooking competition. They’ve known-and competed with- each other for years, so by the time we’re involved in the story, they already had a relationship albeit a contentious one. Things get more complicated when the third and final judge on their panel is killed and the evidence suggests that someone from the inside is responsible.
I really really liked the plot of this book. Like I said, the gourmet murder theme interested me from the start, but what I was also attracted to was the bickering between Jordan and Tilly. Anyone who follows me knows how much I love that kind of relationship between my heroes and heroines. It’s usually the way to seduce me when it comes to stories, but it’s not as easy to write as it is to read, I’m sure. In this book though, it worked well. Since Jordan and Tilly knew each other, their sarcastic comments flew one after another from the start and kept going until what they felt went from frenemies to lovers. I liked that pace, and I even liked the fact that when they became lovers, they still didn’t lose their sense of competition. And the sexy was good too, but maybe not as spicy as I expected.
Since the hero and the heroines were both chefs and the setting was what it was, including a few side characters from the business, I can’t lie, I expected to spend more time in the kitchen. Or at least more food related breadcrumbs to lead us to the killer. When we finally found out, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being deflated by what was revealed. I know this was a romance, but the murder plot was a major part of the story and the main setting for Jordan and Tilly’s romance so I’d have preferred it more detailed and better investigated. Now, Jordan and Tilly are not detectives but they did have a detective working with them, who asked for their expertise on the matter, so more foodie clues could’ve been found out. In fact, it would’ve been more enjoyable because this book reminded me a lot of the tv show Castle. Anyone know that show? It’s a murder mystery but it’s light and fun, with goofy characters. This book was much similar to that show, except the writer hero and the cop heroine are both chefs in this one.
The dialogue took me a while to get used to. At times I had a hard time following the tone of their voices-I like to speak the words in my head if it makes sense- and so I stumbled while reading which affected the flow of the story. And some of the details were left out. For example we know Tilly has a daughter and a foster mother but we never got a chance to read them interact except for a single phone call. Right before that scene I was wondering if Tilly had her daughter living with her or if she’s given her away. I know the main plot revolves around Jordan and Tilly and the murder but I’d expect something like family to be a part of the story too.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure how to rate this story. While I did like the plot and the background and the idea of bickering characters, I thought the mystery side fell a bit short in the end and though the romance was good, it wasn’t as mind blowing as I wished, nor did it have the high level of sexual tension I would’ve preferred. I did like Jordan and Tilly’s interactions, Jordan’s childish grouchiness and jealousy, and Tilly’s lively southern character, but I couldn’t help but feel their romance was maybe a bit rushed. I think those who love the show Castle would enjoy this story. And those who like a little murder mystery thrown in the mix with their romance, something fun and light....more
As much as I loved the first book, and as much as I wanted to love this one, unfortunately I can't say that it impressed me. I'm a big fan of bickerinAs much as I loved the first book, and as much as I wanted to love this one, unfortunately I can't say that it impressed me. I'm a big fan of bickering love. I love the tension that it builds, later that tension leading to passion and finally to reluctant love. I'm sad to say this, but I saw none of that in this book.
Cade is a Marine-turned-rancher who comes back to his hometown to take care of business after his grandfather's death. He avoids his hometown like the plague because that's where his abusive father lives-though his father had been dealt with in the previous book and now everyone knows what kind of scumbag he is- and also because he's left a pregnant woman at the altar and the whole town seems like they shunned him. Piper is a long time resident, but she has her own reasons for avoiding people, mainly because she's already left two men at the altar herself, and now dubbed as the 'Runaway Bride' of town. Add to that the feud between their families and the gossip mill, and you've got the whole story.
Even talking about the plot makes me sad because it had so much potential to be great. Not only there's my beloved bickering love, but also a small town and two fighting families whose two members who are about to fall in love. In the previous book, the hero had a military background and that wasn't involved in the story. The same happened here. Cade was a Marine, but his past had little to do with his present. Although he was a rancher now-and hello, cowboys- we didn't get much from this side of his life either, except for his Stetson he seemed to carry around with him everywhere. And the whole thing with his father-I'm only telling about this here because it was already revealed in the first book- the resentment, the pain of the past, all of it, it was too weak as a plotline. I felt as though it was only given to us to create an obstacle for Cade and Piper to overcome. No depth, no detail. And since I'm a sucker for emotional baggage and how people get over things, this was disappointing. Cade, though as a character he was okay, as a hero he was too weak. He didn't radiate the strength that I like in my heroes. Sure, he was casual and flirty like a cowboy, he had a tough exterior that contained a very emotional man who still struggled with the past he suffered in the hands of his father, but that's all the surface information we get about him. It was as if he was only outlined for the story but never got his details that'd make it all him. And naturally I couldn't connect with his character and when he struggled, I couldn't get beyond my reader status to actually feel for him.
Unfortunately the same goes for Piper. She was good as a heroine outline, but there was no depth to her character either. A lot of things about her didn't make sense to me, her leaving two men at the altar for example. I'm a woman, I should be able to relate to her reasoning but I'm never given any, except for the men not making her feel that passion she thinks she needs to get married. That wasn't enough for me as a reason, I would've preferred something-and I know I keep repeating myself- deeper. I liked that she was ready to fight for Cade, but that alone wasn't enough to complete her character.
Everything that happened in between, the town residents and their behavior towards Cade and Piper, the wrongs and misunderstandings that were supposed to comprise the plot, the family feud, the abusive father and the will, they all felt like they were there to fill in the pages, not to develop the story.
I liked the idea, I liked the characters as an idea, every obstacle too, but it lacked the details. While reading, I wanted more, more character development, more confrontation, more interaction, just more from this story as a whole. ...more