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Home Skillet

(Culinary Kings #1)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Sometimes the only way to move forward… is to go back.


I don't know what's more shocking—the sudden end to my marriage, or the fact that I'd married a woman at all. But now I'm broke and homeless, kicked out of my Upper West Side apartment while my ex-wife walks away with everything we've ever worked for.

So what's an executive chef stripped of his dignity gonna d
Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 196 pages
Published May 31st 2018 by Kydala Publishing, Inc.
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3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  150 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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Len Evans Jr
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this ARC from the author in return for a fair and honest review.

I really really liked this book... other than James' propensity to have his head stuck up his ass I absolutely loved both him and Ben. They are complex and interesting people. The story itself was just a tiny bit slow at the beginning, but once it pick up the pace was great. I felt like the drama in the story was appropriate and used well in the right places. I especially loved the ending it was so sweet and awesome. I th
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I was in elementary school in the mid-90s, so I was more of a 90s kid than a 90s teen, but I was still excited to read this historical (<--- can you believe that!) story.

I like Cate Ashwood, though I've never loved a story from her, but I've never read Sandra Damien before. I'll have to read more from her to make a full decision.

Home Skillet wasn't a bad story, but I couldn't help feeling like something was missing. I didn't get that sense of chemistry between the two MCs (Ben was a total p
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: m-m, may-18
Being that I was a 90s teen I was really excited for this one but it missed the mark for multiple reasons.

-The main characters weren't likable. Jimmy was self-centered and Ben a pushover.
-Character development was kind of lacking.
-Their college friendship/relationship wasn't explained at all.
-It was repetitive
-OTT drama
-All to be quickly resolved with a HEA.
-This book was just plain rushed.

I've been in a huge book funk so maybe it's me, I don't know.

2 Stars.

ARC kindly provided by the autho
It's always a bummer when a book you're looking forward to doesn't hit any high marks. Couple of young and upcoming chefs looking for a second chance at love...flashing back to the 90's? Sounds great.
I was certain this was going to be a great read for me.
Sadly, I was wrong.
My biggest problem? I didn't really like either of the guys. Ugh. That creates a problem.
The first quarter of the book they both continue to remind us what jerks they are.
"I'm such an asshole."
"I'm a dick."
I was an asshole.
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-beta, more-dudes
Quick Questionnaire:
1. Does a cheeseburger with peanut butter on it entice you?
2. Were the 90's totally awesome, just like that music compilation of the same name that probably exists only on CD?
3. Can you freakishly relate to the fiery hell that is working in restaurants?
4. Hot dudes - yay or nay?

If you've answered yes to any of the above questions, buy this m-fing book.

If you didn't answer yes to any of the above questions, re-evaluate your life choices while listening to Nirvana and The S
Home Skillet is a friends-to-lovers / second chances romance between two best friends. Ben and Jimmy are high school friends who used to be fuck buddies, but due to Jimmy's ambitious nature, he decided to stay in the closet and married a woman. Gasp! The more I read on mm romances, the more I have no patience for closet case. I just want to hit Jimmy repeatedly for being a total jerk to Ben. Granted that he didn't know Ben has feelings for him, I'm still mad on Ben's behalf.

On present day, Jimm
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: from-author, m-m, arc
This was enjoyable and pretty much exactly what I expect from Cate’s books, mostly.

I hate these kinds of reviews. Ugh. Just remember, I did like the book.

So yeah, I liked it, I just didn’t love it and unfortunately I felt a little lost while reading and the setting kept pulling me out of the story.

I graduated in 1992…I was 17. I was excited about the 1990s setting but ended up not loving that part of the book. It wasn’t too much, if anything sometimes I forgot it was the 90s, it just hurt my h
Jimmy, the half-owner of an up and coming restaurant, life seems to be going well when his wife decides to pull the rug from under him. She announces that she is unhappy and wants a divorce. The thing about their marriage is that it was never for love, but, a deal they struck up at a young age in order to get to her trust fund. She was suppose to give him 10 years but instead only gave him 5. This change of plans has really thrown him for a loop. Filled with anger, he leaves her and his restaura ...more
I want to talk about lazy writing.

And the best way is to start with its opposite.

Take Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie (ignore the cover). The set-up: Dennie wants to land a make-or-break interview, Alec wants to catch a conman, they intersect at the same conference. What Crusie is brilliant at is structuring what happens next so that each scene is the natural and inevitable result of what's come before. Of course as part of getting the interview Dennie will seek out the conman, so of cour
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, from-author, arc, mm
At some point, in this decade, a closet case is sometimes irritated me a lot. especially when the main character had to married a woman for a business deal, and abandoned his feeling. Just like that.
Jimmy pissed me off the moment he opened his mouth telling Ben, he's getting married, right after they're both had an orgasm. Eh?
Can't find the right time the right place, Jimmy?

I liked the writing style, it flows real good. My main problem are both Jimmy and Ben. Jimmy for being a coward, and Ben f
Joyfully Jay
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kenna
A Joyfully Jay review.

3.5 stars

I picked up Home Skillet because the blurb intrigued me. I enjoy stories about chefs, cooks, bakers, etc. Second chance love stores are great too. I had some pretty high expectations going in and I’m sorry to say, I was kind of disappointed. The writing style was good and the descriptions of locations were excellent. I could actually see the restaurants where the men worked in my mind. However, I just didn’t connect with James and Ben. In fact, I didn’t even like
Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie

4.5 Stars

I wasn’t so sure about this story at first, well, actually not really the story because the blurb sounded awesome, and I loved Ben from the get go, it was Jimmy I wasn’t so sure about. Ben was sweet and so confident in his sexuality, something that in the mid-late 90’s, in a town filled with mostly close-minded conservatives, was so brave. My heart broke for him when Jimmy told him he was going to marry Jenna and I can’t imagine the hurt he felt watching the love of his life marry someo
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
3.5 stars- Easy, enjoyable read

I recently read my first book by Miss Ashwood and enjoyed it quite a bit. When I saw this novella co-written by Miss Ashwood and a new author, Miss Damien, I knew I had to try it. Even better, it incorporates cooking (which I love to watch, read about, and do myself). Home Skillet proved to be a fast, enjoyable novella that read a little like a second chance romance, a little like a friends-to-lovers story, but focused more on accepting yourself and following your
Mia Sciberras
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm really loving second-chance romances at the moment, I think there's something tangibly real about rekindling and reestablishing first love and then turning that into an HEA. Throw in a 90's setting (which is a throwback to my glory days of first loves and regrets), add in two men who have come to a time in their lives where being there for each other has never been so important and basically you can just take all my money...

 This is an enjoyable MM romance that not only made me hungry (chef
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
There’s something about a second chance romance that’s just extremely satisfying to me as a reader. It’s finally getting that happy ending that should have happened the first time around if not for whatever circumstances happened at that time.The hard part is the awkwardness of getting there the second time around—something that was painfully obvious for Ben and Jimmy. The fact that they were best friends before they hooked up that first time, and still really are helps to complicate things even ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 – 4 Stars

Home Skillet is a second-chance, finding yourself kind of story! Ben and Jimmy have been best friends for years but in the last five or so years they’ve drifted a part a bit. Ben has always known who he is and doesn’t hide it, he’s also been in love with Jimmy for pretty much as long as he’s known him. Jimmy has always known who he was professionally, but personally – he’s been hiding that. He has spent the last 5 years in a marriage that looks good on paper, but there’s no real lov
Eleanor (The Book Hammock)
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ben and Jimmy basically grew up together and were best friends. They were also each other’s many firsts. Living together during culinary school had Ben dreaming of a shared future together, until he was forced to take a break from his studies.

Then Jimmy decided to get married. To a woman.

When he’s lived his dream for more than 5 years, everything is crumbling down on Jimmy, and he’s back in Ben’s arms.

This is the story in a nutshell, but it’s not all clean cut as I’ve described it. There’s a lot
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this fairly- although I do feel it could have been much better.

The pace was a bit all over the place,and I do wish I could have had a better feel of the friendship that meant so much for the characters. They were interesting enough, but it was all a bit lukewarm in my opinion. I didn't particularly love the drama either.

On the upside, the whole culinary aspect was enjoyable- and I really liked that this was primarily set in the 90's. The general feel of the decade was there, but I do
I love second chance romances and Home Skillet ticked all the boxes there. James and Ben have been best friends for, well, pretty much ever and I could easily feel their connection in the writing. The story is told in alternating POV’s, which is good because the two of them have very different styles of communication and I don’t think they would have been as well fleshed out as they were with just one side of the story. Especially with James. If I hadn’t had his perspective I would have been way ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy...I'm glad you decided to be true to yourself regardless of your family. I am truly happy your wife did what she did to make you realize life wasn't all about that damn restaurant.

Ben I am so glad that you weren't scared to take another chance at love and your dreams when you had the chance
May 27, 2018 added it
I ended up skimming a lot of this which was disappointing as I usually really like Ms. Ashwood's books. I just wasn't feeling this story line or these characters.
*~*~Fawkes, Padfoot, and Prongs~*~*
Apr 28, 2018 marked it as 0-mm-borrowed-kindle-unlimited
This sounds yummy and I want it :-)!! Hope it’s a full length book and not a novella!
Evie Drae
I have to admit, this week’s book was a total and utter joy. It’s the first one in quite a while that I read purely by choice rather than as part of my helping-my-fellow-authors-get-their-words-seen-and-loved outreach program. 😄

Which basically means, this was a pleasure read that truly ended up being just that: a total delight. In fact, I downloaded this bad boy on my Kindle with the goal of reading a chapter here and there when I had the time. Next thing I knew, late morning had turned into ea
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book took me by surprise - in a good way! James and Ben have been best friends for so long, but what happens when one falls in love and the other refuses to admit his truth and believes he must live as a straight man to succeed?

As I am sure you can imagine, the struggle is real with this one. Ben's hurt was so palpable, it was painful to read. And while I (reluctantly) somewhat understand James' thought process, I also thought he was wrong. Man, I wanted to slap some sense into him several
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Jimmy and Ben are best friends since high school. Jimmy moves on and marries a woman to further his career which works for a few years... until it doesn't.
Benny has been in love with Jimmy for nearly 10 years.
Jimmy seemed a little (ok, a lot) stuck up about food & cooking, only wanting the best of the best.
"But if I couldn't work in the upper echelon of the culinary world, what was the point at all? The thought of working at anything less gave me hives."
Ben struggles with having Jimmy in his
When the one you're still hopelessly in love with is the one that got away and they turns to you when their life is falling apart, what should you do? The logical answer is to set appropriate emotional boundaries and be there for them but to keep your distance. But I know of no one who would be logical in this instance. There's always that part of you that hopes that this time you'll be appreciated, this time they'll truly see, this time... And yet all the hoping in the world is just bound to ge ...more
3 - 3.5 stars

I kept reminding myself throughout reading that the majority of the book was set in late 90s. So as current as the situation might feel, on queer issue people were not as open and tolerable as now (not that there aren’t bigot IRL nowadays still, but that’s another topic!). So in a way, Jamie’s reluctant to come out - while grated on my nerves - were understandable. But boy did I feel for Ben; after all those years, after the heartbreak, to still carry a torch for your best friend an
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I enjoyed this book. It was a fairly quick and easy read, but in this case I felt like too much was glossed over in favor of moving the story forward weeks, months and even years. Likely this just comes down to personal preference, but I would rather enjoy a longer book and understand the whys and hows, rather than read sentences like "the weeks/months flew by" and be left with no real idea of how certain issues were seemingly resolved easy peasy.

When the story starts we see Ben get hi
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars...
I was really excited about the premise of this book and how it was set in the 90's. But there wasn't a whole lot about the 90's culture being mentioned in the book which was a little disappointing. I am also usually a Huge Cate Ashwood fan (I have all her books) but this book did not fully hit the mark for me. I'm sure it was more about Me disliking the characters than the actual book itself though. The book and storyline were good and flowed at a decent pace giving these guys a sec
Amy Dufera
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I am so happy to have discovered Home Skillet by Cate Ashwood and Sandra Damien. It is a wonderful, sweet surprise.

Past decisions are not always the right decision. Does one learn from their mistakes or stay on their current path?

James and Ben are best friends, who also have added some benefits to their friendship. But James leaves, to get married and pursue his dream of owning a restaurant. When he suddenly finds that his wife wants a divorce, he runs back to his hometown, where Ben allows him
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Cate discovered her love for books of all kinds early on, but romance is where her heart truly lies. She is addicted to the happily ever afters and the journey the characters take to get there. Currently residing in White Rock, B.C, Cate loves living just a stone's throw from the ocean. When she's not writing, she can be found consuming coffee at an alarming rate while wrangling her children, her ...more

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