ARC Review: Intercepting the Chef (Rachel Goodman)

Intercepting the Chef is the first book from new-to-me author Rachel Goodman’s upcoming series “How to Score“. It features rising star chef Gwen Lalonde and Logan Stonestreet, NFL golden boy and quarterback for the Colorado Blizzards who is also best friend with Gwen’s twin brother, Chris. After being fired by her ex-boyfriend celebrity chef and is forced to return home to Denver, Gwen is hired by Logan to be executive chef for his restaurant that he develops on behalf of his mother’s love for food…

I enjoyed this romance — but I must admit that while I thought Logan was such a darling, I had a difficult time to warm up to Gwen. This more or less influenced my opinion.

I know that as a woman, I can be quite hard on heroine characters in the romance books I read. I did applaud Gwen’s determination to fulfill her dream of having her own restaurant. I admired her for being focused on her passion. Because we need females like that too, right? Those who strive to excel professionally; not just in relationship.

Unfortunately, Gwen also felt distant and aloof to me. It was slightly difficult to emotionally root for Gwen because she came up as being dismissive and judgmental over other people’s dreams and issues. Like when Gwen was surprised that her brother did charity (because she always thought of Chris as shallow). Or that Logan didn’t like all of the aspects of football (because Gwen thought Logan enjoyed the glory of the game). For someone who was fired because she assumed that her ex-boyfriend would be thankful of what she did, I was hoping that past experience made Gwen more humble than she was.

I couldn’t help wishing that Gwen to show a softer side once in a while because I found myself taking side with Logan when they had their arguments.

I couldn’t find a lot of faults of Logan. He was warm, and kind, and clearly loved his mother. I felt sorry for Logan because everybody in his life — his father, his agent, his coach, his teammates — seemed to only see him as a franchise. They didn’t care that he was in pain, that he was injured … they only wanted him to bring the win and the money. I wanted to hug Logan and to protect him from all harms. So with Gwen keeping their relationship at arm’s length, sometimes I wondered if Gwen was good enough for Logan.

With this being the start of a series — and I didn’t find any issue with Goodman’s writing — I think I will keep my eyes out for future books in this series. I am quite interested to read romance featuring Gwen’s brother, Chris, or her best friend, Missy. They were two secondary characters that definitely caught my attention here.

 

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

 

 

 

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Intercepting the Chef
Author: Rachel Goodman
Series: How to Score, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Release Date: May 2, 2017

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ARC Review: In the Distance (Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin)

In the Distance is the third book in Nikka Michels & Eileen Griffin’s “In the Kitchen” series. After dealing with Ethan and Jamie’s relationship in the previous two books, this one brings forth Tyler Mitchell and Jamie’s best friend, Trevor Pratt.

I was excited when I saw the ARC being offered in Netgalley because I was very much fond of Tyler. Tyler first starts his story in book 2, a homeless young man who practically has been adopted like little brother by Ethan and Jamie then works his way around the kitchen, being taught by the two chefs. In this book, Tyler juggles the life as culinary student as well as the sous chef for Ethan and Jamie’s bistro.

I thought Tyler is a darling – he is determined to ‘pay forward’ the kindness that have been given to him by Ethan and Jamie. He volunteers at shelters and is also involved in shelter’s program at local schools. He comes a long way from that homeless teenager who is thrown out of his home because of his sexuality. It is always an admirable traits – someone who paves his (or her) way out of bad situation and makes the most of it.

Although, Tyler also suffers from trust issues – stems from being cast off by the people who supposed to love him unconditionally. This frustrated me somewhere along the way; because I thought Tyler is being too harsh to Trevor, when the other man made a mistake of telling Ethan and Jamie about Tyler’s ‘secret’. It is clear for me that Trevor only wants the best for Tyler, even if he might done it wrong. I admit that I wanted to reach inside the pages, took Tyler aside and told him to stop being too stubborn about it.

BUT, at the same time, I did enjoy reading how Trevor must work harder to get Tyler. Trevor is quite the opposite of Tyler – he comes from a privileged family, whose parents still love each other, being together for over three decades, and accept their son’s sexuality. Ethan mockingly calls Trevor “Trustfund” and I guess Trevor is used to get his way a little easier. Heck, even when Trevor spectacularly made a mess over his friendship with Jamie, when he contributed to Ethan and Jamie’s break-up, Jamie didn’t cut off friendship with him. So this is a new territory for Trevor, working hard to get Tyler to be friends with him, understanding Tyler’s issues about money, and so on.

There is a ten-year age gap between Trevor and Tyler but I was happy that it didn’t become a huge problem between the two of them. I mean, reading about one agonizing about age difference can be repetitively boring. Instead these two strike friendship before moving forward to the next step in their relationship. Yes, Trevor is careful because Tyler is younger than him, but he never rationalizing the age gap by pulling himself away from connecting with Tyler. We do get Ethan and Jamie being over-protective meddling brothers, but Tyler has a mind of his own, and refuses to just let both men control his choice.

Bottom line, the story has great slow-build progress of two men falling in love and maturing up together in the process. Definitely MY kind of story, which is why this is my favorite book in the series so far. I wonder if the authors plan to continue the series. Maybe with Nick, the young man from the LGBTQ-shelter who also starts working at Bistro 30? I would love to read about him…

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

{EEB8C335-52AD-4057-8FE3-8DA4E98AB89B}Img100Title: In the Distance (In the Kitchen, #3)

Author: Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 104,230 words
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: June 15, 2015