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

ARC Review: To Have and to Hold (Lauren Layne)

WARNING! SPOILERY REVIEW

Hmmm … this goes into my 2.5-stars collection because of one thing. I just didn’t get Brooke. At all. For someone who have been unknowingly involved with a con man for two years, a con man who was arrested on their wedding day, and had taken all of her family money, Brooke was either too naive (slash, stupid) or, like Seth said “quick to face her demons.”

Maybe I’m being too cynical, but I didn’t understand why Brooke couldn’t agree with Seth’s distrust towards Neil, his sister’s fiancé. If it was me, I would probably lend my hands and help Seth to research Neil, to ensure that the guy didn’t just want Maya’s money. Sure, Seth seemed controlling but at least to me, Seth was “what you see was what you get”. With Brooke’s background, I felt like she should at least be more careful.

And then Brooke had conniption after Seth hired the P.I. to investigate Neil? Especially turned out that Seth was right all along about Neil?? I felt that Brooke was the one who should be doing the grand gesture here. Again, with this kind of set-up, I understand Seth’s point-of-view. I just didn’t get Brooke’s logic that Maya should make her own mistakes. Brooke knew first and of being trapped by a con man. So why would she let another woman fall into the same trap? Seriously, I wouldn’t trust Brooke’s judgment either *shrugs*.

So yeah, I simply didn’t understand why everyone seemed to think that Seth was doing the wrong thing here. He saved his sister from that fake man, right?? Or maybe I truly can’t work in wedding planning industry, because clearly I would end up cajoling Maya to cancel this wedding plan *laugh*.

Anyway, throughout I just felt more and more frustrated and annoyed with Brooke. She wasn’t an inspiring heroine for me. I kind of wanted Seth to cut her loose altogether. Yes. I judged Brooke. Sue me.

On another note, I was feeling a bit cheated with the off-page secondary relationship that bloomed between Maya and Grant as well. I thought that could be a cute story by itself.

Conclusion: Wasn’t impressed mainly because of the heroine. BUT, despite this one and the prequel novella being failure, I am still going to give the series a try. Besides, Lauren Layne’s writing is still good. Maybe the next one will be better *cross fingers*.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5
25stars

 

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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:

27271035Title:
 To Have and To Hold
Author: Lauren Layne
Series: The Wedding Belles #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: July 26, 2016

ARC Review: From This Day Forward (Lauren Layne)

I usually enjoyed Lauren Layne’s stories but this one, well, it was MEH. Probably because the core of the conflict between Leah and Jason was summed up perfectly with this line: You could have just fixed this with a simple text saying … . Yep, just one line. It will clear all the misunderstanding. Plus I totally guessed the identity of other woman from million miles away. It was WAY too predictable for me to enjoy.

Luckily, this was a novella, so probably didn’t go as long as it could. Still, I disliked the whole miscommunication thing in this digital age. Just like the other woman said, “It’s a good thing we live in the age of phones. And email. And Facebook. And Twitter. And texting—” … because if one is determined enough, he/she can easily do it, me thinks. Which makes Jason’s reasoning for not trying enough was LAME *shrugs*

On the positive note, Layne’s writing was pretty good especially when sort of introducing the girls of Wedding Belles. I was pretty intrigued — so maybe I’ll check their stories out.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5
25stars

 

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:
27778688Title: From This Day Forward
Author: Lauren Layne
Series: The Wedding Belles #0.5
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 100 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: June 6, 2016