Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cooking Up Love by Gemma Brocato - "Throwback Thursday" Review

A "Throwback Thursday Review" is either a book I read way back when but didn't write a review for whatever reason (usually, probably forgot ... oops...) or it is a review on a book I got but then didn't get around to reading until now (again, usually, probably just forgot).

Up this week is Cooking Up Love by Gemma Brocato. Gemma graciously sent me a copy of this early this year with no expectation for it to be reviewed. I read it shortly after receiving and intended to write a review, but you know what they say about best laid plans...
Cooking Up Love
(Five Senses #1)
by Gemma Brocato

Mix a chef and her contractor, stir in a mystery, and cook up a romance. Jemima George leads a charmed life as a personal chef and assistant to reality television's latest darling. But that changes in a New York minute when her Aunt Caro dies under odd circumstances, bequeathing her a small restaurant. Jem plans to sell the cafe and continue her life in NYC, until a dramatic phone call from her cheating boyfriend convinces her to experiment with the ingredients for happiness and accept her Aunt's legacy. Throwing herself into remodeling the restaurant with the help of the town's delicious contractor, Jem revamps the menu and renews her faith in herself. 

Jack Kerrigan considered Caro a surrogate mother and hates the idea that the cafe could be sold. He doesn't need the remodeling project, but if it means Caro's beautiful, fascinating niece will stay to run the restaurant, he's all in. He wouldn't mind being savory to Jem's sweet. Jack's brassy ex-wife is cooking up a scheme of her own, where Jack tosses Jem like a salad and comes back to her. Fold in a creepy attorney hiding secrets of environmental mayhem, add Jem's claustrophobia, half-pint niece and nephew twins, one mysterious lockbox, and bring to a boil-a recipe for romance. 

My review:
When Jem inherits a cafe after her aunt dies, she intends to sell the property in Granite Pointe because her life, her job, and the man she hopes is her soon-to-be-finance are in New York. Jem soon realizes she may be better off staying and running her aunt's cafe because not only does a late night phone reveal her boyfriend is a sleaze but she also has some hot chemistry with the sexy contractor, Jack. From the beginning, Jem feels there is something not quite right about the way her aunt passed away, but the mystery deepens as time goes on.

Cooking Up Love has a whole lot of steamy romance with a bunch of mystery mixed in. The twist was hinted at from the beginning of the book, but, call me slow or whatever, I was still surprised when everything was finally revealed. Jem is smart, sassy, and independent, while also being vulnerable. Jack is tough and determined, while also having a soft heart that's too big for his own good. The characters were great, the setting was good, and the writing style is easy to read. I got hooked early on with the chemistry in the pantry scene, and I kept reading because of the attraction between Jem and Jack and because of the suspense of finding out what really happened to the aunt. I enjoyed reading this and would recommend to anyone who likes contemporary romance or romantic suspense.

A copy was provided by the author, but I was not required to write a review.

About the author:
Gemma's favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a 'round tuit,' and a fortune from a fortune cookie that said she was a lover of words; some day she'd write a book. She always knew that eventually she'd get around to writing the novel trapped in her mind. It took a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss even the rejections, addressed to 'Dear Author', were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.

Find out more at

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