Cover Image: The Romance Recipe

The Romance Recipe

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Member Reviews

This book was okay! The characters were interesting, and the sex scenes were great. I also loved the representation in this book. I did struggle with the writing itself, which I thought could have been worked on a tad bit more, and I did get bored of the push/pull between the characters... I probably wouldn't read it again, but it is one that I would recommend, especially for those looking for LGBTQ+ romances.

Thank you Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
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Okay. So his book is a lot of things really great and other things not so great in my opinion.

Basics. Amy is the owner of a restaurant and Sophie is the head chef. Sophie was on a reality cooking competition show and was engaged to the producer who was really shitty when she came out as bi. Amy thinks that Sophie is straight but she has a giant crush on her anyway. The restaurant is not doing very well and they've got to do something to make more money when they figure out that Sophie's ex fiance is producing a new TV show. That's basically it. 

First off, as someone who works in the restaurant industry, it is refreshing to see a mostly accurate representation of restaurant kitchens. This was either well researched or the author has some sort of experience in hospitality. There was one moment where they made some comment about how four onions was obviously enough that made me laugh because four onions is never enough, but for the most part it was really well done on both the front of house and back of house element.

I really liked the characters and I liked the conversations about bierasure and biphobia. We also have yet another book where a character is in there 30s and confronting a toxic parent. We fucking live for this shit. Amazing.

Generally speaking, I'd liked both Amy and Sophie but I didn't always feel like their relationship was well fleshed out. It felt like a lot of it was based on mutual pining and sexual attraction as well as actual sex, and there wasn't as much emotional connection as I would have liked. Take out one or two sex scenes and give me some freaking conversation and I'd be happy. 

Now I'm going to be honest, my anxiety cannot handle the fact that their first sex scene happened in the kitchen at the restaurant and all I could think about was the health code violations. 😂😂 I think that's definitely a me thing but I would be totally livid (and feel kinda violated tbh) if I found out that someone had had sex in the kitchen that I worked in. 

As a whole, it's a solid story and one that I definitely see a lot of people loving. Didn't quite make the favorite list me but I really enjoyed a good 75% of the book and will be recommending it. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc.
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Word of warning, I finished this a while ago and forgot to review it. So this review might be a little rough… But I really enjoyed this one!!! Actually, I’d really like my own Sophie, please and thank you!!

Sophie is clearly my favorite character, a newly minted bi woman who is just sweet, smart, attractive, and just so stinking adorable. Those first exploring the world of lgbtqia+ are generally great main characters because they’re so easy to relate to. At least for me. Sophie is no different and I found myself putting myself in her shoes and agreeing with how she felt. Especially when someone invalidates who she is and how she reacts. That sort of this eventually happens to everyone and I just love her reaction because of how real it seems. 

Amy is fun too, definitely not a newly minted lesbian, but her experience makes her an interesting individual as well. She does get a little annoying at times, but nothing major. She adds great dynamic to Sophie’s sweetness. 

The falling in love and the physical aspect of this book are great!! I mean, if you’re going to have a sex scene, have a great sex scene!!! I hate books that gloss over these times because it seems either unrealistic or rushed. Not with this read!! Nothing was glossed over and the descriptions were on point. 

I recommend this to romance lovers who enjoy lgbtqia books with fun characters and a good amount of heart. Not my favorite book, but still so good!!

Thanks so much to NetGalley, Carina Press & Carina Adores (Harlequin), and Ruby Barrett for the opportunity to read this for my honest and unbiased opinion.
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I adore this book. After reading quite a few sapphic romances and finding something missing, it was amazing to finally read a f/f rom com where the characters felt like real people!
Steamy, heartwarming, and utterly enchanting. I can't wait to read more from Ruby Barrett.
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"The Romance Recipe" is a bit of a slow starter that grows on the reader in time. It's a romantic, steamy novel that will certainly excite readers looking to fill the void of LGBTQIA+ romances in publishing.
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Sometimes the hardest reviews to write are when everything was fine - but nothing really stands out. I enjoyed The Romance Recipe and it was a quick read. I liked the romance between Amy (the restaurant owner) and Sophie (her head chef) - especially at the beginning of the book. I think my issue is that I didn’t quite buy into the conflicts and so for me it felt like it was lacking some tension. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance reading copy.
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The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett is the story is Amy, a restaurant owner who is struggling to keep her business afloat and her emotions under control, and Sophie, the chef, fresh off a cooking reality TV. Together they learn to let their inner self be and accept each other where they are right now.
Ruby Barrett keeps the character development going while never forgetting the plot that moves the story forward. The LGBTQ+ representation in this book is wonderful.
I recreated one of the cooking scene using Lego minifigures at the link below.
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I got an ARC of this book.

There has been a trend of cooking and/or baking themed romances this season and so far they have all been misses for me. I want to love them. This book toed the line. It never really got AMAZING and it never really fell flat. It just sort of floated around in the middle. 

The plot was weak and I often forgot there was one. The issue is the romance wasn't really high stakes romance or all that worthy of being invested in. They already were into each other and everything happened super fast. I was able to forget a few times that Amy had already fallen for Sophie based on TV and how it felt almost like stalking to continue to watch and engage with the media the way she did. That might be a big reason the romance just didn't carry the story for me. The weird boundary issues. The sex didn't even really notch up in intensity over the book. There was some obvious D/s elements that were not explored at all. 

It is not a bad book, but I wanted more. I wanted more emotions. I finally started to get that plot from Amy right near the end. I needed a bit more work up to it. I needed to really feel that her character was feeling things. Instead I was just left baffled at some of the things that happened. 

If you are looking for light and fluffy, this might be a great read for you. It is a book that I finally was able to finish despite being in the worst reading slump in my life. My issues may just be my slump talking and not this book. It is worth taking a chance on.
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This is a sweet sapphic love story between a restaurant owner and her chef.  Amy is trying to save her restaurant, and to help out she hires Sophie, a semi-famous reality show chef. 
Amy is has been out for years and she’s attracted to Sophie, who’s just come out. Sophie loves to cook but dislikes the social media part of being a TV chef. 
Sophie and Amy get an offer from a cooking show to feature the restaurant.  They’ll very attracted to each other but don’t want to put their new relationship on TV.  
I really liked this enemies to lovers story, it was well written.  I recommend this book, 4 stars. 

Synopsis:
A fiery restaurant owner falls for her enigmatic head chef in this charming, emotional romance 

Amy Chambers: restaurant owner, micromanager, control freak.

Amy will do anything to revive her ailing restaurant, including hiring a former reality-show finalist with good connections and a lot to prove. But her hopes that Sophie’s skills and celebrity status would bring her restaurant back from the brink of failure are beginning to wane…

Sophie Brunet: grump in the kitchen/sunshine in the streets, took thirty years to figure out she was queer.

Sophie just wants to cook. She doesn’t want to constantly post on social media for her dead-in-the-water reality TV career, she doesn’t want to deal with Amy’s take-charge personality and she doesn’t want to think about what her attraction to her boss might mean…

Then, an opportunity: a new foodie TV show might provide the exposure they need. An uneasy truce is fine for starters, but making their dreams come true means making some personal and painful sacrifices and soon, there’s more than just the restaurant at stake.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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A wonderfully spicy sapphic romance! This book will appeal to fans of Food Network type cooking shows, as it centers around a former contestant from one such type show, and her budding romance with the restaurant owner/manager. A little bit of identity exploration, tossed with a little bit of employee/supervisor relationships (it felt like ALL relationships mentioned in this story were of this type), and some very, dare I say it again, "spicy" entanglements. A fun read.
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**Thank you to HCCFrenzy for a free phyiscal copy for a honest review. All opinions my own.**

The Romance Recipe is a fun book about two queer women who are trying to keep this restaurant alive, and help their own blooming relationship become something more than just hooking up. 

This book is 282 pages, and I still felt like it was too long. There were some content that by the last 80 pages I just did not care anymore. It isn't a bad book - it has all the features you want from a romance, but I just stopped caring and wanted it to end - but I was close to the ending, so I just pushed through to get the HEA. 

I did like the banter between the two women, and also liked how their problems at the start of the book continued to bite them at the end of the story but it wasn't like this whole big thing, and then once it was resolved everything was fine and dandy and they could live happily ever after. It was more realistic of an actual blooming relationship which I enjoyed way more than I thought I would.

I will say reading it physically and through the audiobook was good. I did have a earc and a physical book, and got the audiobook through my local library, because I am on a slump, and here I am now. 

I am glad I did finish it - and if this is what you're looking to read, I think it's a cute summer read.
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I liked the dynamic and development between the two main characters! And I admired Sophie for being accepting and opening to her bisexuality which helped me relate to her! This was a cute read and I loved the whole setting of the kitchen and being a chef/restaurant-owner!
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I really enjoyed this! It's well written, and features a gripping romance. I recommend it! It sometimes felt overlong or unrefined, but the great elements were enough to keep me interested. Give it a try!!
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Queer romance between an owner of a struggling restaurant and the celebrity chef she brought in to run the kitchen. These two women were messy, but also perfect for each other. Once I got a feel for the characters, I enjoyed the book a lot. 

One of the best parts of this book, in my opinion, was really that it felt like a love letter in a lot of ways to bisexual women. There are so many beautiful moments not only between the two main characters (like Amy is so validating of Sophie’s bisexual identity and Sophie’s own journey to explore her queerness is so relatable and beautiful to read), but also between Sophie and her mom. Honestly, her mom’s reaction was such a mom reaction that it made me laugh. 

The book is a really quick read. It’s a little spicy, has a lot of miscommunication (or lack of honest communication), and both the leads have a lot going on. But both of them grow beautifully and I just really enjoyed it overall. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Carina Adores for a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Content warnings: biphobia, toxic parent, death of parent, grief, anxiety
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OVERALL
I think this novel is so, so sweet and that the premise is just perfect. It gives exactly what it promised. I definitely felt very seen as a sapphic woman and I will for sure recommend. I've been looking for a book like this forever, so it was great to finally find. 

WHAT I LIKED
The set up is very plausible. 
It's a very strong rivals to lovers (not exactly, but you know what I mean) dynamic because they both clearly think highly of each other and simply don't get on at first, but once they jump past that, there's no issue of them being fundamentally incompatible.
The portrayal of a resturaunt is so well done.  
I was pleasantly surprised at how grounded and emotional the book felt. 
I actually liked how none of the writing was extremely poetic. It was very simple and accessible, which made perfect sense for the book. 
Sophie's passage about Amy's shirt is perfect and just one stellar example of the internal pining that I'm obsessed with. 
I love how terrible Sophia is at flirting, but I wish I could see Amy being confused about it. 
I like how queerness is just treated as normal here and neither of them makes a big deal of the fact that they're both women
I enjoy Sophie's POV a lot! Also, in general, she's a really fun and quirky character. And I connected with her really quickly. 
The tropes are so subtle that you almost don't see them but they also make the book so much better
I like how distinct the POVs are- I want to see both their POVs about the same situation more often.
Sophie's family is so, so sweet!! 
The conflict is excellent, like especially when Amy tells Sophie to get a new job and they're fighting about it, but I wanted to hear Amy's thoughts too, like jumping back and forth or something. 
OK, the dialogue during the sex scenes was hilarious, like when Sophie is like "be naked too" or "I love boobs so much", I was cackling. 
THE DOMESTIC KITCHEN SCENE AHHHHHH 
Everything about the ending was flawless

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
I wanted a very chaotic initial moment. I know Chad is quitting and once you get to that part, it becomes more exciting, but from the get-go I wish the first word was action. Going off this, I want more chaos throughout the entire book and to feel like I'm right down in the kitchens with the characters. 
I didn't find Amy in particular super engaging. I like the idea of her character a lot, but some of her moments felt flat and she wasn't as witty inside her hea das her dialogue was. 
I want to see more of Sophie  and Amy bantering at the beginning to show their dynamic, not just talk about how Amy doesn't like Sophie. 
I wanted to live more in the bantery unspecified whether they dislike each other phase because I did assume it would be rivals to lovers and I think their dynamic has real potential to be strong in that way, especially from the glimpses we get of it. For example, the characters are way too self aware for a rom com. I don't want Sophie to realize she's flirting or Amy to realize that she's somewhat attracted to her- I want confusion over their behavior until a specified a ha moment later to build tension!!!
I wish there was more stuff explained about the show and application process because that felt kind of rushed. 
I loved the spicy scene (especially Sophie's dialogue during it kind of made me giggle) but it definitely felt too soon in the book.
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This book had a strong premise, but I was not super impressed with the setting or writing style. I really enjoyed Sophie and Amy’s characters and the journey that they take together, but this book was not for me. I would have wanted a more clear prose and a better explanation of the setting in the first couple of chapters, as I found that it was difficult to situate the characters. But I think that this was a simple personal preference and that lots of people would really, really enjoy this book and the story it tells,
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THIS BOOK WAS EVERYTHING! I loved it so much! the perfect representative literature and with a cooking backdrop, deliciously, perfectly, everything I want in a romance. Thank you so much for a chance to read this!
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While I really enjoyed the first half of this book, when Amy and Sophie were falling in lust and couldn't stop thinking about each other and wondering if the other was flirting or not, the second half fell flat for me. I was constantly thinking "just have a freaking conversation about your feelings and expectations!" because mis- or non-communication between romantic leads is my least favourite trope. There was too much talk about last time Sophie was on a reality cooking show and virtually no scenes of them on the new one, and it ended really abruptly. I wanted to see them acting as a team and being great together!

Thanks to Netgalley for the e-ARC!
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For starters, this was WAY spicer than I expected! I ordered a plate of nachos and there were jalapeños hidden under that layer of cheese. And holy moly did I love it. One of the best spicy queer wlw romances I've read in so long! The plot honestly took a backseat for me (yes, I'm referencing THAT back seat scene). I feel like the reality show was SUCH a big deal for it really only occupying 5 pages. Same with the business, likes YES it's failing but there wasn't actually that much discussion on how to save it? Just the two characters constantly doubting themselves and feeling like they're destined to fail.
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I love it when a book has some of your favourite hobbies as part of the storyline.  I love cooking and baking and get totally hooked on cooking competition programmes, so I loved that cooking was a big part of the storyline in The Romance Recipe 
 
This book is written from the perspectives of Amy Chambers – restaurant owner – and Sophie Brunet – the head chef at Amy’s restaurant.  Sophie obtained celebrity status on a cooking competition programme and was soon after snapped up by Amy.  After initial success, even Sophie’s involvement couldn’t save the restaurant from its financial struggles, so when a new TV programme offer comes up featuring the restaurant, Amy is quick to push Sophie into it. 
 
In amongst the restaurant difficulties, you discover that Amy is attracted to Sophie but doesn’t intend to share her feelings as she believes that Sophie is straight.  Meanwhile, Sophie is coming to terms with her own sexuality and attraction to Amy.  I thought the part where Sophie came out to her mam as bi+ was really cute, and I liked Sophie’s process for working out what to cook to impress.
 
This was a quick and easy read for me, which made me want to go out to a restaurant for yummy food! 
 
In the usual way, you should check out the content warnings to check whether this book is for you, which include death of a parent (off-page), biphobia (off-page), injury and an emotionally abusive relationship with a parent.  There are also several graphic sex scenes.
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