Cover Image: Best Served Hot

Best Served Hot

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Member Reviews

This was a very cute and lighthearted read for me. The characters were cute and the story quite entertaining. All in all I really enjoyed it
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I really enjoyed this one! Books featuring food are some of my favorites! Excluding the fact that they make me crave every food mentioned of course... Ignoring that, I loved this one! The main romance was super cute, and although I did get a bit irritated by the drama at the end, it was still fun. I loved the side characters and the foods. I'd definitely recommend this one!

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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Food blogger Julie Zimmerman (@JulieZeeEatsNYC) teams up with Bennet Macalester, a food critic at the Scroll—Julie’s dream job—after their argument at a Central Park food festival sets both their engagements rates through the roof. And over tapas and burgers, they fall not only for the food but also for each other in Best Served Hot. I really liked the concept of this, as a social media person, I love seeing that lifestyle of juggling a full-time job and a hobby that’s something you’re so passionate about. I loved that for Julie and her passion. I did find her, at times, a little bratty when it came to her early interactions with Bennett and with how she hates wine. But I loved watching her find her confidence and her stride in being an influencer. I loved the balance of her more wild energy to Bennet’s more reserved style. I would’ve loved to have gotten more of Bennet because I feel like they lacked some chemistry—although the trivia scene and burger scene I felt they really shined and I wish they had more playful moments like that. I do feel this is more Julie’s story than a romance because it is so much more her finding her pace and confidence. The food descriptions though are mouth-watering, the characters are smart and I loved the side characters (especially Emerson Lee). It’s a wonderful community built in these pages and Amanda Eliot is a queen of food-related descriptions and stories!
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Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and @berittalksbooks for the advanced reader copy and to PRH Audio for the complimentary audiobook. These opinions are my own.

This is a fun rivals-to-lovers romance. Julie is a food blogger who features NY restaurants on her social media while working as an assistant to a billionaire. Bennett was just hired by the major NY newspaper to be their food critic. Julie and Bennett clash on everything from the best way to reach audiences to the types of restaurants to feature and what a good food review entails. 

I have to recommend: don't read this while hungry. The food descriptions are amazing. I wished I could see Julie's account and pictures to go with the reviews that are described. And I even more dearly wish that I could visit the restaurants. 

I really appreciated the discussion of class privilege throughout the book. And I enjoyed the little hat tip to Sadie from Sadie on a Plate. It is so fun to see mentions of previous books. And Julie's friends were so amazing; they were well described and nuanced characters with great mini plots of their own. I liked their stories even more than the romance. 

This was read very well by Anna Caputo, coming in at 9.5 hours. Having just the solo narrator was a great choice since the book was from Julie's perspective.
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I was either laughing or smirking through a good portion of this book. I simply adored it. 

Short Synopsis: 

An inspiring food reviewer influencer gets into a tiff with a newspaper food reviewer, and the fight goes viral. The newspaper pairs them together for a few reviews while the internet has them buzz worthy. The pair up makes both of their followings improve and interaction is wild….only it’s not just online but happening in person too. 

My thoughts:
Bennett, Julie, Alice, and Emerson Leigh are all great characters! Emerson grows on you. Alice is the best best friend. Julie is unapologetically authentic. Bennett is a hot nerd that loves food thanks to his childhood interactions with his dad. *cough*can we say sweet*cough* The author wrote a cute, well developed, wildly humorous story centered around food in NYC. I love New York. I love food. I love books. What a great combo idea for a story. And to think, she wrote all of this during the lockdown when most restaurants weren’t even open. Do yourself a favor, and pick this entertaining book up. Pronto.
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This was cute, but not one of my fav romances. I liked the MC enough but the romance fell a little flat for me. Enjoyable, but ultimately not super memorable.
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Four and a Half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒
Best Served Hot by Amanda Elliot is an enemies-to-lovers romance about two New York City food critics. If you like beautiful descriptions of restaurant food, this is the book for you! 

Story Recap:
Julie Zimmerman is an administrative assistant by day, but at night she runs a social media site that reviews restaurants in New York City.  She’s passionate about food and finding new restaurants, and wants to write for a major New York Newspaper like The Scroll.  When she gets rejected to write for the Scroll the only thing worse than losing the job, is losing it to a rich, elite, society boy, Bennett Richard Macalester Wright.   

At the Central Park Food Festival, Julie confronts Bennett and they have an argument about food critiques that are caught on camera and goes viral.  Since their interaction was so popular, they decide to review together so they each can get more buzz for their platforms.  

As Julie and Bennett spend time together, their shared love of food draws them together.  

My Thoughts: 
This book needs to come with a warning:  “WILL CAUSE FOOD CRAVINGS”.  The descriptions of the dishes and food were amazing and had me drooling more than once.  The author knows her food.  

The romance is a good one.  Julie and Bennett start off as enemies, Julie is upset that Bennett got her dream job, and she doesn’t believe he deserves it.  And Bennett doesn’t like Julie’s hostility at the beginning.  But, they slowly build a friendship over food, and then, the friendship turns into more.  I thought their progression from enemies to friends to lovers was a natural one.  
I loved the New York City setting as well, and it was clear the author knows this city well.  

Overall a mouth-watering romance that I enjoyed! 

I highly recommend Best Served Hot to anyone who loves romance.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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3.5 stars

Last year I read Sadie on a Plate, which was Amanda Elliot’s debut novel, and I was so impressed. I was excited to jump into her sophomore novel, Best Served Hot when given the chance. I love books with food in them, and this was another great read by this author. 

Julie is a food critic/influencer who would love to make it her full time job. She has aspirations to do just that. She applies to be a critic for ‘The Scroll’. It would be the dream for her. But Bennett Richard Macalester Wright is the guy that gets the job over her. The guy with connections, of course. When she runs into Bennett at a food festival, she confronts him. 

Julie may know who Bennett is, but Bennett doesn’t know who Julie is. Their banter was great and I loved watching them get to know each other. It’s very much more of a rivals turned friends to lovers story. I loved seeing them try new things together and even though this wasn’t super heavy on the romance, I enjoyed watching them start to fall. The conflict was fairly predictable, but I was happy it was resolved quickly and enjoyed the end of the book!
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Best Served Hot is a fun and entertaining read about two rival food critics. This story will leave your mouth watering and devouring each word.

From the moment I met Julie and Bennett, I knew I was in for a real treat. They had such great banter and totally rocked the enemies-to-lovers vibe. I loved the chemistry between them and just knew when they finally gave in, sparks were going to fly, and I was not disappointed. Julie and Bennett kept me on my toes and left me begging for more.

Best Served Hot is smartly written and definitely shouldn’t be read on an empty stomach! The characters are fun, and entertaining, and know just how to pull on your heartstrings. This is my first book by this author and I’m definitely looking forward to checking out more from her in the future.
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I really, really enjoyed this second romance from Amanda Elliot that sees two rival NYC food reviewers forced to work together. A slow burn with delicious food descriptions, some steamy scenes and a couple great cameos with Sadie from Sadie on a plate! Great on audio too. Much thanks to @prhaudio and Berkley for early digital and audio copies in exchange for my honest review!
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Thank you so much for an advanced copy of this book!

Star Rating: 4⭐️
Genre: Romance
Pub Date: February 21, 2023

I was a big fan of Amanda Elliot's 2022 release (Sadie on a Plate), and I am equally in love with Best Served Hot!

I am a sucker for enemies to lovers, and Best Served Hot is quintessential enemies to lovers. I loved the two MCs dynamics, sexual tension, and slow slide into friendship that became, of course, more than friendship. I felt like the dynamics of the social media world, especially as it relates to food blogging, were accurately portrayed here, too. The storyline really set up a good conflict between traditional restaurant reviewing vs. social media reviewing, and it showed how social media reviewers have to fight to be taken seriously against the traditional channels. 

I also really enjoyed the side characters in this one, and I thought they provided an interesting (although, sometimes unrelated) character arc. There were also some "bro" scenes regarding the MCs best friend, and while I like to see women in STEM in books, I felt like that storyline was a bit out of place...and that the MCs eventual slide into a company role with her BFF was a big stretch. 

That being said, the romance was spot on in this one! I bought into the connection between the two MCs immediately, and I was hoping for the slow burn to eventually just become a burn the whole time! 

Overall, this was such a fun book, and you will DEFINITELY be hungry once you finish reading about all the meals the restaurant reviewers enjoyed!

Thank you to Berkley Romance for an advanced copy of Best Served Hot in exchange for my honest review!
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What's it about:
Best Served Hot by Amanda Elliot is a spicy enemies-to-lovers story about two warring restaurant critics – Julie, aka @JulieZeeEatsNYC, and Bennett Richard Macalester Wright. Why his full name, you might be wondering? Because that's how Julie refers to him as a sign of her opinion of Bennett. 

Julie reviews restaurants through social media focusing on the aesthetics and the experience. In contrast, Bennett writes for the food section of a local NYC newspaper – a much more respected medium in the restaurant world but not necessarily with the public. When they meet at a local food festival, the war ensues. The paper latches on to the popularity of their feud and wants them to do joint ventures to help promote the paper with the social media crowd. 

What follows is an often relatable and funny, sometimes mouthwatering, but always with a good helping of spice and heat for a purely entertaining read from start to finish.

Actual Reading Experience:
I just loved Best Served Hot. It pulled me in on page 1 and easily would have been a one-sitting read had I started it earlier in the day. The pure entertainment quality of the story was a joy to read. So much so that I didn't want to leave when I ran out of pages. 

I wanted to stay in NYC and try some of the many food items they reviewed. The way food is described in this story is just pure magic. I began craving foods I knew I did not care for just by how the experience was described. 

Enemies-to-lovers is my favorite trope, and this story delivers everything I love about it: a fun heated sparring that turns into a fun heated romance. The wit of the dialogue is just mwah. And the chemistry between the characters is off the charts. I prefer a closed-door romance, and there is a bit of open-door action, but it's not a lot, so I felt comfortable with it.

Some central themes are embedded in the story to give it that bit of meat I enjoy. The benefits of money and social standing play a predominant role, as does the shift in our society that has put newspapers on the path out and social media on the road in. Julie's boss has two daughters, and they are living lives bought and paid for by daddy while acting as if they have worked hard for what they have. They are vain and frivolous- the very essence of entitlement. Bennett comes from this world, fueling Julie's working-class mindset even more against him. I enjoyed that dichotomy of someone who started with nothing and worked hard for everything she has and everything she's achieved versus someone who has spent a lifetime being handed everything.

Even with the social inequalities, Julie and Bennett are relatable and the characters you would want to hang out with in real life. I would definitely want them to take me on a culinary tour of their favorite city restaurants. They are well-developed with the layers of complexities that come from a life full of ups and downs, successes and failures, and wounds that have barely begun to form the scabs required for healing to begin.

Narration & Pacing:
The story focuses on Julie, and she tells it in first-person narration. This style of narration, combined with Julie's endless wit and fascinating personality, created a fast-paced story that I loved. I was delighted with the singular focus feeling that Bennet's story and personality are still shown loud and clear.

The setting is the foodie world of NYC. And it was utilized in a way that was nothing short of sublime. I've been to NYC many times, but I feel that I've missed out on some fascinating food finds. I loved the descriptions of the city, especially the grittier take on the smells one confronts when going about their life. I think the smells of New York – good and bad – are more ingrained in my memory than anything else.

Read if you like:
Enemies to lovers romance
A romantic comedy with a bit of meat
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Thank you to Berkley Publishing for my eArc. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This was my second Amanda Elliot book and it lived up to the hype. I may have liked it even better than Sadie on a Plate.  I went into this one expecting to be entertained and I was not disappointed.
Slow burn and enemies to lovers are my favorite tropes and Best Served Hot dished it up perfectly!

The cover on this one perfectly depicts the story. Julie is a restaurant reviewer and has plenty of followers on her social media channel.  All she really wants though, is to quit her day job so she can follow her food passion. She thinks she has it in the bag when she applies for a job at Scroll  Unfortunately for her, the job goes to a high society good old boy, who in her eyes, does not deserve it. 

What follows is our classic enemies-to-lovers story. Amanda weaves together the perfect combination of the pitfalls of a social media influencer vs a newspaper critic.  People tend to disregard influencers but they are the wave of the future.  Print media is in a slow decline and the youth of today are tuned into cyberspace. 
The struggles of the haves vs the have not played a big role in Julie and Bennet's relationship. Amanda shows how hard it is for people of wealth to really understand what the rest of the world faces each and every day. 
My favorite part is when Julie and Bennet visit Sadie's restaurant. 

There are plenty of laugh out loud moments and some tender ones too. I just may need to make a trip to NYC and see if I am able to find some of these places to eat!
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Pub date: 2/21/23
Genre: rom com (enemies to lovers, workplace romance)
Quick summary: IG food reviewer Julie is devastated when she doesn't make the cut to become food reviewer at the New York Scroll, and, even worse, rich boy Bennett gets the job. But once they start working together, she starts to see him in a different light.

I loved SADIE ON A PLATE, so I knew I had to read BEST SERVED HOT. I related to Julie's struggle to be taken seriously and her hustle and drive. Bennett was also charming - he's much more than he appears at first, and the two of them brought out the best in each other! I loved seeing them team up to conquer the NYC food scene - and the food sounded amazing. This is not a book to read while you are hungry.

If you enjoy a sweet romcom or you're a foodie, this is one for you!

Thank you to Berkley Romance and @letstalkbookspromo for my e-ARC!
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Thanks for the free book Berkley 🥰

✔️ enemies to lovers
✔️ foodies
✔️ forced proximity
✔️ NYC setting

Best Served Hot is a decent fiction book but the romance was definitely but on the far back-burner. 

Julie came across as pretentious and extremely prejudice towards basically every other character in the book. Plus, I just wasn’t convinced of the chemistry or interest between her and Bennett. There was zero relationship development. They went from hating each other to making out with no explanation.

While food is a main focus in this book since both our main characters are food reviewers, the food descriptions were constant, long winded and had me zoning out. 

If you are a big foodie, I think you’ll enjoy this. However if you’re looking for a true romance, I’d skip this one and move onto the next book on your TBR. 

Best Served Hot is out February 21.

Thanks again to @berkleyromance and @netgalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is a very solid three. I enjoyed the story for the most part although I felt some of the plot points were overly cliched (the toxic men in tech, Emerson Leigh's obviousness, etc) and that got to me for a bit. When I read the writing process for it started in 2020 though it made a bit more sense. 

The love story was too fast for me. Like there was no real development apart from Julie and Bennett finding each other attractive after like their second date. The description of the food was more engaging and memorable then the development of that. This didn't really feel like a romance novel but more like Women's Fiction that tried to have a strong romantic element but didn't quite fully meet the mark. 

Don't get me wrong it was still enjoyable but not overly memorable.
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This definitely felt more woman's fiction than a straight up romance. meaning, it felt like the romance took a backseat to the main characters personal growth, which totally might work more for certain people than others. 

with the romance itself the vibes are very much: forced proximity, enemies to lovers, hate to love, opposites attract, they're from different worlds. 

one of the things i really liked about this book was how it touched on how social media is looked down upon by traditional forms of media and it explored that whole notion. 

not a new favorite but definitely worth the read if you're a foodie who's looking for a contemporary book.
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A great addition to the hate to love / opposites attract genre and filled with amazing descriptions of food that require you to have snacks nearby to stave off the grumbling of your jealous stomach.
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@JulieZeeEatsNYC, as Julie is known on Instagram, is a foodie and restaurant reviewer. Sure she helps fund this by having a full time job, but her food content is where her passion lies. Julie loses out on an opportunity to review for a large newspaper and then finds herself face to face with the man who stole her chance. When their filmed confrontation brings attention to both of their platforms, the decide to team up for a mutually beneficial duet project. And you know how the story goes...

This book could be your cute and easy little weekend read. Although, if you're at all like me and need a little more meat to it (ha!) then it may not be the one. It felt like there was a lot going on and nothing going on at the same time. I had a really hard time connecting with the FMC; she felt immature and hypocritical. And the MMC just felt really flat. So obviously there was a lack of chemistry as well.  I found myself skimming the food description tangents. I enjoyed them at first but they could be thinned out and still provide a nice addition. However, I read it in a day and was able to finish it so it wasn't a complete miss for me!
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Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for sending me an e-ARC to read and review! I really enjoyed this book. Julie and Bennett were so funny and I loved how their relationship developed from enemies to kind of colleagues to eventually lovers. I also loved the look into influencer and social media culture when it comes to food, because it's a huge aspect of where people get recs from nowadays. It felt like food wasn't only a plot point, but also a character and I thought that was unique and well done. Amanda described all the food so beautifully, it felt like I was there with Julie and Bennett.  Julie also brought up her Judaism and connected it with a nice cameo to Sadie from Amanda's first book and I loved that! This definitely had a bit more romance from Sadie on a Plate and I thought it fit really well for Bennett and Julie. This was super fun and I loved the journey in NYC!
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