Cover Image: Love at 350°

Love at 350°

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read the advanced copy of this book.

'Love at 350' is a contemporary love story as sweet as the baked goods it features. Kendra Campbell is a fierce and famous celebrity chef known for her no-nonsense judging style on the reality tv competition series 'American Bake-O-Rama.' New contestant Tori Moore is a divorced mother of twins who are heading off to college and leaving her to contemplate whether her teaching career or her love of baking will guide the next step of her future. When these two enter each other's lives, Tori helps soften Kendra's sharp edges, while Kendra provides Tori with the clarity and confidence to chase her dreams.

I won't lie; the first few chapters of this book were a little rocky for me. I felt like there was too much telling and not enough showing when it came to the introductions of the characters and their backstories. I was so put off by Kendra and Alden calling each other "Ken" and "Den" or using each other's full names multiple times that I actually groaned out loud, "we get it, they're related" - so that was a bit rough. And of course I have to take off a few points for "Food & Drink TV Network" because, c'mon, we couldn't have come up with a snappier name for a fictional channel?

But with all that negativity out of the way, once we got to the actual competition portion of the story, I loved it to pieces and enjoyed it right up through the end. The baking challenges were entertaining and so realistic. As someone who grew up watching those types of shows and who still devours them to this day, it was like getting to binge a whole season of one of my favorite shows in one sitting, and it was glorious. I was a little surprised that we never really got to see what a real romance between Tori and Kendra would look like by the end, but I don't hate it. The journey they took to get to where they did was a good one even if we didn't get a huge "onscreen" pay off.

If anything, I think the way the book ended leaves open a great possibility for a sequel that shows us where these two end up together (and maybe even introduces some spice to all this sweetness, if you know what I mean). I would love to read about Tori's bakery and show, Kendra's next forays into the restaurant world, and how Bake-O-Rama changes with Kendra as an EP.

Was this review helpful?

LGBTQIA+ chef romance? Check. Honest representations of queer divorce? Also check. Foodie romance that balances the food and love? Check yet again. Love at 350° also squeezes in a bit of mystery and some seriously good contract tomfoolery. My only complaint is that this was marketed as a rom-com and that is not at all central to what it was - maybe more women's/LGBTQIA+ general fiction? Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free advance copy.

Was this review helpful?

As a lover of baking/cooking competition shows, this book fed my soul! I went into it expecting 90% romance 10% baking but it was the complete opposite. I will say that this book was marketed as a romance and I feel as if it was a subplot. The competition was the main story which I loved, but if you are reading this for the romance you will be disappointed as I found it to be lacking. If this was marketed better I think it would find it's target audience. Loved the writing and detail, loved the characters and the light-hearted feel of the book.

Was this review helpful?

Nov 04, 2023 · edit
liked it

If it isn't clear by now, I love a baking trope. I see baking or a bakery in the synopsis or food on the cover, and it is immediately marked "Want to Read." It's honestly a problem, but here we are.

Mileage will vary with Love at 350⁰, as the romance takes a backseat to the baking competition aspect of the plot. The lack of a romantic focus made it hard for me to connect with the main characters and root for their connection. If you require spice, look elsewhere. There is nothing beyond a little bit of kissing.

I enjoyed the baking show aspect. I found the ins and outs of the show to be interesting, as I have always wondered how these types of shows work. I enjoyed the side characters from the show and wish we could have gotten a bit more of them.

If you enjoy "women's fiction" with romance as a subplot instead of the main focus, this will probably work for you. Love at 350⁰ is also perfect for fans of Sapphic Romance, The Great British Bakeoff, The Food Network, 40ish Year Old Main Characters, Squeaky Clean Romance, and No Third Act Breakup. There are mentions of past traumas, like divorce.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group - Random House, and Dial Press Trade Paperback for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Title: Love at 350 Degrees
Author: Lisa Peers
Summary: When an unexpected and forbidden attraction starts to simmer between judge and contestant on the set of a TV baking competition, both women must decide what they're willing to risk for the ultimate prize in this debut rom-com.
Tori Moore, popular high school chemistry teacher, avid home baker, and soon-to-be empty nester, auditions for the American Bake-o-Rama TV competition at the urging of her twin teenagers. If she somehow makes it all the way, the prize money could allow her to finally open her own bakery. But still reeling from her divorce and being naturally risk-averse, it’s not just money that’s standing between Tori and her dreams.
Once on set, Tori catches the eye of Kendra Campbell, the notoriously ruthless celebrity chef and Bake-o-Rama judge. Kendra is desperate to save her restaurant and expand her Chippy Chunk cookie empire, and the show is her ticket to financial security. But she’s been told to soften her approach in order to appease viewers seeking feel-good entertainment. After years spent fighting for space in a male-dominated industry, Kendra finds it challenging—and surprisingly rewarding—to make the shift from harsh critique to encouragement.
Tori, drawn to the uncompromising way Kendra moves through the world, senses a tenderness beneath her tough exterior. She and Kendra find it increasingly hard to keep their distance amid six weeks of cooking challenges and kitchen disasters. For both of them, the best prize of all might just be love.
Copy provided by @netgalley in exchange for honest review.
Likes: Great British Bake Off but queer! Older character representation (and by older I just mean not someone in their 20s), Queer-divorced parent representation,
Dislikes: Not as focused on the romance as it was on the baking competition.

Was this review helpful?

This was described as a rom-com but I don't really feel that's an accurate description. I would describe this book as a delicious story about starting over and believing in yourself. The flirty relationship that develops between Tori and Kendra was so fun and believable. The recipes sounded wonderful and I love that some were included at that end! This was a truly enjoyable book. Thanks #NetGalley #RandomHouse #LisaPeers

Was this review helpful?

𝙇𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙖𝙩 𝟯𝟱𝟬° 𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙞𝙨𝙖 𝙋𝙚𝙚𝙧𝙨
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This was such a fun and easy to read book. I loved the food elements, the baking show competition, the drama that unfolded and the family and friends that supported the main character, Tori through the story.

This was a quick read, I devoured it and couldn’t put it down until the very end. I loved that the main character was in her 40’s, her kids were going off to college and she was starting a new life journey. This is an age and position you don’t usually see many characters in books, and I appreciated reading it.

One of my personal favorite connections to the book is where the book takes place, my hometown of Sonoma County, California. I had no idea it took place here and loved the added element of surprise as I got started.

I do wish we would have gotten a bit more taste of the romance that was slowly unfolding in the book and some more in depth look into the future of Tori and Kendra. I didn’t get an idea of what kind of a couple they were together as once things aligned for them the book ended. Even if it was a quick epilogue, it would have been great to have that glimpse of their future. Other than that minor critique I absolutely loved the book! Now I want to go bake something!

𝙍𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙞𝙛 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚:
✨ Grumpy vs Sunshine
✨ Baking Show Competition
✨ Food Talk
✨ Wine Country
✨ Light on Romance


Thank you Random House and Lisa Peers for the copy of this wonderful book!

Review will be posted on Instagram 10/31/2023

Was this review helpful?

This book ended up being completely different (in my opinion) from what I thought it would be based on the original synopsis. While the concept of a romance found during a baking competition sounds like it would sizzle, the chemistry between the two characters fell completely flat for me, which made this hard to enjoy. I ended up skimming the majority of the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Heat Factor: First kiss on the last page

Character Chemistry: They feel that tingle when they meet

Plot: Tori is a contestant on a baking show; Kendra is one of the judges

Overall: The overall story kept my interest—but the romance part did not

Here at The Smut Report, I am the go-to reader for 1) sapphic romances, 2) foodie romances, and 3) GBBO romances. Since this book has all three, I obviously had to read it.

The premise had potential. Tori and Kendra are both 40ish women facing a turning point: Tori’s kids are heading to college and Kendra’s restaurant is struggling financially. In addition, they represent two paths: Tori gave up her career dreams to have a family, whereas Kendra put her personal life on hold to build her career. Now they have both come to a place where they are dreaming of finding more balance. So Kendra resolves to be kinder (to herself and others) and Tori resolves to be braver. Their individual journeys over the course of filming a season of a competition baking show are the focus of the story.

The baking show framework creates some built-in tension that propels the narrative—it helps that there’s a bit of a mystery/sabotage situation, for some extra external plot. The story kept my attention.

Unfortunately, I felt that this book fell flat as a romance. When we started the Great Smut Debate, Ingrid asserted that in a successful romance, the characters must grow both separately and together over the course of the book. I didn’t believe her at first, but here’s another book proving her right: Tori and Kendra both do a lot of growing separately (which is great), but don’t grow together at all. Perhaps you could make an argument that the Tori’s infectious energy and Kendra’s little notes inspire them both to reach out for their dreams…but that’s a stretch. They barely interact beyond occasional eye contact and filmed conversations about what Tori will be baking that week. Even the final shift that has to occur for them to be together (finding a way around that pesky non-fraternization clause in the contract they both signed) is something that they handle separately. So while there’s a decent amount of attraction from afar, there’s not enough interaction—much less joint growth or attempts to solve their problems together—to make me invested in their relationship.

A final note. As I was reading, I felt like this book was…aggressively white. Not aggressive in an overt, angry way. More like…we’re not going to talk about anyone’s race but *obivously* everyone is white here. On a national cooking show. Filmed in the San Francisco Bay area. (Exception: one contestant who is eliminated early from the competition is a Muslim woman, and while “Muslim” is not a race, she is probably not white.) I do not expect every romance novel to have a diverse cast of characters, but given the setting, I found this choice distracting to the point where I started analyzing every piece of information about every minor character to try and determine if they were meant to be white or a person of color. Because there were some weird little bits that signaled…maybe they weren’t all actually white? But let’s not openly acknowledge it.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

This review is also available at The Smut Report.

Was this review helpful?

When I first started reading this book, it seemed like a cross between Lessons in Chemistry and the Great British Baking Show. However, as the book went on, it got so much better. I really enjoyed the pacing of the book and how much depth was given to the characters. I didn’t love the forbidden romance because I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I think it ended okay. The ending was a tiny bit rushed, but it was a good ending. While the note exchange was cute, it also seemed to be odd, sharing that much with a stranger. Still a good book overall and good for anyone who likes middle-aged sapphic romance. 3.75⭐️, 0🌶

Was this review helpful?

If you enjoy watching The Great British Bake Off or the seasonal Food Network Baking Championship shows, you will love this book! It's like 75% baking competition and 25% romance. The main character Tori is about 40 years old with grown twin children which is rare for a romance novel and was really refreshing.

Thank you to NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This was a very fun read. I found Tori and Kendra's story quite charming. The story itself is emotional and heartwarming with just a sprinkling of poignancy to bring all the flavors to life.

Was this review helpful?

Good premise. Loved that this followed older characters in the romance but I didn’t feel attached to either character as a romantic pair.

Was this review helpful?

This book was super cute and I had a really fun time reading it! It is a romance between a high school chemistry teacher who loves to bake and a judge on a baking show. It isn’t the first time I’ve read a book taking place on the set of a baking competition, but it’s the first one I’ve read between a contestant and a judge.

Things I liked:
1. The baking competition. I love watching food shows, so of course reading about one intrigued me a lot. I liked seeing everything from both the judges and the contestants perspectives, it really made the story come together. Obviously being a fan of baking competitions, I loved all the food references
2. I loved all the characters! Even the characters who were originally the ‘villains’ of this book ended up being really good people
3. The plot twist was well done, I couldn’t figure out who sabotaged her until a few chapters before the reveal.

SPOILERS BELOW!!

Things I didn’t like:
1. The ending. It didn’t feel right to me for her contract to get voided. The entire conflict of the story was ended so quickly, which I didn’t really like

Even though the ending wasn’t my favorite, I still had a really fun time reading this book and would definitely recommend it!

Was this review helpful?

Pub date: 10/10/23
Genre: rom com (f/f)
Quick summary: Tori is a contestant on American Bake-o-Rama - but the hardest part of the competition isn't the baking - it's figuring out her growing attraction to the show's judge Kendra, whose tough exterior conceals a soft heart.

I've read a lot of cooking show romances, and I will continue to read a lot more! I ended up reading this over the course of a day because I got so caught up in the story. Tori and Kendra both had plenty of issues to work with, and I loved how they made each other stronger and better. Given the show's rules against fraternization, a lot of their communication took place through letters, so it's not a capital R romance, but it gave me warm and fuzzy feelings. I also enjoyed that there was a ton of food content - don't read this one while you're hungry. The cooking show had plenty of drama - maybe it should have been called American Drama-rama. i'm going to keep a lookout for more from Peers!

Thank you to Random House/Dial Press for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

★ ★ ★ ★ //5

Love At 350°
by Lisa Peers

THOUGHTS:

I want to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for giving me the opportunity to read an e-arc in exchange for my honest review.

This book was super cute! I love a cute little romcom. We follow two women in the 40’s who find love on the set of a show that is based around a baking/cooking show, two women in their 40’s and LGBTQ+. I enjoyed watching these two characters grow and develop through the entire story and watching their budding romance build as well. Absolutely a cozy baking read for a cold weekend curled up by the fire.

Was this review helpful?

*Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Pub date: October 10, 2023

Billed as a sapphic romance, this is definitely more focused on what it’s like to be on a reality cooking show competition. If you’re into cooking shows, I’d definitely recommend this one. All the supporting characters are fantastic and made for an enjoyable read, but I wouldn’t consider this a romance unless a few notes back and forth is enough romance for you.

Was this review helpful?

This is one of those foodie romances that somehow manages to balance the elements of both perfectly. Also, I love that we have older queer protagonists!

Was this review helpful?

I was so excited to read this book because it has so many things I love! Older lesbians, baking shows, a slow-burn romance, angsty women... the list could go on and on. But I was slightly disappointed because it didn't all come together like I thought it would. The pacing felt a little weird and while I do love a slow-burn, this was a little TOO slow; the reader doesn't even really get to see them be a couple for any amount of time. Additionally, the writing felt a bit simple.

Was this review helpful?

✨ Review ✨ Love at 350° by Lisa Peers

Even though this is aNoThEr queer cooking show romance, I was not disappointed. This leaned in more to the cooking show story than the romance, I think, and so, in some ways, I think it read more like women's fiction. I really liked this about it -- the romance was present, but sometimes was just there on the side burner.

The book features Tori, a recently-divorced mom of twins who's one-half of a biochemistry of baking teaching duo at a local high school. When her twins nominate her for a baking show, she meets Kendra, hot chef and cookie-queen of the Pacific coast. In some ways, the insta-attraction is quick but the romance is definitely slow slow burn since it's contractually forbidden.

I really loved the way that this talked about baking and why it matters to the characters. The other contestants on the show were lovable and there wasn't a super vicious sense of competition either -- bringing forth all the best bake off sorts of feelings. Definitely a super cozy baking read!

I listened to maybe 1/3 of this on audio and enjoyed the narration!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre: women's fiction, f/f contemporary romance (light on the romance)
Setting: Bay Area / wine country
Reminds me of: Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly
Pub Date: Oct 10, 2023

Read this if you like:
⭕️ baking show books
⭕️ queer romances that are lighter on the romance
⭕️ ALL THE DESSERTS

Thanks to Random House, Dial Press Trade Paperback, PRHAudio and #netgalley for an advanced e-copy of this book!

Was this review helpful?