Stirring up love A novel

Chandra Blumberg

Book - 2022

"After doing her time in corporate Chicago, Simone Blake returns to small-town Illinois to tackle a new venture: her grandfather's barbecue restaurant. The secret, as they say, is in the sauce. Simone's plan is to sell Honey and Hickory's signature sauce to put her hometown on the map. But she's not the only one with a recipe and a plan: chef Finn Rimes from nearby Springfield has a similar vision. To jump-start his dream of opening a culinary school, he shows up at the ...local farmers' market with his own barbecue sauce. When Simone's plan to outsell Finn falls flat, she auditions for a reality show to pitch her brand. But she's horrified to discover Finn's had the same idea. As Simone and Finn wage barbecue war on television, their feud turns into an undeniable attraction. With their livelihoods on the line, it may not be so much about making the best sauce--but finding their way to each other."--Back cover

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FICTION/Blumberg Chandra
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Romance fiction
Seattle, Washington : Montlake [2022]
Physical Description
339 pages ; 21 cm
Main Author
Chandra Blumberg (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Simone, the sister of Alisha, featured in Blumberg's Digging Up Love (2022), gets her own love story in this fun enemies-to-lovers, forced-proximity rom-com. She is back in the small town of Hawksurg, Illinois, to run the family BBQ restaurant, and cannot believe that someone else is selling BBQ sauce at the local farmers market. Finn doesn't know the small town; he just sees the farmers market as a chance to launch his dream-sauce business. Sparks fly between them from the first meeting at the market, and when they both end up on the same entrepreneur reality show, it is inevitable that the judges want them to work together for the prize seed money. They decide to drive back to Illinois due to weather flight delays, and then start to give in to their warming chemistry. The road trip is filled with funny and tender moments as Simone and Finn begin to trust each other and think about the future. This smart, sweet romance from rising star Blumberg uses favorite tropes in a deliciously entertaining adventure.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Rival chefs are forced into a business partnership that sparks unlikely love in Blumberg's sweet second Taste of Love romance (after Digging Up Love). Simone Blake was not her grandfather's first choice to take over his barbecue joint, Honey and Hickory, so when she returns to her small hometown from Chicago, she feels she must prove herself to the townsfolk. She plans to do this by expanding the restaurant--but for the money to do so, she'll need to win a business contract on the Shark Tank-esque show The Executives. She goes on the show to pitch her family's barbecue sauce recipe--and she's surprised to find that her farmers market nemesis, Finn Rimes, also hopes to win with his own line of barbecue sauces. Having grown up without a permanent home, Finn hopes to use the winnings to open a charity cooking school to help those in need of a fresh start. After fierce competition, they're both offered a deal--but only if they work together. The pair's initial animosity stems more from miscommunication than anything else, so it's a relief once they finally realize their compatibility. Readers will root for this couple in both business and love. Agent: Rachel Brooks, Bookends Literary. (July)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

A chef who dreams of opening a culinary school for the unsheltered and a restaurateur who dreams of turning her small town into a destination clash over having to work together to win $200,000 in prize money. Finn Rimes is kind, compassionate, and considerate. Years of therapy have convinced him of his own self-worth, but doubt still has a way of seeping in. Since he's spent his life moving through foster homes and temporary housing, all his worldly goods fit into the back of his car. The culinary school he wants to start is meant to show people who've been uncared for by society that they're worth investing in and to help them choose a better future for themselves. Prickly Simone Blake is desperate to prove to her grandfather that his legacy in Hawksburg, Illinois, will live on with the reins of his barbecue restaurant, Honey and Hickory, in her hands. Despite her brief sojourn in Chicago, Hawksburg is where her heart is. Community is very important to her, and she wants to expand the town into a retail and entertainment hub. All summer long, Simone and Finn hawk their competing barbecue sauces at Hawksburg's farmers market, and when they independently decide to enter a reality TV competition, they're shocked to find themselves going up against each other. Then the billionaire hosts of The Executives decide to invest in both of them together. Simone wants no part of the partnership, but Finn is desperate to convince her to take a chance on him. She couldn't surrender to love; he didn't think he was lovable. And yet, they are drawn together. A gentle soul, he brings steadiness and steadfastness into her life. She brings caring and a sense of home to his. Together, they feel hopeful for their future for the first time. A moving story imbued with thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.