Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/07/17/review-once-burned-by-dee-carney/
One day on Twitter I was talking about my desire for a “Kitchen Nightmares” like romance book, and Carney and I got to talking about her foodie series. When she asked if I was willing to review the first book, I jumped at the chance. Afterall, who doesn’t love a good foodie romance?
This book was short, almost too short. I loved the setup, and think the blurb does a great job of laying out the general plot line. However, I would have liked more. I wish that Carney would have gone into their past more, especially since they had so much history between them. I always love a good frenemies story, and I know Carney could have blown me away with more backstory and more tension throughout.
That being said, I did enjoy the book. I thought Pepper and Darien were great together, and I loved the fierce competition they had going on, all while dancing around the sexual tension. I liked the way they were forced to not only work together on the competition, but also forced to deal with their past. Darien had to practically corner Pepper in the kitchen to get her to hear him out. And despite the way that Darien treated her as kids, I loved that Pepper was able to take a step back and look at what she really wanted, how she really felt, and make a decision from there.
I also thought Carney did a great job with the secondary characters, Pepper and Darien’s sous chefs. I thought it was great that they were a couple, and their relationship was a fun juxtaposition to the animosity of Pepper and Darien in the beginning. I would have liked to see more with them as well, as I thought they were great.
I thought the food truck competition was fun! I would have liked to see it stretch the story more. (this seems to be a theme throughout this review, huh?) I was a little bummed that Darien would think that Pepper would purposefully sabotage him, but glad to see that his groveling paid off in the end. I really loved the scene where they announced the winner of the competition. It reminded me of the movie Forces of Nature; at the end when Ben’s character is standing in the hurricane with his future wife. I loved how both the book and the movie seemed to have life happen around them while they were focused some completely on one another. So great.
All in all I really liked this story. It was short, and I really did want more, but I enjoyed what I got. I liked Pepper and Darien and was glad to see they finally got their second chance at love. I hope we get to see more of them in future books.
I give Once Burned a B-