Thursday, August 1, 2013

Taste Test by Kelly Fiore

Taste Test* * * 1/2

If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good. 

With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.


Hello.  My name is Nat and I am a Food Network addict.  A recovering addict that is “recovering” only because I no longer have cable.  I am not ashamed to say that I have fallen off the wagon.  Without ever having to turn on a television.  

Nora Henderson is a small town girl from South Carolina that has grown up in her father’s BBQ joint, Smoke Signals.  She loves cooking and can’t imagine doing anything else.  And now she has the chance to make cooking her life.  Nora has been accepted onto the reality show, Taste Test, where she has the chance to win a scholarship to the International School of Cuisine in Paris, France AND $50,000 towards advancing her career in the food industry.

Nora has been a fan of Taste Test since it first aired.  So she is no stranger to the drama the show fabricates in order to draw in viewers.  But she isn’t quite ready to be the star of the drama.  Taste Test has her rooming with her complete opposite - a diva princess with an instant disgust of Nora.  On top of that, the producers have noticed the volatile relationship between Nora and Christian Van Lorten and are doing everything they can to produce a romance where there is none.  

On top of the “normal” stress of being on a reality TV show, the studio kitchens are being plagued by disasters that Nora is convinced are the work of a saboteur.  Someone that wants to win the grand prize at any cost.

I really enjoyed this book.  And not just because I am a Food Network addict.  I of course loved the food challenges.  And there are even delicious recipes at the end of this (can’t wait to try the Coffee-Cocoa-Cayenne Dry Rub).  But I also loved the way Nora and the other characters tried to avoid the drama.  I enjoyed the fact that you could feel everyone’s frustration with the producers steadily build through out the story.  I really liked the relationships Nora had with her father; her father’s girlfriend; her best friend, Billy; and her newly made friends from the cast of Taste Test.  And what I found most fascinating was how the relationship between Nora and Christian grew through out the story.  There is a lot of push and pull between these two and they both do and say things that end most relationships before they have a chance to start.  But Kelly Fiore manages to build their story in a very believable way.  

As you can probably tell, I definitely recommend this book.  It’s light and fun and perfect for the beach.  And if you are anything like me, it will send you into your kitchen so you can pretend you are starring in your very own episode of Chopped.  

Or was that just me?


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