Tag Archives: Berkley

Sneak Peek Wednesday: Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot

Sadie on a Plate
by Amanda Elliot
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: March, 15, 2022
Genre: Romance

Sadie is a rising star in the trendy Seattle restaurant scene. Her dream is to create unique, modern, and mouthwatering takes on traditional Jewish recipes. But after a public breakup with her boss, a famous chef, she is sure her career is over–until she lands a coveted spot on the next season of her favorite TV show, Chef Supreme.

On the plane to New York, Sadie has sizzling chemistry with her seatmate, Luke, but tells him that she won’t be able to contact him for the next six weeks. They prolong their night with a spontaneous, magical dinner before parting ways. Or so she thinks. When she turns up to set the next day, she makes a shocking discovery about who Luke is….

If Sadie wants to save her career by winning Chef Supreme, she’s going to have to ignore the simmering heat between her and Luke. But how long can she do that before the pot boils over?

 

Sneak Peek

 

I picked up the phone, my shoulders already drooping. “Hello, this is Sadie Rosen.” “Hi, Sadie!” It was a woman on the other end, her tone far too chipper for this hour of the morning. “My name is Adrianna Rogalsky, and I’m calling from Chef Supreme. Is this a good time?”

I almost dropped my phone. “Yes!” I cleared my throat, trying to keep from squeaking the way I did when I got too excited. “I mean yes, this is a good time.”

“Great!” Adrianna chirped. “I’m calling to tell you that the committee really liked your application and your cooking video. Would you mind answering a few more questions for me?”

My eyes involuntarily darted to my bookshelf, which consisted mainly of cookbooks. I spent too much time in restaurant kitchens to cook much from them-or at least, up until a week ago I had-but I liked flipping through them to gather ideas and marvel at the food photography. Five were written by winners of Chef Supreme, and four by runners-up and semifinalists. I’d watched every episode of all six seasons, seated on the edge of my couch to goggle at every cooking challenge and winning dish and contestant who cried when eliminated.

Season three’s winner, Seattle’s Julie Chee, was my culinary idol. Derek, my boss, had taken me by her restaurant after-hours one day. She’d laughed when I told her how I’d been rooting for her all season, patted my head like I was a little kid, and then cooked me a grilled cheese with bacon and kimchi. It was the best night of my life. Right after that, I’d started dreaming about competing on the show myself.

“Hello? Sadie?”

And if I didn’t get on my game, that dream was going to evaporate like a pot of boiling water forgotten on the stove. I mean, I didn’t really think I was actually going to make it on the show, but it wasn’t like I was going to hang up on someone from Chef Supreme. “Sorry!” I said. “Bad connection for a minute there. Yes, I’d love to answer some questions.” I shook my head and grimaced. Love? Love was a strong word. I should’ve said I’d be happy to answer some questions. Now Adrianna was probably-

Talking! Already! “Your application from six months ago says that you’re a sous-chef at the Green Onion in Seattle?”

I cleared my throat. “Well, um.” This was not off to a great start. “I was a sous-chef there until last week. I decided to leave to . . . um, pursue personal business opportunities.” Another grimace. Personal business opportunities? What did that even mean?

I really wished I wasn’t naked right now. I knew Adrianna from Chef Supreme couldn’t see me through the phone, but I still felt way too exposed.

Fortunately, job-hopping is fairly common in the food world. So Adrianna just said, “Great. And how would you describe your personal style?”

I hoped she meant food-wise and not looks-wise, because my personal fashion style consisted mainly of beat-up Converses, thrift store T-shirts, and constant calculations on how far I could go between haircuts before crossing the line from fashionably mussed to overgrown sheepdog. “At the Green Onion, I was cooking mostly New American food with some French influences and a bit of molecular gastronomy,” I told her. “But my own style, I’d say, is more homestyle, with Jewish influences? Not kosher cooking; that’s a different thing. I’m inspired by traditional Jewish cuisine.”

Paper rustled on the other end. “Right, the matzah ball ramen you cooked in your video looked fantastic. We were all drooling in the room!”

I perked up. Forgot that I was naked. Forgot that lately I was a walking disaster. “That’s one of my go-tos and will definitely be on my future menu. I’ve been experimenting lately with putting a spin on kugels . . .”

As I chattered on, I could practically see my grandma shaking her head at me. Grandma Ruth had cooked up a storm for every Passover, Yom Kippur, and Chanukah, piling her table till it groaned with challah rolls, beef brisket in a ketchup-based sauce, and tomato and cucumber salad so fresh and herby and acidic it could make you feel like summer in the middle of winter. Pastrami-spiced pork shoulder? Really, dear?

I shook my own head back at her, making her poof away in a cloud of metaphorical smoke. I had that power now that she was dead and buried and existing primarily as a manifestation of my own anxiety.

“. . . so in that way it’s really more of a cheesecake with noodles in it,” I finished up. My blood was sparking just talking about my food; I had to do a few quick hops just to burn off some of that excess energy.

“I love your passion,” Adrianna said on the other end of the phone. “So, I take it that opening your own restaurant is hashtag goals for you?”

“Hashtag goals,” I agreed. And my shoulders drooped again, because that was a dream that was never going to happen now. After I got fired by the Green Onion and the chefs at all the other restaurants worth working at learned why, I became the joke of Seattle’s restaurant industry. Who wanted to invest in the local joke?

She asked me a few other questions, pertaining mostly to my schedule and availability (there were only so many ways to say, “I’m free whenever you want me, considering I no longer have a job”). I continued to pace around my apartment, circling the coffee table, bare feet padding over the rug. And then, “It’s been lovely to speak with you, Sadie.”

I stopped short, my shin slamming into the table leg. I swallowed back a curse. “It’s been lovely to speak with you . . . too?” I finished with a question, because I couldn’t ask what I really wanted to ask. Is this it? Did I not meet whatever criteria you have? What’s wrong with me?

“We’ll be in touch soon,” Adrianna said. “Have a great day!”

 

Meet Amanda Elliot

 Photo by Cassie Gonzales

Amanda Elliot lives with her husband in New York City, where she collects way too many cookbooks for her tiny kitchen, runs in Central Park, and writes for teens and kids under the name Amanda Panitch.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

Review: The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle

The Royals Next Door
by Karina Halle
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: Aug. 31, 2021
Genre: Romance
Rating:

Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She lives a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who struggles with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.

And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights.

But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.

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Review: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

The Heart Principle
(The Kiss Quotient #3)
by Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: Aug. 31, 2021
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating:

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

 

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Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

The Love Hypothesis
by Ali Hazelwood
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: Sept. 14, 2021
Genre: Romance
Rating:

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

 

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Review: Her Kind of Cowboy by Dylann Crush

Her Kind of Cowboy
(Tying the Knot in Texas #2)
by Dylann Crush
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: Jan. 12, 2021
Genre: Romance
Rating:

No wedding is too much for the little town of Ido, Texas to handle…or is it?

Having successfully established themselves as a destination for weddings, the town of Ido is ready to kick it up another notch. Zina Baxter has stood on the sidelines during most of the matrimonial mayhem. But when a disaster at the pit bull rescue has her relocating the pups to share space with a winter wonderland scene, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of planning the craziest wedding yet.

Alex Sanders ran as far and fast as he could from his hometown–all the way to Antarctica. But a job opportunity as the penguin handler for an over-the-top wedding jerks entices him back. Being home means he can finally help his overwhelmed sister wrangle their unruly grandpa–at least until the next opportunity comes around and he can hit the road running again. The last thing he expects to find in Texas is a shot at love…

Once Alex crashes into Zina’s life–literally–there’s no denying their chemistry. But are their feelings for each other enough to keep Alex in Texas for good, or will he follow the march of the penguins back to the South Pole?

 

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Review: A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane

A Touch of Stone and Snow
(A Gathering of Dragons #2)
by Milla Vane
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: July 21, 2020
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Rating:

Danger lurks in the western realms. The Destroyer’s imminent return has sent the realms into turmoil as desperate citizens seek refuge—but there’s no safety to be found when demons and wraiths crawl out from the shadows. Even Koth, a northern island kingdom left untouched by the Destroyer a generation past, is besieged by terrors spawned from corrupt magics.

When Lizzan leads the Kothan army against these terrors, only to see her soldiers massacred and to emerge as the only survivor, she is called a coward and a deserter. Shunned from her home, Lizzan now wanders in solitude as a mercenary for hire, until she encounters a group of warriors seeking new alliances with the northern kingdoms—a group that includes Aerax, the bastard prince of Koth, and the man who sent her into exile.

Though they were childhood friends, Aerax cannot allow himself to be close to the only woman who might thwart his treacherous plan to save their island realm. But when a goddess’s demand binds them together, Lizzan and Aerax must find a way to overcome their painful pasts. Or there will be no future for the western realms…

 

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Review: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

The Ex Talk
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: Jan. 26, 2021
Genre: Romance
Rating:

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

 

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Review: The Boy Toy by Nicola Marsh

The Boy Toy
by Nicola Marsh
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: Nov. 17, 2020
Genre: Romance
Rating:

A woman ready to give up on love discovers that age is truly just a number in this heartwarming and steamy new romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Nicola Marsh.

For almost a decade, successful 37-year-old Samira Broderick has used her bustling LA practice as an excuse to avoid a trip home to Australia. She still resents her meddling Indian mother for arranging her marriage to a man who didn’t stick around when the going got tough, but now with a new job Down Under, she’s finally ready to reconnect with her. And while she’s there, a hot international fling might be just what she needs to get out of her recent funk.

Aussie stuntman, Rory Radcliffe, has been hiding his stutter for years by avoiding speaking roles. When a job he can’t refuse comes up as a reality show host, he knows he’ll need some help for the audition: a dialect coach. But he finds himself at a loss for words when he discovers it’s the same sexy woman with whom he just had a mind-blowing one-night stand…

Samira can think of many reasons why Rory is completely wrong for her: he’s ten years her junior, for one, and he’s not Indian–something Samira’s mother would never approve of. Even if things were to get serious, there’s no reason to tell her mother…is there?

 

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Review: Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Crazy Stupid Bromance
(Bromance Book Club #3)
by Lyssa Kay Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: Oct. 27, 2020
Genre: Romance
Rating:

Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.

Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush.

Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.

A hacktivist and a cat café owner decode the friend zone in this romantic comedy from the author of Undercover Bromance.

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Review: Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Undercover Bromance
(Bromance Book Club #2)
by Lyssa Kay Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: March 10, 2020
Genre: Romance
Rating:

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

 

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