(ARC) All Stirred Up by Brianna Moore

All Stirred Up by Brianna Moore
Susan Napier's family once lived on the success of the high-end restaurants founded by her late grandfather. But bad luck and worse management has brought the business to the edge of financial ruin. Now it's up to Susan to save the last remaining restaurant: Elliot's, the flagship in Edinburgh.

But what awaits Susan in the charming city of Auld Reekie is more than she bargained for. Chris Baker, her grandfather's former protégé--and her ex-boyfriend--is also heading to the Scottish capital. After finding fame in New York as a chef and judge of a popular TV cooking competition, Chris is returning to his native Scotland to open his own restaurant. Although the storms have cleared after their intense and rocky breakup, Susan and Chris are re-drawn into each other's orbit--and their simmering attraction inevitably boils over.

As Chris's restaurant opens to great acclaim and Susan tries to haul Elliot's back from the brink, the future brims with new promise. But darkness looms as they find themselves in the crosshairs of a gossip blogger eager for a juicy story--and willing to do anything to get it. Can Susan and Chris reclaim their lost love, or will the tangled past ruin their last hope for happiness?

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reading copy (ARC) of Brianna Moore's new novel, All Stirred Up, thanks to NetGalley and Alcove Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

With any ARC, I always go through three tests before fully going through the story itself:
  1. Does the cover appeal? Fully yes. I'm really loving the new style of romance novel covers where you're not actually seeing a real person, but a caricature style (unfortunately as you can probably tell I'm not an art person, so excuse the ignorance for what the actual style is here). Either way, loved the cover!
  2. Does the cover match up to the story? I'm a little mixed on this one. It did have key elements of the story, but I'll confess that the cover made me think of this story going in a different direction than it did.
  3. Did the formatting work? Unfortunately there were some choppy errors here which made the book a little disjointed to read at times. Paragraphs were sometimes in the wrong place, words dropped down mid-sentence, words with no spaces. Having said that, once this is cleared up, the book flow will definitely improve.

Onto the story itself! Reading the description, I knew that we were heading into a romance story with a cooking element. But, I didn't find that this actually matched, and it actually felt more like a cooking/family-relationship story with a romance element. Don't get me wrong, this novel is very well-written, detailed, and intriguing. We're given a lot of information about the cooking scene in Edinburgh, the operation of a kitchen, and I'll admit it has given me an incentive to start cooking again.

We're given some insight into Susan's family and the legacy of her family's restaurant, combined with some of the disjointed family relationships. I found myself somewhat confused at times which character was actually which as there were so many different characters to keep track off. I would definitely say that Susan was our main character, but I wouldn't actually say the same of her love interest - Chris. We see a lot more of Susan's interactions with her family and her emotions than we see of Chris, and again, that's not a bad thing, it just doesn't fit the usual romance novel that I read.

I do feel that this was more of a general fiction novel with romance elements, which again, is well-written, just not fully falling into the romance genre. For most of the book, our lead characters are dating another person, leading to some confusion about who was actually going to end up together. The romance between Susan and Chris was discussed at various stages, but I didn't feel with enough conviction for me to want the two to end up together. Personally I wasn't that invested in Chris and hoping he'd get back together with Susan, but I was invested in Susan and getting her restaurant sorted!

Overall, I think this was a well-written novel, with many fascinating details about the cooking world and the Edinburgh scene, and one that I did thoroughly enjoy. I would say that this was more of a general fiction novel with a romance element, but nevertheless, a light-hearted, well written book.

Rating: 3/5

This book is scheduled for release 8th September, 2020.


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