ARC Review: Under the Knife by Laurin Kelly

Blurb: 29523342

Season three of TV’s hottest cooking competition, Under the Knife, is gearing up, and Nate is equal parts excited and terrified that he’s one of the twelve competitors. But the prize is a quarter of a million dollars, and that’s worth a few weeks of being stressed and afraid.

It may not, however, be worth weeks of putting up with Zachary, the cold, snotty competitor who definitely thinks he’s better than everyone else. The man can cook, and he’s the hottest man Nate has ever seen, but every time he opens his mouth Nate hates him all over again.

He came here to be driven crazy trying to prove he’s the best chef in the world, but if Nate can’t learn to block Zachary out it won’t be the competition that pushes him to the breaking point.

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Preorder it at Less Than Three Press

Release date: July 20th

My review:

*I got an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

My first thought after finishing this book and reading the author’s information was: “are you telling me this is a debut?” I think that’s telling. I liked this story a lot, and it filled me with warm feelings.

But let me warn you: if you don’t like cooking or cooking shows, this book may drag a bit for you. The food and the preparation of it is a big part of the story. I’ve always loved cooking, I find it relaxing; and cooking shows are one of my guilty pleasures, so I was completely happy with this storyline.

Nate lost his father at a young age and has been working since he was a teenager to help his mother. Since then, he’s been going from kitchen to kitchen, learning a lot about different foods and cooking techniques; something that certainly will be useful to him when competing in Under the Knife, a famous cooking show. We meet him when he’s on the plane to Los Angeles, where he jumps into the show just as soon as he lands. We meet the other contestants through him, included the gorgeous Zachary, to whom he finds himself immediately attracted to. However, as physically attractive as he is, his personality seems cold and is a big turn down for Nate. But still, there may be something else behind that cold mask.

I really liked Nate, from the first moment he appeared in the book, he was conscious of who he is, sweet and friendly. I loved how he developed some friendships pretty much since the beginning of the show, and his relationship with Carmen was beautiful.

I wasn’t invested in Zachary at first, but that’s mostly because we get to know him at the same time as Nate does. In the end, I was pretty charmed by him, and I think he did a lot of growing during the show.

I felt that the secondary characters were well done, too. They looked like real people to me, and all of them had some kind of weight in the story. I particularly loved Carmen and Mitchell.

As for the relationship between Nate and Zachary, I lreally liked the process. The got to know each other, developing a tentative friendship at first and finally giving in to their mutual attraction. I’ll admit I let out a sigh when they finally came together, it was beautiful.

I bought the plot completely. I could imagine myself watching the show as I read about it in the book, and I found myself wishing it was real more than once. And the epilogue? I haven’t been able to shake the smile off my face yet.

A delicious story, I would definitely recommend.


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Genre: Contemporary Publisher: LT3Press Review

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