Hey everyone!  I hope your Monday is off to a good start.  My family and I are all getting over a nasty stomach bug, so I’m feeling fortunate to wake up today feeling much better than I have been.  About the only good thing that came with not feeling well was that I could just lay around and read and no one gave me grief about it, haha. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on two of the fun romances I read while I was recovering.

Romance Reviews: BEST SERVED HOT & THE NEIGHBOR FAVORBest Served Hot Goodreads

Author: Amanda Elliot

Publication Date: February 21, 2023

Publisher:  Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


In Amanda Elliot’s new novel Best Served Hot, Julie Zimmerman dreams of becoming a restaurant reviewer for a major newspaper. Right now, however, she’s working as an executive assistant and only has an unpaid side gig as a food influencer on Instagram.  She applies for a restaurant critic position at the prestigious New York Scroll, but loses out to rich society guy, Bennett Richard Macalester Wright.  Julie hates everything about Bennett, from his obnoxious name all the way to his haughty attitude toward social media influencers and followers. When a public argument between them on this subject goes viral, Bennett’s boss loves the chemistry between Julie and Bennett and decides it would be fun to have a collaboration between the two of them, an old guard (print journalism) vs. new guard (social media) approach to reviewing the same restaurants.  Julie is torn between being appalled at having to spend time with Bennett, while  at the same time, knowing that this could bring her a lot of exposure and open doors for her.

I love a good rivals to lovers story and am also a fan of the forced proximity trope, so Best Served Hot was right up my alley.  I loved the chemistry between Julie and Bennett, especially the transition from those early awkward, borderline hostile scenes, to those moments when Julie realizes that maybe hanging out with Bennett and eating delicious foods isn’t the worst way she could be spending her time and that maybe he isn’t as pompous and entitled as she originally judged him to be.  I also just really liked watching them work together, how different their styles were, and how they actually learned from each other.

The vibrant food descriptions were of course a hit with me and practically had me drooling on my kindle, and I also loved the entire cast of secondary characters, especially Jada, another foodie social media influencer who reaches out to Julie during her competition with Bennett, and Alice, Julie’s bestie and a talented coder who has grown frustrated working with obnoxious, arrogant men. I loved the sense of community and sisterhood between these ladies.  Emerson Leigh, a rich girl who is oblivious of her privilege but who also has a heart of gold, also turns out to be a gem of a character.

If you enjoy foodie romances as much as I do, you’ll definitely want to check out Best Served Hot! 4 STARS


Romance Reviews: BEST SERVED HOT & THE NEIGHBOR FAVORThe Neighbor Favor Goodreads

Author: Kristina Forest

Publication Date: February 28, 2023

Publisher: Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


I absolutely adored The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest.  Is there an actual trope for bookish characters and bookish settings?  Because, if not, there really should be!

Lily Greene is a lifelong book lover who works in publishing.  She’s not quite where she wants to be, which is to work as a children’s book editor, but she’s trying to get there.  One day she decides to email her favorite fantasy author, N.R. Strickland, and they begin a months’ long correspondence that becomes the highlight of Lily’s days. They have wonderful conversations and really open up to one another, to the extent that it has Lily imagining what life could be like if she were to meet him in person, a new friendship or possibly more?  That is until he abruptly ghosts her and deletes his email account with no explanation.  Shocked and a bit heartbroken, Lily moves on with her life.

I loved Lily.  She of course scored points with me immediately by virtue of being a book lover, but I also just really admired her determination to keep going after her dream job, as well as her perseverance when it came to taking control of her love life.  Up until N.R. Strickland (or Strick as she called him) ghosted her, Lily had been caving in to her sisters’ endless attempts to set her up her dates that went nowhere, but after getting burned by Strick, she decides it’s time to bring her sisters’ meddlesome matchmaking efforts to a halt. I also very much related to her social awkwardness and loved that this awkwardness is what actually ends up driving the plot of the story because in order to find a date, she turns to her new neighbor, the sexy and charming Nick Brown.  He’s not looking to date anyone but is happy to help Lily find someone and get her sisters out of her hair.  Unbeknownst to Lily, her new neighbor is actually N.R. Strickland.

I honestly wanted to hate Nick for ghosting Lily, but the more we get to know him, he has very real reasons for doing what he did even if he went about it the wrong way.  I went from wanting to hate him to very much wanting him and Lily to see that they were perfect for each other.  I also enjoyed getting the glimpses into Nick’s journey as a reclusive author trying to complete a sequel to his best-selling fantasy novel, which also happens to be Lily’s all time favorite book.

The chemistry between Nick and Lily is wonderful and I enjoyed all of their scenes, from fun and silly ones trying to buy Nick furniture at IKEA to more poignant and heartfelt ones as Lily tries to help Nick deal with some long-standing issues he has with his father.  And don’t even get me started on the adorable bookish dates they go on.  Be still my book loving heart!

This was my first time reading a novel from Kristina Forest and I very much look forward to reading more from her because The Neighbor Favor was just a pure delight! 4.5 STARS

18 replies
  1. Sam@WLABB
    Sam@WLABB says:

    I am happy to read you enjoyed Forest’s adult debut. I am looking forward to that one, and it sounds like it has Forest’s signature warmth and charm that won me over as one of her readers.

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