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My name is Chelsey and I am the creator of Charming Chelsey's! I read and review anything and everything that I find to be "charming." I accept ARCs or already released books for review, and I'm also available to participate in any blog tours or book reveals too. If anything, please don't hesitate to email me any time for any reason at: charmingchelseys(at)gmail(dot)com

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ARC Book Review: Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous

Author: Kathryn Williams
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Can a spot on a teen reality show really lead to a scholarship at an elite cooking school AND a summer romance?

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America's finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.

Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself. A terrific YA offering--fresh, fun, and sprinkled with romance

I requested this book from the publisher back at the beginning of the summer just because of how completely adorable it looked and sounded! A girl chef with a passion for tomato sauce sounds like such a cute read and I loved the wooden spoon she is holding on the front cover; it just added charisma and attitude to my perspective of Sophie. I read on to find out that she was Greek/Italian, yeah even cooler!! This book sounded like the perfect summer read and first impressions really matter, right?!

This book was not what I expected it to be. It was a cute read but it just lacked something for me. I was not as into it as I hoped that I would be. I really wanted it to be like one of my favorite books, but sadly I was a little disappointed. Not that it was all bad because there were definitely parts that I did like. I loved Sophie’s ambition and her desire to cook. I could feel a passion in her that was so real and I love that she was so connected to her family and really embraced her Greek/Italian culture. I will admit that the cover caught my eye here and the story did not quite match my radiant expectations.

Like I said before it was an enjoyable read, but I never felt a strong pull or connection to the story that made me want to keep reading until I finished the book. First of all I hate reality shows anyway the ones like Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, or The Bad Girls Club. However, I love shows like Chopped and Iron Chef so I thought that maybe I would like this book seeing as how Sophie is a contestant on Teen Test Kitchen. I did not like this reality TV show setting. I felt like parts of it were so generic and that I already knew what would happen next. I feel like I would have like Sophie in a different setting, if that makes sense to readers.

I was left disappointed by the romance side of things as well. I felt like this would be a breezy read with cute and romantic lines from a ridiculously handsome boy, but sadly I was left empty handed in this department as well. I felt like Sophie was even closed off to me sometimes as well in the romance department and I wish I could have known more of her feelings and thoughts in certain parts of the book. I wish Sophie would have been more a go getter!! I did like Sophie but I just felt like sometimes she was too scared to take a chance on things that she knew she wanted.

I did love the recipes that were included in the book and I will treasure the book just for those recipes. It added a nice touch and made Sophie feel more realistic and personable to me as I read her story. Nice touch, Kathryn!! Not an overall bad book if you are looking for a light summer read.

***A copy of this book was generously provided to me for an honest review by Henry Holt & Co. Thank you so much!!***


Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

Sorry to hear that this didn't meet your expectations! The cover really makes this seem like a cute read, but finding out that a main part of the book is a reality televison show does make me wonder. I'm like you and hate shows like Jersey Shore, and I was hoping this would be closer to the cooking show side of things but it doesn't sound like it. Thanks for the honest review!

Christine (Rainy Day Reads) said...

I just came across your site and it is really lovely! I happily followed you and will enjoy reading your updates. You can find me over at Rainy Day Reads, www.rainydayreads.com It would be great if you could stop by and I would love to have a fellow book lover as a new follower.
Christine x
Rainy Day Reads


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