Taste Test by Kelly Fiore
"If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy.
Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good."- summary from Amazon
Gah, I love books about TV shows!! So when I came across this on Netgalley, I knew I had to get it and fit it into my reading pile somehow. I breezed through the book and absolutely loved it. It's a fun contemporary read and I loved the cooking reality show aspect of it (the book even includes a bunch of recipes!).
What makes this book even more fun, aside from Nora's wonderful voice, is the sections in between chapters where the producers chat with the contestants. These provide a better look into the side characters (and the sexy romantic interest) and is a clever way of incorporating more of the reality competition show genre into the book itself.
I did feel as if the whole "real life eliminations" aspect was tacked on; it felt out of place in this book that's mostly light-hearted and kind of comes out of nowhere. Reflecting on it a bit more, I can see it fitting but I think there should have been more of a tonal shift to really bring the two sides together (humor/romance and the accidents). It can be done, like with Meg Cabot's Heather Wells books and Gemma Halliday's High Heels mysteries but the accident scenes just felt a little weird in this book.
Overall though, it is a good, fun contemporary read with a little twist and I look forward to reading more from Fiore!
FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.