About the Book:
Title: For Butter or Worse
Author: Erin La Rosa
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: July 26, 2022
Synopsis: They go together like water and oil…
All chef Nina Lyon wants is to make a name for herself in the culinary world and inspire young women everywhere to do the same. For too long, she’s been held back and underestimated by the male-dominated sphere of professional kitchens, and she’s had enough. Now, as co-host of the competitive reality TV series The Next Cooking Champ!, she finally has a real shot at being top tier in the foodie scene.
Too bad her co-host happens to be Hollywood’s smarmiest jerk.
Restaurateur Leo O’Donnell never means to get under Nina’s skin. It just seems to happen, especially when the cameras are rolling. It’s part of the anxiety and stress he has come to know all too well in this line of work. So nothing prepares him for the fallout after he takes one joke a smidge too far and Nina up and quits—on live TV.
To make matters worse, the two are caught in what looks like a compromising situation by the paparazzi…and fans of the show go absolutely nuts. Turns out, a “secret romance” between Nina and Leo may just be what their careers need most.
Now all they have to do is play along, without killing each other…and without catching feelings. Easy as artisanal shepherd’s pie. Right?
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First, I have to say, as soon as I saw this title, I knew I needed to read the book. I love a catchy title, and knowing the book had a culinary element made me even more eager to dive in. For Butter or Worse didn’t disappoint. It’s an entertaining enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance with a lot of tropes I love.
This is a great story for readers who enjoy enemies-to-lovers, miscommunication, fake dating, or a grumpy-sunshine relationship. Leo and Nina are rivals and enemies who antagonize each other constantly. Their banter is fantastic, and even though they are constantly hurling insults at each other, their chemistry is off the charts! Nina comes across as a bit of a snob, and Leo appears to be a carefree ladies’ man. However, both are very different from what they originally seemed.
The premise of the story is pretty entertaining. Leo and Nina are co-hosts and enemies when Nina reaches her breaking point live on the season finale of the show and quits on air. A social media frenzy ensues, and Nina and Leo enter a fake relationship after receiving a ton of bad press. Both want to enhance their reputation and keep their fledgling restaurants afloat, but neither expected their fake romance to start to feel not so fake.
Nina and Leo have a complicated relationship, and they have to confront their misunderstandings, hurtful comments, and sabotage-like behavior before they can move forward. I was a bit put off by Leo considering he was the one who perpetuated a particularly degrading and sexist nickname that went viral, but I appreciate his regret and his steps to change. They both change a lot as they realize that their antagonistic behavior might actually be hiding their true feelings for each other. I like that, as they go on fake dates, they start to not only understand each other but respect each other. Both have great character arcs, and their romance is tumultuous, funny, frustrating, sexy, and steamy!
I also really liked Leo’s family. They remind me so much of my own family in the way they tease and banter with each other. There’s a lot of love there, even though they can be a bit meddlesome and overbearing. There are also some great messages about sexism, mental health, work-life balance, and online bullying, which I think most readers can relate to. I thought the story realistically portrayed anxiety and panic attacks and liked the messages about the benefits of therapy and self-care.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and Harlequin for providing me with an advanced copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The messages.
- Leo’s family.
They were locked together. And there wasn’t a single piece of them that didn’t fit like they were always meant to be doing exactly this.