Thursday, November 5, 2020

Review - - Simmer Down

by Sarah Smith
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Reviewed by Hellie
In this finger-licking good rom-com, two is the perfect number of cooks in the kitchen.

Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.

But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.

The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum…a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire? 

Hellie’s Heeds
This rom-com ticks the boxes for a delicious read: a hot grumpy British hero, yummy descriptions of food you probably take out more than you care to admit, and a heroine who is relatable with her work ethic perfectionism and obsession with protecting the parent she has left. Also, it takes place in Maui--and I don’t know what it’s like where you are--but I’m already looking at pictures of the beach longingly as the air turns colder and sleetier outside. (Okay, part of this might also still be due to being locked in for COVID, but again, it’s a great escape!) 
As always, I’m enjoying more books that welcome more diversity--and I’m not talking about the imported Brit hero. I’m ready to find my Filipino friends to hook up with authentic lumpia recipes and pancit leftovers. If there is anything I love more than a British hero, it’s a book that has food as a key element throughout. Perhaps if I had one wish, it would have been a couple recipes in the back so we could try our own hand at them--though the heroine is clear: there are as many varieties of lumpia as there are Filipino grandmothers. Good luck determining who has the correct version of the recipe! 
The heroine, Nikki, did wear on me a bit at the beginning of the book with her overt perfectionism and angsty personality. Still, it wasn’t hard to see why she was this way, only that I felt a little sorry for Callum as he tried to win her over. He himself was a bit standoffish in the beginning--but once they declare a truce, he easily wins the reader over. Both the hero and the heroine are very hard-core family-first responsible adults, both admirable and easy to empathize with. The first Black Moment seemed a bit off (or maybe a bit forced) but there were follow up black moments that continued to make the reader wonder if these two would finally get it together enough to admit their flaws, profess their love, and live happily ever after. 
If you need a sweet escape with a hot Brit, yummy food, and gorgeous beaches, this is a good pick. Enjoy!


  1. Thanks, Hellie! I could really go for a story like this right now. It's been cold here!

    I once lived next door to a Filipino grandmother. Oh, the smells that would come from her kitchen! She was always feeding us. On the day we were scheduled to leave to move out of state she rang our doorbell and gifted us a cooler with a good six month's worth of homemade Lumpia to take with us. That was over 20 years ago but the delicious taste and aroma of her food has never left me.

    1. You lucky girl! 6 months of lumpia? I swear the talk of the food in this book, I wanted to beg my work friends who are of Filipino descent to bring in lumpia and pancit. *LOL* In fact, I gifted the book to my coworker who also loves romance novels so she could enjoy it. She immediately emailed her friends to go find the book as well. Representation matters! And also, beach settings and LUMPIA! *LOL*

  2. Well, you have made me want the book just for the descriptions of food. Thanks for the review and introducing another new to me author.

    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.