Friday, May 3, 2024

Review & Giveaway - - Effie Olsen's Summer Special

Effie Olsen's Summer Special
by Rochelle Bilow
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 30, 2024
Reviewed by Santa

These childhood best friends swore they’d never speak again. But a surprise summer reunion changes everything when it gives them the chance to turn up the heat.
Effie Olsen thought she’d never live on the tiny Maine island where she grew up, but she’s returning from sixteen years as a professional chef in far-flung countries for one summer and one summer only. Her hometown boasts one of the best restaurants in the US, and lucky for her, Brown Butter needs a sous chef. Effie's eager for a chance at redemption after her last job went up in flames, but reluctant to set down roots in a place that reminds her of the ghosts of her past.

Until, that is, she runs into Ernie Callahan, her onetime best friend who now works in the very same restaurant. Early morning swims and late-night games of truth or dare with Ernie remind her of what she’s been missing while traveling the world. He knows her better than anyone, and it doesn’t hurt that his smile lights her up brighter than the lighthouses dotting the craggy coastline.

But their restaurant has a secret that’s bursting at the seams, and if Effie doesn’t keep it, her job will vanish into the foggy Maine air. As summer draws to a close, her dream job and the perfect guy are both within reach. Her salty seaside hometown might be the key to Effie’s sweet ending...if she can learn to let her heart lead the way in time.

Santa Says:


Effie Olsen’s Summer Special by Rochelle Bilow melted like butter on a pan seared lobster tail. It would get five stars on Yelp! You see, Effie Olsen is a hot mess. Not that she would ever admit to it. She always has a plan and meets her goals most of the time. She has traveled the world. Worked in world class Michelin star restaurants. Her one shot as head chef at said restaurant and she choked under pressure and got fired. Now it’s time to regroup before heading to the next country on her culinary journey.

What better place to do so than her father’s house where she grew up on Adler island off the coast of Maine. Get in. Get a job as sous chef at Brown Butter, the island’s own Michelin starred restaurant. Save money. Get out by summer’s end She gets the job and celebrates a little too hard. Clears her head at her favorite spot on the island and runs into the hottest man she has ever seen on the island. Closer inspection shows it to be none other than her best friend. This was not part of her plan.

She had only been back a handful of times in the sixteen years that she left. Not that she was avoiding anyone. Not her former best friend in the whole world, Ernie Callahan, who helped her through her parents divorce and adolescence. They were inseparable.

Ernie professed his undying love for her their senior year. He knew what her dreams were and he was willing to wait for her. She panicked and ran for 16 years.


Running from Ernie was one of the hardest things she ever had to do. Now this hot, ginger cinnamon roll of a man turns out to be just as wonderful. To add insult to injury, he is working at the same restaurant as a butcher. 

They fight a growing attraction time and again throughout the book. As their renewed friendship grows deeper, Effie reconnects with old and new friends on the island and at the restaurant. It really is a beautifully written love story. 

The only fly in the brown butter, if you will, is the tensions in the restaurant both in the dining room and kitchen largely caused by the toxic masculinity of the owner and head chef. He created Brown Butter as a classy farm to table restaurant. It quickly grew in popularity. Its Michelin standing and quality menu was unsurpassed. But something wasn’t quite right to Effie and most of the crew. An anonymous email had a reporter from New York sniffing around.

The author, Rochelle Bilow, crafted such a great story with Effie and Ernie but the island , Brown Butter and Maine were just as important to it. The laid back atmosphere of the island was in sharp contrast to the tensions in the restaurant kitchen. She really nailed it for me and portrayed it all so realistically. I couldn’t wait to see where the story went. 

I am excited to read more from this author in the very near future.


Have you ever worked in a restaurant? What did you do? Did you like it?

Have you read Rochelle Bilow?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, May 5 will receive a print copy of Effie Olsen's Summer Special.

*U.S. only

*Must be 18


  1. No I haven't read any books by her yet

    Rose Ward

  2. I didn't work in a restaurant, but worked at an old fashioned soda fountain, it definitely wasn't the job for me! I have never read this author, but the book sounds fantastic. Will definitely give Rochelle Bilow a shot!

  3. Worked in a restaurant in high school and college. Hostess and waitress. A new author for me, sounds like a wonderful book!!

  4. I haven't worked in a restaurant. This is a new author for me and this book sounds captivating and special.

  5. I worked at a restaurant for 1 day, but it wasn't a good fit. I did work at my college dining hall, but not quite the same thing! I've not read anything by Rochelle, but I look forward to reading this book! Thanks for the review, Santa!

  6. I haven't worked in a restaurant or read anything by Rochelle. This book sounds interesting. Love the name of the restaurant, Brown Butter. Makes my mouth water. Great review Santa. Can't wait to read this one.

  7. Have not ever worked at a restaurant. Not sure I would be up for the stress. Never read anything by her.

  8. No I haven't worked in a restaurant. But all of my children have in the past. Book looks interesting

  9. Great review! I worked as a host at a restaurant when I was a teenager and it was fun at first, but it’s a surprisingly stressful environment!

  10. I haven't worked in a restaurant, although I imagine the work would be difficult and exhausting! I haven't read Rochelle Bilow, but this story sounds good!