Good girl + bad boy + the food scene in my favorite city, Chicago = an entertaining and fun read.
Perfedtly titled, as it describes the characters and plot, Hot Mess focuses on 25-year-old Allie Simon, an up-and-coming social media guru dating Chicago’s ultimate bad boy chef, Benji Zane, a genius in the kitchen with a drug addiction in his past. When Benji and general manager, Angela, want to open a brand-new restaurant, Here, they convince Allie to invest, just to get them started.
I loved the planning and prep part of the story for when Allie and Angela were focused on getting Here ready to open. I learned so much about what goes on behind the scenes of a restaurant, everything from sourcing vendors to ordering dishes and hiring staff. Belden had great dialogue so that I learned a lot while still getting a kick out of everything happening.
I wish Allie wasn’t so naive. Granted, she’s young, and I absolutely appreciated her growth throughout the novel, but she still made some less-than-smart choices. The romance added a little sizzle to the story. Given today’s obsession with Instagramming your entree and Tweeting your experiences, I loved how Belden incorporated all of that into the running of Here.
This would be a perfect read for a trip to the beach or a long plane ride. The antics of the characters along with the trials and tribulations of opening a restaurant will keep you happily turning the pages.
About the author: Emily Belden is a food journalist, social media marketer, and storyteller. She is the author of the novels Hot Mess and Husband Material, and of Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals. After she tiled her bedroom floor in over 60,000 pennies – all heads up for good luck – she was a guest on The Today Show and her story was covered by media outlets across the country. A Chicago native, Emily lives with her rescue dog in the West Loop, conveniently close to many of the city’s best restaurants. You can reach Emily on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Be sure to follow the tour for more reviews! My thanks for the review copy from TLC Book Tours and the publisher.