Title: Stirring Up Love
(Taste Of Love #2)

Author: Chandra Blumberg
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: July 26th 2022
Publisher: Montlake
Finished reading: June 4th 2022
Pages: 352

“He’d complained about the music, but his real complaint was why the universe kept throwing him together with this sexy thunderstorm of a woman.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Montlake in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


I admit that I was intrigued as soon as I first read the blurb of Stirring Up Love. I always enjoy a good contemporary romance story with a food element, and the enemy-to-lover trope can be great fun when done right. I loved the sound of the barbecue sauce war and the characters seemed like they would be easy to like, so I fully expected to have a great time with this story even though I hadn’t read the first book of the series. Sadly, the complete opposite happened and I ended up struggling considerably with this story. I’ll try to explain briefly why this book wasn’t for me below.

First of all, I do have to say that I still love the premise of the story with the two characters trying to sell their barbecue sauce to finance their dreams, and the reality TV element was another bonus. I also always love a road trip story, and this was probably the main reason I kept reading as I liked the descriptions of the places where they stopped (although I would have liked more of those). BUT. I ended up having considerable issues with certain aspects of the plot, and I even came close to DNFing it more than once. In fact, I confess that I started skimreading well before the halfway mark, because I simply wasn’t enjoying my time with this story and characters. Why?

One of the main issues I had with this story is that I simply couldn’t like neither of the main characters. The story is told with a dual POV structure, switching between Simone and Finn. I initially thought that they had potential, but as soon as I started to get to know them better, there was just something about them that put me off. This might have been due to how they handle things and how a simple conversation could have avoided all the trouble they went through… But it also had to do with another issue: I wasn’t a fan of how the whole enemy-to-lover trope was developed. The banter felt too forced and I didn’t think that especially the enemy part of the relationship was done realistically. Instead, they seemed like two horny teenagers trying to be angry, but being too hot and bothered to really try as they preferred jumping each other. And then ding, ding, issue number three: the sexy scenes. Cringeworthy is an understatement, and they only made me like the story and the characters less and less.

All in all Stirring Up Love and me definitely didn’t get along despite the fact that I usually love road trip stories and contemporaries with a food element. I wasn’t a fan of how the enemy-to-lover trope was developed and the sexy scenes were a huge turn off, but I do know that romance fans might have a better time with this story than me. Don’t give up on it on my account if you think it’s your cup of tea!

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