Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Book Review - Mixing It Up by Tracie Banister

Amazon UK
Title: Mixing It Up
Author: Tracie Banister
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 19th October 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past. 

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sauté pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more. 

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

Mixing It Up is the first book I have read by Tracie Banister but I'm fairly sure it won't be the last. Before I go into how much I really enjoyed the story, I do need to give you a friendly warning - make sure you have plenty of food around to eat while you are reading this, it will make you hungry especially in the first half of the book.

To give you an idea the opening is a description of a delicious sounding Coq au Vin, that I would have loved to eat myself, and a large part of the book reads like a love affair to French cuisine, thanks to passionate cordon bleu trained chef Cecily Sinclair. All she wants to do is continue to produce modern twists on French classics on her cooking show Serving Romance. 

Cecily is part of one of New Yorks top family's the Sinclairs, and when you do get to see her family, you see how the other half live. She is always expected to be a certain way, and her cousin and best friend Dina are not always live up to the expectations of a family that is all about appearances in the upper echelons of New York society. 

Cecily doesn't just have problems though with her family, at the heart of the story is her working life, for the station is about to be rebranded thanks to wonderkid Devlin's take over. He wants to change CuisineTV to GrubWorld in attempt to appeal more to the millennial demographic. The first thing he wants to do is introduce co-hosts to Serving Romance which Cecily wouldn't mind as much if it wasn't for first guest Dante Marchetti. 

Cecily and Dante have worked together before and he almost lead so Cecily giving up cooking altogether so she really doesn't want anything to do with him. However like their on screen chemistry its the dialogue between Dante and Cecily that really add to this story,  Dante is an Italian chef and knows he is a sex symbol. He and Cecily have opposite opinions on just about everything and it makes for some amusing and fiery scenes. 

Cecily is a strong independent woman, who is very passionate about French food, which all is made to sound mouth wateringly good. I spend the majority of the day hungry as a result of what I was reading, even though I was eating too! 

There are many elements and sub plots going on in the story, all of which will keep you entertained and interested in the book. Initially I was wondering if I had stumbled onto a love affair for food, but as the story progressed I became more involved and interested in the characters and their lives too. 

There is a romance element in the book, with Dante and Devlin both being contenders, but also Bryce her ex-fiancee makes a reappearance. I really wasn't sure who Cecily would end up with if anyone, but I am happy with how the book turned out. 

A delectable story that if you have ever wanted to hear about life on a cooking channel, then this is definitely a book for you. It also takes in the upper class society of New York, with some snobbishness, summer in the Hamptons, a trip to LA and Vegas, Dina's brand new business venture and generally all around enjoyable writing. 

Thank you so much to Tracie Bannister for this copy of the book that I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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