The author will be giving away a prize as part of the book tour! See the bottom of the post for details about how to win!
Plot Summary: MG Carmody never figured her musical dreams would crash against the reality of Nashville. Now the only thing she has going for her is her late grandfather’s chicken farm, which comes with molting hens that won’t lay, one irascible rooster, and a huge mortgage held by a ruthless opponent—her Great Aunt Nedda.
With fewer eggs to sell, MG needs extra money, fast. Even if it means carving out time for a job as a prep cook at The Rose—and resisting her attraction to its sexy head chef.
Joe LeBlanc has problems of his own. He’s got a kitchen full of temperamental cooks—one of whom is a sneak thief—a demanding cooking competition to prepare for, and an attraction to MG that could easily boil over into something tasty. If he could figure out the cause of the shy beauty’s lack of self-confidence.
In Joe’s arms, MG’s heart begins to find its voice. But between kitchen thieves, performance anxiety, saucy saboteurs, greedy relatives, and one very pissed-off rooster, the chances of them ever making sweet music are looking slimmer by the day.
So, y’all, before I dive into the review, I feel like I need to tell you that I once had a career in the hospitality industry. I spent years in professional kitchens, behind front desks and concierge stands, and cleaning hotel rooms. This? Is neither easy nor (most days) particularly rewarding work, and the people I met while doing it are some of the most hardworking individuals I’ve ever known. Though I’ve moved on career-wise, I still have a fondness for the industry, and that is the primary reason I was drawn to this book. I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed. With Fearless Love, Meg Benjamin has set a charming romance in an entirely believable setting, populated with quirky and earnest characters who wouldn’t be out of place in any restaurant kitchen.
I thought Fearless Love was an entirely enjoyable read. I warmed up to Joe as the hero very quickly; he’s authoritative but non-threatening, and helpful but not condescending.. I was less enthused about MG as the heroine at first, but as her backstory unfolded I began to understand her motivation and to appreciate her hard-won toughness. I like that we as readers see Joe and MG having to really communicate with each other as equals; despite the fact that MG works for him, Joe is able to separate his work life from his personal life to a good extent, and he also respects MG as an intelligent and interesting person in her own right, so this book did not at all feel like a cliched “fell in love with the boss” romance (which, for the record, is not a trope I like. At all.) And I love the secondary characters in this book. Fearless Love is the seventh book in a series–for the record, it stands perfectly well on its own–and I’ll be really disappointed if Darcy doesn’t get her own book somewhere down the line. Of all the characters in this book, Darcy is the one who most rang true, down to the chip on her shoulder the size of an un-trimmed brisket (not without good reason, I’ll briefly add). I could easily name six amazing women I’ve worked with in kitchens who could have been the inspiration for Darcy’s character.
Once I got into the story, I was determined to be pleased, so there wasn’t too much about Fearless Love that I marked in the negative column. I would have liked to have seen some more direct interaction between MG and Aunt Nedda–the resolution of that storyline seemed a little too neat and tidy after all of the build-up–and I thought Joe said “darlin’” too much. That last one may be my personal issue, as a person who moved to the Northeast from Texas and spent most of my sophomore year of high school being goaded into saying “y’all,” to the endless amusement of my classmates. I’ve since moved back to Texas, so I am also glad to report that though Konigsburg may be fictional, Meg Benjamin obviously has a place in her heart for the Hill Country, because the depiction is spot-on.
The Verdict: Fearless Love is an easy, comfortable, cozy romance novel with a refreshing cast of characters that will make anyone who’s worked in a restaurant nod knowingly. The seventh in a series, this book stands on its own as a contained story, but after reading it, you may want to see what you’ve been missing! I give Fearless Love four out of five beef tenderloins (and only in this book would that NOT be a double entendre!)
About the Author: Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing is set in the Texas Hill Country. Book #3, Be My Baby, won a 2011 EPIC Award for Contemporary Romance. Book #4, Long Time Gone, received the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Indie Press Romance. Book #5, Brand New Me, won the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers and was nominated for Book Of the Year at Long and Short Reviews. Meg lives in Colorado with her DH and two rather large Maine coon kitties (well, partly Maine Coon anyway). Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at email@example.com. Additional links are as follows:
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. As part of the tour, Meg will give away a $10 Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter from the tour. The winner will choose the gift card; options are Amazon, Sur la Table, iTunes, or Lush.
To enter to win, leave us a comment and let us know what you think of Fearless Love and my review! To increase your chances of winning, visit the other tour stops and leave comments there too! Each tour stop will feature a review of Fearless Love, so you can see other reviewers’ opinions.
A full list of tour stops may be found at Goddess Fish Promotions.