Title: The Competitive Edge (Appetite #2)
Author: Talya Andor
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Buy Link: Publisher, Amazon
Length: 84,000 words
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: The continuing enemies to lovers saga of two rising star chefs, which focuses more on the food than the romance.
It’s been six months since Alex became Sous Chef at Schulze’s, and in that time Alex has been working strenuously to improve and expand his skills, working toward the goal of becoming Nik’s equal. He is kept motivated by the occasional breakfast shared with Nik, flirting and talking and offering tender bites of his culinary creations.
But just as his hard work seems to be paying off, a new challenge is thrust upon him. Selected to be one of five challengers on a new cooking competition, Alex is quick to accept the offer, certain that winning will prove his abilities to Nik and everyone else.
Except that to win, he will have to beat not only a handful of strangers, but also Nik, thrusting them right back to the ruthless competition of their school days—and quite possibly ruining any hope of a future as lovers.
Everything I loved about the first book is back in the second. The intricacies of every aspect of the food, I believe I called it culinary porn before, are everything I could want. I mentioned my love for Top Chef in my previous review, and this book was made for a Top Chef lover.
Nik and Alex have made great strides in their relationship. They aren’t to the point of being lovers, but a solid friendship is there along with the promise of a future together. They began on some very shaky ground with little trust between them. They’re working on it, and it’s a slow process, but it is getting there. They have yet another hurdle to overcome when they’re both invited to take part in a new reality chef competition, Five Stars of New York. They’ve been selected as 2 of the final 5 contestants.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise to find out that I loved every second of the competition. It was the most fascinating insider’s view. I’ve watched a lot of Top Chef, but I’ve never put much thought into what is going through the contestants heads or how grueling the challenges are for them. I definitely never thought about the lack of privacy brought on by being miked and on camera every waking hour. That added yet another layer to the competition. Then there was the food! I could go on and on about the food, but I’ve already done that in my review for A Cut Above the Rest so I’m not going to repeat myself.
Now, this was 4.25 stars out of 5. Two things led me to that rating. The first has to do with the competition. I enjoyed the hell out of it, but the suspense wasn’t there for me. Anyone familiar with such a competition would find it very easy to predict the winner of every challenge before it’s even over. I wanted more suspense. I love when the chefs get grilled about their dishes at judges’ table, but I wanted to be on the edge of my seat waiting to see which chef would be cut.
The second thing is a bit more troublesome. This is the second book I’ve reviewed in the series, and I have barely mentioned the romance. The first book only held the first blush of a romance. This second book does indeed move that further along, but something was missing for me. There have been two books of build up at this point, but I didn’t have a sense of incredible anticipation or excitement of them finally moving into a romantic relationship. I have been craving the thrill of that moment for two books and I still didn’t get it. Maybe it will happen when they finally become lovers in every sense of the word.
While there are a couple points of criticism, they are greatly outweighed by my enjoyment of the food. I’m still loving it and think it’s one of the best food/romance series I have ever read. If you really love a foodie romance, you have got to read this series.