Hot Mess by Emily Belden
4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Description: Twenty-something Allie Simon never imagined she’d fall for a recovering drug addict—but that was before she met Benji Zane, Chicago’s hottest up-and-coming chef, who’s known as much for his hard partying ways as for his unparalleled culinary skills. Six months into their relationship, the food and chemistry are out of this world, but the reality of living with a cooking wunderkind hasn’t exactly been all hearts and flowers. Still, Allie’s convinced that her love is the key to fixing this talented man’s broken soul—so when Benji is offered his dream job as chef de cuisine for a new restaurant opening on Randolph Street, Chicago’s foodie hot spot, Allie agrees to invest her life savings in his future. But less than a month after she goes all in, Allie learns a heartbreaking lesson: addicts lie. Benji cracks under the pressure, relapses and disappears, bagging out not only on the restaurant, but on her, too. Left with nothing but a massive withdrawal slip and a restaurant that absolutely must open in a matter of weeks, Allie finds herself thrust into a world of luxury and greed, cutthroat business and sensory delight. Lost in the mess of it all, she can either crumble completely or fight like hell for the life she wants and the love she deserves.
I was sent a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I read Emily Belden’s first book Eighty-Sixed and really enjoyed it, so I was so excited when the publisher reached out to me and asked if I wanted to read and review Hot Mess!
Hot Mess was pretty fun to read and at times it got a little intense. I was sucked into right at the start. The story is told in Allie’s POV and I instantly liked her. Right from the start Benji seemed a little sketchy to me, but Allie was in love with him and willing to do whatever to make sure he never relapsed; even looking past all the red flags that were popping up and intense situations between them. I couldn’t believe she was willing to invest her life savings into Benji and the restaurant and of course it takes a turn for the worse. Now Allie is stuck trying to figure out the food business without him.
There were times in the story when it did slow down for me and was a bit hard to get through. It was probably around the time that Benji disappears after he relapsed. I felt like the pace slowed down and some things weren’t as exciting as before. I still really enjoyed it for the most part though and I loved all the funny conversations and things happening between Allie and some of the other characters. Allie grows throughout the book, which I love and she tried to push on with life even after Benji up and disappeared. It’s not at all an easy road for her.
Let’s talk food! Hot Mess is all about the food industry and restaurant business. I honestly don’t know that much about any of that (aside from watching all the cooking shows on Food Network :P), but it was interesting to learn about. AND ALL THE FOOD DESCRIPTIONS! I was hungry about 90% of the time as read this book. I wanted to climb in the book and just eat everything. Overall, I enjoyed Hot Mess so much. It was fun, a little crazy at times, but it had a mix of everything you could want in a contemporary. It did slow down a little bit for me, but I seen other reviews that actually thought the opposite, so maybe it was just me? I would recommend reading this book, especially if you love a good contemporary and FOOD!
I hope you have a great Friday and weekend!