14/09/2013

Book Review: Love On The Back Burner By Barbara Oliverio

Blurb:Youngest in an Italian-American family that includes one brother who is a rock singer-turned-priest and another who successfully manages the family business, Alexandria D’Agostino wanted to stand out, so she moved from her small hometown and is enjoying a successful marketing career in Denver.

On the advice of her best friend Keira, as well as office pals Natalie and Elliott, she uses the cooking skills learned from her immigrant grandmother and studies the cuisine of each prospective boyfriend’s background to improve her chances at love.

Alexandria encounters comical mishaps along the way including one unexpected dinner for three and a meat-focused dinner for a vegetarian. After a corporate restructure somehow driven by new office heartthrob Cameron Grayson, she flies back home for counsel.

Will she come back to Denver? Or should she re-evaluate the boy next door from high school? Should she finally admit that being a chef is her true dream? And how does Cameron fit on the menu? BONUS: INCLUDES RECIPES FEATURED IN THE BOOK!

"Alexandria!"

"Oh, no, let me go on. I must state unequivocally that Cam Grayson is the perfect male specimen."

I wheeled my desk chair back and spun directly into the object of my flattery.

"Oh, I wouldn't say 'perfect' necessarily," said Cam, attempting to hide a grin. "But on a scale of one to ten-"

"You are a negative twelve!"

Great debut. Barbara Oliverio thrills readers with a recipe of humor and a crisp storyline.

So Alexandria D'Agostino is having a bad streak of luck with men. In her thirties, a marketing manager, a born and bred Italian with the zeal to cook.

After one date gone horrible with a guy who she'd thought to be 'good on paper' hence her Mr. Right, her best friend, Keira, advices her against her tactic to get men using Italian food. Alex is bent on making the best of every potential suitor that walks into her life so she gives heed to Keira's advice.

Now she's taking cooking trips to the South, India, Middle-east all to perfect one dinner for guys who turn out to be so horrible (-one showing up with his fiancée to enjoy a good meal). As though a dark cloud was right above her, ensuring all these potential Mr. Rights turn out to be frogs, she meets very bizarre dates who either have a problem with her food choices or enjoy her meal with the wrong question choices. Just how many frogs does she have to cook for to gain Mr. Right?

Meanwhile, matters in her professional life are also taking a downward turn. The huge workloads suggest the company might be undergoing a buyout-which means less security for jobs, and there's no telling what marketing direction plan the company is taking because every day comes another marketing plan. To make matters worse, one IT heartthrob is going around adjusting the office chairs of everyone and Alex is always seething to put him in place and out of her space. But Cam Grayson never seems to disappear as he joins Alex's food crowd, workplace best friends Elliott and Natalie, going to lunch with them and coming over for a grub at Alex's place.

When one occupational crisis threatens to dissolve her friendships, ties with her family, romantic involvements and most importantly all she's worked for, Alex must decide whether marketing is really what gives her the joie de beef.

If you want a book rich in humor and sarcasm, you'd love this book. With its there's-more-to-humor-than-meets-the-eye approach, you'd have to reason a little to laugh so hard at some stuff in this book. And who doesn't love a little reasoning. With heavy sarcasm, Barbara Oliverio writes Chick-lit that should get you thinking on your feet in order to laugh. This book supports the adage, "She who laughs last, thinks slowest."

Marvellous story line. The whole cooking thing is a not-done-before, all the reference to cooking to create puns and laugh lines, the inevitable invites of Alex's food crowd to enjoy leftover meals from a disaster date. I loved, loved it. Much like Keri Russell's Waitress, but without the abusive husband.

You should love the stock characters in this book. Well-developed, very active despite the book was written in first person. From the American Idol shunned contestant brother turned priest, to the ever-persistent best friend Keira, Natalie and Elliott-the food crowd, Nonna the granny always concerned about Alex growing so 'thin'. I love the whole cast representing Alex's family, their vibrancy, their frequent involvement in the eating and dating affairs of Alex. You would love this title if you love that constant (as well as bugging yet adorable) interruption of family in a lead's life.

Though this book made me laugh out loud at most moments, I'd have to point out the ending was rather abrupt. From the blurb I would have loved a little more extension from when our lead hit rock bottom.

After the epilogue, Barbara Oliverio dishes out all the recipes of meals featured in this book-recipes passed on by her mother. If you love Italian, a kindle of this book is a good bargain.

So all in all, reading Love On The Back Burner is like dining in a star Italian restaurant.

Love on The Back Burner is available on... (click image to purchase)

In both kindle and paperback.

I recommend this title for just about anyone who loves a tasty Italian meal. Or for whatever reason you hate Italian, there's Southern, Indian and Middle-east dishes to choose from. You should also pick up this title if you enjoy a highly humorous and witty lead with an attitude.

I am always open to emails by readers who'd love to gush about Love On The Back Burner.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads as well as Amazon.

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