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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Scrumptious by Amanda Usen

The setting and the lively, unique characters create a steamy kettle of fun.

by Amanda Usen
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402259824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402259821
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
     My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Product Description
Joe Rafferty is just as mouthwatering as the food he cooks. But if he thinks he's going to waltz in and take over her kitchen, he's denser than a thick slice of chocolate ripple cheesecake. Marly has invested too much of her life in Chameleon to hand off the restaurant to someone else—especially a cocky-as-all-get-out superstar chef. But there's no denying the man knows how to light her fire. Question is: Can she have the sizzle without feeling the burn?

Review: The kitchen scenes reflect the relationship: fast, hot, fun and delectable.

Marly is a whiz around the kitchen even though she didn’t go to culinary school like her best friend and boss, Olivia. Marly had to move back to the bake room when Olivia married Keith and allowed him to be the main line Chef. Unfortunately Keith isn’t good in the kitchen and is bringing down the reputation of Chameleon.

When Olivia gives Keith the boot Marly hopes to get the Chef position back. But Olivia doesn’t see the dreams or appreciate the full talent of her friend. Instead Olivia asks her culinary school buddy, Joe Rafferty, to handle the line for a couple of weeks until she hires a new chef. 

Marly is a female heartbreaker and Joe is a one-night stand stud. Olivia is sure they will hit it off. Marly is willing but it turns out that Joe promised his dying mother that he would give up “sluts” and look for a sweet girl to settle down with. Marly not only has to suffer rejection for the first time but now she has to put up with the sexy Chef running the kitchen.

Joe has a hard time resisting vibrant Marly.  They work really well together on the prep and food lines even while they are taunting each other verbally and handling one sabotaging crisis after another. Is it possible that they can find in each other the love they have longed for all their lives?

I have to admit that I wasn’t impressed with the excessive and easily accepted  promiscuity. Marly and Joe both had reasons for their inability to commit, and they were honest rather than pretending to care, but that doesn’t really justify that type of loose behavior. I was able to get beyond the apparent shallowness of their sexual appetites because of the fast paced action in the storyline.

I don't know my way around a kitchen but the descriptions were detailed enough to portray the intensity required without being boring. There is good character interaction in the restaurant, a crazy visit to Joe's Kentucky father for a pig roast, and a high-stakes poker game at a mafia owned casino.  The latter might stretch credibility a bit but was fun nonetheless.  The characters are very likeable and I was really glad that they finally found each other.

Thank you to Sourcebooks  for this book to read and review.

This also falls into my New Authors and ARC challenges for 2012.

1. Visit the author's website and tell me something of interest you found there.  This is required for entry.

2.  Two extra entry for commenting on the Author Interview and one extra for answering her question.

3.  For an extra entry tell me which cover you like better. (I like the ARC one to the left although I bet some of you will like the naked chest of the final cover!)

4.  For an extra entry, become a follower or tell me if you are already a follower.

5.  For two entries, blog, facebook, tweet (any of those networks!) about this giveaway and tell me where you did.

It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.
(Eight total entries possible.)
* This contest is only open to residents of US and Canada.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on January 20, 2012.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.


  1. 1. I learned that Amanda met her husband at the Culinary Institute of America on her first day of class.
    2. I am glad Amanda discovered her reason for procrastination. I however, dedicate mine to laziness.
    3. The one thing that she can't resist is... cheesecake?
    4.I follow via GFC.
    5. My favorite cover is the ARC also. It leaves a little mystery.....
    6. Tweeted:!/lag32583/status/157084659950424064

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  2. I learned that she graduated with a psychology degree from Vanderbilt
    msboatgal at

  3. love how she celebrated the sale of her first book
    msboatgal at

  4. love how she celebrated the sale of her first book 2
    msboatgal at

  5. There is a link to her blog with a recipe to some killer XXX chocolate chip cookies.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  6. I prefer the ARC cover, too.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  7. 1.) She met her husband at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY on the first day of class!
    2.) I like the naked chest cover!
    3.) old gfc follower under Martha Lawson

  8. Darn, forgot my email!

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  9. The author received BA in English and Psychology from Vanderbilt University.

    dlatany at gmail dot com

  10. already a gfc follower

    dlatany at gmail dot com


    dlatany at gmail dot com

  12. GFC Krystal Larson
    I love the praise for Scrumptious!

  13. Wow this book looks great! Thanks for the chance to win today!

    +1 Amanda Usen met her husband at the CIA in Hyde Park, NT on the very first day of class.(how sweet is that)

    +2 left comment ON authors interview (how I loved how she uses her cooking experiences in the books)
    +1 answered question ON authors interview (chocolate)

    +1 I like the cover where the hero is buttoning up his shirt. I think it is more sexier than the other. plus you should not be naked around food! LOL!

    +1 I'm a follower

    +2 shared on Facebook


  14. I enjoyed reading the posts on the author's blog.


  15. I left a comment and answered the question on the interview post.


  16. I liked the first cover better. Not just because the guy is but the cupcakes are more colorful and grab my attention. Honest!lol!


  17. I'm a follower


  18. The author wanted to be a poet. I learned she got a BA in English and Psychology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest.

  19. Like everyone else I learned that Amanda wanted to be a Poet when she grew up but after applying to the top three poetry writing MFA programs in the country she didn't get in. She became a Chef and met her own scrumptious husband on her first day of classes at the Culinary Institute of America in NY.
    +2--Commented on Authors Interview
    +1--answered Author's question in Interview.
    +1--GFC name is Lucky47--have been a follower
    +1-I actually like the first cover better because it pulls you in with his gorgeous chest and the colors around him. Even though it may be more appropriate to have his shirt buttoned that cover is too dull. :)
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  20. I learned that the author applied to the top three poetry writing MFA programs in the country.

    I enjoyed the interview. It was very fun.

    I can't resist dessert. (answer to author's question)

    I like the first cover with the huge stack of cupcakes.

    I follow your blog.


  21. Boy, you guys pay attention! Thanks for your interest in Scrumptious!

  22. When she is not writing, she is cooking, teaching pastry arts classes at a local community college

    tiramisu392 (at)

  23. +1 something of interest on the author's site: she went to culinary school!

    +1 I like the final cover just a tad more :)

    +1 gfc follower



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