Hey, everyone! I know it’s been awhile and I’ve been trying to get my life back on track.
Question for those who are reading this: What are you currently reading, or watching? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to add some recs to my list.
Things have been insanely busy and I’ve had to drop out of a couple of things that no longer sparks joy for me.
As of today I submitted my two week’s notice for Pop Culturalist so that I can focus on my grad school program and also because I want to focus on growing an audience for my podcast, Raise Your Words.
I want to be able to interview authors on my own terms and publish posts when I want to. I’m excited for this new chapter in my life.
I’m proud of how far I’ve come and the author list that I have contacts for thanks to being a book influencer – @ meetcuteromancebooks on Instagram.
Anyway, back to the review!
In For Butter or Worse, Nina Lyon is an aspiring chef who wants to make it big in the culinary world. Nina is a cohost of a reality TV series called The Next Cooking Champ! The only downside is her co-host is Hollywood’s smug jerk Leo O’ Donnell. Leo never intended to annoy Nina, but it seems to happen the second the cameras start rolling due to his anxiety. So when his joke goes too far he’s shocked when Nina quits on live TV. Unfortunately for them, they’re caught in what seems to be a scandalous situation by the paparazzi. A hidden romance might be the thing to skyrocket the tv ratings. All they have to do is pretend to be in love without killing each other. Nina’s convinced she can do this without catching feelings. Easier said than done. The trigger warnings in this book are sexism, anxiety, panic attacks, on-page grief, and the death of a parent due to breast cancer. This book also includes the death of a father and off-page cyber-bullying.
This is a cute book that includes the fake dating trope. The fake dating trope is typically a hit or miss, but for me, this was a miss mainly because of how awful Leo is. Leo is sexist towards Nina and says a lot of things that even Nina herself admits are not something she can completely forgive him for. Ultimately, Nina still loves Leo despite everything he puts her through. The declarations of love and the witty banter were something I absolutely adored in this book. Erin La Rosa writes the tension between Nina and Leo very well. Nina and Leo would love to strangle each other if they were left alone for too long.
This book does not shy away from exploring a character’s mental health. More romance books should address it especially since it is something a lot of people can resonate with. The cooking show premise was honestly what drew me in and this book delivers!
Nina’s a headstrong protagonist and my favorite character in this book. She’s doing the best she can to be on top of everything.
However, she’s still coping with her grief and I love that the author shows what Nina is going through and how it affects her in her work and personal life. Nina just has a lot going on. She’s trying to earn a promotion but has to deal with Leo’s antics that get on her nerves. When paparazzi snap a picture of them in a scandalous position, pretending to date each other might be the only thing that could help them save their jobs. There’s just one problem… will they be able to fool their audience into thinking they’re in love once the cameras start rolling?
On the other hand, Leo always felt like he could never measure up to Nina’s critiques so he focuses on his humor. Leo’s also coping with his own battles. His thoughts and actions are a direct correlation to his anxiety. Once he’s anxious about something it’s like a light switch flips and he’s a different person. He doesn’t mean to act like a grade-A jerk to Nina. He’s always ignored his mental health until he realizes he shouldn’t. He cracks jokes to ease his anxiety not realizing the effect it has on Nina.
Overall, this book tackles a lot for a romance. It delves into what Nina and Leo are dealing with emotionally which correlates to how they act. This book has a slow start and is relatively predictable. It’s a fun beach read, though.
Even though it took me more than half the book before I stopped despising Leo, I understand why he did what he did in the book (redacted due to spoilers). Nina’s an incredibly fun character. Everything goes downhill for them when they have to pretend to like each other for the sake of their cooking show which is their jobs. The stakes are high and their livelihoods are on the line if the audience doesn’t buy their romance. For butter or worse.
This was a 3/5 stars. I liked it, but I didn’t LOVE it.