Review: The Art of French Kissing by Brianna R. Shrum

The Art of French Kissing
Author: Brianna R. Shrum
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Pages: 256
Format: NetGalley/For Review

Seventeen-year-old Carter Lane has wanted to be a chef since she was old enough to ignore her mom's warnings to stay away from the hot stove. And now she has the chance of a lifetime: a prestigious scholarship competition in Savannah, where students compete all summer in Chopped style challenges for a full-ride to one of the best culinary schools in the country. The only impossible challenge ingredient in her basket: Reid Yamada.

After Reid, her cute but unbearably cocky opponent, goes out of his way to screw her over on day one, Carter vows revenge, and soon they're involved in a full-fledged culinary war. Just as the tension between them reaches its boiling point, Carter and Reid are forced to work together if they want to win, and Carter begins to wonder if Reid's constant presence in her brain is about more than rivalry. And if maybe her desire to smack his mouth doesn't necessarily cancel out her desire to kiss it.



Review: I went into this expecting a lighter, fluffier, contemporary read. And that is definitely what I got! I really liked it! It was a nice quick light read. Nothing super heavy or that weighs on you. Just a nice fun light read! This book reminded me why I love a good contemporary romance once in a while! :)

My favorite part of this book was the cooking! Our main character Carter is in a cooking competition to try and win a scholarship for college at a culinary school! There was so much food! Carter starts off the book by describing how to make the perfect grilled cheese, in the first paragraph! Food in the first paragraph. It pulled me right in! We then continue to get all kinda of different food throughout the competition. Baked Alaska, beef wellington, duck, scallops, macarons, etc. I swear, this book was trying to make me fat through the pages! LOL. We get to see Carter and her competition try making a lot of these dishes, hopefully well enough to stay in the competition. We saw people's cooking strengths and weaknesses. Some people were awesome with skillet stuff, others with the oven and baking. It was fascinating seeing people with wide cooking/baking backgrounds come together and compete. And the way all the food is described throughout the competition makes everything better! Red, juicy, slices like butter! Ice cream not to frozen but not too melty. Just perfect! Omg! The food was awesome!

I also loved the friendship Carter formed with her roommate! It was like they went from "hey, guess we're roommates" to "omg tell me everything that just happened with that boy!" Carter and Riya's friendship was great! I loved how they stuck together throughout the summer! Having meals together, hanging out when they weren't doing competitions. It was a nice friendship. They also definitely became each others confidants about the boys! And I love how they are planning on trying to be roommates when they actually start at the school! I definitely think their friendship will last for a while. :)

Reid Yamada. So Reid becomes Carters biggest competition. He steals her cheese in the first challenge which then leads them to go back and forth sabotaging each other (and inadvertently, their teams). Apparently Reid thought she was so good he knew she'd be his main competition we learn. For the first half of the summer, these two are just at each others throats. But yet they both also seemed a little interested in the other. Checking each other out both during the competition and not. Reid with the nicknames. In the second half of the competition they are forced to work together and bury the hatchet after their bickering almost gets them both eliminated. Its when they start being civil with each other that they finally admit to being interested in each other. In which yes, then they do start a relationship. I liked it once they finally admit it because once they got together, they both seemed to have a big confidence boost when it came to everything else. Including standing up to the bully in the competition who was always finding ways to put people down for something. 

Something I really liked about this book was that it touches on things you don't see talked about a lot. We don't exactly see birth control talked about in regards to sex scenes in a lot of YA books but it was a topic of conversation in this book and taken seriously. We also hit on consent and making sure it was ok and that it was still going to be fine if they decided later on they didn't want to. I thought this was very important to see in this book and I applaud the author for putting both these subject in the book! 


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