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17 October 2016

Rambling About.. Mixing It Up by Tracie Banister

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?
The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past. 
Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sauté pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more. 
As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

Poor, poor Cecily. All she wants to do is cook good modernized French food that shows off her Cordon Bleu training on her cooking show on CuisineTV. Unfortunately, the new network head wants to rebrand the network into Grub World and is ditching  popular shows with celebrity chefs in order to do so. Cecily's show is spared from the chopping block -- but only if she agrees to revamp it and add some spark. Unfortunately, this spark comes in the form of her former boss. Her grandmother and cousin both urge her to add spark to her personal and romantic life, too, but Cecily only cares about her career.

Food is, and always will be, my passion, not a man. (8%)

Yeah. We all know better than that, right?

Of course her current network boss, Devlin, and her former kitchen boss, Dante, are incredibly gorgeous and incredibly frustrating. Cecily doesn't trust either one of them, but she needs them both in her good graces in order to keep her show.

Now, I absolutely adore cooking shows and will often have one running even if only for background noise. It's a habit I gladly picked up from my aunt-in-law while John was a newborn and has only grown since. I record pretty much any cooking competition there is, but will watch (or, at least, half watch) anything food related. I'm not sure how Tracie Banister got to know so much about the behind-the-scenes action of the shows, but it seems as though she nailed it at every turn. I adored everything about the show making and network stuff... except for when Dante opened his mouth. The phonetic spelling of his Italian accent started to make my head hurt. To be completely honest, I almost stopped reading out of frustration a couple of times.

Aside from the pure love that I have for the food show aspect in general, most of the other highlights for me revolve around Cecily's cousin Dina and food stylist Paige. They're so different and so well written that they almost made up for the "eet"s instead of "it"s when Dante appeared. In fact, if Banister ever decides to write a book focusing on either character I'd snap it up in a heartbeat ... as long as there aren't any foreign accents involved.  I'd even be likely to enjoy a book about Devlin's "henchwoman," Jessica. I bet she has quite the story to tell!

The romantic bits were nice and kept me guessing. For someone so un-interested in being with somebody, Cecily sure did have her hands full ... but, for me, those stories paled in comparison to the rest. All in all, though, it's a lovely book that I recommend in spite of the annoyances. The good bits definitely outnumber the bad!

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