4 disco balls
Twenty-five year old Allie Simon has a good head on her shoulders, a good job, good friends and supportive family. She becomes consumed by a charming, bad boy celeb chef named Benji Zane and her simple life as she knows it, well isn’t very simple anymore.
Benji is a recovering addict who – only 3 months sober – asks Allie to invest her entire life savings in “their” future (to partner in opening a restaurant with Benji at the helm, sold alongside the future image of them married with kids in a brownstone yada yada yada).
Guess what? You probably guessed right: only a month before opening, Benji relapses and goes off the grid leaving Allie to unwillingly step into his place; in order to not lose her investment. The rest of the story is Allie maneuvering the foodie scene in a high-end area of Chicago: friends, critics and social media not always on her side and often waiting to see her fail. It’s a cute story and I enjoyed watching Allie come into her own.
At first I didn’t think I was going to like the main character, Allie Simon, but you know what, she wound up being one really cool chick (she’s hardworking and tenacious). If anything what I liked most about this book was the female empowerment story line: a successful career woman taking a chance on, looking out for, and teaching a fledgling in the trade.
I had recently watched the movie Burnt with Bradley Cooper and kept drawing a few parallels from that. It had me thinking: Hot Mess could be the prequel to Adam Jones’ (Benji Zane) journey in Burnt.
This isn’t a page turner keep you up at night read. It’s a fun, light (with a touch of dark) read for those who like a little sass and a bit of drama. It is an ideal book club choice for fans of Women’s Fiction.
I want to thank the Harlequin Publicity Team for organizing their ‘Hot Mess’ by Emily Belden bookstagram mailing, through which I was able to receive a free advanced reader’s copy of the book.
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