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

The Art of French Kissing

Author: Brianna R. Shrum
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publishing Date: June 5, 2018
Paperback, 256 pages
Amazon  Goodreads

Summary: 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.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: This is a really cute YA romance that would have been a 5 star read except for one fatal flaw: I spent at least half of the book wanting to punch the main character in the face. Carter gets mad for no apparent reason. A LOT. And since this book is told in the first person (present tense, bleh) we get to see what’s going on in her head, and there truly is NO reason for her switch to flip over to mad for no reason. I want to like her so much, and she has her moments, but she’s annoying enough that it brought my rating down a full star and a half.
Exhibit A: “I feel kind of bad even pondering it. But he was the one who couldn’t let it lie, could just call it even.” HE LITERALLY JUST ASKED YOU THREE PARAGRAPHS AGO IF YOU WERE READY TO CALL A TRUCE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Oh right, you’re a teenage girl. She’s like a dog with a bone and I just wanna slap her and tell her to woman up.

That being said, she has her moments. I love Carter and Reid’s banter, and they’re both so adorably geeky I just want to hug them and squish them all up! (Yes, I am a geek, and thus a sucker for geeky main characters… Deal with it.) Several of the side characters are also really cute (I’m looking at you, Riya and Will). I also really enjoyed the way this ended, both with the contest and with Reid and Carter’s relationship. Can I have a miniature Reid to keep in my pocket, please? Also, in addition to being a great enemies to lovers romance, it’s also a cooking competition with some great descriptions of food. Who doesn’t want that?!

OH! ALSO! At one point Reid is reading Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones and one of them asks the other if they’ve seen the movie, to which the answer is basically “duh” and some Miyazaki worship. NO! Howl’s Moving Castle book and movie adaptions are SO DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER, if you really loved Howl’s that much you’d make at least some comment about how the movie basically shares a title, some character names, and a moving castle with the book, and that’s about it. THAT MOVIE MAKES ME SO MAD (when compared to the book; it’s fine on it’s own, but it’s BARELY based on the book). /endrant

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