Book Review: In the Raw by Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels

In the Raw by Eileen Griffin and Nikka MichaelsTitle: In the Raw
Series: In the Kitchen, Book 1
Author: Nikka Michaels, Eileen Griffin
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided via NetGalley
Published: October 6, 2014 by Carina Press

If you can't take the heat…

James Lassiter has had a crush on fellow culinary student Ethan Martin for three years, but has never had the guts to make a move. Putting himself out there is hard, especially when under the thumb–and wallet–of his overbearing parents. Now that bad boy chef Ethan–who is always vying with Jamie for best in class–is struggling with the pastry course, Jamie suddenly has a reason to reach out.

Ethan doesn't mean to be an ass–okay, so mostly he does–but even though he's secretly hot for Jamie, he sure as hell doesn't want help with pastry. Ever since his dad walked out, Ethan has been the one to hold things together and he's done fine on his own. Except that he can't get his cake to rise.

Jamie could be the answer to what Ethan's been missing his whole life–someone to depend on. But with the two competing for the same scholarship, things suddenly get too hot to handle. And if Jamie finds the strength to go for what he wants, he isn't about to settle for what he needs.

Reviewed by: Crissy

Why I Read This Book: Give me a bad boy and a goodie-two-shoes any day, but add in some food porn and I’ll fall for it every time.

In A Nutshell: Slow builder with wishy-washy romance that is overshadowed with the authors’ need to show how much they know about food and cooking. This story is nothing to shout from the rooftops about.

What I Liked: Honest. The only thing I can find that I truly liked about this story was Claire. She’s Ethan’s sister and a point of contention within the story then she’s the voice of reason, but she’s not a main character. She’s the comic relief and the point of ease when Ethan is veering in the all too angsty territory. In truth, Claire is the person who actually brings Ethan and Jamie together then keeps them together by talking them through their insecurities and immaturity. I like her.

What I Didn’t Like: To begin with, I think my biggest issue is Ethan. He comes off as this badass who couldn’t care less about what happens to the people around it, with the exception of Claire. He even says more than once that he doesn’t do relationships/commitment/whatever. But the first time he and Jamie sleep together he’s suddenly painting rainbows and unicorns and talking about forever? I was thrown for a major loop there. I mean I get the bad guy who finds the love of his life, but I would at least like him to go through some sort of soul searching before he fell head over heels for his counterpart.

I felt like the authors leaned too far into the descriptive side of the food and cooking in an attempt to show that they’d done their homework. Those sections drew the story out, making it long and tedious. Even boring. Don’t get me wrong. I said before, I’m a food porn addict, but don’t overshadow my guy-guy romance. That’s exactly what happened here.

Also, the chemistry is so up and down between Ethan and Jamie. What I mean is there are points when I didn’t feel the slightest inkling of a hint of chemistry between them then suddenly they’re making out uncontrollably. The romance was bland and fell flat, in my opinion. I just wasn’t feeling it.

In My Opinion: This book is a prequel (and if I’m up on my chatter, this one was written after the first), so if you’re dying to read the book that follows, I’d say skip this one. There’s not much here that I found likable. Mind you, I have not read the second book yet, and after reading this one, I hesitate to. Though I probably will just to see if something better comes out of Jamie and Ethan’s so-so happy for now.

Crissy’s Rating:
1 1/2 Frogs

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About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


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