Review

Salt + Stilettos by Janet Walden-West

Summary

From the back of Salt + Stilettos:

Trading her red-dirt roots for the title of Miami’s go-to image consultant, Brett Fontaine refuses to let anything jeopardize her new life.

…Not an influential client-turned-stalker who’s up for parole…

…Not post-kidnapping panic attacks…

…And certainly not the stubborn, attention-phobic chef with the tempting tataus she’s been challenged to transform into a celeb in ninety days.

Will Te’o can almost taste the dream he sacrificed American Samoa, culture, and cherished family ties for—opening a four-star restaurant in the most cut-throat culinary location in North America.

Unfortunately, that requires navigating its equally ruthless social scene.

When his first public performance ends in a social media spectacle, his only option is turning to the stiletto-wearing nemesis who has invaded his kitchen.

Neither expected to share anything but barbs, yet somewhere between accidentally bonding over comfort food and office-wrecking sex, they’re named South Beach’s hottest pairing!

Until Brett’s stalker engineers an image-shattering reveal and the fallout trashes her reputation. She may be going down, but she’s not taking Will’s dreams with her.

Now Will is pulling out all his new skills and cooking up a last-ditch event. Will it prove to Brett that relying on the right person makes for the perfect recipe? Or will he be left heartbroken in the spotlight?

My thoughts

Salt + Stilettos started really well. I liked both Brett and Will. Brett has a great backstory, which makes you really feel for her. It is clear from the beginning why she can’t trust men and her prickliness towards Will is totally understandable. She does flip a bit randomly between being kind and gentle with Will and being a cold bitch, which is a bit jarring.

Will is refreshing as a romantic hero. He’s big – in the beginning of the novel when Brett first meets him, he’s practically described as a giant – and he has self image issues. I love that Brett coaxes him out of her shell, even if her methods aren’t ones I would be comfortable with.

The chemistry between the two of them is believable as well, although it’s quite strong right from the bat. If this was an erotic novel, I could understand the very erotic undertones in the beginning of the novel, but since it’s not, I would have liked to see a bit more build up of the sexual tension between them.

The story of Salt + Stilettos is great. I really rooted for both Brett and Will and their ending was definitely emotionally satisfying. The way Brett eventually let Will in was swoon-worthy. Also, the fact that these were two main characters from ethnicities which aren’t often represented in romance was a big plus.

Where the book lost me a little was in the writing itself. I found the writing woolly and full of unnecessary similes. It could also have done with a bit of a tighter edit, but I guess that’s me reading books as a writer again. I find it hard not to notice these things when I’m writing and it always saddens me when I get pulled out of the story like that. A tighter edit and less woolly language would have made the reading more effortless and more enjoyable. But if you’re not bothered by that, then Salt + Stilettos is highly enjoyable.

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