Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

‘Stirring Up Love’ Serves Up Heaping Helping of Fun, Romance


Stirring Up Love

By Chandra Blumberg

Montlake Publishing, 2022

Via: Author Request

Release Date: July 26, 2022

Genre: Fiction – Romance/Humor

Pages: 372

Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


A sassy, saucy story about a feud-fueled romance where two rivals with a passion for food and community come together in ways they never expected.

Simone Blake and Finn Rimes are as different as it gets. Simone has just returned from a corporate stint in Chicago where everything went sideways. She’s inherited her grandfather’s barbecue restaurant, Honey and Hickory. Determined to make a go of it and prove that she’s a competent professional who knows what’s what, Simone plans to put her restaurant and her hometown on the map.

So does Finn Rimes. Only from a different angle. A chef thinking big, Finn dreams of opening his own culinary school.

Sparks soon fly like fireworks on the Fourth of July when Finn shows up on Sim’s turf – the local farmer’s market – to market his own brand of barbecue sauce and hopefully raise some cash for his would-be culinary school.

‘This is War’ – Or Is It?

When Sim’s plan to outsell Finn falls flat, she flies to California to audition for a TV reality show, The Executives. She plans to pitch her business plan and brand and score a much-needed infusion of Big Bucks to make a go of her restaurant.

So does Finn.

They’re soon waging barbecue war on live TV.


The last thing they expect is a proposal by The Executives that in order to get the cash both Sim and Finn need to move forward, they go into business together. As in, “partners.”

It’s crazy. Insane. Impossible. Out of the question.

In a hurry to get back to Illinois for her sister’s bachelorette party, Simone finds herself grounded when her flight is canceled due to bad weather. Finn is also stuck in the airport. They hoist an unlikely and temporary white flag long enough to agree to rent a car and drive back to Illinois together and resume their respective lives and responsibilities.

But if his dreams of opening a culinary school can sprout wings, Finn soon realizes he has until Chicago to convince Simone to go into business together. Keep an eye out for flying pigs.

What If…?

But … What if you trust me?

While Sim and Finn drive across the country, they also cross verbal swords. We soon discover that their light-hearted bantering and verbal sparring hides some deep wounds and scars. But their mutual attraction is undeniable. Can Finn and Simone put their differences aside long enough to journey together toward healing and wholeness? Is a Happily-Ever-After ending in their future?

Smart & Snappy

This book is a hoot. It’s smart and snappy, served with a heaping helping of sass and spunk.


Peppered with mischievous metaphors and saucy similes, the writing is top-notch and well-seasoned. Indeed, rapier wit and razor-sharp writing propel the story forward like lighter fluid on an open barbecue. (Kids, don’t try this at home! Or anywhere else!)

Sim and Finn’s back stories are carefully and artfully interwoven into the plot in a way that adds body and depth to the story instead of detracting from it. (The Feuding Flirters From the Edge of Tomorrow thing may wear thin for some readers. But others will find it warm and funny.) Overall, the characters are rich, full-bodied, and dynamic. They grow, learn, and change.

One other thing. You might want to grab the nearest fork and spoon. And a napkin. Cuz all this barbecuin’ may have you ready to chow down, pronto!


Our Rating: 4.0

2 thoughts on “‘Stirring Up Love’ Serves Up Heaping Helping of Fun, Romance

  1. This does sound good! It’s really my kind of book, as I love a road trip book.

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