Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not impact my rating or review.
I will never understand why the titles to some books are so long. This is One Way or Another: A totally uplifting laugh out loud romantic comedy". Honestly besides the overly long title that is not needed and some slight development and pacing issues, I liked this book. I have never read Colleen Coleman before, but I will probably check out her other titles in the future. Sometimes you just want a cute and fluffy story that doesn't make you despair in humanity.
"One Way or Another" is about Katie Kelly. She banked everything she had on running her own restaurant and in the end, things went belly up. Now she is sleeping on her best friend's couch and serving up food at at retirement home. When a chance comes up for her to compete for a title of Grand Chef which means she would get to work alongside a world renowned chef (Jean Michael). Winning the competition could get Katie's life back on track, only if she doesn't get distracted by her long lost ex also competing.
Well this is the second food competition book I read this year. I liked this one much better than the last one I read. I think because even though there is a competition, and one of the competitors acts like a jerk, Coleman does a great job of making that stuff not the central focus of this book. The central focus really is Katie coming to terms with what she wants and realizing that she has no right in holding back her family from moving on with their own lives.
I did like Katie. I will always like the underdog. She realizes that she has no one to blame but herself for her restaurant's demise (she mentions not paying attention to the money going out, the bills needing to be paid, etc.). When she has the opportunity to compete for Grand Chef, she is initially hesitant, until she gets a talking to by one of the nursing home resident's who pushes her to compete. And I liked that Katie finally saw how selfish she was being with her father wanting to move on from the family home. Katie wants to keep her father back home in a time warp though her mother has been deceased for more than a decade at this point. I felt sympathy for Katie up to a point, but really wanted to tell her to get a grip on things.
The secondary characters were interesting (Katie's best friend perked my interest) and I liked the character of Martha (the nursing home resident who pushes Katie to compete). However, as I said above, some characters needed better development. For example, Katie's ex-boyfriend Ben could just have been called lovely stand-in. We don't get a real sense of him besides Katie constantly telling us how she feels/felt about him. When we see him in the present, I just didn't get it. Same issue with the character of Jean Michael. He read like a caricature of Gordon Ramsey. I don't know if I really buy the resolution with Jean Michael either, it just read like coincidence in order to get the story moving towards a HEA for Katie.
The writing was okay, it just got a bit repetitive here and there. I got Katie's past, I understood how hard she was working, I got she was in love with Ben and wished things had been different. I really wish we had more interaction with Katie and her best friend. They were hilarious together and I liked reading about her job. I loved all of the descriptions of the food that Katie was making. If you are going to have a book centered around food, I want to feel like the character knows what they are doing.
The flow was off though after the competition bits were over. I just felt a little like the book was killing time until the end.
The ending was a little too pat, but honestly I was happy to read the HEA.