Dine With Me

Dine With Me by Layla Reyne: Review by Lost in a Book

Dine with Me

Blurb:

Life never tasted so good.

Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.

But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.

Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cup of joe.

As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise : all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

 

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3 Stars

To say I was hungry throughout this book would be an understatement… I was hangry. If you’re a foodie, this might definitely be your cuppa. I’m not a foodie, I don’t have a sophisticated palette but with all the food mentioned, I lived in a perpetual state of hunger throughout the duration of Dine With Me.

The blurb does a great job of setting up the story and there weren’t any surprise plot elements outside of the outline mentioned that had me scratching my head. Miller is very much on a goodbye tour hitting all of his bucket list restaurants with Clancy by his side before the inevitable hits.

Outside of being hungry, the romance fell flat for me. I didn’t believe in the I love you when it happened and it happens late, like after 70% late. I believed their friendship but not a romantic relationship. The pacing is very slow and the relationship stayed on the back burner for most of the book as they find friendship (I think?) through food.

There’s a heavy presence of secondary characters, especially the ex-wife which may work or not work for some. I stopped thinking of her as the ex and mentally thought of her as a BFF and that helped a little.

This read wasn’t really my cuppa and landed in the it’s alright zone. I need more romance in my romances… *shrug* As always, YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

Break Down

He knows his place on the pitch, but in life, it’s a whole other game.
All his life, Liam Donnelly looked and wondered. Could he? Would he? And then, finally, he did. But when he sampled a taste of that forbidden fruit, his whole world came crashing down, his position with Dublin Rugby right along with it. When the chance to ply his trade in Edinburgh comes along, Liam jumps at the offer, knowing it could be his best opportunity to start fresh and get back to the man he once was. But one look at Chef Lachlan MacLeod-his knowing, whisky-colored eyes, the abrasive scruff dotting his jaw, and the colorful ink lining his forearms-and Liam’s wondering all over again. Can he? Will he? His heart says no, but his body says yes. Too bad love is never that simple.

He’s conquered his own demons; can he help another man do the same?
Out and proud Chef Lachlan MacLeod has no problem with who he is, except he has a history of hooking up with bi-curious straight men. He’s vowed never to go down that path again, but when Liam Donnelly shows up in his restaurant, his eyes filled with heat and secret longing, Lachlan can’t help himself. He knows the closeted rugby player is a terrible idea, but the man calls to him in a way no one ever has before. What started as a safe way for Liam to explore his sexuality quickly morphs into something much deeper, and now Lachlan wants more. But can his heart reconcile what his head already knows-that loving the gorgeous, broken athlete might actually mean letting him go?

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 Reviewed by Cupcake

 

3.5 Stars

The blurb tapped into my inner sports nut even though I know fuckall about rugby aside from that Friends episode when Ross thought he was going to impress his Brit girlfriend then squealed. Doesn’t matter though, sports romances are my kryptonite. Add in a chef and…

DONE!

This is the fourth book in what up to now has been a MF series but can be read as a standalone. Liam is a pro rugby player and is coming to terms with being bisexual. He had a drunken encounter then the guy turned around and blackmailed him. First manlove and the guy turns out to be a blackmailing dicknozzle! So when an offer to play for Edinburgh comes along it seems like a good time for a change of scenery thus he takes it and gets the hell out of Dodge, or in this case Dublin.

He soon meets acclaimed chef Lachlan and sparks fly. Liam has vowed to keep his head down and just play rugby but all the flirting and dancing around each other chips away at his resolve.

Lachlan is out and the notion of returning to the closet is something he vowed never to do. He also swore off “straight” dudes too but he’s never been this drawn to another person, so he compromises himself to be with Liam on the DL. Naturally this causes conflict over time because who wants to be someone’s dirty little secret?

Every book I read I try to identify with the characters and something I’ve come to realize about myself with coming out books is I tend to need angst to really identify with the closeted character. Without it I find it’s just words on a page that rarely get my emotions involved. That was my biggest problem with Liam. His closetedness seemed like the standard cookie cutter athletes/pro sports aren’t LGBTQ friendly plot device without teeth. He tells himself once he’s hung up his cleats he’ll live life on his own terms but he soon realizes that’s not really fair to Lachlan. Expect lots of push/pull between them. Liam is a decent communicator though usually after he’s stuck his foot in it, but still. My other problem with him is he’s kind of an anger ball. I get that he’s supposed to be a badass on the pitch but don’t be a douche off the pitch. No one likes a douche.

Lachlan, on the other hand.. I liked being inside his head because he’s a good person. Plain and simple. I liked him. It didn’t hurt that he’s a chef and tattooed lumbersexual…

Their character development was mediocre with both never making it past 2D for me, but there are some sweet moments and the relationship development was good which is what ultimately won me over.

 

I needed him to touch me everywhere, and to keep on touching me and never stop.

The sex is kind of same same. They do have chemistry, are clearly into each other and Liam is a virgin so this should appeal to many. I’m probably jaded because at this point I’ve pretty much read everything on the sex spectrum so an author has to dig deeper than a little dirty talk, face fucking and rimming to blow my doors off. To be fair, as a frequent MM reader I’m probably more critical of verbiage and sex stuff than maybe others would be, though I will say, I had this reaction a few times…

But I believe this is the author’s first foray into MM and I’m excited by the fact that several traditionally MF writers are trying their hand at MM; makes me happy in my face. The MF bleeds through periodically but nothing too egregious. The narrative is somewhat clunky and would benefit from some polishing especially with regard to some of the crass language that got to be a little much at times. Maybe it tried too hard to convince me of their connection but the HEA is heartfelt, so I do hope she continues to write MM because I liked this more than I didn’t.

Lastly, there were an inordinate amount of editing issues that pulled me out of the story including continuity errors, extraneous words, the wrong name being used and repeated phrases. I don’t normally mention this kind of stuff so for me to mention it… I hope she finds a new editor or proofer soon.

Trigger for drug usage.

An ARC was provided by the publisher.