Introducing White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras, who is rising-and sleuthing-to the top. Includes recipes for a complete presidential menu! Never let them see you sweat-that's White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras's motto, which is pretty hard to honor in the most important kitchen in the world. She's hell-bent on earning her dream job, Executive Chef. There's just one thing: Her nemesis is vying for it, too. Well, that and the fact that an elusive assassin wants to see her fry.
©2008 Tekno Books (P)2014 Audible Inc.
"[A] compulsively readable whodunit full of juicy behind-the-Oval Office details, flavorful characters and a satisfying side dish of red herrings - not to mention 20 pages of easy-to-cook recipes fit for the leader of the free world." (Publishers Weekly)
Okay -- it's not believable. No winsome young white heterosexual lass like Ollie would ever be hired as the White House Chef -- that's a patronage position, and would go to someone with political clout, or as a bow to some interest group. At least in these post-JFK days, cooking ability has very little to do with it.
And right, one would assume that security in the White House would be a whole lot better than it was in this book -- or at least one WOULD have assumed that, up until the several recent and very serious breaches of security have made the headlines. Now that part of the plot doesn't seem so far fetched at all.
But okay, this is fiction, for crying out loud! It doesn't have to echo real life -- and there were so many more things to really like about this book I couldn't stop listening.
Ollie got her first "Atta girl!" from me when she unabashedly went out to the firing range to practice -- now remember, Ollie is not a PI, she's not a detective, not in law enforcement. She's a cook, an artist, and still she likes to shoot! Good deal -- a nascent Sarah Palin, right there. Ollie could probably plug a boar with the best of 'em. Not only that, but she reveres her father, who was killed in the service. She regularly goes to Arlington Cemetery to honor him, seek his presence and consolation. That's nice; nice to see a young girl who honors and respects her dead father. AND she gets goose bumps when she hears the Star Spangled Banner! Are you seeing a pattern, here? We actually have a conservative protagonist -- something so rare in contemporary fiction that it deserves to be celebrated. I like that.
True, she should dump that boyfriend of hers -- any man who repeatedly talks to her as though she's "a wayward second grader" deserves to be dumped, and fast. She doesn't deserve that -- she deserves someone a whole lot better than that weasel. But maybe she takes care of him in a subsequent book.
All in all it was a great listen -- lots of red herrings. I had several resolutions in mind, all through the book, and none of them were right. The ending was fine -- took me by surprise. I also loved all the tidbits of information about cooking in the White House -- they may be fiction, too, for all I know, but it sounded plausible enough. I resonated with the evil political appointee who was trying to run the show -- that was one character who was most definitely NOT fictional. Those kind of turkeys exist, oh, yes they do. As do ambitious characters like Laurel Ann -- that wasn't fiction either.
Good book! I've already added two more by Julie Hyzy to my wish list. Good light reading!
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
Ok, how would any sane reviewer give 3 and 4 stars for performance and story, but still give an overall 5? Let me see if I can explain.
The narrator was mildly annoying, using a very tight throat to give voice to male characters. The story was pretty good -- just not great. There were holes left in the plot; e.g. why was the main character's boyfriend so cool toward our heroine in the middle of the book, and other such unexplained circumstances. The plot premise was entertaining and easily kept my attention, but didn't really dwell on character development or plot complexities.
The overall 5 had to do with the mesmerizing pace and the overall cadence of the written words. Even though I knew what happened (not complex enough to be confusing), I still went back and relistened to a couple chapters because I was enjoying the overall experience. So ... my 5 star explanation isn't terribly enlightening, I know. I would recommend just listening to this book and maybe you can help me explain why it is so enjoyable.
Like History, Business and Self-Improvement books. 32 year US Army veteran.
Fast pace, good food, interesting
I like Olivia, even though she does do some stupid things. Peter Sargent is a love to hate character as is Loral Ann
I think she is great. All her characters are believable. She is really good and the men and women all sound different.
My reaction was: how could you do that? I love food related mysteries but I don't like it when the author has the main character do obvious dumb moves.
I liked the whole premise of this story (White House Chef), but I am only willing to suspend belief so far. Therefore, I can live with the opening chapter where a petite chef is the only member of the White House staff able to subdue a possible terrorist, besting an entire group of Secret Service. But, after that, I need the story to feel like it could possibly happen. This heroine does one stupid thing after another and the characters introduced to be her nemeses are so one-dimensional that they are unintentionally funny.
Some one who writes better
She was fair- her voice was acceptable as the voice of the heroine, but other voices were not very distinct.
The White House setting is unique and I enjoyed listening to the goings on in the kitchen. However, I can't imagine a real White House chef behaving as the lead character. I imagine the White House as a highly organized with supreme security standards. Which is why I have a problem believing that a chef would behave the way Ollie behaved. I don't want to give any spoilers. I'll just say that Ollie's character wasn't believable. I also thought she needed to grow a backbone. There is a difference between being professional and just being a pushover. Ollie might also want to rethink her relationship choices. Knowing that Ollie was in danger he promises to drive her home. Then, he leaves her high and dry. He could have at least arranged to for a safe ride home for her. There were several instances when I rolled my eyes or scoffed. However, I will listen to the next book because the background was very interesting. I hope things get better in the next book.
The story line is odd, and unimportant. I found it boring.
Good, it was the story that was awful.
I would not have published it.
Can't wait to start the next one in the series. Eileen Stevens is one of my favorite narrators.
Say something about yourself!
The basic idea of mysteries in the White House kitchen is good. Many of the characters are engaging. The main character is, however, almost schizophrenic in the way she swings from calm, organized professional to ditzy girl who can't string words into a coherent sentence. The ditz makes really stupid decisions that only serve to create false tensions in the plot. I'll give this author one more try and hope that her editor is tougher on her in the future.
One of the top series
Yes, I usually read on my to/from work. I found myself wanting to listen to it all the time. I often listened to it in bed.
Yes. That is how I found this book. I really like the way she narrates. A good narrator makes all the difference. She doesn't just read but performs the books. I love her!!
I found myself in the book and whatever emotions the main character was feeling, I was feeling too.
This is a great new series. It is a cozy mystery and such a simple fun listen.
A pleasant, undemanding addition to your summer activities. The main character is annoyingly naive sometimes. Spoiler alert: Would you go home alone to your apartment if an assassin was after you?
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