My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This peppy and racy romance story proved to be a great read. Choco is devoted to her responsibilities in life - her family's Filipino restaurant and her education. She hopes to have and run her own restaurant some day. She is caught in the frustrating loop of monotony that comes with daily life. Carlos is the head chef in the family restaurant and has been her loyal and best friend. Johnny Dee is a consultant who has been assigned the task of handling the expansion of her family's restaurant. He showers attention on Choco - exactly what Choco had been craving for. Choco lets herself get enchanted with Johnny's attention and before she realises it, she transforms herself into someone she doesn't recognise - leaving her hollow and crushed inside. She covers up her numbness inside and tries to go with the flow, but Carlos is having none of it. He hates to see what his friend has turned into, and he has had enough of being just her friend. He gets into the battle scene to claim the true Choco and her heart back. Does he succeed, is what the book takes us through.
I thoroughly loved the characterisation of the protagonists. Choco's helplessness and confusion, conjoined with Carlo's initial bewilderment and eventual determination have all been churned out well and served nice and warm by Ayala. The plot is pacy and keep's the reader's attention throughout. Being completely new to Filipino food and culture, I was pleasantly surprised when the book smoothly enlightened me on a lot of points about both. What is remarkable about the book is that neither the characters, nor their words are shallow at any point - the author doesn't make light of any situation in the book and brushes it off with cliche sentences. Instead she has carefully carved out the emotional dynamics in the different scenes throughout and the dialogues, thoughts and language are all used in sync with this.
I would definitely recommend this to lovers of romance and drama.
My rating for this book: 4 stars
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