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State of the Onion

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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 o 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.


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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 o 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.

30 review for State of the Onion

  1. 4 out of 5

    ✨ Gramy ✨

    .. Introducing White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras, who is rising-and sleuthing-to the top. This was a very interesting and informative tale of the life of the White House kitchen staff. The main focus is on Oliva Paras, who demonstrates the ability to keep her wit and uses whatever is available to protect herself and others from danger. It captivates and compels readers to jump in and enjoy the experiences first hand. White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras—you can call her Ollie—faces cha .. Introducing White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras, who is rising-and sleuthing-to the top. This was a very interesting and informative tale of the life of the White House kitchen staff. The main focus is on Oliva Paras, who demonstrates the ability to keep her wit and uses whatever is available to protect herself and others from danger. It captivates and compels readers to jump in and enjoy the experiences first hand. White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras—you can call her Ollie—faces challenges aplenty: a heated competition for the soon-to-be-vacant top chef's job, the sneering antagonism of the president's newly appointed sensitivity director and, of course, the mysterious intruder she unwittingly stops on the White House lawn with a couple of swift blows from a frying pan—an unarmed man with news of a threat to the president. Though the Secret Service disapproves of her interference, Ollie soon takes on the mantel of amateur sleuth, which could endanger not only her life but her cozy relationship with handsome Secret Service Agent Thomas MacKenzie. The tension mounts as the president negotiate a major peace plan for the Middle East, Ollie stumbles on the path of a nearly invisible enemy known as the Chameleon, and obnoxious TV celebrity chef Laurel Anne Braun shows up to threaten Ollie's career. Julie Hyzy did an incredible job in drawing the reader into the story and compelling them to stay focused as long as possible as they rode on her roller-coaster adventure of a lifetime. This was a cozy mystery that didn't seem to be formulaic at all. I would recommend this choice to anyone interested in a clean and wholesome cozy mystery. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    When I first started to read this book I was extremely irritated with the main character. I mean, when one works in the white house one obviously has to be aware that sensitive security issues are just that, Sensitive security issues. So this charcter just tosses it all out the window and decides to go all curious and stick her nose where it had best not be. I mean, you just don't muck about with that kind of thing. I was so irritated I almost chucked the book. But then I reminded myself that a When I first started to read this book I was extremely irritated with the main character. I mean, when one works in the white house one obviously has to be aware that sensitive security issues are just that, Sensitive security issues. So this charcter just tosses it all out the window and decides to go all curious and stick her nose where it had best not be. I mean, you just don't muck about with that kind of thing. I was so irritated I almost chucked the book. But then I reminded myself that a reader loving and associating with a character is not the only sign of a good book; a good book is also found when the reader passionatly irritated with a character ( as it is another form of connection with the book). And I was most pointedly irritated with dear chef Ollie. I wanted to reach into the book and smack her up-side the head. However, limited by the laws of both physics and reality, I merely sucked up my irritation with the main character's extreme character flaw and kept reading. And I am glad that I did, because I really did enjoy the book. It was interesting, informative, exciting and had me hooked from the first irritating moment the heroine decided to play at being "secret" Secret Service agent chef.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    3.5 stars, quite a fun book overall. I loved the DC and Northern Virginia location, and of course the White House. Those locations were all as real as possible, but the foreign delegations were from fictional lands, an interesting choice that I'm sure could be debated, but felt like the right choice for this book which wasn't meant to be political commentary but primarily entertainment. The only problem is that the Ollie suffers from cozymysteritis, closely related to the dreaded TSTL (too stupid 3.5 stars, quite a fun book overall. I loved the DC and Northern Virginia location, and of course the White House. Those locations were all as real as possible, but the foreign delegations were from fictional lands, an interesting choice that I'm sure could be debated, but felt like the right choice for this book which wasn't meant to be political commentary but primarily entertainment. The only problem is that the Ollie suffers from cozymysteritis, closely related to the dreaded TSTL (too stupid to live disease). People with cozymysteritis just can't help getting involved with things that are clearly none of their business and are horribly dangerous, and then handle those things in ways that prove that they may, in fact, be TSTL. But it is a standard in the genre, so I generally only pick at the degree to which my suspense of disbelief made my enjoyment of the story less. Sometimes I can shake my head and move on, other times I throw the book across the room on annoyance. This was much more the former. The book is really kind of half way between a fluffy cozy and a more serious mystery, well written and with some more serious elements, but also with recipes and office politics and lighthearted elements. I like the middle of the road approach of not being too silly or too scary or suspenseful, but it does make for a balancing act. It makes me expect more solid follow-through on plots and for Ollie to be more mature. I would have preferred a more solid reason for Ollie to have gotten involved with this mystery all together. The opening really fun chase scene across the White House Lawn, ending in the big Pan Slam, was a great way to start things off, but the idea that this guy needed the assistant chef's help never made sense. Her nosiness made perfect, if irritating, sense! But she was idiotic to follow-up with him and not trust the Secret Service to take care of matters. What did she think she could do? And when she did the normal cozy novel mistakes to draw things out and add to confusion on their end (but having already giving hints to us as readers) of not giving complete information because she was too embarrassed or didn't want to involve her boyfriend or whatever (like not reporting an attempted break-in to the Secret Service), it was infuriating because it wasn't just her life on the line, it was the President's and possibly many others, not a topic you can just be casual about and certainly not her call to make. I seldom get that worked up in reading about dog walkers or caterers, their mistakes won't change the fate of the world. But in general, she did get caught up in something way beyond her "pay grade" as they say and other than a few idiotic moves managed to conduct herself well. The overall story was very readable, with an intelligent and welcoming style that made me feel comfortable with the characters and their world rght away, like I really was getting a peek into backstairs at the White House.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mike Smith

    “A White House chef must be less concerned with the state of the union, and more concerned with the state of the onion.” The first of Julie Hyzy's 'White House Chef Mystery's' has been on my TBR list for a while. Intrigued by the premise with a mix of political background blended with a culinary underlay clenched my interest. The overall bake, was to be expected. Light hearted and at times a bit absurd but overly refreshing. The way the book played out was never going to be a heavy, soul-searchin “A White House chef must be less concerned with the state of the union, and more concerned with the state of the onion.” The first of Julie Hyzy's 'White House Chef Mystery's' has been on my TBR list for a while. Intrigued by the premise with a mix of political background blended with a culinary underlay clenched my interest. The overall bake, was to be expected. Light hearted and at times a bit absurd but overly refreshing. The way the book played out was never going to be a heavy, soul-searching read but was easy and enjoyable. In terms of a Presidential banquet this is the first course of nine. 'Hail To The Chef' is being served next and while something a bit more substantial may be required to be consumed before hand it won't be long until that too has been indulged.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Great story that kept me interested and hungry the whole time!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anissa

    I checked this out of the library because it looked like a neat setting for a cozy. The cover is fantastic and the title cute.                                                                                                                    I found my feelings mixed after reading. The best parts were where we got a look in at the kitchen and behind the scenes of the White House. But this is at its heart a mystery and on that count, it lacked. I felt often that the mystery was somehow secondary I checked this out of the library because it looked like a neat setting for a cozy. The cover is fantastic and the title cute.                                                                                                                    I found my feelings mixed after reading. The best parts were where we got a look in at the kitchen and behind the scenes of the White House. But this is at its heart a mystery and on that count, it lacked. I felt often that the mystery was somehow secondary and that sapped a bit of my enjoyment. Our heroine, Olivia has the usual amateur sleuth foibles and she can only go up on likability as the series progresses. If you read my cozy reviews often, you know that I am often nonplussed with the love interest threads as they're flat and uninspired due in large part to the "boyfriend blank". I'm not going to belabour the point but be advised, in this case... same thing. A very big positive though is that there are recipes here and throughout there are lovely descriptions of the meals made. That was well done.                                                                                                              In the end, I'd likely give the next a try but I won't be rolling right into it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    A great start - it's not actually strong in mystery, although there's a surprise and some tense moments - the thrill is the behind in the scenes in the kitchen, all the food, the competition between her and another chef, the hostility from the new sensitivity director, her bond with her mentor, the weirdness with her security boyfriend, the taste testing with the First Lady. Seriously it's all about the food, but throwing in a mystery was a good idea ;) THe end of the book is loaded with great r A great start - it's not actually strong in mystery, although there's a surprise and some tense moments - the thrill is the behind in the scenes in the kitchen, all the food, the competition between her and another chef, the hostility from the new sensitivity director, her bond with her mentor, the weirdness with her security boyfriend, the taste testing with the First Lady. Seriously it's all about the food, but throwing in a mystery was a good idea ;) THe end of the book is loaded with great recipes I want to try (most of them), but I was dismayed the stuffed brussel sprouts didn't make the reveal cut. Full review to come

  8. 4 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    2.5** The first in the White House Chef mystery series introduces the readers to Ollie (Olivia) Parus, and the rest of the staff in the White House kitchen. On her way back to work after running an errand, Ollie happens upon a serious breach of security; an apparent madman is running across the White House lawn, pursued by Secret Service. But when the man is on the ground right next to her, he pleads for her help. The Secret Service members she’s always been on a first-name basis with are now dis 2.5** The first in the White House Chef mystery series introduces the readers to Ollie (Olivia) Parus, and the rest of the staff in the White House kitchen. On her way back to work after running an errand, Ollie happens upon a serious breach of security; an apparent madman is running across the White House lawn, pursued by Secret Service. But when the man is on the ground right next to her, he pleads for her help. The Secret Service members she’s always been on a first-name basis with are now distantly professional and she can’t get any straight answers, even from her Secret Service boyfriend. In the meantime, Ollie is in competition for a promotion; she’s up against a TV celebrity chef who is from the same home state as the first family. And to add further stress, the kitchen is given only a week’s notice of a major state dinner. Ollie irritated me no end. Not quite “too stupid to live,” she is annoyingly nosy, especially given her position in the White House kitchen. I had a hard time believing she was a trained professional when she wasn’t behaving professionally most of the time. Her romantic relationship doesn’t ever get off the ground either; they spend all their time mad at one another and not speaking. Hyzy includes a fair number of red herrings … multiple people are described with particular physical characteristics that might make them the lead suspect. One particularly unlikeable character was a lead candidate, as far as I was concerned; at least until he completely disappeared from the book in the last 30 pages. Hyzy also has a tendency to repeat herself; I got it the first time she told me that additional staff would be brought in for a state dinner, or the first time Ollie opined that she was sure the TV chef would get the job over her. I had previously read a later book in the series and gave it 3 stars. The plot in that book was also thin, and despite the framework of the White House Kitchen there is very little emphasis on food. Still, I was reasonably entertained, and decided to go back to the first in the series to start at the beginning. Basically we have a reasonably interesting premise/framework for a cozy mystery series, but not the best execution. I’m not sure I’ll read another.

  9. 5 out of 5

    BJ Rose

    This book started out with a bang - literally - but then had too many ups and downs to make it a strong read. I give it 3.5*, but did like it enough to get the next book in the series, Hail to the Chef. I'll see how that one goes before I judge the whole series. This book started out with a bang - literally - but then had too many ups and downs to make it a strong read. I give it 3.5*, but did like it enough to get the next book in the series, Hail to the Chef. I'll see how that one goes before I judge the whole series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    This was a fun and light read, and better than I expected. Ollie Paras is an assistant chef in the White House Kitchens; she is competing against a talk show host for the position of Executive Chef, a job Ollie has worked hard to obtain. After a quick shopping trip to purchase a new skillet which will be a gift to the outgoing Executive Chef at his retirement, Ollie finds herself on the White House lawn, in the middle of a pursuit by the Secret Service. The culprit who is being pursued makes the This was a fun and light read, and better than I expected. Ollie Paras is an assistant chef in the White House Kitchens; she is competing against a talk show host for the position of Executive Chef, a job Ollie has worked hard to obtain. After a quick shopping trip to purchase a new skillet which will be a gift to the outgoing Executive Chef at his retirement, Ollie finds herself on the White House lawn, in the middle of a pursuit by the Secret Service. The culprit who is being pursued makes the mistake of running in Ollie's direction, where she quickly beans him over the head with the newly purchased skillet. The Secret Service agents are furious with Ollie, for interfering in their pursuit, none more so than Ollie's boyfriend, Tom. All three of these story lines, the future chef position, the possible terrorist on grounds, and Ollie's relationship with Tom, are woven together, to create an enjoyable read. This book meets challenge #1, to read a book with something edible in the title, in the group A Book For All Seasons.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chatting About

    Great culinary series debut! I found it fast-paced and very entertaining. What an interesting setting for a cozy mystery plot--the White House kitchen! Ollie and Henry are wonderful characters, and are supported by a delightful cast of secondary characters. Some you'll like; some you'll dislike. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this book and start reading today! LOTS of fantastic recipes after the story, too! Yum!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Very much enjoyed this, I love reading about the White House, and having a cozy feel mystery a part of the story, made this a real win for me. Looking forward to reading the second book as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Olivia Paras lives up to her motto "Never let them see you sweat". She is an assistant White House Chef with big dreams of becoming the executive chef. We soon discover she gets more than she bargained for when she disovered what she thinks is a would be assassin sprinting across the White House Lawn trying to get to the president and to stop him hits him on the head with a frying pan. She soon witnesses a murder and a assassin is now hot on Oliva's trail to try to see her fry for good. As Olivia Olivia Paras lives up to her motto "Never let them see you sweat". She is an assistant White House Chef with big dreams of becoming the executive chef. We soon discover she gets more than she bargained for when she disovered what she thinks is a would be assassin sprinting across the White House Lawn trying to get to the president and to stop him hits him on the head with a frying pan. She soon witnesses a murder and a assassin is now hot on Oliva's trail to try to see her fry for good. As Olivia is competing for the executive chef position with a long time rival, We can only wonder if the assassin will find her. I was hooked from the first chapter, never a dull moment, could not put it down. As a big fan of culinary mysteries I loved it. Can't to read the next in the series. Thank you so much, Julie Hyzy, you are one talented writer.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    Ollie Paras is a White House chef who hits an intruder upside the head with a frying pan. He says he's trying to warn the President of some plot. She has a Secret Service boyfriend who is a jerk. She is also competing with a cooking show host for the job of Executive Chef. None of these plot-lines are fleshed out well enough. Most characters aren't either. An enjoyable read, but no substance and easily forgettable. Yummy sounding recipes in the back! Also, a lot of plot points went unanswered. W Ollie Paras is a White House chef who hits an intruder upside the head with a frying pan. He says he's trying to warn the President of some plot. She has a Secret Service boyfriend who is a jerk. She is also competing with a cooking show host for the job of Executive Chef. None of these plot-lines are fleshed out well enough. Most characters aren't either. An enjoyable read, but no substance and easily forgettable. Yummy sounding recipes in the back! Also, a lot of plot points went unanswered. Who was Naveen really? Is the princess really allergic to nuts? What was that all about anyway? What was the princess's deal? Why was Tom keeping their relationship a secret anyway? Is he ashamed of her? Is it really against regulations? Etc. etc. State of the Onion (pun on State of the Union) is a cute title.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    Olivia is an assistant chef in the White House's kitchen and the heir apparent to take over as executive chef when the the current executive chef retires. With international dignitaries from the Middle East in town and a new Presidential appointee micro-managing everything going on in the kitchen, her job has never been more stressful. Then she stumbles on a plot to strike at the summit and forever destroy any chance for two warring nations to live in peace. And as the only person who has seen t Olivia is an assistant chef in the White House's kitchen and the heir apparent to take over as executive chef when the the current executive chef retires. With international dignitaries from the Middle East in town and a new Presidential appointee micro-managing everything going on in the kitchen, her job has never been more stressful. Then she stumbles on a plot to strike at the summit and forever destroy any chance for two warring nations to live in peace. And as the only person who has seen the face of an international assassin known only as The Chameleon she suddenly finds herself in the cross hairs. State of the Onion is a text book example of what a cozy mystery should look like. Honestly, it's a hoot. Seriously good fun.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    This is the first in the White House Chef Series- and after only 50 pages I was hooked not just on this book but I knew I was hooked enough to read the entire series. I love Ollie- the main character- she is strong, independent and exciting. She works in the White House which is an exciting place to be. This book is full of heads of state- secret service men- and yummy sounding food. And as all good cozy mysteries- kooky characters and a few surprises.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tory Wagner

    This is an easy read with some appealing characters. The main character is an assistant chef in the White House who is caught up in a mystery when she is accosted by a man who is trespassing on White House grounds, Much of the story takes place in the White House kitchen and you get a glimpse of what goes on at State dinners. There is also an assassin, The Chameleon, who is stalking her despite her pleas to a Secret Service boyfriend to protect her. You might also enjoy some recipes at the end o This is an easy read with some appealing characters. The main character is an assistant chef in the White House who is caught up in a mystery when she is accosted by a man who is trespassing on White House grounds, Much of the story takes place in the White House kitchen and you get a glimpse of what goes on at State dinners. There is also an assassin, The Chameleon, who is stalking her despite her pleas to a Secret Service boyfriend to protect her. You might also enjoy some recipes at the end of the story which have been used in the White House.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jewlsbookblog

    This was a decent cozy. Although Olivia made some ridiculous and rash decisions during the first half of the story, I came around to liking her gumption by the end of the book. Poor Tom though! The guy has his hands full with Olivia. I’m also still scratching my head wondering about a few characters who seemed to have disappeared towards the last quarter of the story. And the recipes at the end-fun addition.

  19. 5 out of 5

    JoAn

    This was a fun read and packed with a lot of information about the White House and it's various levels of employees and protocols. I look forward to reading more in this series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Mcbride

    I was contemplating going to a writer's workshop this summer and this author is one of the individuals giving a seminar. Since I have a guilty pleasure of reading mystery books that also contain recipes, I thought that I would love this book finding yet another series to read through. But, unfortunately, I just did not find this book as fun as I was hoping. One of the things that really irritates me while reading is if the main character, male or female, is completely ditzy and irresponsible with I was contemplating going to a writer's workshop this summer and this author is one of the individuals giving a seminar. Since I have a guilty pleasure of reading mystery books that also contain recipes, I thought that I would love this book finding yet another series to read through. But, unfortunately, I just did not find this book as fun as I was hoping. One of the things that really irritates me while reading is if the main character, male or female, is completely ditzy and irresponsible with their crime solving actions. The main character here, Ollie, has both of those traits. I was hoping that my love to cook, and eat, would be enough for me to have a connection with her, but I was not able to find her interesting enough. That lack of connection was one of the main problems I had while reading this book. The book itself is a very quick read and I was able to get through it in a few nights. Julie Hyzy does a good job with plotlines and it seems to have enough twists and turns to get you through. In the end though, I found it a little lacking in reality. An assistant chef at the White House takes down an assassin and then thwarts off several other attacks on her life while trying to find out who the murderer is. Something tells me that the White House Security would never have allowed her to muddle in national security issues and at some point she would have ended up in jail. That is just my own assumption and perhaps that would have made an interesting plot point in this story. Overall, it was a good read. Not sure it has peaked my interest enough to read the rest of the series, but it was a good read nonetheless. If you need a little more action and intrigue in your mysteries, then I would probably skip this one. If however a straight up cozy murder mystery is your cup of tea, then put on the kettle and give this one a try. Rating: 2.5 out of 5 I borrowed this book from my local library and was not asked to do a review of this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristel

    I blazed through this book in a day and a half, and for the most part enjoyed it. Ollie is ditzy yet headstrong in the way cozy mystery heroines typically are, but her role as a White House chef adds some interest in her characterization. None of the other characters are particularly fleshed out but they serve their purpose just fine and I get the feeling their personalities will be given more depth throughout the series. Plus one for the hilariously entertaining “villains” that put Ollie’s care I blazed through this book in a day and a half, and for the most part enjoyed it. Ollie is ditzy yet headstrong in the way cozy mystery heroines typically are, but her role as a White House chef adds some interest in her characterization. None of the other characters are particularly fleshed out but they serve their purpose just fine and I get the feeling their personalities will be given more depth throughout the series. Plus one for the hilariously entertaining “villains” that put Ollie’s career in jeopardy, minus one for the tiresome and weirdly sanctimonious Secret Service boyfriend. I don’t want to be the person who gripes about the nuances of cultural sensitivity in a cozy with recipes at the back, but I feel that there’s some regrettable depiction of admittedly fictional Middle Eastern countries here. Most glaring of which is a banquet scene where Ollie sees the wife of a king covered from head to toe and attended by several women. She asks who the other women are and is informed that they are the queen’s handmaidens. At this Ollie reacts with, “Handmaiden? What is this, the Middle Ages?” I know why it was done–the observation pointed to an important clue–but still. Reading that passage literally made me cringe. Read more of this review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chaitra

    Pretty standard cozy mystery - the only difference is that this book treats the White House kitchen as any old kitchen where random people can walk in and out with no trouble or even permission required. It also has a ditzy heroine, who I wanted to brain with her own skillet at the beginning, but then I sympathized with her. Really, she has a tough enough job being girlfriend to the idiot Secret Service man who seems least concerned about listening to poor Ollie, even when he knows she might be Pretty standard cozy mystery - the only difference is that this book treats the White House kitchen as any old kitchen where random people can walk in and out with no trouble or even permission required. It also has a ditzy heroine, who I wanted to brain with her own skillet at the beginning, but then I sympathized with her. Really, she has a tough enough job being girlfriend to the idiot Secret Service man who seems least concerned about listening to poor Ollie, even when he knows she might be the only one who can identify an assassin. No, his ego is too big for that. Bugger him. When it turns out that he's the fool, he just waltzes back into Ollie's life (after having dumped her when the going got slightly tough for Mr. Tough Guy). I surely hope she finds a different eye candy in the next books, and gives this guy a boot. The mystery is pretty obvious. We can point out the creep in question the minute he walks in from stage left. But that's never the problem in cozies is it? I mean, these ditzes need to figure it out after all. I'll be reading the rest of the series though, to see righteous Ken doll get his just deserts.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ❂ Murder by Death

    Overall, a very good story. I was positive I knew who the killer was until the very end, when I was proved very wrong. All the characters in the white house kitchen were likeable and I enjoyed reading about them. There were a couple of times when the main character waxed lyrical about the honor of working in the white house, and while I understood the feelings the author was trying to convey, it felt a bit over-the-top. The only place I felt the author failed was the relationship between Ollie a Overall, a very good story. I was positive I knew who the killer was until the very end, when I was proved very wrong. All the characters in the white house kitchen were likeable and I enjoyed reading about them. There were a couple of times when the main character waxed lyrical about the honor of working in the white house, and while I understood the feelings the author was trying to convey, it felt a bit over-the-top. The only place I felt the author failed was the relationship between Ollie and Tom. His treatment of her throughout the story felt wrong for someone who was supposed to love her and didn't endear me to him at all. And his complete 180 wasn't explained at all - one minute he was so mad at her he couldn't even talk to her, and the next, they're hugging and he's grinning and talking about never letting her go. huh? Overall, though, I enjoyed this book and I'll gladly pick up the next in the series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I normally don't read mysteries, and I really don't read cosy type mysteries, but this one was kind of fun. I like it the more I think about it, although I wish I could give 1/2 points, I think it deserves more of a 3 1/2 then a 4. But what ya gonna do? I didn't figure it out before the ending either, AND the ending was plausible (I hate it when the ending is just SO far fetched, and you know the author did it so you couldn't figure it out). So I liked this one. I kind of want to read the next o I normally don't read mysteries, and I really don't read cosy type mysteries, but this one was kind of fun. I like it the more I think about it, although I wish I could give 1/2 points, I think it deserves more of a 3 1/2 then a 4. But what ya gonna do? I didn't figure it out before the ending either, AND the ending was plausible (I hate it when the ending is just SO far fetched, and you know the author did it so you couldn't figure it out). So I liked this one. I kind of want to read the next ones, although I must say I thought the best parts were the kitchen parts and not so much the mystery parts.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    What a wonderful find! This book is so much more than just a cozy. At first I was a little put off when I read in the foreword that the author thanked the NRA. I thought maybe there would be a bunch of politics, but no! The story was thrilling, yet still obviously a cozy. I did wonder what happened to a few of the characters at the end. But since it was the first in the series, I'll give the author a break. If you like intrigue AND cozy mysteries WITH a dash of cooking, this is a great find!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    Not a bad little book. I know this series has been out for a while but I really enjoyed this first in a series. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. The characters and the setting are great.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    I greatly enjoyed this look at the culinary efforts behind the scenes of the White House. Combine this with the hunt for an assassin and the workings of the Secret Service and you're onto an easy winner. Our heroine is the second chef who is hoping that she can be elevated to first chef when the gentleman in that position retires shortly; however, walloping an intruder with a frying pan draws far too much attention of the wrong sort, as she discovers, and her personal and professional lives are I greatly enjoyed this look at the culinary efforts behind the scenes of the White House. Combine this with the hunt for an assassin and the workings of the Secret Service and you're onto an easy winner. Our heroine is the second chef who is hoping that she can be elevated to first chef when the gentleman in that position retires shortly; however, walloping an intruder with a frying pan draws far too much attention of the wrong sort, as she discovers, and her personal and professional lives are in suspense. Not to mention, someone now wants to kill her. Tremendous fun, insights into the lives of the First Family and State banquets, plus the delicacies of preparing meals for Muslim heads of state. What could go wrong? Maybe an over the top cranky TV chef? I had a good laugh. Find some recipes at the back for food that many of us would actually eat. If this was a technothriller we would find far more cellphones and CCTV in place around Washington but the book was written in 2008, maybe the more recent ones feel more up to date technically. This is an unbiased review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    "A White House chef must be less concerned with the state of the union and more concerned with the state of the onion.” I have come to love cozy mysteries with their great protagonists who get themselves involved in situations that they have no business being involved in and the highly unlikely scenarios that result from their interference, and I'm not sure why. Anyway, this rather suspenseful, semi action-packed cozy mystery novel was such fun; plus, it let me learn a bit about what life is like "A White House chef must be less concerned with the state of the union and more concerned with the state of the onion.” I have come to love cozy mysteries with their great protagonists who get themselves involved in situations that they have no business being involved in and the highly unlikely scenarios that result from their interference, and I'm not sure why. Anyway, this rather suspenseful, semi action-packed cozy mystery novel was such fun; plus, it let me learn a bit about what life is like for the White House kitchen staff. It was well written with great characters and such an interesting plot with a surprising twist at the end. I loved this opening novel that introduced me to Chef Olivia Paras and how she helped the secret service save the day more than once. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This is the first book in the White House Chef series. Ollie Paras is the assistant white house chef who is in line to be an executive chef when the current chef, Henry, retires. Ollie is on her way back from picking up the retirement present for Henry when she sees a man running across the white house lawn. As he gets close to her she hits him with the gift, a frying pan. When the man contacts her and asks her to meet him, Ollie ends up being a witness to his murder. While Ollie is tangled up i This is the first book in the White House Chef series. Ollie Paras is the assistant white house chef who is in line to be an executive chef when the current chef, Henry, retires. Ollie is on her way back from picking up the retirement present for Henry when she sees a man running across the white house lawn. As he gets close to her she hits him with the gift, a frying pan. When the man contacts her and asks her to meet him, Ollie ends up being a witness to his murder. While Ollie is tangled up in the investigation , she and the staff have the task of preparing and cooking for the state dinner. I enjoyed this book. Ollie was an interesting character and I liked the sub characters. I felt that the mystery was secondary and that there wasn't much investigating going on. I enjoyed the rest of the story though so I might read more in this series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    oshizu

    For PopSugar prompt #30 (read a book about an amateur detective). I'd never read a "culinary mystery" before and now I have.

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