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“A terrific read from a talented author. Made me hungry more than once. I can’t wait to read what comes next.”Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author of The MasterpieceDenver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s lifeand loveoutside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?
About the Author
Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.
Connect with Carla online at her website (www.carlalaureano.com).
Read an Excerpt
Three hours into Saturday night dinner service and she was already running on fumes.
Rachel Bishop rubbed her forehead with the back of her sleeve and grabbed the newest round of tickets clattering through on the printer. Normally orders came in waves, enough time in between to take a deep breath, work the kinks out of her neck, and move on to the next pick. Tonight they had come fast and furious, one after another, tables filling as quickly as they were cleared. They were expecting two and a half turns of the dining room tonight, 205 covers.
It would be Paisley's biggest night in the six months since opening in January, and one they desperately needed. As part-owner of the restaurant, Rachel knew all too well how far away they still were from profitability. There were as many casual fine dining places in Denver as there were foodies, with new ones opening and closing every day, and she was determined that Paisley would be one of the ones that made it.
But that meant turning out every plate as perfectly as the last, no matter how slammed they were. She placed the new tickets on the board on the dining room side of the pass-through. "Ordering. Four-top. Two lobster, one spring roll, one dumpling. Followed by one roulade, two sea bass, one steak m.r."
"Yes, Chef," the staff answered in unison, setting timers, firing dishes. Over at entremet, Johnny had not stopped moving all night, preparing sides as fast as they came through on the duplicate printer. It was a station best suited to a young and ambitious cook, and tonight he was proving his worth.
"Johnny, how are we coming on the chard for table four?"
"Two minutes, Chef." Normally that could mean anything from one minute to five — it was an automatic response that meant I'm working on it, so leave me alone — but at exactly two minutes on the dot, he slid the pan of wilted and seasoned greens onto the pass in front of Rachel and got back to work in the same motion. She plated the last of table four's entrées as quickly as she could, called for service, surveyed the board.
A muffled oath from her left drew her attention. She looked up as her sauté cook, Gabrielle, dumped burnt bass straight into the trash can.
"Doing okay, Gabs?"
"Yes, Chef. Four minutes out on the bass for nineteen."
Rachel rubbed her forehead with the back of her sleeve again, rearranged some tickets, called for the grill to hold the steak. On slow nights, she liked to work the line while her sous-chef, Andrew, practiced his plating, but tonight it was all she could do to expedite the orders and keep things running smoothly.
She jerked her head up at the familiar male voice and found herself looking at Daniel Kearn, one of her two business partners. She wasn't a short woman, but he towered above even her. Her gut twisted, a niggling warning of trouble that had never steered her wrong.
"Hey, Dan," she said cautiously, her attention going straight back to her work. "What's up?"
"Can I talk to you for a minute?"
"Now's not a great time." Dan might be the rarest of breeds these days — a restaurateur who wasn't a chef — but considering he owned four other restaurants, he should be able to recognize when they were in the weeds. The energy level in the kitchen right now hovered somewhere between high tension and barely restrained panic.
"Carlton Espy is here."
Rachel dropped her spoon and bit her lip to prevent any unflattering words from slipping out. "Here? Now? Where is he?" She turned and squinted into the dim expanse of the dining room, looking for the familiar comb-over and self-satisfied smirk of the city's most hated food critic.
"No, he left. Stopped by my table before he went and told me to tell you, 'You're welcome.' Does that make any sense to you?"
"Not unless he considers questioning both my cooking and my professional ethics a favor." She looked back at the tickets and then called, "Picking up nine, fourteen!"
"You really need to issue a statement to the press."
She'd already forgotten Dan was there. One by one, pans made their way to the pass beneath the heat lamps and she began swiftly plating the orders for the pair of four-tops. "I'm not going to dignify that troll with a response."
"Can we talk about this later? I'm busy."
She barely noticed when he slipped out of the kitchen, concentrating on getting table nine to one of the back waiters, then table fourteen. For a few blissful moments, the printer was quiet and all the current tickets were several minutes out. She took a deep breath, the only sounds around her the clatter of pans, the hiss of cooking food, the ever-present hum of the vent hoods. After five hours in the heart of the house, they vibrated in her bones, through her blood, the bass notes to the kitchen's symphony.
Her peace was short-lived. Carlton Espy had been here, the troll. Of all the legitimate restaurant reviewers in Denver, a scale on which he could barely register, he was both the most controversial and the least likable. Most people called him the Howard Stern of food writing with his crass, but apparently entertaining, take on the food, the staff, and the diners. Rachel supposed she should be happy that he'd only questioned her James Beard Award rather than criticizing the looks and the sexual orientation of every member of her staff, as he'd done with another local restaurant last week.
The thing Dan didn't seem to understand was that slights and backhanded compliments from critics came with the territory. Some seemed surprised that a pretty woman could actually cook; others criticized her for being unfriendly because she didn't want to capitalize on her looks and her gender to promote her restaurant. She had never met a woman in this business who wanted to be identified as "the best female chef in the city." Either your food was worthy of note or it wasn't. The chromosomal makeup of the person putting it on the plate was irrelevant. End of story. Tell that to channel seven.
As the clock ticked past nine, the orders started to slow down and they finally dug themselves out of the hole they'd been in since seven o'clock. The post-theater crowds were coming in now, packing the bar on the far side of the room, a few groups on the main floor who ordered wine, appetizers, desserts. The last pick left the kitchen at a quarter past eleven, and Rachel let her head fall forward for a second before she looked out at her staff with a grin. "Good job, everyone. Shut it down."
Ovens, grills, and burners were switched off. Leftover mise en place was transferred to the walk-ins for tomorrow morning. Each station got scrubbed and disinfected with the careless precision of people who had done this every night of their adult lives, the last chore standing between them and freedom. She had no illusions about where they were headed next, exactly where she would have been headed as a young cook — out to the bars to drain the adrenaline from their systems, then home to catch precious little sleep before they showed up early for brunch service tomorrow. By contrast, Rachel's only plans were her soft bed, a cup of hot tea, and a rerun on Netflix until she fell into an exhausted stupor. At work, she might feel as energetic as she had as a nineteen-year-old line cook, but the minute she stumbled out of the restaurant, her years on the planet seemed to double.
Rachel changed out of her whites into jeans and a sweatshirt in her office, only to run into Gabrielle in the back corridor.
"Can I talk to you for a minute, Chef?"
Rachel's radar immediately picked up the nervousness beneath the woman's usual brusque demeanor. Changed out of her work clothes and into a soft blue T-shirt that made her red hair look even fierier, Gabby suddenly seemed very young and insecure, even though she was several years older than Rachel.
"Of course. Do you want to come in?" Rachel gestured to the open door of her office.
"No, um, that's okay. I wanted to let you know ... before someone figures it out and tells you." Gabby took a deep breath and squared her shoulders. "I'm pregnant."
Rachel stared at the woman, sure her heart froze for a split second. "Pregnant?"
"Four months." Gabby hurried on, "I won't let it interfere with my work, I swear. But at some point ..."
"You're going to need to take maternity leave." In an office setting, that was hard enough, but in a restaurant kitchen, where there were a limited number of cooks to fill in and new additions disrupted the flow they'd established, it was far more complicated.
"We'll figure it out," Rachel said finally. "And congratulations. You're going to make a wonderful mother. I bet Luke is thrilled."
Gabby's words rushed out in relief. "He is."
"Now go get some sleep." Rachel's instincts said to give her a hug, congratulate her again, but that damaged the level of authority she needed to maintain, made it harder to demand the best from Gabby when she should probably be focusing more on her baby than her job. Instead, Rachel settled for a squeeze of her shoulder.
Andrew was the last to head for the back hallway, leaving Rachel alone in the kitchen to survey her domain. Once again, it gleamed with stainless-steel sterility, silent without the drone of vents and whoosh of burners. It should probably bother her more that she had no one to go home to, no one waiting on the other side of the door. But Rachel had known what she was giving up when she set off down this career path, knew the choice was even starker for female chefs who had to decide between running their own kitchens and having a family. Most days, it was more than a fair trade. She'd promised herself long ago she wouldn't let any man stand between her and her dreams.
Camille, Paisley's front-of-house manager, slipped into the kitchen quietly, somehow looking as fresh and put together as she had at the beginning of the night. "Ana's waiting for you at the bar. I'm going to go now unless you need me."
"No, go ahead. Good work as always."
"Thanks, Chef. See you tomorrow."
Rachel pretended not to notice Camille slip out with Andrew, their arms going around each other the minute they hit the back door. The food service industry was incestuous, as it must be — civilians didn't tend to put up with the long hours, late nights, and always-on mentality. There had been plenty of hookups in her kitchen among waitstaff and cooks in various and constantly changing combinations, but they never involved Rachel. On some points at least, she was still a traditionalist — one-night stands and casual affairs held no appeal. Besides, she was an owner and the chef, the big boss. Getting involved with anyone on her staff would be the quickest way to compromise her authority.
Rachel pushed around the post to the dining room and crossed the empty space to the bar. A pretty Filipina sat there, nursing a drink and chatting with the bartender, Luis.
"Ana! What are you doing here? Did Dan call you?"
Ana greeted Rachel with a one-armed hug. "I worked late and thought I'd drop by to say hi. Luis said it was a good night."
"Very good night: 215."
Ana's eyebrows lifted. "That's great, Rachel. Way to go. I'm not going to say I told you so, but ..."
"Yeah, yeah, you told me so." Rachel grinned at her longtime friend. Analyn Sanchez had been one of her staunchest supporters when she'd decided to open a restaurant with two Denver industry veterans, even though it meant leaving the lucrative, high-profile executive chef job that had won her a coveted James Beard Award. And she had to give part of the credit to the woman next to her, who had agreed to take on Paisley as a client of the publicity firm for which she worked, even though the restaurant was small potatoes compared to her usual clients.
Luis wiped down an already-clean bar top for the third time. "You want anything, Chef?"
"No, thank you. You can go. I'll see you on Tuesday."
"Thank you, Chef." Luis put away his rag, grabbed his cell phone from beneath the bar, and quickly slipped out from behind his station. Not before one last surreptitious look at Ana, Rachel noticed.
"Do I need to tell him to stop hitting on you?"
"Nah, he's harmless. So, Rachel ..."
Once more that gut instinct fired away, flooding her with dread. "You're not here for a social visit."
Ana shook her head. "Have you seen the article yet?"
"The Carlton Espy review? Who hasn't? Can you believe the guy had the nerve to come in here tonight and say, 'You're welcome'? As if he'd done me some huge favor?"
Ana's expression flickered a degree before settling back into an unreadable mask.
"What is it? You're not talking about the review, are you?" Ana reached into her leather tote and pulled out a tablet, then switched it on before passing it to Rachel.
Rachel blinked, confused by the header on the web page. "The New Yorker? What does this have to do with me?" The title of the piece, an essay by a man named Alexander Kanin, was "The Uncivil War."
"Just read it."
She began to skim the article, the growing knot in her stomach preventing her from enjoying what was actually a very well-written piece. The writer talked about how social media had destroyed civility and social graces, not only online but in person; how marketing and publicity had given an always-available impression of public figures, as if their mere existence gave consumers the right to full access to their lives. Essentially, nothing was sacred or private or off-limits. He started by citing the cruel remarks made on CNN about the mentally disabled child of an actress-activist, and then the story of a novelist who had committed suicide after being bullied relentlessly on Twitter. And then she got to the part that nearly made her heart stop.
Nowhere is this inherent cruelty more apparent than with women succeeding in male-dominated worlds like auto racing and cooking. The recent review of an award-winning Denver chef suggesting that she had traded sexual favors in return for industry acclaim reveals that there no longer needs to be any truth in the speculations, only a cutting sense of humor and an eager tribe of consumers waiting for their next target. When the mere act of cooking good food or giving birth to an "imperfect" child or daring to create controversial art becomes an invitation to character assassination, we have to accept that we have become a deeply flawed and morally bankrupt society. The new fascism does not come from the government, but from the self-policing nature of the mob — a mob that demands all conform or suffer the consequences.
Rachel set the tablet down carefully, her pounding pulse leaving a watery ocean sound in her ears and blurring her vision. "This is bad."
"He didn't mention you by name," Ana said. "And he was defending you. You have to appreciate a guy who would call Espy out on his disgusting sexism."
Rachel pressed a hand to her forehead, which now felt feverish. "Anyone with a couple of free minutes and a basic understanding of Google could figure out who he's talking about." A sick sense of certainty washed over her. "Espy knows it, too. Without this article, his review would have died a natural death. He should have been thanking me."
Cautiously, Ana took back her tablet. "I'm hoping people will overlook the details based on the message, but just in case, you should inform your staff to direct media requests to me."
"Media." Rachel covered her face with her hands, as if that could do something to stave off the flood that was to come.
"Take a deep breath," Ana said, her no-nonsense tone firmly in place. "This could be a good thing. You've told me about the difficulty women have in this business, the kind of harassment you've put up with to get here. Maybe this is your chance to speak out against it. You'd certainly get wider attention for the restaurant, not that it looks like you're having any trouble filling seats."
Rachel dropped her head into her folded arms. What Ana said was right. It would be publicity. But despite the old saying, it wasn't the right kind of publicity. She wanted attention for her food, not for her personal beliefs. To give this any kind of attention would be a distraction. And worst of all, it would make her a hypocrite. Playing the gender card for any reason — even a well-meaning one — went against everything she stood for.
"No," she said finally, lifting her head. "I won't. I'll turn down all the interviews with 'no comment' and get back to doing what I do best. Cooking."
Excerpted from "The Saturday Night Supper Club"
Copyright © 2018 Carla Laureano.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
culinary-fiction, food, christian-romance Charming and witty with just the right amount of romance, Saturday Night Supper Club was a delicious read. What I loved : The food! The descriptions had my mouth watering! Be forewarned, don’t read when you are hungry!! Rachel’s relationship with her friends, they were always there for her supporting her through the good and the bad. The accurate portrayal of a chefs life.. it’s not all glitz and glamor that you see on t.v, it’s hard gritty work.. What I didn’t like: Nothing.. I can’t think of one thing! I really enjoyed reading Saturday Night Supper Club, it was my first book by Carla Laureano, but I will definitely be reading more!
The Saturday Night Supper Club Is a great book about food - nah - it has the aspect of food but it is a book of regrowth it gets you to care along with the characters a lot of feelings and the author has you visualizing everything intricately. You find yourself so enthralled and involved in the characters lives and you are having so much fun - I mean who doesn't love food? Who doesn't love GOD - well there are some who don't but I'm sure you're not one of them;) I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all of the opinions expressed in this review are all my own. if you would like to read more of my Christian book reviews go to christianlybookreviewers.blogspot.com
Before I talk about the book itself, I first must swoon over Alex. He is a “specimen of pure male beauty” … “mussed brown hair”… hazel eyes … and a “chiseled jaw shaded with just the right amount of stubble.” Whew. I’m still fanning from our first glimpse of him. Add in his killer grin, great heart, and general swooniness? HUBBA HUBBA! But in all his well-intentioned goodness, he inadvertently makes a mess of poor Rachel’s life. (We forgive him, of course, because … hello… did you not just read that paragraph right above this one?) And I love the fact that Laureano doesn’t let him off the hook as easily as we might be tempted to. Nor does she let Rachel get away with her own flaws. Together, they take the burnt mess of the great social media debacle and reframe it into a deep spiritual message that nothing is wasted in the hands of God. This isn’t a mushy romance with little substance. In fact, I don’t think Laureano could write one of those if her life depended on it. Instead, we are treated to a deliciously swoonlicious romance inside a greater novel. A novel peppered with scrumptious food platings, descriptions that put you right in the heart of the urban-chic Denver setting, layered characters (main as well as supporting), and an authentic sincerity to the message. Bottom Line: I’ve been waiting for what feels like FOREVER for a new novel by Carla Laureano (no, i’m not melodramatic at all, I promise), and The Saturday Night Supper Club not only hit the spot – it completely exceeded even my high expectations. This is a gourmet reading experience, fine dining of the written word. Yet at the same time, it’s completely relatable and engaging. Along with subtle humor and friendly composition, Laureano seamlessly weaves into this story the message of trusting God to waste nothing that comes your way (even if that involves a disaster of your own making) – as well as the strength that comes from true friendship and the breathless beauty of true love. Highly recommended both for foodies and for those of us who are afraid of the kitchen! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
Ya'll know I love food. And books. And foodie fiction, which combines the culinary world and story SO WELL. The latest treat I have had the privilege of reading is the recent release from author Carla Laureano, aptly named The Saturday Night Supper Club. The Saturday Night Supper Club impressed me in so many ways: from the vivid descriptions of place and tantalizing food, to the unique and relevant social media fallout angle as a story influence, and to the portrayal of a life journey filled with deep meaning and purpose. Perhaps the most prominent, though, is its complexity of characters and their respective interconnected relationships and backstories. These were revealed one morsel at a time, creating a character arc that is all the more meaningful because of the reader's understanding by story's end. This delightful complexity is what will make me proclaim Supper Club as a favorite and best-of-the-year read for many months to come! If you will allow me to use a food analogy, I will further describe its awesomeness: The foodie atmosphere and eclectic setting are the appetizer, laying the foundation. The character transformation is the main course with great substance. The resulting romance is the dessert, like a salted caramel truffle, ending with a sweet note but not without its "salty" contrasts of reality. Most impressive to me is that you cannot typecast Alex or Rachel. They are layered so well--- as you get deeper and deeper into the story you get equally deeper into who they are, why they make certain choices, and how they play off of and affect each other. There is a romantic aspect of this story, but it is almost distinct and separate from the personal growth of these characters and their friendship~relationship dynamic. I just want more of this little story world, Alex's and Rachel's friends, and with the book 2 teaser at the end, I am up to my elbows in bliss because it's about Melody and BAKING! Thank you to the publisher, Tyndale, for the review copy. This is my honest review.
Charming, witty, and relevant for today … The Saturday Night Supper Club is all that and more. This is the first book by Carla Laureano that I’ve read and I’m instantly a fan of this skilled author’s work. As you would expect from the book’s description, there’s plenty of food, friendship and romance – but I was delighted to discover a lot more complexity than I expected. The story combines elements of romance and women’s fiction with rich characterization and relevant social issues. The relevancy of social media gone awry is the catalyst that moves Rachel out of a job she loves into an area of trying to prove her worth as a person. Both Rachel and Alex are extremely appealing lead characters, and rather than what Twitter thinks, Alex sees Rachel as guarded, tough-minded, and determined. As their initial relationship turns into friendship, the romantic tension can be felt and their snappy, witty dialogue is so much fun. Both Rachel and Alex have difficult family backgrounds that affect who they are today, especially spiritually. Alex has an unusual Russian Orthodox background … “His parents were set in their thinking, their expectations, their disappointment that their children hadn’t turned out to be the people they wanted them to be. It no longer made him angry. It simply made him sad.” Although Denver’s restaurants and food itself play a big part, this is more of a character-driven story, which I loved, as I’m a simple country cook. Although I didn’t connect with all the foodie stuff, it was fascinating to glimpse behind the scenes into the restaurant world. But those foodies out there will be crazy about this book. Bottom line: I loved everything about The Saturday Night Supper Club and am eager for the next story in this series. Highly recommended. I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
With cooking, drama, and romance, The Saturday Night Supper Club is an entirely delicious read. Carla Laureano fills the story with mouth-watering descriptions, fantastic chemistry, and heartwarming development overall, and it’s so well done. Chef Rachel Bishof and writer Alex Kanin start their relationship on the wrong foot, considering he’s responsible for her loss of her job and reputation, but when the idea for the Saturday Night Supper Club is born, the pair must work together to make it successful. The more time they spend together, the better they get to know one another and the pasts that drive them. Naturally, complications arise, but they handle them well, considering the circumstances, without purposely exaggerating the drama. Sweet and heartwarming and oh so yummy, the way the story between Rachel and Alex unfolds is perfect. I loved everything about The Saturday Night Supper Club. It’s excellent contemporary fiction involving food and romance (plus a great inclusion of faith), and I recommend it to any interested reader. It won’t disappoint. Thanks to Celebrate Lit, I received a complimentary copy of The Saturday Night Supper Club and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
This! Book! Sorry, had to get that out of my system. I’d seen this book around in the previews and was drawn to the idea of it but I’d recently read a foodie fiction that didn’t quite hit the right notes for me. Way too much development to the food descriptions and not near enough development of the characters or plot. I kept the idea of this book simmering on the back burner (that was totally accidental but you see what I did there?) because it still sounded so interesting. When the opportunity came up to review it I actually had a couple of different options but I knew that I would regret not reading this book. And I am so glad I did! With a plot so real I almost felt like I should be Google searching the reviews and articles that were central to the developing story, Rachel Bishop and Alex Kanin are the perfect characters to draw this story out. They are so real, so relateable, and just breath. I honestly can’t begin to even figure out how to review this book. I don’t gush often and rarely do I not find some little something that I took issue with. The truth is, well OK there is that thing with the ‘perfect’ drop everything and show up besties. I wish those actually existed in real life. Mine all either live across the country, or have to work, or any number of other things that make a spur of the moment shopping trip or commiserating dinner impossible. That’s it people. That’s the only thing I can think to nitpick. The truth is that I was so drawn into this story and invested with these characters from page one that it could have failed editing 101 and I wouldn’t care! Seriously, this book is perfect for anyone that loves a slice of romance with their real life. You don’t have to even pretend to be a foodie to appreciate this book. Yes there’s food, a lot of it, but it’s tasteful and actually adds to the story instead of distracts. Yes there’s drama, lots of drama. But it’s not Drama Queen worthy, it’s just life happening in an unexpected spotlight. Yes there’s besties, these mystical magical ‘drop everything and show up’ besties. Yes there’s romance, the kind that makes you want to Gibbs’ smack then a time or two because you know … communication with storybook love is always a hiccup. There’s also discovering yourself, following dreams you didn’t know you had, and real life relationships on a real life stage (even if it’s not anything like my real life). I can’t wait to see where Laureano takes the next book in these series. I can’t wait to read it!' I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by CelebrateLit. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
I am a huge fan of cooking shows. I love watching all the wonderful dishes that are made and wish I was sampling them. The funny thing is I am a horrible cook, but I have a husband that is an amazing expert in the kitchen. When I started reading this book, I immediately felt connected to Rachel. She is a very talented chef and very focused on her career. The dishes described in the book came to life as I could visualize tasting them. I love how Rachel never gave up on her dream. The author gives readers a glimpse into her past that was very eye opening. It made me understand Rachel better and helped me understand her desire to see her dream come true. She first has to believe in herself and the story really does a great job of exploring that. I wanted to see her succeed when she gets knocked down by her partners in a restaurant endeavor. Its funny how people will believe things written in a paper without getting all the facts straight. Good thing Rachel is feisty as she fights to overcome unsavory comments made in an article. Alex was probably my favorite character. He is a writer and has had a hard time getting a break. Maybe he had something to do with Rachel's demise from her job, but he humbled himself to try to fix his mistake. I loved his faith and willingness to go the extra mile to help Rachel. At their fist supper club, I wanted to be a guest . The menu was scrumptious and everything seemed to go smoothly. As the relationship starts to develop obstacles find their way into their hearts. I loved how Rachel was very vulnerable at times and had trouble with trust. It made her very east to relate to. Alex has some issues of his own which causes friction between them. The story flows beautifully and I enjoyed learning about Alex's heritage. They are two very different people yet both striving for success. This is one book you don't want to miss. I loved when the author added this in the story, "Whatever decision you make, be sure you're doing it because it's what God would have you do, not simply because it's most comfortable." Sometimes it is hard to get out of our comfort zone. We feel good where we are and sometimes find ourselves unhappy and stuck. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book that touched me emotionally and spiritually. "If God had wanted you to be anything other than who and what you are, He would have made you that way." I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
The Saturday Night Supper Club was my first book by Carla Laureano. I don't know how she wasn't on my radar before, but she's definitely staying there now! I was first hooked by the premise of the book because I love romances that revolve around food, and this one didn't disappoint! This book has so many things that I love! Set in Denver, the city has just the right progressive vibe for this series. There's the combination of an author and a chef, both careers requiring creativity but in very different ways. The food in the story is also very eloquently and deliciously described. (I love scallops, so the cover art alone makes me hungry!) All of these aspects combine to make a fresh Christian romance for our day. In addition, I love how Carla addresses the pros and cons of social media in Rachel's and Alex's lives. I feel like this is something that is extremely relevant to society right now, and this book is great food for thought! (Yes, a really bad pun, I know!) ***I won a copy of this book and was under no obligation to review. All opinions are my own.
The Saturday Night Supper Club was an absolute delicious novel to read. I appreciated how we were given a very detailed look at how a young woman put all of her energies and talent into her career in being a chef and the dream of opening and running her own restaurant. Chef Rachel has done that at the expense of putting everything else in her life on hold. I will have to say this novel made me hungry. All the yummy dishes that were mentioned made me want to be a little creative in my own kitchen. I never thought about how creative and how hard that chefs and restaurants have to work to bring a special ambience or offer the unique flavors and dishes. This novel also touched on social media and the media in general and how scandal sells. How social media can destroy careers and ruin otherwise fine reputations. It just goes to show that there is no real moral or courtesy filter for social media. And maybe people should take seriously the advice that you should not believe everything read, said, or heard in a media frenzy as many things can be taken out of context. The romance was simply delightful. So much flirty banter and the author does not string us along too long until essayist Alex Kanin makes his intentions clear to Rachel. Theirs was an interesting rocky beginning and I was much invested in their story. Add in Rachel’s two loyal and somewhat jaded best friends and you have a book that was difficult for me to put down. It has been too long since I have read a book by author Laureano, and I have missed her expertly detailed characters and romances. I look forward to more of this series. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
This is the first book in a new series and it was wonderful to read. I have never heard about Supper Clubs but it seems like an interesting idea. I enjoyed Rachel and Alex. I did not want to put this book down. I loved the romance because it was sweet. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I don't know how she did it, but author Carla Laureano had me hooked in the very first chapter . . . of a book revolving around fine dining - a topic with which I have limited experience, other than watching Ratatouille. Then she kept my interest well as the story line and characters developed. I really got Rachel, and wanted to hang out with her friends. The author had a great way of naturally educating the reader about the technicalities of the food industry without going overboard. She also has her pulse on modern culture without mocking it or glorifying it. Anyone who loves a clean contemporary romance will enjoy this book, especially foodies! I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher through Celebrate Lit. The thoughts expressed here are my own.
Everyone has that favorite food or dish (and coffee counts) that makes their heart smile whenever they think of it. That's what it's like when you read The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano. Don't believe me? Read it. I dare you. ;-) This adorable foodie novel made me hungry the entire time I read it, and I still don't know if that's a pro or a con. ;-) The descriptions of the food are scrumptious and delectable, but you don't have to be into cooking to enjoy it - thank goodness! Haha! Sometimes foodie novels can feel a tad pretentious (but I may be inferring that thanks to my own inferior cooking skills), however, The Saturday Night Supper Club felt like one of those novels where you are catching up with a close friend. Carla Laureano did a marvelous job describing the Denver food scene, including using real restaurants to inspire the ones in the story! I loved Alex and Rachel! Alex is a hunky writer (nonfiction, but I won't hold that against him). *swoon* His passion for serving God in such a pure way challenges you, and I loved his Russian heritage. My family has a special connection with Russia, so I loved gleaning those cultural titbits! Rachel is a talented, driven woman with a painful past and a timid love for God. You just want to hug her and be her friend. And I got to say that I loved the angle social media played in this story. For me, it was refreshing to see how social media can be used for not only good, but also how people use it to harshly judge and do battle over skewed comments, something that's important to keep in mind. But ultimately, this is a story about savoring the joys God has given you, including your own uniqueness. Five Stars ~ This fun and flirty foodie novel makes the perfect weekend read!! The Saturday Night Supper Club is the first book in Carla Laureano's delicious new Supper Club Series. I can't wait to devour the next book, Brunch at Bittersweet Café, available the spring of 2019! *drools with anticipation* I received a copy of The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano published by Tyndale from the Tyndale Blog Network. All opinions expressed are my own.
"Who knew telling her the truth - the one that he thought would make her run as far away from him as possible - would be the one thing that cut all the tension between them?" (149) My dear friends. Nothing's wasted. Sure enough, nothing is wasted in Carla Laureano's latest adventure in The Saturday Night Supper Club. A fiery and encompassing start, a make it or break it plot and a delightful (maybe not at first!) connection, you will devour this lovely read in mere hours. "Nothing's wasted. Not with God. Sometimes you just need to have faith that He's got what's next." Alex and Rachel is one pair I just couldn't help but really invest myself, my emotions and thoughts with. I love the fact that it's not simply the mushy romantic notion one feels when reading a contemporary romance. The Saturday Night Supper Club is every bit dynamic with its main characters as with it's supportive personalities. This of course also includes the culinary fare as well. Yes, this book makes me hungry just from that cover, but also the words that comes to life as it flows throughout. Then we have the other personalities, bringing to light the value and rarity of true friendship. As we circle back onto our main characters, their personal development have hit a special spot. When what we expected or dreamt of comes crashing, how do we move beyond that? Is the wall that separated and protected us all these years actually hindering us to be who we are? "If God had wanted you to be anything other than who and what you are, He would have made you that way." There's a level of raw honesty that makes The Saturday Night Supper Club come to life before my eyes. There is a faith message that is beautifully woven throughout, but the message of you, who you are, is the feature of the night. It truly added depth that makes this an enjoyable read for all. With authenticity, with witty and delightful interchange, plus the beauty of friendship, The Saturday Night Supper Club should make this a routine engagement! Lucky for fans, there are more Supper Clubs coming our way! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
It is so obvious from reading this book that the author loves food. And that she knows how to cook. If it wasn’t for the fact that she talked about ingredients like asparagus and beets, my stomach would have been growling throughout the story. (I’m the opposite of a foodie, I think. My husband calls me a “Freddie Phooey”. I call my taste discriminating.) I do really love to cook, though, and all kidding aside, I enjoyed reading not only the story of Rachel and Alex but how the restaurant operated and how Rachel prepared for the Supper Club. The amount of thought and preparation involved was amazing. Aside from the food and the cooking, the story itself was well written. It flowed so naturally and kept my interest through the entire story. The characters were very endearing. Rachel had a secret pain that caused her to leave home at the age of 15. And she battled incredible odds and became an award-winning chef with her education only that she gained on the job. She had a lot of learning about trust. Alex was so kind. The fact that he couldn’t rest easy knowing he was the cause of Rachel’s pain, even though it was the opposite of his intention, and that he had to apologize to her was so sweet. I love the way he procrastinates, his insecurities, his seeming arrogance, and especially that he had the guts to cook for Rachel. At the beginning of the story, there were mentions of people in the restaurant industry going to get drunk and to hook up after work which made me a little nervous about the direction I thought this was going. Rest assured that I was wrong. Other than the fact that there was a physical attraction between Alex and Rachel, there was very little emphasis on a physical relationship in the story at all. For those who don’t like reading about alcohol in books, any mention of it here did not glorify it. One of the characters would not drink alcohol at all. This review was originally posted on AmongTheReads.net I am grateful to Celebrate Lit for giving me a copy of this book. The fact I received this book for free does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
We all love going to restaurants and enjoying a dinner with family and/or friends. When we leave that restaurant, sometimes we are sparked to leave a review either on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and many other places but one thing is we don't know how that review, if negative, will effect the chefs, staff, and the restaurants business. There are people who all they do is go to restaurants and write an editorial in magazine, newspaper, online, and blog. These reviews can be devastating to the business and one's life. Which is just the case in Carla Laureano's newest Fiction book, The Saturday Night Supper Club. Rachel Bishop is a chef in Denver who has accomplished a lot of things including winning the most sought after James Beard Award to heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. She is living a great life until someone paints a target on her and she is pushed out of the business by her partners. Rachel vows she will do whatever it takes to get her life back. Alex Kanin's editorial went viral and has ruined the life of the chef he wrote about. The only thing he wants to do is make it right and will do whatever he can to do just that. We all make decisions in life and sometimes those decisions can hurt those we don't even know. That is why we should always strive to leave a review that isn't so harsh. Don't go on social media and bash them, you never know whose life is going to change drastically. The Saturday Night Supper Club is a Christian/Romance Fiction that makes some great points about things that are happening in today's culture. I highly recommend this book to anyone. You will love it. “I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone."
The Saturday Night Supper Club is the first book that I've read by Carla Laureano and it most certainly will not be my last. Readers will find themselves behind the scenes of a restaurant and cooking. This would be the perfect read for foodie lovers because the author's descriptions leap right off the page and right into your nose and taste buds. You know the author did a fabulous job describing the food when you're one of those not-so-adventurous people like me who doesn't like seafood, yet found themselves wanting to try every single dish mentioned. I loved the descriptions of the Denver food scene and felt as if I were physically there. Not only do we have a beautifully crafted story revolving around restaurants and cooking, but we have a swoon-worthy romance in the works. It's filled with all of the feels, especially the ones that make one happy and place a silly grin on their face, but the pair does find themselves in a tangle of trials and tension. The author also explores themes of social media affecting culture, sexism in the workplace, and identity. I can't talk about this novel enough. I absolutely loved it. This is a novel that will automatically be added to my favorites of 2018. I will be anxiously waiting for the next novel in this new series which releases in 2019. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
I was entranced by this book! There was such a vibrant sense of the setting, the food, and the emotions of the characters. I loved that the author set the location in her hometown and based the restaurants in the book on some of her favorites there. The story starts with such a great conflict, and I was invested from the get-go with how the journey of Rachel and Alex would progress. There is a great balance of backstory and how it affects the present day, and anticipation for what the future holds. I loved the details of what it takes to be successful as a chef and the family-like dynamics of the food industry. The food trucks were my favorite, they seem like such a fun and accessible way of trying new and adventurous food. Rachel's two friends Ana and Melody provide a strong support for her as she navigates new circumstances in her career and personal life, and I hope the author uses them as main characters in future stories. The themes are deep and the author explores them thoughtfully through her characters, which made it such a rich reading experience and had me thinking about the issues in between reading sessions and how they apply to myself and the world. Highly recommend!!! (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Consider this your invitation to The Saturday Night Supper Club. No reservation is needed, just a copy of Carla Laureano’s new book and a few hours of your time. In blending her love of literature and food—she has written an ultra-modern romance sure to appeal to both Christian and mainstream audiences. Laureano’s writing is totally immersive. Readers will enjoy the picturesque beauty of Colorado from Castlewood Canyon State Park to the rooftop view of Alex’s Cheesman Park condo. This same care is taken to describe the prepping, plating, serving and savoring of each dish Rachel prepares. The women of The Saturday Night Supper Club are fantastic! Single and nearing thirty, these working professionals reflect a growing segment of today’s women. I thoroughly enjoyed the laughter and loyalty shared among these friends. It’s no wonder Rachel leaned so heavily on them after a publicity nightmare cost her her job. Ana and Melody’s support went beyond take-out food and tough love when they arranged a meeting between Rachel and Alex Kanin. In a strange turn of events, the man who unintentionally helped ruin her reputation would become her best hope of cooking again. As in life, people change and characters should reflect this transformation as well. Those who grow the most are the ones we remember… and I will remember Rachel! From the beginning, her drive to succeed in a male-dominated profession is shown when she won the James Beard Award. Through her conversations with Alex, readers glimpse the hard path she took to owning her first restaurant. In the end, it’s in looking back that Rachel knows how to move forward. I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Although I'm more of a buffet or roadhouse diner myself, this behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of fine dining is fascinating and honestly, a little bit exhausting! I assure you, readers do not need to be hard-core foodies to enjoy the culinary background in this delicious romance! Rachel Bishop is an uber talented and insanely dedicated chef. Rachel's passion for food saturates the story even as she is forced to take a step back and reevaluate her future plans. Alex Kanin is a man of integrity and faith so when his editorial inadvertently sets off a chain of events that leads to professional devastation for a certain chef, he is determined to make it up to her. Chivalry is so incredibly attractive, y'all! MORE Supper Club stories are on the way!!! I highly recommend this story and encourage y'all to check out the extras from the author's website! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
This is Carla Laureano at her finest. Anyone who enjoys contemporary romance will fall in love with this book. It is incredibly well-written. The premise of the story is fun and innovative, the plot moves at a swift pace, the characters are unforgettable, and the romance is heart-stopping. And the dialogue! It’s peppered with such fun and witty banter, like “You’re such a jerk.” “I know. My mad psychology skills make me incredibly self-aware.” The conversations between the two main characters are so delightful, real and heartfelt. The thought-processes of Alex and Rachel in the book had me either grinning silly or crying profusely throughout the entire story. Rachel is a gifted chef, strong yet vulnerable, with a painful past. When she loses her job and her restaurant in one swoop due to accidental social frenzy created by Alex, the two meet and Alex is determined to help Rachel. Alex is a talented writer, struggling to get past his sense of failure and writer’s block. Man, Alex is swoon-worthy, for sure. He’s faith-filled, faithful and loyal with a strong moral compass, patient, loving, thoughtful, kind, creative, wickedly funny, witty, and flirty. He pursues Rachel relentlessly and makes her realize that God sees her much like Alex sees her. There is a strong thread of God’s Sovereignty and our need for His guidance in all parts of our lives. This faith component is seamlessly tied to Alex’s character and poignantly portrayed. And the food! And the romance! Both are complex, layered with intensity, sweet and so tender to savor. My stomach, taste buds, and heart twisted, turned over, and tumbled over themselves as the food and romance developed. I thoroughly enjoyed Five Days in Skye with Jaime as the celebrity chef, but the food and romance in this book took it up another notch! To think there is a second installment to the Supper Club Novels! I cannot wait to read about Melody’s story! I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher and through Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
“The Saturday Night Supper Club” is the first novel I have read by Carla Laureano. While I am a Christian of many years, I have not read that many Christian novels. Based on the caliber of this book, I will be reading more in the future. It was an outstanding book to read both as a slice of life novel and as a representation of God working in our lives. The story, while containing a romance, really revolves around Romans 8:28, (KJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” The majority of the characters in this story have had or are going through a major setback in their lives. We are shown that while the individual believes their live is falling apart, God has control of the situation and is leading them to the future He has planned. Rachel Bishop is a chef in Denver who, in part because of an article written by another character in the story, is pushed out of the restaurant business she has spent several years building to its current high ratings. She doesn't know what to do with herself and is really unhappy that the writer of the article chose to write about her. Alex Kanin is that writer. His article, which did not name Rachel specifically, was the impetus for all that followed in the story. While he meant it for good for Rachel (who he did not know), the story snowballed out of control and ended up harming her. Because of his conscience, he wants to meet her and try to help her salvage her career. The story, which alternates between their points of view, is how these two Christians meet and what God works in their lives. The road isn't smooth but it leads to a better spot than either of them could have imaged at the outset. Other characters are introduced whose stories I would love to read. I hope this is the beginning of a series as I hope to read more about Dina, Melody, Ana and Bryan and to see how God works in this lives of these Christians. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
This book was worth waiting for. I loved reading Rachel and Alex's story. (Cue all the sighs and hearts). The fact that it's a foodie story is just icing on top (but be forewarned, you'll probably want to do some serious cooking when finishing this book — don't say I didn't warn you). *I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley. A positive review was not required.*
I didn't judge this book by it's cover. Don't get me wrong...I think this cover is STUNNING! I just wouldn't have chosen the book on that merit alone. I am not a foodie. But sometimes you have to be stretched. And just like I sometimes try a new food, occasionally I will step out of my comfort zone and try a book that looks a little different. Because the cooking/chef/gourmet world of our protagonist is a topic I'm not entirely familiar with, I did struggle a bit in the beginning. But I REALLY loved the first book of Carla Laureano's that I read ("Five Days in Skye") so I persevered. A few chapters in I had a break through. After that, I could NOT read fast enough! Ms Laureano paces her character's relationships just perfectly in my opinion. They have disputes, misunderstandings, and challenges that they run up against. But they deal with them in a very normal manner. (Not over-the-top-drama like some novels.) This is what draws me to her books. And I am looking forward to the next serving! Good romance. Good lessons. Good ending. Good book!
I have thoroughly enjoyed every book I have read by Carla. Her books just come to life and the characters seem so real to me. I can feel their emotions. This book was no exception. Rachel is thrown into a situation she never asked for. Alex threw her into the situation without really meaning to and he will do whatever it takes to make it up to her. He didn’t mean to fall for her in the process. Overall, this is a very well written book that I highly recommend if you are looking for a good contemporary romance. A copy of this book was given to my through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.