USA TODAY recommends Grill Me, Baby
by Michelle Monkou
Sophia Knightly writes sexy, drool-worthy heroes. She does not disappoint in Grill Me, Baby. The hot romance starts in the kitchen with a competitive celebrity TV show, Miami Spice. How could I not like an Argentine man with "black-as-sin" eyes? Not like a man whose smile "could charm the shell off an escargot?" Not like a man who had earned the bad-boy reputation soon after he landed in Florida?
Knightly doesn't take shortcuts with her heroines. They are not perfect or boasting model physiques. These are real women with real problems who want more out of life than to be a companion to a man. Right away, I root for these women who recognize a worthy adversary.
JOYFULLY REVIEWED Recommended Read- June
June 12, 2012
Grill Me, Baby by Sophia Knightley
Reviewed by Miranda
Michaela Willoughby is ready to cement her status as the Queen of Low-Cal Cuisine. The best way she can do that is by winning the job as host of the new television cooking show Miami Spice! Unfortunately, it doesn’t take Michaela long to determine that her competition is going to be fierce for Paolo Santos charms women almost as well as he cooks.
Paolo is certain he will win the hosting gig because he needs to not only for himself but his family as well. He wants to honor his father, support his family and he knows this is the way to do it. Michaela may be beautiful but there is no way her low-fat food will be a hit with a television audience.
Michaela and Paolo are required to audition together for the producers. It doesn’t take things long to heat up and it’s not just the food that is set to simmer. Tempers flare and attraction sparks as Michaela and Paolo’s lives are intertwined. Michaela and Paolo see each other in a new light as they discover how each really lives their life. There may be love brewing but what will happen once the competition is over and one of them is the victor?
Sophia Knightley will have you eating out of the palm of her hand with her spicy new contemporary romance Grill Me, Baby! Grill Me, Baby is one of the most delightful romances I’ve read in a while. What I love about this book is that it is a good old-fashioned romance. There are no killers, masterminds, vampires or mysteries; Grill Me, Baby gives you a taste of real love and passion. Prepare to fall in love with the characters of Grill Me Baby!
Ms. Knightley has given all of her characters mighty spirits and tons of heart. Both Michaela and Paulo are going after this job for the right reason and each is equally qualified for the position. They both obviously love creating food for people and it comes through in the story. What also comes through is how the passion for their profession can turn the heat up on their attraction to each other. It is as humorous as it is hot watching these two battle it out for superiority. There were many times I found myself laughing at the antics between Michaela and Paolo.
There is also a great supporting cast in Grill Me, Baby I just love both Michaela and Paolo’s families! All of these characters really turn this into a real heart-melting story. As I’m reading Grill Me, Baby I’m thinking to myself I could completely see this as a Hallmark movie of the week. You know what I’m talking about, those really good ones that make you laugh hard, smile bright and believe in L-O-V-E!
Grill Me, Baby is a succulent romantic treat and that is why I am Joyfully Recommending it! You don’t want to miss out on this dish! Grill Me, Baby is serving up one hot Argentinian, one fiery red-head, and a whole lot of romance!
"A fun read for foodies who love romance."
Reviewed by Maria Munoz
Posted May 19, 2012
Michaela Willoughby has overcome a number of obstacles to become Flamingo Island's premiere spa chef. She tried hard to make her disapproving parents happy, even so far as making it through 3 years of law school before she walked away to pursue her own dream of becoming a chef. Having struggled with her own weight issues, she's recognized for her tasty, healthy, low-calorie cuisine. Now she's in the running to host Miami Spice on the Food Network. Having her own cooking show will allow her to pay back the money her parents spent on law school and promote her self-published cookbook. She won't let anything stand in the way of getting this job, especially not her competition, even if he is charming and sexy.
Paolo Santos, playboy chef of Flamingo Island's Bella Luna, is determined to be the host of Miami Spice. He knows how to entertain an audience and has a passion for cooking having been raised in his family's restaurant in Argentina. Since the death of his father, he has carried the responsibility for his family on his shoulders. Working for the Food Network will give him the financial freedom to help his mother and sisters, especially 20-year-old Claudia who shows up at his door about to give birth and estranged from her husband. As much as he likes Michaela (and the more he knows her the more he really likes her), he's determined to win. Can these two chefs see past the competition to what they could mean to each other?
GRILL ME, BABY is a fun read for foodies who love romance. Paolo and Michaela are equals who go toe-to-toe with wit and humor. They are each strong and independent yet compassionate and caring. Paolo comes off a little smug and inconsiderate at the beginning but that softens as the story progresses and you get to know him better. At heart, the story is a contemporary romance but Ms. Knightly artfully weaves in the complexities of following your dreams, unconditional love, and loving across socioeconomic and cultural boundaries. The plot, characters, and dialogue in GRILL ME, BABY feels very authentic. Even the Spanish scattered throughout this story is authentic which I greatly appreciate (one of my pet peeves is incorrect Spanish dialogue).
A NIGHT OWL REVIEWS BOOK REVIEW * Reviewed by: PaulineMichael
Sophia Knightly cooks up a delicious sizzling contemporary. The only thing hotter than Michaela’s red-headed temper is the sexual chemistry between her and Paolo. Michaela is a fabulous heroine. She is hardworking and focused and she is easy to relate to. The fact that she is far from perfect makes her all the more endearing. Paolo, although he appears ideal, has his own faults as well and that just makes it easier to imagine him as fantastic leading man material. I loved the by-play between these two, their conversations and reactions to one another are what really had me quickly turning the pages. I enjoyed the fact that there was a secondary love-story taking place as well. What can I say I’m a sucker for romance and the more I get the happier I am. I’m looking forward to reading this author’s other offerings as I enjoyed the characters she introduced, especially their quirky and realistic personalities.
Grill Me, Baby
Michaela Willoughby is the spa chef at Flamingo Island and wants to show that tasty food can be healthy and low-calorie. She had high blood pressure and cholesterol as a teenager and is determined to win the audition against flirty Paolo for the food TV show. It's a chance to pay-off her education and make her parents proud.
Things don't go as Paolo or Michaela expect when they're suddenly forced to audition together and then the tempers flare and the sparks fly. No matter how hard they try, at nearly every turn their lives get intertwined and they discover that the other isn't at all what they appear on the outside. As the competition heats up, so does the desire, but only one can be the winner.
GRILL ME, BABY is the first book by author Sophia Knightly that I've had the pleasure of reading, but it certainly won't be my last. In fact, there are a couple of books on her backlist I now have my eye on. Anyway, as a person who enjoys cooking and eating, the premise for this new contemporary romance almost demanded I read it, and I'm glad I did. I mean really. Two chefs battling for the chance at their own cooking show; it had to be entertaining and was I right. And it's humorous and sexy, too.
Ms. Knightly has done a great job of weaving together the components of what makes a great old-fashioned romance while still bringing it into the present. With the well developed personalities, vivid descriptions, captivating premise and numerous family members playing important roles, in many ways, GRILL ME, BABY reminds me of a sexy version of an old classic movie. It's not a comedy while funny in parts and not a drama either, but a nice mixture of both.
If you're ready for a spirited romance filled with good writing, a smooth flow, passion, desire, family and competition, then GRILL ME, BABY will be the perfect summertime read for you. I couldn't put the story of these two bantering lovers down, and I would love to see a sequel sometime soon. Hint. Hint.
April 25, 2012
* * Another Review * *
WILD FOR YOU has every attribute of a fine romance, an attractive hero with a large but scarred heart, a heroine who keeps her femininity in spite of her strengths, and suspense in the form of a mysterious stalker. The writing flows smoothly, and the characters are well rounded and likable. I have enjoyed both Encantos by Ms. Marquez (IN HOT PURSUIT, released last August, and WILD FOR YOU) and recommend them highly, but a word of warning: Keep a snack handy; this author can make your mouth water with her descriptions of tasty foods.
On a side note, I was about to say that I wouldn't be surprised to see Victoria Marquez breaking out into mainstream romance when I checked her website and found she has a novella in HOT AND BOTHERED, a St. Martin's Press summer anthology coming out in June.
Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today
"The love story of Clay and Marisol was simply wonderful!" Four stars.
Debbie R. Sims, Romantic Times Magazine
IN HOT PURSUIT
Pinnacle Encanto August 2000
Setting: Present day Miami, Florida
While digging a hole to plant a tree for her daughter Suzie, Isabel Garcia unearths a briefcase filled with packets of white powder. It could only have been buried by her ex-husband before he was killed, so Isabel calls Lieutenant Linc Heller, the narcotics officer who questioned her about Frank's involvement with the drug trade. Linc recalls the lovely Cuban American very well as he hurries to The Tropical Paradise Nursery, Isabel's home and business. The attraction that had lain dormant for months awakens full strength as Linc sees her again. His feelings deepen for Isabel, and a strong mutual attachment develops between him and five-year-old Suzie. Isabel feels drawn to Linc also, but her fears override her other emotions. She will not put herself and Suzie into a relationship that could end in violence at any time. Isabel's fears and Linc's dedication to his job provide strong barriers they will need to overcome if there is any hope for a future for them.
Victoria Marquez writes in a smoothly flowing style, free of any errors or awkwardness that jerk a reader out of the story and away from the characters to whom she gives coherent personalities and motives. She endows Linc with strength and gentleness and sets him to wooing Isabel so disarmingly it seem she must succumb, yet Isabel has her own strengths. The man, the woman, and the little girl form such a charming unit, that one can't help but hope for them to become a family. Ms. Marquez adds spice to the mix with the introduction of Isabel's relatives and the delicious-sounding food they prepare and enjoy.
The suspenseful plot provides external conflicts as well. Linc and his partners have worked for two years to bust a Colombian drug cartel, and they will be in danger before they are finished. So, too, will the fruit tree farm that Isabel's father started and that she and her mother now run. These add exciting moments to IN HOT PURSUIT, but the best part is the sharing in Linc's pursuit of love and in Isabel's coming to realize that life without love is no life at all.
Linc, Isabel, and the rest are people I'd like to know. I greatly enjoyed their story and strongly recommend IN HOT PURSUIT to fans of warm contemporary romance with a dollop of suspense. The Encanto line contains both English and Spanish versions in one volume.
SECOND OPINION IN HOT PURSUIT
IN HOT PURSUIT is a totally enjoyable story that takes a look at the relationship of Linc and Isabel, against the backdrop of dangerous underworld drug connections. The story includes an interesting look into the life of her family and their traditions - a look that was thoroughly enjoyable and served to give the entire story a rich, warm feeling. Wonderful characterization; I especially loved Suzie and her relationship with Linc. The story is well plotted and Linc's job provides a good suspense angle. While somewhat predictable in places, IN HOT PURSUIT is filled with excellent emotional appeal and some really amazing characters - a highly entertaining read.
* * Another Review * *
IN HOT PURSUIT is a wonderful book. It's fast-paced and extremely well written. The plot is believable and the characters are richly drawn. This novel makes for an engaging read and will have readers on the edge of their seats rooting for this couple that are perfect for each other in every way. The bonus is that readers are given an intimate glimpse into Cuban culture, Marquez has written a winner. If you're unfamiliar with ethnic romances involving Latin characters, pick this one up and this reviewer guarantees that you'll be pleased with it.
-Nathasha Brooks-Harris, The Belles and Beaux of Romance
HOT AND BOTHERED
Lori Foster, Laura Bradley, Gayle Callen, Victoria Marquez
St. Martin's Press Anthology July 2001
"The four tales are quite different occurring in radically diverse settings. Yet each contains a sexy hunk, a gorgeous female protagonist, tons of torrid passion, and entertaining plots that are well written. HOT AND BOTHERED lives up to its title as each contribution seduces the reader." -- Harriet Klausner
Four Stars "Author Victoria Marquez offers a humorous and sexy tale in “Treading Dangerous Waters.” Romantic Times Magazine
"Sizzling sexual tension fills the pages of this romance on the high seas. For a fast read try TREADING DANGEROUS WATERS."
Terrie Figueroa Romance Reviews Today