Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Ever since she was a little girl learning to make decadent truffles in her family's chocolate shop, Juliet Arabella has been aware of the bitter feud between the Arabellas and the Mezzanottes. With their rival chocolate boutiques on the same street in Napa Valley, these families never mix. Until one night, when Juliet anonymously attends the annual masquerade ball. In a moonlit vineyard, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous stranger, a man who reminds her what passion is like outside of the kitchen. But her bliss is short-lived when she discovers her masked prince is actually Leo Mezzanotte, newly returned from Paris and the heir to her archenemy's confection dynasty.
With her mind in a whirl, Juliet leaves for Italy to represent the Arabellas in a prestigious chocolate competition. The prize money will help her family's struggling business, and Juliet figures it's a perfect opportunity to forget Leo…only to find him already there and gunning for victory. As they compete head-to-head, Leo and Juliet's fervent attraction boils over. But Juliet's not sure whether to trust her adversary, or give up on the sweetest love she's ever tasted….

MY TAKE:
If you like eating chocolates as much as you like romance novels, you'll probably enjoy this one.

In Unmasking Juliet, the Arabellas and Mezzanottes are two chocolatier families that are in the middle of a feud. One night, Juliet shares a passionate kiss with a stranger who turns out to be Leo Mezzanotte. Their attraction to each other is strong, but is it enough to end their families' feud.

I'm pretty choosy when it comes to romance novels, but I couldn't resist requesting this one when I saw that the main characters were chocolatiers. I consider myself a foodie so I figured if I didn't like the story, at least I would enjoy reading the descriptions of the food.

It's been a while since I read Romeo and Juliet, but I'm familiar with the story. The story follows the original closely but omits the darker parts, which is a good thing. However, truth be told, I kind of think that the story would have been better as an original one. By that, I mean that the novel's strongest parts are the ones that deviate from Shakespeare's version. The descriptions of food and food contests and festivals are very mouthwatering and make me think of Top Chef and Masterchef. The sweet moments between Juliet and Leo that weren't inspired by a scene from the original were also nice.

The scenes based on the play ended up being a little too saccharine for my taste. The use of lines from the play, on the other hand, sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. It usually worked when it was updated in some way. Adapting a classic like Romeo and Juliet is always tricky, but overall, I think the author did a pretty good job.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin HQN for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The chemistry between Leo and Juliet is pretty intense.
  2. The descriptions of food will make any foodie happy.
  3. This is the perfect book to read while drinking wine and eating chocolates.

THE BAD:

  1. Some scenes can feel a little too sweet. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
She glanced around at the shelves stocked with boxes of rum-flavored chocolate cigars and rich chocolate desert wines, then at the cases filled with hand-rolled truffles. chocolate dipped orange peels and what he'd been working on for the better part of the evening - Pave Glace, melt=in-your-mouth blocks of hazelnut, saffron, dark chocolate and butter, covered in cocoa powder and meant to resemble cobblestones. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You enjoy retellings of the classics.
  2. You like chocolate.
  3. You like watching shows like Masterchef and Cupcake Wars. 

RATING:
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