Review: Hot Mess by Emily Belden #BlogTour


Release date: March 20, 2018

Publisher: Graydon House

Genre: Women’s Fiction


Sweetbitter meets The Devil Wears Prada in this riveting and provocative novel set in the trendy Chicago restaurant scene.

Twenty-something Allie Simon never imagined she’d fall for a recovering drug addict—but that was before she met Benji Zane, Chicago’s hottest up-and-coming chef, who’s known as much for his hard partying ways as for his unparalleled culinary skills. Six months into their relationship, the food and chemistry are out of this world, but the reality of living with a cooking wunderkind hasn’t exactly been all hearts and flowers. Still, Allie’s convinced that her love is the key to fixing this talented man’s broken soul—so when Benji is offered his dream job as chef de cuisine for a new restaurant opening on Randolph Street, Chicago’s foodie hot spot, Allie agrees to invest her life savings in his future. But less than a month after she goes all in, Allie learns a heartbreaking lesson: addicts lie. Benji cracks under the pressure, relapses and disappears, bagging out not only on the restaurant, but on her, too. Left with nothing but a massive withdrawal slip and a restaurant that absolutely must open in a matter of weeks, Allie finds herself thrust into a world of luxury and greed, cutthroat business and sensory delight. Lost in the mess of it all, she can either crumble completely or fight like hell for the life she wants and the love she deserves.

With razor-sharp wit and searing insight, Emily Belden serves up a deliciously dishy look behind the kitchen doors of a hot foodie town.

I’m so pleased to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Hot Mess today! Check out TLC Book Tours for the full schedule.


If you like wickedly delicious humor, a not so perfect love story and mouth watering descriptions of food, Hot Mess needs to be on your TBR! This is told solely from Allie’s point a view, a twenty five year old woman entangled in a dark relationship with a bad boy chef, Benji. I’m not sure if hot mess even accurately describes the total nightmare that is their union, but she believes in Benji despite his drug addiction and selfish behavior. I liked Allie and was totally rooting for her, she’s young and a bit naive but she’s loyal to a fault and she had a sassy side that was great. Benji was ugh, I’ve been in a relationship with a drug addict before and it’s not pretty, Belden did a great job accurately portraying what’s it like to live with an addict.

While much of this book was light and fun it has a dark edgy side that was realistic. As much as I consider myself to be a minor foodie I don’t know much about actually operating a restaurant and the insiders look at the not so glam industry was juicy and fascinating. It’ll also make you hungry and may even cause you to want to binge watch Top Chef, or maybe that’s just me? The writing was solid and full of snark with a side of millennial humor and a dash of social media obsession, what more could you want?! Maybe a bit of romance? Don’t worry, Belden has you covered this is a sexy little read but the romance isn’t the star, the food is! And Allie, she’s a bright little star and the backdrop of Chicago doesn’t hurt either, it adds a hip vibe that was really cool. If you like foodie fiction definitely check this one out, totally recommended.

Hot Mess in three words: Snarky, Sexy and Delicious.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for my review copy.

About the Author:

Emily Belden is an author for powerhouse publisher, Harlequin/HarperCollins. She is represented by famed literary agency, Browne & Miller, along with 44 Blue Productions in Burbank. The SoCal studio is adapting her memoir into a comedic series.


Connect with Emily

Website | Facebook  | Twitter

8 thoughts on “Review: Hot Mess by Emily Belden #BlogTour

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