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Luscious Mass Market Paperback – July 3, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Sexy Chefs Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Readers will really empathize with Usen's heroine, who is on the verge of letting her past ruin her future. The emotion in the novel is palpable and will draw readers in. 4 Stars" - RT Book Reviews

"The travelogue and delectable descriptions of food are satisfying, and sweetheart Sean will appeal to fans of genuinely nice guys. " - Publishers Weekly

"Usen expertly blends engaging characters with a swoon-worthy Italian setting right out of Under the Tuscan Sun (1996) and an abundance of delectably described Italian dishes to create an irresistible literary treat for fans of sizzling hot contemporary romances." - Booklist

"Luscious is a hot and spicy kind of read. It's seductive, with pinches of witty dialogue that leave you wanting just a taste more and not just in the kitchen." - Book Loons

"I can't wait to read what Amanda Usen comes up with next and I will definitely reread this one and savor every moment of Olivia and Sean's love story. TOP PICK" - Night Owl Reviews

"All in all, I enjoyed this story! I can't get enough of fun contemporary romps that have "a chance at being happy again" kind of feel. If you love stories full of heart, romance, and a little fun in Italy, Luscious awaits you." - Long and Short Reviews

"Grab yourself a glass of wine and kick back, but be prepared for Luscious to leave you hungry – for both good food and more Usen books" - Booktrib

"What a great second installment in this series by Amanda Usen. Not only has she made this characters unbelievably realistic, but she has made them both so broken that you can't help but love them." - Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

"Luscious definitely lives up to its name" - Book Lovers Inc

"It's entertaining and romantic. The food will make you hungry. And the scenery ain't bad either." - Drey's Library

"I'm a sucker for food books, and this is a very good one. The author is a chef herself, and knows what she's talking about, so the descriptions of the food are perfectly done" - All About Romance

"LUSCIOUS lives up to its name" - Fresh Fiction

"I am yet again left anticipating the next book in this series-that's the sign of a one heck of a great author." - Books Like Breathing

"This was a really cute story. " - Cocktails and Books

"If you can read the cooking and eating scenes without getting very hungry you are much stronger than I am! I'm looking forward eagerly to the next book in this series" - Mrs Condit & Friends

""Luscious" is a strong contemporary romance and one worth reading. " - Romance Novel News

"If you're looking for a fun, quick read, something to lighten your heart by the end, this book, and its predecessor, is just what you need." - The Good, The Bad and The Unread

"I definitely got a couple recipe ideas after reading this book" - Ramblings from this Chick

About the Author

Amanda Usen knows two things for certain: chocolate cheesecake is good for breakfast and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. They live in Western New York with their three children and an ancient beagle.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Signed edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402262183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402262180
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,713,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.-Sophia Loren

Olivia Marconi made one big mistake - marrying Keith - and now she is trying to clean up after it (and him). She decides a trip to her parents' luxurious resort in Verona, Italy will give her some breathing room. Yet her high school crush - turned - divorce attorney insists on accompanying her. Olivia is confused because Sean never showed an interest in school ... and recently walked away from a sexy proposition. But as he explains why he was too "distracted" by his home life during high school ... and why he wanted to wait until for her divorce to fulfill those school boy fantasies. Despite Sean's assurances, Olivia still doubts her cooking skills and her sex appeal.

Usen delivers a lighthearted passionate adventure of two star crossed lovers who deserve each other. The overarching theme is not all is what it seems, beginning back in high school and carrying over to the Italian villa where Sean seeks to win Olivia's heart. I appreciated that Usen gave us "earthy" characters, including Olivia's family, who are full of flaws but overflowing with love. I also learned about the regional wine and the Italian approach to life - salute!

Although this book follows Book 1, Scrumptious, it is easily read as a standalone story. Recommended read for a summer escape filled with food, wine, and passion!
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Format: Kindle Edition
This was my first book by Amanda Usen and while I didn't love it I did find it enjoyable. I liked the characters and the world she has created though I did have some issues with some of it. At times I found myself really irritated with some of the characters, especially the heroine Olivia. Let me explain.

Olivia is just getting out of a horrible marriage. She was married to a man that did nothing but bring her down and blame her for everything. Not only did he bring her down and almost ruin her business but he was also verbally abusive. Because of the way her ex treated her Olivia has problems accepting her worth. She thinks she's crap and now that her best friends have come to help save her restaurant she feels like she is in the way. So she decides(a bit drastically I might add) to just leave. She tells everyone she is going to visit her parents but in reality she is ducking out. She just splits without a single goodbye. The only person who has a clue is Sean, her lawyer/old high school friend/crush.

Sean has been harboring a crush on Olivia ever since they were freshman in high school, but due to the circumstances of his home life he kept his feelings to himself. Then when he came back to town after college in hopes of finding Olivia and making his move, she was in a relationship. Now with Olivia's divorce finalized he knows it's his chance to finally make his long awaited move. The only problem is Olivia is leaving for Italy and he doesn't think she's coming back. But luck is on his side when it turns out a client of his needs him to deliver important paper to Italy for him. Sean jumps at the chance to spend a week with Olivia convincing her of his true feelings and that she needs to stay back in New York.

I really enjoyed the chemistry between Olivia and Sean.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Verona, Italy. Romeo and Juliet, and a family inn and vineyard. Luscious descriptions of food prep:

"...She chopped fennel and more garlic, glorying in the beauty of the simple ingredients.

As she julienned the remaining carrots for the sheer pleasure of feeling her knife move, she felt an ease she hadn't enjoyed for months, maybe years. She felt drunk with the joy of creating something..."

High school sweethearts who are coming together again, there's a sweet poignancy to Olivia and Sean's rekindled romance following her divorce. Olivia as a character starts out skittish (not unusual after a bad marriage/divorce) and passive, but she finds her backbone in the end.

I'm not sure that Sean, a born White Knight, who is torn between rescuing his little brother and Olivia, makes as full a journey as Olivia does. Other characters, like Nonna Lucia, Gia, and Big Daddy add some delightful flavor. Foodies, fans of Italy, and contemporary romance will love this. A great read and a happy ending. Perfetto.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read many times in the book review blogosphere that Amanda Usen's "Scrumptious" and "Luscious" are among the best of the culinary romance genre. While I didn't feel I could fully relate to the main character or her beau, I found myself madly in love with the world Usen created. The way she describes the Italian countryside absolutely immerses you and you can practically feel the warm glowing sun on your face. The culinary allusions sprinkled along the way are my absolute favorites. I would definitely recommend this book for beautiful imagery, world building, delicious food descriptions, and a good, solid story.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Amanda Usen is a fantastic author, and if she cooks the recipes in the book...well then I'm guessing she's a fantastic chef as well! LUSCIOUS is fun and flirty. Picking up after Scrumptious, I was excited to see Olivia making a move to figure out what she wanted after the crap hit the fan at Chameleon. This book started a little slow for me, but once it picked up I couldn't put it down. Setting it in Italy added a different twist for me. Unfamiliar with Italy, it was fun reading about Olivia's experiences and her family's business.

Olivia is a feisty character. At least that's the best way I can think to describe her. She's out to prove that she can be her own person and doesn't need everyone telling her what she should do. Of course, that gets in her a way and a couple of times I wanted shake her. But I couldn't imagine what it would feel like to tell your parents that you were going to do something completely opposite of what they'd planned for you. I love the transformation that Olivia makes. It was a fun ride going along on her journey.

Sean, oh Sean. Now he was a hero I loved from page one. Lawyer, dedicated, caring, and observant. All in all, what more could you ask for? He even arranged to go to Italy on a "business trip" so he could show Olivia what she really meant to him. When Olivia struggles with finding her strength to do what she needs to do he's right there by her side. He's not perfect and screws up, but does everything he can to fix his mistakes.

This is a sweet story. The romance is fun and entertaining. Olivia's grandmother is a trip, just like in Scrumptious, and her backstory adds a layer of love and mystery. Amanda Usen is another author I'd recommend for a great read!
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