Simmer Down

Simmer Down

By: Sarah Smith


In this finger-licking good rom-com, two is the perfect number of cooks in the kitchen.

Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.

But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.

The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum…a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire?


At least in this book, the dad was dead instead of the mom. I point this out because I’ve been feeling a bit expendable in media lately.

I enjoy books that feature food. I’ve never tried Filipino food, but it sounded incredibly yummy. Sadly, for me, that was the only part I enjoyed of Simmer Down.

Nikki, the heroine, was not a very enjoyable character to follow. Since the book was only written from her point of view, you never got a break either. She’d experienced a considerable loss but wasn’t trying to work through it. She kept pushing people away, except for her mom, which she smothered. It was exhausting to see someone keep making the same mistakes while everyone around her was pointing it out.

Callum, the love interest, came off as incredibly hostile in the beginning. Apparently, this was how he showed his interest. Once he and Nikki talked, he did almost a complete one-eighty. He was sexy, a finance whiz, an excellent cook, an animal lover, and the best big brother you could ask for. It was a bit much.

Together they were boring. There was passion between them; it just leaned too hard into cliché for me. There was lots of misunderstanding and lack of communication. Sex scenes were a bit awkward also.

Simmer Down dragged for me. It felt like tropes were just thrown in for the hell of up. Seriously, what was going on with that pub scene?? I wasn’t a fan, and I found it challenging to get through the middle to the point where I was skimming pages for a while. The ending was even worse. Callum had the worst timing to declare his feelings and intentions toward Nikki. Nikki chose the worst medium for her grand gesture to Callum. It all felt so contrived.



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