Book Review by Kristie: Under the Knife by, Laurin Kelly

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Under the Knife, by Laurin Kelly
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: July 20, 2016

Rating: 3.5  out of 5 stars


Season three of TV’s hottest cooking competition, Under the Knife, is gearing up, and Nate is equal parts excited and terrified that he’s one of the twelve competitor
s. But the prize is a quarter of a million dollars, and that’s worth a few weeks of being stressed and afraid.

It may not, however, be worth weeks of putting up with Zachary, the cold, snotty competitor who definitely thinks he’s better than everyone else. The man can cook, and he’s the hottest man Nate has ever seen, but every time he opens his mouth Nate hates him all over again.

He came here to be driven crazy trying to prove he’s the best chef in the world, but if Nate can’t learn to block Zachary out it won’t be the competition that pushes him to the breaking point.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Cooking Competition

Under the Knife is a story that centers around a cooking competition to be aired on television. Most people have either seen or heard of these shows. Have you ever wondered what went on behind the scenes of these shows? I guess I’ve never thought about it. I’m really only into the show for the food. But in this case, I just wanted to know who would win and what would happen in the end. Would it be possible for feelings not to be hurt? Would there be a grudge?

Nate is a pretty experienced chef in a room ranging from experienced to VERY experienced. Keeping his head in the game, eyes on the target, knives to the board, is difficult as soon as he spies Zachary.  The moody, cold, and uppity chef is difficult to read, but the more Nate stares, the more they talk, and yes, the more they flirt, surface tension gives way to real feelings and finally, intimacy which leads to so much more.

Much of the book really does center around the competition. We get to know the other contestants, see them voted out, witness the caddyness. It kind of felt very high school. As the competition heats up, tempers flare, people get thrown under the bus, it’s all out war!  The story surrounding the competition itself became a bit much after a while. It felt like I was in way too deep with each of the challenges when I just wanted more of the relationship that was building. I feel like I had a good handle on just who Nate was, but I wanted to get to know more about Nate and Zachary together.

At first, side characters were fun, but some took a lot attention away from the main story of the romance, because of the large secondary story of competition. But, the more people get kicked off the show, the better it got. I enjoyed how the competition was still very important to both Nate and Zachary. Each man continued to try and beat the other in everything they prepared, but they never let that come between the friendship they were building, and ultimately, the relationship that friendship stemmed from.

Bottom line: Are you a fan of cooking competition shows? If so, then this book might be for you. If not, or even if you have no major feelings at all about this type of entertainment, you may struggle a bit, but if you can stick it out, it is an enjoyable read.

Warning: Book may also make you hungry.


Laurin is a 40 plus, married mom of a teenager embarking on the adventure of writing original fiction.

Her first original story, Under the Knife, combines her love of writing with her love of cooking, food, and talent-based reality competition shows. There will be romance, there will be scheming, and there will be lots and lots of food porn.

She enjoys writing romance stories that explore how people meet each other, fall in love, and create a safe space for themselves to celebrate that love in. She exclusively writes (at the moment) male/male pairings, and most of her stories will be rated Mature for language and sex.

You can learn more about Laurin Kelly at her Website.

You can purchase Under the Knife from:
Less Than Three Press
All Romance eBooks

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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