Blog Tour: Review of For Butter or Worse

Book:  For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa

Source: I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: HQN

Release Date: July 26th, 2022

Pages: 368

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I’m apparently a sucker for food related puns, because I have to admit that this title was what initially made me look into reading this book. Then when the synopsis mentioned fake dating between enemies, I was sold! And I’m so glad that I took an interest in this book, because ultimately I ended up really enjoying myself!

For Butter or Worse follows Nina and Leo as they co-host a cooking show. When Leo takes their rivalry a bit too far during the season’s live filming of the finale, Nina quits right then and there. But things take a turn when the paparazzi think the two of them are dating and Nina and Leo realize that it might be worth their while to let the press continue to think that’s what’s going on. But of course, things don’t stay that simple for long.

I really enjoyed this book’s take on fake dating. Most of the time when I see this trope used, the two love interests are the ones who decide to keep the façade going, but in this case things get more complicated with a publicist that’s planning dates and is involved as well. Having the publicist involved made sense though, given the fact that we were dealing with a very specific kind of enemies in this book.

These two have a history of animosity. They’ve used their platforms as hosts to continue to poke at one another and this isn’t a case of misunderstanding that can be easily brushed off. These two have hurt one another and need to work through that over the course of the book. I especially enjoyed Leo’s character, and how he righted his wrongs. In the beginning I was quite concerned that his behavior on the show was not going to be addressed fully. Thankfully, Leo eventually takes the time to process his behavior, to realize the harm he did, and to apologize. This made me very glad to see, since in so many books, bad behavior can be be dismissed and forgotten about once the two start liking one another.

And it’s lots of fun to see Nina and Leo grow to like one another. Despite being very different, the two both have a love of food, and they treasure the way food can be used to create an experience for someone. Though they have very different restaurants, with Nina as the owner of a high end place and Leo running a chain eatery, it was clear that the two were both very passionate about what their stores could provide people.

Besides for Nina and Leo themselves and their relationship, I also loved the side characters. Nina had a sister and a best friend who were by her side, offering advice, a shoulder to cry on, and their unwavering support. Leo struggled to use his support system, although it was obvious that his twin and mother would be there for him no matter what.

This book is definitely a romance, but there were so many other aspects to this story that really helped make it more complex and interesting. Any side plot or theme that was included was utilized to its fullest and I felt that those little elements really enhanced the story. And I especially liked how there wasn’t an easy or simple fix to things by the end of the story, and that the resolution to the conflict was hard won.

This book grew on me the more I read it and the more I saw that care was being taken in setting up this story and making this relationship a healthy one that I could root for. So despite my initial hesitancy in the beginning of the book, I enjoyed the last third so much that I settled on a full 4 star rating.

4 Stars

If you’re looking for a romance with depth, a focus on mental health, and quite a bit of food in it, this may be the book for you! It has a fun twist on fake dating, with some enemies to lovers thrown in as well, and is all around a good time!

What’s a recent book you’ve read that had a focus on food? Do you enjoy the fake dating trope? Do you enjoy when romances make the relationship hard won?


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