book review (with cover mani!): pasta wars

There are few things I love more in fiction than a strong woman and a rough-around-the-edges man, but one of those things is pasta. So naturally, the combination of a strong woman, rough-around-the-edges man and pasta made me all kinds of hand-grabby for PASTA WARS. Because pasta

*restrains grabby hands to take picture*

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Slim, successful, and soon to marry the man of her dreams, Katie Cravens is leading the life she always wanted. As the face and CEO of Pasta Pronto, a Carbs for the Calorie-Conscious line of frozen food, Katie chooses to live life like one of her Slimline Spaghetti dinners no mess, no surprises, and everything tied up in a neat little package. But when Katie's fiance runs off with another woman and a quality control fiasco sends her customers running for the hills, it's time for Katie to make a change.

Her company's salvation presents itself in the form of a partnership opportunity with the legendary Ristorante Caramelli of Rome, and Katie has no other choice but to jet off to Italy to convince gorgeous, hotheaded co-owner Luca Caramelli that she's a worthy partner. Gaining Luca's respect proves harder than Katie could have ever imagined, however, when he insists that she must learn how to cook and how to eat true Italian food before he will ever agree to their companies partnership.

Katie and Luca's tension in Italy mounts into a fierce public rivalry that erupts back in the States with a nationally televised cooking competition. As Katie tries to channel her inner Mario Batali to win the competition, she must choose between the flavorless prepackaged life that she worked so hard to maintain and the mouth-watering uncertainty of a life chock full of carbohydrates and Caramellis.


I’ve been a fan of Elisa Lorello for quite some time. Her writing is next-level fantastic and her works illuminate the complexities of relationships while pushing my feeling buttons to the point where I end up ugly crying on an airplane, much to the delight horror of the elderly man sitting next to me (note: this is a true story). Although PASTA WARS is a bit more lighthearted than her other books, I'm happy to report that all of Lorello's fantastic-ness remains intact. (Yay!)

Katie was a relatable hot mess of sad (because nothing is sadder than a hot mess not realizing the degree of their hot mess-ness) and Luca was passionate, cranky, but oh so lovely to imagine, even when he stormed from a room. Or was it especially when he stormed from a room? Haha! Either way, the setup for chemistry was akin to that of a slacker seventh grader’s final project: explosive. Kaboom!

And don’t even get me started on the food. Holy awesomesauce! Literally. Because all of the sauces Luca makes sound freaking incredible. The level of description—what to chop, peel, grate, and drizzle—read like a cookbook. I was honestly left believing that if I followed along, I too could create Luca’s drool-worthy concoctions. And it's just the best when I feel like I’m in the action, kneading and whisking and tasting sweet vine tomatoes alongside flavourful basil. I mean, yum, right? Granted, I was more like Katie than Luca, being that I’m not the greatest chef, but I swear that when Luca melted butter in a pan, I could smell it. Unfair, really, because I wasn't able to eat the delectable treat he nonchalantly whipped up. Like, can a girl get a scone with fresh berries, please? 

So in sum, PASTA WARS matches a relatable female hot mess with an equally relatable hot hunk of man mess and they make pasta together. I seriously don’t know what else you need to know about this book. Just pick it up already! But you should probably have Italian food on standby before you start reading or you’ll be chewing the pages in a vain attempt to taste the deliciousness. (Take my word for it, though, the paper just ends up tasting like paper. Haha!)

I'd also like to give a special shout-out to Elisa for sending me a copy of PASTA WARS. Until January of 2017, it's only available at Barnes & Noble and being from The Great White North, we don't have B&N. *cues weeping* If you're like me, being that you don't have access to B&N, now's the time to scroll through your American contact list and see who can get you a copy. January's a long time away, folks! Especially for a super fun book like this! 


For this mani, I used:

OPI - A Good Man-Darin Is Hard To Find, Towel Me About It, CIA: Colour Is Awesome, and My Silk Tie
Fingerpaints - Paper Mache and Black Expressionism
Julep - Mackenzie
Glisten and Glow - HK Girl Top Coat
China Glaze - Immortal
Tools - trimmed striping brush, piCture pOlish nail art brush #9

And for more, non-book-related manis, be sure to check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)


  1. So going to have to go pick this book up and read it.


  2. Well, aside from this, you're not missing anything from not having a B&N (*eyes the soap box* *declines inclination to rant*). And I'm glad you got it! I'm amazed Amazon didn't carry it.....
    Also YAY for it being good and even though I know I'm going to regret wanting to eat everything in sight while reading this, I'm totally putting it on my list. Thanks!


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