Fresh Find: Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is at it again! This Filipina American author is on fire with her latest enemies to lovers contemporary romance, Simmer Down. I had the honour of taking this book for a test read earlier this year, and was positively knocked off my feet! This novel is so fresh and so sassy with some very vivid memorable moments. Definitely my favourite Sarah Smith book to date.

Here’s the rundown:

A woman peers around the corner over a row of condiments, while a food truck waits in the background on the cover of Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

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?

So proud of you, Sarah! This book is the only hot sauce I need this summer 🔥

 

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Top 10 romantic comedies for a lovely night in

Romantic comedies have become a minor obsession of late, and the last couple of years have given me plenty of top notch favourites I’d recommend to anyone (and everyone) who’ll listen.

I’ve left out synopsis links, as I’m sure everyone has their own sources they prefer to use for looking up movies. But a quick Google search on any of these titles will give you enough of a teaser for these great films.

You folks ready for a good night in? Let’s do this!

10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

This is a grown-up romantic comedy that explores relationships and the reinvention of self that happens after they come to an end. It’s painfully and relatably cringeworthy in parts, which only adds to its endearing qualities. In 2018, GQ confirmed that it does very much “hold up” after a decade. I’d say it’s well on its way to becoming a classic.

Starring: Jason Segel (and his dick), Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand, Jonah Hill.

9. Isn’t It Romantic

Rebel Wilson shines in the role of an underappreciated architect who gets knocked unconscious during a mugging, only to wake up and find herself in a real-life romantic comedy. This movie is at once an eye-roll at and a tribute to the genre, offering as many romance feels as send-ups of our favourite tropes.

Starring: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra, Adam DeVine

8. Friends With Benefits

A great take on the standard friends-to-lovers/FWB storyline. Don’t expect any deviations from the form or formula, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this film won’t be worth your time. What I got from watching was a serve of great characters, powerful chemistry between them, an under-the-skin satisfying HEA, and a movie hangover that lasted for weeks.

Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone

7. I Love You, Man

When you need a break from boy-girl love and conflict, but still want the same feel-good vibes, turn your eyes to this bromantic comedy. The setup is a groom-to-be in search for the perfect best man for his wedding. The punchline is a touching hetero boy-meets-boy best-friendship story set against a romantic backdrop.

Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressly, Andy Samberg

6. Silver Linings Playbook

Back when I first watched this, I didn’t have the vocabulary to express or even really understand why I liked it. It just struck me as this quirky left-of-centre love story with wholesome feels for people in dark places. Since coming to understand it as a romantic comedy within a mental health context, I’ve liked it even more. This one’s currently on my “to re-watch” list next time I’m down for a lovely night in.

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker

5. The Wedding Singer

Say what you want about Adam Sandler. He was great in this very sweet romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore. I was surprised to learn that there are a lot of younger viewers who don’t know it. I guess it’s a bigger blast from a more distant past than I thought. Wanna know what us silly-headed crush-prone teens found funny in the 90s? Here’s a good example.

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore

4. The Big Sick

If you like your romance interwoven with family drama, this thoughtful romcom might be the one for you. Based loosely on the real-life love story between Kumail Nanjani and writer Emily V. Gordon, this is a highly praised indie flick with great inter-cultural notes and exquisitely subtle HEA.

Starring: Kumail Nanjani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano

3. The 40-Year Old Virgin

A hilarious, slightly absurd, and all too endearing comedy a middle-aged man’s hangups about sex, and how they affect his newfound relationship. I would consider this as much about male friendship as it is about romance, but neither theme takes away from the other. It’s a lovely piece of feelgood comedy, well worth watching.

Starring: Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Romany Malco, Catherine Keener

2. Always Be My Maybe

When I first put this on, I was expecting something wacky and run-of-the-mill. After all, that’s the flavour of American comedy I’ve come to associate with the person who recommended this to me. What I got instead was an astonishing gem of a romance infused with sarcasm, adorable cringe moments, and a bit of ridiculousness thrown in.

Starring: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Dae Kim, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang

1. Long Shot

This movie has been described as a “gender-reversed Pretty Woman”, except the guy is a writer instead of a sex professional. If this isn’t enough to tempt you, know also that the lead characters are very believable and relatable, with great chemistry. This movie is full of tender moments as well as raunchy adult comedy, and of course, an oh so satisfying ending.

Starring: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen