Review: Under the Table by Layla Reyne

Posted May 24, 2024 by Lola in Contemporary, Review, Romance, Suspense / 2 Comments

Review graphic

Under the TableUnder the Table
by Layla Reyne

My Rating: 4 stars

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: nb/f

Chef February Winters hates Valentine’s Day. So much so she refuses to open her restaurant for it. Except now the critics say that she can’t—not, that she won’t—so of course she must. But planning the perfect V-day menu eludes her until her sexy new bartender mixes up a sublime concept.

Jax Dillon is a hacker, but for the past three months they’ve been undercover at Under the Table, tending bar while on the lookout for a rogue spy. Truth be told, they’ve spent more time looking at the stunning head chef while struggling to balance their professional and personal lives.

Feb’s been looking Jax’s way too. Until V-day arrives and she finds her restaurant full of bounty hunters, assassins, bullet holes, and more. When the spy she thought was a critic takes her three stars—and Jax—hostage, Feb must cook the meal of her life to win back culinary glory and the bartender (er, hacker?) who’s stolen her heart. Good thing she’s a real chef.

My Review

I received a free copy from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.

I’ve read multiple of Layla Reyne’s books so far and am especially fond of her books involving food, so when I saw this book I was excited to read it. Under The Table features chef February Winters and the undercover bartender Jax Dillon. There is a romance between the two of them as well as a suspense plot line.

I liked both Feb and Jax, they were both interesting characters and I liked reading about them. I felt like I quickly got a feel for both of them and I liked seeing their relationship develop and how they acted throughout the story. Their romance keeps sizzling alongside the suspense plot and I thought the mix was well done. I liked how the romance was low on drama, mostly it just took them a while to bring things further due to the dangerous things they got involved in. I liked seeing how Feb handled learning about Jax’s real identity and dedicated she was to helping them. I also liked Feb’s passion for their restaurant.

The food theme is a prominent one and I liked reading about the food they ate and the dishes served in the restaurant. The mix of romance and suspense felt well done with both getting sufficient attention. I also appreciated how the romance didn’t fully develop until the suspense got resolved. I also was glad the suspense part was suspenseful and dangerous, but not too tense or dark as I am not a fan of that. Although I did feel like I missed a bit of the background of the suspense stuff due the characters from other books that are involved and some threads are left hanging, but that might be for future books.

The only downside about this book for me is the huge cast of side characters a lot of whom have their own stories. And frankly I felt a bit lost and overwhelmed a times as there are so many side characters that get introduced, some of which clearly have more story. There are so many characters involved in the plot and then there are their backgrounds and relationships between them. I also thought the ending was left a bit open, which some of the side characters plot lines not being fully resolved, but maybe that’s for another book? Either way it definitely makes me curious to go back and read some of the side characters stories, but had wished I had read those beforehand as I feel like this one would be even more fun then.

To summarize: I enjoyed Under the Table. Both Feb and Jax were likable and interesting characters and enjoyed reading about them. I liked seeing their romance develop and appreciated how it kept sizzling along, but didn’t fully develop until the suspense got resolved. I liked the mix of romance and suspense in this one. I also like the food theme and reading about all the food they eat or serve. The only downside to this book for me is the huge cast of side characters, many who clearly have had their own stories in other books by the author that I haven’t read. It could be a bit overwhelming and much as it felt like I was missing some background for the suspense and the characters. One of the plot lines regarding two side characters is left open and I wonder if that will be a story for another book. Either way I had fun reading this one and I am hoping to go back and read some of the other books by this author that I haven’t read yet.

4 Stars


You can also read my review on Goodreads and Bookbub.

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2 responses to “Review: Under the Table by Layla Reyne

  1. A romantic suspense set in a restaurant and lots of good food description would definitely be fun. A big cast like that can get distracting. Hopefully, you’ll get that follow up books.

    • It sure was a fun setting with the restaurant and food descriptions. The big cast was a bit much and I think it would help if you read these series in order, but I hadn’t realized this one was connected.

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