This series is the perfect example of a good-but-slow-to-start series. I read the first three and always thought they were good enough to pick up the next one, but I was never really invested in the characters.
Then the protagonist, Ollie, got a new love interest. I don't know why this made such a HUGE difference, but I could not put down the last four books; in fact, I read 4, 5 and 6 back-to-back last year. You might be thinking "well, the sex scenes must have been better", but there are zero sex scenes. In the last four books I think the author only mentions them kissing twice. In passing. But Ms. Hyzy does an outstanding job, IMO, of creating sexual tension without the sexual descriptions. Maybe it's just me.
Home of the Braised is a great entry in this fabulous series - the action and mystery start right away and Ollie is fighting battles on enough fronts to keep things busy without being overwhelming to the reader (if I were Ollie I'd be drinking heavily). There's a lot of detail about being a White House chef, but it flows nicely in the story and it's obvious the author has done her homework. The writing is smooth, fluid and without any oddities that jarred me out of the moment. Very little (if any) page filler disguised as internal speculation.
I don't really want to include much of a synopsis here because it all feels spoiler-y. Suffice it to say that there are threats to the presidency, the White House, national security and Ollie finds herself in the thick of it. If I had to complain about anything, I'd prefer the author didn't turn Ollie into a pariah; I know any real person involved in at least 7 "adventures" (and counting, I hope) would start to garner questions, if not a 48 hour psych eval, but it got to be repetitive enough to notice in the last couple of books. Luckily, not so repetitive that it annoyed me. Everything was excellently plotted though and I thoroughly enjoyed the book from start to finish. I saw the very end coming, but that's ok - it wasn't anything plot related and it was a great way to leave the reader smiling at the end.
I count the months until the next book is out.