Archive | June, 2021

Two Sweet Romances for LGBTQ Pride Month: Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake and For the Love of Cake

30 Jun

I started off Pride Month, this June, with a post about Trans and Non-Binary Authors writing speculative fiction.  To end the month I thought I’d focus on two romance novels, I recently enjoyed, featuring bisexual protagonists both set in the competitive world of baking shows.

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake
by Alexis Hall
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake is the first in Alexis Hall’s new Winner Bakes All series.  The series has as its backdrop a baking competition that bears striking similarities to the fan favorite Great British Baking Show.  Rosaline is a young single mom and amateur baker.  Her wealthy parents, despite being loving grandparents, are disappointed in how Rosaline has lived her life and what they see as her lack of ambition.  The baking competition is her chance to shine and set an example for her daughter about following her dreams.  It also gives Rosaline the unexpected opportunity for finding love when two very different fellow contestants catch her eye.  Rosaline is proudly bisexual and the book handles this in a nuanced way looking at issues of bi-erasure and prejudice.  Even though both of Rosaline’s love interest are men, her identity as a bisexual woman is never undermined. Interested in reading more books by Alexis Hall; I’ve written previous blog posts about some of Hall’s other work including The Affair of the Mysterious Letter, Looking for Group, and the Kate Kane Series.

For the Love of Cake
by Erin Dutton

Erin Dutton’s For the Love of Cake is also situated in the world of competitive baking although this show feels slightly more generic and is representative of many that air on TV or streaming channels.  It features some characters from one of Dutton’s previous romance novels, A Place to Rest.  Maya is the first winner of For the Love of Cake, who is tasked with both coaching and judging a competition with middle aged baker Shannon as one of the new contestants.  They find themselves fighting an attraction to one another which could spoil Shannon’s chance at a win and Maya’s career.  Maya is bisexual while Shannon, despite a previous marriage to a man, identifies as a lesbian, which causes a brief moment of friction between the two early on.  The novel despite having a sweet romance at its center also manages to examine a variety of social issues.

Love baking competitions? You can also check out a previous post which featured bake-off fiction and non-fiction that is sure to delight your palate.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

Heating Up in the Kitchen: 3 Chef Centered TV Shows from Hoopla

23 Jun

Hungry for some great shows set in the high stress world of the professional kitchen?  Hoboken patrons can stream these three shows from Hoopla!

Chefs is a French Drama that aired from 2015-2016.  It focuses on the owner/chef of a fine dining restaurant and Romain, a new dishwasher, who has just been released from prison and is on probation.  The two find they have more in common than just a talent for creating amazing meals, as they form a bond while struggling with the demons of their past and present.  If you like lots of workplace as well as relationship drama than Chefs should be a winning recipe for you.  So far, I’ve binged the first four episodes and look forward to watching more.  Both Season One and Two are available with English subtitles.  It is rated TV 14 and I would recommend it for an adult audience.

Under the Grill
If you enjoy reality shows, then check out the down under import, Under the Grill, about Celebrity Australian Chef Sean Connolly who is trying to open a fancy steak house in the famous Sky City Grand Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand.  He has $4 million dollars and a deadline of a 100 days to complete the task.  See if he can get it done before the Rugby World Cup.  My son and I watched the first two episodes together and found it fast paced and exciting to learn more about what it takes to open a fine dining restaurant.  Connolly encounters delays when jack hammering for his cantilevered balcony disturbs the convention center above and the spa below.  He also debates using beef from Australia and New Zealand; will he make the right choice?  There are six, 22 minute, episodes available for you to stream.

Delicious is an English dramedy (2016-2019) staring a great cast including Jack Taylor (from Game of Thrones), Dawn French (French & Saunders), and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness).  Chef Leo Vincent (Taylor) owns a hotel whose restaurant he also runs.  In the first episode current younger wife Sam (Fox) suspects he might be cheating on her and goes to his ex-wife Gina (French), also a talented chef, for advice.  What Sam learns and what happens next, including a surprise twist at the end, sets in motion the plot for the rest of the season and series.  Although listed as unrated, due to adult content, I would recommend this series for only a mature audience.  If you enjoy dark British humor with your drama then this may be your cup of tea.  You can enjoy all three seasons of the series from Hoopla.

Foodies will enjoy next week’s post featuring two romances set in the world of competitive baking competitions.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

%d bloggers like this: