Tag Archives: alexis hall

Scrumptious Romances: Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble, Other Birds, and Chef’s Kiss

2 Nov

Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble
by Alexis Hall

Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble is the second in the Winner Bakes all Series, a series of novels set against a TV show similar to the Great British Baking Show.  Readers of the previous book will be pleased with a passing mention updating the previous relationship, but the main focus is a whole new group of bakers so it is not necessary to have read Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake to enjoy this story.  I’ve been a fan of Hall’s for awhile and appreciate his complex well developed characters.  Paris is the son of a top fashion designer father and a super model mom, who are too busy living their jet set lifestyle to spend time or even communicate with their son.  Paris is entered into the show by his best friend and although at first successful, struggles with anxiety that he has been burdened by for most of his life.  His love interest is Tariq, another contestant, who hopes to one day be the host of a Halal cooking show.  I thought Paris’s mental health issues were handled in a nuanced and realistic way as was Tariq’s balancing of his sexuality and his religious beliefs.  Tariq’s family’s warmth was a lovely depiction of a functional family.  This sweet gentle read left me looking forward to what the next book and season will bring. You can also read my previous blog post including a review of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake and another baking competition romance, For the Love of Cake by Erin Dutton.

Chef’s Kiss,
by TJ Alexander

Another sweet LGBTQ romance, I recently enjoyed was Chef’s Kiss, the debut novel, by TJ Alexander.  Simone has always dreamed of working for The Discerning Chef, a cookbook publisher in New York, (think Gourmet or Bon Appetite).  But she feels out of her depth when they begin to demand writers not only create recipes but also create social media videos to try and advertise and expand the brand.  Ray Lyton the new kitchen manager’s relaxed attitude at first irks Simone, but soon the two are working together on the video project and Simone begins to develop feelings for Ray.  When Ray comes out as nonbinary, some of The Discerning Chef reacts in a prejudiced manner, which causes Simone, who had previously kept quiet about her own bisexuality, to rethink whether her “dream job” is where she really belongs.  There is a sequel planned for next summer, but details have not been yet released if it will continue Simone and Ray’s story or follow other characters from this novel.

Other Birds
by Sarah Addison Allen

It’s been a while since we had been gifted with a new novel from Sarah Addison Allen, but Other Birds is worth the wait.  Mallow Island, located off the coast of South Caroline, is named for the plants that grow there that were used to make the marshmallow confections that the island is famous for.  The Dellawisp condos are hidden down an alley and its residents are also hiding from their pasts, that is in until 18 year-old Zoey Hennessey arrives.  Zoey is moving into her deceased mother’s condo before she starts college on the main land and she is curious to find out not only more about her mother, but also about the residents of Dellawisp including a chef who wakes up each morning covered in cornmeal and can tell the story of the seasons through food and a Henna artist that he has had a secret crush on.  A charming story of not only romance, but also found family with Allen’s magical realism sprinkled throughout such as the invisible bird that accompanies Zoey on her adventures.  You can read a previous post about Allen’s work here.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services




Three Quirky Modern Love Stories: Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade, Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall, and Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa

1 Jun

Romance novels often don’t get the respect they deserve. Just because there is a happily ever after doesn’t mean the stories are all the same. Here are three charmingly unique books which use fan fiction, true crime podcasts, and tarot cards to give unique spins to their couples’ romantic journeys.

Spoiler Alert
by Olivia Dade
Spoiler Alert feels a bit of wish fulfilment for anyone out there who has ever written fanfiction and dreamed that the actor or actress of their favorite TV show or movie might fall in love with them.  April Whittier is a successful geologist who likes to write fanfiction about a popular fantasy series.  When a picture of her cosplaying gets a negative comment on social media, the star of the show not only comes to her defense but asks her out on a date.  Complicating the situation is that Marcus Caster-Rupp isn’t just an actor, he is also a fellow fanfiction writer who has developed a secret online friendship with April.  I appreciate that Olivia Dade’s heroines aren’t the cookie cutter skinny girl on most romance books covers; April is beautiful, yes, but she also has lots of curves as does Robin who is written about in the next in the series All the Feels.

Murder Most Actual
by Alexis Hall

Murder Most Actual is a funny mystery novel that parodies Clue and will win over fans of the podcasters turned detective series Only Murders in the Building, but at its heart is the relationship between Hanna a corporate financier and her wife Liza, a true crime podcaster.  The two are near their breaking point, Liza’s new found success has led to them having less time together and their relationship has become strained.  A weekend at an exclusive Scottish hotel is Hanna’s attempt to try and patch up their relationship.  There is always something a little hard about watching a couple who was once head over heels in love hit a rough patch, but there is also something to me immensely satisfying to see them be able to work through their issues; happily ever after can happen, but sometimes it takes some work.  You can read another previous post I’ve done about Hall’s sweet romance Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake.

Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches
by Kate Scelsa

I had previously written a blog post about magical romances, but this book is less fantasy than about modern practitioners of witchcraft/neopaganism; perhaps the witches in the book have real powers, perhaps they just believe they do. Vividly set in Salem, Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches centers around Seventeen-year-old Eleanor who is coping with her mother’s chronic illness as well as the feeling of being an outcast. She works at a store that cashes in on the city’s historic ties to witchcraft, but isn’t a believer herself so doesn’t think much about a guide to tarot that arrives one day, until a beautiful girl named Pix and her friends show up at the store claiming to be real witches. I had made several visits to Salem when I lived in Boston for two years and the book felt very authentic to me from what I remember. I also liked the sweet way that Pix and Eleanor, both hurt from past relationships learned to trust each other. The interweaving of the tarot cards with the story was done in a fun and clever way. This book came out on May 31 and teens as well as adults will want to add it to there to be read lists. I received an advance copy of the book from NetGalley.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services

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