Tag Archives: romance

Recipes for Romance: A Dash of Salt & Pepper by Kosoko Jackson and Sugar & Salt by Susan Wiggs

14 Dec

A Dash of Salt and Pepper
by Kosoko Jackson

A Dash of Salt and Pepper was such a fun romance! The book is told in first person from Xavier’s perspective; he is an African American business grad who takes a job working as a prep chef in a seafood restaurant in his hometown after being dumped. Xavier is clever, funny and manages to be both arrogant, insecure and likeable at the same time. At one point the Gilmore Girls is referenced and the clever, fast pace witty dialogue and the charming small town New England vibe are something this book like that series does extremely well. Xavier’s boss at the restaurant, Logan, is a slightly older Caucasian divorced dad who is considered one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but after an awkward first meeting he and Xavier seem an unlikely match despite their feelings of attraction. Can they both let down their defenses to find love or will Xavier leave his small town behind again, this time for good? Definitely an author I plan to read more from in the future. I received an advance copy of the book for review from Netgalley.

Sugar and Salt
by Susan Wiggs

Another romance featuring interracial couples, Sugar and Salt had a bit more salt in the lives of the characters then I was expecting going into the novel.  The book may feature a sugary confection on the cover, but there is a lot of depth to what is covered.  Margot formerly Margie has gone through rough times including growing up in poverty and being the victim of an assault that has left her hesitant in romantic relationships.  The book spent more time in flashbacks to the difficult periods in her life than I would have preferred, however, it added to the sense of the happiness in her life having been earned including her success at her Barbeque Restaurant, Salt.  Her love interest Jerome Sugar is nursing a broken heart from a divorce.  The complexity of their interracial relationship is acknowledged, but also does not overshadow the sweet depiction of the romance that blossoms.  Beside Margot and Jerome, the book also explores the relationship between Jerome’s mother and her first love.  This is a book that will appeal to those looking for stories of second chances and a romance novel not afraid to examine the darker parts of life and history in the US.

Both books are available in print from BCCLS Libraries or as ebooks from elibraryNJ and eBCCLS. You can read about more foodie romances here.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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

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