1. a very small quantity of something; a slight trace, as of a particular taste or flavor
Sunday Soupçons is where I scribble mini-reviews for books I don’t have the brainspace/eloquence/smarts to write about in depth – or if I just don’t have anything interesting to say beyond I LIKED IT AND YOU SHOULD READ IT TOO!
This week’s mini-review is – gasp! – not SFF! But I do have a soft spot for contemporary foodie romances – especially queer ones! – which this was!Chef's Kiss by T.J. Alexander
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, nonbinary love interest, F/NB
A high-strung pastry chef’s professional goals are interrupted by an unexpected career transition and the introduction of her wildly attractive nonbinary kitchen manager in this deliciously fresh and witty queer rom-com.
Simone Larkspur is a perfectionist pastry expert with a dream job at The Discerning Chef, a venerable cookbook publisher in New York City. All she wants to do is create the perfect loaf of sourdough and develop recipes, but when The Discerning Chef decides to bring their brand into the 21st century by pivoting to video, Simone is thrust into the spotlight and finds herself failing at something for the first time in her life.
To make matters worse, Simone has to deal with Ray Lyton, the new test kitchen manager, whose obnoxious cheer and outgoing personality are like oil to Simone’s water. When Ray accidentally becomes a viral YouTube sensation with a series of homebrewing videos, their eccentric editor in chief forces Simone to work alongside the chipper upstart or else risk her beloved job. But the more they work together, the more Simone realizes her heart may be softening like butter for Ray.
Things get even more complicated when Ray comes out at work as nonbinary to mixed reactions—and Simone must choose between the career she fought so hard for and the person who just might take the cake (and her heart).
Chef’s Kiss was a lot of fun for the first half, but the second half turned into an Issues Book. Which in hindsight I should have seen coming – it’s sort of hinted at in the blurb – but it was a downer. The romance was really sweet, and there was a ton of fun and giggles, but I was definitely not looking for an Issues Book.
Like, I see the need for Issues Books, they’re important. And I think Alexander did a good job of balancing the fun with the serious; Chef’s Kiss isn’t preachy. I just didn’t want to read about all the queerphobia poor Ray had to deal with. I like contemporary romance for the escapism; I really don’t want to be reminded of how awful the world can be when I’m reading something for fun.
All that said, this was really readable, and I did enjoy myself a lot. The romance was so cute! The banter was great, the dynamics really worked, and I laughed a lot. Definitely not a bad book by any means.
What have you been reading this week?