I am so happy to bring you another edition of romance reviews! Today I’m sharing three mini reviews of three diverse romances that haven’t released yet. We have: Something to Talk About, A Taste of Sage, and Recipe for Persuasion! Keep reading these book reviews if you’re searching for your next romance read!
A Taste of Sage
Lumi Santana is a chef with a gift: she can perceive a person’s emotions by tasting their cooking. Despite being raised by a mother who taught her that dreams and true love were silly fairy tales, she puts her heart and savings into opening her own fusion restaurant in Upper Manhattan. The restaurant offers a mix of the Dominican cuisine she grew up with and other world cuisines she is inspired by.
When her eclectic venture fails, she is forced to take a position as sous chef at a staid, traditional French restaurant owned by Julien Dax, a celebrated chef known for his acid tongue as well as his brilliant smile. After he goes out of his way to bake a tart to prove her wrong in a dispute, she is so irritated by his smug attitude that she vows to herself never to taste his cooking.
But after she succumbs to the temptation and takes a bite one day and is overcome with shocking emotion, she finds herself beginning to crave his cooking and struggling to stay on task with her plan to save up and move on as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Julien’s obsessed secretary watches with gnashed teeth as they grow closer and becomes determined to get Lumi out of her way permanently.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
A Taste of Sage is mouth watering from the beginning. Full of sizzling chemistry between the main characters, there are also recipes so you can experience the flavors yourself! This tension they feel, starting off with a less than favorable meeting, resulted in some heat! They had some amazing banter which, to me, was indicative of their chemistry. The way they could go head to head on those little insults and test each other. I also adored the supportive friendships in Lumi’s life.
This book is dual POV and I appreciated Julien’s POV, but Lumi stole the show for me. Her passion and fire, not to mention her roots in the Dominican Republic, were some of the reasons I loved Lumi. The added element of Lumi being able to taste people’s emotions and feelings in their food was a fun angle which was explored in a way I did not expect. A Taste of Sage is fun sizzling romance for those who love cooking romances.
Something to Talk About
A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.
Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time–threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.
As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.
With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: sexual harassment
This #ownvoices debut romance is a story of a workplace romance except it’s queer and it also tackles issues of sexual harassment, racism, and the me too movement. It’s dual POV and one of them is a Chinese American woman which was so fabulous to see. Plus a whole part of her character is that Jo is unafraid to speak out, even when it will cost her. I also want to mention that Emma is bisexual and Jewish and I loved the way her family, specifically her relationship with her sister, was woven into Something to Talk About.
Tackling issues of sexism and racism in Hollywood, Something to Talk About delivers more than romance. These moments gave Something to Talk About a sense of realism especially as women have been encouraged to tell their stories. Both Jo and Emma are particularly fierce and I loved the build up to their feelings – not to mention how they consider the implications of their relationship. Something to Talk Aboutis fast paced and the romance is entirely precious.
Recipe for Persuasion
Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen?
Rico Silva, that’s what.
Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.
FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her.
But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico. Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: panic attack, suicide of a family member, rape, domestic abuse, alcoholism, PTSD, depression, anxiety
Recipe for Persuasion was advertised to me as a Persuasion retelling meets romcom with two diverse leads. First off, I haven’t read Persuasion, so I cannot tell you how accurate it is. Secondly, I think Persuasion is much more intense than what I would consider a romcom. Sure there are definitely romance vibes and the cooking show presents a lot of levity, romance, and comedic vibes – especially in the interactions between Rico and Ashna – but Recipe for Persuasion is way more emotionally intense than that.
It features a lot of Ashna’s parents. Her father who is an alcoholic and very emotionally abusive towards his daughter (even if she doesn’t full recognize it at times) and her mother’s whole backstory – which I won’t disclose – but it’s pretty emotional and very serious. Ashna is not only grappling with the re-emergence of Rico, but coming to terms with her relationship with her mother, who was largely absent in her life, and her actions regarding her father’s death. That’s a large part of the book, and it influences everything – even the romance! Plus we even get chapters from her mother’s perspective detailing her emotional past – which made me tear up – so I think that if you approach Recipe for Persuasion that way, not only will you become more emotionally prepared, but also ready for this deeply character driven rich book.
Now onto other aspects of the book I liked. I loved her supportive friend group, even if we didn’t see them as much as I wanted. I haven’t read the first Rajes book so I’m not sure, if I had, would I have known more. That being said, you definitely don’t need to read the first! I was worried, but it was okay. The heart of Recipe for Persuasion is Ashna’s family. It’s dual POV (we also see Rico’s perspective of events), but I think that her perspective definitely takes center stage. Recipe for Persuasion had some of my favorite tropes, like when characters who are exes are paired together for competitions or forced to work together – love it! But, as I mentioned earlier, Recipe for Persuasion is more about Ashna’s journey as a character and her relationship with her mother – or that’s what I got the most from – especially as the book progresses.