What better way to launch the blog than with a Romantic comedy with food at its epicenter?  Our first book review will be A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson. My cousin, Jenn, who lives in New York City, gifted me this book.  She bought this as a Christmas present for me from Strand Bookstore (If you’ve never been to this bookstore and ever have an opportunity, I highly recommend it. This is my favorite bookstore I’ve ever been to by far!) as a blind date with a book. If you are unaware of the concept behind a blind date with a book, generally a book that is covered in wrapping paper will have a general description of its contents on the front.  You choose your book based on that and after you make your purchase you can unwrap it to see which book you’ve picked. This is a super fun concept that I had always wanted to try but had never made the commitment to, so I was very excited to receive this book for Christmas and get to try out having a blind date with a book!

Synopsis:

Xavier Reynolds is having a hard time.  After losing his job and being dumped by his longtime boyfriend,  he’s had to resort to moving back in with his parents in The seaside fishing town of Harper’s Cove. Despite having a good childhood and supportive parents, Xavier has always dreamed of going anywhere besides Harper’s Cove after high school and making it big in the world of business. He had previously studied and lived in New York and Chicago and had a good career trajectory destined to bring him the wealth and success of a business mogul. When the startup he’s working for fails, his relationship ends, and he arrives back in Harper’s Cove with his tail between his legs, Xavier feels like a failure. That is until he is unexpectedly offered a place at the prestigious Carey Foundation located in Berlin.  ecstatic that this could be his last chance to get out of the small town that he’d grown up in, Xavier comes up with a plan to pay the entrance fee and escape to freedom.  Long-time Harper’s Cove resident (and local eye candy), Logan O’Hare, owns a seafood restaurant in town and just so happens to be looking for some extra help. Luckily enough for Xavier, he has some talent in the food industry thanks to his mother who had taught him how to cook.  After convincing Logan he was good enough for the job he seems to be well on his way to buying a one-way ticket out of Harper’s Cove. However, his thoughts of Escape quickly turn to thoughts of Logan as they start spending more time together. At first, Xavior was unsure if his signals were being crossed as Logan, many years his senior and the father of a teenage daughter, had not been known to date anyone in the time since his divorce several years earlier.  It wasn’t until an encounter between the two of them at a bar outside of work that Logan made it especially clear what his intentions were.  Soon after that, the two became exclusive and Xavier was faced with contemplating what having a life in Harper’s Cove might entail and if it were worth staying and denying his position with the Carey Foundation. As the two become closer, Xavier focuses less on his dreams and tries to ensure that Logan’s dreams and hopes for his restaurant, The Wharf, are viable.  He takes it upon himself to try to promote the business’s success including contacting Logan’s musician ex-wife for publicity without Logan’s prior knowledge.  What had started with good-hearted intent to support Logan’s dreams backfires as he feels it was a betrayal of his trust. As the two come to terms with what the situation will mean for their futures going forward,  one last unexpected occurrence will either force them back together or cement the wedge between them. Xavier will have to make one final decision to accept his roots and the life that comes with community and small-town values or to chase the elusive wealth and success of the corporate world.

Conclusion:

If I’m being honest, this isn’t a book that I probably would have picked up while perusing through the bookstore, and I didn’t particularly love it. In general, I don’t read many rom-coms as I choose to gravitate toward other genres, typically. Some major things could have been improved with continuity that, as a person who tends to focus on the continuity of a story, was very distracting for me. Also, I didn’t truly love the main character, which is always a big disappointment for me.  He seemed very over the top in a way that I found a little bit annoying. I understand this character is supposed to be portrayed as a sassy gay man, but at times it felt like pandering. In my opinion, I would have liked to see more emotional development with the main characters in general as well. The transition from snarky friends (maybe even enemies?) to lovers felt quite abrupt to me.  Overall< I feel this book could have used a little bit of extra work. With that said< I would still recommend this book as a light, fun read. It has a solid plot and is a light-hearted story that most people would be looking for in a romantic comedy. It checks all the boxes for what you would generally see in romantic comedy story tropes and if that’s what you’re looking for then this would probably be a book that’s right up your alley, regardless if it left me with the feeling of something to be desired.

Rating:

3/5 Stars

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