Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Review: Just One Taste

Just One Taste
Louisa Edwards

Series or Stand Alone: Recipe for Love series, book three

Release Date: August 2010

Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks

Pages: 331

Author Site: http://louisaedwards.com/

My Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Received for review from Nancy Berland Communications


He has a hungry mind.
Bad-boy chef Wes Murphy is dreading his final-semester cooking class-Food Chemistry 101-until he meets the new substitute teacher. Dr. Rosemary Wilkins is a feast for the eyes, though her approach to food is strictly academic. So Wes decides to rattle her Bunsen burner by asking for her hands-on advice-on aphrodisiacs...

She's got love down to a science.
Rosemary is a little wary about working with Wes, whose casual flirtations make her hot under the collar. But once they begin testing the love-enhancing power of chocolate, oysters, and strawberries, it becomes scientifically evident that the brainy science nerd and the boyish chef have some major chemistry together-and it’s delicious...
Okay, so I absolutely love Top Chef and Iron Chef America. I enjoy a few other food-related shows as well but have never really picked up a food/chef related novel before. I admit they interested me enough to add them to my TBR list. So when I was approached to review the latest installment in the Recipe for Love series I thought it was a great chance to see if I’d enjoy some food fiction. I’m happy to report that JUST ONE TASTE was fun, sweet, and deliciously romantic. (Yeah, I know…that was cheesy)

Ex con-artist Wes Murphy is in his last semester at the Academy of Culinary Arts. His latest obstacle: Food Chemistry 101. Even though his grades are excellent there is just something about this last class that is not clicking well with him. So what can he do to get him out of his current pickle and out on his dream externship with Executive Chef Adam Temple? How about some sort of quick-thinking scheme that involves the hot new teacher? Not a bad idea…

Dr. Rosemary Wilkins is a genius, well a child prodigy really. She graduated high school when she was 12 and received her first (yes, meaning she has more than one) undergraduate degree at age 14. Her parents are smart in their own right as well and have very successful careers. They certainly haven’t been the most family-oriented bunch so it’s pretty easy to imagine how life has been for Rosemary. The one thing Rosemary can always count on is her passion for research and her love for her lab. She may be detached and clinical most of the time but nothing can quell her lust for knowledge.

Rosemary isn’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement when asked to teach at the Academy of Culinary Arts. But she’ll certainly put up with a little social awkwardness for access to the school’s lab. She wasn’t expecting a student like Wes though or his tag-a-long doggy sidekick Lucille. In hopes of getting closer to Rosemary Wes decides to visit her office with the adorable dog in tow. But his plan goes slightly awry when the president of the academy catches Lucille on school grounds. Without even thinking Rosemary claims the dog as her own and just as quickly Wes explains to the dumbfounded president that the two of them are working on research together. Food is definitely not the only thing sizzling between the two after a few too many encounters experimenting with aphrodisiacs.

The two of them are pulled apart just as quickly as they were pushed together when Wes is forced to make a choice about his future. After taking off and leaving a crushed Rosemary behind – Wes realizes how important their relationship has meant to him but feels he has to stay away. Meanwhile, Rosemary  nurses her newly broken heart. After stewing for some time she starts to focus on what’s important in her life and what’s always been important in her life: her research. But lo and behold that path will lead her right back to who she’s trying to avoid…bad-boy chef Wes Murphy.

I think as a couple, Rosemary and Wes came together pretty well. She is socially clueless most of the time but that’s totally understandable given her background and her personality. Despite her clinical state of mind she is just as vulnerable as anyone else. After breaking out of her shell later on in the book she becomes slightly more laid back but never quite loses her nerdy side which definitely grew on me. Wes can be just as clueless though. He obviously thinks he knows what’s right for Rosemary so he makes decisions without necessarily thinking things through. That may just be a guy thing…I don’t know.

I also really got attached to the sub-plot and secondary characters: Jess and Frankie. Jess is a waiter at Market, which is the restaurant Wes gets his externship at, and Frankie is the sous-chef. Now I’m pretty sure these characters were mentioned somewhere in the first two books but their story was easy to follow. It was interesting comparing Wes and Frankie in their respective relationships because the underlying problem was the same: they were both keeping things from their significant other. Boys being boys they obviously were trying to “save” the ones they cared about from their terrible ways. But usually the case is they are just afraid to reveal their true selves because they are scared they won’t be fully accepted. Either way I absolutely loved having Jess and Frankie in the story.

I really enjoyed my first venture into Louisa’s Recipe for Love series. I’m definitely going to be reading the other two books that came before JUST ONE TASTE. The food aspect of the novel was evident, although not heavily used. I don’t think that part bothered me so much because I don’t have any other food fiction novels to compare this one to. But overall it was a super fun read! I think any kind of romance fan will enjoy Wes and Rosemary’s story.


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