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Confusing but sweet on the palete
on November 2, 2012
Please note: This review was written when the title of this book was still THE PERFECT DISH.
There's a man who happens to be a chef - young and sexy. Everyone who sees him wants him and why not? He's successful, attractive, and likes women. There's a woman who is slightly older than him. She's had her share of heartache and has buried two husbands. Attractive, sure, but she doesn't play it up. She likes to hide in herself, even while helping others through grief.
A meeting. A spark. A romance.
THE PERFECT DISH BY Kristen Painter is a story about romance. It's a simple and sweet tale of two people meeting, learning about each other, dealing with problems, and falling in love. There are ups and downs in the relationship. There are also ups and downs in the book itself.
The characters in THE PERFECT DISH aren't really anything to fawn over, though Kelly Spicer was a chef who sounded incredibly gorgeous. He's a bit stereotypical for the most part, a Texan who loves wearing boots, cooking Tex-Mex in his restaurants, and using expressions that made me laugh but also roll my eyes. Dr. Meredith Black, a psychologist who now writes books, is plain but undergoes a makeover thanks to two friends who annoyed me more than words could say. Pushy and demanding to know more about Meredith's love life, Viv and Celia seemed to be complete caricatures. The one character I actually enjoyed reading about was Shelby, Kelly's younger sister, though she only appeared in a few scenes. She was actually the catalyst for Kelly and Meredith meeting, though she didn't know.
Plot-wise, it's cutesy. There's really no other words for it. There are a few hot kisses but Painter definitely fades to black, so to speak, and I found it refreshing, to be quite honest. There's evidence that the main characters have done some business between the sheets but it's not in anyone's face and is really only referred back to or spoken about in passing. That definitely gave this book a higher rating because it was done well. My biggest problem with this book is that the description mentions a magic cookbook yet it almost seemed like the item was thrown in after the story was created. The cookbook was mentioned briefly in the first chapter, made an appearance later on, then disappeared until the big reveal where everything is talked about. I almost feel as though the story would have benefited from taking it out completely. It felt like it was a ploy to try to get readers of the supernatural or fantasy genres to bite but it wasn't enough to satisfy.
In the end, THE PERFECT DISH is cute, something to bring along to the beach or pool come summer. It's not perfectly written; the book could have definitely used a bit of line-editing but nothing too big that it will destroy one's reading of this fun book. Just don't assume there will be much magic like the description might suggest.
-- originally reviewed on Ordinary People, Extraordinary Works --