cover image Recipe for Love

Recipe for Love

Shamara Ray, Strebor, $15 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-59309-327-3

Ray's debut contemporary is a sexy kitchen romance with realistically complicated relationships and bonus recipes. Jade is a strong-minded and successful restaurateur and chef, but her personal life is in disarray. After four toxic years, she finally kicks out her boyfriend, Bryce, and sets out looking for someone who will treat her with respect. A date with Cain, a rival restaurant owner, sizzles, but life is far from smooth: Jade's best friend faces a crisis after cheating on her boyfriend; Jade's restaurant partner is Bryce's twin sister; and Bryce is turning stalkerish. Ray's introspective characters ("I grew so used to heartache that I was constantly waiting for the next problem to surface") have rich and complex bonds with friends and family, and the ever-present thread of unfaithfulness is authentically sad. The slangy urban narrative style serves the story well, diminished only by choppy, expository writing. (Feb.)