Meh. It was definitely better than I'm So (Not) Over You in that the relationship between the two main characters was actually developed and believable, and they had some chemistry. But, the main character's narration and dialogue was just so incredibly annoying that it negatively impacted my reading experience considerably.
"A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson invites readers into the heartwarming and picturesque town of Harper's Cove, where the story unfolds against the backdrop of a hip new restaurant, The Wharf. Xavier Reynolds, our relatable hero, is navigating a challenging phase in life—recently dumped, passed over for a prestigious fellowship, and reluctantly back in his hometown of Harper's Cove. The last thing on his mind is taking up a job as a prep chef at The Wharf, especially under the hot, single-father chef Logan O'Hare, whose delegation skills leave much to be desired. The charming small-town setting provides the perfect canvas for the unexpected connection that blossoms between Xavier and Logan.
What makes this tale particularly engaging is the interplay between the characters. Xavier, with his quick wit and sarcasm, clashes amusingly with Logan, who struggles to decipher Xavier's demeanor. Forced to work together, their banter in the kitchen adds a delightful spice to the narrative. The age gap romance between Xavier and Logan is skillfully woven into the plot, creating a dynamic that resonates with authenticity. As the heat between them rises, the story cleverly balances the Scoville scale of their relationship, keeping readers hooked on whether they can make it work despite their differences.
Kosoko Jackson not only delivers on the promise of a sizzling romance but also explores themes of second chances and unexpected connections. The chemistry between Xavier and Logan is palpable, making the reader root for their relationship. A Dash of Salt and Pepper is a delectable mix of charm, humor, and passion that captures the essence of small-town life while delivering a satisfying and heartwarming love story."
I reviewed this on Book Riot's All the Books podcast. Here is a rough transcript.
This is an M/M foodie romcom with a Black gay main character and a white bisexual love interest.
Xavier had big plans for his life. Unfortunately, they’ve all just fallen down around him.
After graduating business school, he was supposed to be on the cutting edge of some fascinating yet ethically defensible start-up.
Instead, after many rounds of interviews, he got rejected for the fellowship he was counting on. And then he got dumped.
So now he’s back home, at his parents’ house, in a tiny little town in Maine.
While he’s wallowing, things only seem to get worse when he hears someone breaking downstairs.
When he heroically confronts the intruder, it turns out to be an embarrassing misunderstanding.
But Logan, the chef at the hottest restaurant in town, and the person Xavier just accused of robbery, is also looking for a soux chef.
And Xavier has no other options.
And so, they reluctantly start working together — and soon after, flirting.
This is an age gap romance: Xavier is 26 and Logan is 39, and he has a 14-year-old daughter.
Lots of the reviews say that this is a perfect match for fans of Hallmark movies.
It’s about a big city guy reluctantly returning to his small hometown and finding love.
Xavier is a sarcastic and snarky main character who can get under your skin, but you slowly start to learn why he’s developed that armor.
It’s also about him having to adapt to this change in circumstance, and reevaluating the plans he had for his life.
This looks like a really cute, fun romance with a foodie element.
And that’s A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to the free advanced digital copy of this book.
I struggled with this book. The characters were complicated and not easy to relate to, the ARC had some typos, and the story line was convulated and not easy to follow along.
This was bad. When I first finished it I thought that it was not great but as I have actively sat with this book I realize just it is not a good book. There's very little redeeming qualities about it and that's super unfortunate because the cover is awesome. Justice for books with beautiful covers but shitty stories.
Okay, first things first, as someone who works in professional kitchens and has done so for many years, I am always on the lookout for quality food and baking representation in books. This book has the opposite of that. Not a single thing that happened in this kitchen would happen in a professional kitchen. You have a head chef/owner who doesn't even have a kitchen staff and pulls in a server who can filet a fish but isn't a kitchen employee. He hires a prep cook and pays him $20 an hour even though he has not a single ounce of kitchen experience. Said head chef then disappears for something I don't even remember what, but basically leaves this really important food critic review situation in the hands of his brand new inexperienced prep cook. In what world? There's a couple scenes that are just sexual harassment. I don't care if it's a romance novel, there is nowhere in the world but you can get away with going up behind someone and physically showing them how to chop something by putting your hand on top of theirs. Are you kidding me? I had to pause after that because I could not. I do not care if you think that someone's attractive or if you're dating, which they were not at the point, that is so inappropriate and irresponsible and honestly really unsafe.
Honestly just throw all of the food representation out the window. It all sucks. Then there's a stupid line where the main character who is a prep cook mind you, has the audacity to make a claim that bakery and cake supply shops are not busy or stressful and that he actually preps and cooks at his job. As a professional baker who works their fucking ass off and goes in at 3:00 in the morning only to have asshole savory chefs come in at 1:00 p.m. acting like they are God's gift to the world, this is where the book really lost me. It happens at about 75% of the way through and I was already pretty much done but after that I was ready to chuck the book in the bin.
So if you just forget all of the food stuff in the book, you'd think well maybe there has to be something good about this book right? I mean we have a cool love interest who's a single dad and we have a main character trying to find out where he belongs. No they're both assholes. I've seen a lot of reviews and agree that this book would have benefited from dual POV but I don't think that it would have saved it. I'm more curious to get that POV of the chef who thinks that leaving his restaurant in the hands of a prep cook because I genuinely don't understand, but I don't think it would have helped at all. This book is a disaster. The timing is off the pacing is off they go from complete enemies to dating very quickly with no explanations and no details surrounding it. The ending is super rushed and confusing. There's a conflict that is so stupid it made me want to scream. The only redeeming character in this entire book is the love interest daughter and that's all I've got.
I can never resist a cooking romance, and Jackson has crafted one of my dreams, rife with savory descriptions and steam scenes!
This to me was okay! I thought it improved once Xavier and Logan got together, and I appreciate Logan as a bisexual single man, I don't think you get that representation a lot. I thought it took longer for me to really like Xavier than I wanted to and that was a part of my hangup.
Love a cooking book and enemies to lovers in the kitchen. This was a good book and I enjoyed it. and wouldn' like to read jackon's other books
A Dash of Salt and Pepper was my first book by Kosoko Jackson, and I had a lot of fun with it! I’ve had an ARC sitting on my Kindle for months now, and it was definitely time to get around to it.
The book follows our main character Xavier as he struggles with the reality of moving back home and living with his parents in their small town after it feels like his life spirals out of control. He has a very negative outlook on life there, but when he ends up meeting Logan, a single dad who owns a popular restaurant in the town, he begins to find community and realizes that maybe everything he could ever want in life is already around him.
Xavier was definitely annoying at times, but I did grow to like him by the end of the book. Watching him personally grow as he got closer with Logan and his daughter was really good to see. I also LOVED Logan. An older man with lots of tattoos and a hilarious daughter? We love to see it. I really liked that this was an age gap romance; it’s one of my favorite tropes and was entertaining here. This book had me smiling by the end of it; it was full of humor and heart!
CW for mentions of divorce, sexual content.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson.
Red, White & Royal Blue minus the royals, but add cooking and the NE. I love Maine. I haven't been to Maine. But I know I'd love it. (Do not come back and remind me that I didn't love Paris.)
From the reviews, I didn't think I would enjoy this that much, but that just comes to show you can't trust everything you read. This was a hoot. I swear I'm not a boomer. I wanted more spice, but the one scene does get quite hot. This cover is everything.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher.
A small town romance that showcases an age difference of 15 years in addition to being interracial. And while I am sure relationships with that type of age gap work, it seemed to cause all the relationship issues in the book.
I loved that it takes place in a small town and that Logan is a chef that owns his own restaurant. I liked both Logan and Xavier and that it tried to be inclusive, but my main criteria for a romance is to root for the couple and I found I just didn’t see them working out long term. It references the Devil Wears Prada throughout the book and thought it would have been better served with the couple mimicking that couple and breaking up. Of course not because they were a toxic couple but because there just wasn’t enough chemistry for me.
This book had a lot of potential but unfortunately, it fell extremely flat. Anne was definitely the best part of this book. Xavier and Logan had terrible personalities and this was definitely written by someone who doesn't fully understand small-town life but instead romanticizes it based on what they've seen vs what they've lived.
Kosoko Jackson is a great author for being so new - or at least new to me. This book had a fun plot and two very solid characters, that you really wanted to work out.
Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review.
A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson is a contemporary romance. Xavier Reynolds is doing less than stellar. He just got dumped, was passed over for a prestigious fellowship, and to top it all off he's right back home in Harper's Cove, Maine (population: 9,000). The last thing he wants to do is to work as a prep chef in the kitchen of the hip new restaurant in town, The Wharf. Especially since the hot, single-father chef who owns it can’t delegate to save his life. Logan O’Hare doesn’t understand Xavier or why every word out of his mouth is dipped in sarcasm. Unfortunately, he has no choice but to hire him—he needs more help in the kitchen and his tween daughter, Anne, can only mince so many onions. It might be a recipe for disaster, but Logan doesn’t have many options besides Xavier. Stuck between a stove and a hot place, Logan and Xavier discover an unexpected connection. But when the heat between them threatens to top the Scoville scale, they’ll have to decide if they can make their relationship work or if life has seasoned them too differently.
A Dash of Salt and Pepper is a romance with nuanced characters and a great sense of humor. I really enjoyed getting to know Xavier and Logan, and the secondary characters that brought a lot of heart to the story. I thought he back and forth between our couple was highly entertaining and I was very engaged in Xavier's personal growth as well as the romance. I loved the small town aspects and how no character was all good or bad, they were just real characters with plenty of grey- just like the people you run into every day. I loved the friendships and relationships between the main characters and secondary characters- and those those in the background have with each other. The only thing that I really did not like in the story was the ending. Of course there is a happy ending- I would not really label this a romance with out at least a happy for now. I saw two ore three ways for this to play out, but the chosen conclusion just fell flat for me, and I think even the same ending timed a bit differently in the action of the story would have worked better for me, but it just did not work for me. The book is still very much worth the read, and my disappointment is totally a matter of personal preference and other readers (including you) might very well disagree.
A Dash of Salt and Pepper is a solid contemporary romance with all the feels.
Despite the mc mentioning his business degree every chapter (and I really do mean despite), I enjoyed this. The romance was well done, the characters were interesting and likeable (business degree and all), and although I'm sure some people will be bothered by the high number of pop culture references in this, that's never been something that bugs me, and it felt very true to Xavier's character.
I SO wanted to love A Dash of Salt and Pepper by new-to-me author, Kosoko Jackson, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. This book was rough to push through.
I have this thing about chef books- they never seem to work for me, even though I LOVE food and consider myself an amateur foodie. This book was just the latest victim of my culinary book doom streak...
I don't think that Kosoko Jackson's writing style works for me. Right off the bat, I could tell I wasn't going to mesh with the book. There was a lot of inner dialogue and a lot of angst against his parents and hometown, and none of it really made a whole lot of sense for me. I had to force myself to keep reading, and I ended up skimming quite a bit towards the end.
Not the book for me, but at least I tried.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
This was a really sweet, unique LGBTQ love story that I enjoyed a lot!
The characters were extremely loveable, the setting was great and of course I love a sunshine/grump! Plus there's food involved? Perfect.
I really enjoyed this book!! I felt a little like i could relate with that feeling of not knowing what your next steps are going to be and wanting to find what makes you want to enjoy what you do. This book was a lot of fun, Xavier and Logan had really good chemistry throughout the book. I was laughing out loud at some of the antics and feeling all of my emotions throughout. This book was great!
Kosoko Jackson wrote a good story but the romance fell just a tad short for me. Some conflict seemed unnecessary and forced. Like things mattered a whole lot without explanation of why. Xavier and Logan had a cute relationship but it was just not a very exciting read for me.