The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique by Samantha Verant @samantha_verant @BerkleyRomance @BerkleyPub

Posted January 21, 2023 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 24 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique by Samantha Verant @samantha_verant @BerkleyRomance @BerkleyPub The Spice Maser at Bistro Exotique by Samantha Verant
Published by Berkley on December 6, 2022
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Kate Jenkins doesn't believe in fate. She believes in a clear vision, meticulous planning, and hard work in order to achieve her culinary dreams. On the cusp of opening her own Parisian restaurant, Bistro Exotique, she isn't even concerned when her standoffish--and annoyingly sexy--neighbor dismisses her as a crazy American tourist or when she meets the wildly eccentric Garrance, the self-proclaimed Spice Master of Paris, who ominously warns her of the previous owner's failures.

Confident and optimistic, Kate keeps calm and cooks on. Until a series of unfortunate events derail her plans and her entire staff quits.

Kate is about to throw in the kitchen towel on her lifelong dream when Garrance offers to use her mastery of scents and spices to help her, but it comes at a price: Kate must work with Garrance's son, Charles, a world-class chef and total jerk. After Kate hesitantly concedes to the deal, she slowly learns to open her heart and mind to new concepts, not quite sure if the magic she's experiencing comes from Garrance's spices, from within herself, or from the growing chemistry with Charles. One thing is certain, though: her kitchen is getting increasingly hot.

I was excited to read The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique.  I’m a foodie sort or at least I enjoy reading about cooking and chefs.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect.  There’s nothing wrong with the book. It’s more my personal tastes or rather distastes.

The setting was in Paris with Kate starting her own restaurant after culinary school and years of working in top places.  The annoying but attractive Charles lives in the building where her restaurant is the main floor and they each have apartments on higher floors.  The previous restaurant there had some shady dealings and the owner turned up dead.  Kate got a deal on the place and is excited to have her own place.

And I just didn’t care.  The characters and plots felt to me like the kind of cozy mysteries I don’t enjoy where they are so quirky and unrealistic.   Charles and his family are international billionaires.  Kate’s mother is a sex therapist.  Crazy, unusual things happen as she works on opening the restaurant.   It doesn’t seem like Kate has to work very hard or pay bills, and can take off for whatever at a moment’s notice.

There is not enough cooking and menu planning for me either.  There was a short scene going to the fish market. Some cooking of dishes but not really much detail on them.  The other big thing was the psychedelic imaginings when Kate used the spices she was gifted.  I just skipped to the next paragraph.

The enemies to lovers switch happened rather quickly.  I guess from the tension and attraction, they got to know each other as they worked together. The change was over a short time.

This was not for me.   I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

Anne - Books of My Heart
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 23-COYER

Posted January 21, 2023 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 24 Comments

24 responses to “The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique by Samantha Verant

  1. I struggle with books that feel quirky or over the top just for the sake of being quirky or over the top. It can definitely pull me out of the story. Too bad this one didn’t work for you as the premise does sound good.

  2. Sounds cute; sorry it didn’t work for you. Sometimes I find that I probably would have enjoyed a book more at a different point in my life… tastes change.