I'm pleased to welcome author Louisa Edwards to the Book Club with her book Just One Taste. Louisa has generously offered a complete set of her Recipe for Love trilogy to one lucky commenter! This book was recommended by Mary Grzesik, our co-hostess for this week. Here's what Mary had to say:
I had seen Louisa’s Can’t Stand the Heat & on the Steamy Side in blogland. I kept reading great reviews. I bought them & put them in my HUGE TBR pile since I was on a rom. susp. kick. I finally decided to read them & I wanted to kick myself for waiting. I read the first 2 back to back just before Just One Taste released & while I went crazy those 2 weeks, Just One Taste was worth waiting for.
I just adored sexy, bad boy Wes & sexy, adorable nerd Rosemary. Wes came from a questionable childhood with a scam artist dad & he is trying to get a life. Rosemary is a child genius who feels she lacks social skills because of the way she grew up—not much interaction with people her own age. She wears Star Wars T-shirts & has Star Trek dreams. She is a sweet combination of passion & logic:
May the force be with us—we’re so about to have sex in the middle of Central Park!
And on the same page:
Someone should do a study of the makeup sex phenomenon.
This book is sexy, funny & endearing and it made me smile, cry, ache. The path these two took to get together was not smooth. I have sticky notes all through this book because Louisa’s writing is so wonderful, there were many scenes I just kept rereading. Some of my faves:
When Wes realizes that he wants to be worthy of Rosemary:
The idea of wanting something real was like a new cut from a clean, sharp knife-it seemed okay on the surface of it, but give it a good poke and he was ready to whimper for mercy.
I read that over & over—so powerful.
She fit against him like a teaspoon inside a tablespoon...with a nearly audible click of perfection.
Hope was a living thing breathing gently to life inside him...
Wes felt his heart splinter right down the middle, spilling acid and pain out into his rib cage.
it was like a kick to the head, rearranging everything inside as if someone upended a drawer..
There was a secondary romance that weaved through all three books. Frankie, another bad boy, and best friend of Market restaurant owner Adam, was another person wanting to deserve happiness. In Book One, Frankie meets Jess, brother in-law of Adam, when Jess starts working there too. Jess has just come out and Frankie doesn’t trust that he is it for Jess. They broke up in book two. While I was waiting to read JOT, part of the anticipation was wondering how Frankie & Jess were going to work it out.
There was a touching parallel too, with Wes and Rosemary & Frankie and Jess.Both Wes & Frankie want to be loved so much but were so afraid to accept it. Wes recognizes this and tries to give Frankie advice he’s too afraid to take himself.
Wes tells Frankie, “Not pretending to be psychic, man, but I know that look… the expression in your eyes that says you’re in way over your head…. I know that look, because I see it in the mirror every day.”
This secondary story was so poignant. It made me feel that Louisa wrote about the kind of love that matters, that love is universal. The wanting & yearning would have worked no matter what couple she wrote about. It was a wonderful icing on the cake that is this book. Just One Taste is one of my treasures of 2010, a book that is so much more than I expected.
Louisa has shared one of her favorite recipes with us:
These are my Gram's famous, old-fashioned Fruity Cookies--perfect for the holidays, because the candied fruit in them is so festive, and because you can keep the dough chilled in the fridge and just bake them off when unexpected company drops by!
Gram's Fruity Cookies
8 oz dates
8 oz golden raisins
8 oz candied cherries
3-4 candied pineapple rings
2 cups pecans, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 4 more cups
1 lb butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Special equipment: wax paper or aluminum foil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Chop the fruit (doesn't need to be a perfectly uniform dice, but should be chopped small) and mix with the chopped pecans. Dredge together in one cup of flour.
Cream butter with eggs and sugars.
Sift the remaining four cups of flour together with the baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt, then add the dry ingredients to the creamed egg mixture.
Stir in chopped fruits and pecans.
Chill dough in refrigerator for at least two hours.
Remove dough from fridge. Working on sheets of wax paper or aluminum foil, form dough into logs, two inches in diameter and six to eight inches long. Wrap tightly in paper or foil, then chill again.
When the dough is firm and easy to handle, slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and bake on a cookie sheet for about seven minutes, until cookies are golden brown.
And since we're traveling to Canada to Mary's place for book club this week, here's what she has in store for us: While it’s not Christmas yet, the parties have already started. These are 2 faves that always go over well.
BAKED BRIE WITH PECANS & BROWN SUGAR
1 large round of Brie cheese
pecans – enough to cover the top
Brown sugar – enough to layer on top
Place cheese on oven proof plate (I use a big quiche dish so I can lay the bread around the cheese after it’s done). Trim the rind off the top of the brie. Spread top with butter; cover with brown sugar & pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, depending on size. Center should feel soft when you push down with a spoon. Serve warm with sliced French bread or crackers.
Even though I’m the Italian descent half, hubby is the talented baker. Every Christmas he makes biscotti. He uses one recipe. Just Google Joy Of Cooking Biscotti. The recipe is basically the same for all the flavors. Last year he made Anisette (licorice liqueur) & Orange Peel & Hazelnut. My fave is Cranberry/Pistachio – I'm just adding the link so you can see the pic as well.
Thanks Marie & Louisa for letting me dish about this book. Now, tell us what you thought of the book!
Find Louisa Edwards on her website, on Facebook and on Twitter.