Thursday, December 9, 2010

Book Club: Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards

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:

Page 202
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:
Page 54
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.

page 72
She fit against him like a teaspoon inside a tablespoon...with a nearly audible click of perfection.

page 161
Hope was a living thing breathing gently to life inside him...

page 283
Wes felt his heart splinter right down the middle, spilling acid and pain out into his rib cage.

page 311
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.

page 268
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.”

Wow!

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
INGREDIENTS
1 large round of Brie cheese
butter
pecans – enough to cover the top
Brown sugar – enough to layer on top
INSTRUCTIONS
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.

BISCOTTI
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.

http://www.joyofbaking.com/printpages/CranberryPistachioBiscottiprint.html

Enjoy!!

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.

52 comments:

Mary G said...

Good Morning everyone.
Geeting ready to go to my EDJ. I'll be back on line in a bit.

krisgils33 said...

The series was refreshingly different for me, as I haven't read alot of stories that focus on restaurants and what happens in the kitchen. It was interesting to learn some new things while reading a fun story!! I was anxious for Wes's story, as the glimpses we caught of him in the first two books left me wanting more. As secondary characters, the Frankie-Jess story arc was so unbelievably fun to read about!! I'm glad they all got their HEA.

Marie Force said...

Morning ladies! Welcome to another fun day at book club! I will confess to being only about halfway through the book (reading frantically), but enjoying it! Rosemary has just brought Lucille to the restaurant to confront Wes. Will check back in after a bit! Enjoy!

Mary G said...

Hi Kris
I loved Frankie & Jess' story so much. Soemtimes secondary stories are a distraction & I just want to get back to the main characters but in this case it was wonderful & it was interwoven so well that I wouldn't change a thing.

Mary G said...

Hey Marie
Lucille was such a cutie. I loved how she made Wes melt.

Louisa Edwards said...

Thanks so much to Marie for having me here, and to Mary G for being just the best reader in the entire world!

Krisgils33--I'm so glad the whole story arc worked for you! I loved writing Frankie and Jess, especially, so it's always wonderful to hear that readers respond to them.

Mary G said...

You're so welcome Louisa! Can you tell how much I loved this book? I didn't send you the pic with the sticky notes so I could surprise you. I told you one day I would show you LOL.

oklanannie said...

For me, Louisa Edwards' "Market" served delectable menu items in all three books complimenting the "Recipe for Love" series. Each "recipe" was bountifully prepared, freshly presented, and made to order for any contemporary romance reader's delight. Offerings included a wide range of delicious and sizzling romances, garnished with plenty of variation in characterization and spicy conflicts to satisfy any palate.

On the side, I loved the witty and refreshing take on "aphrodisiacs" in JUST ONE TASTE bringing on some really laughable moments. Wes, the bad boy, and Rosemary, the geeky brainiac, both brought very interesting and different backgrounds into play. The secondary romance between Jess and Frankie was a gem. Their complicated relationship began in the first book, CAN'T STAND THE HEAT, and was well worth a few crusty and sour moments.

And who could bypass ON THE STEAMY SIDE with such characters as Lolly and Devon. I loved the differences in their backgrounds and the chemistry they shared.

I could never pick my favorite out of these three books. Each delighted me and served up some great hours of reading. Ah, I just love great HEAs!

I would highly recommend this wonderful series of books!

BON APPETIT!

Tanja said...

This sounds like a fantastic series. I love books that incorporate a secondary romance to the story, it adds depth and make the story believable. BTW, I'm adding the fruit cookies to my Christmas cookie list.

oklanannie said...

P.S. I forgot to mind my manners and thank our hostesses and our special guest. Thanks to both Marie and Mary G (for the great new recipes, too!) for hosting book club. Welcome to Louisa and thanks for the great "Recipe for Love" series. Anxious to hear what you're cooking up for us next?

Alison said...

I can't remember how I stumbled on this series, but I'm so glad I did!!

I loved the Frankie and Jess storyline...I've been rooting for their HEA since Can't Stand the Heat.

I also liked how in each of her books the heros were so different and they each met a woman who complimented them so well.

BTW...I'm also loving the Violet and Jonathan’s love story on Louisa's website.

Louisa Edwards said...

Mary G - The sticky-noted book was way better as a surprise this morning!! I'm glad you waited.

Oklannie - Wow, thanks for the glowing review! Are you by any chance the restaurant critic for your local paper? ; ) As for what's coming up next, I'm smack dab in the middle of writing the Hot trilogy, which will be out next fall: Too Hot to Touch, Some Like it Hot, and Hot Under Pressure! It follows a team of hot (obviously) young chefs cooking their hearts out in a high-stakes culinary competition. Set in the same world as the Market books, so some familiar faces will be popping up.

Tanja - I love reading secondary romances, so I knew I definitely wanted to include them in my books. So glad you agree! And that you're planning to make the fruity cookies--they're very special to my family, and always a big favorite with kids. : )

Louisa Edwards said...

Alison - Thank you so much for mentioning the free reads! I have such a great time writing those. If anyone else has missed them, you can catch up here:

http://www.louisaedwards.com/freereads.html

Mary G said...

Anne
You said it way better than I did.

Alison
I love Violet's story too.

Hope said...

Good morning everyone...Thanks Mary for your suggestion this week. Seems like we have spent the past few weeks on the romantic suspense books, it is nice to move over to the contemporary stuff too. And thanks Louisa for joining us too. (and as always, love you to Marie lol)

This is the part where I confess that I haven't read the 3rd one yet. It is in my TBR pile, and I promise to get to it, I just didn't make it this time. I have read the other two and I agree with everyone on here, it is a refreshing change. I loved the restaurant setting. I also must confess, that I think one of my favorite parts are the recipes. I too am curious about the Frankie/Jess story, I am glad to know they didn't just go away. I really like the story line (and to be honest, sometimes I don't like those if they aren't done well). I loved this series...there was alot of LOL moments and some sit-an-make-you-ponder moments, and the secondary characters weren't always just in the background. LOVE IT!!!

Mary G said...

Glad you like the pic Louisa.
My son took it with his Blackberry & I drove him crazy. Since I was in my jammies, hair tied back & no makeup, I was telling him "just get the book & nothing else". Since I'm not petite it wasn't easy to do LOL.

Marie Force said...

Hi again,
Welcome to our new folks as well as the old regulars! :-)

Louisa,
Thanks for being with us today!

Great discussion so far! Hope everyone is having a good day. Of course as soon as I set Thurs as book club day, work becomes extra busy every Thursday! :-)

alinaduffer said...

Good Morning Marie, Mary and Louisa! I have yet to read this series but is is on my never ending TBR list. All of the snippets I have read from this series just make me want to read them so much more too! I'm pretty sure my hubby is just gonna give me gift cards for books for Christmas so I will stop complaining about all the books I want, lol!

Have a great day and a Wonderful Holiday Season!!!

Cindy L said...

Louisa, I'm reminded every day when I get on Facebook, and see your posts, that I need to hurry up and get through my TBR pile so I can get your books! Hopefully I will get my Borders gift card in my stocking this year!
Mary, I love that you included a pic of your sticky notes! I laughed out loud when you said you told your son to just get the book in the pic! At my house someone always whips out a camera when you're at your worst!

Jackie P said...

I read this book on a recomend and loved it.

flchen1 said...

Oh! I have book one on my TBR and the rest on my TBB! Thanks for the "meeting" today--clearly I NEED to read these!! I do love it when secondary characters get their HEA, too! I'm just a sucker for lurve! ;)

Mary G said...

Hi Hope

You said: there was alot of LOL moments and some sit-an-make-you-ponder moments, and the secondary characters weren't always just in the background. LOVE IT!!!

That's exactly right, hence the many sticky notes.

Louisa Edwards said...

Hope - It makes me so happy to hear that you like the recipes! You wouldn't believe how much time and effort those take, from development to testing and perfecting. I have huge respect for cookbook writers, now! But I love doing them--it's great to share my love of cooking with my readers.

Mary G - I would've been okay with seeing you in the pic, too! After so many sweet emails and this lovely blog post, I feel like I know you. : )

Alinaduffer - Good luck with the gift certificate! Books make the best self indulgence, don't they?

Cindy L - Well, you're in the drawing now, so maybe you'll win the whole series and not have to wait for your stocking stuffers! Good luck. : )

Jackie P - Yay, word of mouth! Is there anything better than a book recommendation from someone you trust? I've found some of my absolute fave authors that way.

flchen1 - Yes, as these comments no doubt tell you, I do not skimp on my secondary characters! They're so important to me--my biggest issue is trying not to let them take over the whole book. And still, on Just One Taste, the only negative thing most reviewers had to say was that they wanted an entire book dedicated to the secondary romance characters. : )

Mary G said...

Cindy

Re: the pic:
My son doesn't get the book love thing and thinks I'm nuts already. The pic thing (that I forced with threats about a laundry strike) was just the icing on the cake LOL.

I asked him what took longer - his laundry or getting the right pic?
Put in that perspective....

I can't wait till I ask him to take another one where I'm dressed & wearing makeup LOL. I may have to use the "induced & 6 1/2 hours of labor" for that one.

Mary G said...

Louisa
A whole book on Jess & Frankie.
Great idea!!

oklanannie said...

Grant was another character that peeked my curiosity. I felt like he had some dark secrets that he kept hidden close to his heart. Needed more info on him? Will we ever see him again?

Louisa, so glad to hear the news about the forthcoming "Hot" trilogy! Will anxiously look forward to it.

And no, I'm not a food critique. I barely can put two sentences together. However, I've made it my personal challenge to put more effort into whatever I write - whether on a blog or a personal letter or note - and try to have some fun as well!

Mary G -- I love your post it notes! My books are color-coded with a highlighter pen.

Enjoying the blog today!

Louisa Edwards said...

Oklannie - Ah, Grant. Another one of my faves! Well, he does have a secret, which comes out in Just One Taste--although I'll confess here that he originally had a much larger role in that book. My editor and I had to take a hard look at the first draft, because Grant's storyline was throwing the whole thing off balance, and we decided to scale it back. I hated to do it, because I love him! But she was right, the book as a whole was better because of the revisions.

The upshot of that is I've got several deleted Grant scenes on my hard drive. Some reiterate things that appeared in the actual book--but would you all be interested in seeing them, if I put them up on my website? Show of hands!

Mary G said...

A big yes!! - Mo arm twisting needed.

Mary G said...

I mean - no arm twisting.

Alison said...

Both hands in the air over here!!

oklanannie said...

YES YES YES YES YES YES and YES!!
I would LOVE to see the "extras." Grant's secret was revealed to me but I just felt he wasn't giving us the whole story . . . details - I needed the sordid details!!!

Nancy Bristow said...

Hey Mary G...I've popped over by your invite and glad I did:) I've also seen buzz around the blogs about Louisa Edwards and in fact, receive her newsletter (must have entered a contest along the way;)

Reading your refreshing comments is a wonderful endorsement of Louisa Edwards' books. Many times I ignore professional reviews because they scream insincere.

I read accordingly to mood and across most romance genres on a daily basis. Interestingly I've also recently been through a romance-suspense phase.

I don't read a lot of contemporary but I love when I get a good recommend. Thanks for that. My TBB is groaning but I plan to add Just Once Taste anyway:)

Oh, I also love a well done but not overpowering secondary romance in a story.

flchen1 said...

I'm completely sold, Louisa! While I love nothing better than a solidly written romance, I do love one that creates a world where I fall in love with the supporting cast, too! Thanks for visiting today--and for the yummy recipes! It's been a long time since I've made biscotti--might be time to try again!

sadangel said...

I now want sex and food...and a good book. Okay. Sorry for being so bad. *smile*

Books sounds great. Trilogy sounds better!

Judy F said...

Hey all. I loved this whole series.

I just enjoyed all the romance and the action in the kitchen.


Looking forward to your next series.

Mary G said...

Hi Nancy
Thanks for dropping in. You will love the yummy guys in this book as well as Rosemary.

I forgot to say that while reading it, I either wanted to be her (yep Wes is awesome in bed) or be her friend. I liked her that much.

Mary G said...

I agree Judy.

I loved reading about the rhythm of the kitchen routine. It was "hot" in there too.

Kara C said...

Hey all!
Really enjoyed Just One Taste. In fact, it's my favorite of the three. I'd have to agree with the laugh out loud moments. I LOVE a bit of humor in my books, and this one certainly has that. Also agree with the secondary characters being a huge draw.
Thanks, Louisa, for the great read!

Mary G said...

Hi Kara
So glad you stopped by. Yes i still laugh at "meep" in the gazebo.

Ronlyn said...

I'll admit i haven't read the book: but I love cooking. I lvoe love...what's not to love? :-)
Thanks for the nudge in getting me to dig through my TBR pile.

Mary G said...

Hi ronlyn
Thanks for dropping in. I know we love our rom. susp. but you'd love these 2 characters. Contemps are a nice change ( as I'm reading the second Shadow Force book Promises In The Dark by Stephanie Tyler ) LOL).

Ronlyn said...

There is certainly a place for a nice contemp (without the suspense), so no worries on that front. And cooking? what could be better?

Jolene Allcock and Family said...

Ok, so I haven't read these books yet. I know I know, what is wrong with me?? They are at the top of my wishlist and am hoping to do some splurging after Christmas. My kids need to come first, though it's hard when It comes to my books LOL I've heard such amazing things and have been seeing these books reviewed everywhere. I can't wait to get ahold of them and enjoy them like everyone else. I'm not a big cook, but I enjoy reading a story that is centered in the kitchen. I have only read two others like that and I loved them. Just because it's better I stay out of the kitchen doesn't mean I don't enjoy reading about someone who has better skills than me LOL

Marie Force said...

Thanks to everyone who came out to play today! It looks like Louisa has scored a group of new readers and pleased her existing readers with some fun new free reads!

Louisa and I will get together to choose the winner of the signed trilogy.

Come back next week for our visit with Robyn Carr and a trip to Virgin River!

Melanie said...

Have not had a chance to read this one but after reading the comments I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

Mary G said...

Yes thanks everyone.

Thanks Marie & Louisa.
It was fun dishing about JOT.

Louisa Edwards said...

Thank you a million times to everyone who commented--from those of you who loved the book to those who are open to the idea of it, you all made my day!

Good luck with the drawing...

Marie Force said...

And we have a winner! Louisa has chosen alinaduffer as the winner of the signed trilogy! Please contact her at louisa@louisaedwards.com to arrange for delivery.

Thanks to everyone who came out to play yesterday! Louisa enjoyed it!

alinaduffer said...

OMG! I am so excited! Thank you so much! I will send you my info right now!

Alison said...

CONGRATS Alinaduffer!!! You're really going to enjou this series!

Mary G said...

Congrats & enjoy AlinaD
Better save a chunk a time for these. When you start you won't be able to stop till you're finished.

flchen1 said...

Huge congrats, AlinaD! Thanks again, MaryG, Marie, and Louisa!