On a basic level Yaffa S. Santos’s A Taste of Sage calls to me: enemies to lovers set in the creative & delicious restaurant world, with some magical realism elements thrown in the mix. And let’s go ahead and give a round of applause to the person(s) who designed the cover because it’s a vibrant slice of happiness.
But unfortunately the more that I read of this upcoming release, the more I was confused by its execution, taken out of the story in the passages where narrative subtlety is lacking, & ultimately pretty shocked by a direction the plot takes.
Lumi cooks a spontaneous daily menu of Dominican food at the restaurant she’s just opened. At a catering job she meets famed chef Julien Dax, who arrogantly—& w/out knowing her identify—insults her food to her face. Oops.
Shortly thereafter Lumi’s restaurant goes under & she ends up interviewing with Julien. Lumi gets the job after a very brief interview & has to figure out how to put up with the uber traditional, conceited jerk who rubbed her the wrong way from the get-go. For his part, Julien feels a strong attraction for Lumi but it’s up for debate whether he’ll be able to tear down her walls.
Food is more than a profession for the hero & heroine in ATOS; there’s a lot of love for it and for the act of creativity that Lumi nurtures with her plates. Full recipes are even included throughout the book. There’s potential in Lumi’s and the book’s overall devotion to food & in Julien’s later care of Lumi.
But I didn’t feel like I really emotionally connected with the characters, even when they were at their lowest, & on the whole ATOS feels emotionally thin to me. This romance just isn’t for me.
graphically described burn injuries
ATOS is out on 05/19. Thanks to Avon Books & Edelweiss for the complimentary ARC; all opinions provided are my own.