By Dan & Denise Harmer
Published 2011, Lamp Post Pubs.
Paperback, 281 pages
Nestled along San Diego's coast, the former romantic getaway of the silver screen's most notorious lovers is now the sizzling hacienda of Bonnie Miller's culinary boot camp. "If you are what you eat, make it hot, spicy and irresistible," is her motto, and this queen of Southwestern cuisine enjoys quite a savory life; success, fame, and a reputation for the finest palate west of Barcelona. That is, until a pot-rattling bang causes Trace Domingo, a washed-up sports writer, to crash into her life. His arrival turns up the heat at the culinary boot camp as Bonnie discovers in life's recipe book, it is not the spices which add the most flavor, but how truly hungry you are.This book blended many different styles of fiction literature all into one book. First, the foodie aspects are prominent, and many of the dishes described had me drooling. I would have loved this book if it was nothing more than a romance blended with gourmet cooking. But, then it grows to contain aspects of suspense, drama, mystery, and unpredictability. I really could not guess where the authors were going with each turn of the page, and it kept me riveted right to the end. Impressively, with as much as was involved in the plot, everything seemed to fit together reasonably well and still felt believable.
Bonnie Miller is the gourmet chef of the plot, but carries enough emotional baggage to scare away most people. Trace Domingo is an aspiring chef with an attraction to Bonnie that overrides anything she can throw at him, which leads to his being dragged along on a wild adventure to sort through Bonnie's baggage. Despite Bonnie's often-cold demeanor, I like how her character develops throughout the plot as she works through her issues. Trace is appropriately supportive and understanding, but his character does not change much from beginning to end.
I also found interesting much of the background information that was worked into the story to represent the local areas used in the plot, such as the food and the politics. The details about the orphanages was especially heart-wrenching, and I love what Bonnie does to contribute aid to them.
This book was both enjoyable and surprising, and I am glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.
The Cover: I'm not crazy about the cover or even the title. The book is certainly about more than guacamole, and the religious aspects of the book don't show up for half the plot. The cover also looks like a bad Photoshop job, something I could have whipped up.
First Line: "Egg zombies. Flavorless egg zombies."
I love the way this book opens - like I'm reading the Food Network instead of watching it.
Favorite Quote: "Laugh it up, fuzzballs."
Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge, Foodie Challenge
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*