Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to.
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Today’s pick is a contemporary foodie romance that offered up some A+ humor.
Chef’s Choice by TJ Alexander
Luna O’Shea just got fired from her job as the incredibly proficient executive assistant of a practically useless CEO. She did not see this coming, and the HR person’s “reasons” had the pungent odor of anti-trans microaggressions. She desperately needs someone to talk to, and since her roommate Simone isn’t home, Luna decides to go to where she was working so they can talk in person.
Simone is a chef and is working on the set of an upcoming reality cooking show. While Luna is at the place where they will be filming, a moody trans man with a vape and a French accent goes storming through asking every woman around if they’d pretend to be his girlfriend for 15 minutes. He offers to pay any takers one thousand dollars and he seems desperate. Luna ends up being the one to do it and so she hops on a video call with this guy’s grandfather, who just happens to be a wildly famous French chef. The grandfather is suspicious why his grandson and Luna’s fake boyfriend, Jean-Pierre Dominique Gabriel Aubert-Treffle, is in New York. Jean-Pierre decides a fake girlfriend is the best excuse and so Luna gets looped into the chaos.
Apparently, Jean-Pierre’s entire inheritance depends on a test, which is a passable recreation of his grandfather’s famous French cuisine menu. Upon learning that Jean-Pierre has a girlfriend, the grandfather says that she should also have to take part in this cooking test. Once they hang up the phone, Jean-Pierre asks Luna to continue this farce through the cooking test and in turn, he will pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The biggest catch? Jean-Pierre is absolutely terrible at cooking and Luna is pretty bad at it as well. Luna, however, is an optimist and not about to turn down such a large amount of money. They quickly discover that while they’re both transgender, how they view the world and their places in it are wildly different and it leads to a number of arguments. That makes the fact that they fall for each other surprising to even them.
While this book is related to Chef’s Kiss by the same author, it totally works as a standalone. It is hilarious and sexy and wonderfully queer.
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