Title: Skinny Bitch in Love
Author: Kim Barnouin
Format: Hardcover / eBook /AudioBook
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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About the Book:
Clementine Cooper is a born vegan, committed in every way to the healthy lifestyle she was raised with on her father’s organic farm. But how bad could a little butter be? Bad enough to get the ambitious and talented sous chef fired when an influential food critic discovers dairy in Clem’s butternut squash ravioli with garlic sage sauce. Though she was sabotaged by a backstabbing co-worker, Clem finds herself unceremoniously blackballed from every vegan kitchen in L.A.
Like any vegan chef worth her salt, however, Clem knows how to turn lemons into delicious, cruelty-free lemonade cupcakes. She launches the Skinny Bitch Cooking School in hopes of soon opening her own café in an empty space near her apartment. But on the first day of class, sexy millionaire restaurateur Zach Jeffries puts a fork in her idea with his own plans for the space—a steakhouse. Clem is livid. For a carnivore, Zach is more complicated than she anticipated. He’s also a very good kisser. But could date one of the most eligible bachelors in the city— and a meat-eater—be as bad for Clem as high-fructose corn syrup? Shouldn’t she fall instead for a man who seems to be her perfect match in every way—like Alexander Orr, a very cute, very sweet vegan chef?
Clem thought she was open-minded, but as she confronts the challenges of budding entrepreneurship, old rivals, ex-boyfriends, and tempting suitors, she begins to wonder if she can ever say “I love you” to a man who hates tofu.
Semi-militant, preachy yet talented vegan chef Clementine has two options: move home to regroup – or make it on her own. She chooses to utilize her skills, talent and even love for creating tastes that are healthy and animal product free , while saving for her own restaurant after being sabotaged at her last job at a premier vegan restaurant in LA.
Dialogue driven plot, with several ‘side stories’ and some interesting secondary characters with varying development: the best being Sara, Clementine’s roommate. There was a significant round, or several rounds of male bashing: while it was occasionally funny, and the conclusions were not far-fetched, that tended to pull away from the story and present Clementine as a real bitch. Funny, because she isn’t that horrible, just one of those characters (and friends) that you have to take in small doses.
Both Alex and Zach are interesting, if slightly shallowly developed characters: I’m not completely certain if Zach’s lack of development was a result of Clementine’s overuse of the ‘rich, meat eater’ tag when she thought of him, or the few details were only ‘told’ and not shown. Alex is truly a pawn in this story, made to be too perfect with his rescued dogs and big brother activities: it truly highlighted Clementine’s issues when she made wild assumptions about his behavior.
What most bothered me about the whole story, however, was the utter lack of recipes: not even a simple one. While most other ‘culinary romances’ I have read will at least offer a recipe – even in the most basic form: throughout the cooking classes, the baking, her writing recipes: ingredients were only mentioned in passing or how to chop, peel or crush them. While I understand this is a story inspired by the multitude of recipes and options through Skinny Bitch: if Clementine’s intention was to create food for people that will encourage them exploring veganism: a recipe or two would not have gone amiss.
All in all, this was a light and entertaining read, and offers another version of a culinary romance that is perfect for a beach or poolside read.
I received a galley copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.