Sunday, May 31, 2020

Book Review: Recipe for Persuasion, by Sonali Dev

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Smiling, they went back into the bustling kitchen. The Curried Dreams kitchen hadn’t bustled in a very long time.

Baba had hated the idea of making people wait for food, so he had built his restaurant to be large enough to avoid that. He had underestimated his own abilities, because under him there had always been a wait despite the hundred tables. Ashna had never experienced the thrill of customers waiting.

At this rate, she would have to open the patio seating again.

“Where have you been hiding?” Mina Kaki said as Ashna put down the bag of flour she was carrying.

Ashna knew her aunt didn’t mean she was actually hiding, it was just a figure of speech, but still she cursed Rico again for filling her head with things she had no time for.

She started measuring out the flour for the naan dough and Mina Kaki stopped her. “Freddie, you can take over the dough. Ashna, I think you need to do the rounds and say hello to the guests. You’re what they’re here for. Well, you and that hot partner of yours. You should ask him to come by.”

Asnha made a face.

Books that talk about food of course make me think about cooking—and they make it sound easy! Definitely plan on a meal of good Indian or Brazilian food while reading this book.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: Recipe for Persuasion, by Sonali Dev
Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen?

Rico Silva, that’s what.

Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.

FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn't too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he's definitely over her.

But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico. Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…?

In Recipe for Persuasion, Sonali Dev once again takes readers on an unforgettable adventure in this fresh, fun, and enchanting romantic comedy.

This story definitely followed an unexpected path. Ashna agrees to do a Food Network show to help out her friend (a producer on the show) and because it provides a convenient excuse for why she can’t visit her mother in India. Rico has to retire from his athletic career after an injury, but sees his ex-girlfriend is scheduled as a chef who needs to be paired with a celebrity and has his agent arrange it so he can work with her. That part of the plot ends up pretty predictable.

What was a pleasant surprise was learning more about how the characters grew into who they were now, compared to who they knew each other to be before. A lot has happened in the 12 years they were apart. They both need to untangle their own tragedies and past relationships before they can move on and be at peace with each other. The character development and discovery was the best part of the story.

Overall, I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars. While there was a little steamy romance, most of the story was contemporary fiction. The reality TV angle was fun, and the food sounded delicious.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley does her best cooking out of boxes that come with recipes. She also blogs at


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