From the Publisher
“Paul and Vanessa's messy lives make them a couple to root for. Pride & Prejudice for the CNN age.” Kirkus Reviews
“Lighthearted romance and southwestern flavor…the sparks and banter fly.” Publishers Weekly
“Vanessa and Paul are multidimensional characters with the capacity to surprise each other and the reader. And there's a lot of good cooking along the way.” BookPage
“Chica lit fans, rejoice! The godmother is back with a brand new novel.” Latina
“The book begins with an amusing premise, then becomes a heartfelt exploration of how family ties can affect the choices of others in our lives…Paul and Vanessa are intriguing characters, and their story will capture the reader.” Romantic Times
“Chica-lit queen Valdes-Rodriguez's…storytelling pulls you along. B” Entertainment Weekly
The sixth novel from Valdes-Rodriguez (The Dirty Girls Social Club) is a mixed bag of overly ambitious prose, lighthearted romance and southwestern flavor. Vanessa Duran, one of Albuquerque's most talented chefs, keeps falling in love with married men, so after a string of dud relationships, her sister extracts a promise: Vanessa will take a break from dating and use the time to figure out why she keeps getting involved with all the wrong men. Of course, Vanessa is attracted to the very next guy who crosses her path-Paul Stebbit, an unpretentious Iraq War veteran. The sparks and banter fly, and Paul seems different enough from her other disastrous relationships that Vanessa begins to open up to him. Of course, an obvious complication pops up. Vanessa's Albuquerque serves as a nice backdrop, and the characters avoid most genre pitfalls, but there's an uncomfortable disconnect between the expository passages and the inane dialogue, and some plot developments (particularly one involving a date featuring a flight in a fighter jet) stretch credibility. A few big holes come close to killing the froth. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Talented chef with a lousy romantic history finds herself drawn to an Iraq war veteran with a troubled past. For such a sensual and attractive woman, Vanessa Chavez has a real knack for attracting Mr. Wrong, specifically guys who conveniently forget to tell her they're married before breaking her heart. So after a doomed entanglement with a pastry chef and his suicidal wife, this sous chef at one of Albuquerque's hottest restaurants swears off men. Enter Paul, a strapping hunk newly sprung from the Air Force who's staying with his mother, who conveniently lives next door to Vanessa's parents. Brash and flirtatious, Paul sets about winning Vanessa, even though she initially rebuffs his overtures. He's not her type, but she comes to realize that he's far from the right-wing meathead she assumed him to be. In fact, he's sophisticated, soulful and nearly as complex as he is hot. On the down side, Paul is psychologically burdened with what he saw-and did-as a pilot in the Middle East. The full extent of his wartime experience emerges slowly as the two grow closer. With Paul's encouragement, Vanessa takes stock of her life and begins to stand up for herself. She starts with older sister Larissa, who almost seems to prefer her needy and unhappy, then moves on to her boss Hawk, a pompous celebrity chef who has long been taking credit for her work. Just as she feels herself on the verge of happily-ever-after, along comes a Paul-related bombshell that might indeed be a deal breaker for someone with Vanessa's many trust issues. In spite of some overdescriptive passages and clunky narration, Valdes-Rodriguez's latest benefits from deeper character development than some of her earlier works (DirtyGirls on Top, 2008, etc.). Paul and Vanessa's messy lives make them a couple to root for. Pride & Prejudice for the CNN age.