Book Review: A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson

Posted December 7, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 35 Comments

A Dash of Salt and Pepper
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Kosoko Jackson
Publication Date December 6, 2022
Published by Penguin
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Genres: Fiction / Romance / LGBTQ+ / Gay, Fiction / Romance / Multicultural & Interracial, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 384
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

A December LibraryReads Pick!

Sometimes two cooks in the kitchen are better than one in this swoony romantic comedy from the author of I’m So (Not) Over You.

Xavier Reynolds is doing less than stellar. He just got dumped, was passed over for a prestigious fellowship, and to top it all off he's right back home in Harper's Cove, Maine (population: 9,000). The last thing he wants to do is to work as a prep chef in the kitchen of the hip new restaurant in town, The Wharf. Especially since the hot, single-father chef who owns it can’t delegate to save his life.
Logan O’Hare doesn’t understand Xavier or why every word out of his mouth is dipped in sarcasm. Unfortunately, he has no choice but to hire him—he needs more help in the kitchen and his tween daughter, Anne, can only mince so many onions. It might be a recipe for disaster, but Logan doesn’t have many options besides Xavier.
Stuck between a stove and a hot place, Logan and Xavier discover an unexpected connection. But when the heat between them threatens to top the Scoville scale, they’ll have to decide if they can make their relationship work or if life has seasoned them too differently.

A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson is a small-town romance with a surprising amount of emotional depth.  I adored these main characters and loved the small-town Maine setting.  

Story Recap: 

Xavier Reynolds just returned home from Chicago after a failed relationship and a failed job, and he was passed over for the fellowship he applied for.  Now, he has to live with his parents again in the small town in Maine, Harpers Cove,  where he grew up.  Once he gets home, he gets a call from the fellowship offering him the position in Germany, and he has the summer to save up the money to be able to go.  Jobs are not abundant in Harpers Cove, so when a position opens up at a local restaurant, he knows it’s his only hope of raising enough money.  But, the chef/owner of the local restaurant is old and cranky.   

Logan O’Hare needs help in his restaurant.  His tween daughter Anne is helpful, but he needs full-time help, and Harpers Cove, Maine, doesn’t have a lot of options for skilled restaurant work.  He meets and hires Xavier, but he doesn’t like his attitude, even if he can dice onions with the best of them.  They decide on a truce, but working side by side brings them together and the attraction is strong.  But, Xavier is leaving for Germany at the end of the summer, and Logan has to stay in Harpers Cove for his daughter and his restaurant.  

My Thoughts: 

I enjoyed this very much.  I loved the little town of Harpers Cove, and Xavier’s parents, and his best friend Mya.  But it was Logan’s daughter Anne that stole the show for me.  She’s cute, funny, and adorable.  

The romance was also a lot of fun.  Young, and sarcastic, Xavier was a perfect match for older (but not old), grumpy Logan, and their chemistry was strong.  Logan was a bit grumpy at first, but when he eventually opened up, he was a lot of fun and was a perfect foil to Xavier’s sarcasm.  

Both Xavier and Logan have some baggage and self-doubt.  However, we learned a lot more about Xavier because the entire book was told from his POV.  I loved Xavier and his inner thoughts were both funny and vulnerable.  I just wish I could have learned more about Logan, and a dual POV would have told me more about him.  


I highly recommend A Dash of Salt and Pepper to anyone who enjoys romance.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Kosoko Jackson

Kosoko Jackson is a vocal champion of diversity in YA literature, the author of YA novels featuring African American queer protagonists, and a sensitivity reader for Big Five Publishers. Some of his favorite authors are Courtney Summers, Jen DeLuca, Adib Khorram, Casey McQuiston, Ian McEwan, Alex London, Andi Christopher, Dhonielle Clayton, Ryan LaSalla, Denise Williams, and Natalie Parker.

Professionally, is a digital media specialist, focusing on digital storytelling, email, social and SMS marketing, and a freelance political journalist. Occasionally, his personal essays and short stories have been featured on Medium, Thought Catalog,

When not writing YA novels that champion holistic representation of black queer youth across genres, he can be found obsessing over movies, drinking his (umpteenth) London Fog, or spending far too much time on Twitter. His YA debut, YESTERDAY IS HISTORY, will come out in 2021, published by SourceBooks Fire and his adult #OwnVoices queer Romcom, I’M SO (NOT) OVER YOU will come out in 2022, by Berkley Romance.

Have you read A Dash of Salt and Pepper?

35 responses to “Book Review: A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson

  1. I agree with you, I wish there were few chapters in Logan’s POV and Anne was absolutely amazing. Excellent review!

  2. I love the sound of this one, Wendy. Reading the description and your review makes me want to be a part of their world for a little while. I am adding this one to my wish list.