"Skinny Bitch In Love" by Kim Barnouin
Clementine Cooper is a lifelong, committed vegan (except for that one time after high school but she's over it) and well known chef in Los Angeles. But everything comes crashing down when a fellow chef sabotages her on the day an influential food critic comes to their restaurant. Before she knows it, Clementine has been blacklisted from every vegan kitchen in the city.
Instead of heading back to the farm, Clementine decides to take this an opportunity to go out on her own and bring her love of the vegan lifestyle to everyone. She starts up the Skinny Bitch Cooking School out of her own apartment to give private cooking lessons with plans to open her own restaurant in a vacant storefront across the street. That is until sexy millionaire Zach Jeffries opens up a steakhouse in that very same spot.
Clementine is prepared to go head to head with him over everything they disagree on but she quickly realizes that it's going to be difficult as she has fallen head over heels for him. Can this vegan date a carnivore and keep her cool? Or will their relationship get in the way of her clean eating dream?
How do you turn a diet book into a novel? Kim Barnouin, co-author of the Skinny Bitch lifestyle and cooking series, shows you how in Skinny Bitch in Love. A novel about love, friendship, and food, it's a light and easy chick lit novel to throw in your purse this summer.
Let's get something out of the way. The main character is a vegan and yes, a lot of people are going to feel like the book is just propaganda for the vegan lifestyle. Maybe it is because I already eat a mostly vegetarian/vegan diet that I didn't find it to be over-top. While I see there were some points where the book did get a little explanatory, I don't think that this will get in the way of enjoying the story for even the most committed carnivore. The key is to read the book not as a manual or sermon on the vegan lifestyle but a light read about a woman who is vegan.
I think this book is a cute, fun story. You've got a complicated love story, back-stabbing and revenge, and mouthwatering recipes all wrapped up in one enjoyable book. For a first shot at writing a chick lit novel, Barnouin has put forth a good offering. Clementine is a likeable heroine and her friends are all well-written supporting characters. Each one has their own storyline and has the perfect balance of supporting the story without taking it over. Even Zach, the guy you really don't want to like, is a good character. As far as chick lit goes, the book is formulaic, but it works.
This is exactly the kind of story I like to read in the summer and it fits the label of beach-read perfectly.