Thursday, December 24, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Louisa Edwards - Can't Stand the Heat

For sharp-tongued Miranda Wake, the chance to spend a month in Adam Temple’s kitchen to write an exposé is a journalistic dream come true. Surely Miranda can find a way to cut the hotshot chef down to size once she learns what really goes on at his trendy Manhattan restaurant. The trouble is, she never expected Adam to find out her most embarrassing secret: this critic has no idea how to cook.
As for Adam, well, he’s not about to have his reputation burned by a critic who doesn’t even know the difference between poaching and paring. He’ll just have to give the tempting redhead a few private lessons of his own—teaching Miranda what it means to cook with passion.

Comment: I picked this book because it would be a great title for the letter C in the soup challenge. I was also curious about the story because years before I had gotten the second installment in the Recipe for Love series - in which this book also belongs - and when I realized there was a first one, I got it and now, many months later, it was finally the perfect time to get to it.
Miranda Wake is a food critic and she gets the opportunity of a lifetime when she is challenged by chef Adam Temple to try a day in his kitchen before she writes about it negatively. Just when she is getting ready to go and finally have the breakthrough she needs to fulfill her dream of publishing a book, her younger brother shows up after leaving college and he too tries to find work at Adam's restaurant.
Adam Temple is a pragmatic man and food is his life. He feels very attracted to Miranda but can't stand her professional side, even more when he realizes she can't even cook! The lessons he plans will teach her not to criticize before knowing what you're doing turn into seduction ones instead...but will it go anywhere?
I liked this contemporary romance. I think my biggest issue about it and why I didn't think it would have a better grade from me is how their relationship didn't feel as deep as it could. I know, we have scenes of them together, sharing private moments and so on, but I wanted more emotion. I think there wouldn't be one single problem with the author upping the connection level between them. The way it is now, it's ok but it could have been so much better.
I liked Adam, he's a great character, flawed but willing to do his best in life and despite being a chef, he isn't mean just because, he works hard, he expects others to do the same but he teaches them and rewards those who work and are good people. If I could fault him for something it would be to not be even more romantic than he is!
Miranda, on the other hand, is that character that has a goal, wants to do whatever it takes to get there - in this case, to publish a book - but her ways get sidetracked and she can't manage all the things around her that need her attention. So, she takes the easy way out, which I think was realistic but if her relationship was developing with Adam, why couldn't she confide in him? This is what bothered me too, I wish their bond had gotten stronger and that we could have seen it before the HEA.
I like her personality, her drive to have a good life after the sacrifices she did. She's not heartless like some readers say, but yes, a bit more sharing would have still made a great story but a lot less useless excuses.
The romance between them is good, I liked how things started slowly but then they just seemed so happy together!
The writing is ok, this is my first book by the author and I liked it, I'm curious about the next books too. Everything was fluid and easy and it felt like no time was passing while I read, so that's great, unlike books where one takes ages to keep going.
The plot was pretty basic, I think the author could have turned it into something better, but bad it wasn't. I liked the kitchen details, the things related to kitchens, chefs, cooking, I admit I like cooking shows, so this book would be appealing to me too, in that area.
The end is quite sugary but I found no issues with it, it was kind of expected...
There's a secondary romance featuring Miranda's brother Jesse and Frankie, the sous-chef . I found it cute, interesting details and moments (Jesse's POV helped) but of course, it doesn't take the focus from the main romance. I'm curious to see if these characters will have any appearances in following books.
All in all , a great story. it does fill up all the necessary items to be enjoyable, like I said some things would have been better for me if different, but it's not a bad story. Not the best I've read in the genre, but it was a time I don't regret taking to spend with these characters.
Grade: 8/10

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