Tag: Louisa Edwards

Retro Review/Rant: Can’t Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards

Posted April 12, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 15 Comments

Retro Review/Rant: Can’t Stand the Heat by Louisa EdwardsReviewer: Holly
Can't Stand The Heat by Louisa Edwards
Series: Recipe for Love #1
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: September 1st 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
one-star

For sharp-tongued food critic 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. But she never expected Adam to find out her most embarrassing secret: she has no idea how to cook.

Adam'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 her what it means to cook with passion...and doing more with his hands than simply preparing sumptuous food.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review/rant was originally posted on October 29, 2009.

WARNING: This review contains a major rant about the heroine. It will contain strong language and spoilers for the story. Read on at your own risk.

I’ve mentioned before that I generally have a dislike for heroines who are journalists. I’ve made some exceptions, but generally I try to stay away from novels featuring them, because I know I have a personal bias and I don’t want that to color my reading experience. I chose to pick this one up anyway because Miranda Wake is a food critic, rather than an investigative journalist (the type I generally have the biggest issues with). Also? It’s a foodie book and I’m a huge foodie.

I went into this expecting one thing, and got something else entirely.

Miranda Wake is a bitter food critic who desperately wants a book deal. On the pre-opening night of a new restaurant, Market, she gets blitzed and has it out with the Exec Chef and Owner, Adam Temple. She hasn’t even had his food yet, but she’s already spouting off about how he’s pretentious and his food sucks. So he challenges her to spend just one night in his kitchen, thinking to shut her up. Only she accepts.

Then his investor gets together with her editor and they decide she’ll stay for a month. Which is when she gets a book deal; she’s to write a book “dishing” about Adam Temple and what really goes on in his kitchen. While Miranda is busy digging up dirt on Adam and the entire staff, she finds herself falling in love with him. Which I completely understood, because I adored Adam.

He was sweet and adorable, with a strong sense of right and wrong. He was probably the best part about this book. I loved that even though he had preconceived notions about Miranda he set them aside and judged her on his own observations. I loved that he was tough but fair in the kitchen. I loved that he hired chefs based on their merits as cooks, rather than their diplomas or schooling. He had a somewhat gruff exterior, but inside he was kind and loving.

I absolutely adored the secondary characters. The entire kitchen staff came alive for me. I really felt like I was right there with them, laughing and joking and cooking fabulous food. They were a rag-tag bunch, but they really brought flavor and spice to the story.

As a side story, Miranda’s younger brother, Jesse, turns up from college (somewhere in the Midwest) saying he’s not going back. He gets a job at Market working as a server. As it turns out, he’s gay and falls in love with one of the sou chefs, Frankie, which Miranda hates. She thinks Frankie corrupted and tempted her poor straight brother into being gay.

I thought the story with the brother was cute, though I did struggle with his age quite a bit. He’s only 19. The problem is I wasn’t as bothered by that as I felt I should have been. Especially since Frankie is quite a bit older than him. Why is it that I’m willing to forgive a 19yo hero when he’s gay, but wouldn’t forgive a 19yo heroine (in a contemp) regardless? Once I got past that, though, I really enjoyed his part of the story.

So at this point in the book Miranda comes off as bitter, cynical and jaded. She’s also a complete control freak. Which is fine. I could have dealt with that if it had been one of the centerpieces of the story – how Miranda grew up. Unfortunately I didn’t find that to be the case.

Because at the end? She SAYS SHE LOVES HIM AND STILL SUBMITS THE FUCKING BOOK.

WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!

Her reason for doing so? She needs the money so she can pay for her brother to go to NYU. The problem? She only wants to pay for it to get him away from Frankie so he’ll go back to being “normal” instead of “gay”. Not only that, but he specifically told her he didn’t want her paying for his tuition. He said he wanted to be a responsible adult and contribute something himself. I understand that she wanted to help him as much as she could, but she SOLD OUT THE MAN SHE LOVED AND ALL HIS FRIENDS/EMPLOYEES to do it.

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!

And the best part? The only person she has to rely on and go to for support during this whole thing with her brother is Adam. She leans on him and lets him support her and SAYS SHE LOVES HIM AND THEN SELLS HIM OUT IN A CHEAP FUCKING BOOK!

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!

The thing is, I loved everything else about the book. The kitchen setting, the secondary characters, the hero. I even loved that the author included some of the recipes she used in the book (I’m sooo going to try them). I’m trying to decide if the heroine ruined the book for me, or if I can move past what she did. Right now I’d probably grade it:

3 out of 5 for the overall story, setting and characters
Bold
1 out of 5 for the heroine (maybe even a -1)

I did enjoy parts of it enough to want to read the next book in the series, On the Steamy Side, which will be available March, 2010.

Book CoverBook Cover

This book is available from St. Martin’s. You can buy it here or here (I’m not including a link to buy in e-format b/c I think St. Martin’s has terrible e-pricing. The paperback is $6.99 but the e-book is $14. WTF St. Martin’s? W.T.F?).

one-star

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Guest Review: Under Her Clothes by Louisa Edwards

Posted February 24, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Under Her Clothes by Louisa EdwardsReviewer: Tracy
Under Her Clothes by Louisa Edwards
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

When Colby St. James dresses like a man to prove she can succeed in the male-dominated world of professional cooking, she never expects to fall for the handsome chef who will decide her fate. They agree that nothing that happens after hours will affect Colby's chances in the competition and begin a secret affair.

It's been years since Dominic Fevre felt a sexual attraction toward another man. He thought he'd put that stage of his life behind him when he focused everything on his career. But something about Colby St. James makes him want to break all his own rules…

Tracy’s review of Under Her Clothes by Louisa Edwards

Colby is determined to show the culinary world that a woman can get a great job as an executive chef just as easily as man could…well kind of. She actually dresses like a man to prove that she has the skills like a man but would have been passed by had she been interviewing as a woman. (She decides this after her boss passes her by and promotes yet another man instead of her.)

She heads to an interview with a famous chef, Dominic Fevre, and expects to talk the part and show him her knife skills and then be on her way. Dominic, however, has a different idea. He wants the five candidates to work in his kitchen for two weeks to show him their different skills at the different stations in the kitchen. She doesn’t plan on being brutally attracted to Dominic and she certainly doesn’t expect him to reciprocate that attraction while she’s a man. After a while thing get very interesting and very hot in the kitchen.

This was a sweet yet sexy novella. I loved that Colby dressed up in men’s clothing to prove a point even though I think her thought processes were a bit off. Yes, she could maybe get the job but once they found out she lied about her identity she wouldn’t be able to keep the job. IDK, it made sense…yet it didn’t. lol

Dominic was one hot chef. He was the strong silent type for the most part and was highly intimidating. He had a good heart, though and it showed in more ways than one during the story.

Overall a fun book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

This title is available from Cosmopolitan Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars

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Review: Some Like it Hot by Louisa Edwards

Posted April 12, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments


Rowena’s review of Some Like it Hot (Rising Star Chefs #2) by Louisa Edwards.

Hero: Danny Lunden
Heroine: Eva Jansen

Sexy, single, and even sweeter than the treats he bakes, New York pastry chef Danny Lunden is trying to stay focused on food—not females. With the Rising Star Chef competition approaching, he doesn’t have time to get all steamed up over the gorgeous woman he encounters on the plane to Chicago. Even if she is Eva Jansen—the billionaire heiress in charge of the contest…

Danny assumes that “Eva the Diva” is a spoiled rich girl who doesn’t share his passion for food. But when the two meet up again in an elevator—alone—they share more than just passion. They share a kiss hot enough to start a kitchen fire—and they’re hungry for more. To indulge their new secret craving, Eva and Danny have to break every rule in the cookbook. But—like chocolate and caramel—some ingredients are are so sinfully good together, one scrumptious bite is never enough…

This is the second book by Louisa Edwards that I read and I read it while I was fast sinking into a reading slump but I was able to finish this book and enjoy it as well. I’m a sucker for a baker hero and Danny was delicious. I thought that I’d like Max more than Danny but after finishing this book, I’m not so sure. Max is more fun loving and laugh out loud where Danny is more serious and reserved. Danny is the brother that stayed behind to help his parents run the family business while Max ran off around the world, living his own life. It wasn’t hard to recognize the bitterness that was eating Danny up when Max finally came back. Max crashes back into their lives and shakes things up. He also took Danny’s best friend away from him and while he wants to be happy for Jules, he can’t help the bitterness that eats at him.

What I liked about Danny is that he didn’t hide from the fact that he was feeling these things. He felt them, owned his emotions and tried to get through each day anyway. He was a man’s man in the way that he dealt with things and I really liked that about him. His interactions with Eva were kept under control until he just couldn’t help himself and I really liked seeing him let loose with Eva because he was much too serious all the time so I thought Eva was perfect for him.

Eva was a surprise because when she came onto the scene in Max and Jule’s book, I thought the same things that Danny thought of her. She was a spoiled, rich heiress that had the world at her fingers and she knew it. I thought she was flighty and fluffy but she turned out to be so much more than that and I really enjoyed getting to know her character.

Danny and Eva together was a treat that I wasn’t expecting and I really enjoyed the romance that blossomed between them. They complimented each other well and I think Edwards did a fabulous job of keeping us interested in them as a couple and as people as well.

This book was a treat and I’m glad that I read it. I’m pretty stoked to be able to dig right into Beck’s book and I’m going to do that just as soon as I finish this review. Overall, this was another enjoyable addition to a series that is shaping up to be better than I expected. The characters are all wonderfully well rounded characters and I’m anxious for more.

Grade: 4 out of 5

The Series:

Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Review: Too Hot To Touch by Louisa Edwards

Posted April 9, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments


Rowena’s review of Too Hot to Touch (Rising Star Chef, Book 1) by Louisa Edwards

Hero: Max Lunden
Heroine: Jules Cavanaugh

When it comes to competitive cooking, Max Lunden is no stranger to winning…though he’s never been great at working with a team. A master chef—and major hunk—he’s traveled the world, picking up new cooking techniques as well as beautiful women. But when the prodigal chef returns home to his family’s Greenwich Village restaurant, he discovers one too many cooks in the kitchen—and she’s every bit as passionate as he is…

Juliet Cavanaugh used to have a crush on Max when she was just a teenager, hanging out at Lunden & Sons Tavern, hoping to catch a glimpse of the owner’s oldest, and hottest, son. Now a chef herself—competing in the biggest culinary contest in the country—Juliet will be cooking side by side with the one man she’s always admired…and desired. But despite their simmering attraction, Juliet is determined to keep her cool—no matter how hot it gets…

This is the first book by Louisa Edwards that I’ve read. I was a bit resistant to try an Edwards book since reading Holly’s review of one of Edwards earlier books. I have been a total chicken until now. This is the first of her Hot books and I enjoyed it. This book follows Max Lunden, the oldest of the Lunden boys who left their hometown of New York City and the family restaurant to travel the world and build his culinary knowledge.

He travels from place to place, learning from the best of the best all around the world and he’s just landed an opportunity to work with the very best Italian cook in the world, in Italy and he’s called home to help his family’s team compete in the Rising Chef’s competition. The restaurant can use the money and his Mom really wants him home so after he gets his Mom to agree to a month long visit home to help out, he goes home.

When he gets there, his Mom is happy to see him as is his Dad (with some resentment) but his brother is most unhappy to see him. Max knew that things would be a little tense when he came back but he wasn’t expecting it to be as tense as it actually was. He has his work cut out for him if he wants to bridge the gap that has grown between him and his brother.

Jules Cavanaugh had some trouble with her Mom when she was younger and the Lunden’s took her in when Max left home. She’s been with them ever since and they gave her the family she always wanted and there isn’s a thing she wouldn’t do for them. When she finds out that the eldest Lunden son is returning to the restaurant, her old crush comes back to mind and she finds herself wondering how time and experience has changed the Max Lunden she knew. She’s more excited to see him than anything, not that she’d admit that to anyone…especially her best friend Danny, Max’s younger brother.

They’ve got a good team heading into the Rising Chef’s competition and she’s determined to win the entire thing for Gus Lunden. He’s been the very best role model for her and nothing is going to stand in her way of helping her team win it all. Not even her fiery attraction to Max Lunden.

The romance between Max and Jules was pretty straight forward. Jules wanted to avoid any messy attachments with Max and Max just wanted Jules. It was definitely inevitable and I enjoyed the ride.

Max wasn’t one of those heroes that is too serious all the time and takes himself too seriously. He wasn’t this alpha male that had to have the last word and I loved his flirty spice attitude toward Jules. The way that he kept coming at her with his charm and wit, wearing her down was sexy.

Jules was another great character but some of her resistance toward Max got to be a bit much and when she ran away? I wanted to smack some sense into her but overall, she wasn’t the worst kind of heroine and she didn’t drive me crazy enough that I hated the book or anything. On top of the hero and the heroine, the other characters in this book definitely round out my favorite things about this book.

I adored Beck and wanted to know more about him. I loved his loyalty to the Lundens and to the restaurant and I loved Win. His bubbly personality totally won me over. I also really enjoyed getting to know Danny. Meeting him in this book definitely had me anxious to read his book and find out who his heroine was going to be. I had my thoughts about who it would be and was pleasantly surprised that I was right. I loved Max and Danny’s parents and I even enjoyed getting to know the judges. I understand that one of the judges was the hero in one of Edwards earlier books but I didn’t read that book so I didn’t know him though I do plan on going back and reading his book sometime in the near future.

This book is filled with lots of foodie facts and I enjoyed the behind the scene kitchen action that this book provided. I love me some foodie themed stories and this is definitely one. I’m more of a baker than a cook so I was really looking forward to reading Danny’s book since he’s the pastry chef. I couldn’t wait to see what that man had planned for chocolate, haha.

Overall, this book was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. The characters were lively and charming and the story wasn’t complicated or anything. There was a balanced mix of everything and I’m glad that I read it. I definitely recommend this book.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5.

The Series:

Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Book Watch: Hot Under Pressure by Louisa Edwards.

Posted February 8, 2012 by Rowena in Promotions | 4 Comments

Henry Beck thought he’d already faced the toughest kitchen challenge of his life. After all, what could top sweating it out as a Navy cook on a submarine? But when he learns his competition for the title of Rising Star Chef is the sweet hippie girl he married…and left…ten years ago, the heat is on.

Now Beck and Skye Gladwell are going head to head in the finals…and sparking up old flames every time they touch. But Skye wants more than a win over the man who abandoned her when she needed him most—she wants a divorce! Then her sexy almost-ex makes a deliciously dangerous proposition. He’ll give in to her demands, but if his team wins the RSC, he has a demand of his own…one last taste of the only woman he ever loved.

For the year 2012, one of my goals is to read this series. I just finished reading Scrumptious by Amanda Usen and I really enjoyed the behind the scenes action in the kitchen so I’m on the look out for more of that kind of action. I love romances that steam up the kitchen and so it’s weird that I haven’t read anything by Louisa Edwards yet. I’m going to change that this year though. Next month, really because I need to read both the first and second book before this book comes out on March 27, 2012. If you’re a fan of this series and want more, you have a few short months of waiting before you can dig in.

Has anyone read this series? Did you guys like it or no? How hot are the covers? This is why I’m buying them in print and not in ebook. Those covers just need to be on my bookshelves at home.

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can pre-order it here or here in e-format.

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