by Louisa Edwards

September 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-35649-1
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Nothing pleases me more than to pick up an interesting book, become intrigued by the blurb, and discover a new author worth reading. Sometimes looks can be deceiving, and sometimes the most casual of glances can lead to so much more.

When I discovered Can't Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards I was immediately intrigued by the book's premise. What would happen when razor-witted restaurant critic Miranda Wake spent a month in chef Adam Temple's kitchen? How would Adam handle the fact that she may know a lot about food and have an incredible palate but she cannot actually cook? Since I love the Food Network and am hopelessly addicted to Top Chef, the plot hooked me from the start.

Then, like any good chef, Ms. Edwards seasoned her story with a host of characters. Spicy Miranda is tart-tongued and smart. She knows what she likes and is not afraid to skewer top-lofty chefs who bring more flair than sustenance to the table. No restaurant is too exclusive to hide from her reviews, and her reputation is on the line. Her ulterior motive is simple find the tuition money to put her kid brother Jess through NYU.

That brings us to Jess, who left a full-ride scholarship behind and decided to study in the Big Apple. Something drove him away from college and he hopes he can start fresh. His resolve will be tested sooner than he expects.

Adam is the kind of chef we all envision in the kitchen. He is a man who is passionately in love with food. His character is so honest and appealing that readers will fall in love even without tasting his cooking. His crew of kitchen magicians is diverse and their personalities will bring color and vibrancy to the story.

Ms. Edwards exceeded my expectations with Can't Stand the Heat. I loved the passion that resonated through the novel. It came out of so many directions and made the story rich and flavorful. Miranda is passionate about her job and taking care of her brother, while Adam's passionate affair with food is about to bring him some unexpected benefits. The dialogue is clever and sharp, and you can almost hear the clang of pans, the clamor of the music blaring in the kitchen, savor the flavors as they converge to make your mouth water.

I am beyond pleased that this is the start of a series Recipe for Love and cannot wait to see what Ms. Edwards has in store. If Can't Stand the Heat was the spicy appetizer, then readers will be in for more tasty treats as the series goes on.

Reviewed in January 2010 by Paula.

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