ALL FIRED UP: Characters — Their Issues & Identifying with Them

All Fired Up

ALL FIRED UPHot in the Kitchen
by Kate Meader
Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Pub Date Nov 5 2013
E-Book, Mass Market Paperback  384 Pages

E-Galley provided by publisher via  No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Kate Meader  Grand Central/Hachette

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Her sweetest mistake . . .

Cool as a Chicago winter, private events planner Cara DeLuca is a model of self-control . . . until she meets the one temptation she can’t resist: Shane Doyle. The sexy, Irish pastry chef is too hot, too sure, too young, and after a crazy night in Vegas-her new husband. While at first Cara wants nothing more than a way out of her sham marriage to Shane, she soon finds that beneath his farm boy demeanor lies a man who can match her drive, both in and out of the bedroom. How can the wrong guy feel so deliciously right?

. . . Tastes so, so good

Shane has carefully structured his career and life around one goal: connecting with the family that doesn’t know he exists. Marrying a woman with more issues than a magazine stand wasn’t part of the plan, but melting Cara’s icy exterior is so worth the detour. Now as the annulment date nears and long-buried secrets are revealed, Shane will have to fight for the one thing guaranteeing the perfect life he craves . . . the current Mrs. Shane Doyle.

My Take! When I first started this book I had a hard time warming up to it.  There were several conclusions predicated on premises to which the reader is not privy.   I have several notes from the first few chapters that say, “WTF!”

But then they are revealed, layer by layer and I warmed up to it quite a bit.  Once that happens the story moves along and the characters become more comprehensible and sympathetic.

Actually the characters become very sympathetic.  The two love interests and main characters are each struggling with issues that have themselves added to the problems they have to overcome.  Cara’s issues, needing control, not having enough of herself to spread around kept her from her mother’s bedside when she was recovering from cancer.   You’ll need to read it to discover Shane’s several secrets.

I felt Cara was sympathetic because her basic issues and their arising complications remind me of similar issues in my life.  Her family is all about food, and she really isn’t as in to it as they are.  This has translated to not feeling as if she belongs in her family.  My family is very musical. Everyone sings and plays instruments.  Except me.  I don’t do anything with music; I don’t even listen to it much and when I do I am very lyrics driven.

This difference has made distance between us all.  I just wasn’t like them and didn’t share their interests.  So, yeah, I get Cara.

The story is so much more interesting when I can identify with it.  And, I think there are enough issues between Cara and Shane for almost everyone to find something to identify with. What about you? Do you like to identify with characters or their issues; does it make the story more interesting?

The relationship develops pretty slowly and the resulting hook-ups are sporadic, and vanilla, as Cara discovers a new side to sex with the hot pastry chef (the side where the guy puts her need first).   The sexual activity mirrors the rest of the relationship development.  So, you might get as frustrated as Shane.  This makes the story slow down a bit, and sometimes it dwells a little in sentimentality or Cara’s major issue, or Shane’s.  I like slow food, but slow books tend to lose me.

Speaking of food, I would have liked there to be more involvement with food in the story.  There’s not enough, specifically the sensual aspect of the fine restaurant experience,  for the importance  food takes in the lives of the characters.

Another issue, for me anyway, was a reliance on cultural stereotypes — specifically curvy, pasta-loving Italians and a charming, grinning Irish pastry chef. There’s nothing mean intended but it is there.

Overall though the story is pretty interesting, lust a little slow.  I was occasionally restless during reading it. Good read for the beach, or on a vacation.