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REVIEW: Devilishly Hot by Kathy Love

REVIEW: Devilishly Hot by Kathy Love

Annie Lou Riddle had a plan: Move to New York City. Break into the fashion industry. Work her way to the top. Nowhere in that scenario did she expect to accidentally sell her soul in exchange for a job at Hot! Magazine. Oops. Demons, it seems, aren’t big on letting mortals off the hook. Now Annie is stuck working as assistant/personal slave to Finola White – diva extraordinaire, and glamorous she-devil. Whatever Finola wants, she gets, and she wants Annie to match her up with Nick Rossi, the gorgeous detective investigating shady doings at Hot! Frankly, Annie sees the appeal. Nick is effortlessly sexy, rugged, charming – and the one man Annie should definitely not be flirting with, or kissing, or…Oops. But some loves are too devilishly hot to resist…

Dear Ms. Love,

Devilishly Hot	Kathy LoveSo I guess this book is supposed to literally be “The Devil Wears Prada” or perhaps the more accurate “The Demon Wears Prada” since Finola, though a powerful demon, isn’t actually the devil. I’ve never read that book but after watching the documentary “The September Issue” I have some idea where it comes from and what you based your book on. It might sound strange but I’m glad that all the demon characters are evil and not about to be saved. The thought of demonic heroes or heroines makes me slightly uncomfortable. Even Tristan’s actions to help save Nick from Finola are more to keep their mission on track than due to any kindness from him. And Finola conveys the “it’s all about me and what do I care about anyone else – oops there goes another soulless assistant” I’d expect from her.

Annie Lou Riddle? Could the name be any more of a stereotype of Southerners? Also the cover, though cute, reminds me too much of “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” I found it strange that the newspaper articles which Annie reads about Nick would mention him so much by name and be so detailed that she’d get an idea of his almost breakdown following the murder investigation he headed. Maybe that’s an unjust niggle on my part but I wondered about that for far too much time.

So Annie signed the contract for the job. Sorry but the fact that she knew what was entailed makes Annie sound like a moron. If she’d been tricked into it or hadn’t read the fine print until after she signed it would be easier for me to swallow but honestly, signing your soul away for a job in the fashion industry? It’s not like she was doing what Nick tried to do and offer his soul to save hers. Okay, okay if she hadn’t then there would go the book plot but the set up didn’t wow me or make me as sympathetic to her as I probably should have been.

Her relationship with long time boyfriend Bobby also makes her look like a pushover marshmallow. Yeah, he does have some easy lies that could be true but wake up and smell the java, Annie. Though it does make their ultimate breakup quicker and take less page space. But did Bobby never once in three years question Annie’s job or how long her hours were or the stress she was under? Even he’s not that much of an idiot. And would it have taken the NYPD 3 years to start investigating the disappearance of all those workers from HOT! magazine? This strains belief. Ditto that Nick appears to the only officer working on this case.

The conclusion of Annie’s contract and her freedom from Finola is too easy. Most of the book is spent worrying about how Annie can possibly escape her fate since she read the fine print then BAM! it’s over. I won’t go into more but I just don’t see the humans’ threats as working against Finola. Her Master’s threats yes but not Nick’s.

This is a quick read. Easy, with enjoyable moments but I think ultimately also fairly easy to forget about. Perhaps I just didn’t get into the whole paranormal spirit of the thing. I get the idea that this is the start of a series but I’m not interested enough to keep going with it. C-

~Jayne

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REVIEW: Aftertaste {a novel in five courses} by Meredith Mileti

REVIEW: Aftertaste {a novel in five courses} by Meredith Mileti

Dear Ms. Mileti

What got me interested in trying your first book is the excerpt you sent us and the opening scene in it. Here is a woman wronged who apparently didn’t take her husband’s betrayal of their marriage vows lightly but who, in this modern age, found herself treated as the villain of the piece whereas in ages past she probably would have been lauded for what she did. Instead, after attacking the woman she caught in flagrante delicto with Jake on the sofa in the office of their restaurant Grappa, it’s Mira who ends up being carted away in handcuffs. At least Mira managed to tear out some of the cagna’s hair before the police arrived and she got slapped with a restraining order.

aftertaste-a-novel-in-five-coursesMari has managed to – pretty much – control herself through 7 months of working the lunch shift at Grappa while Jake is the dinner chef. Her court appointed anger management classes aren’t going so well since she thinks the therapist is full of it but except for one session where she lost control and described what landed her there – with far too much relish in the therapist’s opinion – Mira has even kept a lid on her simmering anger there as well. It’s when she discovers during their final divorce proceedings that Jake and his slut are expecting a baby – when she couldn’t get Jake interested in their own infant daughter – and that he’s going to manage to get Grappa as well, that Mira loses it again and this time has to take Chloe and leave the city.

At first, Mira has no intention of staying in her hometown of Pittsburgh longer than the court order for her to stay out of NYC lasts. Despite the fact that her widowed father lives there as well as a older friend from her childhood, Mira sees nothing for herself there. Yet as she begins to settle and, without quite realizing it, inadvertently start growing roots there again, she starts to heal and slowly to discover who and what is important in her life. Could what she’s always been looking for have been there all along?

I wouldn’t call this Chick Lit by any means despite the first person POV tale of a woman’s journey of self discovery. Mira is older, a divorced mother and can pack a mean wallop when she gets pissed off. I see this more as women’s fiction with a dollop of romance sprinkled on at the very end. Kind of like the finishing touch that a chef adds the moment before the plated dinner heads out of the kitchen and to the diner. Yes, the food references are deliberate as food is such an integral part of who Mira is. She lives to cook and can “foodie” with the best of them. If faced with a medley of foodstuffs, her mind is immediately spinning and whirling as she pairs them and dresses them and invents new recipes on the spot. Discovering the secret yet essential ingredient in a dish she’s trying to reproduce is like a delicious game to her. It’s amazing I didn’t end up eating the entire contents of my kitchen after reading about so much wonderful food.

Mira did need to get away from the source of her anger and betrayal but it still takes her a long time to get over what Jake did to her. As indeed I think it would take anyone. The ache is there yet Mira also has to face the reality behind her marriage and come to finally accept it for what it was. Watching her pull herself out of the funk she was in and start to rebuild her confidence isn’t easy but seeing the finished Mira – who is so much stronger a woman than she was before – is worth the effort.

It’s not just herself she needs to rethink though as Mira is, let’s be honest, a bit of a snob, and not only where food is concerned. The relationships of those around her also challenge her to be more understanding but that doesn’t come easily either. Her professor father’s romance with a secretary, who Mira sees as beneath him, ruffles her feathers and her long sober alcoholic friend’s fall from sobriety wrenches Mira’s heart but in the end, it all helps mature her.

The romance ends on a HFN note as Mira is now finally ready to take a chance on her heart and on a man she wouldn’t have been ready for a year ago. And she’ll be back to doing what she loves, cooking in her own restaurant, but a better, more … seasoned if you will… woman who finally knows herself better and is ready to confidently move forward with her life. B-

~Jayne

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