Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week-End's Minis XXV: Fool for Love by Beth Ciotta

Fool for Love by Beth Ciotta
published by St. Martin's Press in August 2012

Call her a fool, but chef-in-training Chloe Madison wants to have her cake and eat it too. So when her boyfriend dumps her for some French tart, she decides to start over from scratch—with a new life and job in Sugar Creek, Vermont. What could be sweeter than cooking for an eccentric lady who’s crazy for desserts? What could be more tempting than joining a club called the Cupcake Lovers? Just one thing: local business-hunk Devlin Monroe...


Although he’s the grandson of Chloe’s fun-loving boss, Devlin Monroe is all work and no play. Micro-managing the family business, he doesn’t have time to indulge in life’s sweetest pleasures—until he meets Chloe. How can he resist such a vibrant, beautiful woman who brings so much passion to the table? But when old grudges and secrets threaten to destroy the Cupcake Lovers, Devlin must decide if his feelings for Chloe are a recipe for disaster—or a sinfully delicious ever-after...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Cupcake Lover, Book #1

What do you  need to know? Chloe Madison has had many interests in her life, but none that she was able to pursue and turn into a career... until cooking. As she graduates from the Culinary Arts Institute with honors, Chloe finally feels like she has achieved something, until her boyfriend rains on her parade and dumps her for another woman. In a moment of weakness, her best friend convinces Chloe to move to Sugar Creek, Vermont, and become Daisy Monroe's gourmet chef, companion and driver. It's not exactly what Chloe was looking for for a job, but it'll give her time to get back on her feet, so she accepts.

As soon as she arrives into town, Chloe runs into Devlin Monroe, Daisy's grandson, and finds herself attracted to him. Too bad she has swore off men and sweets! Unfortunately for Chloe, there's no way around Devlin... nor Sugar Creek's cupcake club. As for Devlin, he's shocked that the first woman he's been attracted to in ages turns out to be his grandmother's new companion. Having taken a look at her background, he doesn't find Chloe very reliable and is not sure she's the right person for the job. Plus, he has no time for women when the family business' survival is in jeopardy because of the arrival of a Walmart super center.

Why this book? I saw the cover and it caught my attention. Sooo pretty! Then, when I read the blurb, I knew I had to get the book. Cooking shows are the new trend on TV and therefore, chef, cupcakes and cooking have made their way to books :) I've not escaped this new trend and have been looking for books with chefs as main characters :) Fool for Love sounded perfect.

What didn't work? My biggest problem with Fool for Love was I didn't find the book engrossing ^_^; The story simply didn't grab me and neither did the main characters :( Everything in Chloe's past indicates that she was a flake and while she finally found something she really wanted to do, her life still lacked direction. I don't mind heroines who are flakes as long as they are fun, but it was not the case with Chloe... The whole book, she was so uncertain... it just got a bit tedious to read. As for Devlin, he was overbearing with his micro-managing manners. He wants what is best for everyone and that's admirable, but the way he went about it was just annoying. As a whole, Chloe and Devlin were not bad characters, just not ones I'd like to hang out with. As for their relationship, it was annoying how both kept reminding themselves to keep their distances... and I really disliked how Devlin went in the situation having prejudices against Chloe because of her past.

Something else that bothered me is that Daisy is surrounded by family and friends, but none of them noticed her strange behavior. None of them questioned the reasons why she started living so outrageously. I thought it was quite obvious and it bothered me that of course, Chloe was the one to pick up all the signs. I understand she's a newcomer and therefore has a fresh view on things... but as I said, it was quite obvious.

Finally, I feel something was off with Fool for Love. Perhaps it was the pacing of the book, quite uneven throughout the book, or perhaps it's because a lot of things happened. Either way, the result is that the romance was very rushed at the end and while I wasn't exactly rooting for Devlin and Chloe, I still found that dissatisfying.

What did I like? Fool for Love had quite a few weaknesses, but there were some strengths as well. The writing and the setting were solid. The cupcake club's subplot was kind of nice. However, what got my attention and interest were the secondary characters. I enjoyed the Monroes, thought they were an interesting lot :)

My Grade? C-. Fool for Love just didn't do it for me and half-way through, I skimmed through till the end... and that's unfortunate because I was really looking forward to reading this book.