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Tracey Alvarez is a USA TODAY BEST-SELLING author living in the Coolest Little Capital in the World (a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand). Married to a wonderfully supportive IT guy, she has two teens who would love to be surgically linked to their electronic devices.
Fueled by copious amounts of coffee, she's the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes--Kiwi men, in other words.
When she's not writing, thinking about writing, or procrastinating about writing, Tracey can be found with her nose in her e-reader, nibbling on smuggled chocolate bars, or bribing her kids to take over the housework.
Follow Tracey on Twitter as @TraceyAlvrezNZ or Facebook as http://www.facebook.com/TraceyAlvarezAuthor
Her website is http://www.traceyalvarez.com and don't forget to sign up to her newsletter here: http://bit.ly/JR3Asu
on April 11, 2016 :
Another great book from the Due South series! I've been getting caught up on it, a little over time, and have not read all of them that are out (the first six), although I've read them in a crazy mixed up order. Yes, they probably would have flowed better had I read them in order, but I've gotten to know this great group of friends on the island of Oban off New Zealand, and for the early books that I read later, like this one, it just read to me like a little bit of a flashback, so it worked out fine :-)
I loved this one! Del is the younger brother of West from book 1. He's a fancy chef that's been living in LA for awhile. But his life there has pretty much tanked due to some bad decisions he's made and bridges he's burned. With is father in New Zealand ill, and his mother begging for his help, he comes back to the town he grew up in. No one knows what a mess he's made of his life in LA. Once Del gets back on his feet, he hopes to find another high profile top chef job in a high profile city – but not LA.
Del takes over as head chef at his father's restaurant, Due South. This doesn't sit real well with Shaye, a lifelong resident of the island. She's been serving as Sous Chef and believed that when the older man retired, she would be the one to head up the restaurant. Neither Del or Shaye (who had been childhood friends) are ones to hold their tongues, and the place is afire with all the banter and buildup of sexual tension between the two.
Unknown to everyone, Del is trying to make an audition tape, with the hopes of luring a top chef to come there and fix up the restaurant. It's kind of like a “Restaurant Impossible” show, but headed up by someone like Chef Ramsey. The show promises a top chef job in one of the chef's restaurants, and Del has high hopes to snag the position, and get the heck out of New Zealand again. Of course his budding love affair with Shaye kind of complicates that whole idea.
This is a really hot, sexy story! There's one unforgettable scene (of many) in the kitchen when Del and Shaye are baking treats for a Halloween party, and get into a food fight. Things get really carried away and... well, you get the idea. “Ready to Burn” didn't get its name because someone left a pan sitting on the stove a little too long!
Author Tracey Alvarez definitely heated things up in this one. As her own head chef at her writing desk, she's always sure to stir up something delicious, and doesn't disappoint. Yummy!
I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Dec. 19, 2015 :
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.
Catching up on the middle books as I read 1, 2 and 6 in the series. Shaye is Piper's little sister. She is the sous-chef at Due South and hopes one day to take over as head chef from Bill. Then Bill's estranged younger son Del comes home for his older brother's wedding. A hot-shot chef in LA, he's never forgiven Bill for sending him away to the US with his mother when they separated. Coming home is more about running away from his problems and his messed up career in LA than reconciling with his father, even if he is dying. Del soon learns that the rest of his family want him to take the test to see if he could donate a kidney to Bill.
Del can't wait to get away from Oban and the father who rejected him but his only hope of resurrecting his career is getting a place on a reality TV show about turning around failing restaurants. He just needs a good application video to send them.
Shaye and Del clash from the start. He's all LA bad-boy she's local girl who looks after everyone, he thinks Due South is a dump, she loves it with every fibre of her being. And yet there's chemistry in buckets.
This was probably my least favourite of the series so far. I spent a lot of time disliking Del and thinking Shaye was a bit of a doormat. Del turned around by the end but by then it was a little too late for me. I always thought she had secrets and issues in the earlier books and I didn't really feel that this book developed them.
Nevertheless this is by no means a bad book. Del and Shaye have some interesting ways of making cup cakes and their clashes in the kitchen are legendary. The small-town vibe and the way in which everyone knows everyone else are cute.
Looking forward to the next one - no idea who the couple can be.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
on Dec. 13, 2015 :
Things are getting hot and steamy in Due South's kitchen and I'm not just talking about the cooking!
Out of the whole of the Due South series so far, with In Too Deep my personal favourite, I think this is definitely a very close second! I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this story with Shaye and especially with Del being more unknown but let me tell you, it definitely blew my expectations out of the water.
The writing, as always by Tracey Alvarez, is witty, funny and smoking hot; the chemistry between Del and Shaye quite literally simmers between the two characters from the get go, when they meet again in a rather embarrassing but sets the tone so well situation, until it boils over and you get to see just how ‘perfect’ these two are for each other, despite their own personal issues and preferences. The visuals described seemed even more vivid to me in this story and I think it shows just how well Tracey is able to describe places and by venturing briefly out of the main areas of Stewart Island and Invercargill, you really do feel like you are there and can picture the scene clearly. With each book in the series, I never feel like I’m constantly re-reading the same things twice, especially about the locations on Stewart Island.
One of the things I actually really liked about how this story was written was the interesting dynamic seeing both Shaye and Del in the same career, yet not clashing too much in regards to wanting to beat, or compete, against each other and sabotaging things for the other, as I would have typically expected. Yes, you get a bit of that rivalry over becoming head chef but you can also clearly see they respect each other as equals after the first few teething problems are overcome.
The changes both characters go through from beginning to the end felt like natural changes in both characters, which were already starting to occur and just grew stronger as the duo grow closer. It was also nice to see previous characters popping up and having an impact on both Shaye and Del’s story. I loved Holly’s reaction when talking about the revenge with the macaroons! We also get to learn a lot more about the Westlake family in this book, which actually if you were to re-read In Too Deep adds to Piper and West’s story further.
Overall, if you are looking for a relatively light hearted romance but with enough drama to keep you interested and eager to keep reading, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone. Again, as with all books in this series, you don’t have to have read any other books in this series to be able to read this book as all books are a standalone with a HEA. However, reading the whole series or for this book especially, In Too Deep at least, definitely adds an extra dimension to this story.
As I say, definitely one of my favourites.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on June 16, 2015 :
I can't help it, I just love these people! Tracey Alvarez has created a feast of characters that draws you in and makes you never want to leave Stewart Island. You are introduced to friends and relatives near and far in the first two books of this Due South series. You don't need to read those books, but they provide insight into the whys and hows of the backgrounds of Ready to Burn's two main characters, Del Westlake and Shaye Harland.
The intensity of all the relationships,not only between Del and Shaye but of all the other characters involved in their lives, keeps you glued to the pages until the book ends. And then you have to get the next book because you just can't let all of these wonderful people go! You can read the book to find out about why Del, a hotshot chef from LA returns, unwillingly, to his birthplace island in NZ, bitter and determined to leave as soon as possible. He seems unlikely to become a warm and loving partner to Shaye, who also is a bit of a hedgehog and has no desire (she thinks) for a relationship. She just wants to be the head chef of Due South's restaurant, where she has been training for years under Del's father Bill. But fate and the magic of Due South, the small town of Oban, and the Stewart Island conspire to bring the two together, in explosive but deliciously wonderful ways. All it takes is intense passion for being chefs, a faked reality TV program, admission of an alcohol problem, Bill's ill health, messed up childhood experiences, and a 9400 mile separation to get them to realize they are meant to be together. There are disagreements and battles royal, but you will feel something strong for both Del and Shaye, hoping they can overcome their pasts and see that they have a future together.
I was given a copy of this book for an honest review, and this is it!
(reviewed 48 days after purchase)
on April 27, 2015 :
Another great book in the "Due South" series. This is easily one of my favorite romance series. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Shaye, sweet yet fiesty, standing firm but never becoming a bitch. Del, a self-involved jerk, who starts to realize he doesn't have to be that way.
I wasn't sure what could happen so I would actually like Del, and was pleasantly surprised. He definitely became a guy I could realistically and happily see Shaye with. I appreciate how forgiving Shaye is, but not doormat forgiving.
I like how the entire cast of characters show different aspects of rural, island life, but they are not so far out there that I can't relate. The location continues to be an aspect of how this close-knit community interacts.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)