Book Review: All Fired Up by Kristen Painter

Posted February 21, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

All Fired Up by Kristen Painter
Published by Samhain Publishing on September 1, 2009
Pages: 272
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: House of the Rising Sun, City of Eternal Night, Garden of Dreams and Desires, Book Review: Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case, "Prologue to The Vampire's Mail Order Bride", The Vampire's Mail Order Bride, The Werewolf Meets His Match, The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, The Professor Woos the Witch, The Vampire's Fake Fiancée, The Shifter Romances the Writer, "The Witch's Halloween Hero", The Dragon Finds Forever, The Vampire's Accidental Wife, The Reaper Rescues the Genie, The Detective Wins The Witch, The Vampire's Priceless Treasure, The Werewolf Dates the Deputy, "When Birdie Babysat Spider", Miss Frost Ices the Imp, Miss Frost Saves the Sandman, Miss Frost Cracks a Caper, "The Werewolf's Christmas Wish", The Vampire's Cursed Kiss

First in the All Fired Up paranormal romance series and revolving around the Phoenixes, a group of men who were betrayed in their lives. The couple focus is on Calleigh McCarthy and Alrik Gunn.

My Take

This story reminds me of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunterverse with a jealous goddess and men who die wanting revenge. Only it’s more of a softer, cozy romance rather than the “scarier” romantic suspense of the Dark-Hunters.

I did have to keep checking to remind myself this was a Painter story, as it is so much cozier than her House of Comarré and Crescent City. Although, as I think on it, it’s sweet like her Jayne Frost spin-off.

Calleigh’s family are such protective sweethearts, and I thoroughly enjoyed Alrik’s experiences with cars, food, and elevators.

There were a few inconsistencies. Alrik has been called to other times, so I should have thought he’d know about clothes. Her uncle Seamus is supposed to be famous and is shooting modeling campaigns, but later he claims he does socialite weddings and corporate portraits. Painter never did explain why Uncle Corri was her dad’s guardian?

I also found Calleigh’s leaping into choices annoying. That first choice of hers was really annoying! Although. That third choice was totally unexpected. I do wish Painter had played this up more.

It does help that Painter uses dual third-person point-of-view from Calleigh’s and Alrik’s perspectives, as it allows us to know what each is thinking and experiencing in this tale of heartbreak and betrayal.

It was a fun, beachy sort of read, and I’ll be curious to know which Phoenix is up next.

The Story

It’s been a crappy year for Calleigh, and this latest betrayal is the end. Tonight is gonna be bonfire night, including that stupid statue she bought Brad!

But an hallucination shows up…calling himself a Phoenix who will grant her three opportunities to change her life.

The Characters

Calleigh McCarthy has quit her job and the dance studio, dumped her fiancé, and still mourns the death of her parents, Eagan and Catherine McCarthy. Snickers is her Maine Coon cat. She does have the rest of her family, including the nightlife-loving Uncle Seamus who is a photographer; Leona is Uncle Seamus’ assistant, and Shay is the makeup artist. Uncle Corri is married to Aunt Moreen, and they have a daughter, Bridget, who competes in Irish step dancing. Corri is a partner at McCarthy, Davis and Reagan. Marta is the receptionist. Jeana is her cousin and best friend…and gorgeous with no morals. She’s also the style editor at Couture, a women’s fashion magazine.

Alrik “the Iron” Gunn was a Viking chieftain in Eire back in A.D. 876. He’s been a Phoenix ever since.

Brad Volk is an estate lawyer with wandering eyes. And everything else.

Change #1
Dr. Welborn bought a car. Dexter is a doorman. Paulo is the model in the Uber Homme marketing campaign.

Change #2
Doreen works in patient care at Genesis Assisted Living.

The Brotherhood are…
…more men who were betrayed who chose to become Phoenixes under Freya , the Norse goddess of love and destiny. Eros, a demigod, was the first and does seem to exercise some control over Freya. Marcus Augustus Vincentius had been a centurion. Dimitri has given himself over to Freya. Si-Khu is an Egyptian.

Mrs. Adalaide Crouper is Calleigh’s nosy neighbor. Little Joe’s is a diner with good food. Badu is a model and Seamus’ latest girlfriend. Erika is a coworker of Calleigh’s; Tessa Wilson had been a coworker. Mr. Berger is the handsy boss. Travis Fimmel was a hot model. Dieter is a German client from Uber Homme. Dizzy is a not-so-tuneful cat.

Eire, Ireland, A.D. 876
Aran had been Alrik’s brother. Dagny is the beautiful daughter of a rival clan, the Keiths. Her father had been Geirmund.

A feis is a traditional Gaelic arts and culture festival that includes dancing competitions. Amelia Maxwell Sinclair, a spoiled brat, had been an 18th century job for Alrik.

The Cover and Title

The browns and creamy white of the cover feels rather bare only because that nicely muscled eight-pack has a hairless chest and there’s no text across it. Most of the text starts one-third of the way down with the title words in white, outlined in black, and stacked one atop the other down the center. The author’s name is in a deep red and spread across the bottom.

The title is what happens when a Phoenix shows up; he (and his target) get All Fired Up.

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