Too Hot to Touch is the first in Louisa Edwards’s new Rising Star Chef series. Set in New York City, the book is about about a group of chefs from a restaurant, Lunden & Sons Tavern, competing in a culinary contest.
When it comes to competitive cooking, Max Lunden is no stranger to winning…though he’s never been great at working with a team. A master chef—and major hunk—he’s traveled the world, picking up new cooking techniques as well as beautiful women. But when the prodigal chef returns home to his family’s Greenwich Village restaurant, he discovers one too many cooks in the kitchen—and she’s every bit as passionate as he is…
Juliet Cavanaugh used to have a crush on Max when she was just a teenager, hanging out at Lunden & Sons Tavern, hoping to catch a glimpse of the owner’s oldest, and hottest, son. Now a chef herself—competing in the biggest culinary contest in the country—Juliet will be cooking side by side with the one man she’s always admired…and desired. But despite their simmering attraction, Juliet is determined to keep her cool—no matter how hot it gets…
I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I’m finding it harder to distinguish between all of her books. I think part of the reason is because I find it hard to relate to her female characters. They seem so unlikable: Jule’s mom, Eva (the organizer of the competition), the female judge, and to some extent even Jules. They are either bitchy or so focused (on themselves, their career) that I find it hard to see what draws in the men that are attracted to them. Is it really just their good looks?
Jules seemed too cold. Yes, she’s had a rough past but I didn’t feel like there was enough of an explanation as to why she ran so hot and cold with Max. Danny made a comment about her disastrous boyfriends and I really would have liked to have heard a bit more on that. Because I would have thought that effects of the incident with her mom could have been diminished somewhat by the care that she received from the Lunden family. She was able to see a healthy loving relationship.
I also didn’t get what caused Max to flee and never return for oh so many years. He has a couple of arguments with his father about the direction and the restaurant and just leaves? And his mom has to travel across the world to see him? The explanation was missing something for me.
I did enjoy the supporting characters, Beck, Win along with Danny. The kitchen scenes when the team came together to help one another (or just give each other crap) were funny or touching.
The next book in the series in Danny’s story but it appears that he is being paired with Eva so I may just have to sit that book out until someone tells me the female characterizations improve. I’m tired of bitchy women.