Waiting on Wednesday: Life Itself

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

My wishlist is usually insanely long. I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to books. But I’m going to select a book that’s due out next month that I saw mentioned a couple of times yesterday, Life Itself: A Memoir, by Roger Ebert.

Now, I’m not the biggest Roger Ebert fan, that title belongs to my friend Mary, but how his has carried on in the face of his illness has been inspirational. I follow him on twitter and he manages to find some of the most interesting content. And it’s not just limited to movies which is why I am looking forward to reading his memoir next month.  (Look at that gorgeous cover!)  Continue reading

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Review: Too Hot to Touch

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…

 

My thoughts:

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.

3 stars.

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? This is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being reading, and the books to be finish this week. It is hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books so stop by and join in!

I’ve been very busy with work lately so my reading pace has been completely off. I spent much of last week reading articles and blogs for work. However, I did finally get around to reading Louisa Edwards new book, Too Hot to Touch. I liked it but didn’t love it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not a foodie or because I don’t live in NYC her books are starting to blend all together for me.

This week, I’m looking forward to listening to Jonathan Tropper’s  Book of Joe. I’ve read several of Tropper’s books and enjoyed every one. I love his sense of humor.  When I was searching around audible for my next pick I noticed that Scott Brick indicated that it was his favorite comedy. That was enough for me. Brick is a great narrator. I always get sucked into the book and don’t mind the horrid traffic.

I’m also starting Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses. I keep having the book recommended to me on Amazon and the description sounds interesting. It’s been a whiles since I’ve had a summer of endless showers and weddings, but that crazy isn’t something that I can easily forget. (I’m really starting to think that people who elope have the right idea.)

Girls in White Dresses tells the story of three women grappling with heartbreak and career change, family pressure and new love—all while suffering through an endless round of weddings and bridal showers.

So that’s what I’m up to this week. What are you reading?

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Booking Through Thursday: Fluff

btt buttonBooking through Thursday asks this week:

You’ve just had a long, hard, exhausting day, and all you want to do is curl up with something light, fun, easy, fluffy, distracting, and entertaining. What book do you pick up?

 

This is easy…I pick up something by Julie James.  Her books have fast-paced dialogue and bantering which reminds me of my favorite screwball comedies from the 1930s/40s. They feature strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to go up against men that are either very cocky or very alpha male. That they are set in Chicago is a bonus. If you are looking for something light, but enjoyable I highly recommend a book by James.

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Review: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

I’m disappointed to report that I have bailed on David McCullough’s latest book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. I had been looking forward to this book for quite some time. My schedule has been pretty crazy with work so I opted to listen to the book via audible.

I gave up after getting through about four hours. I just can’t bring myself to listen to any more of this book.

I love Edward Herrmann, it’s not his narration. He does a stealer job – I loved his French. It’s the book. I normally love David McCullough’s writing but this book just seemed scattered to me.

Maybe it’s because most of the histories I’ve read lately have centered on one person. But it didn’t seem like there was a plan. It was like he had all these great stories about all these notable Americans and he just threw them down on the page.

So I’m going to take a bit of advice from that old saying, life is too short to read bad books. I’m moving on to Rules of Civility: A Novel. 

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Review: What Alice Forgot

Thirty-nine year old Alice falls and bumps her head in the health club. When she comes to, she’s lost the last ten years of her life. She doesn’t remember her three children, that she’s separated from her husband Nick or that her relationship with her sister is strained. When she looks in the mirror, she hardly recognizes the woman reflected back. She’s obsessed with working out and in the middle of a bitter divorce.

As Alice stumbles through her days discovering who she’s become, she starts to question her life. Things that were so important become less so.

This book features wonderfully quirky characters. I loved the character of Tom, her son, in particular. The passages with him just made me laugh and smile.

All in all this book is a delightful read. It makes you think about the little decisions along the way can change the direction of your life. I highly recommend it.

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Review: Changing the Game

Changing the Game, is the second in the Play-by-Play series from Jaci Burton.

Sports agent Liz Darnell will do anything to win back her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley. And Gavin’s more than ready- especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of all.

I expected to love this book – after all it’s set in the world of major league baseball. I enjoyed the first book and found the character of Gavin to be charming. I was intrigued by the relationship he had with his agent. I know some professional athletes are friends with their representatives but celebrating holidays with the family seemed a bit odd to me. And when his brother’s girlfriend noticed the sparks between Gavin and Liz, I knew this would be an autobuy.

But I found myself frustrated  and disappointed with this book. I’m not a prude but I just felt like there was too much sex. I felt at times like the story took a back seat to the descriptions of the smoking hot sex. I wanted more. I know that they were using sex to avoid having any conversations about what they were doing or where they were headed, but I just wanted more. I also found it highly unlikely that a MLB player would take that much time out of the season for a family illness. There are players who are only gone for a couple of games for deaths in a family. Gavin is supposed to be a star. Would a star really be away from that many games?

I’m hoping the next book in the series, Taking a Shot, about Mick and Gavin’s sister Jenna and pro hockey player Tyler Anderson is more like the Perfect Play.

3.5 stars and mostly because I love the Riley clan.

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