Tag Archives: Contemporary Romance

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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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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Review: My One and Only

Kristan Higgin’s latest book, My One and Only,  made for the perfect escape reading this weekend. The story, about a divorced couple forced to spend time together offered some laughs,  a couple of tears (I’m a sap) and my favorite kind of ending to a book… happy ever after.

Harper is in her 30s with a successful career as a divorce attorney on Martha’s Vineyard and a  (hot) firefighter boyfriend of 2 1/2 years. She’s wants to settle down and have kids and decides now is the time. So she proposes to her boyfriend who isn’t exactly jumping for joy at the idea. Complicating matters she finds out (in the middle of her proposal) that her younger, irresponsible sister is engaged to a man she’s know for only a short period of time. They are getting married in Montana in 2 weeks. And worse yet, the fiance, is Harper’s ex-husband’s brother. (AWKWARD.) Harper is less than thrilled and concerned about her sister. This is her 3rd wedding, they haven’t know it each other for long and Harper has a pretty jaded view of marriage because of her career.  But she loves her sister so off to Montana she goes. Continue reading

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Review: Road Signs

One of my favorite plots in contemporary romances is friends to lovers. There’s something appealing about the long suffering character who has been secretly in love with his/her best friend. For years he/she has watched on the sidelines but are unable or unwilling to say something or do something for fear that it will ruin the friendship. Then one day something happens and the best friend’s eyes open up and poof, they are in love. (And they live happily ever after…)

MJ Fredrick’s book, Road Signs, uses this plot line. Willow Hawkins is a successful career woman. She has a job she loves as but after attending a wedding she starts to feel like she’s missing something and goes looking for a little romance. Rather than spend Thanksgiving alone, she opts to travel to Wisconsin to meet her potential boyfriend’s family. The trip is a disaster. His mother assumes that because she is coming home with her son for a holiday they are steps away from the alter. Her eyes are opened up to how he behaves in public and she discovers that she’s just not that in to him.

So what’s a girl stranded in Wisconsin to do? She call’s her trusty best friend Cameron Trask to come rescue her. Continue reading

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Review: The Perfect Play

I’m not a big football fan so Superbowl Sunday didn’t bring out much excitement in me. This year the desire to watch the game (or more accurately the commercials) was obliterated by the fact that the Packers were playing. I may not be a huge football fan, but I’m from Chicago and the daughter of a life-long Bear fan. I don’t like the Packers.

So instead of watching football, I read Jaci Burton’s latest book, The Perfect Play featuring a football player. Considering the outcome of the game, I think I made the right decision.

Tara Lincoln is a event planner and the owner of The Right Touch. She meets Mick Riley, quarterback for the San Francisco Sabers, and sparks fly. But they are from different worlds. Tara is a single mom to a 14 year old (soon to be 15 year old) boy. Mick is a rich playboy athlete. But Mick is determined to make Tara see that he is the right man for her.

Mick is an alpha male, but he also has a soft side. You see it in his interactions with his family and the way he is willing to spend time with Tara’s son. I liked that he was more than just a talented athlete with a hot bod (hello, look at that cover?!). Tara is a successful independent woman. She’s used to it being just her son and her. She’s not sure what to make of Mick considering his past. I liked Tara because she was independent. She want Mick for superficial reasons. It wasn’t about what he could buy her or where he could take her.

I enjoyed this book. It features several hot scenes but I had a similar complaint to what Jane at  Dear Author voiced better than I ever could.

Another thing is that I wished that some of the later sex scenes would have reflected a deeper emotional connection between the two. I noticed it most in the language that the two of them used with each other.  In the beginning, Tara and Mick both use the phrase “fuck” to reference having sex , but later in the book, after the two were in a relationship and there were some heavy secrets being unloaded, I would have thought their language toward each other in the love scenes would have been a bit more tender as well as the sex itself be expressed differently.  While the sex scenes were hot, I didn’t feel that the emotional tenor changed enough to reflect the changing emotions in the couple.

Using the term “fuck” repeatedly toward the end of the book just didn’t feel right. They had clearly passed the casual phase of their relationship and repeatedly using the word fuck just bugged me. (Note: I don’t mind harsh language. God knows there are days when I repeatedly use that word… in another context.)

Nevertheless, If you are looking for a steamy contemporary read, I would definitely recommend this book. Then you too could be like me… patiently waiting for the next book featuring Liz and Gavin’s story.


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Waiting on Wednesday: My One and Only

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

Kristan Higgins is one of my favorite contemporary romance writers. She’s another author I stumbled into reading due to my kindle.  (Thank you samples!) I devoured her books. They usually keep me up late because they are just too good to put down.

But after reading The Next Best Thing I was a little worried. The book fell flat of my expectations and I was disappointed. But last year she bounced back with All I Ever Wanted and my fears were put to rest. I’m looking forward to her latest, My One and Only due out March 29th.

Just when she thought she had life and love all figured out…

Divorce attorney Harper James can’t catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister’s destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she’s being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.

Harper can’t help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick’s eyes, Harper’s always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend.


So what are looking looking forward to reading? What else should I add to my wishlist?

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Review: Then He Kissed Me

Then He Kissed Me is the second book in the Three Kisses series from Christie Ridgway.

Stephania, or Stevie, Baci is an independent woman and a bit of a tomboy. She owns and operates Napa Princess Limousines. While she and her sisters own Tanti Baci Winery she wants no part in running it. When her older sister Allie breaks her foot and  has surgery Stevie finds herself assisting in the wedding planning for her former love, Emerson, and his royal fiance, Princess Roxanne of Ardenia. (Yes, this one of those only in a romance/book/movie moments).

Roxy’s older brother, Prince Jacques “Jack” Parini, a supposed bad-boy with a history of being in the tabloids, shows up to protect his sister. Jack wants to make sure that Stevie doesn’t do anything to ruin his sister’s wedding. On the surface he appears to be a good for nothing spoiled Prince. But there’s more to him and you see that through his relationship with his sister and his friends.

Stevie is vulnerable. She’s different from her sisters and doesn’t appear to be as comfortable in her skin. She tends to hold herself back in relationships. I really liked the character of Jack. It’s clear he loves his sister and feels guilt over an incident in their past. But I also liked how he was drawn to Stevie. When Emerson shows up at Stevie’s and says some not so nice things, Jack wants to punch him for what he said to Stevie – not because he was about to hurt his sister.

I liked that Roxy and Jack weren’t perfect. I’ve read some books before where the “royal” is perfect but that wasn’t the case. Both Roxy and Jack come with baggage and flaws. But with their partners help they can overcome them.

While the book focuses on Stevie and Jack, the secondary romance between Roxy and Emerson was also well developed and well written. While it could be easy to hate Roxy because she stole Emerson’s heart, you can’t help but like her. Even Emerson who doesn’t come off as being of great character turns out to be a good guy.

While this book is part of a series, it can be read on its own. You won’t loss much if you aren’t familiar with the storyline with Allie or Penn. If you are looking for a light fluffy, sweet read, I would recommend this book. I just wish I didn’t have to wait so long for the next installment!


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