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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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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: Burning Up

In Susan Andersen’s Burning Up we meet Macy O’James. Macy is a bad girl – at least that’s the reputation she’s had since her days in high school in Sugarland, Washington. She’s come back to the town that she eagerly fled to help take care of her family. Her cousin Janna was in a car accident that left her ailing and making it difficult to take care of her young son. But Macy isn’t going home hat in hand. She’s made a name for herself in Los Angeles for staring in some racy music videos for her friend Jack’s band.

Gabe Donovan is the town’s Fire Chief and is staying at Macy’s Aunt’s boarding house as he builds his house. He’s heard the rumors about Macy and doesn’t particularly like all the costumes she has taken to wearing all over town. But after time he sees that the costumes are just a suit of arms for Macy. And he finds that he cannot deny the attraction he feels for Macy.

They say you can’t go home but for Macy going home gives her an opportunity to settle the issues from the past, find love and start over. Yes, the bullies from high school are still trying to make her life miserable but people aren’t as afraid to standing up to them to defend Macy. And the truth is finding a way to be revealed all these years later.

Ultimately, I found this book to be missing something. I frequently set it aside to read something new. Macy seemed a bit much. The arson subplot bored me. It felt like it was tacked on the story.  Susan Andersen’s snappy dialogue was there but it just wasn’t enough this time. I found myself more interested in the characters of Jack and Grace, the local school teacher who also happens to be Gabe’s ex.

I’ve read other books by Andersen and found them much more compelling. There seemed more push and pull to the characters fighting their attraction. I would recommend reading either Cutting Loose and Bending the Rules over this book.

3/5 stars

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Review: The One That I Want

Allison Winn Scotch’s latest book, The One That I Want, is about reclaiming your dreams.

Tilly Farmer is a 32 year old woman married to her high school sweetheart, working in her old high school as the guidance counselor. She believes she has the perfect life, outside of not having a baby. But she’s working on that. Then one day everything changes. She runs into an old friend, Ashley, who gives her the gift of clarity. Next thing you know Tilly is seeing things before they actually happen. Her father’s relapse and car accident, Tyler (her husband) packing their house and moving, her best friend with another man, etc.

Tilly’s life changes. She sees things she doesn’t want to see. Her perfect little life isn’t so perfect. Her husband is miserable. He doesn’t want to live in their home town. He had dreams. He was supposed to be a star baseball player. He decides to go to Seattle and get a job at the university scouting kids for baseball. But he doesn’t expect Tilly to come with.Tilly is devastated. Continue reading

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