Saturday, August 13, 2011

Too Hot to Touch by Louisa Edwards

Title:  Too Hot to Touch
AuthorLouisa Edwards
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Rising Star Chef #1
Main Characters: Max & Jules
Release Date: August 2011
ISBN: 978-0312356484
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Links to Purchase:
Amazon- $7.99
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
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 Review:
I have been so excited to read this book. I read Louisa Edward's first cooking trilogy and absolutely fell in love with her writing. (You can see those reviews HERE.) This book definitely did not good and so much fun!!! Although I have to be honest, as much as I loved Jules & Max's story, my favorite part about this book was the side story line between Clair (editor of Delicieux magazine) & Kane (rock star foodie and fellow judge of the RSC.) If you haven't read Louisa Edwards before, she writes WONDERFUL side stories. I am hoping that this side story flows like Frankie & Jess' story in the last trilogy and flows throughout all three books!!

But back to the main characters of this book...Max & Jules. 6 years ago both of their lives changed the same night. Max's changed when he had a huge blow-up with his father and walked out to travel the world. Jules' when she showed up at Landon's Tavern looking for her best friend Danny (Max's brother) after she had been kicked out of her house by her irate, irrational mother and instead found a sympathetic shoulder and surrogate family via Gus, Max's father. Max left the family and Jules basically joined it. Now the family restaurant needs help and Max's mother has called him home to help out with the Rising Star Chef Challenge.

Max & Jules are both chefs that are going to have to work together on the competition, but there are lingering feelings for both of them. Jules has always been attracted to Max, but her loyalty falls to the family that took her in when she had nowhere else to turn. Max is shocked to find little Juliet all grown up and gorgeous, but he looks at her as the person who came in and took his place within the family...a family that still leaves him with irrational feelings of hurt and frustration.

The premise of this book is fabulous. The competition adds lots of stress and drama to the well as the suspense of the sexual tension between Max & Jules. I loved that Max practices Zen, although it obviously goes against his natural state of being. It was a great aspect that really showed how his world travels have affected him as a person and have helped him to grow up in his absence. Jules is a strong, competent chef with a lot of her own personal history that makes this growing romance with Max difficult for her to accept.

Then there is the fabulous cast of additional characters:
*Danny- Max's brother & Jules' best friend;pastry chef (gotta love a guy who will make you dessert);hero for book two
*Winslow- gay chef from the restaurant; love this character...such an amazing wit; he has a quip for everything
*Beck- I am hoping that he's the hero of book #3, but I can't find that info anywhere right now. Love this guy; such a mystery.
*Clair- editor of Delicieux and head judge for the competition. This forty something foodie is a HUGE success in the food world. She's French. She's sophisticated. She's classy. And she has the serious hots for Kane even though she doesn't like to admit it.
*Kane- rock star foodie. Hottie brought into the competition to add some sex appeal, but he only has eyes for Clair and is NOT going to let her put him off regardless of their age difference (I am LOVING this story line.)
*Devon- 3rd judge for the competition. He was the hero from book #2 of Louisa's previous series, On the Steamy Side. I am enjoying seeing his character again.
*Eva- MC and the money behind the competition via Daddy. She's the heroine of book #2 (coming out in December) and I think that she's going to give Danny a run for his money. They are going to be a fabulous couple.

Already, I can see that this series is going to be another keeper on my shelves. A great start to this new foodie makes me want to learn to cook...almost. ;o)


Nicole (Good Books, Good Coffee, Good Life) said...

Great review! Can't wait to read this book.

Tyraa said...

I've heard great thing about Louisa Edward's book - and this one looks great. I love a man who can cook! Yum cover too

Julie said...

This sounds super cute! Great (and yet again, convincing) review Christi!

Pat L. said...

Cannot wait to read this one.
patoct at yahoo dot com