W.'s Reviews > Too Hot To Touch

Too Hot To Touch by Louisa Edwards
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U_50x66
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Apr 13, 12

bookshelves: contemporary-romance, ok
Read on April 13, 2012

Interesting book with lots of food references (which is something I'm particularly into at the moment). Writing and plot weren't bad, but I had some major issues with the book. Namely I had problems with the hero and heroine (and them together). The heroine, Jules, has got self-esteem issues because her mother is a self-centered and critical woman who is always looking for a new man. She left home at 17 and was taken in by the Lunden family. The Lunden's run a restaurant that was once very successful, but is now losing customers. In an attempt to increase the number of patrons, the Lunden's want enter the Rising Star Chef competition.

To do this, they call in Max, their son who left home around the same time Jules started living with the Lunden's. Max left because he clashed with his father about the best way to run the restaurant (old vs. new ways of doing things) and left to learning all sorts of cooking techniques all over the world.

Jules is best friends with Danny (Max's brother, which is one reason the Lunden's first took her in) and had a crush on Max as a teenager. Now that he's back, the two are attracted to each other and starts the horizontal tango (though they appear to do it mostly standing up).

I couldn't sympathize with Jules. Everyone keeps saying how she's strong, but all I see is her falling apart or leaning on Max. She's fragile from her upbringing, I get that, but there's this disconnect between how other characters see her and how we as the reader sees her. In her relationship with Max, she doesn't go after what she wants at all and seems to vacillate between loving him and fearing him. For example, she's attracted to him, but fights off his advances because she's afraid he'll leave her (and it's the deer int he headlights kind of fear).

Max on the other hand, seems a little more fleshed out. He's got issues, but he's more sure of what he wants and goes after it... to a certain degree. His relationship with Jules creeped me out a little bit at the beginning, when he was pretty smarmy. He meets Jules, tells her she's hot despite the fact she is clearly uncomfortable, and pushes her for more even when she tells him to leave her alone (but that's somehow ok because she's interested in him as well. This shows 1) Jules can't make up her mind and 2) being pushy is ok as long as the girl seems into you, even when she says no).

My biggest issue (as if not believing in the hero, heroine, or their relationship aren't big issues already) is that there was no spark or connection. They meet, are attracted to each other, and are suddenly somewhat serious about each other (enough to get jealous, etc.). As well, I don't understand why they love each other. It seems very superficial.

The book is saved by interesting secondary characters and fun references to food. I like Ms. Edwards' writing and will be picking up something else by her before I decide whether she can write believable romance (or if she can just write).
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