Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Chefs: A Review of Too Hot To Touch by Louisa Edwards

Too Hot to Touch by Louisa Edwards is this month's book club pick over at The Science of Romance. Full discussion of the book will take place over there on Friday (August 26th).
My dinner today...*Shame*

I have to admit, I was kind of predisposed to like Too Hot to Touch. I love food. I can cook passably,  and I bake very well. Unfortunately, I live in a college apartment with a tiny kitchen that I share with three other people. Gourmet meals are not within my reach. So reading about people who can and do cook very well is a treat for me.

Plot Summery! Lunden's Tavern was once a very popular upscale restaurant in New York City, but in recent years it has experienced a decline in business. In an effort to save their business, the chefs decide to enter the Rising Star Chefs competition, with the idea that winning would propel them back to popularity and profit. Jules has been working in the restaurant since the Lunden family took her in when she was a teenager. She's always had a crush on Max, the eldest Lunden son. For the past six years, Max has been roaming the world in search of culinary secrets, and barely keeps in contact with his family. There's some bad blood between him, his father Gus, and brother Danny. But when Max is asked to return home to help with the first round of the competition, he can't refuse.

I really enjoyed the premise of this book--the chef competition involving team work and a lot of skill. Even though I found the plot kind of predictable, I didn't find it boring. The dynamics between the team members were fantastic. In addition to Jules and Max, you have Danny the pastry chef, Beck the mysterious new guy, and Winslow the the very energetic spirited guy. I thought the book was at it's strongest when it showed everyone working together, practicing their own specialties but still helping one another. These secondary characters might easily have come off as pointless sequel bait, but instead they were likeable characters who served a purpose.

I found Max fascinating, and I though his personal conflicts were true to real life. He really wants to be creative and discover new things, rather then help run his parent's very traditional restaurant. The process of reconciling family loyalty (and his relationship with Jules) with his impulse to wander and be free was interesting to me.

I liked Jules quite a bit as well. I found her to be just a tad too angsty at times, letting her less then perfect childhood serve as an excuse for all of her current emotional turmoil. Not to minimize her dark(ish) past, but I was kind of expecting her to have some much darker secret then what is ultimately revealed. I was left feeling like she was a pretty lucky woman, and she should behave accordingly.

The romance was pretty hot. Max and Jules had instant chemistry as well as the beginnings of a deeper emotional connection.

My complaints about this book are pretty minor. The plot is predictable, and at times cliched--but in contemporary romance you can't expect plot twists. Some of the dialogue was slightly awkward and forced, like the author was trying a bit too hard. And yes, some of Jules' character development strays into the melodramatic.

In the end, I liked this book a lot. It's a pretty light read, and it's a lot of fun. I'd recommend it if you like contemporary romance, and especially if you like cooking. 4 stars.


  1. Great review! I've been curious about this one but I'm also leery because I'm not huge on contemporary romance. But it still sounds pretty good.

    Also, you're making me hungry with your food pictures! lol I might have to have an early lunch. :-P

    ♥ Sarah @ I'm Loving Books

  2. Sarah, if that picture makes you hungry this book will make you ravenous! Oh my goodness, so much talk of steak and fish and cheesecake! Mmm, cheesecake...

  3. Great review! And I really like the cover of the book...lol
    Have you thought about doing Follow Friday it's a meme hosted by http://www.parajunkee.com/ your blog is so great and it would bring a lot of traffic to it. Just a thought.

  4. Rebecca, thanks! I'm really new to all this blogging madness, still just getting my feet wet. I've thought about joining in a lot of memes, but half the time I don't even know what day of the week it is! I may still try it though. I appreciate the advice.

  5. OK, Follow Friday she post around 10pm on Thursday. But you have all day Friday to join.
    There is Waiting on Wednesday hosted by: http://breakingthespine.blogspot.com/
    Again you just go on Wednesday and join up.
    Another is In My Mailbox. A lot of people do this one on Sunday It's hosted by: http://www.thestorysiren.com/
    These are all ones I do on a regular basis. I wish someone had told me about memes earlier on. They are a lot of fun and a good way to grow and meet other bloggers:)

  6. Reading about food makes me hungry and screws up my diet... so I try to steer clear of those books... but Too Hot To Touch sounds positively delicious! :)


Thoughtful comments are appreciated! I always respond to them, and I usually return the favor! Happy reading!

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