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 …
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I absolutely adore Edwards’ cooking and restaurant themed romances. They are fun and sweet and always have me thinking for just one small minute how fun it might be to learn to cook. (Then I come to my senses and remember that I’m known for burning water…) When she announced her new series, I knew I had to pick them up as soon as possible.
Juliet “Jules” is working her dream job: chef at the restaurant of the family she has adopted as her own. She gets to work side-by-side with her best friend Danny and the man she thinks of as her father. But when things at the restaurant aren’t doing so well and they sign up for the Rising Star Chef competition, the Lunden’s think it’s time to call back their oldest son to help win the competition.
Max has been wandering his whole life looking for that special something. When he gets called home to help the family win the competition he really isn’t looking forward to it. He and his father and brother are on bad terms, and he isn’t looking forward to having to deal with the cold shoulder the whole time. But when he arrives and meets Jules, he realizes that being around her will keep things hot. As the competition progresses Jules and Max get closer and closer, but will Max find that special something and stick around, or head back out into the world like he always has done?
I was a little disappointed with the beginning of this book. Between the prologue and first chapter, the tone of the book changes drastically. The prologue is dark and depressing and shrouded in mystery as to what happened to Jules as a child. The readers are left in the dark and my mind raced trying to think of what could have happened. Then we jump to the first chapter many years later and the tone changes to the fast paced restaurant life with Jules smiling and laughing. It felt almost choppy and too much of a shift for me to really get into the book. It took almost a good 60-70 pages for me to really get into the swing of Edwards’ normal fun and light reading experience because of the prologue.
That being said, once the book picked up and I got into it, I really started enjoying the story. Jules was a little damaged from her past and scared to let anyone get close to her. So while she is insanely attracted to Max, she is also hesitant to let him in. The sexual tension between the two of them was smokin’ up the pages. Watching Jules journey from that scared child to the strong chef she became was real and believable.
There were times that I loved Max, and times he was so clueless I wanted to smack him. He was so wrapped up in his own thoughts and feelings that he wasn’t able to really look at or understand the actions and feelings of others. It took a good punch or two from his brother to really get him to think about someone else, and that selfishness (while subconscious) was both cute and annoying.
I really love the secondary characters of this book. The kitchen staff Beck, Danny, and Winslow were such loveable characters, I HOPE that we get Beck’s story soon he was so interesting and mysterious and fun and just all around perfect in his own way. I’m looking forward to getting further into the competition as the team goes up against other restaurant crews and seeing what they come up with.
Edwards always amazes me with her descriptions in the kitchen and with the food, be sure to read this book on a full stomach, or else the hunger pains might get ya! She brings the world of cooking to a whole other level for me, and that uniqueness is what makes her books so special!
All in all I really enjoyed Too Hot to Touch. The characters were fun quirky, the plot was well thought out and developed. While the beginning was very different for her style, the book did pick up and engage me after some time.
I give Too Hot to Touch a B