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REVIEW:  Feel the Heat by Kate Meader

REVIEW: Feel the Heat by Kate Meader

Dear Ms. Meader:

On the plus side, this is NOT a small town contemporary. Cue cheers. It’s an entirely serviceable story set in Chicago with a believable plot and likeable characters but for some reason I didn’t love it like I thought I would.  This is totally a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Kate Meader Feel the HeatThe heroine, Lili DeLuca, is a full figured woman who has put off career plans of her own to take care of her mother who contracted cancer.  Her sister, who hasn’t helped out much at home, has arranged for a celebrity chef, Jack Kilroy, to come and help revive the family restaurant.  Jack is to engage in a cook off with the DeLuca patriarch.  The DeLuca restaurant fortunes are flagging because of Tony DeLuca’s refusal to modernize.

Lili is attracted to Jack right away which makes the sister, Cara, smirk because she brought Jack to the restaurant just for Lili.  The problem is that Jack doesn’t want an easy hookup.  He’s not sure what he wants but falling into bed with Lili doesn’t seem quite right, no matter how much she short circuits his brain.  Still he can’t stop kissing her. When a clinch of theirs becomes a YouTube sensation, Lili has to deal with her father’s disapprobation as well as the internet commenters calling her fat.  She’s had to struggle with her weight all her life and was just coming to accept her curvier stature.

Thus, there seems to be a whole lot of conflict going on.  On Jack’s side, he’s pursuing his celebrity and a new TV show but he often finds himself thinking of his old kitchen staff and how much he misses the camaraderie of the restaurant family he made.

There is a lot of food and cooking in this book and much of Jack’s attraction to Lili is bound up in her passion of his cooking.  If the idea of sex in the kitchen turns a reader off, this book should be avoided.  There are many of cooking related metaphor.

He’s a glazed doughnut, a bundle of empty calories, a walking tabloid, she told her weakening resolve.

Her father might not be as successful as Lord Sexpot, but they were cut from the same dough.

Lili spoke again, her voice as smooth as warmed butter,

On the one hand it made sense for Jack to think of everything in terms of food but I wasn’t convinced Lili was the same. After all, she was a photographer so if she was making metaphors in her head, wouldn’t they be photography related?  Nonetheless, it was suited to the storyline that felt overly schmaltzy at times.  Jack decided early on that everything was better with Lili and he had to fight to overcome her family and her fear of the public eye due to her concern about her weight.  But Jack’s bulldozing butts up against Lili’s natural proclivity to subsume her own desires to elevate those around her.

As I said in the beginning, the characters are decent, it is set in a big city with a large family and equally large problems.  But while the story flowed well, it felt like an overstuff canoli at times.  C+

Best regards,



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REVIEW:  Lush – Delicious Book 3 by Lauren Dane

REVIEW: Lush – Delicious Book 3 by Lauren Dane

Dear Ms. Dane:

After reading this book, I have a new favorite hero trope: I call it, “Hero in Hot Pursuit”. Mary Whaley runs a very successful catering company and a supper club. She has good friends, a loving family and is generally both busy and truly happy with her life. She offers to cater one of her closest friends, Gillian’s, wedding. Gillian is marrying Adrian Brown (Never Enough), who is an international rock star, but one of the most down-to-earth people Mary knows. At the wedding, Mary meets Damien Hurley, a member of up-and-coming band, Sweet Hollow Ranch. Damien and his brothers will be going on tour with Adrian soon, and as they’re good friends, he and his brothers have been invited to the wedding. Damien is a drummer, and a reputed maniac both on stage and in the bed. He’s completely captivated by Mary’s confidence and abilities. She’s an accomplished cook, a genuinely kind person, and hot as hell. He immediately wants to see more of her.

lauren dane lushEver practical, Mary decides, sure, she’ll have some (a lot) of fun with Damien, but in the end, her life is ridiculously busy and she certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship, or even anything resembling it. She’s going to have some safe, energetic sex with Damien, not get attached and send him on his way the moment it becomes work. She never expects to like him so much. Sure, they have amazing chemistry, but it’s more than that. She finds herself thinking of him, or texting him when something comes up that she’d like to share. She thinks of him throughout her busy days. And she finds herself wishing he were there at the most inopportune times and when they’re together, it’s easy.

For his part, Damien is doing his damnedest to stay at the forefront of Mary’s mind. He texts, he calls, he makes sure she’s thinking of him. And when the tour swings close enough by to arrange for Mary to come to a concert, he makes sure he has time for her. He’s bewitched. Mary is independent and consumed with her business. She isn’t calling, isn’t begging to see him, isn’t desperate to be part of his life. In fact, she barely has time for him to be in hers. What results is an adorable story of a hero who is hard core pursuing a heroine. Not in a creepy, stalker way. More in a “Dammit, I want her!” way that entertained me. Damien is befuddled by Mary’s independence, and can’t figure out his next move. Meanwhile, Mary is just acting as she does — assuming nothing serious will come of their relationship. But as they fall deeper, both characters’ emotions become involved. Can Mary deal with Damien’s fame, which is pressing in on their relationship? Or will she choose to go back to her regular life, sans rock star, which made her really happy?

I seriously loved this book! I loved that Damien was chasing Mary. I loved that he respected her for her smarts, her abilities, and her drive. She wasn’t just a slam piece for him. I also really liked Mary. I thought that she was interestingly independent, but also reliant on her close knit friends and family. I liked how easily she and Damien fit together and how comfortable she was in her own skin. The reason this book misses an A-grade from me is that Mary pulls a bit of a romance-heroine move and flees the scene when the going gets tough. She’d proven herself so self-possessed and smart, I’d have MUCH rather seen her kick his ass in person than take off. That being said, this is a worthy entry into what is fast becoming another favorite series for me. I loved my time with Mary and Damien, and definitely heaved the big, happy sigh at the end of the book. I’m already looking forward to the next entry in the Delicous series. Final grade: B+

Kind regards,


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