Sunday, March 16, 2014

Review: Hot and Bothered, by Kate Meader

Title: Hot And Bothered
Author: Kate Meader
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
Genre: Romance
Rating: Three Stars

Summary: A Fire They Can’t Put Out . . .
Although her baby boy keeps her plate full, Jules Kilroy is ready to take her love life off the back burner. Despite a bevy of eligible bachelors, it’s her best friend, Taddeo DeLuca, who's fueling her hormones with generous servings of his mouth-watering Italian sexiness. But Jules learned her lesson once before when she went in for a kiss, only to have Tad reject her. She’s vowed never to blur the lines again . . .

After a lifetime of excuses and false starts, Tad has finally opened a wine bar, a deal made even sweeter when Jules joins his staff. Lovers come and go, and he’s had his share, but friendships like theirs last forever. Still, ever since he tasted her luscious lips, he can’t stop fantasizing about what could be. Then she signs up for an online dating site—and the thought of his Jules with another man makes Tad’s blood boil. Even if he gets burned, Tad can’t stop himself from turning up the heat this time.

Review:  So, this is the third in a spicy series by Kate Meader, centering around some fiery Italians who love to cook and the way they steam up the sheets in the bedroom.

I really enjoyed All Fired Up so I was excited when I saw this on Netgalley, and even more so when I was approved!

Jules and Tad are best friends, each with their insecurities and hidden secrets. The book starts off with the birth of Jules' son, Evan, and then picks up eighteen months later and goes from there.

It took me awhile to warm up to Tad, mostly because I guess I was seeing him from Jules' perspective and kept thinking that he was really a bit of a prick. Gradually we learn more about him, though, and that means learning that there's a lot he's hiding beneath his exterior, and that being incredibly sexy doesn't mean that a person doesn't have deep wounds that are just healed over enough to be presentable.

Jules has her own self-doubts - she's dyslexic, and has surfed through life by being the pretty, seemingly easy girl, ready to flutter her eyelashes and pretend to not be as intelligent as she is. It's worked, but after her last relationship crashed and burned and left her with a baby, she's ready to take charge and demand respect from those around her.

I liked the sparks and the friendship between Jules and Tad. It's clear that they're close, and they trust each other - they're still learning about each other throughout the book, which I liked. That's the way it works in relationships, you never 'finish' learning about someone, imo.

Of course, as is so common in books like these, you can't help but want to knock their heads together at times! Tad thinks that she's too good for him - and that she agrees with that - and she thinks she's not hot/interesting enough for him. It leads to some frustration on the part of the reader, that's for sure, but that leads to some steamy sex when they finally get around to it.

Unfortunately, this book didn't have the same spice as the last book I read in the series. (I still need to check out the first one.) The dialogue was a bit cringe-worthy at times, too focused on being snarky and witty - I know that people want to read a crisp, fast-paced romance, but I still want to feel as though the characters are real, you know?

I had a big problem with how Tad handled a big conflict that came up for Jules, too. I will admit that it's partly just a personal reaction on my part but it still really rubbed me the wrong way. He questions a decision that she wants to make and does it in a way that I really wasn't fond of, and it soured the book a bit for me.

I did like how Jules takes charge of her life, though. She realises what she wants and what she deserves and she's not going to accept anything less. That I can get behind. She also calls her older brother out on being possessive and even tells Tad off for being slightly slut-shamey. Hell, yes. Feminist woman who stands up for herself, but is also written to show that she doesn't mind it when her lover is a little dominant in the bedroom? Hell yes. We need more stuff like that.

So it's a solid middle ground book for me, in the end. I liked it, and again, my personal reactions to some of the stuff in this book played a lot into the rating. It's a fun, spicy read that I think a lot of people will enjoy, though.

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