Hot and Bothered by Kate Meader
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
It took me a long time to read this book - a little over 3 weeks, when I normally read a book within a few days. Many things in this story grated on me, and I found myself reading a few pages, then having to put the book down and walk away.
That being said, I liked the story. Friends who become lovers is almost always a story I like to read. Jules is a new single mom and a British ex-pat, and she has a serious crush on one of her friends (and friend of her extended family), Tad. Tad, for all his charm, is an inveterate womanizer - and actually has groupies who follow him around! Tad is trying to open up a new wine bar in Chicago, and needs Jules' help in making appetizers and other small plates for people to eat with the wine. That alone would have been a cute story, but the details get piled on from there. Jules is still fighting her baby weight, she is avoiding her baby's daddy, she wants to date again, and she has dyslexia. Tad has demons of his own - opening this wine bar is laying bare memories of his parents, who had a famous restaurant of their own, and his guilt at their deaths. To me, the story quickly became over-burdened with these details, and made the book frustrating to read at times. There were some details I also felt weren't thought through - there were times where Tad was using very British slang in his internal monologue, which seemed unlikely for an Italian-American man from Chicago. The other was Jules' date - early dinner Dan; I swear I read through that section a few times and I think she stood him up at the bar...
I don't want to be overly negative - as I mentioned above, I liked the story. Some of the other things I liked were the descriptions of the food and wine. Meader made me seriously hungry while reading this book. I wish that she had included some of the recipes that Jules comes up with throughout the course of the story. The sex scenes between Jules and Tad were very hot - and I wish there had been more of them! I also liked how Meader approached Jules' dyslexia, and how she described Jules' coping mechanisms at hiding the dyslexia. As this is a series, I hope in future books they show Jules seeking help for the dyslexia, because it seems that she had never received any therapy for it in the past.
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