Thursday, May 28, 2009

YotC Review: Burning Up

Title: Burning Up
Author: Sarah Mayberry
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: February 2008/Harlequin Blaze
Year of the Category Challenge

From the back cover ~

Somebody get some ice... it's steamy in here!

Spending a month as personal chef for an overindulged-and mouthwatering -man? Sophie Gallagher is so up for the challenge. She's immune to charm... or so she thinks. Because when being screen start Lucas Grant turns up the temptation, she discovers -up close and personal-he's earned the name hottest man alive.

Sophie is fun, vivacious and couldn't be further from Lucas's bimbo bombshell type. Much to his surprise, she's captivated him. But as sizzling as they are between the sheets, once his hiatus is over, the credits will roll on this fling. Saying goodbye, however, isn't as easy as he'd thought. Will this production be The End of the Affair... or Love Actually?

The Cover: This one's not bad at all. His chest looks like it could use a good wiping down but I do like the way his arm is positioned, showing off the muscle. The heroine on our fine cover has normal looking legs, i.e. they're not sticks. Which is appropriate since Sophie isn't a super skinny model type. I do have a bit of a problem with the shirt. It's his shirt she's wearing but damn, he's not a giant! Judging by the shirt you would think he's Paul fricking Bunyan!

One thing I like about these challenges is getting to read new authors. Before the category challenge I would have only considered reading category romances by authors that I already enjoyed ~ Nalini Singh, Linda Howard and Suzanne Brockmann to name a few. So far I've found three authors that I plan to read more of their categories: Maya Banks, Linda Winstead Jones and Sarah Mayberry.

I haven't read many book that have the heroine as a chef and there were times that I got hungry while reading this one. :) Sophie Gallagher is a gifted chef who has been working at the same restaurant ever since she graduated culinary school. The restaurant is owned by her boyfriend Brandon's family and Brandon also works there. Sophie has also been with Brandon for 14 years, since she was 17 years old. She leads a safe, steady life of predictability. Then all that changes overnight. Sophie is set adrift and isn't sure how to get back on course. She takes the job as personal chef to Lucas Grant out of desperation. What Lucas expects and what he actually gets with Sophie are two very different things.

On the surface Lucas was a stereo-typical movie star. Expecting first class treatment and he definitely expects to get his way. He's used to having women practically fall at his feet. In fact the book opens with a woman in his hot tub waiting for him in nothing, her swimsuit removed for his viewing pleasure. Lucas wasn't exactly surprised to find her there. He might have been more surprised if there hadn't been a woman, or two, waiting for him. This is his world so when that world changes overnight and he's forced to take refuge at a mountain cabin he doesn't expect his star treatment to change. But he's in for a rude awakening when Sophie rebuffs his offer of spending some time between the sheets.

Sophie isn't immune to Lucas' gorgeous looks and smooth ways. I like the fact that she's honest enough to admit that she finds him attractive but she still has unresolved issues with Brandon to work through. Lucas also has issues from his past that are about to come to light when he would prefer they stay buried.

Sophie and Lucas had an intriguing relationship because neither thought the other was their type. Lucas was so used to movie starlets and cover models that he was surprised that he was so attracted to Sophie. Physically she was the opposite of what he thought he wanted in a woman. Emotionally Lucas doesn't do long term relationships. Sophie was used to steady, safe Brandon. Not someone who lived in the limelight and did things on the spur of the moment. Once they did give in to their attraction Lucas just assumes that the end will come when their time at the cabin ends. Sophie knows this but it doesn't make it any easier when she starts to care for Lucas.

I really like the way Mayberry writes. I'm not sure how to explain it other than to say that she writes the way people talk. There is some Aussie lingo/words in there but the dialogue and emotions are incredibly genuine. Sophie and Lucas are very real, flaws and all. And with the short format there was still lots of story packed into this book. No short-changing of the character development or the environments where these two remarkably different people came from. I think that's something that I expected when I started this challenge (the short-changing) and have been pleasantly surprised at the depth of the characters in these shorter novels.

There was one part towards the end when I thought Lucas was a first class jerk. I know why he did what he did but it still royally pissed me off and I felt such overwhelming sympathy for Sophie. I can't tell you how mad I was at him. I swear if I had been there I would have told him off! (Yeah, I know it's a book but you guys know what I mean.)

And the end, it was perfect how they came together after their time at the cabin. Don't want to spoil it but it worked for me. :)

Sarah Mayberry and her books can be found here.

Rating: A


  1. Leslie, this is the second Mayberry review I see, and the second A. I read Anything for You (friends to lovers) by her and just loved it. Now, I'll have to give this one a look-see. :)

    Thanks for the review and for adding to my ever growing pile of TBR books, lol!

  2. It's all Kmont's fault. :)

    I'll be on the look out for Anything for You. And thank you for adding to my TBR mountain. lol

  3. Hi there! Great review. :) Now I want to read this one more than ever. I still need to read this months book, too. Oops!

    But you make this one sound very enticing. Mayberry just seems to have it down. I remember Sherry Thomas' book, Delicious, making me hungry. The heroine's a chef in that one, too.

    You made me laugh at how mad you got t the hero. Yes, I definitely know what you mean. I've gotten so mad at characters before that I just had to share with the husband, who always does his best to accommodate the rants lol.

  4. This sounds great, and I love when they don't cleanse out Aussie or British words for the American audience. Yes, chest is most moist!

  5. KMont ~ It's proof of Mayberry's skill as a writer that I got so emotional over this one. Thanks again for reviewing and recommending her. :)

    CJ ~ I'm glad Mayberry included the Aussie lingo. Both h/h are Australian and it takes place there. :)

  6. I read my first three novels by Mayberry last month. I'm now trying to get my hands on as much of her novels as I can. LOL

    I really like the way she writes.

  7. Taja - me too! Mayberry is now on my TBB list.