March's theme for the 2013 TBR Challenge was Series Catch-Up, an appealing one for me because I do tend to hoard books in romance series I enjoy against reading droughts, long flights, etc.--any situation where I know I'll want a reliably good book. So I wasn't lacking for choices for this one.
(In other genres, I'm a lot more likely to inhale a new book in a series within days or even hours of its release because the previous volume probably ended on a cliffhanger, or at least with tons of unanswered questions that have been bugging me for months or YEARS. Since romances have to at least feature a happy ending for that book's central characters, there's less of that "FINALLY a new book, must read NOW!" stress.)
Anyway, this month my selection was...
23) Hot Under Pressure, by Louisa Edwards.
This book is the third in a trilogy about restaurant teams competing in a Rising Star Chef competition.
I don't read a lot of contemporary romance, in large part because so much of the subgenre runs to hymns to the glories of small town life. I grew up in a small town. I went to college in Philadelphia and have settled down to live my adult life in Seattle. Never, in all the times I've gone back to my hometown, have I felt the slightest hunger to hook up with an old flame or to turn my back on my empty urban existence for the authentic community of people I'm probably some kind of distant cousin to, what with Great-Great-Granddaddy Stone's 17 children who married into practically every family in the southeast corner of our county. I can relate to Barrayar and Narnia and Terre d'Ange and any number of invented fantastical worlds. To small town romances, not so much.
Which is a big reason why one of my few contemporary romance autobuy authors is Louisa Edwards. Her stories of love among young, elite chefs are hymns to the glories of city life, of how found family can be even more important than the one you were born into. And, they're about food and cooking, which is close behind books and history on my personal obsessions list. Hot Under Pressure is a worthy final installment to the Rising Star Chef series. It's a second chance story about a couple who married very young, only to be driven apart by tragedy...until a decade or so later they find themselves competing against each other in the finals, representing their New York and San Francisco restaurants.