Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Club: Never Too Hot by Bella Andre

By: Mary G

I loved this book. Every. Single. Word.

Never Too Hot is the third of Bella’s Hot Shots Firefighter series. This one is less about firefighting and suspense and is more character driven. I didn’t need a bunch of firefighters to make this a sexy hot emotional book though.

Ginger finally leaves the clutches of her controlling ex & parents. She wants to go back to her love of painting. She rents a run down cabin to get away from it all. Connor is a hunky firefighter who suffered serious burns on his hands & arms. He is on his last appeal with the Forest Service to get his job back.

Connor wants to take a break from worrying about his future. He decides to fix up his childhood summer retreat for his brother’s upcoming wedding. He wants peace and quiet & to work on getting his strength back. He runs into Ginger there who unknowingly rented the cabin from his grandparents.

Ginger’s self esteem suffered from being voluptuous in a wealthy society where you can’t be too rich or too thin. She’s smart, artistic and compassionate. She’s done with men for the moment. Connor’s scars are more visible and women are the last thing on Connor’s mind. He’s definitely a wounded hero. He doesn’t believe in love and is afraid of anyone getting too close.
They agree to share the cabin and slowly get to know each other. The attraction is there from the beginning but it takes a while to go from simmer to boil. Ginger is the first one to admit that she’s in love. While she’s relieved at confessing it, Connor fights it. Page 232:

“No.” His eyes were dark. Wild. “You don’t. You can’t.”

She won’t back down though and makes him see that she’s going to stick. Eventually, he runs scared and tries to stay away from her. He thought it was the stronger path to walk away from her and deal with his issues on his own. The day Connor realizes that Ginger has staying power sets up my fave line in the book. He comes to realize that in his world, hotshots never give up, show weakness. He didn’t know if it was because they were tough or because there were nineteen other guys backing them up. They were a skilled crew of friends and family that would always be there for backup. Page 308:

A sudden thought hit him hard in the solar plexus. Ginger was his crew.

"Ginger was his crew". Four simple, seemingly innocuous words but when I read them I thought my heart was going to stop. Not only did I keep rereading them but I kept going back to read that sentence again. I don't know why it affected me like that and I don't even want to analyze it. It just worked for me. Four simple little words that just blew me away, gave me chills, made me sigh.

There is no doubt that Bella writes hot books. There is a beauty in her writing as well. Page 342:

He was kissing her like he’s been waiting his whole life to find her… Another sigh-worthy moment.

I loved this book. It had some secondary couples that really fleshed out the sense of family & community. I’ve loved every book Bella has written. I just haven’t read her new one yet – Game for Love which is the third book in the Bad Boys of Football series. Hey, is the host allowed to win? LOL – just kidding. In honor of Bella’s hot guys I chose the following recipe:

Firehouse Crockpot Chili
1 lb. ground beef or pork
1 lb. stew meat
2 cans kidney beans
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
1 sm can tomato paste
1 regular can tomato sauce
1 can Ro-tel
1 can beer
5 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. crushed red peppers
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. sage
2 cups water
* to make it 3 alarm, add 3 jalapeno peppers sliced in half and seeds removed (or 1 red savina habanero) Brown hamburger or pork, drain & set aside. Brown stew meat in butter with onion and bell pepper. Place ground beef and stew meat with onion & bell pepper in crock pot, add 1 can of kidney beans, tomato paste & sauce, Ro-tel, beer, all seasonings into crock pot and mix well, add the water if you have room. Turn crock pot on high until chili gets hot, then put it on low for about 6 hours. About 1 hour before you plan on eating, add the other can of beans & start the cornbread.


Mary G said...

Hi All
I hope you enjoyed this book as much as I did.

Mary G said...

Sorry, I forgot to mention that Bella will be giving away a digital copy of Love Me & Game For Love!

krisgils33 said...

Great write-up Mary! Like you, I enjoy all of Bella's books, but when I first met Connor, I knew he'd be special to me. I couldn't wait for the release of his book and the anticipation almost killed me! It certainly didn't disappoint. The wounded hero just really does it for me. It was an emotionally deep story that I absolutely enjoyed from Page 1 to The End.

Mary G said...

The wounded hero does it for me too Kris. I agree about this book being special.

Ronlyn said...

Morning all! I'm stopping by early to say hi and then I'll be offline for most of the day because of day-job craziness.
What a great write up Mary! And add some cornbread to your chili and you have a perfect cold night dinner. :-)

Mary G said...

Hi Ronlyn.
I thought of the crockpotters in our group when I saw this recipe. Thanks for stopping in.

Marie Force said...

I loved this book. It was pitch perfect from the first page to the last. I'm now going back and reading the earlier two, and enjoying the first one very much. Thanks for the great recommendation, Mary, as well as the awesome write up and recipe. Look forward to today's chat!

Mary G said...

Hi Marie
So glad you loved it too!! I love when a book resonates with lots of readers.

Aly said...

Good Morning All!

::sigh:: Connor ::sigh:: Oh. Yeah. And Ginger too :)

Sucker for a wounded/tortured hero? NO! Not me! LOL! They are only like my favorite thing evah -- ok lack of sleeping has me channeling my valley girl this morning!

I really like the evolution of the relationship and watching Ginger and Connor grow into a couple. Of course the secondary stories/characters only added to the fabulousness - I am exhausted so I am allowed to make up words - of the story!

And Mary I agree completely -- Ginger was his crew -- sometimes it is the most simple statement in a book that can just seal the deal for a reader. And that line certainly does it!

Marie Force said...

I loved that line, too, Aly. Totally perfect.

Mary G said...

Hi Aly
You always have amazing comments. Made me tear up. Glad you enjoyed it.

Jackie P said...

I love Bella's books. I was so glad that you all recommended her new books to me. I loved this one.

Jolene and Family said...

Great write up Mary, can't wait to read this series. Sounds like a hot story and I've heard great things about Bella Andre, she's on my must buy asap list :) I'll make it happen. Great recipe, my hubbs loves his chilli, I may need to actually "cook" so he can try this

Mary G said...

Hi Jackie
Glad you enjoyed.

Mary G said...

Hi Jolene
Warning: you'll be addicted!

Ronlyn said...

taking a break from the craziness to chime back in.

What is it about firemen? YUM! I'm thinking the ability to move heavy machinery as well as cook. ;-)

I love watching strong men (and women for that matter) become an "us". There's something magical about that moment.

Mary G said...

So true Ronlyn. They both bring something to the relationship with their different strengths.Thanks for dropping by during your break.

Hope said...

Great write up Mary!!! I loved this whole series, but I have to admit, Connor was my fav. The whole wounded/then becomes whole cause of a woman just gets me.

I loved the banter between the two when Connor realized he has to share the cabin that he thought he would have to himself. I liked that she didn't back down and she was strong but also had her own wounds.

Mary G said...

Perfect summary Hope!

Judy F said...

I just loved this book. Connor had so much to work through and Ginger was the perfect woman for him.

Connor's relationship with his dad was revealing towards his views on love.

I even enjoyed the secondary romance of Isabel and Connor's dad Andrew.

Awesome series.

Loved Bella's football books as well. Smoking hot.

Mary G said...

Good point about his dad Judy. And yes, I loved her football books too.

Bella Andre said...

Hello! I hope it's okay for me to stop by this lovely discussion. :D

First, I'm thrilled and honored that Never Too Hot is Marie's bookclub book of the week. Thanks so much for choosing it!

And know I already adored you. Now, I have to say it's gone waaaaay past adoration. You're post today was so sweet and lovely and heartfelt. It's always nice to hear that someone loves one of my books, but for this book, it's extra special. Because, you see, this book meant *so* much to me as I wrote it, that I literally cried my way through it, tears dripping onto the keyboard the whole way. I'm not kidding. Ask anyone who was around me during that time. I was a sobbing mess at the keyboard. (And loving every single second of it!)

Sucker for a wounded hero? Yup. That's me. I loved Connor. It was L-O-V-E. Maybe authors aren't supposed to say that about their own characters and books, but as I was writing his story I so understood why Ginger felt the way she felt about him. She wanted to heal him because he deserved to be whole. It didn't hurt that he was totally lovable and HOT!

All this to say, thank you so much to everyone who has read/is reading Never Too Hot - and any one of my other books! Is it bad to say that it makes my day to hear that one of books made you cry? Laughter's good too, of course. LOL.

:) Bella

Marie Force said...

Thanks so much for stopping by! We're thrilled to have you here. And as for Mary G: I'll fight you for her, g'friend! :-) She's such a wonderful supporter of our genre and her favorite authors.

I love to ask visiting authors to talk about their writing journey and what inspires them. So if you have a minute and can tell us about your journey, we'd love to hear it.

Looking forward to reading the rest of the Hot Shot stories as well as your other books!

Bella Andre said...

Oh, I forgot to say that the chili recipe sounds delicious, Mary! I'll have to give it to my husband. (He's the cook when I'm writing...and I'm always writing. LOL)

Kris - I'm so glad you enjoyed the entire series. I loved writing those hotshots. Firefighters are yummy. :)

Marie - Pitch perfect? I'll take it! LOL But seriously, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed Connor's story. Here's hoping Sam and Logan do it for you, too!

Aly - I'm sitting here laughing at your comment. You and me, both suckers for the wounded hero. Love it! And, btw, I love writing the dynamic between the wounded hero and the woman who loves him. There's so much innate tenderness there, even if the hero is striking at out her emotionally (because he's so wounded, and all...).

Jackie - So glad you've been enjoying my books. Hooray!

Jolene - Here's hoping you enjoy them!

Hope - Thanks for reading the series and I'm so glad you fell under Connor's spell. :D I really had such a wonderful time writing Never Too Hot.

Judy - Thanks so much! And I'm glad you've enjoyed my Football books too. I love me some bad boys...

Kara C said...

Hey everyone!
I read this book, this SERIES, the minute it hit the stores. The whole series is great, but this one is very special. Great write up, Mary. I definitely see a reread in the very near future.

Johanna R Jochum said...

I have not read this book yet but I just added it to my list! Thanks for lovely post today!

Bella Andre said...

Well, Marie, right now my journey consists of a lot of tea and typing! :)

But seriously, the most magical moments of my workday are when I'm sitting behind my computer working on a book, sweating it out with my hero and heroine as they find their way to true love. Today, in fact, I've been bonding with a new hero and heroine who I just might *love*. He's yummy, she's hilarious, and I'm pretty sure that when they finally let themselves touch each other something's going to explode!

I was a musician for many years and then one day two characters started having a conversation in my head. Instead of going to see the doctor (LOL) I grabbed a notebook full of lyrics and wrote it down. Soon after, I ran into an old college friend - Jami Alden, who writes marvelous sexy romantic suspese - and we made a new friend - Monica McCarty, who write awesome Highlander books - and the three of us forged headlong into romance writing. I've been so blessed by this career. Every day is more exciting than the next.

And best of all, I've gotten to meet so many truly lovely, bright, funny woman at booksignings and on facebook and twitter because of my books. I've always been a voracious romance reader - I'm a one book a day girl when I can get away with it (2 small kids and a husband who would like to see his wife sometimes make that a bit difficult) - and if you ask me us romance readers are made of special stuff.

Thanks again for having me and Connor and Ginger here, Marie! It's been such a pleasure.

:) Bella

Marie Force said...

Great story, Bella! Thanks for sharing and thanks for coming by today. Pleasure to have you!

flchen1 said...

Wooohoo! Bella! Love the reminder of how you and Jami got started ;) So glad you did! I haven't read Never Too Hot yet, but book one in the series was awesome, and I know I need to catch up! Nothing like some firefighters to provide really interesting characters and plots and of course, the promise of hotties :)

Alison said...

Hi Everyone! Just wanted to stop in and say how much I love Bella's books!

Mary G said...

Hi Marie & Bella
You two are so sweet!!

Bella, the day I finished reading NTH, you were guesting on Leah Braemel's blog. I hadn't even had a chance to email you to let you know how the book affected me so I told you on the blog. You said it made your day. That made my day.
I just find that the very best authors I know (hint hint Marie) just don't know how good they are.

That's why you keep putting out quality work. It was wonderful having you today and reminiscing about NTH. Like Kara said - time for a full reread.

Mary G said...

Hey Alison!! Another fan.

Marie Force said...

Awww, thanks Mary! I'm blessed with the most lovely readers who recommend awesome books such as Bella's to me. I really NEED to be writing but I just want to get back to Luke and Maya!

Mary G said...

fichen & Johanna
It's an awesome book and a keeper.

flchen1 said...

I'll bet, Mary! I have most of the rest of Bella's backlist already, and they are keepers :)

Mary G said...

Hi All
I asked Bella to come by & announce the prize giveaway. Thanks for sharing. It was fun.

Mary G said...

Okay ladies. Bella's asking that Marie use her randomizer thingy & pick the 2 winners.

Marie Force said...

Will do when I get home tonight.

Marie Force said...

The winners are....




Now, a word about picking winners. Just so you guys know--every week is a clean slate. I put in everyone who comments and everyone has an equal chance. I've been wanting to mention that for weeks now and keep forgetting!

Ronlyn said...

Wow! Thanks Bella (and Marie!)

Mary G said...

Congrats & enjoy Ladies.


Just put Marie Force Book Club winner in the subject line.