To say that Rita Clarkson has a complicated relationship with her family is putting it mildly. The personalities of the four of them couldn't be more different, so when they embark on a cross-country trip based on a journal left to them by their mother, shenanigans are sure to ensue. Jasper Ellis is doing his best to live down that kind of reputation. Having spent most of his adult life as the resident manwhore of Hurley, New Mexico, Jasper has sworn off women and is focusing on creating a new version of himself, and things have been going just fine. Until the Clarksons show up in town, that is. I love a book that takes me by surprise, one that has sass, humor, and enough snarky dialogue to make me laugh out loud. And, if said book has enough heat and spark to start a fire, even better. I was delighted to find that TOO HOT TO HANDLE by author Tessa Bailey has all of these things, and more. Tessa's books never fail to appeal. In TOO HOT TO HANDLE she's written characters and a story that engage from the first page. There is no way not to be intrigued by the complex relationship of the Clarkson family. Watching them together is amusing, and sometimes heartbreaking, but never dull. Their cross-country trip promises to be one heck of an adventure from the very beginning, because there is just a whole LOT of personality packed into one Suburban. And, even though they seem like caricatures, each a cliché of a type, there is so much more to them than meets the eye. The immediate heat between Jasper and Rita could power a small country. The more time that they spend together, the more it flares, and I find it a wonder that there is no spontaneous combustion going on. Serious fan myself moments going on there. But beyond all of this, there are two people that are trying really hard to refashion themselves into rebooted "better" versions of themselves. To find out that each is what helps make them that better version is bittersweet, when they're working with a timeline of just a few days. I am so glad that Tessa has written this book, and that there are more to follow, because I can't imagine that the other Clarksons will be any less wonderful to experience. 4.5 deliciously funny, sexy, snarky, 'grab this book now' stars. Grab this book. Now.
1 person found this review helpful
Tessa Bailey and her family of misfits took some time for me to warm up to but once it happened, I was all in. The Clarksons are a family that know what they want but lack the direction needed to get there. That guidance has always come from Miriam, the family matriach. Through the flubs she made and the love she gave, her teachings were the one constant in an ever changing world of heartaches and failure. She was the glue that held this faltering group together. Now they have too find the way on their own. With a little divine intervention. I received an ARC of Too Hot to Handle in exchange for an honest review. Rita had the heart to fulfill her dreams but lacked the confidence. Her life is quickly falling apart and she is losing herself piece by piece. Through memories, we get to explore her relationship with her mother and her personal development. I loved how Ms. Bailey wrote a tempting love story but she also explored the deeply emotional bond between a family. Through the good and bad.
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Rita and her dysfunctional family - heading to NY at their mother's last request - gets seriously sidelined in a small NM town by Jasper, a gorgeous guy with his own issues. Their story is as heart-wrenching as it is scorching hot. This one is a keeper to come back to. Enjoy it first and every time.