Sometimes, the Book Club gets a unique selection that chooses to walk over the boundary line of multiple genres. While we utilize the Vault for all the hot and steamy stuff, the Book Club is typically reserved for more “old fashioned” romance novels whenever applicable. However, for this week’s selection we’ve decided to go with a novel that takes a “diet-coke” approach to the bedroom dealings. This is not an entirely closed-door affair, but something more along the lines of a peep-hole view of sex in a modern setting. Okay, enough with the soda-based metaphors, let’s try on a new brand of romance that attempts to find that sweet spot between Hallmark Channel and PornHub that seems so utterly elusive.
Getting Hot with the Scot by Melonie Johnson is contemporary romance with a sexy edge that melts concepts of romantic lit and erotica into a very unique cocktail. Cassie Crow and her affluent bevy of girlfriends are in the middle of a fabulous European vacation that is spanning multiple countries. With Spain and Italy in the rear view mirror, the crew’s next adventure takes place in a venerable Scottish castle for whiskey tastings…and possibly a glimpse of a hot Scotsman wrapped inside a kilt. While each of the girls have their own side missions for vacay fun, Cassie simply needs to get laid. A hot foreign fling with a dashing young Euro will set things right so she can get back to Chicago and improve her role on one of Chi-Town’s hottest talk shows. Cassie also has a love of books, particularly romance novels. While in the castle, this passion for romance causes her to fall for an unfortunate prank orchestrated by the internet’s latest sensation, Logan fucking Reid. Logan is the worst: cocky, arrogant, self-centered…oh but that brogue…and that shock of red hair <fans self>. Maybe this vacation will have some heat after all now that the gingers have arrived.
From the outset, Getting Hot with the Scot has approximately 7,747 different characters that make various appearances throughout the proceedings. Some characters are more important than others of course, but it’s hard to tell at first which ones (besides Cassie and Logan) will have any impact on their pursuit of love and self worth. More to the point, it seems several characters exist merely as filler to add more conversation while something “off camera” sets up for the next scene. Sure, this is something needed for television programs, but this novel could have been paced a little more succinctly. This is my first novel read by this author, so maybe the secondary, tertiary, or (looks up the “-ary” for 4)…quaternary characters are used elsewhere inside this universe, and that would be lovely, despite being rather crowded.
The story has an interesting approach towards conflict and tone. Conflict is obvious at the beginning, but is suddenly resolved about a third of the way through. Cassie and Logan manage to settle their differences and have a go at love after their first few experiences with lust. There is another attempt at opposition towards the end, however the true meat of the story seems to just be Cassie and Logan exploring beautiful countryside and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Unfortunately this makes a large portion of the novel feel like a stretch, with set dressing taking precedence over crucial moments in character progression. Cassie’s love of books could have been better explored, and I would have gladly surrendered a few of Logan’s Scottish history lessons for a greater development of Cassie’s plan to improve literacy in her hometown. There’s a good skeleton here, and a great heart to match, we could just stand to trim a little bit of fat from around the middle.
Verdict: Getting Hot with the Scot by Melonie Johnson is a comfortable, easy going modern romance that could hit you in all the right spots. Fun characters with a teeming helping of cute dialogue will satisfy readers looking for a good time with some unique European backgrounds. This novel is a banana split: pretty, sweet, and altogether enjoyable, just not a complete meal. Not everything needs to be a fat greasy steak…so save yourself some room for this one.
Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing an advance copy of Getting Hot with the Scot to TehBen.com for review. All thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.
Author’s Twitter: @MelonieJohnson
Pre-order/Purchase Link: Amazon