You Are My Darling!!! – Sakurai Taiki
When a new person moves in next door, the appearance of a cockroach forces him to ask his neighbour for help. This strange situation is how two people with opposite personalities, one calm and composed the other prone to exaggeration, form an unlikely friendship.
A neighbors to friends to lovers story with a good premise but fell short of the mark.
The manga started off well with a cockroach scare that had Yorito running pantless smack into his neighbor Akitori. From then on, the two started a friendship. They discovered new things about each other and learned about their youthful dreams.
I think the main downside here was the execution. It was aiming for cute and fluffy, which it is. Kind of. But mostly, it’s boring. The supposed humor was flat. There is chemistry between the characters but their scenes were tepid at best. Even the first kiss scene lack spark. The delivery was just not making me feel the emotions it’s supposed to convey.
I was very eager to delve into these two book of the Hotshots series mostly because of the elite firefighter theme. I have not read many of those yet and this was my first introduction to smoke jumpers.
The first installment Burn Zone was an enjoyable series opener. The next two books feature other smoke jumpers working in the same base as Linc and Jacob. The books can be read as standalones.
Hotshots: High Heat – Annabeth Albert
Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series continues—the emotions and intensity of Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild .
Smoke jumping is Garrick Nelson’s life. Nothing, not severe injuries nor the brutal physical therapy that follows, is going to stop him from getting back with his crew. But when a lost dog shows up on his front porch, he can’t turn her away, and he can’t take care of her on his own. Thankfully, help comes in the form of his new sexy, dog-loving neighbor. As they work together, trying to re-home their little princess, Garrick can’t resist his growing attraction for the other man, even though he knows this guy isn’t the staying type.
Rain Fisher doesn’t take anything too seriously. He dances through life, one adventure at a time, never settling in one place for too long. When his hot, conveniently buff, neighbor shows up on his doorstep, dog in tow, Rain’s determined to not just save the adorable puppy, but her reluctant owner as well. He never expects their flirtation might tempt him into stay put once and for all…
Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts. Don’t miss the Hotshots series from Annabeth Albert: Burn Zone, High Heat, and Feel the Fire.
High Heat is Garrick and Rain’s story. Garrick is an injured smoke jumper undergoing physical therapy. He met the carefree, twenty-something Rain when he was asking his neighbor’s help in dealing with a wounded lost dog who strayed in his yard.
This is an opposites attract, age-gap story about healing. Garrick was not only injured physically, he also had issues getting it up. Garrick found himself drawn to his younger neighbor. Rain gradually became an indispensable part of Garrick’s life along with the dog, now named Cookie. He helped him with Cookie, as well as with Garrick’s sexual healing.
Thing is, I know their connection was there. Just that, I wasn’t connecting with the characters. I don’t feel invested in what happened to them.
I was more interested in the job aspect. Here specifically, because Garrick was being offered a position as dispatcher while he was recovering. I liked that we will see firefighting from a different point of view but it’s taking too long to get to those parts. There’s just not enough of the smoke jumping to keep me glued.
2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book
Hotshots: Feel The Fire – Annabeth Albert
The third installment of Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series—the emotions and intensity of Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild .
When their career paths bring two high school sweethearts together again, the forest isn’t the only thing ablaze…
Fire behavior specialist Luis Riviera goes where his job takes him. But when he’s assigned to an arson investigation in Central Oregon—the place he left his broken heart twenty years ago—he’s afraid of being burned all over again.
Tucker Ryland had planned to join his first love, Luis, in LA after high school graduation, but life got in the way. Now a fire management expert and a divorced father of teen twins, Tucker’s thrown for a loop when he finds himself working side by side with his Luis, now all grown up and more intriguing than ever.
Though consumed by a grueling fire season and family responsibilities, the two men discover their bond has never truly broken. Tentative kisses turn to passionate nights. But smoking sheets aside, old hurts and new truths stand in the way of this time being the start of forever.
Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts. Don’t miss the Hotshots series from Annabeth Albert: High Heat, Burn Zone and Feel the Fire. (less)
Thought I would feel better with High Heat. This one’s a childhood friends-to-lovers, second chance romance, something I always enjoyed.
Tucker and Luis were best friends from their grade school days up until high school when they started discovering they both like boys. Specifically, each other. Luis wanted to come out but Tucker had more conservative parents who he knew would not take it well. Luis’s family moved to California when they were seventeen. The two boys exchanged promises that Tucker would follow later on. That was the last they saw each other.
Their reunion decades later was all sorts of awkward. There were the whys that needed to be hashed out, sparks of attraction that threatened to ignite once again. Not to mention, how to explain to Tucker’s family.
There’s great chemistry between Luis and Tucker. Their shared history lent their current attraction extra weight both in the bad and good sense. There’s the baggage to deal with but there’s also a deep connection they can only find with each other. This is especially important because Tucker is demisexual.
There are a lot of promising things here. Also, a gray/ace character is right up my alley. They weren’t enough to keep me hanging though. As the story progressed, I found myself less and less engaged with the story. The going felt slow. For a book about fires, the delivery wasn’t generating enough sparks with me until it got to the point where it left me cold.
Comforting myself with the thought that Tucker and Luis get their HEA, eventually. Too bad I have no patience to stick around and see it happened.
2.5 Stars – far from hate but not quite a like
I’m sorry that not feeling things is the theme of today’s reviews. Doubly sad because I had such high hopes for these two blazing books. I’m not writing off Annabeth Albert yet. I heard good things about her other books so I’m definitely giving those a shot.
On to better things now.
3.5 -star review of Burn Zone here.
Whenever I’m with you
Starts to burn deep
And my heart’s filled with fire
Could be that I’m very sentimental
Or is this just the way love’s supposed to be?
I got a heat wave
Burning in my heart
I can’t keep from crying
Tearing me apart
Sometimes she calls my name
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can’t explain
I feel, yeah I feel
I feel this burning flame
This high blood pressure’s got a hold on me
‘Cause this is the way love’s supposed to be
I got a heat wave
Burning in my heart
I can’t keep from crying
Tearing me apart
Just give me another chance
This could be a new romance