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.
Say You’ll Be Nine – Lucy Lennox
One dilapidated cabin in need of renovation.
Two stubborn men pretending to be a couple.
Three summer months to get the job done.
Four tangled legs in only one bed.
Five cameras catching it all for YouTube.
Six hundred thousand Instagram followers.
Seven nosy family members with Opinions.
Eight thousand reasons they should never fall in love.
Nine million reasons why they will.
Say You’ll Be Nine is a standalone novel.
Isaac ‘Nine’ Winshed is all kinds of adorbs and sweet and gentle and shy. He would rather be hit by a train than let someone be hurt under his watch. When he was a child he didn’t want his favorite chicken, Sir Pecks-a-lot, to be eaten so he let it live in his closet.
The man lives to help other people. He wields a hammer like Thor and has the heart of Captain America. His superpower is home renovation. He vlogs about DIY projects on Youtube. The best thing about him is that he didn’t feel too good to be true. I loved how author, Lucy Lennox, made him alive and relatable.
Nine is the ninth in a family of 12. All his life, he’s been dating girls but never really felt the spark. It wasn’t until he was with Cooper when he realized something about himself. For him, it’s not the the gender but the person. And Cooper was that person.
Cooper Heath is an aspiring actor hoping to make it big in Hollywood. He’s best friends with Eli, Nine’s big brother. Cooper was the opposite of Nine in many ways. He’s witty, extroverted, very talkative and a bit dramatic. He’s highly self-reliant and doesn’t like asking for help. He’s currently back in town, living with his mom and twin brother, Jackson.
Jacks has a rare blood disorder and they needed money for a bone marrow transplant. The fastest way was to accept a sponsorship for an LGBT-oriented DIY show on Youtube where Coop and Nine pretend to be a gay couple and renovate a cabin in the woods.
Coop can’t tell his Phillips from a Robertson but he’s very social media savvy. His superpower is Instagram. The project should be easy. All he needed to do was make them look good.
Except…how NOT to fall for the very attractive lumberjack+fake boyfriend whom you were kinda crushing on since when you were a kid? The same lumberjack+fake boyfriend who’s the younger brother of your best friend and by all accounts, straight?
Things are getting real really fast!
I want to see that time-lapse video of the cabin being renovated. As Nine said, it was like watching him and Cooper fall in love. It was fantastic to see how the characters developed and their romance transition from reel to real.
I totally loved how Nine embraced everything with an open heart and an open mind. He himself admitted he was naive but he learned fast and he gave it his all. Coop was very patient with him and they talked everything out, at first. It was wasn’t until the latter part that they headed towards that notorious miscommunication+separation route.
After which we are rewarded with a grand gesture moment that was so cute and so endearingly Nine. I wished this was a movie because that scene would be so beautiful on screen.
Cooper was no slouch either. He pulled off his own grand gesture with perfect timing with the best Christmas present ever. That ending was pure ♡ ♡ ♡ !
Say You’ll Be Nine is my first book from the author and I loved it to bits! This is a contemporary, opposite-attracts, forced proximity, fake boyfriend romance with a slight enemies-but-not-really angle thrown in. There’s also the brother’s bestfriend trope and first time gay going on. Everything came together in the best way possible.
It’s pretty much guaranteed, after reading this book, you’ll want a Nine in your life too!
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
Seducing the Sedgwicks: Two Rogues Make A Right – Cat Sebastian
Will Sedgwick can’t believe that after months of searching for his oldest friend, Martin Easterbrook is found hiding in an attic like a gothic nightmare. Intent on nursing Martin back to health, Will kindly kidnaps him and takes him to the countryside to recover, well away from the world.
Martin doesn’t much care where he is or even how he got there. He’s much more concerned that the man he’s loved his entire life is currently waiting on him hand and foot, feeding him soup and making him tea. Martin knows he’s a lost cause, one he doesn’t want Will to waste his life on.
As a lifetime of love transforms into a tender passion both men always desired but neither expected, can they envision a life free from the restrictions of the past, a life with each other?
Congratulations to the Seducing The Sedgwicks series for reaching peak fluff-tastic adorableness in the third book, Two Rogues Make A Right!
It’s for books like this that incoherent squeeing emojis are deployed.
I mean, that cover is pure ✧♡〜ヾ(◍’౪`◍)ﾉﾞ〜 ✧♡!!!!
A perfect cover that captures the ✧♡➴✧♡。❣╰(⋈◍＞◡＜◍)╯❣。✧♡ ➴✧♡!!!!-ness of the story.
Yeah, foreheads touches ♥(ˆ⌣ˆԅ)
I will try to write a saner review now that I had the squeeing out of the way.
Two Rogues Make A Right is as sweet and gentle as an idyllic summer. It is a quintessential story of falling for your best friend. As such, there is the fear of losing a life-long friendship if romantic feelings become known. Mutual pining ensues. It is a tale as old as time, but Cat Sebastian was able to spin Will and Martin’s story into something more.
It was also about Martin coming into his own. His constant attempts to be a better person than his father ever been. His struggle to gain independence and make choices for himself. His determination to be useful in a world where an entry in Debrett’s pretty much guarantees you a lifetime of decorative lounging.
Martin came across as an almost villainous minor character in the first book, It Takes Two To Tumble. He’s grumpy and seemed to hate everybody. The second book found him in the attic, sick and cold. My sympathies were stirred. In this third installment, Martin turned out to be an utterly endearing tsundere. I really loved the scene where he spontaneously gathered posies on his way home and upon arriving, thrusted them to Will like he’s getting rid of something nasty.
Will is the kind of guy who’s free with his affections. He’s also “unspeakably loyal” to Martin and Martin knows that. I respected the heck out of Martin for steadfastly refusing to take advantage of Will’s loyalty. Even without the romantic aspect, their friendship were goals. I really loved how they selflessly took care of each other.
Martin rescuing Will from opium dens at the cost of his health. Will patiently nursing Martin back to health, telling him ridiculous bedtime stories. Them reading to each other! When Will was in the Navy, he got a tattoo on his arm with Martin’s name on it even before there were amorous feelings involved. To Will, Martin is home. Simple as that.
I want to build Will and Martin a blanket fort and keep the big bad world away from them. These are two precious dorks! Protect at all cost!
Seducing the Sedgwicks is best experienced by reading the books in order. The series might not be 5-stars across the board like The Turners series, but It Takes Two To Tumble was also a highly enjoyable take on the Sound of Music. Read my review here.
I DNFed A Gentleman Always Keeps Score. I wasn’t connecting to the story. I will not be posting a review for it.
Cat Sebastian books here.
5 Stars – absolutely perfect