Hope Flames by Jaci Burton Release Date: January 7, 2014 Publisher: Berkley Contemporary Romance - M/F Book #1 of the Hope series Number of Pages: 320 Kindle Edition Source: borrowed from Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCL) Rating: NC-17 Read 8/18/16 to 8/22/16
I have read and (for the most part) enjoyed Jaci Burton’s Play by Play series so decided to try another of her series out. When I read the synopses of this one, I have to admit it reminded me the Animal Magnetism series by Jill Shalvis, which I love. Both authors are pretty steamy but have good stories to go along with the racy scenes. So this book seemed like a great place to start my expansion of the Jaci Burton universe.
I really enjoyed how Luke and Emma rolled with everything, even while having major internal debates and dialogues with themselves. Emma even berates herself for dissecting every little action and word at one point. But when it comes to actually discussing things with each other, it just doesn’t happen. Sometime that can really bug me in a book when it’s used as a vehicle for some huge misunderstanding and blow up between the H and h. That is not what happens here and I appreciate the author having faith in her audience to not feel she has to have “the big fight” in order to create tension. Instead, the characters understand why the other is acting out or pushing away and they deal with it like adults (besides the not talking it out thing).
My only real issue with this story is how much it glosses over Emma’s past relationship and Luke’s mom. Both are major things that shaped the personalities of these characters. While they were used as main plot points, we didn’t really get details. I’m thinking, with Luke’s mom, we may revisit that issue in a future book since I’m assuming at least one of his brothers will get a story. With Emma’s past, it just all seemed a bit too neat and tidy and didn’t do the subject matter justice in my eyes.
You may wonder, as you’re reading my reviews of romance type books, how I can usually gloss over the insta-romance. Well, I actually enjoy insta-romance. The author only has so long to tell us a story so it’s usually inevitable unless it’s a sweeping epic novel that’s over 1000 pages long. If you’re reading a romance, you should just let yourself be okay with how quickly characters will fall in love.
One last note on this particular book…astute eyes may notice this is book #1 but if you go to the list of books in the series there is a book #0.5. I’m actually reading that second because that’s the way it was released. I will often go by publication date when reading a series, not how they line up in the series.