Hearts Afire – January

heartsafirejanuary
Title: Hearts Afire – January
Authors: Bonnie Dee and T.A. Chase
Publisher: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com
Genre: Contemporary/Paranormal GLBT (M/M)
Length: novel
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Ignite: by Bonnie Dee 3.5 stars out of 5

THE BLURB

Fireman. Firestarter. When the two come together, their world ignites!

Pete Santori is a New York City fireman, who is committed to his job and doesn’t take any time for personal relationships. That all changes one night when he saves a man from a fire that the victim appears to have started. As the man in his arms makes a confession, a strange connection passes between them.

Alan Delaine is a firestarter, not an arsonist. He manifests powerful energy when he experiences strong emotion and things in his vicinity ignite. He’s been held captive in an unidentified facility, where he was tested physically and psychologically. When he meets Pete, he’s been living on the run after escaping the lab.

As the two men come together, each has qualities the other needs. Physical attraction grows into something deeper. When the pair is kidnapped, can they make it out alive and build a future in which Alan can live a normal life?

Ignite by Bonnie Dee

THE REVIEW

Pete is a firefighter and he and Alan meet at the scene of a fire where Alan is saved by the fireman, but the strangest part of the rescue is that the victim doesn’t want to be rescued – he wants to die. Alan is a firestarter and has been for most of his life. After many fires which he started, unintentionally, his adopted parents sent him to a government run lab for observation when he was a teenager, hoping they could figure out why this was happening to their son. Once within the clutches of this government organization, however, Alan is imprisoned in a secure facility while they “studied” him. After escaping in his early twenties he has been on the run for a year and his life could not be any worse than being on the streets, expecting at any
moment to be recaptured; suicide seemed to be an easy solution.

When Pete and Alan meet they form a strange bond because Pete seems able to neutralize the fires always building within Alan and helps him to control them. This empathy between the two men is part of their attraction.

Pete is the older, more jaded protagonist who is ostracized by his family and has never had a relationship with another man. His life is a series of one night stands and when he meets Alan he is still not ready to commit to anyone. Alan is very sweet and innocent even though he had been living on the streets for a year. Having spent his formative years in a secure facility with no sex and no outlet for his frustration with what his life had become, he is ripe for someone like Pete. There is a strange communion between them as Pete tries to help Alan come to terms with his psychic abilities. When things go wrong they have to depend on each other and in the end some of the scenes in Alan’s old “facility” are horrific.

The plot of this book is eerily reminiscent of Stephen King’s Firestarter and most readers will draw parallels to the two stories. Like Charlie in Firestarter, Alan can’t control his ability to start fires and once started he can’t stop the conflagration. There are other similarities which I won’t go into but Ignite, while it might have taken a few cues from the previous book, is original in a number of other areas.

Ignite is suspenseful and has a lot of action sequences for such a short book, perhaps too much. Personally I would have preferred for this story to be novel length so that the characters have enough time to develop their feelings for each other, for the plot to unfold gradually rather than at breakneck speed, and for the suspense in the book to slowly develop and reach a crescendo. While I do understand that authors have to write their stories within the publishers’ framework in terms of word count, in this case I think that worked against what could have been a much better story.

I have always admired Bonnie Dee’s writing but I just wish that this story was more fully developed. In my opinion too much action and emotion are packed into this short novella and it suffers from appearing to be rushed.


Where the Devil Dances: T.A.Chase 4.75 stars out of 5

THE BLURB

Scars aren’t always on the outside. Architect Eric Sandel is living proof. He moves to Morley after
surviving a terrible fire in order to rebuild his life and hopes designing the new Opera House will help him bury the past.

Firefighter David Browdie hasn’t had time for serious relationships, his “on call” status tends to leave relationships in the dust. When he meets Eric at the neighborhood dog park, sparks fly and he thinks maybe this time, serious will win after all.

But a demon from Eric’s past haunts him. David and Eric must work together to find a way to stop the mad man before they all go up in flames.

Where the Devil Dances

THE REVIEW

Eric had been badly burned and suffered other injuries in a fire that was deliberately set by a madman who was obsessed with him. Two people had lost their lives in the fire, including Eric’s lover, and he has to try and cope with the emotional as well physical effects of this life changing event. After countless surgeries, three years later he is trying to put his life and career back together and trust people again, but he is still suffering from the effects of his nightmare. One night he is in the park sitting in the dark with his dog when David shows up with his dog. The animals soon make friends and their masters follow suit, but Eric is wary of strangers after his past ordeal. Eventually they become friends and are well on their way to something closer but the stalker is watching Eric and planning his next move.

After a series of fires in the area which seem to be targeting either David or Eric they become concerned, and when they receive a gruesome warning they can’t deny that someone very dangerous is on the loose who will stop at nothing to achieve his objectives.

What I liked about this book is the slow courtship between the two characters as they get to know each other, and the tenderness and love David showers on Eric. Because of his injuries Eric has to be careful of intimate touches since his skin is extremely sensitive and David takes the time to learn his body and ensure that their lovemaking is pleasurable rather than painful, which makes for a very romantic story.

In the background the stalker still lurks and when the story builds to its inevitable crescendo and he is unleashed there is enough action to make this a very satisfying thrill ride and suspenseful drama.

Where the Devil Dances is slightly longer than Ignite and benefits from this additional word count in terms of plot, character development and romantic involvement. Eric’s character was very well written in that even though he had had a very traumatic past he was trying to live his life like everyone else, despite the changes in his body and the scars due to his injuries, and David was a very tender and loving partner. I felt that the pace was quite appropriate for the plot and the excitement built fast enough to make the story very enjoyable . The characters were three dimensional, the plot unfolded as it should and I experienced the kick of the final takedown in a very satisfactory conclusion.

I loved this story and not only because of the two cute dogs. This is probably one of T.A.Chase’s more emotional and romantic books that I have read recently and shows great attention to detail – all in all, terrific writing on the part of this author.

Hearts Afire: January is the first book in a new series by Liquid Silver Books and if Where the Devil Dances by T.A. Chase is any indication of the calibre of the other stories in the series I will look forward every month to reading the continuing adventures of these courageous firemen and their lovers.

A few scenes in Ignite might be too violent for some readers

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

11 comments

  • Hi Lily
    Bonnie is an excellent writer whose books I have reviewed on the blog. Her story is great (terrific characters and intense plot) except for the pacing. The length of the story is, I’m sure, partly a requirement of the publisher, but novellas can be stretched on occasion and I really wish I could have spent more time with the guys. As I said in an earlier comment (and Tam did as well), I hope she does a sequel b/c I thought there were a few things left ‘hanging.’

    Re T.A’s story, it has everything – great characters, plot AND pacing with a whole lot of emotion.

    Reply

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