Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review of Reburn by Anne Marsh

Anne Marsh
Reburn (The Hotshots #1)
Kensington Books | July 18, 2013

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Not every man knows how to put out a fire. Fewer know when to keep it burning. . .

He Battles The Flames. . .
Nobody messes with Sam Clayton--or his territory. The big bruising ranger is the last line of defense in forest infernos and he'll go up against anyone who gets in the way of putting them out. Even the FBI tracking a terrorist through the heart of a blaze. But when Sam discovers the agent is ex-lover Olivia Albert, saving himself will be more dangerous than any fire he's faced before. . .

She Lives For The Heat. . .
Olivia needs Sam's help to survive the heat, but when it comes to keeping her quarry from detonating a major strike, this Bureau agent is calling the shots. Except when Sam's hard body and expert hands are reigniting a second chance that could be hot enough to burn forever. . .

Genre & Keywords: Contemporary Romance, M/F, Suspense, Firefighter, FBI agent, Terrorism, Reunited Lovers

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3 flames

I like stories about firefighters and when I saw this title up for review on Netgalley I couldn't resist requesting it. I've meant to read one of Anne Marsh's stories before, but except for the free first short story in this Hotshots series this was my first acquaintance with her writing. The first thing that I noticed is her precise and detailed descriptions of everything involving fires. I don't know a thing about fires beyond the basics but the technical details Marsh provides come across as real. She must either speak from experience or have done thorough research. It gives her story an authentic feeling.

Reburn is a novella about reunited lovers. Sam is a park ranger and firefighter in Sequoia National Park and Livy is a FBI agent hunting a terrorist who's hiding in Sam's park. They meet again after a ten-year long separation when there's a huge fire in the Park and Livy and her team are on the heels of the terrorist but running into the fire's unpredictable course. Sam needs to get them out of the heat before the fire closes them in. The rest of Livy's team is sent to safety but Sam and Livy need to spend the night in a gorge. They not only have to stay out of the fire's danger but also stay alert for an attack of the terrorist. Despite of the double danger they find the opportunity and time to rekindle their old sexual attraction.

The premise is an interesting one, however I think there might be a little too much going on - plot wise - for the shorter length of a novella like this. I found myself wishing for an elaboration, especially of the romantic arc, because now it felt as if things were rushed. Both the suspense and the romantic developments could've profited from a bit more time and depth and complexity.
Although I won't blame a novella for being a novella, I'm still of the opinion that the romance took a backseat in this story. The pace felt off and the turning point in Livy's feelings for Sam came very unexpected. There was no emotional build up; at one moment she tells him that she can't pick up their relationship where they left off ten years ago and that she can only give him this one night; the other moment (after only one unspectacular orgasm) she wants a future with him. Forgive me for being confused. Not seeing what made Sam fall in love with Livy either is just another omission contributing to my lack of belief in the romance.

Not helpful for enjoying this story was the frequently alternating point of view between Sam and Livy, and even the terrorist. I found this more confusing than interesting and it didn't benefit the pace either. Often I had a hard time visualizing the scenes because of the perspective changes, which were sometimes accompanied by a small jump in time. Apart from that, the POVs stayed very close to the (details of the) events as opposed to the characters' feelings about what happens between them. I found it difficult to empathize with the main characters because I hadn't enough insight in the development of their feelings and emotions this way.

Overall this novella didn't bring the romantic satisfaction I was expecting after reading the promising back blurb. The premise of this story had much more potential than it actually delivered. So, in the end I felt a bit disappointed about Sam and Livy's romance, but I'll give the next book in this series a try when it's going to be longer than novella-length. After all, it remains hard to resist hotshot firefighter heroes.

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