In this first of two weekend-bookending #HypeTrain posts, we’re returning to the world of MM romances set in the world of hotshots and smoke jumpers that Annabeth Albert created a few months ago now in this second book in that series.
Today’s book is High Heat by Annabeth Albert, and here’s what I had to say about it on my normal review channels:
Less Smoke, More Fire. In this second book in a new series, we follow one of the people who was featured in the first book as he continues his recovery from events there. And the book really is more about recovery and coming to terms with limits rather than the more overt firefighting of the first book. Here we get a much more personal drama rather than being so intensely focused on the overall world of Hotshots and Smoke Jumpers as the first book was. And there is a *lot* more sex. Which fans of the genre will likely appreciate. But much less actual firefighting, though one scene in particular *strongly* evokes the real-life drama of the Yarnell Fire and the book Granite Mountain/ My Lost Brothers by Brendan McDonough or the movie Only The Brave that was based on that book. Ultimately a strong book in its own right, it manages to hold its own in this world and in this particular culture while being free to be its own entity… which is actually a large theme in the book itself. Very much recommended.
These have been my first books from Albert, and she is truly showing a solid range of overall styles here, going from intensely in the overall culture of Hotshot firefighters in the first book to a more character driven focus here. Truly impressive work, and I hope you’ll check it out. 🙂
Slow Burn Yet Ultimately Satisfying. This is a friends to lovers book where *everyone* can see these two guys belong together… except one of them. The deep friendship is apparent from the first words of the book, and Cournoyer does a particularly good job of establishing that up front – to the level that at times it feels like this book should be deep into a series with these two characters as recurring secondary characters, rather than an apparent standalone. Ultimately it hits all the notes fans of MM romance will expect, with a fair amount of drama and fun thrown in. Very well done, and very much recommended.
This review of Undeniably Yours by Brittany Cournoyer was originally written on June 16, 2020.
Been a while since I’ve actively done a #HypeTrain post, and while my ARC work has been going strong I haven’t been participating in as many Release Day blitzes – mostly *because* my other ARC work has kept me so busy. But this week we have a special treat – a MM romance set in a community that normally has been a bit more… resistant… to such romances. So let’s get started with this blitz, shall we?
The book in question is Burn Zone by Annabeth Albert, a Carina Press (an imprint of Harlequin) effort, and here’s what I had to say about it on my normal review distribution sites:
MM Romance Set In The World Of Granite Mountain/ My Lost Brothers. This is book 1 of a new series that takes a fairly bold and atypical approach – it sets a MM romance in the hyper masculine world of hotshots and smokejumpers – paramilitary firefighter specialists seemingly primarily employed in the western part of the US. (Having spent my life in the southeastern corner of the US, I’ve never heard of these groups outside of this book, Smokejumper by Jason Ramos – which I still need to actually read – and Granite Mountain/ My Lost Brothers by Brendan McDonough / Only the Brave, the movie based on that book.)
And Albert does an excellent job of combining the genre expectations of MM romance, where the sex seemingly plays as big a role as the actual romance a lot of times, with the real world implications of such a romance in such a world. At least based on my reading of Granite Mountain – my only view into that world before reading this book – the details provided seem accurate, from the way the teams work and effectively live together to the dangers they face both in training and in actual firefighting missions. And even in the larger world, with how uncommon anything beyond “normal” MF romance is within that community and thus the resistance a “non-standard” couple could/ likely would face there with family and friends.
Truly an outstanding effort in the field, I very much appreciate the author being willing to take risks and go into atypical areas. Very much recommended.
Below the jump, an page and a half or so excerpt that IIRC was about 30% ish through the story of the book (no real spoilers within it, and honestly it is a type of scene here that I probably would have asked for even if I had requested a custom excerpt):
Continue reading “#HypeTrain: Burn Zone by Annabeth Albert”
Light And Fun – Mostly. In this installment of the Valentine’s Inc Cruises MM romance series, we get paranormal author Pandora Pine’s effort, and it is indicative of her stylings while only tangentially being related to her overall world. If you’re like me and have been on many cruises, there’s a lot here that will bring back your best memories – including Stingray City in Grand Cayman and the Magic Chair at Mahogany Bay. If you’ve never been on a cruise before, this is a good introduction to what ship life can be. If you’ve been curious about Pine but are a bit leery of paranormal stories, this is an excellent way to see how she tells a story while only having the barest mention of her normal schtick. (And btw, her paranormal stories are awesome, so you should try them anyway.) This is a somewhat standard ish romantic comedy in that there is obviously the fight right before the happily ever after, but really that is the only time this book really veers away from being as light and airy as a cruise is supposed to be. Excellent work, and I’m looking forward to more from both this series and Pine.
This review of Ship Happens by Pandora Pine was originally written on August 9, 2019.
Excellent Conclusion. In this conclusion to the Finding Home series, we pick up shortly after we left off in Book 3 – Jasper has found his relationship. Now he just has to tell his family…
This produces some amazingly touching scenes between Jasper, who stayed home and worked the family ranch, and his brothers, who went off to different parts of the country. As the oldest of three brothers myself, these scenes expressed quite a bit that I only wish I could communicate to my own brothers – even though in our case, they stayed in our home town (one lives barely a mile from where our parents live, the only home he had ever really known prior to moving out) while I moved several hours away.
Once again Marie outdoes herself, showing steadily increasing skill as a storyteller of both human emotion and hot and heavy “erotic scenes”. 🙂 Very much recommended, though at minimum you’ll want to read Book 3 first.
(And I shouldn’t have to note this, but I will – if MM sex offends you in any way, this book isn’t for you. If cursing offends you, this book isn’t for you. Just to try to spare Marie some common 1 star review complaints. 😉 )
This review of Already Home by Carly Marie was originally published on July 25, 2019.
Beyond White Hot. In this book, Jasper and Harrison finally get their story. But as always with a Carly Marie book, there is a kink involved here – and it involves Greg Joseph, one of the Navy SEALs introduced in Book 2 of the series. Complete tale in regards to Jasper finally becoming comfortable with himself, but several unresolved – and set up on a silver platter – issues remain for a blatant sequel, the first chapter of which Marie provides at the end of this book.
This review of Close to Home by Carly Marie was originally published on June 27, 2019.