Feel the Heat by Kathryn Shay
Romance > Firefighter Romance
I enjoy Shay’s firefighter romances. In this book, firefighter Francey Cordaro rescues businessman Alex Templeton from a fire, but during the rescue she slips on the stairs and breaks her arm.
They are recovering in the same hospital and start to get to know each other then. When Francey finds out that Alex is the CEO of Templeton Industries and is wealthy, she doesn’t want to pursue anything with him, though he tries. She has a prejudice against white-collar folks since her mother abandon Francey, her brothers, and her father, Ben, when Francey was young because she couldn’t handle being afraid every time her husband went to work. Diana ended up marrying a wealthy man and starting her own designer fashion store. Diana lives a life full of material wealth, something Francey disdains.
The fire that started in the basement may be arson so that mystery is a story line throughout, but the main story is Francey and Alex being friends, and then seeing if they can be more than friends. What puts a kink in things is that Francey’s mother, Diana comes back and tries to get back into both Francey and Ben’s lives.
Shay’s firefighter romances are filled with firefighter trivia, exciting fire rescue scenes, romance, and fun. The prose zings along.
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Suspense > Thriller > Mystery
I fell in love with this book with the first chapter (the chapter titled The Party, which is essentially a prologue, was confusing because it introduced us to a zillion people at one time–we’d figure out who everyone was later, but otherwise it was a lot of characters thrown at us at the same time). I think I enjoyed this book in part because gymnastics is the one sport I actually enjoy, and Megan Abbott really knows what she’s talking about. The other reason I liked this book is because the writing is great.
When Devon was three years old, she got her toes caught in the blades of a lawn mower. She loses two toes. To help her with balance, her parents Katie and Eric enroll her in gymnastics. From a very young age, despite her crippled foot, she has a talent that is extraordinary. Helping her reach her potential becomes Katie and Eric’s obsession–all of their money goes to $200 leotards, lessons, out-of-state competitions. Their lives revolve around getting her to training and competitions, although they do their best to be interested in their son, who is a science whiz.
They speculate that Devon losing her toes is what makes Devon special. “‘She was different before,'” Eric said. (Katie) knew he meant different in ways that went beyond the peculiar maceration at the top of her foot, the places two angel-ear toes had once wiggled.”
The parents of all the gymnasts are a little crazy about their devotion to their children’s talent, but all the parents realize Devon is something special–she is the one kid in their entire state who might have Olympic potential. Her talent helps bring financial support to the gym to upgrade equipment, so it’s not just Eric and Katie’s hopes that are pinned on her talent.
We know from the start that gorgeous Ryan, who helps out at the gym, is killed by a hit-and-run driver. He’s dating Hailey, Coach Teddie’s niece, who helps train the gymnasts, but all the mothers and most of the girls have a crush on him, too. Was it a simple accident or was it on purpose?
This book is fast-paced and well told. I definitely recommend it.
At Risk by S.G. Redling
Suspense > Thriller > Mystery
Colleen survived being married to a brutally abusive man. She grew up with money and married into more money, but that didn’t save her–she was lucky to survive her marriage alive.
She thought her life was on track when she fell in love with Patrick, who’d grown up in foster care and has visible scars to prove it. The scars Colleen can’t see he doesn’t talk about. Patrick and John and Bix became wonderful friends in their years together–when they weren’t in a foster home, they were together at a group home. John and Bix got married. Bix is a loud mouth who, like her husband, drinks too much and behaves far differently than the genteel way Colleen was raised.
Patrick McElroy and John Mulroney are such good friends they become known as the Macaroni Brothers. They start a business called Macaroni Brothers Freight Company. Bix helps with many aspects of that business and the charity they fund for a group home in which the goal is to truly help kids from abusive homes stay off drugs and get an education–not just keep them alive between the times they are farmed out to abusive homes with abusive social workers.
The conflict in this book doesn’t really start until you’re a third of the way through it, and then it really doesn’t heat up until halfway through the book. The writing is good but in a suspense novel, I want to feel a sense of dread and tension right away. This is written in a calm, genteel way that undercuts the impact of the abuse that all four main characters have survived . . . and one or more of them may now be repeating in a new cycle of abuse.
The ending of the book was not satisfying–possibly because I didn’t feel the build-up to the conclusion. I can’t say more than that without giving plot points away.
The writing is good but the book is not great.Read More