Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Hope Flames

Hope Flames (Hope - Book 1) by Jaci Burton

Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0425259765
ISBN-13: 978-0425259764

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Jaci Burton on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, Hope Flames, courtesy of the author's website.


When it comes to love, they already know the rules…by heart.
Thirty-two and finally setting up her veterinary practice in the town she once called home, Emma Burnett is on her own and loving it. Independent and driven, she’s not letting any man get in the way of her dreams. Not again.
That’s fine with Luke McCormack. Divorced and hardly lacking in female company when he needs it, he’s devoted to the only faithful companion in his life—his police dog. Still, there’s something about Emma he can’t shake.
When a series of local break-ins leaves Emma vulnerable, she seeks help from the first man to spark her desire in years. And now they’re giving each other something they thought they’d lost forever…hope.


Hope Flames is the first book in Jaci Burton's new contemporary romance series. Most readers are familiar with Burton's highly acclaimed Play-by-Play erotic romance series, but this is a change of direction and will appeal to much broader audience. Burton fans may miss some of the over-the-top sexual exploits they are used to with her writing, but she proves she is just as at home in the contemporary genre with this novel. Featuring a home town cop and a lady vet, Hope Flames is sure to be a new kind of hit for Jaci Burton.

What I liked:

If readers are looking for a typical Jaci Burton novel, this one is not it... Written for a wider range of readers Hope Flames has a more realistic and simple feel to it. I was really impressed with how Burton was able to switch gears and still write a romance that well worth my time to read. She still writes her trademark steamy scenes but will a little less graphic language and the book certainly doesn't suffer from it. Burton proves that she can easily write just about anything she wants and it will be very good.

I liked the fact that Burton makes both her lead characters people that readers can look up to. The hero, Luke is a cop with a canine sidekick and the heroine, Emma is a veterinarian who also works with animal rescue. Both are from a small town and have that small town appeal going for them. Working with the community whether it be with the humans or the animals was realistic and engaging. 

Luke was super sexy and I liked the fact that he got a bit frustrated with his job from time to time, who doesn't, right? He had a protective nature and it was easy to see that it carried over from his career choice to how he dealt with everyone including Emma. I loved the way he cared for his dog and how he seemed in tune with what he needed and felt. A man who loves animals is always a plus in my book. Readers will be drawn to Luke instantly, he has that good guy feel to him.

What can I say about Emma. She thought she had it all figured out. She is just getting started with her veterinary practice and she doesn't have time for romance, but when she and Luke get thrown together with some local burglaries going on, it's easy to see that she might have forgotten about something... love. Burton gives Emma such a giving spirit. She offers everything she has to animal community, but still has some left over. I thought she was commendable character who deserved her happy ever after. 

What I didn't like:

There wasn't too much I didn't like about this one, it did have some pacing issues and stalled out a couple of times, but Burton picks the action back up quickly and gets the reader back on track. I think Burton will probably get better and better with contemporary romance as she continues writing this series and her pacing will be more on point.

Bottom Line:

Burton crafts a great romance with a touch of mystery that will have readers flipping those pages until long into the night. It may not be what readers have come to expect from Burton, but perhaps it's time to expect something new.

Hope Flames is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Jaci Burton is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author who lives in Oklahoma with her husband and dogs. She has three grown children who are all scattered around the country having lives of their own. A lover of sports, Jaci can often tell what season it is by what sport is being played. She watches entirely too much television, including an unhealthy amount of reality TV. When she isn’t on deadline, which is often, Jaci can be found at her local casino, trying to become a millionaire (so far, no luck). She’s a total romantic and loves a story with a happily ever after, which you’ll find in all her books.

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