Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Release Day Reviews: Set Ablaze by KC Burn

Title: Set Ablaze
Author: KC Burn
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 193

Dreamspinner Press

California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”

Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.

The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.

Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.

**Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by DreamSpinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement. **

This book is difficult for me to rate and review. It took me more than half of the book to like the character of Hayden. He’s a firefighter, who is “out”, but his friends and co-workers are disgusting people and he sits idly by and doesn’t want to make “waves”. They’re homophobes and misogynists. They make horrible, degrading comments and he has no reaction and continues to hang with them. And, he’s judgemental because he’s a manly gay and doesn’t like that Jez flaunts his gayness. And, I had real trouble from his complete change at the halfway point. It was hard for me to believe that one fight with Jez and he was suddenly reformed.

I loved Jez. He was who he was and he didn’t need anyone’s approval. He was working through issues of his own, but he was strong and continued to try to improve his life. I felt like he was a little shortchanged in the story, I would have liked more about him and his work. Just more of him because I felt like it could really add to the story. Also, I found the relationship with his brother a little confusing, but that was cleared up after one meeting, too.

For me, I found this book to be a little boring. There were times in this story that a scene would have several pages about something mundane and boring, but then other more important issues that didn’t get more than a sentence or paragraph. There was a stalker in this story that should have really spiced up this story, but it was still bland. And, when the stalker is caught, he just easily vomits out everything he’s done and provides the evidence, all off-page. I don’t like a lot of angst in my stories, so for me, it’s not needed, but I feel like when one character has a stalker who follows him across the country, it would be to create some issues. It was more, oh this happened, darn that stalker but all is fine now because he’s caught and confessed.

This is definitely a book you’ll want to check out for yourself. There’s a sweet HEA between Hayden and Jez because once Hayden does his complete shift, he’s a nice guy and sweet boyfriend. There’s not a lot of heat between them, and it’s mostly off-page as well.

Rating: 3.5 stars

4.25 stars!

I enjoyed this story. It had some angst, some mystery, and a good HEA.

Hayden Hurst is a firefighter. He's out at work, but some of his "friends" regularly make nasty comments. He likes to think those comments roll off his back, but they make him very wary of dating. He really wants to find a boyfriend, but doesn't think it's in the cards for him. Out of the blue, Hayden's best friend, Miguel, asks if his younger brother can crash at Hayden's house for a bit since Miguel's apartment is too small for another person. Hayden is reluctant, but agrees. Hayden doesn't remember much of Jez and only knows what Miguel divulges; Jez is an actor and moving suddenly from New York.

Jez was a Broadway dancer, who landed a new role. He's exhausted by his quick move across the country and worried about temporarily moving in with Hayden. These two men make for an uneasy roommate situation for a while, especially since Jez is hiding a dog in his room among other things. Both are wary of the other, but so very attracted at the same time. It's also clear to the reader that Jez is running from something or someone, but he's not very forthcoming about his life to Hayden or Miguel.

I really liked both of these characters, even as there were a lot of misunderstandings and assumptions made by both at the beginning. It was nice when they finally started talking to each other more. Hayden is a good guy, but has problems with confrontation and some other quirks. Jez reinvented himself after he left his family home and had a pretty good life in New York until things went sour. I don't want to spoil any of the details, but these two characters both have secrets and issues that they needed to deal with. I loved that they both eventually recognized that they needed help. I loved when Jez opened Hayden's eyes to the way he was being treated by some of his friends. It was an uncomfortable scene, but one that was sorely needed. I liked that Hayden finally started to stand up for himself, finding new and better friends in the process. I was happy that Miguel eventually explained himself, but in my eyes, I don't think he redeemed himself completely. While I could see where he was coming from, I wish that he had been more forthright with Hayden and Jez about his feelings and worries. Honestly, they all would have been happier had they communicated better with each other. Nevertheless, I was happy that I read this one and may find myself rereading it in the future.

I think KC Burn fans will really enjoy this book.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

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