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I Belong


Review: Hope Flames by Jaci Burton

Hope FlamesTitle: Hope Flames

Author: Jaci Burton

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Hope (Book 1)

Publication Date: January 7, 2014

Format: Paperback, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425259765 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 9780425259764 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Shirene

Synopsis:

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.

Quick & Dirty: New veterinarian comes to town and brings her emotional baggage with her. Local police may be just what the doctor ordered.

Opening Sentence: Emma Burnett could have never imagined that going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt would be so exhilarating.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Starting a new year, I wonder what sort of book I should pick up because it seems to have a lasting impression on me and sometimes is a reflection of the type of books I shall read whether good or bad.

I had no hesitation in picking up this book and in fact I have been dying to read something by Jaci Burton for months. Her book covers have really caught my eye a number of times and I have had to place them on my To Be Read list, but not actually having the ability to read even one. Thankfully that all changed when I received this book in my last review selection.

Hope Flames is the first in a new series by Burton and I am so thrilled to get the chance to read and review it. This series is set in Hope, which is your basic small town with the associated history of its inhabitants, gossip, community spirit and charm of rural America. In many ways it felt like a number of places I have lived around our wonderful country and I enjoyed a bit of nostalgia that came with that feeling.

Our heroine, Emma Burnett, is returning home after a number of years away for schooling and the end of a bad relationship. She brings a love of animals and concern for her community but has been the recipient of an abusive relationship and has no desire to become involved with another man.

The local police, Luke McCormack, our hero has also suffered from a bad relationship and has been only interested in short term flings with women because his marriage proves he just can’t figure women out.

Luckily for both of them they are wrong and they meet after Luke’s police dog, Boomer, is injured in pursuit of a criminal. Emma’s care and handling of Boomer after his injury plus his appeal brings these two characters together with a few hurdles like an offer of a pity date.

This book has many little characters that play key and pivotal points to the plot and they come in the form of furry animals. The addition of Daisy, Boomer, and Annie are exactly the type of animals that all of us pet owners adore and long to take home and were a welcome addition to the story.

As with other books set in small towns, each of our main characters have their family to bounce ideas off of and be a support system. Emma’s parents remind me very much of some of the best folks I know who are willing to stick up for their child no matter the situation. In the mean time Emma is trying to retain her independence but she uses them to ensure the betterment of her future. In Luke’s family we only get to meet Logan. His other brother has moved away from Hope. However, Logan is a surly cowboy not afraid to pull on Luke’s chain when Logan feels Luke is charging in the wrong direction. Logan is getting his own story next and I look forward to seeing what sort of torture Burton will put him through before he gets his happily-ever-after too.

The final piece in this story is the crimes that are occurring around Hope. There are numerous thefts of drugs and Emma ends up being victimized herself at the vet clinic. This portion of the story was told with a red herring or two but I was entertained.

So my final analysis of this new series by Jaci Burton is that Hope Flames is a smoking read and I will be returning to Hope in March for Logan’s story. If you are looking for a great small town story with heart and passion then Hope Flames is definitely a hot ticket.

Notable Scene:

“Hello? Is anyone here?”

Daisy’s ears perked up and she bounded out of the office at the sound of the deep, booming voice in the lobby.

Emma had thought she’d locked the door.

She hurried out to see a man holding a German shepherd by the leash who sat regally while Daisy tried to play with it.

“Daisy, come here.”

Daisy came over and sat dutifully next to her, her tail whipping against Emma’s lab coat.

“Can I help you?”

“Yeah. I saw your lights were on and was hoping you’d still be open. My dog hurt his leg.”

He came toward her, and she took a wary step back, until he walked under the overhead lights and she saw he was wearing a cop uniform. She breathed a sigh of relief.

“You scared me there for a second.”

“I’m really sorry. Luke McCormack. I’m local police here. This is my dog, Boomer.”

Hope Series:

0.5 Hot Summer Nights

1. Hope Flames

2. Hope Ignites (March 25, 2014)

3. Hope Burns (October 2014)

skull5

FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Hope Flames. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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