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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hearts Afire by Deborah Fletcher Mello

Hearts Afire is a contemporary romance that ended up pleasantly surprising me. Judging the book solely by its cover
(this is really a problem I have...) I had expected a somewhat
bland and possibly even boring book. Fortunately, what I got was a very enjoyable love story with a twist of intrigue.

What it's About: Maitlyn Boudreaux's marriage has just come to a nasty end via divorce. Maitlyn is the woman that everyone in her family turns to when they need help. This time it is her parents who help her by sending her away for a much needed thirty day vacation on a cruise. When her brother and sister deliver her to the ship she meets Zak Sayed, a wealthy and very handsome friend of her brother Kindrick. Zak is a professional gambler as well as an entrepreneur, and he is on the cruise as a participant of a high-stakes poker competition. On Kindrick's request, Zak promises to keep an eye on Maitlyn. Of course it eventually turns into more than eye that he's keeping on her...

The Good: At first, this book seems to be pretty straightforward, contemporary romantic fare; however, it has twists and turns that may surprise you. While the “twist” in the story isn't the main focus of Hearts Afire, it certainly adds another layer to it. Included in my lengthy list of likes for this book is the age of the characters. It was nice to read about people who are full on adults with life experiences and maturity in their corner. Women and men in their mid to late thirties do fall in love, have steamy sex, and can still be heroes and heroines of good romance novels.

Zak Sayed is another highlight for me. He is one of those characters that's all delicious male, yet not afraid to say that he loves his woman. This character, I don't know, he just made my toes curl. Also a plus is the love between Zak and Maitlyn, or rather how it develops over the course of their thirty day cruise. Yes its fast, and yes she did just get divorced, but you knew from the beginning that her marriage had been over for a long time. More or less what Maitlyn feels towards her ex-husband boils down to hurt feelings, resentment, and disappointment. What makes this whirl-wind romance between her and Zak so great is that the couple does more than just fall in love at first sight. While they are instantly attracted to one another, they also talk, laugh, and spend time with one another. They genuinely like each other's company. You're not just told that they fell in love, you actually get to see it. Well done! Meeting Zak's Berber father and Sudanese mother was also a well done inclusion to the story and gives you a taste of Zak's culture and his upbringing. Poor Maitlyn! His mother is a definite trip, but the way that Maitlyn handles her is pure gold. One thing Mairlyn's character isn't is a pushover!

The Bad: If I had to call anything about this book "bad," it would be the quick resolution at the end. Everything just seemed to happen and then it was over. I would have loved for this part of the book to have been extended and for the author to have played up the dangerous side of Zak better. It had the potential for some great intrigue that was unfortunately never fully explored.

The Bottom Line: Hearts Afire was a great book that I gobbled up! It is, unfortunately, one of those books that I can't go into too much detail about without giving away the goodies. The story was definitely more about Zak and Maitlyn falling in love than it was about the underlying story that was taking place. Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! I strongly recommend Hearts Afire to anyone who loves contemporary romance. There's a decent amount of steam and Zack is a hero that you as a reader just might find swoon-worhy. This is a part of the Boudreaux Family series by Deborah Fletcher Mello and though I haven't read previous books by this author you can believe I'll be playing catch-up after reading this. Although I don't think the author has gotten around to writing it yet, I can't wait to read about Maitlyn's brother Kindrick. If Zak is delicious I have a feeling Kendrick will be simply divine... I'm rating Hearts Afire 4.5 out of 5.

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest and fair review.*

Rating: 4.5
Pages: 219
Published February 1, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Kimani
Buy the book at: Amazon

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