Book Review: Burn Zone

Annabeth Albert

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

published: 27th April 2020
spoilers? no


Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts…

Smoke jumper Lincoln Reid is speechless to see Jacob Hartman among his squad’s new recruits. Linc had promised his late best friend he’d stay away from his little brother. And yet here Jacob is…and almost instantly, the same temptation Linc has always felt around him is causing way too many problems.

Jacob gets everyone’s concerns, but he’s waited years for his shot at joining the elite smoke jumping team, hoping to honor his brother’s memory. He’s ready to tackle any challenge Linc throws his way, and senses the chemistry between them—chemistry Linc insists on ignoring—is still alive and kicking. This time, Jacob’s determined to get what he wants.

Close quarters and high stakes make it difficult for Linc to keep his resolve, never mind do so while also making sure the rookie’s safe. But the closer they get, the more Linc’s plan to leave at the end of the season risks him breaking another promise: the one his heart wants to make to Jacob.

Galley provided by publisher

At the risk of sounding somewhat callous and/or rude, I didn’t have incredibly high expectations of this book. I’ve read enough of the author’s books to be able to spot a pattern and, to be honest, this one didn’t really break away from that.

It’s a fairly simple story: a somewhat-forbidden romance, lots of angst because of it being a perceived betrayal, etc etc etc. It’s also not exactly original which, okay, if there were some reason to like the characters together and all, would be fine.

It’s just there isn’t really.

There’s a trend I’ve noticed with a lot of m/m books, which doesn’t happen nearly so often in m/f or f/f books, and that’s the characters ending up in a friends-with-benefits situation with each other. I’m not saying I hate that trope completely, I’m just side-eyeing a little where it shows up more often than not. And also it means all the potential tension between the two characters is lost.

So that’s really what happened here. The characters got together so early I had developed no reason to want them together. I feel like I write this in every other review, but it’s the case so much of the time. To read and like a romance novel, I have to actively want the characters to get together.

And I didn’t here.

Not to mention the fact that, for some reason, I am apparently supposed to be sad a character is dead when he was a raging homophobe to both his brother and his “best friend” (who he also warned off his brother). Like. Not happening.

In the end then, I’m left with what seems to me, a book that’s not much more than mediocre.

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