Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Consumed by J.R. Ward

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Anne Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed...

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn't believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again—until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.

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Book 1
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Gallery Books ~ Simon & Schuster

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 stars
M/F Thriller Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Suggestion: Please read the three novellas prior to reading this first installment, as the relationship dynamics will make much more sense.

This picks up right after the three novellas. I loved that there was no break in the story, just a continuation. You already somewhat know the dynamics, but then, the story becomes so much more developed.

Anne is reinventing herself. There are truths in her past that she is still trying to figure out and with her own life changing so drastically, she can't help but feel like she's floundering a little. However, when a mystery presents itself and she sees what the potential dangers could be, she is unwilling to just let it go. Anne is also struggling with her family life. Her past hurts will be unburied and truths will be spoken about.

Then you have Danny. He's alive but taking such large risks with his life. Living with guilt is a bad thing for Danny and despite his wanting to reach out, he just doesn't think he should or can. When he is reaching close to rock bottom, Anne comes to the rescue. They cannot deny their attraction and when he realizes that Anne is in danger, he'll do whatever he can to protect her.

Another great dynamic is in this story is the relationships between the firefighters and EMTs. It is a great look at how things can be like a family – even those relationships that sometimes you don't want. The mystery aspect of this story is fantastic, and it keeps you guessing. I loved how you had almost dueling stories – the romance and the mystery.

I can't wait to read more about this group and hope that Anne's brother gets a story soon. He was a complex character that needs more.

When I saw that J.R. Ward was coming out with a series about firefighters, I could not wait for it.

This is book one of the series and it is Danny and Anne's story, both work for Engine 499. While there are sparks flying between Danny Boy and Anne, she will not give in because she knows he is a ladies’ man. Danny feels things for Anne that can make him stop his wicked ways with other women, but Anne will not give him a second look. They work together and do all the jobs that firefighters do but when a warehouse fire leaves Anne and Danny trapped, a life-altering decision will change things for them both.

Many months later, Anne is now working as a fire investigator and she is noticing things that might have gotten the last investigator killed. When she starts getting unknown texts telling her to back off the case, she knows she has hit a nerve. And things with Danny seem to be moving in the right direction too. Can she solve the case, or will she be stopped too? Will Danny change his ways to be with Anne?

While I loved this story, there was times that it seemed to drag by. I cannot wait for the next one and I wonder which fireman it will be, maybe Rizzo or Tom, Anne's brother. If you like a good firefighter story with a twist, then this one is for you. And yes, it is a long one. So, I hope you enjoy it.

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
The WARDen has once again outdone herself. Her debut novel in the Firefighters series starts off with the three short novellas and continues in this book.

As a reader, I loved the complex characters of Anne and Danny. The progression of their relationship from friends to lovers was unintentionally long due to the fire that caused traumatic injuries to both Anne and Danny.

Survivor’s guilt is a real thing, even when a person didn't die. Danny has a hard time dealing with what he had to do to save Anne's life and Anne feels guilty about disobeying the rules and by doing so, put Danny in the position to save her.

This is one series that I can't wait to continue, all of the secondary characters have potential to be lead characters and I sincerely hope that in one way it’s like the Black Dagger Brotherhood series: you get regular updates about the characters you met in prior books in the series.

So, this book starts with an actual bang. The fire in the first couple of chapters is unbelievably intense and the firefighting action is both graphic and terrifying.

The story alternates between extreme firefighting action scenes, Anne’s increasingly intense investigation, and more ordinary downtime moments. The first book in a new series, readers are introduced to multiple first responders across the city. I love the diversity of the characters and their various jobs – and I’m already looking forward to various characters’ books. The story is a gritty, realistic look at firefighting. isn’t an easy read, and I really appreciated the honest scrutiny of the horrors first responders must deal with.

I kinda love that this isn’t a traditional romance novel. The book is as much about Anne’s recovery and readjustment after life changing injuries as it is about her love life. Anne has to build a new identity and a new career for herself – all while trying to make sense of her personal relationships. Anne is fierce. She’s independent and she’s a survivor. J.R. Ward has written some brilliant female characters – but Anne is really special, and I love her as a heroine.

While I’ve loved Jr Ward’s paranormal romance for many years now, this is my first ‘realistic’ book by the author. I have to admit that I love the messier, more human romance in this book. Without the supernatural tropes that allow readers to believe in love (or smell) at first sight, Anne hooks up, enjoys less than perfect sex, and wrestles with her attachment to a guy who might never sort himself out. While I will always love the paranormal fantasies, I think I might just love the gritty realism of this series more.

I really, really enjoyed this first book in a new series. It is so full of story that when I was describing it to a friend, I realised that I had pretty much immersed myself in their lives!

There is a fabulous murder mystery, which doesn't even come to light until we are well into the book and leaves some threads which hopefully will arise in future installments. Having the viewpoint of a firefighter turned arson investigator works brilliantly in that context.

The incident which leads to the life-altering injury is incredibly powerfully written, and I was transported to the scene, and fearful along with them. The aftermath for both Danny and Anne is so thoughtfully described. The layers of pain, whether physical or mental, the guilt, the relief, the undercurrent of love which they had not allowed to develop whilst working together. Their single-minded commitment to the job, the past losses, the current passion – it all swirls around and dragged me in, ensuring that I got little else done but reading! I loved the strength of both of them, and how they gave into their weaknesses too. The growing self-awareness that enabled them to work together on the investigation, the danger that to both of them was life affirming, it was a complex mix. Throw in the rest of the team at the firehouse, her brother, and the ghosts from the past, this is a must-read from beginning to end.

Really excited to see where this goes next, and still thinking on the story a few days after I finished it.

First in a new series and definitely a good start! I've read many books in a series by the Warden and have loved most of them. I'm happy to report the Firefighters was a great read!

Cocky Irish firefighters, adrenaline junkies, and big, boisterous drinkers and fighters makes for good reading. J.R. Ward has such a great style putting voices to the bad boys we hate to love but love anyway. I enjoyed this story very much! I felt my heart hurt for Danny, who's seen a bit too much carnage in his career, and for Anne, who only ever wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and be a firefighter. Danny has to save Anne in a fire they are both fighting, and he ends up changing her life and her career forever. He hates himself as much as he loves Anne. Their story was written well, and I was totally pulling for them to have their happily ever after! I found Anne to be an awesome female lead who was strong and vulnerable in all the right ways. Add in Anne’s new job of chasing an arson suspect who has mob connections and it's just the right amount of intrigue and mystery.

Only downside in my opinion was it was a little wordy and over-descriptive, but I was able to stay in the story with little skimming.

Happy that we have a whole firehouse full of guys to tell stories about, so bring it on Warden!!!

Consumed is the first in a new mystery suspense, contemporary romance series by J.R. Ward, featuring firefighters and fire investigators. I will admit, I didn't read the free prequels before starting Consumed – this is something I always do. I prefer to go back and read the prequels – I have no idea why I do this, just how I roll.

If you're familiar with The WARDen, you'll expect the voice/writing style to have a more in-your-face, witty, masculine flavor, and this is no different. The way the author weaves something so simple, describing it an innovated way, it's captivating yet humorous. There was a sense of homecoming for me as I read the novel in the author's voice, having missed it.

No matter how big of a fan I am, I do need to admit a large con for me. Over-description. I did skim some, once I got a flow of the writing, because there was a ton of technical terms. I need to state, my ex was a fireman/EMT, so I actually understood what was being described, without issue. The author was well-versed, with factual terms, creating lifelike emergency scenes. But I struggled to uncover the story beneath the pile of details, because it became too textbook. So many details that couldn't be digested, especially by readers who are unfamiliar with the terms. Not only that, many mundane tasks were written out in great detail, bogging down the pacing and burying the plot.

The novel starts off with a bang, quite literally. A fire. Our narrators thrust the reader into the danger, the fears, and the drive for heroism firefighters seek.

Anne is a rule-breaker, one not to follow instruction, especially since her big brother is the one in charge. She has a bit of a chip on her shoulder, being the only female in a male-dominated profession, while being coddled and hamstrung by her brother for her own protection. This puts not only herself, but others at risk.

The worst happens, and in the aftermath is the novel. Anne is now a fire investigator, investigating a series of arson events, one in which was the building that ended her firefighting career. She follows the mystery, diving deeper into the higher echelons of Boston, and it puts a target on her back.

The angst, the romance, the driving force of the novel, this comes from the tension, push-pull ignored attraction and emotional connection between Anne and Danny. They're dragging a bunch of baggage, dealing with the aftermath of the fire that harmed them both, and they're ignoring their forgone conclusion.

As I said, I didn't read the prequels, so I assume this connects there. But with all the plot, the tasty angst, the drama and mystery, I didn't see the need to bring in a badly behaving female. I get how we women are fickle. Anne was written realistically. Their mutual friend's wife... maybe it's to seed future novels, but I didn't think it added anything, more like subtracted.

Told in third person, via multiple narrators, this did impact how tightly I could bond with the main characters. There was a disconnect with this writing style. I realize it's what many readers prefer, but I had a hard time connecting with Anne, Danny, and Anne's brother due to this. Sometimes not sure who was narrating until I put it into context.

I believe this to be a standalone, centered around the fire station, with plenty of characters and drama introduced for future installments, with a thread tying them all together. I look forward to the next in the series and will now go back and read the free prequels.

I highly recommend to fans of the author, fans of contemporary romance and mystery. The WARDen has such a unique voice, I think everyone should sample it out to decide if she'll hook you and drag you in. Her paranormal romance series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) is one of my favorite series of all time.

J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Consumed (Firefighters #1) by J.R. Ward to read and review.

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