Friday, February 5, 2010

Hearts Afire: June by Dee S. Knight & Colleen Love

TITLE: Hearts Afire: June
AUTHORS: Dee S. Knight & Colleen Love
PUBLISHER: Liquid Silver Books
LENGTH: Anthology (roughly 56k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $5.50

An anthology of two contemporary erotic romances about firemen…

This anthology is the perfect example of a story ruining an entire collection. Granted, there are only two stories in this one, but the second is so abysmal, it completely retracts any positive thoughts I might have had about the first, and those were not that many to start out with.

The first story in the anthology is “The Fireman and the Ice Queen” by Dee S. Knight. Fireman Harm Reynolds has been recently elected as the union liaison, at a time when the firemen are on the cusp of new contract negotiations. He’s warned ahead of time that the assistant mayor, Beth Edwards, is nicknamed the Ice Queen, but the woman he meets – while conservatively dressed – is far from cold and bitchy to him. In fact, he finds himself attracted to her, a first since his wife’s death eighteen months earlier. They quickly launch into an affair, all the while continuing negotiations, but almost immediately Harm starts having nightmares that convince him it’s too soon for another relationship, so he calls it off. There’s not a whole lot that’s original about this story’s set-up or delivery, but I found it a little difficult to immerse myself into it. Part of the problem lies in the editing. There seemed to be a greater preponderance of errors than I usually find in LSB books, particularly in regard to missing words. Lots of articles go missing - Maybe this will be time he can't get off with easy answers, just as one of many examples – and it gets frustrating after a while. It only exacerbates the feeling of the entire story feeling by the numbers, especially with the all too predictable ending. The romance of this is functional, at best.

However, in comparison to the second story, Colleen Love’s “Inferno,” it’s a masterpiece. First, it starts out with an eerie prologue about a nameless man hearing voices to tell him to start fires, which creates an entirely different mood than what is presented in the first chapter less than two pages later. Then, we meet Henri James – and I’m going to admit to being put off from the start by the name, because that’s a masculine French name first and foremost to me and not a nickname for Henrietta like the author says – who is about to do a dinner interview with a fireman named Cade Lane who saved a baby’s life. My struggles with the heroine continued (I mean, really, a reporter driving a Lexus?), and fell apart completely when any professional credibility she had gets thrown out the window because she is so overcome with immediate lust at the sight of him, she forgets his name (among other mistakes). Within moments, he’s kissing her knuckles and she’s whispering, “I don’t usually do things like this,” and I’m gagging. Because there is no attempt at characterization, there is no attempt at UST, and the prose itself leaves a lot to be desired. Sometimes, the author has paragraphs that run for more than a page, long, boring dry sentences pieced together without any sense of rhythm or pacing. Maybe it might not have been so bad if something actually happened, but no, it’s all sex for the first half/nearly two-thirds of the story. And it’s not even good sex. The significance of the prologue doesn’t come into play until that point, but it’s too little, too late.

If you’re a fan of either one of these authors, go ahead and pick it up. If not…my suggestion is to skip it.


6/10 – The far weaker second story almost had me giving up


5/10 – The first was far more believable than the second


4/10 – How many different ways can I say the first was stronger?

Entertainment value

3/10 – I barely finished this anthology at all

World building

6/10 – The first felt very authentic




Dee S Knight and Anne Krist said...

Hi, Book Utopia Mom,

I thought I posted a comment the other day telling you I was disappointed that you didn't enjoy The Fireman and the Ice Queen, but I guess it didn't go through. I also offered you another book to try if you are willing to accept another Dee book.

Please let me know at and I will send you something else that I hope you'll enjoy more.


Book Utopia Mom said...

Hi, You actually posted on my LJ where I announced the review. I don't get online during the weekend, or I would have responded before now.

Thank you for the offer on your new release. I saw it today at Siren when I was checking out new releases. However, it wouldn't be fair of me to review it as I don't generally enjoy menages with brothers. I do wish you every success with it, however. :)

Dee S Knight and Anne Krist said...

Thanks for the good wishes!