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Sep 4, 2014

Book Review: Flaming Hearts by Susan Stoker

Title: Flaming Hearts
Author: Susan Stoker
Publication Date: July 20, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Beau Coup Publishing


Becky and her mom used to watch reality shows together all the time. Her mom passed away before she could see Becky on her very own show...except it's not her own show. She has to share the limelight with another woman. They're both competing for the love and attention of the same men. It is like no show Becky has ever seen...and she is miserable. The best thing about the show is trying to irritate the other woman by choosing activities Becky knows she'll hate. Becky had no idea she'd meet a wonderful, protective man while on the show. Unfortunately, he isn't a contestant.

Dean always knew he'd find the one woman meant for him, but he had no idea he'd find her competing on a reality show. He'll have to find a way to make sure she doesn't choose any of the prospects on the show, but will decide to be with him instead. Luckily, his brother is a cameraman; it is just the key to get to spend time with Becky, as long as the director doesn't catch wind of their plans.

Becky can't believe Dean would be interested in her; after all, she isn't anything special. For some reason he keeps coming back to see her and wants to talk to her every night on the phone. Their relationship becomes more solid just as Becky's time on the show becomes more tense. She's ready to call it quits, but she has a contract.

Dean and Becky are counting the days until the reality show is over and they can spend time together openly when Dean gets called away on a job. When an incident on the show threatens her safety and Dean isn't around for her to turn to, Becky isn't sure their relationship can survive. Becky has to figure out a way to trust Dean to help her, and Dean will do whatever it takes for Becky to realize she's his...forever.

Kayla's Thoughts:

I was actually quite excited to have the opportunity to read this book after finishing the one before it. 

While the main premise of the last book was a man falling in love with the odd girl out on a reality show, the main premise of this book was a man whose brother works on a reality show finding his one in one of the stars of the reality dating show where guys are fighting for the attention of two different girls. I loved that. I love the idea of a man knowing who his soul mate is at first glance. I love that this was actually kind of a generational thing. It was sweet.

I saw a difference in character between the main girl in this story and the main girl in the last. And while a difference in character is obviously understandable, since they are different stories, I must say that I loved this main girl character a lot more than the one from the first book. While they were both sweet and kind, I kind of felt like the first one had this whole pity thing going on. She didn't want to tell people her problems or create problems because she didn't want people to pity her or think her a bad person. She was willing to take a brunt of hurt quietly just so people would not take things out on her any worse than they already were. That just kind of bugged me. She really didn't stand up for herself. And honestly, I did not realize how much that actually bugged me until writing this review.

I loved that the main character in this story stood up for herself. She actually wanted to tell people what was going on. I mean, yeah, she kind of had pride near the end, but considering what she went through, I would have done the same thing she did. But she actually used her backbone and was willing to fight against everything being done to her. I rooted for her each time she stood up for herself. I also loved that she also had a really cool experience with a wild animal. It basically trumps most of what happened in the last book.

While I will say that, just like the first book, to me this one was a bit too simple, for some reason I felt that this one held more depth than the last. Maybe because there were some darker themes introduced in this one. Or maybe because the love interest part of the story developed a bit differently than in the last book. This one just had a bit more substance to it.

I have to say that so far, out of the two that I have read, this one is my favorite. The two main characters and their connection just felt a bit stronger to me than in the last book, and that could have been because we got to see different locations through both characters' eyes. And by that I mean it wasn't almost the same location but in different POVs, but we actually were able to be in the show and experience what Becky experienced, and then the author would switch and allow us a glimpse into Dean's own separate world.


 I think it would definitely be worth it to read the third book in this series. I so want to see what brings the next set of lovebirds together. I also want to see what else could possibly happen on the set of the next reality show. It's gotta be something big if it's gonna top the first two books before it.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all-American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She is quite the romantic and even met the love of her life on "Hotmail classified" before online dating and sites like even existed!

Susan has been reading romance novels since middle school and once crossed out the names of the main characters in a book and changed them to her own and to the name of her crush. She's been writing scenes for years, developing her unique writing style.

Susan loves writing, but her true passion is adopting dogs from rescue groups and shelters. Susan and her husband have had a total of nine "rescued" dogs since 2000, including a variety of basset hounds and bloodhounds. She has recently branched out and adopted a basset/terrier mix who acts more like a terrier than a basset (i.e. digging, eating a couch and being hyper). If you love romance and want to help her support adopting great dogs, be sure to check out her work.

Her first series, Beyond Reality, is a trilogy, with all three books in the series having Happily Ever After endings with no cliffhangers.

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