Flame, A Humble Heart, and Chase

January 17, 2024

One of the things I love about the bookish world is that one book can evoke different feelings in all sorts of readers. One book can be a five-star read for me and a DNF for someone else. We all see something different because we're all different and I love exploring those differences by reading reviews.

Full disclosure: I read these books years ago, but I do remember enjoying them. Have you read them? Are you interested?

Flame by Adriana Locke

Carmichael Family #5
Contemporary Romance / marriage of convenience

I swore I would only get married if my life depended on it. Oh, the irony.

Many things have happened over the past few weeks that I didn’t see coming. My family imploded. Our business was turned upside down. And someone threatened to harm me if I didn’t make good on my father’s promises.

But the biggest thing I didn’t see coming?

Foxx Carmichael demanding marriage.

He’s doing it out of loyalty to my brother. I know that. But I can’t help but think if, through that deliciously hot, grumpy exterior, my bodyguard doesn’t have ulterior motives.

There’s no denying the fire in his touch or the heat in his blue eyes. He protects me with a ferocity that leaves me breathless. He makes me rethink many things I thought I knew for sure—like my position on marriage.

But how we dance around our fake relationship makes me wonder what part of this is pretend. None of it matters if he doesn’t admit he feels the same way.

Our sham wedding will fall apart as soon as the threat is contained. But what happens if the flames between us burn everything to the ground first?

Rating -

I enjoyed myself, but I think I may have benefitted from reading some of the prior books in this series.

I missed the connection between Foxx and Bianca. He was supposed to be mysterious, but I saw everything laid bare and an enigma he was not. Bianca was head over heels for him, but played hard to get in the moment. Game playing is a no-no for me. There was chemistry, but I didn't really feel it, despite the incredibly spicy scenes these characters shared.

Bianca's family dynamic was a bit confusing, but again, I think I would have understood if I had read one of the other books. Her father is dangerous and threatening and... Why though? The suspense element fell flat for me.

However, I enjoyed so many other things about this book, such as Foxx owning his feelings once he had the all-clear; Bianca discovering a part of herself that she was quickly falling in love with; all of the side characters and the ways they interacted with the main characters; and overall the writing.

I guess I need to add the previous books to my to-read list.

A Humble Heart by R.L. Mathewson

Hollywood Hearts #1
Contemporary Single Parent Romance

After wasting too many years on the wrong guy, Dana frees herself and her two children to live her dream.When she's forced to deal with paparazzi, offers from porn companies, magazines, Hollywood and crazed fans Dana does everything she can to keep it together for her kids. She never dreamed she'd catch the eye of the most sought after bachelor in the world. Things like that just didn't happen to women like her, or did they?

Having a life? What the hell was that? Edward couldn't remember what it felt like to live his own life without someone watching his every move. Thanks to the paparazzi and the internet nothing in his life was sacred. Out of desperation to keep some semblance of a life he stops living his own. His family and work are all he has left until he's made an offer he simply can't resist. Working with the famous author forces him to open his heart and take a chance. Winning the heart of the woman he loves while the world watches is anything but easy, but he never thought it would be dangerous. His only hope is that they get through it together.....and alive.

Rating -

This book was not what I expected. I've read quite a few books by Mathewson and had high expectations. I'm not sure if the let down is because this is one of her earlier works, but I was a little disappointed. One of the things I appreciate about Mathewson's writing style is her ability to grab my attention. Whether she's pulling my heart strings or making me bust a gut laughing, I'm always completely enveloped and involved with the story. I just couldn't connect with these characters. There was so much meat there but with so many life-altering events occurring, without any real repercussions, I felt lost.

To me, this story seems to be told mainly from Edward's POV. I hardly heard from Dana. So while I can say that I adore, admire and respect Edward's character, there isn't much I can say for Dana. I do admire her strength, kindness, tenacity and perseverance, in light of the struggles and hardships she has faced, but even though she seemed to suffer through these times, I didn't FEEL it. That is why I was unable to give this book the 5 star rating I thought I would.

Overall, it is a good read. I don't regret picking it up. And it in no way alters my love for the work of R.L. Mathewson.

Chase: Complete Series by Cassia Leo

Contemporary Political Romance

Follow presidential candidate Chase Underwood and former escort Larissa Jacobs' sensual and tumultuous journey from beginning to end.

PART I: Chase
Larissa Jacobs' financial debt is climbing after a failed attempt at becoming the next big thing in Hollywood. After losing her job as a party clown, Larissa's roommate gets her a gig working for an escort service. Her first client is Senator Chase Underwood: hot, married, and the current presidential candidate. Will his penchant for sexual domination destroy his prospects of world domination?

PART II: Disclosure
Larissa Jacobs' financial debt may be a thing of the past, now that Senator--and the all-but-certain future president--Chase Underwood has offered her a lucrative position in his campaign. But, like the rest of Chase's staffers, Larissa is asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement; only Larissa's NDA comes with some interesting stipulations that may make or break their arrangement.

PART III: Exposure
Larissa Jacobs has finally found the man of her dreams in presidential candidate Chase Underwood, but her dreams of happily ever after have been put on hold indefinitely. When a feature in the L.A Times exposes their affair, Chase and Larissa are thrust into the center of a scandal that will rock the nation and the very foundation of their love.

PART IV: Closure
After the scandal caused by her affair with presidential candidate Chase Underwood, Larissa Jacobs is flown to his lavish villa in Tuscany. Larissa watches the news coverage of Chase's victory and fantasizes about him storming into the villa and making good on his promise to marry her. But her fantasies are becoming less and less appealing with every day they spend apart. It doesn't help that the hot Secret Service agent assigned to guard her has become the only person she can speak to.

Will Larissa remain true to her promise to wait for Chase? Will Chase finally put his love for Larissa before his career?

Rating -

Not what I expected from reading other books from Cassia Leo. The story's premise was good (a little Scandel-esque), but I think the plot and characters needed more meat. It wasn't terrible at all and I don't regret reading this series, I just needed more.

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