Anyway, I don't want to let a day pass without a post and since I have nothing interesting to say, let's review :) Hopefully, this will turn out to be a decent review.
Disclaimer: I've received Burning Up as an eARC from NetGalley
Burning Up by Susan Andersen
published by HQN Books in August 2010
She's so good at being bad
Though it's been years since the infamous Macy O'James stepped foot in Sugarville, Washington, everyone remembers what she supposedly did. The tiny town is still buzzing about her crime and lack of punishment.
Now back to lend her family a hand, Macy vows to hold her head high-especially at her high school reunion. But forget about the hottest man in Sugarville escorting her. Though she and fire chief Gabriel Donovan generate enough sparks to burn down the town, he's a law-abiding, line-toeing straight arrow. So not her type.
But maybe-just maybe-he can change her mind about that.
Genre: Contemporary romance
The Story: Macy's mother has the traveling bug and so when she was growing up, she moved around a lot. Lucky for her, her aunt Lenore stepped in when Macy started high school. Macy moved in with them for more stability and was thick as thieves with her cousin Janna. Unfortunately for Macy, life was far from perfect as she refused to do it with the most popular guy in school who went around and spread nasty rumors. Since Macy couldn't beat the rumors, she decided to play them up.
Now Macy is coming back to her hometown in order to take care of Janna who was victim of a hit and run and Janna's son, Tyler. Nobody has forgotten the rumors nor the car accident that took away the promising future of three football players, but it does not matter to Macy because her family needs her. Also, why not give them what they expect?
Then she meets Gabriel Donovan, the fire chief and also boarder at her aunt Lenore and uncle Bud's house. Attraction flares between the two, but Gabriel is determined to ignore it. He left his bad boy years behind him for good a long time ago and all he wants now is a peaceful life. However, with Macy in town and a series of arson fires, what he wants and what he gets are two different things...
My Opinion: In the note to the readers at the beginning of the book, Ms Andersen mentioned that the past year has been taxing and all she wanted with Burning Up was to have fun. Well mission accomplished Ms Andersen :) While Burning Up was far from being the perfect book, I had tons of fun reading it and most of it is attributed to her heroine, Macy O'James :)
Macy was a great heroine and stole the show for me. She's built a life for herself and is proud of what she's accomplished. So what if she sold her sex appeal in music videos? She did nothing to be ashamed of and is now starting a career at making said music videos. I liked that she was strong and confident, but at the same time, was not invincible. Playing up the rumors back then might not have been the wisest and she knows that nobody has forgotten her transgression back then. However, what's done is done and what matters is that her family needs her. So Macy braves her discomfort and comes back home with all her costumes that she uses as armors to protect herself. Macy is vulnerable, but she puts on a strong and solid front and doesn't want anyone to pick up on it. Her way of protecting herself was to provoke people because while they were busy discussing the superficial, they didn't have time to look at her inner core. Macy was definitively a complex character and she's not wrong at protecting herself. I liked the fact though that didn't use her past as a crutch and got stubborn about it. It's just the way it was and she accepted it.
In comparison, I thought Gabriel was a bit two-dimensional and not as interesting. His wishy-washy attitude towards Macy was annoying. Be a man, be more decisive - if you want Macy, then go after her! And he eventually did which makes him no so bad LOL. You cannot dismiss chemistry in a relationship. It's either present or not and if it's not, you should question its absence. I understand Gabriel didn't want to go back to those destructive years... however, different circumstances lead to different outcomes. In that sense, I felt that Gabriel was too rigid at time. Of course, he does redeem himself and Macy and Gabriel together are a hot item :) I did think that he was a bit harsh with her at the end though, when he asked her to stop with her costumes. He knew why, but didn't completely understand Macy's feelings and motivations behind it and so, I thought he could have tried harder.
The story was fun and focused mainly on Gabriel and Macy's relationship which is always a good thing :) The mystery aspect with the arson cases was okay. It was interesting to see Gabriel in his element, do his job... but I think it could have been integrated in the storyline better. Lots of people brought up the secondary characters romance and how they enjoyed it. For me, it didn't work out so well. I thought it was a bit too rushed and wasn't really interested ^_^; I do hope though that Janna is going to get her own book. That I would definitively read.
All in all, this book is the story of a woman coming back to her hometown because of family and reluctant to stay due to nasty rumors and the people's attitude. In that sense, it reminded me a lot of Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery, and so did the resolution - the heroine finding out that a lot of people are actually nice and don't care about the past. However, that's where the similarities end. Burning Up is its own book with its own set of interesting H/H. The pacing and writing plus its characters turn this book into a quick read and because it's so fun, you're able to overlook its flaws. Burning Up turned out to be a very enjoyable read to me with some nice twists and surprises along the way :)
My Grade: B.