Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

Woohoo, a review! About time, right? LOL. I had plans this week-end about blogging and blog-hopping... and I ended up sleeping ^_^; Ames says it's because I was so tired because of the presentation, and I guess yes, I was... but I don't know, it's unfortunate, no? ^_^;

Anyway, here is my review of Chasing Fire! A week late, but at least, I've written it :) Hopefully, there'll be more to come this week! Enjoy!

Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
published by Putnam in April 2011

Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature.

But there's also little else as thrilling - at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive fire-fighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan's blood: her father is a legend in the field. She's been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home - even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering in the air.

Fortunately, this year's rookie crop is among the strongest ever - and Gulliver Curry's one of the best. He's also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kid's arcade. He came to Missoula to follow in the footsteps of Lucas "Iron Man" Tripp, yet he's instantly more fascinated by his hero's daughter. Rowan, as a rule, doesn't hook up with other smoke jumpers, but Gull is convinced he can change her mind. And damn if he doesn't make a good case to be an exception to the rule.

Everything is thrown off balance, though, when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year's tragedy. Rowan knows she can't complicated things with Gull - any distractions in the air or on the ground could be lethal. But if she doesn't find someone she can lean on when the heat gets intense, her life may go down in flames.
Genre: Contemporary romance, Romantic suspense
Series: None

The Story: Rowan Tripp is the heroine of Chasing Fire. With her mother walking out when Rowan was still a baby, it's only natural that she has a very close relationship with her father, Lucas "Iron Man" Tripp, whose been her life pillar. Following into his footsteps just seemed the thing to do and as a result, Rowan has been jumping since her 18th birthday and is one of the most experienced smoke jumper there is. However, this new season is different. Everyone is still reeling from last year's tragedy when one of theirs died in the fire; especially Rowan as it was her partner for that jump... but life goes on, fires have to be put out and the new crop of rookies to train.

Gulliver Curry has been a hotshot firefighter for a number of years in California. However, his ultimate goal is to become a smoke jumper like the Iron Man Tripp and that's why he's come to Montana. Meeting his ideal woman in Rowan is just a bonus. Although Rowan has a rule about not hooking up with people she works with, that'll only mean Gull will have to use his charms and convince her he's worth breaking the rule for.

As the season advances, the relationship between Rowan and Gull deepens. Unfortunately, this season, Rowan and Gull, the whole team and community have more than the fires to deal with: murders, sabotages and accidents... The questions are who is being this and why?

My Opinion: LOL, I guess I could have skipped the synopsis, since it's not offering much more than the blurb ^_^; What's great about Nora Roberts is picking up one of her books, you know what to expect: great characters and interactions/dynamics, excellent writing, a nice romance, good research and an interesting plot. Personalities, details and setting change, but the recipe is the same because it works. The only question you got to ask is "how much will I enjoy this?" For me, I've found that as long as I don't binge on Ms Roberts books, her books work for me and Chasing Fire was no exception :)

I enjoyed Chasing Fire. I think what made this book for me were the characters, especially the H/H. I thought Rowan was unusual, different. She's tough, very straightforward and has a temper :P And I'm not talking about grumpy temper, but more like she doesn't let people walk over her and really, good for her :) That scene where she discovers what Dolly has done and goes after her? I thought it was great LOL. I also really liked her relationship with her father - I love daddy's girl, perhaps because I'm one - and really, it's so natural for Rowan and Lucas since they were each other's life center. I thought that Rowan's reaction to Lucas meeting someone, especially since it was the first time, was very realistic and very well handled. While I liked Rowan, I loved Gull!! LOL. He was just such a great guy - charming, nice and patient. The way he wooed Rowan - *swoon* LOL. He really was great and I thought balanced, complemented Rowan very well. It was just great to see the two of them interact and Gull making Rowan realizes thing in his fun, casual way. They made for a very nice romance, in my opinion.

Before getting my hands on Chasing Fire, I looked for some reviews and found out that some people thought there were too much material about smoke jumpers. I do agree that sometimes, Ms Roberts get carried away with her research; however, in this case, it didn't bother me at all. I felt the amount of details and scenes set the atmosphere and the pacing really well for Chasing Fire. I didn't really know much about smoke jumpers before this book, but from reading it, I know that the season is really intense, tiring, non-stop and thrilling... and I felt Ms Roberts did a great job at conveying this to the readers by the amount of research she included in the storyline. Yes at times, I would have liked to know what some of the abbreviations/acronyms meant ^_^; But like I said, it didn't really bother me. Though I do think it took away from other aspects of the book a little such as the secondary characters. Oh, we are introduced to a colorful cast - I especially liked Dobie LOL - , but they didn't seem to be as well developed as they usually are. I also felt the relationship between Lucas and Ella was a bit rushed or at least, didn't get too much screen time, but overall it still worked well in the story.

As for the overall storyline, the intrigue, it was okay. Ms Roberts makes it works. Unfortunately, I have the very bad habit of reading the ending ^_^; So I can never guess who the culprit is, because I already know... However, I think that in the end, everything was tied up well and made sense.

My Grade: B. All in all, I think that once again, Ms Roberts delivered a solid book and I'm a happy camper :) If I had to rank Chasing Fire, I'd say that I enjoyed it more than Black Hills, but it wasn't as good as The Search :)


  1. My grade is just a teeny bit lower than yours. Lol. I did enjoy Chasing Fire but I think it was on par with Black Hills...or maybe Black Hills a bit more. ^_^

    I liked Rowan's personality, her temper is interesting because it makes her easier to relate to, but it was Gull that got to me, that detracted from my enjoyment. He's charming and patient but a bit too familiar to her previous heroes. I can't pinpoint it definitively but his "smart" responses was like deja vu for me (not exact remarks but enough to make me wrack my brain wondering how familiar it was).

    I also enjoyed the background on smoke jumpers because I knew very little about them before reading this. Overall, enjoyable but a little disappointing for me.

  2. Tabitha - Could it be that Gull reminded you a little bit of Roarke? I mean, not exactly... but his smoothness and the way he took care of Rowan? LOL, I didn't feel it, but now that I think about it... Roarke would be my answer :)

    I really liked Rowan's temper. It made her real and different :)

    Hmmm, I graded Black Hills B, so it is on par... but if I could go back, I'd probably grade Black Hills B- and this one, still a B :P

  3. No, not Roarke. Gull reminded me of her contemporary heroes. And it wasn't the way he took care of Rowan or his charm that is familiar...it was more on his sarcastic but clever responses (verbally speaking) to Rowan -- almost like Simon from The Search but with charm (because we know Simon was all gruff and grumpiness which was another charming combo). Ah, I would have to look for an example to explain what I mean...

  4. It sounds like fun, but some how I rarely enjoy Nora Roberts books - other than the Bride Quartet, I love those, LOL. I think I'm just not patient enough for suspense and all.

  5. Thanks for the insightful review . . . Nora Roberts is one of those authors, as you pointed out, that keeps on producing works that inform as well as entertain. As in this case, lots of info about the character's occupation, but on some level I appreciate that. I look back on much of the fiction I have devoured over the years and know that much of my education about the world came from those books rather than texts about the same subject. If nothing else, they pointed me in the direction of an interest I wanted to explore.

  6. I had this one but had to return it to the library before I could read it. Darn those 73 people who requested it! LOL

    I'm back on the list so I will get to it. I do think I'll like all the info on the smoke jumpers - I've always been fascinated by people who did that.

  7. Thanks for reviewing it Nath! Like Leslie, I'm also waiting for it, though in audiobook format. For some reason, I enjoy NR much more in audio. Not sure why, though. lol :-P

  8. Tabitha - Hmmm, I'm still going with Roarke LOL.I didn't find Simon sarcastic... just very blunt and direct :P and I just re-read The Search because you brought up Simon! :P

    Alex - If you've enjoyed her Brides Quartet, did you try her other trilogy? The Chesapeake brothers would be a good place to start :P I find that her older trilogy had a bit less mystery/suspense... Yes there was an overarching storyline, but it wasn't too upfront :P

    Dr J - I quite agree with you, Judith :) You can never learn too much, right? :P I really enjoyed learning about this occupation, which was quite obscure to me at first :) I can understand some people feeling it's too much, but in this case, I think it worked :)

    Leslie - Grrrr at them, right Les? :P Hopefully, there's more than one copy going around!

    I think if you're fascinated by them, you're going to enjoy this... because what NR does best is also show us all the aspects, not just the nice side :)

    Renee - It's good you're at least able to listen to audiobooks! :) I need to try it out :) Hope you enjoy Renee and that there's not too many people ahead of you!

  9. Yay-a review! I'll echo that, for diff reasons. I've been too busy to do much more than skim my reader for pretty book covers and recs. Today, I'm happy to indulge in READING through the posts of my faves. :-) So loved the review--and feel pretty much the same. I'll also agree that CAPABLE is what makes this man so sexy. Seriously capable. Maybe not as dark as Roarke though?

    Oh, and sometimes the research gets in the way for me too--but NOT here. I pretty much wanted to pack up and head to MT.

  10. Jennifer - I'm glad you agree with me, Jen :) and yes, Gull is not as dark as Roarke, which makes him endearing in my opinion :)

    I think the research in this case was necessary. You wouldn't reach the same level of intensity without it...