Saturday, January 5, 2019

Audiobook Review: Set Ablaze by KC Burn

Title: Set Ablaze
Author: KC Burn
Narrator: Darcy Stark
Release Date: August 16, 2018
Category: Contemporary
Length: 6 hours, 48 minutes

California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”

Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.

The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.

Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.

3 Stars for the book

3.5 Stars for the narration

I’m going to start my review with the audio portion since this is what I liked best about this book and was the main factor in what kept me going to the end. I really liked the narration for this story. I think Darcy Stark did a great job with what he was given. His voice and cadence were pretty much on-point throughout the entire book. His voice is really pleasant to listen to while he tells us the story, no matter what the book itself might contain.

I’ve read this author before and really liked the books (The Toronto Tales Series is fantastic) but this one did not hit the mark for me. Although the premise sounded great when I read the blurb - firefighter and Broadway dancer - I wasn’t super impressed by the storyline we got.

The plot of the story moved along at a decent pace, but when I comes down to it, I think that maybe my lack of connection to any and all of the characters might have thrown off the story a bit too much for me to actually enjoy this one. There was just too much drama, judgment, horrible interaction and lack of communication between basically every character in this book. They were all contradicting and condescending to each other and much was left to be desired. In my personal opinion the only redeeming factor that either of the main characters, Jez and Hayden, had is that they both liked dogs, that’s it. These guys just did not seem to fit together; it’s really hard to explain but they just did not seem right for each other, even up to the end of this book. Sad to say, but I was honestly hoping this didn’t actually have a HEA and that they ended up with completely different people than each other. Lol.

Hayden is a firefighter who is “out” but yet, not really. He acts like he’s in the closet, hides who he is from all of his “friends” and avoids all conflict because he is afraid of what every single person on the planet will think of him, whether he even knows them or not. Hayden has never been with a woman but at the beginning of this book has no issue with comparing Jez’s body to being soft like a woman’s and not like the manly men he usually goes for?!?!? Whaaatt?!?!

But seriously, the lack of actual communication, and then miscommunication between the two main characters drove me kind of crazy. OMG and don’t even get me started on Hayden’s horrible d-bag “friends”! How the hell did he seriously put up with their homophobic crap for so long without defending himself, or OK, you don’t like conflict – fine - WHY DIDN’T HE JUST STOP HANGING OUT WITH THEM?? I simply didn’t get that at all; he just lets them use and abuse him and that was my major complaint with Hayden as a person and a character.

Jez is a Broadway dancer turned actor. He runs across the country to get away from a crazy ex and moves in with his brother Miguel’s best friend, Hayden, who he hasn’t seen or talked to in years. Jez is super judgmental right from the start; he lies and hides things and even when the truth starts coming out, he leaves major parts of the story out. He also assumes the worst things about every person he comes into contact with. Like, I get he had to deal with some crazy crap his ex-boyfriend put him through, but dude, Jez is kind of crazy himself in a completely different way. As a person, he was just really hard for me to like. There were parts of Jez’s life after he moved in with Hayden that got added into the book, almost like added content that wasn’t needed and had no bearing on the actual storyline. One thing I did agree with Jez, was that yes, they both could use some therapy, and that they both have some major issues they need to work through, separately and together.

Miguel, Jez’s brother and Hayden’s best friend…. Hmm. Miguel - is he a homophobic jerk, or is he just a jerk, or is he really a good guy in disguise..? I was super confused and conflicted about his character. He is the only person who stepped up in his family to help Jez when he was “forced out” but yet he doesn’t stick up for Hayden when their horrible friends treat them like crap for years. And he doesn’t even step up and defend Jez one he comes back into the picture.

I just didn’t understand any of these guys or any of their actions.

*** Audiobook copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

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