Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/05/30/joint-review-fire-inside-by-kristen-ashley/
MinnChica: I was so excited to read about Lanie and Hop, mainly because these two have played such a crucial role in the series to date. I loved Laine from Motorcycle Man, and thought that after everything she had been through, she deserved to be loved completely and totally by a man who would worship the ground she walked on. I was a little worried that Hop would be someone who wouldn’t be redeemable in my eyes, and yet Ashley made me fall in love with him. Their romance was wonderful, but I am getting a little disappointed in the lack of the pulse-pounding action that makes me love Ashley’s books so much.
Has: I also felt the same way about this book. I really loved the hints and glimpses we saw of Lanie and Hop in the previous books and seeing them hook up was funny and sexy and I was definitely looking forward to see how their romance fared. And overall the romance was enjoyable and very amusing although I definitely agree with you that I was also a tad disappointed with the lack of action as well. It made me feel that something was missing in the story for me.
Lou: I’m going to be the lone wolf in this review and say I didn’t like this book very much . I thought all of Lanie’s problems were forced and I found myself bored. I had a real problem with how Ashley created a female character (Hop’s ex) that was made out to be this awful and terrible person to make the heroine look better in Hop’s eyes. I liked Hop at first but by the end I thought he was a major jerkface.
MinnChica: I thought Ashley delivered with Hop, he was exactly what I expect from a hero in her story: strong, opinionated, dominate and at times an asshole. It’s a formula that works for her, and I thought that Hop fit the bill. I never felt as if Hop’s ex was created to make Laine seem like the better girl, I think she was just crazy, like Tabby’s mom from Motorcycle Man. I would say the only thing that threw me off was that Hop took so long to really commit. He kept implying they were a short-term thing, that once he got his full of her, he was done. It wasn’t typical of the Ashley romances I’ve read to date. But I thought the romance between Hop and Laine was so well done. They each had some major issues to deal with, and they faced them side-by-side, even though they sometimes didn’t want to.
Has: I also liked Hop and he was definitely more fleshed out here than in Motorcycle Man although I do get Lou’s point about the mean ex although I felt there was more dimensions to it compared to Tack’s ex wife. I wished we got to see Mitzi because I did feel sorry for her in the series because she made a mistake and was genuinely regretful and Hop also made similar mistakes as well. I did like how this parallelled Lanie’s parents and her feelings about commitment as well. And for me it did cement the romance because Lanie and Hop’s issues were full of baggage and past mistakes which their bumpy road to romance helped to pave the way to sort their problems out. But while I felt the romance aspect of the book was good, I was let down by the lack of a subplot especially that of ongoing tensions with Benito which didn’t develop the events from the last book.
Lou: I think that’s what frustrated me so much about Hop. He was so caring and sweet with Lanie and yet the words that came out of his mouth about the mother of his children were so ugly. There was a nastiness to it that I didn’t like. Most of the exes (bar from Shy’s ex in Own The Wind) they’re all made out to be these horrible bitches and yet the men chose them. I wish that there was more showing of Lanie’s personality in this book because I didn’t seen any of her ‘drama’ type personality in this book. I also felt it was awful that Hop’s daughter liked Lanie more than her own mum. There was too much female hating in this book for my liking.
The sex scenes were hot and Hop knows how to talk dirty, but like Has I thought there wasn’t enough going on. The whole war with Benito was non-existent and it only recapped at the end with what happened in Own The Wind.
MinnChica: I was super annoyed with the lack of action in this book. It was bad in Own the Wind, but it was worse in this one. At the end of Own the Wind, the action was set up to hit the pavement at the start of this book, instead Ashley chose to again focus on just the romance. While I liked the romance between Hop and Lanie, the rest of the book was a big letdown. I thought the relationship between Hop and Lanie was great, he gave her everything she needed to feel safe and secure and like she could trust in her partner, completely and totally. And Lanie gave Hop what he needed, her devotion and respect and everything that Mitzy wasn’t able to provide. I liked their romance, I really did. But the fact that the entire book was so centered around their romance and not much else left me feeling a little bit bored and anxious for something – ANYTHING – to happen.
All in all I liked the book, I was just very disappointed with the lack of action and drama that I’ve come to expect from an Ashley book. I felt like the pacing was slow and that the book just dealt with the problems with Hop and Lanie’s romance and absolutely nothing else. I wanted and needed more, especially as we continue to get little snippets of the growing problem with Benecio. I can only hope that Ashley doesn’t continue to stretch out this problem over more and more books, as it feels like something needs to happen, and soon!
I give Fire Inside a C+
Has: This is the crux of why I felt this wasn’t the strongest book in the series for me. I loved Own the Wind because that had a great balance of the romance as well as a cool subplot which pushed the pace forward. But I felt that even though I enjoyed the romance it wasn’t strong enough for me for a full book. I also felt that Lanie didn’t live up to her diva moments which were funny and amusing to see but I was disappointed that I felt I was being told she was one when she freaked out and it felt a bit forced.
Overall, while this wasn’t the strongest book in the series for me, the romance was well developed and fun. I just wished there was more to the story especially for the sub-plot because I felt the pace really lagged in the middle of the book. However, Kristen Ashley’s books are pure and unadulterated crack and although Fire Inside felt more lukewarm for me – I did enjoy the ride of Hop and Lanie’s story!
I give Fire Inside a C+
Lou: The pure enjoyment and crackiness that I’ve come to expect from KA was missing in this book. It felt too rushed in parts and I wanted more pace in the story. Whilst I love a good romance, Fire Inside missed the mark for me. I wasn’t a huge Hop and Lanie fan in the previous books so I wasn’t that engaged in their characters. Lanie’s personality annoyed me at times, and it felt forced in places. It felt like most of their romance took place in Lanie’s apartment. I admit I chuckled out loud in the scene where Lanie finds out her mum ‘conked’ her dad on the head with a wine bottle and that was fun. I just wish that the rest of the book was fun. I want the crackiness back!
I’m torn between a D+ and C- but I don’t think this book deserves a D as it’s not badly written. C-.