Today I am so excited to share our first official Buddy Review at Joyfully Jay. Crissy and Jason have teamed up to review A Walk Through Fire by Felice Stevens.
A player with a reputation, Asher Davis loves them and leaves them, not interested in a meaningful relationship. When Ash represents Drew’s soon-to-be ex-wife, he is captivated by the gorgeous doctor and when asked, agrees to support Drew’s new clinic. Ash’s behavior is confusing to most, but not to his old friend Peter who knows the secrets Ash is keeping to himself.
Their mutual attraction is kept on the back burner where it eventually boils over and Drew gives in to his fantasies with Ash. Ash sees the inner beauty in addition to Drew’s physical appearance. None of that matters at the end of the encounter, however, as Ash sends Drew on his way. Now the tension is of a different kind. Months go by with little or no contact, even though they both work at the clinic.
Drew and Ash move on with their lives, but those lives are now hollow. When Drew’s grandmother, Esther, ends up in the hospital, Drew and Ash are reunited and, although the men open up and share secrets, the stress of his past and the mistrust of Drew’s friend Jordan leave Ash believing that he is not worthy of Drew. With that in mind, Ash runs as fast and as far as he can.
Crissy: I’m one of those. You know, the OFY lovers. I also have a thing for broken and conflicted characters. So yes, this book appealed to me on so many levels. And because I enjoyed this author’s debut novel, Rescued, I was really looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same love for this story as I had for the first book.
Jason: I have not read Rescued but based on A Walk Through Fire, I am not ready to run out and buy it. I didn’t feel much for either Drew or Ash, which, to be honest, was surprising since their individual stories should have been more engaging.
I also didn’t like the time skips; two months here, one month there, and not enough information provided to help with the continuity of the storyline. The time jumps were annoying, months go by like magic. I am not at all against this technique if it is used well, but here it seemed to always be summer even though months and months go by.
Crissy: I’m the same. I had a few issues in this story ranging from the characters, to the awkward situations they made for themselves, to the holes in the subplots.
The awkward situations were so odd. Like when Drew would be talking to his grandmother in the hospital but daydreaming about Ash and trying distractedly not not get a hard on. It wasn’t the only time he tried to suppress his arousal for Ash around his grandmother or sister for that matter. Like I said, awkward doesn’t quite cover the squick feeling I got reading those parts.
Jason: Ash keeps his time in the foster system to himself and his experiences formed the basis for all of his future sexual encounters and relationships (or lack thereof). Then there are Ash’s foster brothers. He has been searching high and low for years and it is a significant sub-plot that is left dangling in the wind.
Crissy: As for the characters, I found them lacking and terribly inconsistent throughout most of the book. My biggest annoyance began with Drew and his baby talk and escalated from there. A grown man, never mind that he’s educated and a surgeon, constantly using names like “Rachey” or “Jordy.” Frustrating, to say the least. I never felt like Drew worked through his issues of being attracted to a guy. I mean, one moment he’s confused about how he feels and the next he’s begging Ash to take him. I got whiplash from his abrupt change.
Jason: Want whiplash? Try Asher’s willingness to open up to Drew’s Nana, now that was a shock. His poor treatment of Drew, not a shock.
Now to be fair, there were some good points in the book, such as Drew’s clinic and his efforts to help the many homeless young people, most of whom are gay or lesbian and have been rejected by their families. This quote is one that I truly loved:
“Don’t wait for the right time or a special moment, if that’s what you’re doing. Believe me, I know better than anyone, being a cop. I could leave one morning and never come home.” For a moment wetness glimmered in his eyes. “The regrets some people live with are crushing. It may sound clichéd, but I don’t ever take what I have with Jordan for granted, because I know how easily it can all disappear.”
Crissy: You’re right. It wasn’t all that bad. It was a slow-go for me. It took a while for me to find a real interest in the story, but once it got going, I kind of liked it. I have to say Esther is one of the best parts of this book. The little old lady who loves Drew so much she practically pushes Drew and Ash together without them realizing it. And her sex talks—oh, Lord! She’s a mess.
And yes, I love that quote. What it meant and the foreshadowing of it. Geez, it’s tough to look back on now. Come to think of it, I probably felt more connected with to Jordan and Keith—two of the secondary characters. At least I was more interested in their relationship. And at the end of the book, it’s their role in this story that sticks out so prominently.
Jason: You bring up a good point, one that I didn’t even realize until you said it. Jordan and Keith’s story did take over at the end. I also agree that Esther was a superb secondary character, far better developed than Drew and Ash.
A friend once called the band Boston “MOR” for Middle Of the Road” and that to me sums up A Walk Through Fire to me. It didn’t standout as either a good or a bad book, it just was.
Crissy: I agree. Overall, this book was just not for me. There were parts that were good, even sweet, but not memorable. Sadly, the one thing I walked away with had more to do with the supporting characters than the main characters. It was okay, but not one that I plan on reading again.