Cover Image: Consumed


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Member Reviews

2018; Gallery/Simon & Schuster Canada

Consumed is not a paranormal romance, but a romantic suspense novel. I really enjoyed the characters, and the chemistry between the hero and heroine was fire hot (pun intended). I read book when it first came out, and have been waiting for book two, and there still hasn't been anything published. There are a few novellas, and maybe that's why it a series, but I do hope there will be a book two soon.

***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***
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Again I'm a little slow on my review. It took me a while to finish Consumed, through no fault of the book. I'm generally a fantasy, paranormal romance, or rom-com kind of reader, so a darker angsty novel was a newer experience for me. I wanted to try it or because I enjoy Ward's fantasy series and wanted to try her new book. I kept putting down the novel, not because it was boring or written poorly, but because it wasn't a genre I found super interesting. In the end I finished the novel and enjoyed the story, and especially the backbone of the main characters. I frequently recommend Consumed in my store to people looking for a heavy contemporary romance, I've just realized that these genre is not for me.
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JR Ward has a way of writing that sucks you and keeps you engaged. There is so much detail that you can actually see what is going on in your minds-eye. Consumed was filled with emotion, intrigue and mystery. The slight hint of romance was an added bonus. I highly recommend this book. Ward is very, very talented.
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I enjoyed this book! I have a kinda funny story about my reading pace of this book, but I did read it, and I enjoyed it tremendously! I do have one or two complaints, like the jargon and the nick names and references, they went over my head, but they were a small part of this book. 

So I was reading this book, and the beginning was so intense, and I just devoured it. And then after they were healed and things had settled down, it did take a while to really get into it again, but yeah, once things started picking up the pace, I just read it so quickly!

The relationship between Anne and Danny is pretty intense. They were colleagues who slept together, and then experienced a very traumatic event together. I really enjoyed watching them work on their issues, because they both had an abundance of issues. 

The mystery in this book was pretty on point. It's not really a murder mystery, it's an investigative one, and I think it's going to be a multi-book story arc, because there's still so many questions. I really want them to take down this bad guy, though! 

Loved this book so much, and yeah, can't wait to see where this series is going to go!
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Coming from a dysfunctional family of firefighters, Anne has worked hard to become the first female firefighter in the New Brunswick Fire Station 499.  She’s committed, independent and not afraid to take risks.  She’s also hiding an intense attraction for former fling and fellow firefighter Danny.

Danny is the best of the best.  He’s equally obsessed with Anne and intends to do something about it.  Then they’re called to fight a fire that ends in tragedy leaving Anne with a devastating injury ending her career while Danny is left spiraling down into PTSD.

Months later, Anne begins the process of reinventing herself by becoming an arson investigator.  The only option left to a woman whose firefighting dreams are crushed. It doesn’t take long for Anne to become embroiled in an arson investigation that will put her in the cross hairs of a killer.

Danny is struggling with PTSD. He turns to alcohol and extreme risk taking that threatens to end his life. He’s completely consumed with self loathing. However, his friends aren’t giving up on him and are intent to throw Danny and Anne back together.  When they see each again the heat is still sizzling.  But Anne has an investigation to solve and not much time to do it!

I had difficultly warming up to Anne.  While I admired her strength, I found her somewhat cold and self-centered. I loved Danny but there were moments where his extreme self-pity was down right exhausting. Wow, now I sound harsh, right!? Don’t worry. It gets better.

As the primary characters go through the process of healing, I really began to care for them. Though the story was a bit slow in the middle, the plot was very engaging and well done.
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This wasn’t my favourite read by the author. While it had some really good parts, overall it was kind of stagnant. I would love to give this a higher rating but, I wasn’t impressed at all.
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When I first started to read romance again, after a thirty-year hiatus (ah, the “lost years”), one of the first romances I read was J. R. Ward’s Lover Eternal (2006), a romance novel I thought at once execrable and utterly compelling. Really, I couldn’t put it down, even though I was embarrassed for enjoying it and yet thinking how laughably bad it was. I can’t say I experienced the same reader self-hatred reading the first of Ward’s new non-vampiric “Firefighters” series, Consumed. Maybe it was the first flush of allowing myself to read romance again, but I’d gained some distance from Consumed in a way I hadn’t with Lover Eternal, though I read it with the same enthusiasm and rueful self-doubt. I can now recognize what makes Ward compelling: there’s a hyperbolic physicality to her characters, a gritty underbelly feel to her setting, and a rawness to it all that makes for a powerful formula. There’s NOTHING small-town cutsie or gentle about Ward’s world and she’s pretty fearless about writing her characters’ edginess. I liked that about her and I liked Consumed, though, at times, it bugged the heck out of me.

Ward’s hero and heroine are firefighters, sharing camaraderie and danger and as the novel opens, one unforgettable night of love-making. They’re on their way to a fire, one that will change their lives irrevocably. Ward’s hero, Danny Maguire, is ripped, every movement rippling muscles and always described with clothes that barely contain his body. Ward’s comic-book-hero proportions for her heroes distinguishes: it’s a deliberate trope for her. She does no less for her heroine: Anne Ashburn is strong, capable, smart … and, at the end of that fire, thanks to a recklessness that matches Danny’s, disabled, ending career and what was, at best, a fragile, new-found possibility of a relationship with Danny. To complicate matters further, Danny is implicated in her injury and injured by her carelessness.

In the months that follow, Danny and Anne lick wounds and make a slow way to recovery. Of the two, Anne emerges stronger, physically making her disability no more an impediment to her life than her gender was to her previous profession. She takes a job as an arson investigator and is soon embroiled in revealing corruption in one of the vilest, creepiest villains I’ve encountered in a romantic suspense novel. Danny, on the other hand, is haunted by loss. His twin brother, also a firefighter, died in a fire gone badly, as did a friend, and the loss and guilt mixed up with his love for Anne have left him with one beer too many and a chip on his shoulder a mile-wide. He’s insubordinate, snarly, brooding, and on a path of sure self-destruction. Until Anne returns to his life … his hotheadedness remains, but suddenly, he’s got a reason to live, making sure Anne isn’t hurt, helping and supporting her. It’s easy to peg Danny an “alpha”. He’s not diffident about telling Anne, in no uncertain terms, he’s going to protect her. However, there’s such a strength and smarts to Anne, and such respect for her on Danny’s part, that I thought Ward navigated this line well.

I liked Danny and Anne together: their demons subside and we’re left with two tormented souls expressing tenderness and devotion. I also liked Danny and Anne apart: their apart demons come to the foreground and Ward handled them with insight. Anne’s coming-to-terms with her disability is as important as forging a relationship with a loving mother she never respected, a brother she keeps at arms-length, and opening a heart that she’s shut off from love. Danny, in turn, makes being in love with Anne the reason he makes his way to dealing with PTSD, grief, survivor’s guilt, and anger. 

Where does Ward fail? Honestly, she has some writing quirks I disliked, metaphors that don’t quite work, awkward turns of phrase, a lack of elegance. But her pacing clips along and the rawness of her characters’ lives, setting, and emotions is more like a clanging bell than a pretty tinkle. I didn’t always love it, but I couldn’t look away either. She messes up Danny and Anne’s dark moment, when their relationship experiences a seemingly terrible rift. Given how she’s bonded Danny and Anne to that point, what breaks them up is puerile and not in keeping with their personalities. The mystery is left hanging, but maybe it’ll be resolved in a following book? Nevertheless, so much is healed and we leave Danny and Anne in such a good place that I was forgiving of the latter elements. Ugh, I hate to say it, but I’ll probably be back for book #2. With Miss Austen, we say Ward’s Consumed offers “real comfort,” Emma.

J. R. Ward’s Consumed is published by Gallery Books. It was released on October 9th and may be found at your preferred vendor. I received an e-galley from Gallery Books, via Netgalley.
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It all goes down at Fire Station 499. Through the prequels leading up to Consumed, we learned of Anne and Danny circling each other for the entire two years she's been with the company. An explosive night of passion between the two has Danny more sure than ever that he wants a shot with her and Anne is still resistant to totally giving in to his charms. One job, one fire, changes everything. Between them and for them. One job changes Anne's career trajectory and sets Danny on a path of self-destruction. One job is at the head of a mystery and no one's life will be the same again.

What I wasn't fond of:
🔥 Anne - she was entirely too vile to stomach. She aggravated me to no end and right when I thought there would be a redeeming moment from her, she said something to further piss me off.
... is this the reason Dad cheated on you?
I get being disillusioned by a parent, but to put the blame on her mother, the woman who suffered so horribly, was disgraceful. Luckily she became a better person towards the end, however, most of the book she needed a good throat punch.
🔥 Just Anne.

What I liked:
🔥 The writing - so different from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and yet still so easy to become captivated by.
🔥 Danny, of course. He was the bad boy of Company 499 and although I found him to be pretty immature at times, I loved his heart. He felt everything and his pain absolutely ravaged him. He took unnecessary risks at work and it was all tied to the anguish he felt over the part he played in Anne's dilemma. I loved him for how open he was when it came to being with Anne and how he was immediately trying to protect her even though she wasn't his at the start. He was a hero in every sense of the word and I enjoyed watching him in action.
🔥 The bath scene. Read the book to find out!
🔥 The side stories involving the side characters. Not only did they get their own POVs, they also got some lead time, especially Anne's brother, Tom. I can't wait to read a book about him and from the many hints in this one, that book is definitely going to be told. He carried a huge burden, trying to ensure the safety of all the firefighters in the different houses and having to play the political game. He didn't really have much of a life outside of the job. I'm eager to see how this changes.
🔥 When Tom put Anne in her place. It may not have been at the most appropriate time, but he said exactly what I would have given the chance. "You never will be like me and not because you're a woman. It's because you've got a chip on your shoulder that makes you impossible to reason with or trust on the job." PREACH!!
🔥 The suspenseful storyline that was supposed to be this book's entire premise. Amidst the drama that was Moose and his nightmare of a wife, I was constantly tangling between several feelings - do I laugh, continue to gasp in shock, yell at Anne to realize exactly who the 'bad guy' was, shake Anne so she'll stop being a dolt and give Danny what he needs, sit back and enjoy how everything unravels... Good times.

I don't know who the next book will be about (please be Tom), but I'll definitely be reading it. Ward never disappoints and has left me infatuated with her fleet of heroes determined to fight fires and fall into fiery passion. I'm hoping to see Danny again.
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Anne is the only female firefighter in the 499 and she’s worked hard to get where she is. She’s one of the best firefighters in the city, if not the state. She’s got instincts that’s unparallel to all except maybe Danny. But while battling an intense fire, Anne’s instincts fail her, and she finds herself trapped. The building is collapsing around her and she can’t free her arm. Danny comes to her aid with a gas-powered saw but that doesn’t help. She tells him to go, let her die but he refuses. In one moment, they decide together what must be done.


One decision, between two lovers, alters both of their lives forever. Anne’s now an arson investigator and she’s uncovering a fire bug. While she investigates, her thoughts are consumed with Danny. Yes, both of them survived but are not the same people they once were. Can they bury the guilt and pain or will the arsonist trap in yet another fire, only to be consumed?


I was consumed by this book and I’m not exaggerating. I read the two prequels in early September and I instantly connected with both Anne and Danny. They’re quite similar in that they are brilliant firefighters who don’t give a damn for consequences or risks. All that matters is saving lives and fighting the beast (fires).


I couldn’t stop reading and dreamt about this book too numerous to count. Anne’s story became a part of me. Yes, this is one of those books which will never leave me.


What makes this a must read is how deep the storytelling goes. Ward knows how to plunge the reader into the characters and the reader experiences all that they are experiencing with such accuracy and depth of feeling, that it leaves the reader clinging to every breath. The guilt, heartbreak, day-to-day living of both Danny and Anne was an emotional experience. I kept asking myself what would I do in Danny’s shoes?


I’m happy to see this will become another incredible series like The Bourbon Kings series (which I gobbled up) and I can’t wait for the next installment.


Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster Canada via Netgalley in the hopes I’d review it.


Favorite Character/Quote: “You need to go,” she ordered him. “Now.”

Danny stopped talking, his face going still behind his clear shield. And then he removed his oxygen supply. “We die together, then.”

He was every bit as resolved as she was, an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.


My Rating: 5 stars
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Ms. Ward has a way of grabbing my attention from the very beginning of a story and then holding on tight…capturing my imagination and, in most cases, my heart very quickly.  The same is very true in this book, the first installment of her next series.  It’s always difficult for me to separate the things I love about previous stories by an author and focus on new books without judgement.  Seriously, how can this new series compare with my love for the Black Dagger Brotherhood?  How could these characters capture me as whole-heartedly as they did?  I had the same feeling when I read The Bourbon Kings series by this author (which, as it turns out, I loved immensely!).  But, in a brief moment of adulting, I decided that I wouldn’t compare these characters to the Brothers (hi Rhage!!) or anything else I’ve read by this author.  And I’m very glad I did.

First and foremost, this book is completely different from my beloved BDB series because  it’s contemporary.  The adventure and danger we read about here is real…there are people doing this every day of their lives and, because of that, the emotions were genuine.  These characters put their lives on the line while dealing with their own baggage, just like many people do in real life.  This book sets the foundation for the series to come and, for this reason, we meet many characters and learn many details about what they do, who they are, and the world around them.  The reader needs to be prepared for the amount of detail that’s coming their way…detail that can seem a bit overwhelming at times but is definitely necessary to ensure that we are prepared for what’s to come in future books.

This particular story focuses on Anne and Danny, both firefighters, both damaged, both battling their own demons.  Their connection is explosive but their struggles have them at arm’s length from each other for a long time.  In between the action and mystery in the book, we’re treated to witnessing their explosive interactions, conflicted inner thoughts, and slow realization of their need for each other.  Mixed in with this is an arsonist they’re trying to find, a creepy villain that we know is going to reek havoc, complicated family issues, and a rival firehouse.

This story is typical J.R. Ward…many points of view, many characters to learn about and fall in love with, action, adventure, and suspense.   This isn’t your typical romance and I liked how much there was here for me to dig my teeth into.  Be prepared to be slightly overwhelmed by how much is included in this book – so many characters to keep straight, so much world building.  Keep in mind that this is the foundation for more books to come and that, like real life, the homework you do here will make the next installments all that much better.  I, for one, am looking forward to seeing where this author takes us in this highly combustible world of firefighters, their lives, their loves, and the villains they fight.
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This was my first J.R. Ward book and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. I was first drawn to Consumed by its gorgeous cover (have you ever picked up a book because of this reason??). The very beginning of Consumed is filled with action. But shortly after that, I found myself getting bored. I felt like there were too many characters and too much going on. I did enjoy parts of the romance between Anne and Danny, as it reminded me a bit of the relationship between Lorlei and Luke from Gilmore Girls (and I love Gilmore Girls!!!). Their relationship is complex and entertaining. I couldn't get into the mystery part of the plot at all. I enjoyed Ward's writing style but I just couldn't get into this one. I guess it's true what they say, never judge a book by it's cover
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I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book. I didn’t love it but I found that I couldn’t put it down either. 

Let me be clear... this is a damn good book. It’s very well written. The characters are fully fleshed out and real. The plot is engaging, different, and entertaining. It’s just INTENSE. Boy is it intense! As a reader, you’re on a roller coaster the whole way through. 

Consumed is a hell of an appropriate title for this novel.

I loved Danny. Anne... not so much. And that’s the thing, I wanted to love her but I couldn’t wrap my head around some of the things she did or how she acted in some scenes. 

She, if I’m brutally honest, is the main reason I couldn’t give this 5 Stars. 

Lastly, I read both prequels before diving into this book. And I highly recommend doing that as it gives you so much insight into why certain things are the way are.
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Consumed is the first book to an all new series written by J. R. Ward. Known for her paranormal series the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Consumed is a contemporary novel.

Anne Ashburn is a firefighter turned arson investigator after a life altering decision in the midst of a battle against fire. Throughout it all, we see her as an independent, strong and determined individual who faces obstacles head on. Danny McGuire is a smart, caring and loyal individual. A firefighter who has worked alongside Anne for a couple of years who had complete trust in her abilities.

The chemistry and dynamics between Anne and Danny were great. The relationship the two of them had together was realistic as it had its ups and downs. Even though it was their attraction that led them together first, they were also very communicative with each other. At least for the most part. One memorable and poignant scene shows Danny how Anne is faring after the life altering event. (The scene where she wall climbs and a little girl gets inspired by her strong will).

Each and every one of the characters described in the novel were so full of life. Secondary characters had their own distinct personalities, qualities as well as flaws. The interaction was also interesting and fun.

While this is the first book to the firefighters series, there are two short stories that reveal how Anne and Danny first got together. It is not necessary to read them, it does provide a better picture of all the characters' mindsets. Why the people feel the way they feel. These stories are also free on amazon as well as kobo. 

It's a contemporary novel with elements of mystery and suspense. I recommend readers who love these genres to read it since it is very well written and engaging. Looking forward to the next book in the series!
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4.25 stars--CONSUMED is the first full-length instalment in J. R. Ward’s contemporary, adult FIREFIGHTERS romantic, suspense series. CONSUMED is the continuing storyfocusing on firefighters Anne Ashburn, and Danny Maguire of the NBFD 499. I recommend reading the FREE prequel novellas The Rehearsal and The Dinner for backstory and cohesion.

Told from several third person perspectives including Anne and Danny CONSUMED follows the acrimonious relationship between firefighters and partners Anne Ashburn, and Danny Maguire of the New Brunswick Fire Department (NBFD) 499. Following an warehouse fire wherein both Anne and Danny were wounded, the story line picks up ten months later as Anne embarks on her new career as a certified fire inspector, a career change that has left her bitter and insecure. No longer working alongside her fellow firefighters from the 499, Anne struggles to find a place without the camaraderie and companionship of the men who had always had her back including the man who had stolen her heart. A tightknit group of friends, the firefighters of the 499 are more like family than the blood family back home. 

 Danny Maguire battles PTSD and remorse in the aftermath of a warehouse fire that went horribly wrong. Never ones to follow orders both Danny and Anne found themselves in a dangerous situation, a situation that was about to affect the rest of their lives and careers. What ensues is the rebuilding friendship and relationship between Danny and Anne, and the fall-out as an arsonist hits too close home, and accusations of another nature threaten the already tepid relationship between our story line couple.

JR Ward pulls the reader into a story of family, friendship, betrayal and power. Anne Ashburn comes from a family who have loved and lost in the line of duty but not is all as it appears to be as the perfect façade begins to crumble as secrets are revealed.  Danny Maguire struggles to make sense of where everything went wrong but release does not come easy as the guilt of what happened weighs heavily and long.

All of the firefighters previously introduced in the prequel novellas are present and accounted. Anne’s brother Chief Thomas Ashburn struggles with his tentative hold over a collapsing department, a department he fears no longer respects the position he holds. Danny’s best friend Robert ‘Moose’ Miller is always ready with a helpful hand but it is his new bride Deandra that threatens Moose’s stability, and those of the people working the 499.

CONSUMED follows the breakdown of leadership, the loss of control, the drama and fall-out of a department threatened by an unseen power that is determined to win at all costs. The premise is suspenseful, detailed and dramatic: the characters are flawed, wounded and broken; the romance struggles in the face of pride, betrayal and demons from the past. CONSUMED sets the stage for a potential power match between law enforcement, business and the political elite-a powerful and volatile combination of chaos and command.

Copy supplied by Netgalley





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I’ve read my fair share of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, but with so many titles in the series, it gets a little intimidating.  That’s why I was excited to see a brand-new series from J.R. Ward, one that I could get my hooks into from day one and not have such a massive catalogue to get caught up to.

What I loved about Consumed were the characters.  Ward takes her time developing Anne and Danny, as well as their relationship.  The entire time I was reading, “Broken” by lovelytheband was playing in my head:  I like that you’re broken Broken like me.  That song is their relationship!  Who wants to read a book about perfect people with a perfect relationship?  No troubles, no problems, no adversity…No fun!  And Consumed was certainly fun.

Consumed bills itself as a mystery within the romance category, and it certainly fits the genre.  The mystery/thriller was there, although it definitely played second fiddle to the romance.  The romantic tension in the relationship was expertly developed, however, the mystery, the danger, played out too quickly and all at the end.  Personally, I would have preferred more focus on that end of things, it would have created a better balance for a romantic suspense.

Consumed was definitely a fun book to read.  Ward is a pro at creating captivating characters and imperfect relationships.  All I would have liked was a little more action, no, not that kind, there was plenty of that.  Where is this series going next?  I’ve got a couple ideas.

*4 Stars
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I was already a fan of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, so when I heard that she was going to be writing a new series about a different type of brotherhood —firefighters— my interest was more than a little piqued.  This brotherhood also included a “Sister,” a feisty, strong, determined woman whose destiny and family legacy was forged in smoke and flames. ​

Consumed is a romantic suspense at its core, but there is so much more to it than that.  The story revolves around Anne “Sister” Ashburn.  She is the daughter of a highly revered, fallen fire chief, and sister of the current one.  Fighting fires was all she had ever wanted to do in her life, and she was born for it. Throughout the pages, the reader gets an up close and personal view of Anne’s life: her family issues, her love interest, and the destructive nature of her career.  But this book is about a brotherhood, and we also get acquainted with Anne’s fellow firefighters.  We get glimpses into their lives and their relationships.  They are an interesting cast of characters, each one broken, flawed, and struggling with his own demons.

Consumed started out on a pretty high, jaw-dropping note that set the stage for the rest of the story.  I was intrigued and fully invested in what was unfolding in front of me.  There was a great deal going on at all times, and my interest never had a chance to waver.  It’s also worth mentioning that I didn’t see the story playing out the way that it did – and I love it when that happens.

As with most first books in a series, Consumed was an introduction to the setting as well as the many faces that the reader will have the pleasure of getting to know in future books in this series.  J.R. Ward has done a wonderful job of introducing the characters and offering up just enough information about each of them to keep her readers curious and anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.  With such a colorful group of characters, I’m already wondering which one will have the spotlight in the next book.

*4 Stars
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I am a fan of J.R. Ward and I have read many of her books so when I heard that she had a new book and a new series I just had to get my hands on it.

I did enjoy this book and the characters but I didn't LOVE this book.  I had also read the prequel novellas first and I liked those more than this book.  

I was so hoping on loving this one but unfortunately, it wasn't the best by J.R. Ward that I have read.  I didn't like it enough to want to read the next book in the series.  

I am giving this 3 out of 5
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This story shows that life can throw you some curve balls and that you can overcome them. The plot is interesting (arson) and the main characters are real people with their strengths and flaws.   I loved the short chapters.  Good story, sans plus.
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I find it distasteful, in a world where smoking is rarely accepted or allowed in public places, to have to read about someone's disgusting habit in a book. Come, on! Really? 

I did not like seeing what Danny Maguire's life had become. He was a drunken slob sob. His place, if you wanted even to call it that, felt like a dump and I imagined a squat. Anne and Danny's relationship took a drastic dive after Danny cut her hand off. What a sorry lot they turned out to be! Ugh! I wish it hadn't happened. I cannot relate to that sort of pain. I was not feeling it, and it was disgraceful ok? I wasn't happy about their relationship demise and disappointed in their circumstances, that's all. 

You know what I did like though? Soot, Anne's dog.

Even though I DNF'd it, I will continue with it in the future. Just not now.
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Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for an ARC of Consumed by J.R. Ward. This is the first book in Ward's new Firefighters series and is a fantastic start. Anne Ashburn lost her career as a fire fighter in a battle against a fire that went horribly wrong and her partner and lover, Danny, had to make a life or death decision to save her from being burned alive. Anne moves on to fire investigations and it becomes apparent to her that there is a serial arsonist is at work burning empty warehouses just like the one in which she was trapped. Her former partner, Danny, can't forgive himself for Anne losing her career as a fire fighter and is having a crisis of his own, taking risks he has no business taking. Anne enlists his help to find the arsonist and they must work together again.
Ward is a master at storytelling and building suspense and brings out deep emotions in her characters and as a result, in the reader. If you have not experienced any of her books, I definitely recommend you try Consumed and you will be hooked.
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