Review: Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine

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A father and daughter reconnect after a life spent apart to find their mutual love of art isn’t the only thing they share.

Sixteen-year-old Iris itches constantly for the strike of a match. But when she’s caught setting one too many fires, she’s whisked away to London before she can get arrested—at least that’s the story her mother tells. Mounting debt actually drove them out of LA, and it’s greed that brings them to a home Iris doesn’t recognize, where her millionaire father—a man she’s never met—lives. Though not for much longer.

Iris’s father is dying, and her mother is determined to claim his life’s fortune, including his priceless art collection. Forced to live with him as part of an exploitive scheme, Iris soon realizes her father is far different than the man she’s been schooled to hate, and everything she thought she knew—about her father and herself—is suddenly unclear. There may be hidden beauty in Iris’s uncertain past, and future, if only she can see beyond the flames.

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3/5 Stars 

Fire Color One is a kind of Vonnegut meets Palahniuk brand of bizarre and insightful. The kind of book that’s blunt, raw, and challenges perceptions by showing people as they are in all their horrible glory. 

PROS:

  • Insightful, honest looks at the hard truths. Sometimes people are flawed and corrupt and greedy and sometimes those people are your family. Not everyone is redeemable, not everything is sunshine and roses and crystal clear. The shades of gray are vast in each individual. Fire Color One explores the complexity of human nature and the relationships that manifest between the most unlikely of people. Characters are nuanced.You love to hate them and enjoy their randomness. 
  • The story is creative. Pyromania, getting into Iris’ head and how the fire makes her feel was beautifully written and thoughtful. There are some serious epiphanies in this book that read like concise and thought-provoking life advice. The way art functions in the story is equally as magnetic. The twist is epic and a long-game revenge that will make you feel gleeful and satisfied. 
  • Hannah and Lowell are these laughable caricatures of truly despicable people who are so real it’s unsettling. Greedy, selfish, verbally abusive, Iris is seen as a burden and a mistake. Their characters were the most developed. Some of their personality traits and actions and laugh out loud funny because they are so ridiculous and occasionally sickening. Absolutely pathetic, money-hungry people. 

CONS:

  • As flawed and compelling as these characters are, they’re mere glimpses into their personalities. It felt like the author was just scratching the surface. She laid the foundation, but she could have taken many characters much further and it would have made for not only a better story but stronger connections to each character, whether good or bad. Characters that were inherently interesting were foisted for the main character. For all of the influence Thurston has on Iris, he’s only seen in snaps that fade away. There’s hardly any interaction or even voice. It’s stuff you hear secondhand and don’t entirely experience. The same with Iris’ father. The emphasis was always off. 
  • The book was super short and would have benefited from more development in terms of exploring characters and how they related to Iris, her pyromania, and how she perceives the world, i.e. Thurston and her father. Instead, the story seems packed into the last handful of chapters, rushed after a very slow pace, and while it did help to magnify the twist, it was jarring and offset the whole book. 50+ more pages would have fleshed out the story, but what was actually presented felt a little like a summary.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Pleasant reading, 

Jordan

Guest Post: Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle

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Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.

The girl Oliver’s fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She’s his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.

When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.

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I am not a runner. At all. I have stopped and started Couch to 5K several times. I’ve deleted it and reinstalled it on my phone at least twice. This is a place where my main character, Elena, and I differ.

But one way we’re the same, is that we both love the Scissor Sisters, and I’m guessing other music that gets us moving. Here’s the playlist I, old Aunt Julie, would make for her.

“I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” by the Scissor Sisters. Nothing makes me want to dance more than this song.

“Try Everything” by Shakira. I know I’m supposed to loathe this song because the lyrics are kind of silly and it’s from an animated film (Zootopia, which is amazing), but this song pumps me up because it’s all about perseverance. And it’s just stinking catchy.

“Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior. Because it’s illegal not to move during this song. I will never not love this song.

“Technologic” by Daft Punk. Same with this song. Never gets old.

“Bling (Confessions of a King)” by The Killers. Or this one. Evergreen workout songs.

“Workout Plan” by Kanye West. This song always makes me smile through my workout. Yes, Kanye, I’d like to be able to impress “at least a dude with a car.” Please help me.

The Creed soundtrack. Rocky music with a more modern beat. It’ll have you saving America through boxing in no time.

“Shame on You” by the Indigo Girls. I saw them perform last summer for the first time in, like, eighteen years, and it put me on a real Amy and Emily kick. This song rocks AND it fits our current political climate.

“Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins. I’m on a real Phil Collins kick right now. I can’t explain it. Must be something in the air tonight.

“What’s the Frequency, Kenneth” by REM. I’m also on an REM kick.

“Shiny” from the Moana soundtrack (performed by Jemaine Clement): This is a good cool down son. Really, I just wanted to include it on the list because it’s my favorite right now. “Fish are dumb, dumb, dumb.”

Happy reading,

Jordan

Cover Reveal: Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon

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Release Date: March 6, 2017

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Bryn McKenna has it all, including her smoking-hot knight turned live-in boyfriend, Valmont. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting into the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparents want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire.

If she doesn’t say, “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Goodbye flying. Goodbye best friends. Goodbye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon, she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.

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Connect with Chris

Award winning author Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures and snarky contemporary romance.

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz: Carlos’ Peace by Melissa Haag

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Carlos has spent his entire life avoiding attachments to individuals and has devoted his time to protecting his race. His childhood taught him that something is out there, threatening the existence of werewolves, and he will let nothing interfere with his vendetta to stop the threat.
Physical attachment and vendetta collide when he sees Isabelle. She’s meant to be his Mate and instinct demands that he protect her above all else. However, letting go of his past is as impossible as embracing a future filled with love. Isabelle wants nothing to do with him, except fight with him. Carlos must find a way through her emotional armor and hope, together, they can heal and face the threat.
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Melissa Haag currently resides in Wisconsin with her husband and three children. Touch is her first published novel. She is currently working on book three of a separate five book series.
Enticing reading, 
Jordan