by Elle Casey
Series: Shine Not Burn #2
Published by Brilliance Audio on October 28, 2015
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Cowboys, New Adult
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Still bitter about his failed engagement and life on the family ranch, Ian MacKenzie has been cranky for nearly three years. His brother Mack's married bliss hasn't helped, and now his pregnant sister-in-law's airhead best friend is coming for a visit.
Candice arrives to help with the new baby, even though it means swapping her Louboutins for snow boots and her flat irons for flannel. She's far from prepared for the freezing cold and she certainly wasn't expecting the sizzling heat of her attraction to a certain green-eyed cowboy. Ian may be rude and infuriating, but he looks sinfully good in those jeans of his.
The two clash at every turn, but there's one thing they can both agree on - if they do give in to their undeniable chemistry, then it's just a fling...because he's a country boy and she's a city girl, and their zip codes are on opposite sides of the map.
After reading and loving Shine Not Burn, I was excited to read its follow-up, MacKenzie Fire. For me, something was missing from the romance in this book that caused me not to respond to it the same way. I still enjoyed the book, just not as much as the first one.
Candice is the best friend of Andie (the heroine from Shine Not Burn). When MacKenzie Fire begins, Candice is in town to visit Andie, who’s now happily married to Mack. Andie is pregnant and due soon, so Candice is there to help out.
Ian is Mack’s extremely grumpy brother. In the past, we got a glimpse of the reasons behind his orneriness, but they’re in full force in this book. Since Candice and Ian have met previously, they have an established relationship as enemies when Candice comes to town. They banter back and forth quite a bit. While their banter is funny, I also found it somewhat mean-spirited at times, at least at the start of the story.
Candice is a riot. A hairdresser and self-proclaimed PhD in Google, she has a tendency to believe most everything she reads online and doesn’t hesitate to distribute that knowledge to the world. Her personality is a bit much at times, but I found myself laughing often at the things that come out of her mouth.
I had trouble warming up to Ian. He’s super bitter about his past heartbreak, even though it has been years since it happened. I wanted him to have a sweeter personality and not be such a jerk all the time. Rather than being endearing, he just sort of irritated me for much of the book.
There are some tender moments throughout, especially the family aspect with Andie, Mack, their baby, and Mack’s parents.
The majority of the book is filled with the great comedy that the author excels at writing. I liked the enemies-to-lovers trope at work here, but I found Candice and Ian’s romance a little forced. Like Andie and Mack, Candice and Ian are opposites: city mouse and country mouse, basically. While the sex scenes are super hot, I had trouble with the believability of their romantic relationship outside of their sex life.
There’s some drama toward the end of the book to resolve Ian’s heartbreak and I confess that I zoned out more than once during that part.
I’d say that I enjoyed the first half of the book a bit more than the second half just because it held my attention and the second half faltered for me, plot-wise. Overall, it’s still a good read and I recommend it, but I’m partial to book #1 since I adored it so much more.
Note: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my review. I’m going through my NetGalley backlog and this book has since been published. My review is for the published version of the book, specifically the audio edition.
Rating: 3 stars