Series: Ignite Series, #2
Author: Kate Benson
Published: July 23, 2015
Copyright © 2015 Kate Benson
Two years after a misunderstanding pulls free-spirited Addison Greyson from tenacious Zeke Turner’s life, fate finds a way to give her back.
Not all reunions are simple, though.
Between a sordid arrangement she made to save her father, the secret she vowed to keep and her twisted new reality, Addie returns to Zeke a different girl.
When their attraction to each other proves too much to deny, they reunite in secret, rekindling their long lost love in the shadows. Their feelings ignite into something more and staying apart is no longer an option.
Fighting to stay together when it seems the whole world wants them apart won’t be easy.
They soon realize it never was.
Will giving into the desires that smolder beneath the surface be the one thing that saves them?
Or will they find out the hard way that some things are best kept secret?
Smolder is the second and final anticipated installment in The Ignite Series. It is full-length and multi-POV.
Amazon/Goodreads rating: 5/5
In Patti's Imagination rating: 9.6/10
I reviewed both IGNITE and SMOLDER. I'll post the reviews for each book below and separately on Amazon and Goodreads. First, I'll review the series as a whole.
I hadn't read any of Kate's books before, and by virtue of the fact that I was desperate to read SMOLDER as soon as I finished IGNITE, she hit my automatic 3 stars threshold. Add to that some memorable characters in Addie and Zeke, and we bump to a 4 - in my world, as anyone who follows my reviews will know, characters make or break a story for me. Another half star for a great supporting cast - Brittany wasn't in either story much, but when she was there, I loved her spunk. Chad covered loathsome. Liz rocked as a friend. Addie's dad hit both strong and weak notes. Zeke's mom kicked butt as a single mother (and a surrogate one). All in all, Kate painted her canvas with a group of people I wanted to know (or smack). Anything else in the story could be crap and I'd still have loved it for that reason alone.
It's not crap, though. In fact, I'm now itching to read more of her work because she crafted a world that felt realistic and knowable to me. That's the second most important aspect of a book or series in my opinion - a world doesn't need to be real, but it should at least be somewhere I can envision and/or want to visit. I'm a sucker for world building, and she did that well here.
Lest you think I'm blowing smoke, I'll get to the cons before I talk about that last half point of the rating. If you're anal retentive, there are things in this book which will bother you. It could be tighter in places, including some editing issues, but I don't dock for that unless it hurts my enjoyment of the book. Here, it did not because of the things I mentioned above.
The other issue - and it wasn't for me, but could be for some - is that you realistically cannot read either of these books as a standalone. You will be lost on a lot of SMOLDER if you don't read IGNITE, and if you skip SMOLDER, then IGNITE will feel incomplete. Fortunately for anyone who dislikes cliffhangers or prefers to read such stories continuously, both of these books are available. I think the story could have been crafted in a way that allowed for standalone reading, but it's the prerogative of the author to ignore that model. For someone who doesn't mind a more serial narrative, it wasn't a huge issue.
As for that last half point, I usually rate on here first, then worry about whether or not you'd round up to the next star on Amazon. In this case, I can't give a full 10-start due to the cons I mentioned, but since it was otherwise a 5-star read for me, I didn't dock a full half-point. That lets me round up on the 5-star system, and I firmly believe that, as a story, this series deserves that.
Now, let's get to the two individual books.
IGNITE - 5/5 or 9.6/10
One of my favorite things about this book was that it started when Addie and Zeke were young and followed the entire path of their love story. I'm a huge fan of romantic fiction, and this series falls into that category. Because the two main characters are primarily shown in their immediate post-coming-of-age years, I'd call this New Adult Romantic Fiction. A chunk of the story in IGNITE involves a slow burn between two best friends, but once they ignite the flame between them, it rages. When they're both in college, watch out! If you love a story about first love, then this is for you.
The other piece I adored in this series, and it starts here, is that a little mystery surrounds Addie's dad, there are some unsavory moments and characters thrown in here, and that lends just enough of a Romantic Suspense twist. The ups and downs of Zeke and Addie's story flow throughout the book, but this is basically the piece where a cliffhanger avoider might get annoyed. Personally, I thought the intrigue and it's lack of resolution made a compelling reason to read SMOLDER. Even if I wasn't planning on it for review, I'd have wanted to read SMOLDER after IGNITE was done.
Overall a fantastic read. You may or may not be cursing Kate when a certain couple points happen, but I know I had a hard time putting it down. That says a lot, since I was on my Kindle while camping in the williwacks (only way to charge it was in the car). I can't wait for more of Kate's books.
SMOLDER - 5/5 or 9.6/10
The story picked up right where it left off in IGNITE. That was awesome for me because I was literally reading them back-to-back. If you've read IGNITE (and why wouldn't you?), then you will be glad to know that it's not rehashed and questions are answered. If you loved Addie and Zeke's story of first love in IGNITE, then you'll be happy that SMOLDER is a second-chance romance. Second chance with whom? I don't know. ;) Just kidding. Read the synopsis.
Where IGNITE followed a little more of a Romantic Fiction/New Adult model, SMOLDER is really a Romantic Suspense/New Adult story. I think that was one of my favorite things about this series, that the reader crossed so many genres during the process. There were some great twisty moments, and one at the end had me on the edge of my seat because I had no idea what would happen next.
On top of that, the heat factor in this one is off the charts. Addie and Zeke aren't little kids anymore. So much happens plot-wise here that it's hard to believe it spans primarily around a 6-month time period. Despite a few predictable moments, the overall feel of this was was interesting and new.
At the end, I was sad to see the characters go, but I can see where some secondary characters could get spinoffs. The conclusion was perfect and left me with lots of feels. Now I really need to read some more Kate Benson, please. I'm sure this won't be the last review of her work on this blog.
I grew up in Texas and moved to Florida when I met the love of my life 14 years ago. I wrote my first poem when I was five and it was about my love affair with pickles. I still love pickles but I like to think my writing has grown since then.
I absolutely adore anything to do with books whether it's writing them or devouring them in one sitting. I live on music, love, and sweet tea. I am known for my silly but blunt personality. I've been lucky enough to find the love of my life, marry him and now we're working on our happily ever after.
He inspires me in everything I do, but especially in telling love stories. I'm an ordinary girl living an extraordinary love and I'm so happy I get to share it with the world through my writing.