Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie | Rating: ★★★★★
“I’m attracted to people. To the words they speak, to the actions they
take, to their full-bodied mannerisms and soulful gaits. I am attracted
to people. To impassioned hearts that beat out of sync, the ones that
skip a measure, heard in hushed places and violent spaces—I am attracted
Fuel the Fire is one of those novels that proves just how much of a punch our words can offer. Krista & Becca Ritchie really, really know how to get captivate us all and it continues to amaze me how underrated they are. How much they manage to intrigue me with every novel. It's no shock that this one would be one of my favourites of the entire series run--Connor Cobalt is my favourite of all the males. And yes, I'll probably regret saying that and change my mind because picking a favourite out of the core six is like...
Well, we won't get into that. It's just difficult. But Fuel the Fire made me love him even more which is not something I thought possible at this point. I loved the new set of challenges that Connor and Rose face (at the same time, back-off of my kids!) and how they handle it, as always, is with a determination and grace I aspire towards. As always: fire follows the two as they grow their family and embark on a future in the most Connor and Rose way possible.
Out of each of the characters we meet, these two (with a hint of everyone else) are the ones that I am able to see myself in most. Something about Krista & Becca Ritchie's characters and the way they tie into each other is so beautifully thought out that it'd be impossible to pick up these books, see their traits in action, and not think: hey, I relate to that. Because so many pieces of these characters fit into the pieces of us. I think that's what is most striking about these books.
But back to Fuel the Fire. Looking back, it's definitely a new feeling to see how the gang is able to move through life in the spotlight like they are. Don't misunderstand me: it's not fucking easy for them. Especially as their families grow. Even as they distant themselves from their original reality run, and the scandals that have followed them since, they just can't catch a break. I'm finding a new level of respect for Connor and Rose in this one--something I never thought I'd have, because I already respected them a lot.
We already have known and admired them for both their brains and their hearts but in Fuel the Fire, the sacrifices they make for their family and loved ones, I can't explain how full of depth it is. Every move with these two is intelligent, thought out to the highest degree, and their latest strategy to keep the kids and their friends from the spotlight is to put it on them. I wasn't going to spoil much about this one but I can't begin to understand the struggle they went through when their sex tapes were filmed without their consent and then leaked. Now, they're making deals with the media to keep the eyes off their loved ones and I can honestly say that is the most Connor and Rose thing they've ever done.
And I love them for it.
As they say, playing with fire always leads to getting burned. Though they both have a plan set in motion, it's not going to be easy fooling everyone. Much like the other books in the series, there are many obstacles set in place. Selfless as they are being in protecting their loved ones, obstacles are thrown in the way frequently and the past comes back in ways no one should have to deal with.
One, Connor's sexual past is outed by a source close to them (hint: it's not the core six and it's not at all unsurprising who) and there is a ton of backlash involving it. Two, Scott Vanprick (will I call him his actual name? No.) is back in the picture--unrelated to the previously listed plot. Can you say hell to pay? Because trust me: there's going to be more fire than you'd thought.
Overall, I thought that the stories were all carried out beautifully and Fuel the Fire was a great full length conclusion to Connor and Rose's story. It is sexy and heartfelt, full of wit and drama without being over the top. There's a lot of thrills. I loved the continuation of family and friends in this and how everything is tied up nicely by the end. While it isn't by far the most emotionally charged book in the series, it's still one of my favourites and I loved seeing more from these two's point of view. Krista and Becca Ritchie pull all the right cards on Fuel the Fire and provide us with the closure we needed on multiple plot points.
They make it so easy to root for their characters and once more I marvel at the privilege it's been to see them grow as individuals, in romantic relationships and most importantly: as a family. The love they share for each other is out of this world and one of the most fantastic things I've ever read. Ah, I just love this series so much more than I can ever say.
Seeing Rose and Connor as a married couple with a young child is one of the most delightful things ever--because they are still themselves. They are still those steamy nerd stars who express their love differently than the others. I loved the way their romance plays out with their quirks and the others' stories continue (not as background noise but not full fledged plots) and I couldn't help but to root for them from every step of the way. I am totally hear for a Cobalt army or whatever.
(I'm getting emotional so "whatever" is literally all my brain can swing. Sorry.)
I loved every moment of this book and can't believe the series is almost over.