Today’s I want to celebrate the release of D.J Jamison’s latest book in the Hearts & Health series, the spin-off series to Ashe Sentinel series – Rapid Response.
If you enjoyed the other seven books in the series, you’ll love this also. This post also includes the reivew of the previous book, Operation Makeover.
See this post for an excerpt. 🙂
Happy reading. 🙂
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
I really liked this book in the series which is extraordinary entertaining because we have a few (re)appearances of well-known characters from the former books. But if you worry you might get lost I can assure you this book is properly fine to read as standalone.
For me, as a reader of not just the Hearts and Health series but also the Ashe Sentinel one I enjoyed the reappearance of Mac from Changing Focus in his function as a photographer. 🙂
Overall this book is a good combination of several parts and I’d say you can easily divide it into story arcs, especially because it’s the longest book in the series with 92k words (yes, that much to read, I was impressed too tbh.)
I really liked the chemistry between Jace and Sean and how their love story evolved. The start was maybe a bit rocky, a bit bumpily especially because of the weird threesome with a friend of Jace, Lena, where I couldn’t see any chemistry at all between her and Sean. Also, because of Jace being gay, there was no way these two were getting a nice heated evening, so this scene felt unfortunately a bit flat and Lena definitely came across as an intruder and was neither making sure the guys were okay with the threesome nor did she get the signals. Although I got the purpose the author had in mind I would have wished she would have “used” Lena as a character to help these guys come together on their own, not to be forced by her, with her present, to make out. In lots of ways this could have handled better but I acknowledge the try.
Overall the story is a pretty typical story of a guy being in the closet, almost in denial in the beginning but due to his outing of his brother, who we knew from Orderly Affair – which focusses on Ian and Callum – as being bisexual, it was definitely easier for Sean to get along with his upcoming sexual attraction to Jace.
Unfortunately and this is close connected to the events in Orderly Affair he’s confronted with his homophobic and toxic actions and words by his other brother, Daniel, who’s making it not just difficult for just for Ian and the rest of the family but for him too.
That his story arc is mixed with a dramatic event, which is not such a surprise when you’re at a certain part of the book, thus effects you deeply, is giving the story another notch of thrill – some might say it’s a bit too much and a bit over the top, I think it was fitting and molded naturally into the story. It’s like a closure of the previous events from the two last books, hence it was fitting.
Maybe a bit unneccessary in the length and in including a former friend from school of Sean is the arc around Heather and her daughter. It delivers the heroic newspaper report series part of the story pretty well, but with drama-ing it up it give it another level of thrill. I’m sure lots of people like this part, and while I adore Heather’s daughter, I couldn’t help myself and be a bit angry about Sean’s reaction towards Heather, although it gave a good insight of his character and what drives him on. He’s a gentle soul, a caring guy – Sean is the epitome of a piecemaker, maybe in parts a bit too much, and it shows in his actions towards Heather but also how he tries to repair the damage Daniel causes and is especially – but also shown on a different level – displayed in the way he reacts to Jace’s treatments.
Jace is a really interesting person and he isn’t cast in a good light in Operation Makeover, in fact it’s a bit difficult to like him first because he comes across as smug, shallow and a bit arrogant.
With Sean he shows a different side and he’s in my eyes right to not be endlessly patient for Sean to come out although his flaws are shown there, but these are actually making him more appealing. 🙂
Both guys balance each other pretty well, the book is filled with lots of story arcs I’d say are pretty nice executed to give you an insight of the characters but it might be a long read for some readers and you definitely be better prepared if you know the previous events but for an entertaining read it’s not mandatory to know these.
In way, and the afterwords says it – it feels like the closure of the series – at least for now. 🙂 It’s hinted – and also confirmed – that there’s the possibility of two other characters to have their story, so I am pretty excited to see when we get their story (alone or together, who knows XD) but I’m also looking forward what DJ Jamison has up next for the reader.
This book is a total recommendation. 5 out of 5 stars. 😉
Title: Rapid Response
Author: D.J. Jamison
Series: Hearts & Health book # 8
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: February 28, 2019
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Length: 92.000 words
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Hearts & Health Series
A confused straight guy and a gay hookup artist walk into a bar …
Firefighter Sean Connolly is straight — until one impulsive night changes everything. He tries to dismiss it as a fluke, but when a fire rescue leads him back to the guy who blew his mind, he’s thrown into a chaos of confusion and want. He gives in to curiosity, exploring a new side to himself — not just his attraction to a man, but his desperate need to please.
Paramedic Jace Gillespie is a hookup pro, never letting anyone get too close. When he meets Sean, though, he feels a connection right away. An ill-advised threesome seems to kill a friendship in the making, but when they’re thrown together by work, it doesn’t take long for passion to reignite. Sean calls to something in Jace he never knew was there, and together, they explore a dynamic that fulfills them both.
But as feelings deepen, doubts surface. Sean is in the closet, and Jace struggles to trust his promise that it won’t last forever. With family conflict and his career in the balance, Sean finds it difficult to picture his life without secrecy, but if he doesn’t find a way, he may lose the one person he most wants to please.
Rapid Response is the longest novel of the Hearts and Health series at approximately 92,000 words! It can be read as a standalone.
Sean glanced into the mirror, and though he looked like the same guy on the outside — dark hair, dark eyes, unremarkable face — he didn’t recognize the one on the inside. And that was scary.
“I’m sorry,” he scraped out.
“For what? Staring at my mouth, or for hiding from yourself?” Jace asked caustically.
Sean swallowed hard. His traitorous eyes found Jace in the mirror, locking on the mouth in question. Pink, full lips. Jace had been a good kisser. A good … sucker.
“Yeah, just like that,” Jace said.
Sean jerked his gaze to Jace’s eyes, which bored into him, their power not diluted in the slightest by the mirror acting as their go-between. Could Jace see what was inside? If he could…
“Sorry,” Sean whispered. “I didn’t realize I…”
“What, Sean? What didn’t you realize?”
“That I, um. That I…” He couldn’t get the words out.
“That you like my mouth? That you want it on you again? That you—”
Sean spun around. “Shut up.”
His breath caught. “What?”
“You heard me,” Jace said. “Make me shut up. You know exactly how to do it.”
Sean hesitated, and Jace smirked. “Yeah, I didn’t think so.”
Frustrated and frazzled, Sean acted on instinct, doing exactly what Jace had asked. He grabbed the front of Jace’s shirt, spun him around, and shoved him against the counter containing the row of sinks.
Then he kissed him.
To make him shut up.
It was the only way to get him to stop talking. Gloating. Jace had practically ordered him to do it, the bastard. And Sean needed to shut up the doubts in his head, too.
He closed his eyes, blocking out all thought, and sank into the feeling of Jace’s perfect, hot mouth on his again.
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
I admit I have a heart for nerdy guys and Ridley ticked off a lots of points I like in a character.
His “makeover” is out of his wish to get to be noticed by his longtime crush and best friend Jace (little spoiler alert: his book is the next one, Rapid Response – out now) but has to accept there can’t be more than friendship.
Cole is helping him literally with his transformation and over the book their mutual attraction for each other grows and it’s Cole Ridley sees something in, something that wasn’t there.
Ridley is adorable as hell with his cute and nerdy hobbies, his passion for creating Lego figurines is geekness extraordinary and shows he’s passionate and in ways diciplined (I mean, hello, someone who’s working endless hours on building tiny pieces of Lego to an incredible figurine is top-notch). All those traits are a bit lost with Jace and it’s Cole who sees this, but also spikes a new side of Ridley.
If you love stories where a geeky, shy but adorable guy is having a makeover, finding new sides and starts to see what’s inside him, this is your story. 🙂 Be prepared to have a few side characters who aren’t cast in a good light (but get their amazing stories later, so stay with them ;)) but which aren’t doing harm out of malice and who are overall helping the main character – even if they don’t know it and also even if it’s on their expense.
This book also gets a recommendation from me, so 5 out of 5 stars. 🙂
Author bio – D.J. Jamison
DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.
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