Author: Katherine Center
To Be Published: August 13, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 8-12, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.
The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?
Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.
I introduced myself to Katherine Center last year with How to Walk Away (HTWA) (my review is here) and loved it , so I eagerly anticipated her next novel which was Things You Save in a Fire (to be called Things for the rest of this review) and was not disappointed in the least. And Things is about a female firefighter: Go girl empowerment!
Center wrote the novel through examples of real life situations her volunteer fire fighter husband told her about the job and living in the fire house. I’ve spent a little time in firehouses and even put the turnout gear on and based on what I experienced, the novel is spot on!
Our protagonist Cassie made a brief appearance in HTWA which was referenced in Things. You won’t miss anything if you have not read HTWA, but it adds to Cassie’s story if you have already read it. I personally loved how the books were connected. I really liked Cassie and identified with her in several ways. Firefighting really is a ‘boys club’ and Cassie totally kicks male butt! You can’t help but cheer for her. She is also a conflicted character and feels like a real person. Center does a great job capturing real life struggles and putting them on the page. There are moments that will have you laughing and then moments that touch you in a personal way.
This novel has a bit of everything: romance, mystery, action, and yes, we do get a fire! With the fire situation the reader gets the experience of working that fire and going inside with the fire fighters.
I alluded to it earlier, and want to talk about my experience in a fire house: Back in 2004 I took part in a Citizen’s Fire Academy where I learned about my local fire department, did some training, and spent time at two fire stations with the men on shift. I got to go on the calls they received, and yes, one was a fire call! It ended up being a kitchen fire that was out by the time we arrived on the scene. It was a great experience and if the opportunity arises, everyone should do this! You really get a new appreciation and respect for what they do.
Bravo Katherine Center for an enjoyable novel that accurately portrays life in a fire house base on what I experienced myself. When you read this novel, you will get to see what life as a fire fighter is like in a 24 hour shift: from the silliness to seriousness.
Things You Save in a Fire is very highly recommended. Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for granting me an e-arc that I received via NetGalley.
Some pictures from when I went through the Citizen’s Fire Academy:
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Iaconis. We both enjoyed it and rated it 5 stars! Kim read the physical book while I listened to the audiobook and we are both looking forward to seeing the movie.
Published: November 10, 2018
Can you love someone you can never touch?
Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.
The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.
Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.
What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Dates Read: June 10-21, 2019
If Everything, Everything and The Fault in Our Stars got together and had a baby then it would result in Five Feet Apart. I loved this novel, and the cover is beyond gorgeous: Before I knew what it was about, I thought to myself “Those look like lungs on the cover” and they are!
Stella and Will both have cystic fibrosis. Stella has been going to the same hospital for years to fight the disease. Will has traveled all over the world for various treatments, but has only seen the inside of hospitals which are all the same. Stella and Will meet and Stella can’t stand Will…. Then things start to change…
This is a story of first love and the teens in this novel are definitely more grown up than your typical YA characters. But come on: they know for a fact that their pending death could come at any moment and that would age any teenager. But they are still teenagers.
I don’t know how life-like the novel is with the reality of cystic fibrosis, but this novel feels very real. I was attached to the characters and you wanted a happy ending and no dumb choices made. Though we came very close to the dumb choices part. I was thinking “NO!” when a certain situation happened, but at that age and in that situation, who knows what my decision might have been.
Five Feet Apart is also similar to The Sun is Also a Star in the fact that it has a realistic ending. If you are a fan of YA in general or of the other YA novels I mentioned then Five Feet Apart WILL be for you! I look forward to seeing the movie version soon. I still also need to watch the film versions of these novels as well.
Five Feet Apart is highly recommended.
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
What a great book! Finally, a YA book where the teen drama fit in perfectly and wasn’t ridiculously obnoxious! I loved everything about this book. Look at the cover!!! The story was sweet and easy to read. The characters were cute and realistic. They had enough problems in their lives that they didn’t have to create any.
I didn’t know anything about cystic fibrosis before reading this book. I still don’t know much, but I enjoyed learning a little about it. If I have any criticism, it’s very tiny: there were some medical things that needed a bit more explanation to make it all make sense. I had to keep asking Ivan questions and he finally told me that he didn’t want to talk about B. Cepacia anymore!
I became so emotionally invested in these kids. It was an easy book to get through and I finished it in a day. There were some adult things, like some swearing, that would keep me from recommending it to younger readers, but I’d recommend it to pretty much everyone else! The movie comes out soon and I’m cautiously optimistic about it. I had Cole Sprouse’s face in my head the whole time I was reading and it definitely worked!
Movie Trailer for Five Feet Apart:
Author: Julie Berry
Published: March 5, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.
I almost adored this book. I wish I could say that I loved everything about it, but unfortunately, I can’t. It all started great; Aphrodite as a narrator was brilliant and gave the story such a fascinating edge. The “trial” Hephaestus put Ares and Aphrodite through was interesting and I couldn’t wait turn the page and learn more. The story sucked me in from page one. The setting and characters were engaging and I was emotionally hooked from the beginning. I was prepared to give the book 5 stars without a single complaint, until all the “woke” themes started. It nearly ruined the entire book. I have no problem discussing America’s past of racism and the reasons for the Civil Rights movement. I’m a historian, I don’t believe in revisionism in anyway.
But when the South is villainized unfairly, I’m gonna complain about it. Thankfully, Berry put in small phrases that acknowledged a black man’s plight even in the progressive and Yankee city of New York. But when every single Southerner is turned into an insufferable jerk all because of the color of another man’s skin, it overshadows how beautiful this story could have been. And it’s so sad that this is literally the only problem I have. I cannot say enough good about the rest of this book. I couldn’t put it down and this cover is sooooo beautiful!!!!! I still want to rate it as high as I can and I absolutely recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction.