Review: Hidden Embers by Tessa Adams

Hidden Embers (Dragon's Heat, #2)Wow, this book was not what I expected from reading the back cover.  I didn’t think it would be anywhere near as dark as it was.  Also, the back cover gives the impression that the hero, Quinn, is desperate to cure the disease because of the heroine, Jazz.  Wrong!  He’s desperate to cure it because he is the Dragonstar clan healer and all his friends and family are dying around him.

Hidden Embers does not pull any punches when it shows you the horror of the disease that Quinn has spent years trying to cure.  There is one part of the book (toward the end) where I thought the villain (we get to see a few clips of that pov) was going to change his/her mind and wouldn’t infect a particular dragon because of some pictures that were shown.  Nope.  I guess there went that change of heart!  I cringed knowing what was coming, but I’m also pleased that the author showed the devastation the disease brings.  It’s not just us hearing about it in the past, we get to see it and hope for a cure right alongside the doctors.

When this book opens Quinn is not in a good place.  He has spent years trying to find a cure, and blames himself for failing again and again.  His brother just died and that is pretty much the last straw for him.  He is broken and close to suicidal.  If he felt less responsible for his people’s welfare I think he would have passed all the way into suicidal and found a way to end it.  He’s searching for something to help him forget and he finds that in a stranger he meets at an out of the way bar.

Jazz is on her way to Quinn’s home (unbeknownst to either one of them) when she meets Quinn in a bar and is immediately attracted to him.  They both don’t usually indulge in one night stands, but can’t resist this one time.  I’m not usually a fan of books with one night stands, but this author pulled it off pretty well.  The attraction was easy to see and the sex was hot.  Plus, watching Quinn try to push aside his grief was sad.  The connection between them is great, and I was very eager to see how they would deal when they both realized they were going to have to work together when they got back to Quinn’s home.  What I didn’t count on was Jazz.

Jazz was such a piece of work.  I liked her in the beginning, but the more I got to know her, the less I liked her.  She was all about the Girl Power and her default setting seemed to be, ”No man will ever control me!” Because when a guy wants to be closer to you he only wants to control you, right?  I felt bad for her childhood, but that didn’t give her an excuse to be so psycho without cause.  I’d understand her spiel if Quinn was Feehanesque, but he wasn’t.  She criticized Quinn for trying to control her, only to turn around and revel in her own control over him.  It was really irritating.  At one time she thought:

“She wondered if she’d been wrong the night before. Maybe he’d had some reason, besides wanting to be Mr. Macho, to insist on taking her to Phoebe’s house. Maybe she shouldn’t have fought him so hard. Maybe he had just been trying to protect her–and protect himself from losing someone else.

The thought freaked her out, and her self-preservation instincts kicked into overdrive. She wasn’t that woman, she reminded herself frantically, the one who worried about why her man did what he did or how her words and actions affected him. she didn’t pull her punches, didn’t try to fit herself into the boxes men tried to put her into.”

And that really pissed me off.  He told her that she had a big ass target on her back and she was in an unfamiliar dragon town where she didn’t even know who was friend or foe.  She’s an idiot for jumping to the conclusion that he was trying to control her instead of help her, just because he was a man.  She did crap like that all the time.

I was whining to one of my Goodreads friends, Lethal, about the heroine and she mocked the heroine in a way that was particularly apt.  I’m going to share italthough I’ll change a few of the curse wordsbecause it was perfect.

“Will you let me take you to dinner?”
“Screw YOU! I do what I want to do!”
“You have Queso in your hair. Do you want me to help you get it out?”
“Screw YOU! I will have Queso in my hair if I want to f’ing have Queso in my hair! You don’t tell me what to do!”

And that’s pretty much Jazz in a nutshell.

I liked the sex scenes in the beginning of the book, but I was getting really tired of it toward the end.  I had a couple Why is there so much sex in this frickin’ book??? moments until I looked at the back cover and spied “Erotic Romance” there on the bottom left corner.  *sigh* I’m an idiot.  That’s why.  I guess I missed that when I was checking this book out.  So FYI for anyone unobservant like I am.

I liked a lot of things about this book–the fact that they were dragons, the darkness and grief shown, and Quinn.  But the super freak heroine and the convenient way she was saved at the end really muted those great things.  I definitely think I’ll backtrack and pick up the first book and see if I like that heroine a little more.  I liked the world setup enough to be eager to try again.

Favorite Quote:

There was another long silence. Then Ty said, “That’s it? That’s the best you’ve got? Don’t worry about it, he was too insane to miss you, anyway? You think that’s supposed to cheer me up?”

Quinn smiled a little at Ty’s incredulous tone. “Why not? You said you felt bad for not being there for him. I told you he didn’t even notice that you punked out.”

“You know, your bedside manner sucks ass.”


Hidden Embers by Tessa Adams
April 5th 2011 by New American Library
Erotic Paranormal Romance
Series list
GoodReads Reviews
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  1. Marq says

    I had the same issues with Jazz. The book was darker than I expected. That scene you talked about, I just knew that the villain was going to change his mind. And when the villain didn’t, I was shocked! This book didn’t pull any punches at all.

  2. Mrs. Hanson says

    I had issues with the first book and one big WTH moment in the last 60 pages I wanted the heroine (and hero) to address. Perhaps I’d better not pick this book up.

    Thanks for the review!

  3. says

    @Marq: Completely agree! I was so shocked that the author followed through with it and didn’t have the villain change his/her mind.

    @Mrs. Hanson: Hmmm, you’ve made me curious. I plan to go back and read the first, so I wonder if what bothered you will bother me.

  4. says

    *perks* Dark? Hmmmm..I like.

    I also have turned books over and saw “erotic” and thought – AH – that explains it. I need to check before going in from now on 😉

    Nice review!

  5. Ammarylis says

    LMAO! Great review, Catherine! I’ve heard that the first book in this series (Dark Embers) was hella PWP. Looks like this one was even worse, with the annoying heroine.

  6. says

    @Mandi: It was dark in the sense that it was grim and sad. The author didn’t sugarcoat the devastation the disease could cause.

    @Ammarylis: Ah, no. :( I don’t like PWP. Hopefully it won’t bug me.

    I still giggle every time I read your Queso line. My husband thought it was hilarious.

  7. says

    Tessa Adams is fast becoming a favorite author of mine. While I agree, Jazz can be a hard pill to swallow, she at least owns up to her faults which helped me deal with her stubborness. And holly crap did I cry like a baby at the scene with the family where the disease tears them apart. Risky moves on Adams’ part but the story worked for me. And you’re so right, the blurb doesn’t hint at all to the true darkness of this story. Great review!

  8. pamelia says

    Ooh! Just finished this one and while I agree with you on the ending being a little rushed and I thought too pat, I didn’t mind Jazz because this book took place over only 3 days. It’s not like she whinged on endlessly about her issues for 3 months or even 3 weeks. I think Adams handled the strangers meet and have hot sexxing really well, managing to pull in a LOT of emotional connection.

  9. says

    @VampFanGirl: I’m so sorry, I must have missed the email notification for this comment! I was so upset by that scene as well.

    @pamelia: It wasn’t the time frame that bothered me, it was the fact that she had that kind of personality at all. But she did tone it down a bit, so it was easier to swallow her in the end.

    I completely agree about the author doing a good job on the one night stand. She really did the intensity and emotion behind it well.