Friday 12 February 2016

Review - Into the Fire by Claire Boston

Title: Into the Fire
Series: The Texan Quartet #4
Author: Claire Boston
Release Date: February 11, 2016

Piper Atkinson uses the truth as a weapon, but her latest interview candidate is more than just a headline.

Piper wants to be the kind of journalist who makes people sit up and take notice of the issues, and in Houston, Texas, there are plenty to go around. In the city's high-end restaurant world, reclusive Native American chef Taima Woods is discussed in reverential whispers, so when the opportunity to interview him arrives, Piper jumps at it.

But getting to Tai is tougher than she expected. He has a deep mistrust of reporters, and a private life he'd prefer to keep hidden. There are two passions in Tai's life—his cooking and his tribe—and he means to keep it that way. But the closer Tai gets to Piper, the closer he comes to conceding a third.

Through Tai, Piper discovers a world she knew nothing about—a damaged and ostracized community in need of a voice. But the more Piper wants to help them, the more Tai understands that to love Piper is to turn his back on his people.

Will Tai reject the one woman who's ever understood him? Or can Piper show him that hardening his heart helps no one?

Perfect for fans of Nora Roberts, Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes and Jane Green.

I'll admit that, at times, I've been a touch frustrated with the Texan Quartet, but I've pressed on because, while not perfect, it's been a thoroughly enjoyable, charming series. And then came this book—the fourth and final one—and I am not frustrated. Nope. This one was more than enjoyable. In fact, it was damn near close to perfect… 

Honestly, I was not expecting to be as invested in Into the Fire as I was. Certainly not as quickly as I was… Almost from the first page, I was rooting for this couple, and was very intrigued by their initial chemistry. Tai, in particular, caught my attention with his surly, closed-off demeanor. He was just the right amount of asshole, someone you couldn't wait to see the inside of. And when we did, well, the man was wonderful. Passionate. Sexy. Swoony. Kind-hearted. Strong, and yet, vulnerable.

Tai might have been rude—very rude—at first but Piper didn't let that stop her, and I couldn't help but pull for her as she attempted to win him over. I actually quite loved her, her commitment to her job and to the truth was admirable. So many books with journalists focus on the ‘will do anything for a story’ aspect, but not this one. No, this one focused on Piper’s determination, with her morals and her passion never in doubt. For that, I say thank you to Claire Boston. Because she didn't bring unnecessary drama to her book; instead, she focused on the differences between this couple, and how that was forcing their hand. And she did it while infusing her characters with a maturity and willingness to listen that is so (sadly) absent from many books.

Okay, not always completely mature and willing to listen. Naturally. The course of true love never did run smooth, and Tai’s actions were frustrating, but in the best way. It was easy to see why he might make the choices and assumptions he did—I was just so into this couple, I wanted to see them make it. *Sigh* They were just so right, you know? Their chemistry was electric, and in a clean romance, still enough to be a total turn on.

Into the Fire had some surprising depth, and did, I have no shame in admitting, cause this reviewer to shed a tear or two. The pain of losing people, the grief that was illustrated through this book was touching and gave me a true ache inside—one that resulted in those pesky tears. The connections of family and friends, the discrimination, all of it equaled a book that, to me, had meaning behind it. I don't know how accurate it was to true Native American culture, but it felt real. It felt respectful, and so I was just happy to go along for the ride.

And what a ride it was. While I would have loved a touch more to the ending—something between the final chapter and the lovely epilogue—I most definitely closed this book with a sense of satisfaction and a big smile on my face. It was wonderful to get those final few moments with the Texan Quartet team, and I am sorry to see this series come to an end. It might have been imperfect, but it finished almost perfectly. 
~ Review by Beth

Piper Atkinson is a journalist who wants to make a difference in the world, one article at a time. She’s a popular blogger too, and when given the opportunity to interview the elusive owner and head chef of one of Houston’s hottest restaurants, Taima “Tai” Woods, Piper doesn’t hesitate. 

But convincing Tai to participate in the interview proves to be a challenge. Tai is a very private man with a great mistrust of reporters—no matter how devastatingly gorgeous she may be. Tai is extremely passionate about two things in his life: his cooking and his tribe. Tai is Native American and takes great pride in keeping his tribe’s traditions alive and relevant on their reservation.

Finally seeing that the interview could cast a positive glow and potentially help raise awareness for his tribe, Tai agrees and through Tai, Piper is now captivated by a lifestyle and world she never really knew existed. Piper quickly jumps in to help, beyond the reach of her article, but as the two become closer, Tai must face reality that to really fall in love with Piper he’d end up turning his back on his people. Is Tai willing to give up his “family” for a life full of love with Piper? 

Wow. Just wow. I’ve really and truly enjoyed this whole Texan Quartet series, but I have to admit, Into the Fire is by far my favorite of the series. Piper is so smart, likeable, thoughtful, loyal, compassionate, honest and real. She grew up in life of privilege, but she doesn’t act like a pretty princess—she truly cares about real world problems and issues and wants to make a difference. 

And Tai. *Swoon* I don’t even know where to start. He’s loyal, likeable, patient, kind, thoughtful, loving and stubborn as hell. I love the relationship between Tai and his family, as well as his work family. He would do anything for anyone if asked. And his relationship with Piper is so easy and natural. You can’t help but root for these two to stick together. 

It was lovely to catch up with Adrian and Libby, Imogen and Chris, and Elle and George. Felt as if I was meeting up with a group of old friends I hadn’t seen for a while, and I loved every minute of our time together. 
~ Review by Missy

Claire Boston is the best-selling author of The Texan Quartet. In 2014 she was nominated for an Australian Romance Readers Award as Favourite New Romance Author.
Her debut contemporary romance novel, What Goes on Tour caught the attention of Momentum’s Joel Naoum when her first scene was read aloud at the Romance Writers’ of Australia (RWA) conference in 2013. This led to a four book contract for The Texan Quartet series.

Claire is proactive in organising social gatherings and educational opportunities for local authors. She is an active volunteer for RWA, as a mentor for aspiring authors and the reader judge coordinator.

When Claire’s not writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.

Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her grubby, but adorable Australian bulldog.

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