Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Smoke, by Catherine McKenzie {ends 10/26}

I take a ragged breath, but all I get is smoke for my troubles.

"Aren't I, though? Everyone wants to blame the hoemowner. I could leave it at that. I should leave it at that."

"But you don't think it's him?"

"It might be, but maybe not."

"You have to do what's right."

"Do I?"

He looks at me, at for the first time since we met, I'm not exactly sure what he's thinking.

"You always do what's right. That's who you are."

"What if I don't want to be that person anymore?"

"You can't run away from yourself. I'd have thought you knew that by now."

This is the newest novel by Catherine McKenzie, author of Spin and Arranged, among others, and it's different from her previous books that I've read. This one focuses on Elizabeth and Ben, who have just decided to get divorced, but haven't told anyone yet; while at the same time, a fire threatens to unravel their small town, and Elizabeth decides to help in whatever way she can and put her marital troubles on hold, for the meantime.

Official synopsis:
From the internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes an evocative tale of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town.

After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in for a quieter life with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce, and when a fire started in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.

For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation.

As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved.


This book will surely strike a chord in today's readers, because of California's current dryness; when I left the ENMN Conference last month in the L.A. area, one of my fellow bloggers was going home to an area where a fire was currently raging nearby, with no signs of stopping.

I found the characters in this book to be very interesting because they were all so interconnected. Elizabeth and Mindy used to be friends, but had a falling out; we don't find out until midway into the book, thereabouts, what it was about. Elizabeth and Ben have decided to divorce, but they're staying at Ben's parents house since their house is in the fire's potential path; the parents don't yet know that Elizabeth and Ben are essentially "separated," as of yet.

Elizabeth also has a long history fighting and investigating fires, a career that's always been a point of contention with her and Ben, as he wants her doing something safer; and there's a fellow fireperson, Andy, whom he thinks she had an affair with (semi-spoiler: she didn't, at least not a physical one).

I was surprised by whom the culprit of the fire ended up being, as well, and I also liked the ending of this book.

Smoke will be in stores and online on October 20th. 4.5 stars out of 5.
{click here to purchase/pre-order}

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

GIVEAWAY: 

Two of my lucky readers will win a hardcover copy of Smoke!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Monday, October 26th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be emailed the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Smoke hardcovers

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