Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Before I begin this review, I want to say that I have adored Emma Renshaw’s Burn series. Adored it. I’ve written glowing reviews for the first three books of the series, and I had been looking forward to Smolder because Makenna and Colt have danced around each other from the first book of the series. Waiting patiently for their story, I was excited to finally get their book. And… their story is good. Their journey is a special one, and just as you find in the first three books of this series, there is some suspense woven into Colt and Makenna’s journey to happily-ever-after. Even more, all of your favorite couples from the first three books are here with the addition of Makenna’s half-brother Chase (who I hope gets his own story) and her brother, Wyatt. I love this group and Hawk Valley where tragedy permanently marked its inhabitants. However…and I hate writing that word. However, I was underwhelmed by Smolder, and that makes me sad. Something was missing. The magic of the first three books wasn’t in this book. I struggled with Makenna and Colt’s chemistry because it read as inconsistent. I think Renshaw knew that Makenna’s high school boyfriend/love of her life Deacon was a huge hurdle, but the emotions I was expecting from that healing were not profound for me. Again, I hate writing these words because I adore Emma Renshaw’s stories, but Smolder is my least favorite book of the series.
Colt is a stand-up hero. He “smolders” on the page, and he’s incredibly protective of Makenna, but he’s also fairly flat as a character. Given that he’s the hero, there needed to be more dimension to his character. Even more, he says one thing about relationships early on in the book and then quickly undermines it with Makenna. Again, it felt uneven.
Makenna’s journey takes up much of the space of Smolder, for good reason. This book has some secrets, none of which I will divulge here. Given that, there is more space for Makenna, but also more frustration as she can’t decide the direction of her relationship with Colt. She defines the idea of “mixed signals” in this book, which adds to the flatness of the story.
Would I read Smolder if I hadn’t already read it? Yes, but only if I’d read the first three books of the series. Smolder is a necessary story for the Burn series. Emma Renshaw teases you for three books about Makenna and Colt. And maybe that’s the issue. Maybe I placed high expectations on them because the promise of them seemed great. In the end, however, something was missing here…and I’m not sure that I really know what it is.
In love and romance,