Thank you to Hannah Grace, Simon & Schuster Canada, and NetGalley for the advance reader copy of Wildfire, the second Maple Hills novel.
I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. I do think many others could love it but I just did not grow as attached to the characters as I would have liked. I also had some issues with the pacing and length of this second instalment.
The latest in the Maple Hills series follows two summer camp counselors who reconnect after a sizzling one-night stand.
Maple Hills students Russ Callaghan and Aurora Roberts cross paths at a party celebrating the end of the academic year, where a drinking game results in them having a passionate one-night stand. Never one to overstay her welcome (or expect much from a man), Aurora slips away before Russ even has the chance to ask for her full name.
Imagine their surprise when they bump into each other on the first day of the summer camp where they are both counselors, hoping to escape their complicated home lives by spending the summer working. Russ hopes if he gets far enough away from Maple Hills, he can avoid dealing with the repercussions of his father’s gambling addiction, while Aurora is tired of craving attention from everyone around her, and wants to go back to the last place she truly felt at home.
Russ knows breaking the camp’s strict “no staff fraternizing” rule will have him heading back to Maple Hills before the summer is over, but unfortunately for him, Aurora has never been very good at caring about the rules. Will the two learn to peacefully coexist? Or did their one night together start a fire they can’t put out?
Check out my more detailed thoughts below…
- Characters: Aurora and Russ are the protagonists of Wildfire. Russ is a hockey player at Maple Hills, while Aurora is another student he meets at a party before the end of the semester. They both get summer jobs at the same summer camp after a hookup at that end-of-semester party. I did enjoy their individual journeys, as both characters go through great character development. They both have issues with parents and I liked how Hannah Grace depicted these storylines. I know many readers loved the camp’s found family but I did not find myself attached to these new characters in any way.
- Setting: I will be honest that I did not enjoy the summer camp setting. I was really attached to the college setting of Icebreaker. My favourite parts of the novel were the beginning sections that featured the end of the college year. I do plan to keep reading, I heard murmurings that the next book is back at the college. I do think the summer camp would make this a good summer read rather than it coming out in the middle of fall.
- Pacing: I did find this story a bit too long. I never find it a good sign when a book is not hooking me back in and simply it was not. The middle chunk between the one-night stand and their giving into their feelings felt like it took forever. I hate to admit this but it put me in a reading slump for a week or two. I don’t want to take it out on this book too much. I adored so many scenes but others just had me skimming through.
- Romance: This couple is very wholesome, while still bringing some decent heat. I just wish you did not have to wait so much of the story for it, I liked the pace of those scenes better in Icebreaker. So many of the most heartfelt scenes were when the characters were together as a couple. Russ was such a great support for Aurora, and I totally understand why so many readers love this couple. They are misscommunicators and that is just not something I particularly like. Simply the strong parts of this book are strong, the weak parts are weak – which puts my review somewhere in the middle.
Wildfire receives three out of five stars.
Thank you again to Hannah Grace and the S&S team for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!