Author: Jordan Nasser
Publisher: XXVII Media
Release: 4th November 2015
Genre: M/M (contemporary)
In New York City, Derek had everything he thought he ever wanted: a handsome boyfriend, a fabulous social life, and an exciting career. But when he left it all behind to reconnect to his Southern hometown, it turned out to be the greatest decision of his life.
Now he’s settled into the slower pace of small-town living, enjoying colorful Tennessee culture with his family and friends. Best of all, a blossoming romance has him happier than he’s been in a long time—and it’s safe to say things couldn’t possibly be much better.
But after Derek and Luke decide to go public with their relationship, their romantic spark ignites plenty of drama within their community—and when a jealous ex joins forces with a disapproving family member, it’s not long before their positions at Parkville High School are put on the line.
Facing the destruction of their personal and professional lives, the happy couple must rally a few close friends for support if they hope to make it out of the rumor mill unscathed.
A witty romance combining Southern culture and small-town life, The Fire Went Wild is the much-anticipated sequel to Home Is a Fire.
This book kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish! Once started I was drawn into Derek’s and Luke’s band of friends and was invested in their fight for equality, against the worst kind of bigotry that a small town can throw at you. The strength in this book for me was not the romance aspect so much but more the friends, family and connections that Derek and Luke have and the characters. Loved them all!
Derek is now together with his high school sweetheart Luke from the first book and they are both teachers at Parkville High. However, in a town where people have more secrets than the Vatican then you only have to poke the wasps’ nest to stir up an angry swarm. Talk about the proverbial hitting the fan, well this is the case when Derek’s and Luke’s relationship comes out in the open. All hell is let loose from parents and pupils so they both have to find a way to turn the attitudes of small town America around. I just loved the way that on the one hand their family and friends rallied behind them but on the other they have to politically manoeuvre themselves around all kinds of surprises. Surprises that come from people burying their dirty little secrets for years but Derek and Luke still have to be seen as not being vengeful or petty by using this information against the very people who are making their life a living hell. But through Derek and Luke standing up for their rights this also encourages a number of other people to come clean about their secrets and be open and out.
The characters are vivid and bright and even though the situation gets tough I love that fact that Mr Nasser still keeps things relatively light with some great humour thrown in. There were times I was chortling to myself over some of the quips that Derek would come out with. Of course after living in New York, used to being out and not giving a fig what people think he has to be careful of Luke’s feelings. This is a whole new situation for Luke but with Derek’s support Luke masters it wonderfully even though he is perfectly capable of fighting his own battles. This was for me the message in the book that together you are strong and as long as you have each other any storm can be weathered. It also paints a realistic scene by today’s standards that even though we like to think that tolerance is now an accepted thing there will always be pockets of intolerance to contend with. So nothing should ever be taken for granted.
And it is exactly this that solidifies their relationship even more. It was heartwarming to read how the high school crush grows into a mature, loving and caring adult relationship. They also now have the responsibility as teachers themselves to set a good example. This book is not about the sex, in fact there are no sex scenes at all. I found it totally refreshing to read about a couple who are madly in love, have a fight on their hands and how they manage it. As I said at the beginning of my review the book is riveting plot wise, more surprises, intrigue and secrets popping up than you can shake a stick at. The characters, all individual, bright and vibrant jumping off the page at the reader and adding to the wonderful film taking place in my imagination. Therefore no sex scenes necessary, it would have been totally misplaced in this story. Oh no!!! I hear the smut monsters cry. But I can promise you once you have embarked on Derek’s and Luke’s story then it won’t let you go and you’ll be rooting for them all the way.
I loved how the characters are all connected, all have their story to tell and how these individuals make a whole. I know I mentioned it in my frst review but it seriously is like reading the gay version of Steel Magnolias! At least as far as the setting and band of friends are concerned. Wonderful writing and plotting from Mr Nasser. The ending was perfect, as perfect and dreamy as any M/M Romance has to offer which left me with a cheesy grin and a huge soppy sigh at the end considering what these guys went through. What I love about such books is the most unassuming character also turns out to hold the key to put everything right in the end. I loved Miss Mabel the school secretary. Whatta girl!! In her own words at the school prom to Derek,
“Now you get over there and dance with your man, you hear me?” she said, fiercely. “You go do what I couldn’t. ‘Cause we fought for that, in our own way. It just took too long for Janey and me to benefit from that battle. But you go claim what’s yours. You got me? Now, go set me back down. But bring me a little plastic cup. I’m gonna need a little of my medicine to get through all of this.”
At this I was left with a tear in my eye too thinking about how Miss Mable and Janey could have had it so differently had there been the tolerance in their day that we have now. But she’s not bitter and takes great joy in seeing the progress that has been made today. I just wanted to hug the woman but I had to hug my Kindle instead with a silly grin. I'm so hoping there is more to come as Mr Nasser's writing seems to go from strength to strength considering the first book was his debut novel. If a third book comes out I'll be snatching it up like a small child on a Christmas present!
And to be very honest this is one of the reasons I read M/M Romance. Not only because of the hot sex, which is nice at times of course, but to read about two people who truly love each other, their situation and story. It’s stories like this that open minds and make people more tolerant of the love two people have for each other. This deserves respect, full stop! A love story about two men who fight for their rights, supported by friends and family with a happy end! I’ll leave you with the one quote from the book that summed it all up for me.
“Love isn’t always perfect and easy and proper, and doesn’t always follow your expectations.”
Series Reading Order and Purchase Links
Title: Home Is A Fire
Author: Jordan Nasser
Rating: 4.5 Stars
The 4 train is barreling down Lexington Avenue and I can see the reflection of my face in the glass of the subway door. I’m not pretty.
After twelve years in New York City, Derek has the life he always wanted. A fun job, a fantastic social life, and a handsome boyfriend he’s about to marry. Everything is perfect.
Except that it’s not.
Staring at his reflection in the subway door, Derek realizes he lost himself somewhere along the way, and that the search must start where it all began—his hometown in Tennessee.
Overnight, Derek goes from cocktails in Manhattan’s trendiest lounges to drinking at the local bar with childhood buddies. He hangs out with his colorful family, attends football games and reconnects to the South.
As he spends time in places he’s always gone, with people he’s always known, Derek clearly sees himself—what he wants and where to find it—for the first time in years.
::: MARK’S REVIEW :::
Title: The Fire Went Wild
Author: Jordan Nasser
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Derek and Luke found love in each other’s arms, but is their small Southern town ready to accept them—or reject them?
He left trendy nightclubs behind for local bars, traded all-night parties for high school football games, and said good-bye to New York for the comfort of family and childhood friends.
Drawn in by the heart of his Tennessee hometown, Derek has never been happier—especially now that he’s together with Luke, the Parkville High School football coach.
But when they decide to go public with their romantic connection, it isn’t long before rumors begin to fly—and “concerned citizens,” intent on forcing them to leave their jobs at Parkville High, put the men’s personal and professional reputations on the line.
In the captivating sequel to Home Is a Fire, find out how news of Derek and Luke’s relationship sets their small town ablaze—and whether this happy couple can manage to escape unscathed from the devastating flames.
Meet Jordan Nasser
Jordan Nasser left his dream job behind and took the opportunity to re-examine his life—an experience he highly recommends if you ever have the chance. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, he was raised in the South before moving to New York City. He currently lives and writes in Stockholm, Sweden and Nice, France.
In his debut novel, Home Is a Fire, he drew upon his experiences growing up in the South. Outstanding reviews placed the book on the Amazon top ten rated LGBT fiction list. That storycontinues in his second novel, The Fire Went Wild.