Kate Meader’s PLAYING WITH FIRE: Sizzle or Fizzle?


Playing With Fire Cover

Hot in Chicago series, Book 2

by Kate Meader

Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster

Release Date: September 29, 2015

Galley provided by publisher for review.  No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.


As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas . . .

Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken . . . http://katemeader.com/playing-with-fire/


My Take Oblong


I know that sexism still exists, and I would like to say no politician can be an asshat about the abilities of women and still get elected, but with what comes out of the mouths of our elected officials I guess I cannot.

That being said, women have been firefighters for a long time now, and as far as ability to do the job, I am pretty sure it has been proven.  So how a mayor for a major city in America could be a total asshat about women firefighters I do not know.  I remember working in a “man’s job” in the 1970s and getting a lot of grief about it from many of my male co-workers and supervisors. Most of those people have retired now and I would like to think modern, well-educated men would have more moderns and well-educated ideas.

Honestly, the sizzle or fizzle factor in this one is really kind of half and half. I found the issues and arguments that make up this relationship very unconvincing. But I love the way that Eli admires Lexi’s attributes and capabilities.

The sex is written very hot; there’s extensive use of a mirror. But, I did not like the Alpha Dom aspect of the relationship: It never really gets followed through and I am kind of tired of it as a trope that seems to get stuck into almost any story. People can be sexy without Fifty Shades.

Living in a place where the mayors’ and even the governor’s lives are pretty much left private, it is hard to imagine who or how the person dates being that big of a deal. But maybe in a bigger city with more media it is.

Fitting into the whole Chicago-idea: political machine, family-tradition, windy (as in a lot of talk) city, with a lot of mob background, I felt that Eli’s family history did not fit into a 21st century reference; it felt anachronistic.  But then, that hearkens back to Eli’s mid-20th-century understanding of women’s roles and abilities. 

Eli does get into a project that is really worthwhile – regarding helping, and understanding our veterans better.  But the insertion of it into the story felt contrived.

So, it’s hard – I really wanted to love this book.  I love Jennifer Bernard’s Firefighters of San Gabriel series, and I enjoyed meeting Kate at the RWA signing in NYC in July, but I just couldn’t get stoked for this book and series.  
But, “like” is complicated and personal. The stuff that bugs or excites one person may be the exact opposite for another. You might very well enjoy this much more than I did.


Links Blue Horizontal


Publisher: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Playing-with-Fire/Kate-Meader/9781476785929

Author: http://katemeader.com/playing-with-fire/

Amazon Print: http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Fire-Chicago-Kate-Meader/dp/1476785929/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1441635138&sr=8-2&keywords=playing+with+fire+kate+meader

(at time of writing the Paperback was priced lower than the Kindle copy and the two were separate entries.

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Fire-Hot-Chicago-Book-ebook/dp/B00UDCI7Q4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441635138&sr=8-1&keywords=playing+with+fire+kate+meader